The Curriculum Vision and Overview
Curriculum Design Statement: Intent, Implementation and Impact
At Great Sankey Primary School, we believe that all our children have the right to an inclusive and diverse curriculum that is exciting and relevant and will equip them with key skills for every stage in their educational lives and beyond. We have planned our curriculum to develop both knowledge and skills; it encourages curiosity, discovery, creativity, co-operation, resilience and independence; it produces leaders, innovators, collaborators and personal growth.
At GSP we follow The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and The National Curriculum. However, we have developed a bespoke curriculum, based on the Chris Quigley Essentials Curriculum, that drives the aims and values of our school and serves the needs of all our children and families.
It includes not only the formal requirements but also an abundance of extra-curricular activities and theme approaches that we carefully plan in order to enrich the children’s experiences. We place a strong emphasis on securing the basic skills of reading, writing and mathematics in every year group.
We want every child in our school to feel safe, cared for, valued and trusted. We want our school to nurture and foster curiosity in an environment that is safe and stimulating to their ever-changing interests.
At the heart of our GSP curriculum lies three main drivers which help to shape our bespoke curriculum.
1. Growth - The strong emphasis we place on a team approach is based on our school motto of ‘Together We Learn and Grow.’ This creates a culture in which learners gain confidence, self-respect, feel valued and supported to take responsibility for their own learning and achieve their full potential. This further helps children to build aspirations and believe that anything is possible in their future lives.
2. Mindfulness – This helps our learners to concentrate, focus and to fully experience and find fulfilment in their lives. They also recognise the importance of supporting one another, being outward facing, and have a growing understanding of the impact they can have on themselves and others.
3. Community – This helps learners to be an active, responsible member of our school, the locality, our country and the world.
Our GSP curriculum is planned to include:
1. a list of the breadth of topics which will be covered
2. the concepts learners should understand
3. criteria for progression of milestones within the concepts
4. criteria for depth of understanding (including knowledge, vocabulary, application)
The diagram below shows the model of our curriculum structure:
Curriculum breadth for Years 1 and 2
Curriculum breadth for Years 3 and 4
Curriculum breadth for Years 5 and 6
(Based on the Chris Quigley, Essentials Curriculum)
1. The curriculum breadth for each phase ensures teaching staff have clarity on coverage. It also provides key knowledge and vocabulary.
2. Concepts are chosen to build conceptual understanding within subjects and are repeated many times in each topic.
3. Milestones define the standards for the key skills, knowledge and vocabulary being taught.
4.Depth: The milestones will be assessed over a two-year cycle with the expectation that children move from having a basic (B) understanding to a more advanced (A) and deeper (D) understanding over the course of the two years. This basic level will involve a high degree of repetition so that knowledge enters learners long-term memory; learning across each milestone at this level must not be rushed. Pupils will then demonstrate application of this knowledge and vocabulary through more advanced and deeper tasks, thus demonstrating true understanding.
How is our Curriculum organised?
Learning in each subject has been planned to ensure children build their knowledge, skills and understanding progressively in Y1 to Y6. We plan our curriculum in four phases, Phase 1 (EYFS), Phase 2 (Y1 & Y2), Phase 3 (Y3 & Y4) and Phase 4 (Y5 & Y6). Each phase and year group plan a curriculum matrix for the academic year and follow an overarching theme every term or half term (see Long Term Plans). Every theme provides lots of opportunities for our children to be immersed in the context of their learning. We use high quality and challenging texts in English teaching that are, when relevant, also related to the over-arching topic. This enables opportunities for in depth learning, development of vocabulary, knowledge and concepts.
Each topic begins with an opportunity for an assessment of prior knowledge and skills linked to the main subject driver. For example, history was taught in Autumn term, and at the beginning of Summer 1, the children will engage in retrieval tasks on all prior learning of the history they have covered. This will be conducted through ‘low stakes’ activities designed to allow the teacher to assess how well the learners are coping with curriculum content and how well they are retaining previously taught content.
Every new topic is carefully planned to create memorable learning experiences which are also supported with educational visits and visitors to the school. Outdoor learning is also promoted throughout all subjects and we also deliver residential visits in Y2, Y4 and Y6.
English (reading, writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation, handwriting and phonics), Maths, Science, Religious Education, Physical Education, Computing are taught all year round, with links to the topic where relevant to enhance learning. Art and Design, Design Technology, History and Geography are currently taught in focus blocks linked to the topics across the half term as part of a two-year cycle across phases. This current blocking however, does include regular opportunities for children to review and revisit previously taught content. SMSC and PHSCE are taught discreetly on a weekly basis as well as being planned for across the whole school topics and through our monthly values. At Key Stage Two our children are taught French although, it is introduced subtly throughout Key Stage One also. In KS2 children also learn how to swim.
To further enhance the curriculum, we also have whole school topics throughout the year that allow for further in-depth development of knowledge, concepts and understanding across all subjects (see whole school topic plan) and link to community and current affairs.
As part of our Trust we also have regular access to specialist teachers to support and enhance in the delivery of the GSP curriculum.
Teachers are continually assessing children’s learning against the milestone indicators and the key knowledge set out in their planning document for every foundation subject. Time for retrieval and opportunities for proof of progress tasks are built in to enable teachers to assess how well the children have retained and applied acquired knowledge and skills. They provide timely feedback to the children to check on understanding and ensure progress is made. Staff are supported with assessments through moderation and a team approach to ensure consistency. Assessment information for all subjects is collected and used by subject leaders to then inform the School Improvement planning and the impact of the GSP curriculum.
Early Years Foundation Stage
The curriculum that we teach in Nursery & Reception meets the requirements set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. Our curriculum planning focuses on the Characteristics of Learning, Developmental Matters and Early Learning Goals expectations.
Our school fully supports the principle that young children learn through play, and by engaging in well planned and structured activities. Teaching in the Reception class builds on the experiences of the children in Nursery and progress within the phase is carefully planned for and tracked.
The practitioners assess the skills development of each child and record this in the Learning Journey books and on the school tracking system. This assessment forms an important part of the future curriculum planning for each child.
We are proud of the strong relationship we have with parents and use this positively to ensure that children have a joint support approach 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, and how well each child is progressing and engaging them in their child's learning journey.
As part of our curriculum design we are using evidence from cognitive science and three main principles that underpin our proposed approach:
Learning is most effective with spaced repetition
Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention.
Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.
In addition to this, we also understand that true learning is invisible in the short-term and that sustained mastery takes time.
At GSP we recognise that nothing is truly learned unless it rests in children’s long-term memories.
The curriculum in our school 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, in order to meet their needs, then we do this in consultation with parents.
If children have special needs, our school does all it can to meet the individual needs, and we comply with the requirements set out in the new SEND Code of Practice. If a child displays signs of having a particular learning or physical need, then his/her teacher makes an assessment of this need. In most instances, using a graduated reponse approach, the teacher is able to provide the resources and adapt the educational opportunities to meet the child's needs within normal class organisation. If a child's need is more severe, we may involve the appropriate external agencies to support and in making recommendations and assessments. We always provide additional resources and support for children with special needs.
The school provides a Provision Map or an Educational Provision Plan (EPP) for each of the children who are recognised as additional support. This sets out the nature of the special need, and outlines how the school will aim to address it. The EPP also sets out targets for improvement, so that we can review and monitor the progress of each child at regular intervals.
Some children in our school have disabilities. We are committed to meeting the needs of these children, as we are to meeting the needs of all groups of children within our school. All reasonable steps are taken to ensure that these children are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared with non-disabled children. Teaching and learning is appropriately modified for children with disabilities. For example, they may be given additional time to complete certain activities, or the curriculum or teaching materials may be adapted.
The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of each Milestone, the vast majority of pupils have sustained mastery of the content. This means that learning is embedded in their long-term memory and they can then advance to a deeper understanding of the curriculum.
As a school, we have used the OECD Learning Framework 2030 to support us in planning a curriculum that allows all of our young people develop holistically, fulfilling their potential to contribute towards a future built upon the social and economic well-being of the individual, the local community and the wider world.
We ensure a broad and balanced curriculum is delivered which prepares young people for the social, economic and environmental challenges of modern living. We encourage our young people to value individual and collective well-being, prosperity and sustainability.
Across the subjects taught, we promote the knowledge, skills, attitudes, beliefs and values necessary to support future ready young people who are able to exercise ‘learner agency’ and to take responsibility for their own education and to participate positively in the world. We do this by providing a solid foundation of literacy, numeracy, general knowledge, digital/technological competence, physical health & well-being and enable them to apply these knowledge and skills across the various challenges they may face.
We use The Learning Compass 2030 as a guiding influence to define the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that learners need to fulfil their potential and contribute to the well-being of their communities and the planet.
Monitoring and Review
Our Governing Body's Quality of Education Committee is responsible for monitoring the way in which the school curriculum is implemented. Governors liaise with subject leaders through visits, reports and presentations to view the impact of the subjects within the curriculum. Governors are assigned to key areas within the curriculum and areas of our School Improvement Plan. There is also a named governor assigned to SEND, Pupil Premium, Sport’s Premium and Safeguarding. These governors report back during full termly governor's meetings.
The Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher organise the monitoring of teaching and learning as well as curriculum development and receive feedback from subject leaders. The Deputy Headteacher is responsible for the day-to-day organisation of teaching and learning.
Together with the Headteacher, who is the curriculum lead, they oversee curriculum development planning.
Subject leaders also monitor the way in which their subject is taught throughout the school. They examine long-term and medium-term planning, books, talk to children, participate in learning walks and ensure that appropriate teaching strategies are used to ensure maximum impact and progress in their subject area.
If you wish to know more about the curriculum at Great Sankey Primary, please contact Mrs Lisa Wilding (Headteacher) or Mr Tom Gawne (Deputy Headteacher).