School Curriculum

Greenslade Primary School Curriculum

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We are passionate that our children are inspired by learning experiences of the highest quality. We want them to be engaged, challenged and motivated by their learning and through teaching styles and strategies that reflect their interests and needs. We want children to be excited by a relevant, rich and wide ranging curriculum and are determined that its broad and integrated nature inspires them. We aspire for children to learn the appropriate skills and knowledge required to be successful in the 21st Century in a contextualised, meaningful way. Our aim is for them to be confident, risk taking individuals who know how to learn.

We have been inspired over recent years by using the International Primary Curriculum as our learning base. We have linked as much of our Literacy and Numeracy objectives to this wonderful global learning tool and our children love the variety and creativity it provides. Children learn collaboratively whenever possible so that speaking and listening, questioning, problem solving and thinking logically are at the heart of a day at our school. We start with a “learning harvest” so we are not repeating what children already know and our “entry points” ensure children have an idea of where their learning journey is heading. We are as creative and flexible as we can be with the curriculum content to ensure the themes we use match children’s needs and are as connected and integrated as possible. We want children to see the reason for learning and to enjoy it as a meaningful life changing experience. As a staff, we constantly question, debate and reflect on our curriculum to ensure what or children learn is as meaningful and relevant as possible. Staff meetings and training days are regularly planned to ensure our curriculum is reviewed to keep it as dynamic and fresh as possible and that the content is supporting their progression and achievement in a broad way.

 

We work hard to ensure that our curriculum is relevant to our community and provides consistently strong messages about inclusion and equality of opportunity. We select themes and use resources that reflect positive views, perceptions and images of minority ethnic groups, gender groups and people with disabilities. We want our children to develop an understanding of the amazing contribution made by people from a wide base of backgrounds and cultures from across the world. Our curriculum challenges narrow, stereotypical thinking and presents a balanced view of our world. Resources, trips, visitor, texts and learning themes are carefully chosen and discrimination is always challenged.

 

Our curriculum is carefully and rigorously planned to ensure progression and continuity. We want children to be excited and inspired but they must be learning too. The skills and understanding our children develop remain rooted in the National Curriculum objectives and Literacy and Numeracy frameworks. These therefore remain at the heart of our learning. Sometimes a specific skill cannot be taught through a broader integrated theme and the credibility of learning is hampered if tenuous links are made. In these cases teachers will plan a discrete programme of learning to ensure the objectives are met even if they do not follow the overall theme for the term. This can often be the case for Maths.

 

We work hard to achieve an appropriate balance between children experiencing a rich and rewarding curriculum that inspires and excites them at the same time as enabling them to succeed to the best of their ability in externally assessed tests. This is a challenge for all schools and has been highlighted as in issue by OFSTED’s Chief Inspector.

 

Reading and enjoying high quality and books is at the heart of our curriculum and, as far as possible, each unit is planned around a text that links to the International Primary Curriculum theme. We update and adapt the texts we use to keep learning relevant to our children and also to keep our staff motivated and inspired. Staff regularly benefit from courses at the CLPE and we use their recommended book list to ensure our children are constantly challenged by the best books available. We are keen that children are constantly hearing high quality literature. Teachers therefore read to them regularly to make sure they benefit from stories and language that their own reading skills may not yet be quite ready to access. Reading at home is vital and we rely on families supporting our aim of making books a central part of children’s lives. We all start the year exploring the same high quality text to show how important reading is and create a shared focus for our learning.

 

We continue to develop an understanding of issues related to “mastery” in learning and want our children to be creative thinkers. Our ambition is for them to learn as frequently as possible through problem solving and by exploring ideas and concepts by studying them in depth and in a variety of ways. In the past, assessment systems have had a tendency to encourage schools to constantly force them to move up through a series of skill based levels that they are not given the time to understand and consolidate. This approach is aimed at providing in depth learning experiences for all our children not just those who would traditionally be seen as being the “more able”. Our current work on times tables is an example of how we are trying to get children to fully understand and become immersed in an idea before moving on to the next. Our Deputy Head and Maths Coordinator is part of a year long research project at the University of Greenwich and she is developing great expertise in this area. Her work is being shared with staff in regular meetings and CPD.

As frequently as possible we plan learning experiences that take place away from the school environment. Examples of these integrated educational visits include: The Nursery’s Bear Hunt in Shrewsbury Park Woods, a trip to Woolwich Market to buy oranges and Mangoes to go with Reception children’s work on Handa’s Surprise, Year One visiting a Mosque, Year 2 visiting the Florence Nightingale Museum, Year 3 and Year 5’s visit to the British Museum to study Ancient Egyptian and Greek civilisation, Year 4’s shelter building to link in with their stone age study and work on “Stig of the Dump” and Year 6 visiting our local library to work with Shakespearian actors performing Macbeth. Residential week long school journeys are a key feature of our calendar. As well as valuable academic and social learning opportunities, these trips can be life changing experiences where children develop resilience, independence, trust and maturity. Learning outside of school offers our children the chance to learn in ways we can never replicate in school. From our Early Years learning in the Forest School to Year 6 being inspired at the National Theatre we believe our children deserve to be excited by learning in many forms.

 

The financial challenges we are all facing is having a direct impact on our curriculum. Our ability to regularly afford the highest quality CPD has become a real issue for the first time in the last three years. Even the cost of covering teachers and support staff to attend courses and training has to be carefully considered before decisions are made. We have always assessed the impact of training but we have to be ever more mindful of our financial restrictions. Tough decisions are being made about the resources we purchase and the priorities we have identified in our School Development Plan. Families are feeling the impact of financial constraints too and for the first time ever we have had to cancel a trip because parents and carers had not met their part of the cost despite as much price negotiation, cost reduction and the highest possible school contribution.

 

We constantly review our curriculum and our focus this year is on developing scientific learning in a more structured and rigorous way than the IPC themes allow. Staff have identified the depth of scientific knowledge and the time to cover rather superficial aspects of learning as real concerns. We are constantly referring back to the national curriculum objectives as the “core” of our science teaching but a major review of the themes has begun to ensure children are challenged and inspired by the amazing opportunities science creates.

 

We are also looking at Art as an area for development this year. Our Art leader is developing a portfolio of work and researching the progression in the artistic skills our children are enjoying. We have whole school training planned to start the summer term. Music is becoming an area of strength at Greenslade. Singing has become an inspirational part of our everyday experiences and a larger number of children are learning an ever increasing range of musical instruments. Staff have received training to teach music and our music room is now in constant use.

 

Our children love learning in our ICT suite and using laptops and Ipads in their classes. Our aim is for children to stay motivated and independent lifelong learners so their use of ICT is vital. Some of the themes and skills they need to learn are currently being taught by “experts” from outside of our own staff. ICT leadership and staff confidence will be school development priorities next year.

 

 

We continue to follow the Greenwich SACRE syllabus for Religious Education (RE). In addition we follow national guidelines on the teaching of  Physical Education (PE),  Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and Personal, Social and Health Education with Citizenship (PSHCE). Our PE teaching benefitted last year from a whole school “Real PE” teaching programme. All the staff were trained in using this creative, skills based learning tool.

 

Our Key Stage 1 and EYFS use the “Letters and Sounds” phonic programme.

 

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