At Halton Lodge Primary School, we recognise the importance of ascertaining what the children already know and whether the children have retained the key aspects of learning from their previous work – especially those associated with the unit(s) of work that immediately proceed or are prerequisites to being successful in the next stage of their learning journey – before we deliver any part of the curriculum.
To ensure the children are motivated and inspired by their learning in school, the vast majority of the ‘topics’ that the children encounter are now introduced to the children as a question; to inspire them and stimulate their curiosity. Furthermore, cold tasks are used as a diagnostic assessment of what the children already know and understand, ensure that they have the skills necessary to achieve the expected standard in each unit and to capture aspects that the children wish to explore and investigate further. To this end, we have developed the following overarching aims for the curriculum that we deliver at our school:
- Our children are encouraged to be curious, independent and reflective learners,
- Learning needs to be progressive (i.e. diagnostic assessment must ensure lessons planned are built on the children’s prior knowledge; and takes into account the age and stage of the children’s development/maturity);
- The curriculum must be knowledge-rich;
- Cold tasks are used as diagnostic assessments to inform future planning – to ensure that all learners are stretched and their learning is developed;
- Age appropriate vocabulary is taught within all areas of the curriculum and is used by the pupils accurately;
- All staff have a secure understanding of the childrens’ knowledge and skills required for each lesson that they teach;
- Children are given first-hand experiences to build their learning on and to ensure all children have knowledge and concepts to build their new understanding on;
- Children are given opportunities to regularly apply their developing skills and knowledge across a range of contexts; including those that are real-life and those that enable them to develop their emotional literacy skills (and promote their mental health and well-being).
Art & Design, Design Technology, History and Geography are taught via half termly topic weeks. During these weeks, children are posed an over-arching learning challenge (topic question) which they explore through a variety of learning opportunities throughout the week. Each year group completes two geography, two history, two DT and two Art focused topic weeks throughout the school year – which, during 2020/21 also incorporate key aspects of any learning that was not undertaken during the school closures; as part of our recover and catch up curriculum.
Planning is informed via a set of On Track Indicators which are progressive and knowledge focused. The subject leaders and the curriculum leader have created these in line with the National Curriculum statements.
Prior to each topic week, children complete a cold task (a diagnostic independent assessment) which ensures that the learning planned is appropriate and challenging. Throughout the week, the children are given first-hand learning experiences through encounters such as trips, workshops and practical investigations – however, we recognise that these may be limited during 2020/21 due to the coronavirus restrictions that are in force. These give each child an exciting and engaging first-hand experience on which to build their knowledge during the week.
Children will be, over time, encouraged to investigate and explore key concepts with increasing independence throughout the week, enabling them to develop their own opinions and ideas which are underpinned by in depth knowledge about key concepts. This is further embedded within forest school sessions, whereby the children are given the opportunity to explore the curriculum through the outdoor environment.
Our starting point for teaching and learning in English is the National Curriculum. This is the basis for all planning. However, we use the ‘Read to Write’ programme of work (from Literacy Counts) which empowers our teachers to provide high quality teaching of writing through a broad range of high quality literature.
These detailed units of work centre on engaging, vocabulary-rich texts that include a wealth of writing opportunities within and across the curriculum. The units of work provide:
- Clear sequential episodes of learning;
- Model texts linked to writing outcomes;
- Vocabulary learning and contextualised spelling, grammar and punctuation;
- Wider reading for the wider curriculum;
- Explicit links to the National Curriculum.
Furthermore, to ensure that we deliver a comprehensive and ambitious reading curriculum, our school utilises Pathways To Read (from The Literacy Company) from Year 2 onwards. Prior to this, our focus on the development of early reading and acquisition of phonics is through 100% fully phonetically decodable books, alongside Letters & Sounds.
Trips and visitors are planned for each term to provide real life, first hand experiences for the children – which they are encouraged to draw on in their writing and which provide meaningful opportunities to write about. In addition, a spiral curriculum is in place to ensure adequate coverage of writing genres, skills and opportunities to deepen our pupils’ understanding and application – by revisiting key aspects and through opportunities to apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Key genres of writing are revisited in some year groups to ensure skills are embedded with plenty of opportunities to apply this learning in a variety of contexts.
Links across the curriculum are also valued and fully utilised, to ensure that children are given regular opportunities to apply the writing skills that they are taught in English within other subject areas. Carefully chosen texts are used in all subjects to develop and apply reading skills and, most importantly for children, to gain knowledge and to develop their technical vocabulary in context.
In addition, our school uses Letters and Sounds as the basis for all phonics teaching. Grammar, punctuation and spelling teaching and learning in Key Stage 2 is supported through the use of the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ and ‘No Nonsense Grammar’ schemes of work.
We take a mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics, making sure that the children have a secure understanding of different areas of the maths curriculum. We move learning on in small steps, from children’s starting points, and teach children using images and resources that they can manipulate; to make sure they have a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.
We use Power Maths as our scheme of work for Mathematics to help us to achieve these aims – and encourage the children to develop their fluency in calculating through using Numbots and TT Rockstars.
In addition to the daily maths lesson, children have mental maths (sometimes called Morning Maths) lessons each day, to help revisit what they have already learned in Maths; and to increase their speed in calculating and mathematical fluency.
Computing is taught as a discrete subject for 50-60 minutes each week. The Knowsley Scheme of Work is used as a basis for our Computing curriculum and a list of On Track Indicators have been created that specify the exact knowledge that must be taught within each year group and within each unit. Alongside this, a vocabulary list for each unit has been created and, within each year group, the children will encounter two digital literacy, two information technology and two computer science units – to ensure that a broad and balanced curriculum is maintained.
Using technology safely is incorporated across all units – so this remains a high priority and is covered throughout the year (to build up the children’s knowledge and skills; and to ensure that this always maintains a high profile).
R.E. is taught on a weekly basis as a discrete subject via the Lancashire Agreed Syllabus. This syllabus aims to support pupils in searching for personal meaning by engaging in enquiry questions focused around ‘What it means to be human?’.
50% of the curriculum is focused on Christianity and, within the other 50%, children explore Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism. The subject leader, alongside the curriculum leader, have created On Track Indicators for each enquiry unit, which explore the shared human experience, the beliefs and values, the living religious traditions and the personal meaning within each religion.
Science is taught on a half-termly basis following the National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Science in KS1 and KS2. Each unit has a learning challenge (a question) which the children seek to answer through predicting, experimenting and investigating.
Teaching ensures that children are given first-hand learning experiences, to build their learning on, and they are given opportunities to observe, investigate, classify, measure, infer, predict, analyse and evaluate. Again, Knowledge Organisers and On Track Indicators have been developed by the subject leader for Science, alongside the curriculum leader, to further raise the quality of education and the standard of attainment in this subject throughout the school.
Music is taught on a weekly basis as a discrete subject using the Charanga scheme of work. This scheme breaks the music curriculum into four parts: (i) playing and performing (vocal), (ii) playing and performing (instruments), (iii) creating and composing, and (iv) listening, appraisal and appreciation.
For P.E., the school follows the Real PE scheme of work. This supports all children in developing their personal, social, physical, health and fitness, cognitive and creative abilities (Multi-Ability Cogs). This scheme ensures that all children can develop at their own level through a programme of developmental fundamental movement skills.
This is supplemented with a comprehensive swimming programme, which starts with the children beginning their swimming lessons part way through Year 3, for the whole of Year 4 and the first term of Year 5. This continuous programme is aimed at ensuring the greatest number of our pupils attain the highest possible standards in swimming and water safety. Due to restrictions that have been in place, regarding school swimming (and use of private/public transport), it is anticipated that our swimming programme may be adversely affected during 2020/21. This will be kept under review throughout the school year.
By following the Jigsaw Scheme of Work, pupils are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences, contributing fully to the life of their school and communities.
In doing so they learn to recognise their own worth, work well with others and become increasingly responsible for their own learning. They reflect on their experiences and understand how they are developing personally and socially, tackling many of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up.
During Health Education lessons, children will be taught how to make good decisions about their own health and mental wellbeing. They will be taught basic first aid, internet safety and changing of the adolescent body.
We aim to provide pupils with the knowledge, understanding, attitudes, values and skills they need in order to reach their potential as individuals and within the community.
Relationships and Sex Education is part of our PSHE and Science curriculum. We believe that effective Relationships and Sex Education can make a significant contribution to the development of the personal skills needed by pupils if they are to establish and maintain relationships. It also enables children and young people to make responsible and informed decisions to equip them for adult life and make a positive contribution to society.
Children will understand the importance of positive and safe relationships, including with family, friends and online. They will be taught what a relationship is, what friendship is, what family means and who can support them. Our aim is to foster respect for others and to value our differences.
The impact of the Curriculum in Art, DT, Geography, History, R.E, English, Maths and Science is measured through an independent Hot Task which is completed at the end of each unit of work. This consists of the same or similar task to the Cold Task (which is clearly linked to the specific subject and year’s On Track Indicators) to allow for learning to be evidenced.
From this, staff identify development areas that are to be covered before the next unit via pre-teaching or what needs to be included in the next unit. We aim for the children to be fluent in the content and to master the skills and knowledge. We ensure that after each unit both the staff and the pupils reflect on the learning opportunities provided and we adapt and change where necessary.
In PE, the impact is measured using teacher assessment against a specific aspect of multi-ability cogs and fundamental skills, which are core components of the Real PE scheme. Each child also completes a self-assessment of where they think they are working at the end of each session. Teachers can then use this to inform future planning.
The children’s enjoyment and participation are also a clear indicator to the impact of the PE curriculum.
PHSE and RSE are tracked against the On-Track Indicators. Teachers complete the assessment grid once each term.
Progress in Computing is recorded in ‘pupil portfolios’ using Seesaw.
We want our children to enjoy their first years at school and in our EYFS we provide a safe, caring environment where children can learn and grow in all areas of their development.
The Reception class follows the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) as the basis of their curriculum. Our teachers plan for children to develop skills in the ‘prime areas’ of learning: Communication and Language; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development. They also plan for the specific areas of learning: Literacy, Maths, Understanding the World and Expressive Art and Design. The skills and knowledge the children develop through following the curriculum help them to make progress towards achieving ‘The Early Learning Goals’ and gaining a ‘Good Level of Development’ at the end of Reception – which will give them a good start as they enter into Key Stage 1.
In EYFS we recognise the value of both the indoor and outdoor areas and our curriculum and environment are designed to ensure that the children have free access to a wide range of resources in our continuous provision areas. These are both equipped to promote the children’s imaginative and creative skills; with resources being enhanced or adapted according to the needs of individual cohorts.
When planning the curriculum, the children’s needs are paramount and practitioners in the EYFS plan the activities and lessons to ensure all children are able to make progress towards the Early Learning Goals.
Our aim is that the children leave our Reception class with a love of learning, a high level of independence and are prepared to start the National Curriculum in Year 1.