What are the aims of your curriculum?
Here at Lyminster Primary School we aim to inspire a love of learning, whilst nurturing and equipping our young learners to become confident and community-spirited citizens of the world. This mission informs every decision we make, and the curriculum we have developed.
How is your curriculum organized?
In our Reception Year we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which is also then extended into the start of Year 1 and, in terms of core principles, beyond. Through Years 1-6 we follow the Primary National Curriculum, as well as the West Sussex Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education and the suggested syllabus for Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) from the PSHE Association. The objectives arising from these frameworks are organized into cross-curricular topics so that links can be made between different areas of learning, not only making this learning more meaningful and relevant to the children, but allowing for deeper learning and application. Some strands of learning are still taught discretely, where this suits the objectives.
Our main Modern Foreign Language is French, and our tuned instrument is the ukulele, however we are proud to facilitate access to private music lessons involving a wide range of instruments.
Each class has a weekly timetable, however teachers are encouraged to ‘block’ time for some subjects where this may allow for deeper learning – for example a Computing or DT project may be completed over the course of a few consecutive afternoons or even a full day, as opposed to 1 hour each week for the half-term. We also deploy our teachers to facilitate as much specialist teaching as possible, particularly for the older children and in subjects such as French, Music and Art.
In our Long Term Plans, you can see how the topics are scheduled and the main subjects, objectives and outcomes driving them. As you will see, these topics are arranged in 2-year rolling cycles, allowing teachers in our 1-form entry school to work together on ensuring the highest quality planning, as well as allowing us to dedicate more of our resources to exciting and memorable experiences for the children, relating to these learning journeys.
How does your curriculum meet the needs of your children?
The topics are designed and planned to reflect our belief that learning for our children is at its most powerful when it promotes our ‘Top Ten’:
- Real application;
- Celebration of difference;
- Local knowledge;
- Personal growth;
- Child Voice.
Whilst learning journeys are pre-planned with the curriculum objectives and the above principles in mind, there is always – crucially – in-built flexibility for teachers to adapt the learning to fit the needs of individuals, groups and classes (‘Gap Analysis’), their interests and motivations (‘Child Voice’), and to ensure all children can access and are challenged by the learning (‘differentiation’). We believe that this is the essence of effective curriculum design.
How does your own school curriculum go further?
The EYFS, National Curriculum and agreed syllabi are augmented in our school by different programmes related to our mission, aims and values, mainly around the personal and social development of the children. First and foremost amongst these is our commitment to abide by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, as a Rights Respecting School. The Articles of this Convention are not only inherent in our continued School Improvement Planning, but receive weekly whole-school focus as part of our school assemblies – which also incorporate explicit teaching, discussion and exploration of British Values as well as World Faiths – and are interwoven into our curriculum topics and how these are taught.
As well as the above, ‘Growth Mindset’ as defined by the research of Carol Dweck and colleagues informs our curriculum and pedagogy, and is also taught discretely as part of a half-termly programme. The ‘E-Safety’ aspects of the Computing curriculum have been expanded and built-upon in our school curriculum via monthly lessons encapsulating different aspects relevant to modern life, such as cyber-bullying and protection of personal data. Children are also taught leadership skills, through roles created for our older children to help support the younger children, and enabled to explore and progress in their talents and interests through our comprehensive extra-curricular programme. In recognition of our impressive provision for extra-curricular activities – and sports in particular – we were awarded the Active Sussex Primary School of the Year Award in 2016, however we have a diverse programme including Creative Writing (for which some of our students have won County-level awards), French and Choir. Access to our extra-curricular programme consistently exceeds 90%.
For each National Curriculum subject, we have also broken down the skills, knowledge and understanding into year-by-year expectations which build upon each other. These can be seen in our ‘Subject Overviews’, along with any school-specific approaches to teaching these subjects.
At different times of the year, we also dedicate extra time to certain areas of the curriculum to go into more depth and to ensure we are meeting the needs of our own community. These include:
- A Personal Development Week, with different themes annually but an ongoing focus on ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’;
- International Day, and topics devoted to countries linked to each class;
- Book Day/Week, and topics centred around authors linked to each class;
- E-Safety Awareness Day;
- STEAM Week;
- Talents Day.
Celebrating internationalism, promoting a love of reading, and raising aspirations can be seen as recurring curriculum themes, and we are proud to stand for these.