At Suffolks Primary School, we value each and every child’s education and aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that is relevant and engaging for all. We encourage adherence with the fundamental British values as well as promoting the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development of all of our children through the following aim:
‘Our aim is for all to understand the world around them and the talents within them so that they can become fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens.’
(Creative schools: Revolutionising Education from the Ground Up)
Our curriculum encompasses the formal requirements from the National Curriculum as well as opportunities to broaden children’s learning experiences. For example, we hold themed ‘Special Weeks’ such as Friendship Week, Our History Week, Enterprise Week and Creative Arts Week as well as planning a range of trips, visits and visitors to broaden the children’s cultural capital.
Our curriculum is based around 4 key drivers:
· No opportunity missed for reading
· Vocabulary development
· Promoting global citizens
No opportunity missed for reading: All staff members have this mantra when interacting with the children. Support staff have key children who they read with each morning where they work on developing the children’s fluency, comprehension and love of reading. When planning lessons, teachers ensure that there are multiple opportunities for the children to read and that the key skills of reading are used across the curriculum. At Suffolks, we have a dedicated reading slot at the end of each day when staff read high-quality texts to the children. This approach models skilled reading to the children and exposes them to a wide range of genres and text types. Staff members discuss books and reading at any given opportunity – from the gate in the mornings to in the dinner hall at lunch; everybody at Suffolks is a reader!
Vocabulary development: Vocabulary development is at the heart of our curriculum. All members of staff ensure that they are consistently using a high standard of vocabulary and exposing the children to new and challenging words. Vocabulary is displayed prominently in the classrooms and is added to over time. When designing our curriculum, vocabulary lists were created for each unit of work for each subject area. Within these vocabulary lists, teachers choose ‘Goldilocks Words’ – words that are not too hard, not too easy, but just right – that they want children to learn (these words often come up in multiple areas of the curriculum). By selecting Goldilocks words, we are supporting the children’s working memory as they have key definitions of words to hook their learning to when studying the breadth of the curriculum; it allows them to make secure conceptual links across the curriculum.
Diversity: Suffolks has a wonderfully diverse intake and we want to ensure that children see themselves within our curriculum. During the design process of our curriculum, we had two diversity leads who ensured that all areas of the curriculum are steeped in diverse texts, people and places. Through our diverse curriculum, our children learn the importance of tolerance, mutual respect and individual liberty. Throughout the year, we have special visitors from a range of backgrounds or a variety of life-experiences who speak with our children and inspire them. When planning and designing curriculum resources, staff ensure that they are representing our diverse community.
Creating global citizens: At Suffolks, we know that in an ever-changing world, children need to leave primary school equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to live in and make contributions to society. We want our children to feel confident in any setting when they grow up and know that they are good enough to achieve anything they set their minds to. We ensure our curriculum is built upon the fundamental British Values and that children are aware of how their learning will support them in their wider lives (by providing concrete examples, links to real life etc). We want children to understand the positive impact that they can have in our community as well as the wider community. This driver is essential in ensuring children are ready for the next step in the education. We therefore invite a range of visitors and go on local school trips. In different year groups, children are given the responsibility to become recycling monitors, library monitors, office helpers and school councillors – these opportunities allow children to see the positive influences they can have.
By ensuring these key drivers are embedded throughout our curriculum, the children are able to make connections within and across the curriculum areas studied thus ensuring children are able to remember more, do more and know more. We have designed long-term planning and progressions of knowledge/skills for each curriculum area to ensure that children’s learning is built upon over their time at Suffolks. Long-term planning outline the essential end points we want children to learn at each stage of their time with us. Medium term planning is used to sequence the lessons within a unit so that learning is progressive and coherent. Within our medium term plans, there are specific sections for knowledge, skills and vocabulary as well as making clear explicit links to previous learning.
The core curriculum areas are taught throughout the year. Each term, we focus on a selection of foundation subjects which results in a final whole school project. For example, in the Autumn term, we focus on Design and Technology and French which is then celebrated by creating products for our French Christmas market. This approach allows us to provide a broad and balanced curriculum over the year, ensure subject integrity and allow children to wallow in a subject area and provide safeguarded time for all areas of the curriculum.
As a school, we ensure that our curriculum protects the nine characteristics outlined within the Equality Act 2010 (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation). We have 2 diversity leads, who look to ensure that our curriculum is representative of our community and celebrates its diversity.
To see what we are learning in each year group and each subject, please use the links to the right.