Cirencester Primary School
Curriculum Policy 2019
Ofsted’s working definition of “curriculum” is: “A framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage (intent); for translating that framework over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional context (implementation) and for evaluating what knowledge and understanding pupils have gained against expectations (impact and achievement).”
This policy reflects the requirements of the National Curriculum programmes of study, which all maintained schools in England must teach.
It also reflects requirements for inclusion and equality as set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014 and Equality Act 2010, and refers to curriculum-related expectations of governing boards set out in the Department for Education’s Governance Handbook.
In addition, this policy acknowledges the requirements for promoting the learning and development of children set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework.
Our curriculum includes the various extra-curricular activities that are organised in order to enrich the children’s experience as well as the ‘hidden curriculum’ – what the children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave. Our curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning and that enable personal growth and development. We want children to grow into positive, responsible people who can work and co-operate with others, while at the same time developing their knowledge and skills in order to achieve their true potential. Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development (SMSC) underpins much of the learning and curriculum. Accordingly, Cirencester Primary School provides an educational environment which is values based, caring, friendly, well-structured, positive, and academically challenging for all pupils.
In line with the aims of our school, core to our Cirencester Primary School curriculum and curriculum planning are:
Cirencester Primary School is committed to providing a broad and balanced, enriched and extended curriculum which can be tailored to individual needs. By broad we mean we teach through a wide range of topics to include all subjects within the national curriculum and we provide our pupils with a wealth of experiences and opportunities during their time at Cirencester Primary School. By balanced we mean that no one area of the curriculum is valued more or less than any other. Our curriculum is enriched through learning experiences which involve learning from and about other places, people and cultures and it is extended through trips, visits, themed days as well as daily choices of after school and lunch time clubs.
Our curriculum comprises all the learning and other experiences that we plan to meet the needs and interest of our pupils. It is constantly evolving to develop the skills needed for children to become successful learners, help prepare them for life in modern Britain and empower them to achieve success in the future. Our aim, to deliver a holistic, values based and communication rich environment that challenges, excites and inspires children to become successful and confident learners and achieve their best, is the main driving force behind how we design and deliver our curriculum.
The school’s curriculum promotes a natural desire for knowledge and understanding, and a love of learning. It covers a wide range of subjects and provides opportunities for academic, technical, creative and sporting excellence. It has a positive impact on all pupils’ behaviour, and safety, and contributes well to pupils’ academic achievement, their physical and mental well-being, and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
A central aim of our curriculum is to provide opportunities for all pupils to learn, make links and to achieve; and to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life. Through a well- planned and organised curriculum, effectively taught by qualified and enthusiastic teachers, pupils are helped to:
With our values firmly at the heart of our school, our primary aim is to promote and support a healthy outlook for our children through opportunities to develop physical and emotional health alongside academic rigour.
To ensure all young people achieve and recognise their full potential and leave our care equipped with the skills for their lifelong learning journey, we:
Communication Skills: In order to prepare our pupils for life within and beyond Cirencester Primary School, we believe our pupils need to be effective and confident communicators and we therefore aim to develop strong communication skills in all our pupils. Our defined communication skills are – listening, attentive noticing, body language, eye contact, spoken and written accuracy, clarity and concision, reading for detail and understanding, friendliness, confidence, empathy, open mindedness and respect.
Our curriculum is designed to improve outcomes for all pupils by:
We strive for consistency across the school and within year groups, with agreed approaches using a range of teaching and learning strategies and styles which develop resilience and independence. At Cirencester Primary School, we believe in enquiry based learning that facilitates progression, inclusion and high standards, together with the development of wider personal skills to allow success as young people and adults. We are developing our thematic, enquiry-led curriculum with a focus on the development of key skills, in all subjects. We are also developing linked learning opportunities, thinking opportunities and sustained learning opportunities in a variety of learning environments that encourage links with writing and language development, and making connections between learning experiences which will equip our learners well for future fulfilment and success.
We agree a long-term framework within each year group to accommodate both classes. This indicates what topics are to be taught in each term. We evaluate and review this long-term framework on an annual basis at the end of the summer term. Through our comprehensive medium term plans we give clear and detailed guidance on the objectives, teaching strategies, activities and learning outcomes for each topic or subject. Our short-term plans are those that our teachers write on a weekly or daily basis for English or Maths. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each session, and to identify what resources and activities are going to be used in the lesson. Planning is systematic; learning shows links where relevant and teachers understand expectations and high challenge through collaborative year group and phase working.
Learning objectives from the national curriculum and content for all subjects have been allocated to a year group and a term in which they will be taught. Some of the objectives will be on going through out the terms. Teachers in each year group will know the content of the national curriculum in each subject to be covered. As a school, we have grouped content and learning into topics and themes- hooking the content onto an open ended enquiry question or series of questions which guides the learning from beginning through to the end.
The learning for the term/half term leads the pupils through knowledge, skills and understanding in many subjects so they can arrive at some type of conclusion at the end of term. This is multi-disciplinary and cross curricular learning.
Teachers’ planning is designed with the following in mind:
Teachers plan a series of learning episodes which lead all pupils to a purposeful learning outcome. The series of progressive steps towards an outcome provides purpose as well as content, knowledge, skill development and practice within a particular learning objective. Teachers share the outcome and the steps to get there with all pupils at the beginning of a unit of work. There may be several units of work being undertaken at any one time in the term. Pupils know where their learning is heading and why they are undertaking the steps they are. We record all of our written work in one exercise book per term called Outcome Book. Mathematics is taught discretely and is recorded separately.
Reading - Phonics:
Pupils are taught to read using resources from the synthetic phonics programme Read Write Inc. Phase 1 of our phonic work starts in our Nursery.
For further information, see RWI pages on our website.
Reading Schemes- We begin RWI (Read Write Inc) in our Nursery class (EYFS) and it continues as the main teaching resource for phonics and early reading in KS1. Pupils progress through a series of decodable books which provide are read at home and at school. Pupils are grouped according to their phonic ability and we teach phonics and early reading for 30- 40 minutes every day. Pupils are assessed every six – eight weeks and regrouped according to assessment outcomes. We aim for pupils to have completed the RWI programme by Term 3 and 4 of Year 2. Once pupils have completed the RWI programme, they progress onto real books and reading material from a variety of sources.
We follow a Maths Mastery approach which has been developed in our school since 2017 in partnership with a local maths hub. (GLOW maths) We teach maths daily in mixed ability classes and our maths curriculum is based on the White Rose scheme of work.
For further information see Maths pages on our website.
Foundation Subjects (Our broad curriculum)
Our curriculum is planned into Topics which are chosen to capture the interests and imaginations of our children. Themes include; Are we Living in a Material World? Natural Disasters, What the Romans Did For Us, Men Vs Women- who made the greatest difference to society? What Makes a Great British Summer? Each theme is introduced through an enquiry question which is designed to engage children in their learning, and finishes with a finale to celebrate all that has been achieved. Skills based learning is further developed by linking subjects such as history, geography, art, design technology and music to the topic being studied where relevant links can legitimately be made. This allows children to make purposeful links in their learning. We also use every opportunity to make further links through reading, writing, mathematical problem solving, science and computing where relevant. RE, PE and Maths are often taught as discreet subjects to allow coverage of the main objectives and age appropriate skill development.
Whole School Theme Days and Weeks
Throughout the year, themed days/weeks are woven into the curriculum to extend the breadth and balance of opportunities we offer our pupils. These include – Anti-bullying Week, E Safety Day, Creative Arts Take One Picture Week, World Book Day, Healthy Living Week, Mini-enterprise Week, Working Scientifically Week, European Day of Languages, RE Days, Big Write Whole School themes and Global Music and Singing days.
Forest Schools is a Scandinavian initiative designed to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment. As a school we are very fortunate in having our own outdoor classroom area and teachers train to deliver an outdoor learning ‘Forest Schools’ programme.
Forest Schools is offered to all pupils in our school, every week throughout the school year. Sessions are designed around a theme, themes are sometimes subtle such as evolving or exploring the site or more obvious such as butterflies, spies, fairies or nature investigators. Many areas of the National Curriculum are intrinsically covered in the Forest Schools experience without the programmes needing to be curriculum led. Teamwork skills are developed through games and activities. Individual skills and self- esteem are heightened throughout activities such as, shelter building, tool skills, lighting fires or environmental art. Each activity develops intra and inter-personal skills as well as practical and intellectual skills.
We value the opportunities such visits offer our pupils and the commitment of staff and adults undertaking them. Trips include class visits aimed at bringing learning alive and providing first-hand experience; extra-curricular outings such as activities with the school choir or sporting events; and attending or taking part in performances or competitions.
Children in Years, 4 and 6 have the opportunity to take part in residential visits. These are planned to provide new and exciting experiences. Children in Year 4 make an annual two night away visit to Cranham; pupils in Years 2, 3 and 5 gain first hand-experience of more outdoor learning when visiting Viney Hill learning centre or The Deer Park centre; and our Year 6 young people take part in a global learning experience in northern France where they experience, climbing, abseiling, raft building, archery as well as a visit to the Normandy beaches and World War memorials..
Visitors into School
Visitors have a valuable role to play and can contribute to many aspects of the life and work of the school. They deliver talks, workshops and full day activities across a wide range of subjects, giving pupils access to outside experiences and expertise. Visitors provide a link with the wider community – children have the opportunity to work alongside artists, musicians, scientists, authors, health professions, members of the local council and others.
As a school we offer pupils opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities after school. At any time a wide range of clubs is on offer – our programme includes over 20 weekly clubs and activities and is revised termly depending on the time of year and other commitments children may have.
PE & Sport Provision
As a school we pride ourselves on the quality of our PE and Sport provision. Our Head of Sport is a full-time member of the teaching staff who delivers high quality teaching during PE lessons; runs sporting activities at lunchtimes and after school and promotes increased pupil participation in PE and Sport beyond the school day. Each of our Years 3 and Year 5 classes benefit from a term and a half of swimming lessons annually.
Cirencester Primary School provides opportunities for children to take part in a wide range of musical activities and performances where they are encouraged to sing, compose and work creatively with sound. Children in Year 5 benefit from specialist music lessons each week where they learn a classical musical instrument such as the violin or clarinet. Through active listening, pupils’ awareness, understanding and appreciation of a wide variety of music are developed. A range of opportunities are provided within and beyond the curriculum for children to showcase their musical skills and talents, for example every year our Year 6 pupils take part in Young Voices where school choirs across the Midlands region come together to performance at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.
As a school we appreciate and understand the importance of drama within our curriculum. Research reveals that drama had a positive impact on children’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. Drama is developed across the whole school in a variety of ways starting with Story Telling in EYFS, Christmas production and nativity for Reception and Y2, Assembly to parents in Y1, Poetry Slams to parents in Year 2, Topic Presentations on Ancient Egypt in Year 3, Shakespeare plays and Greek Myths retold to parents from Y4 pupils and an end of summer term production by all pupils in Y6.
Home learning can make an important contribution to a child’s progress at school. As well as reinforcing learning in the classroom, home learning helps children to develop the skills and attitudes they will need for successful independent lifelong learning.
Home learning is set in-line with the school’s policy, with tasks planned to appropriately challenge all pupils. Weekly activities focus on reading and mathematical fluency using times tables to reinforce and consolidate skills taught. Holiday home learning may include an open ended task where pupils can gather and display information on a given theme in any way they wish. This home learning is celebrated once back in class.
Inclusion and Our Curriculum
We are involved in multi-agency work to facilitate the delivery of additional needs through the work of our SENCO. Cirencester Primary is an inclusive school. We accept children with Education Health Care Plans in accordance with the SEN Code of Practice. We believe that all pupils deserve the right to a broad and balanced curriculum. The needs of children with English as an additional language are carefully considered. We aim to provide support to assist each child’s individual needs.
We provide additional nurture support for children who require it. Our programme, which aims to support and develop the emotional well-being of children who may have been identified as vulnerable or require focused behaviour support is delivered by our Nurture Support worker in our school.
All staff at Cirencester Primary School have received ‘Impact training’ which means the needs of children with communication and interaction difficulties are considered when planning and designing any teaching day.
The curriculum is designed to be accessed by all children who attend the school. If we think it necessary to modify some children’s access to the curriculum, to meet their needs, then we do this only after their parents have been consulted. If children have special needs, our school does all it can to meet the individual’s needs, and we comply with the requirements set out in the SEN Code of Practice. If a child displays signs of having specific needs, then his/her teacher assesses this need in consultation with the SENCO. If a child’s need is severe, we involve the appropriate external agencies in making an assessment. We always provide additional resources and support for children with special needs as appropriate.
The school works with specific children and their parents to create a My Plan for each of the children who are on the Special Needs Register. This sets out the nature of the special need, and outlines how the school will aim to address it. The My Plan also sets out targets for improvement, so that we can review and monitor the progress of each child at regular intervals. Detailed Provision Maps are written termly to identify the provision put in place to meet the needs of individuals. Our provision mapping is an ongoing, self-review process designed to identify and overcome barriers to learning where they exist, ensuring inclusivity and that teachers are responsible for each pupil’s progress.
Early Years Foundation Stage
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, we adopt an inter-disciplinary topic approach to curriculum planning. We plan the curriculum carefully, so that there is coherent and full coverage of all aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and Early Learning Goals. We ensure that there is planned progression in all curriculum areas and this is based on children’s interests and the continual evaluation and evolvement of medium term plans.
This provision includes our Nursery classes (Buds and Blossoms) and Reception classes (England and Scotland). Children learn basic skills through a blend of formal learning sessions, continuous provision practice and play activities which are carefully planned to include the prime and specific areas of learning.
PRIME AREAS Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Communication and Language; Physical Development.
SPECIFIC AREAS Literacy; Maths; Understanding of the World; Expressive Art and Design.
In the Early Years, teachers build on children’s previous experiences and ensure that everyone feels included, secure and valued. The aim of the EYFS curriculum is to ensure equal access to the Early Years Foundation Stage learning objectives whilst also taking account of previous learning experiences and individual rates of development. The curriculum that we teach in our Nursery and Reception classes meets the requirements set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Our curriculum planning focuses on the Early Learning Goals, as set out in these documents, and on developing children’s skills and experiences. Our school supports the principle that young children learn from a variety of activities, through appropriate play, and by engaging in well-planned and structured learning activities. We understand all children need the support of both the parents and the teachers to make good progress in school. We strive to build positive links with the parents of each child, by keeping them informed about how the children are being taught, how they can support learning, and how well each child is progressing.
Subject Leaders & Teams
Each Subject Leader and/or team checks each year group’s Long-Term Plan against the National Curriculum for coverage in their subject area. If there are gaps, the relevant year group’s teachers plus the Head teacher are informed to ensure comprehensive coverage.
Elements of the role of subject leader/leaders
Monitoring & Review
The Curriculum Team will further develop the alignment of the curriculum led by the Head teacher and supported by staff and the governor Curriculum and Standards Committee. At Cirencester Primary, we acknowledge the importance of learning from mistakes, encouraging resilience and positive attitude to meeting challenges and learning from them.
Ongoing assessment is carried out across the school. Some of this is informal on a day-to-day basis - teacher assessment is carried out on an ongoing basis using a range of assessment materials, and other relevant assessment and observation toolkits. Some is formal to meet the requirement of statutory assessment – EYFS Profiles at the end of Reception, Year One Phonics Screening, and SATs at the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2) and the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6).
Our Pupil Voice questionnaires completed by pupils show how much pupils enjoy their learning and no one subject is perceived negatively. We evaluate responses and adjust our curriculum accordingly.