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Our Curriculum

The Curriculum

The curriculum is what we intend children to learn at this school. It is based on the school's vision statement.

 

We aim to serve our community by providing the best all round

education within a caring Christian context. We value the different

personalities and talents of our children. We seek for them to

become confident learners and tolerant, principled members of society.

                                                                  School Vision Statement

We have thought carefully about how to put our vision statement into practice to create an aspirational and inclusive curriculum that meets the needs of all our learners regardless of their starting points or preferred ways of learning. This means our curriculum is designed and delivered in a way that gives every child the same opportunities.

 

These are:

 

  • Every child to be a principled member of society, contributing positively to the world in which they live through kindness, respect, hope, aspiration, good manners, empathy, compassion, making good choices, challenging injustice and spiritual awareness.

 

  • Every child to be a confident independent learner through resilience (staying positive and not giving up), resourcefulness (thinking for themselves,  being adaptable and solving problems, knowing what to do when they get stuck),   being reflective  (able to evaluate, change their minds, think about themselves as a learner and how they might be able to do things better, learning from and with others) and curiosity (willingness to explore, ask questions, research, investigate and think creatively).

 

 

  • Every child to have the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to be literate, numerate and understand the world around them so they can function, flourish and thrive in a dynamic and evolving world.

 

 

The National Curriculum

Our curriculum includes the programmes of study outlined in the National Curriculum and forms part of our wider school curriculum. The National Curriculum specifies what children will learn from Year 1 onwards in literacy, maths, science, art, design and technology, computing, music, history, geography, physical education and languages. 

 

Children also study social, moral, spiritual and cultural education primarily through our Relationships, Sex and Health Education Programme and Religious Education.

 

 

Early Years Foundation Stage

Our Reception Class follows an Early Years curriculum and the principles that underpin the Department of Education's Development Matters guidance.

 

The seven areas of learning that our Reception children learn through are:

 

-   Communication and language

-   Personal, social and emotional development

-   Physical development

-   Literacy

-   Mathematics

-   Understanding of the world 

-   Expressive arts and design.

 

For more information on the Early Years curriculum, please see the section on our website that refers to Early Years Reception Class using the link below.

How the curriculum is organised

We have identified four teaching phases at our school.

 

Class 1

Reception Year

Class 2

Year 1 and 2

Class 3

Year 3 and 4

Class 4

Year 5 and 6

 

Our curriculum is designed in a way that children engage in progressively deeper and more complex learning at each phase. It is a concept led knowledge rich curriculum that enables children to acquire key skills and conceptual understanding through knowledge acquisition. 

 

This is because knowledge underpins both conceptual understanding and skills development.

 

Concepts are abstract ideas. In art for example, children study the concepts of shape, pattern, colour, shade, tone, texture and form through the media of painting, drawing, collage, textiles, sculpture etc. 

 

Focusing on a carefully selected number of concepts and studying them in depth allows children to retain their learning by providing numerous opportunities to recap, recall, make connections and apply their learning in various contexts and across different subjects. 

 

Our curriculum is specifically designed in a way that each teacher and phase of education builds directly on prior learning. 

 

The example below shows how the concept of incarnation and Christmas in Year 5/6 builds directly on learning in Year 3/4.

 

Likewise, learning in Year 3/4 builds directly on learning in Year 1 and 2.

 

 

All the subjects we teach are planned in a similar way so that learning is cumulative and builds on what children know and can do.

 

Our curriculum specifically identifies the knowledge children need in order to deepen their understanding. Children are taught the knowledge they need to know through inquiry, discussion and carefully sequence activities planned by the class teacher. 

 

 

Subjects

There are 13 subjects taught at this school. The core subjects are literacy, mathematics and science. The foundation subjects are Design and Technology, Computing, History, Geography, Music, Art, French, Physical Education, Religious Education and Relationships Education.

 

An example of a Year 6 child's writing after following our Modern Foreign Language curriculum

 

Skills progression

Our definition of skills is the application of key knowledge in the correct order and sequence. This means skills or complex tasks or processes are the by-product of knowledge acquisition.

 

The knowledge children need to complete increasingly complex tasks are planned into our curricular framework at each phase as children get older and deepen their knowledge and understanding of key concepts.

 

In reading for example, children first learn the sound each letter shape makes. Next they learn that words are made by blending these sounds together. This is knowledge. The process of reading is applying this knowledge.

 

As children become more fluent at decoding print, they are taught the knowledge they need for reading comprehension.

 

We have identified what children need to know to be an effective reader.  For example, children need to know authors use figurative language to convey meaning beyond the literal. Without this knowledge children will find it difficult to understand phrases such as 'the shopkeeper had a heart of stone'. 

 

Similarly, children are also taught to know an apostrophe can change the meaning of a word from plural to indicate possession e.g. girl’s as opposed to girls or that a pronoun indicates a person or object that has been previously referred to.

 

Likewise, children are taught to know that a word can change meaning depending on the context e.g. the cricketer hit the ball with a bat as opposed to the bat flew out of the cave. This is all essential knowledge children need to know and then apply in to perform the process or skill of reading.

 

 

Knowledge base

All Knowledge in our curriculum has a purpose. It contributes to either conceptual understanding (concepts) or skills. We refer to both skills and conceptual understanding as composites made up of component knowledge.

 

Any component knowledge we teach contributes to either a composite skill or composite concept. Some subjects are more skill based such as physical education and some subjects are more concept based such as Religious Education or science.

 

This does not mean that children do not learn skills in subjects that are concept heavy. They do. This is because there are a number of skills children develop to acquire knowledge and deepen their understanding of a concept. This is because these processes are often dependent on specific subject specific knowledge. These universal skills or processes include:

 

-investigating         

-researching       

-interpreting     

-analysing   

-evaluating     

-empathising     

-creating

 

 

These core universal skills or processes are taught in context as a means of acquiring knowledge within a particular subject discipline. This is because these processes are often dependent on specific subject specific knowledge.

 

For example, the ability to evaluate or be creative in art requires knowledge of shape, colour, form, line and pattern whereas evaluating or creating (composing) a piece of music requires knowledge in dynamics, timbre, melody and tempo. 

 

Knowledge can be conceptual or procedural.

 

Conceptual knowledge is the knowledge needed to help a child understand of a concept. For example, to understand why it gets dark at night. Children need to know that the earth receives light from the sun; they need to know the Earth is spherical and rotates and when the side of the earth faces away from the sun, the earth plunges into darkness.  When this occurs we call this darkness night.

 

Procedural knowledge is the knowledge children need in order to know how to do something or perform a skill. This knowledge needs to be carefully sequenced and applied by the child in the right order and sequence – just like following a recipe. 

 

For example learning to catch a ball. Children need to know the must watch the ball; they need to know the anticipated projector and speed to calculate where to stand; they need to know to put their hands close to together (but not too far apart or too close) in readiness to grasp the ball; they need to know to cushion the ball by bringing it into their body and make minor adjustments as the ball is in flight.

 

We can further break down knowledge into substantive and disciplinary knowledge.

 

Substantive knowledge is content taught as established fact. It is specific, factual content which must be accompanied by other knowledge for it to make sense. For example, knowing tornadoes occur most often in the Great Plains of North America is substantive knowledge. In isolation, this knowledge may serve little purpose.

 

If this is taught in isolation, it raises more questions than it answers such as what exactly is a tornado? What causes tornadoes? What and where are the Great Plains of North America?

 

In order for this fact to make sense, it needs to be considered in terms of a 'bigger picture' and requires prior or other knowledge in order to make sense of it such as the knowledge required to answer questions such as why are tornadoes so common in the Great Plains of North America.

 

Disciplinary knowledge is know what to do  within a particular subject to gain substantive knowledge.  For example, in history children need to know that we use and evaluate evidence to construct an interpretation of the past. They need to know historians pursue a line if enquiry e.g. Was Henry VIII a great king? 

 

In science, children need to know that science knowledge is gained through observations and testing a hypotheses through an investigation.

 

Disciplinary knowledge is similar to procedural knowledge in that it is the knowledge needed to gain substantive knowledge. However, disciplinary knowledge is procedural knowledge that is specific to a subject area. 

 

Local context

We have designed a curriculum to take into account local needs and our context as a small Church of England village school.

 

For example, we have recognised the importance of character qualities and diversity in our curriculum which is reflected in our curricular aims and assessment framework. We have also recognised the importance of building lots of opportunities for children to think for themselves and recap and revise prior learning so that they remember what they have learnt and make connections. This is why we frame our units of work and the key concepts that underpin them through questions and enquiry framework that connects to prior learning.

 

Where possible, we link different concepts to show children how connections are made. This is because we have recognised the importance of making connections explicit so children apply their learning across subjects and contexts so that they can begin to do this for themselves. The following example the level of thought and rationale that goes into our curricular planning.

 

When we refer to a knowledge rich curriculum, we do not mean children just learn interesting facts. We define knowledge as 'know how' and the knowledge children need to 'know' to acquire key skills. Skills are therefore a deliberate by product of our carefully sequenced knowledge rich curriculum designed to equip our children to live in a global ever-changing world.

 

 

Literacy

The purpose of the literacy curriculum is to encourage children to enjoy and value the importance of language in their daily lives so they become effective communicators and confident and fluent readers and writers.

 

We use Twinkl as our formal reading scheme when children start school. This is an accredited Systematic Synthetic Phonics Teaching Programme. Children are taught the sounds letters make and how to synthesise and segment these sounds to read and de-construct words. They are also taught to read by sight, high frequency words.

 

This is achieved by daily whole class phonics sessions in which these skills, sight words and letters and sounds are taught up to three times a day. This process continues until the end of Key Stage 1.

 

Where there is a need, pupils in Key Stage 2 have access to this approach if they are not yet fluent readers. Reading is further developed and embedded into the curriculum through carefully sequenced and planned activities.

 

At Key Stage 2, greater emphasis is placed on developing children’s understanding and comprehension of more complex text types and genres. There is particular emphasis on developing children’s ability to interpret meaning beyond the literal. This too is achieved by embedding carefully sequenced and planned activities into the curriculum using high quality texts.

An example of an early literacy activity at Stisted Primary Academy

 

Mathematics

The purpose of the mathematics curriculum is to encourage children to enjoy and value the importance of mathematics in their daily lives so that they become effective and confident in using number, measurement, geometry and statistics across a range of contexts and subjects.

 

An example of early numeracy at Stisted Primary Academy

 

Science

 

Scientists are interested in nature and finding out how and why things work. Scientists are curious and ask questions such as:

 

Why does it get dark at night?

Why does water freeze?

How do fish breathe underwater?

How does an aeroplane stay in the sky?

Why do things never fall up?

Why do ducks have webbed feet?

 

Scientists are also good at trying to find answers to their questions by observing nature and events, conducting experiments, research and testing their ideas. 

 

Why is science important? 

 

Scientists like to solve problems and learn about things we do not understand like inventing cars that do not cause climate change or finding cures and vaccines for diseases. 

 

The purpose of science is to stimulate and develop children’s curiosity and knowledge of scientific ideas so that they can research and to test their ideas in a scientific way in order to build their knowledge of plants, animals, human beings; habitats, light, sound, the earth and beyond, seasonal changes, forces and magnets, electricity, everyday materials and states of matter.

 

Children in Year 1 and 2 carrying out scientific enquiry

 

History

We teach children to be historians. Children learn that historians are interested in finding out about the past and how people used to live. Children learn that historians look for clues using historical sources and piece these clues together to interpret what life might have been like long ago. They learn history is an interpretation of historical sources rather than fact. 

 

Why is history important? 

 

Learning about events in the past and why they might have happened helps us understand about the here and now and how things might change in the future.  History is important because it helps us understand people and the decisions people make so that we can learn from the past and make the world a better place.

 

History can add also to children’s cultural capital when taught in a way that opens up aspirations and possibilities by making reference to its relevance today such as being a broadcast journalist, film maker, librarian, author, antique expert, conservation officer, curator, policy maker, teacher etc.

 

Our teaching approach and activities we plan for history help children to think like historians and ask questions such as:

 

What was it like to live in the past?

How do we know? 

What is this evidence telling me about the past?

Why did it change?

What can we learn from the past that might be useful for the future?  

 

The purpose of our history curriculum is to stimulate and develop children’s curiosity and knowledge about the past and to help them understand that historical knowledge is gained through interpreting historical sources.

 

Children develop a sense of chronology, learn how people used to live through the study of significant people, periods and events in British and World history.

 

Children also learn to make links and connections between significant people, periods and events and how  people’s lives have changed and are influenced by past events.

 

We teach the children to use words a historian would use including historical source, evidence, interpretation, perspective, change, cause, significance and chronology (time line). 

 

Children in Year 5 and Year 6 learning about what life would have been like in the local area during the 1940's

 

Geography

 

We teach children to be geographers. Our children learn that geographers are interested in places, landscapes and the environment and what can be done to protect the environment and landscape for future generations.

 

Why is geography important? 

 

Geographers like to find out about places and how they are changing so they can protect the environment and the people who live there.

 

Geographers make predictions and find solutions to problems such as coastal erosion, climate change, traffic congestion, volcanoes, flooding or where the best place is to build a new road, carpark, housing, railway line, farm, shopping centre, playground, electricity pylons or airports.  

 

We also teach the children to think like geographers so that they ask questions such as:

 

Where is it?

What is it like?

How is it changing?

How can the environment/landscape be protected from harm?

 

We  teach the children to use words a geographer would use including location, place, map, atlas, natural landscape, human landscape (settlements, transport, industry etc), environment, climate, weather, rural, urban, population, change and consequence as well the names of features.

 

The purpose of our geography curriculum is to stimulate and develop children’s curiosity and knowledge about the similarities and differences between local, national and global places of interest including different landscapes and environmental issues.

 

 

Geography can add also to children’s cultural capital when it is taught in a way that opens up aspirations and possibilities by making reference to its relevance today such as being a town planner, travel writer, map maker, weather forecaster, architect, environmentalist, surveyor, tourism officer, broadcast journalist, film maker, policy maker, teacher etc.

 

The children learn to gather and interpret geographical information from various sources including first-hand experience and secondary sources to build their knowledge of where places are located, what they are like, how they are changing, how they are connected, why they are changing and the consequences of a changing landscape.

Children in Year 1 and Year 2 learning about weather and its affect on the landscape

 

Computing

The purpose of the computing is to encourage children to enjoy and value the importance of technology as a learning and communications tool. Children learn how to use computers and technology confidently and safely including the basics in coding, publishing, modelling and simulation, data handling and spreadsheets

 

Year 3 and 4 using computer technology to support learning in art and design

 

Art and design

We teach children to be artists. The children learn that artists are interested in designing and representing ideas and thoughts using different media including drawings, painting, collage, sculpture, print, textiles and computer generated graphics (CGI).  Artists represent these ideas in creative and unusual ways for other people to enjoy, think about and appreciate.

 

  

Children at Stisted exploring colour to represent the seasons

 

Why is art important? 

 

Art is everywhere. Artists design clothes, decorate houses, invent fashion, design wallpaper patterns, they create special effects in movies, cars, photography, publishing, buildings, computer graphics amongst many other things. Having an understanding of the scope art can provide can add to children’s cultural capital by opening up these possibilities and aspirations.

 

We teach the children to think like artists so that they ask questions such as:

 

What is the subject of this piece of art?

How has this piece of artwork been created?

What is this artwork trying to communicate?

How has the artist used colour, shade, shape, line, texture in their composition?

 

 

Teaching children the language of art and design is important so that they can talk knowledgeably about their artwork and the work of other artists. Artists like to use words such as colour, shade, shape, tone, line, texture, composition and form to describe artwork.

 

Children at Stisted exploring line and colour

 

The purpose of our art curriculum is to stimulate curiosity and knowledge in art and artists from different cultures and for children to explore, evaluate and experiment with their techniques so that they can represent ideas, moods and stories in a creative and symbolic way through drawing, painting, printing, collage and 3 dimensional art forms including sculpture.

 

Creating a book in box - an example of creativity and 3d art and design

 

Design and Technology

 

We teach children to be designers. Designers make products that are useful in our everyday lives. 

 

Why is design and technology important? 

 

Technology is everywhere but it can go out of date very quickly.  Human beings like to improve technology and find better ways to do things and make life better and easier. They invent cars, new gadgets, phones, computers and equipment.  

 

We teach the children to think like designers so that they ask questions such as:

 

What can I design to solve a problem or make life easier? 

What already exists that I can improve on or get inspiration?

What do I need to build my design?

Does my design work and how can I improve it?

 

The purpose of design and technology is to stimulate children’s curiosity in how things work and to help children build the knowledge and knowhow they need to design, make, test, evaluate and improve products designed for a specific purpose or to solve a problem.

 

Design and technology also opens up aspirations and possibilities such as engineering, design, mechanic, software designer, food nutritionist. 

 

Music

Musicians are interested in playing music, listening to music and creating (composing music). They are good at representing ideas, feelings and stories using sounds.   

 

Why is music important? 

 

Music is everywhere. It is in films, TV, the radio, the internet etc. Someone has to play it. Someone has to compose it. Having an understanding of the scope art can provide can add to children’s cultural capital by opening up these possibilities and aspirations. People listen to music for enjoyment. It can give people pleasure and change the way they feel. 

 

 

We teach the children to think like musicians so that they ask questions such as:

 

What is the purpose of this piece of music?

What is this music trying to tell me/communicate?

How does this music make me feel?

How has the composer use rhythm, tempo, beat, texture, pitch, melody, structure and dynamics  to create an effect?

 

The purpose of our music curriculum is to stimulate curiosity in musical ideas and to help children build knowledge and knowhow to sing, compose, appraise music as well as play an instrument musically together.  Children learn to compare different genres of music, composers and musicians from around the world as well as the language of music.

 

We teach the children to use words a musician would use including beat, pulse, tempo, rhythm, pitch, melody, texture, timbre, harmony, structure, dynamics to describe music they hear and compose.

 

Our Year 3 and 4 children all learn to play chords on a ukulele and learn to perform together

 

Religious Education

The purpose of RE is to stimulate and develop children’s curiosity and knowledge of religion so that they can hold informed conversations about religious ideas such as beliefs, practices/rituals, faith, worship, prayer, creation, God, the meaning of life and the relevance of religion on society and peoples’ lives.

 

Children build their knowledge of religious ideas through inquiry, debate, asking questions, making connections, exploring religious artefacts, discussing sources of beliefs and examining religious texts so that they can talk about the similarities between the major world faiths including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.

 

Children at Stisted learn that faith is expressed in different ways.

 

Children build an in-depth knowledge of Christianity through the themes of God and creation, the fall, the people of God, incarnation, Gospel, salvation and the Kingdom of God and make links with other faiths.

 

Questions those who are interested in religion ask include:

 

Is there something beyond this world that created our universe?

What are the similarities between different faiths?

Where do these beliefs come from?

How do people of different faith show their belief in their everyday lives?

 

Religious Education is important because it provides pupils with the knowledge and insight needed to challenge stereotypes, promote cohesion, tackle extremism and ponder the big questions in life such as where have we come from, what is the meaning of life and is there something beyond our worldly existence?

 

 

Children in Reception creating and growing Easter gardens

 

French

The purpose of French is to stimulate curiosity for language and to help children a build basic grasp of conversational French based on asking and answering questions. The children also build on prior knowledge to read, and write simple words, phrases and sentences.

 

 

Physical Education

The purpose of Physical Education is to help children build upon and develop interest and competence in a broad range of skills, physical activities and competitive sports whilst developing positive attitudes and habits to enable them to lead fit, healthy and active lifestyles.  

 

The school's Multi Use Games area allows all year round outdoor physical education

 

Relationships, Sex, Health Education

The purpose of Relationships, Sex and Health Education is to equip children with the knowledge they need to embrace life in its fullest sense spiritually, morally, emotionally, socially and culturally so that they develop healthy happy relationships and make positive lifestyle choices.

 

Learning to be worldly-wise

Cultural Capital is the essential knowledge pupils need to broaden their options, choices and aspirations so that they can lead happy, fulfilling and rewarding lives. This involves introducing them to the best that has been thought and said to help engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

 

We refer to this as being worldly wise. We have developed a strategy for helping our children become worldly wise. This includes:

 

  • Providing children with interesting and educationally rich stimulus, resources and topics including great literature, artwork, music, stories, poetry, drama, news articles, artefacts etc.

 

  • Providing children with interesting and educationally rich experiences such as themed days, residential trips, school trips, visitors and extra-curricular activities.

 

  • A curriculum that goes beyond the national curriculum with a strong emphasis on personal and character development.

 

  • Linking learning with important and inspirational people who have made a positive difference to the world in which we live e.g. Greta Thunberg, Emily Pankhurst, Rosa Parks, Tani-Grey-Thompson, Jamie Oliver. 

 

  • Enabling children to  think deeply within and each subject discipline and from the point of view of an expert within that field e.g. thinking as a geographer, historian, scientist, history or musician This opens up opportunities and avenues children may not have previously considered an option for a future career, hobby or interest because of low aspirations or expectations. 

 

  • A knowledge rich curriculum that makes connections between subjects and equips them with the vocabulary and language skills to talk knowledgeably about a broad range of topics they may come across in everyday life.
 
  • Opportunities to debate hot topics of the day to broaden their understanding of matters of interest and learn that individuals have different perspectives and points of view.

 

  • A strong Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) Programme with clear progression of key concepts and knowledge children need as they progress through the school.

 

  • A structured 3 year cycle whole school assembly programme that explores a broad range of themes and topics that enables children to come together to as a community to thank, celebrate and receive wisdom and inspiration.

 

 

Children at Stisted Primary Academy appreciating that we are part of an inter-related community

 

Extra Curricular and further enrichment Activities

 

We organise a range of after school clubs and including, where possible, those suggested by pupils. Extra curricular and enrichment activities mainly come in the form of after school provision. Over the last 2-3 years we have offered the following after school clubs for children to try new experiences or develop further an interest in a particular area.

 

 

Lunchtime clubs and after school activities enables all pupils to experience a wide range of achievement,

which includes sporting and musical activities.

                                   Lizzie McWhirter, Inspector for Anglican and Methodist Schools, 2018

 

Learning between lessons occurs where children learn through interacting with their environment and adults who work in the school as well as being immersed in a school culture rooted in the core values of compassion, kindness, connection belonging, hope and aspiration. We refer to this as the invisible curriculum. It is planned for and deliberate but not always obvious.

 

This part of the curriculum helps develop children's character development and shapes them as young people enabling them to thrive in an evolving world. Character development includes children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. You can find out more about this area of learning in the section on our website that refers to the 'inner child'.

Social Education

This includes teaching children basic manners and courtesy including greeting people, taking turns to speak, sharing fairly, saying please and thank you, engaging in conversation, speaking in a polite tone of voice. How to eat with a knife and fork and basic dining etiquette. What makes a good friend and friendship. Managing disagreements/conflict using appropriate words/scripts. Recognising the link between behaviour and consequences.

 

We also teach children strategies for working effectively, how to play cooperatively and negotiate, strategies to resolve differences, dealing with pressure from a variety of sources including peer groups, family and the media, consequences of anti-social behaviour including bullying, racism, bad language and vandalism how actions and words have consequences, the impact of body language and tone of voice in communication. We also teach children how to recognise different perspectives and points of view.

 

Moral Education

Moral development is the opportunity for children to learn what is right and wrong, to respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues and offer reasoned views.

 

It also includes learning about how actions can be harmful for themselves and others, the importance of rules and why they help including rules in different contexts e.g. at school, at home, in a local supermarket, in a game. It includes what is meant by teasing and bullying and that bullying is wrong, challenging stereotypes, difference between rules and laws and how they are made and enforced including why different rules are needed in different situations.

 

A  key aspect of our curriculum and moral education is to develop attitudes and skills that contribute to the community through courageous advocacy. This involves engaging children in social action and change in the local, national and global community. For example, seizing on current events such as climate change, single use plastic, pollution, animal cruelty, negative stereotypes and pro-actively taking steps to seek change for the good better. 

 

Spiritual and Emotional Development

Spiritual Development involves providing children with the opportunity to appreciate the non-materialistic aspects of human nature, exploring beliefs and values, experiencing feelings including awe and wonder; the beauty of nature and our place within the universe that is vaster than we can imagine, learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; developing imagination and creativity and reflecting thoughtfully on experiences.

 

It also includes appreciating the value of silence, stillness and noticing finer details that are not always easily seen at first glance. It includes appreciating, valuing and interpreting intentions within the creative arts such as paintings, dance, music and crafts.

 

Spiritual development also includes understanding and naming and recognising emotions and their purpose including Identifying unhelpful ‘thinking traps’ (e.g. generalisation and stereotyping) and  strategies for self-regulation,  self-improvement (including through constructive self-reflection, seeking and utilising constructive feedback and effective goal-setting), resilience (including self-motivation, perseverance and adaptability), self-regulation (including promotion of a positive, growth mind-set and managing impulses), recognising and managing peer influence and the need for peer approval, including evaluating perceived social norms, developing and maintaining a healthy self-concept (including self-confidence, realistic self-image, self-worth, assertiveness, self-advocacy and self-respect).  

 

 

Philosophy for Children

Philosophy for children is a process of structure debate that enable children to learn to express ideas about philosophical questions including moral dilemmas; examine and weigh up evidence including arguments for and against before making their mind up; listen to others, reflect and comment using evidence based on reasoned argument; distinguish between a fact and an opinion; challenge stereotypes and suggest counter arguments and devise philosophical questions for discussion. Philosophy for Children is part of our Spiritual Development Curriculum.

 


Examples of philosophical questions we have used with our children

 

Cultural Education

We believe it is important that children understand that we live in a diverse society.  Planned activities help children develop the concept of their place in the world and that all people should be valued.

 

Cultural development includes learning about the similarities and differences between themselves and other children within the class and school, family life and the influence of parents and family members on lifestyles, differences and similarities in beliefs and lifestyle between people and different communities within our own country and around the world, respect for cultural differences, characteristics of our own culture and how this has evolved. Issues that affect children and society e.g. new laws, cultural similarities and differences in education, law and order, crime and punishment, leisure, work, family life.

 

Cultural development also includes the importance of respecting and value differences and similarities in terms of culture, ethnicity, religion, gender and disability, how the media presents information and the role of bias, how democracy works at school, local and national level.

 

 

Skills and Attitudes for Learning and for Life

To be an effective citizen and learner, children are taught the importance of adopting positive mental attitudes and specific skills including personal organisation, resilience, perseverance, exploration, independence, planning, thinking, taking the initiative and trying a different approaches, listening, observing skills, self-correcting, self-awareness, patience, the concept of effort, self-organisation (including time management), strategies for identifying and accessing appropriate help and support, re-evaluating values and beliefs in the light of new learning, experiences and evidence, recalling and applying knowledge creatively and in new situations, team working, negotiation (including flexibility, self-advocacy and compromise within an awareness of personal boundaries),leadership skills and presentation skills.

 

Enterprise skills and attributes (e.g. aspiration, creativity, goal setting, identifying opportunities, taking positive risks) are also taught including the importance contributing to society and the community through volunteering.

 

 

Practical Life Skills

Practical life skills include learning strategies to look after belongings, folding clothes/turning clothes the correct way, road safety, using a knife and fork, packing a bag, tying shoelaces, facing practical challenges through a range of planned character building experiences that challenge pupils and take them beyond their comfort zone, how to cross a road safely, basic First Aid, how to make an emergency 999 phone call, working with tools and fixing things,  mastering  exam technique, basic cooking, gardening and knowledge of different plants. It also includes caring for communicating with younger children, the value of money and money management.

 

In Year 5 and Year 6, children have the opportunity to go camping on Mersea Island.

 

We also take Year 4 to Danbury Outdoor Pursuits Centre where children get the chance to experience high ropes, kayaking, archery and problem solving.

 

Year 2 experience a night at a local museum or library and our Reception Class have an overnight camp in the school hall.

 

We believe these experience will further develop your child's resilience, independence, thinking skills, physical development and life skills such as communication, teamwork and social skills.

 

Our Montessori curriculum has a specific focus on practical life skills. In the practical life area you will see things such as special frames to help children learn to do up and undo clothes, lots of spooning and pouring exercises, stirring, whisking and grating trays, cutting and threading activities and many other activities that children see going on around them at home. Practical life activities are specifically designed to develop children’s precision, accuracy, coordination, concentration, independence, fine motors skills, pencil grip and left to right tracking. All these skills are specifically designed to indirectly prepare children for reading and writing.

 

Children in the Montessori setting practise pouring use real jugs and material as part of practical life skills.

 

Without secure mastery in the practical life skills, reading and writing may not come naturally and progress in these areas will be inhibited.

 

Sensory Curriculum

Many of our children have specific learning needs that means they need a sensory curriculum built into the day. This helps them focus and learning. This can be small sensory activities or larger sensory activities such sensory gym equipment.

 

Sensorial Education is also part of our Montessori curriculum. We know that many children find reading, writing and maths difficult to master if their senses are not fully refined. Sensorial activities are specifically designed to develop and refine children’s senses, sensory integration, balance, coordination, concentration, independence, visual and auditory discrimination and fine motors skills. These indirectly prepare children for reading and writing. Many of the exercises in this area are also indirect preparation for later mathematical concepts.

 

 

The Montessori environment has a specific area devoted to sensorial development 

How children learn at this school

Learning is organised in a way that makes meaningful cross curricular links where possible.  This enables more of the curriculum to be taught and facilitates deeper learning as children use and apply learning across subject areas.

 

Concepts and skills are repeated as children progress through the school to reinforce learning which is then built upon based on the children's prior learning at higher, more in depth or complex level.

 

For example, the concept of number is taught in every year group from Reception to Year 6 but the expectations become increasingly more complex as the children progress. Children in Reception start addition by counting accurately up to 20 and adding on one more onto a number. By the time the children reach Year 6, they are adding decimals, fractions and negative numbers.

 

Our curriculum is generally, delivered through play and exploration, discrete subject lessons, cross curricular topics or themes, learning between lessons (often referred to as the hidden curriculum or incidental learning) through school trips and whole school assemblies/activities.

 

Topics or themes enable us to combine two or more areas together to make an experience more enjoyable and meaningful. It is also the most efficient way to ensure we cover the curriculum and fit it into the time available. For example a historical topic on the Romans could include learning about the concept of Roman numerals which is in the Maths curriculum or mosaics which could be part of the art curriculum. 

 

We have also given careful thought to the concept of learning between lessons and incidental learning which occurs through children's daily interactions and contact with supporting adults and their environment. A significant proportion of the Personal Development Curriculum is delivered through this approach. For example, children learn positive attitudes, values and behaviours from the adults that work in the school. Children also learn social skills and how to interact appropriately through timely intervention by an adult to help resolve conflict through modelling and coaching the children. 

 

Whole school assemblies also provide opportunities to learn about the world, society and emphasising the importance of being and working as a community. Children also learn from a carefully prepared environment and displays. We have a variety of communication friendly in our outdoor environment designed to promote imaginative play, communication and language. Not least a tidy, orderly and carefully thought out environment where everything has its place, models and teaches children to develop similar standards and how to treat their environment with respect.

 

There are generally 8 approaches used at Stisted. These are:

 

Play and exploration

This is where the teacher carefully prepares resources for the children to explore and then skilfully guides them towards the intended learning outcomes.

 

Direct subject instruction

This is a specific non-contextualised lesson or activity e.g. a maths lesson on how to measure using a ruler. These lessons can range in length from a few moments such as a Montessori three period lesson to an hour.

 

Cross curricular topics

This is where a topic title like Dinosaurs can be used to draw in learning from our history, geography, art, science, reading and writing curriculum and even music or design and technology. Topics are selected based on the children's interest to stimulate them and make meaningful connections.

 

Imaginative enquiry

This is where we use role play to cast children into the minds of someone other who has been given a job to do For example,  after studying Alice in Wonderland, the teacher plans to cover part of the art and design curriculum by asking the children to imagine they are designers working for a top international company who have been asked to design a hat for a celebrity the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. 

 

Project enquiries

This is where a question is posed and the class engage in an enquiry that can last a session or series of sessions overtime. For example, part of our history curriculum includes learning the skills of historical enquiry and examining and interpreting evidence. This is where the teacher starts with a question and guides children as evidence is presented, examined and scrutinised. e.g. and enquiry that seeks  to establish who killed the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun?

 

Community projects

This is where children do real life activities for a real purpose. e.gGrowing vegetables on the allotment for the school kitchen or organising a tea party and for the local Over 60s Club.

 

Learning between lessons

Although not directly planned to take place at any specific moment in time, staff notice moments where they can intervene to promote learning especially around our personal development curriculum.This can range from praising children for saying please and thank you, so other children notice and adopt this social convention to intervening and teaching children how to negotiate and play fairly after a play time squabble.

 

Learning between lessons includes moments where staff model behaviours and attitudes we would like learners to develop. If we want children to learn to be punctual, respect  property, tidy, talk in a respectful non-confrontational way, staff must be seen to be   modelling this because children learn from their environment and what they see. 

 

Staff also carefully plan and prepare an environment from which children can learn  between lessons. This can range from interesting displays that promote discussion to areas on the school grounds that promote positive communication and imaginative play such as our Den area and hill top mounds.  

       

Outdoor learning and trips

Planned experiences outside the classroom are regularly used to deliver aspects of the curriculum. For example, taking the children out into the village to observe, take photographs and learn about the geography or history of our local church  with a teacher who can point things out first hand.

 

Assemblies

This is where the whole school community comes together each day. There is a planned programme of themes that are discussed and explored that helps child develop their understanding of the world.

 

School culture

Culture in this context refers to the outlook, attitudes, values, behaviours, morals, goals and customs the school subconsciously presents and shares with its community. It is influenced by the people who work in the school. Culture is important because it shapes and influences those who work, play and learn in that organisation. It therefore plays a significant part in delivering the Personal Development Strand of a curriculum. For example, a culture that is over controlling, oppressive and punitive will undermine effort to develop confident, curious, independent and self-reliant learners. On the other hand, a culture that is rich in positive and empowering language that considers every child being an amazing individual will help them become confident, self-reliant curious learners.

Home Learning

There are many different perceptions of what homework or home learning should look like. We believe homework is an extension of the partnership between home and school and is encouraged in a positive way. The essence of work at home should be to encourage personal motivational skills, practical everyday tasks, research and investigation with the emphasis on learning from first hand experience.

 

We expect children to read at home with an adult every day to enable good reading habits to form.

 

More formal homework is set as your child moves through the school. Partly to support and reinforce learning at school but also to prepare for secondary education.

 

We also hope that you will offer your child opportunities to access the outside world and the wide environment by visiting museums, galleries, nature reserves, historic and geographic sites, concerts, shows and other places of interest. We hope that your children will enjoy learning in the home, i.e. cooking, gardening, care of pets, simple DIY tasks.

 

 

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

 

We cater for a wide range of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Early identification is critical in supporting children who have specific learning needs. Children with special needs may have a One Plan that identifies their needs, outcome and provision. This forms part of their curriculum which may differ significantly from other children depending on the complexity of their needs.

 

Our enhanced provision Montessori classroom is used to support our learners based on the principles that underpin Montessori education. It is a constructivist or "discovery" model for learning where children learn concepts from working with materials and interacting with their environment rather than by direct instruction.

 

We have adopted this approach to enhance and compliment current classroom based provision and curriculum. It is particularly suited to meet the needs of learners where conventional classroom based learning is less appropriate for meeting a child’s needs.

 

Children are identified who are likely to benefit from a Montessori education for part of the week.

 

The Montessori Environment is a mixed age classroom designed to meet the needs of learners that need an alternative approach for part of the week. It particular suits those children with special educational needs.

 

Further information on Special Needs can be found in our Guide for Parents SEN leaflet or the Special Educational Needs Information Report under the tab SEN.

 

Alternatively, you may pick up copy from the school foyer.

 

You can also access further information and provision in the local area using the following link:

 

http://www.essexlocaloffer.org.uk/ 

 

 

We have based our approach to Special Educational Needs on Gary Hornby’s (2015) a new theory of inclusive special education.

 

This approach recognises that inclusive education and special education are based on different philosophies and are regarded as diametrically opposed in their approaches. A new theory of inclusive special education is a synthesis of the philosophy, values and practices of inclusive education with the interventions, strategies and procedures of special education.

 

We have adopted this approach because we recognise that not all children learn and progress at the same rate, in the same way and that not all cohorts have the same characteristics. We also recognise that not all aspects of the curriculum are equally important and valuable to each child.

 

To ensure the curriculum is inclusive for children of all abilities, backgrounds and starting points, the curriculum is driven by enabling children to make progress against all three core curricular aims rather than all children in a class covering specific content in the same depth at the same time, in the same way and in the same location.

 

It is entitlement to progress against the core aims that is important rather than specific content or the curricular material needed to achieve those aims.

 

The underlining principle is that teachers plan to ensure children make progress against all three core aims. 

 

 

 

Parents confirm that their children leave Stisted as well rounded, confident individuals, with good life skills.

Lizzie McWhirter, Inspector for Anglican and Methodist Schools, July 2018

 

 

Assessment

 

The primary purpose of assessment is to give teachers the information they need to plan a child’s next learning steps. This is Formative Assessment. 

 

The secondary purpose of assessment is to summarise a child’s attainment and progress over time. This helps the school monitor each child’s progress and the effectiveness of the curriculum and teaching. This is summative assessment. There are two types of summative assessment.  Criterion referenced assessment and norm referenced assessment.

 

 

Criterion referenced assessments

Criterion referenced assessment is the process of assessing a child’s attainment (learning) against a set of pre-specified qualities or criteria, without reference to the achievement of others.

 

Criterion based assessment is particular useful when we need very specific information. We use this when setting outcomes and assessing small step progress for children with SEND. 

It is not practicable to assess every child against every curricular objective (criterion) we teach. 

 

Instead, we have adapted a more realistic and meaningful tool for assessing children. We assess against the 3 broad aims of our curriculum and the specific aims for each subject discipline using comparative judgements and norm referenced assessments.

 

 

Norm referenced assessments

Norm referenced assessments compares the performance of a child relative to the overall performance of their peer group or cohort. The curriculum provides the progression and the children’s attainment against the taught curriculum and its broad aims provides the reference or anchor point for norm referenced assessment.

 

Comparative judgements

Comparative judgements involve making a holistic evaluation of each child’s attainment relative to other children’s in the cohort. A judgement is made against the curricular aims of that subject relative to what has actually been taught. This is similar to norm referencing assessment where children are assessed relative to how well their cohort performs.

 

Maths, Literacy and Science

 

These are core subjects with age related national expectations. We assess the children relative to these expectations.

 

Foundation subjects, Religious Education and RSHE

 

There are no national expectations in these particular subjects. Instead, children are assessed against the aims of each subject discipline using the principles of comparative judgements rather than absolute judgements.

 

Learning characteristics

We write a brief summative narrative in each child’s end of year report using the key indicators for learning characteristics outlined in the school's Teaching and Learning Policy.

 

Character qualities

We write a brief summative narrative in each child’s end of year report using the key indicators for character qualities outlined in the schools Teaching and Learning Policy.

 

      

You can see some of our children's work by clicking on the link below.

The National Curriculum

 

 

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