Our curriculum is built on the foundations of the Key Stage 1&2 National Curriculum (NC) for England and the Early Years Foundation Framework.
These documents and programmes set out the breadth of study and we tailor this to provide a curriculum which reflects our school community and surroundings. In addition to the subjects listed in the NC, Religious Studies are taught in line with the Cumbria Agreed syllabus (2017) with a focus on Buddhism, Sikhism and Judaism.
Phonics is taught across the EYFS and KS1 using 'Letters and Sounds' and Monster Phonics resources. This is complemented by our school-wide handwriting schem - Nelson Handwriting - which links developing phonics knowledge with physical writing.
Our Sex & Relationships Education policy was updated in 2016, and this is taught within Physical, Social, Health and Citizenship Education which is taught primarily through the JIGSAW scheme and includes coverage of British Values.
Mathematics teaching follows the Collins Busy Ants Maths scheme - chosen to ensure that there is a consistent approach to maths learning throughout the school with appropriately differentiated tasks challenging all abilities and developing a secure understanding of both arithmetic and written calculations. The calculation policy that underpins learning in each year group can be viewed here; this can be helpful to support parents' understanding of the approaches taught in school when working on calculations at home.
Parents can find out more about what the English and maths curricula involve here.
Topic planning includes a system of curriculum 'drivers', which aim to provide consistent focal points across the school. At present, these reflect our development priorities and, for KS1&2, are: Computing; Collaboration; Learning Outdoors; and 'Mathematics in Context'. Teachers plan for class topics that draw together objectives from the non-core curriculum, especially history and geography, and provide opportunities to apply English and maths skills in context.
Breadth of other non-core subjects in Key Stage 2 is facilitated through carousel activities, ensuring that coverage of these areas is consistent throughout years 3-6.
Outdoor Education is integrated into the weekly KS2 timetable, offering pupils opportunities to take part in collaborative learning in the outdoor environment, on site or in a nearby woodland, to develop their resilience and self-confidence, as well as cookery skills. KS1 make use of the outdoor environment in a more ad hoc manner, maximising the opportunity to learn outdoors in all areas of the curriculum.
In PE, practical sessions in school develop basic skills of teamwork, tactical awareness and movement. The school endeavours to take part in multiple competitive events throughout the year, providing opportunities for pupils to experience competitive sport. Climbing sessions are arranged at a local climbing wall and other opportunities to take part in 'niche' sports are offered through after-school club provision. Swimming lessons are provided for pupils in years 2&3, with top-up sessions provided to those in subsequent years who may not have reached the basic expectations in the pool.
Immersive Modern Foreign Language teaching is provided through a partnership with the local secondary school and Key Stage 2 pupils typically study Italian in years 3&4 and French in years 5&6.
The school promotes a learning culture based on the principles of metacognition, making pupils aware of the various skills that they can draw upon to be effective and independent learners and how they can solve challenges or improve their approach through experience.
We recognise that many of our pupils spend a considerable amount of time outside school hours travelling to and taking part in extra-curricular activities and sports.
To simplify the setting of homework, we primarily use online resources that allow children (supported by parents) to access relevant tasks and to manage their own learning, enabling them to spend an appropriate amount of time developing the core maths and literacy skills required for success in the classroom. There is an expectation that at least 30 minutes per week will be spent on these resources, but there is no upper limit!
In addition, pupils are expected to complete weekly reading and spelling tasks and teachers will typically set a termly 'project task' to be completed over a period of weeks, linked to their current classroom topic.
Where appropriate, or where a pupil does not have internet access at home, teachers may also choose to send home worksheet tasks and will set an achievable deadline for these.
Our Marking Policy was updated in November 2016 to reflect the findings of a review of practice in line with research.
The marking policy supports an assessment system that focuses on formative assessment in the classroom, with the onus placed on verbal feedback and responses whilst work is being completed. This supports our wider aim of promoting independent learning strategies and pupil-initiated review of work.
Our classrooms are intended to be 'no hands up' zones the majority of the time, to promote thinking time and individual engagement as well as further facilitating effective formative assessment.
In addition to daily formative assessment by teachers, we use written assessments each term to track pupil progress.
We use NFER test materials in the autumn, spring and summer terms to measure pupil attainment against age-appropriate curriculum outcomes. In years 2&6, national tests and the statutory teacher assessment frameworks are also used.
The NFER tests offer a useful age-standardised scoring scale. We also convert raw test scores in reading, writing, spelling, punctuation & grammar and mathematics into 'steps' which are recorded and can be used to measure progress against broader expectations. Assessment outcomes are reported to parents 2-3 times per year, typically just before termly progress meetings.
Assessment results help teachers to identify pupils who require further support or who are exceeding age-related expectations in these curriculum areas. They also give an indication of likely outcomes at the end of each Key Stage.