“Our curriculum promotes social mobility;
we give our children the roots to grow and the wings to fly.”
“Our curriculum promotes social mobility; we give our children the roots to grow and the wings to fly”.
“The roots to grow” refers to our curriculum equipping our children quite specifically with the knowledge and skills they will need to become successful. “The wings to fly” implies that our children will have the aspiration and confidence to reach their potential and will become positive citizens of the global community; making an impact, making a difference.
We have three curriculum drivers which are bespoke to our school. These are:
Underpinning our curriculum offer are our Christian Values of hope, trust, respect, friendship, peace and forgiveness.
Giving our children the skills and knowledge they need to succeed has been carefully identified across every national curriculum subject and meticulously planned out across the children’s journey from nursery to Y6. Links are made across curricular areas, reading and writing happens in all subjects, knowledge is built upon day after day, month after month, year after year.
Every single day, all children in all classes, have “Daily Dashboard” lessons. This is where children, using proven metacognition strategies, learn, practise and rehearse key facts that they need to know. This is where their cultural capital is gradually built up, day by day. Separate subject-specific lessons are where they are able to learn new skills and implement the knowledge they have acquired. Slowly but surely, knowledge and skills are layered up on top of one another so that the children have a better understanding of the programmes of study.
Reading is high profile. Every member of classroom staff has been fully trained in our chosen synthetic phonics programme called Read, Write Inc. and can apply this knowledge to help children still learning how to read fluently. We are well resourced in terms of our phonics reading scheme, books to read for pleasure, non-fiction books and books to take home and keep. Reading is assessed and monitored closely. Writing is another area of high priority area. Every member of the classroom staff is a fully trained Talk for Writing practitioner. The strategies of T4W can be seen from nursery upwards and provide our children with the scaffold they need to bridge the gap from speaking to writing.
The curriculum is designed to challenge any stereotypes and to promote an ethos of tolerance and acceptance. We ‘adopted’ the rainbow as a symbol of family at our school. Children at St. George’s can articulate this well. In a family, everybody is welcome; there will be differences of opinion and times of challenge; but we celebrate those similarities and differences within our values of friendship and respect. We have worked hard to implement our Relationships and Health Education programme and are confident that it is working well and having the desired impact.
Our curriculum also promotes the principle that “every learning journey should begin with an experience”. Every key stage 2 child will be taken to spend the day at a university before they leave our school. Outdoor education is pivotal to our curriculum offer; we have two woodland areas, our own allotment and BaseCamp (a large outdoor area which includes an assault course, a gym, table tennis tables, a stage, a pavilion, story throne, fairy tale hut, reading shed and nature area.) Unsurprisingly, our children love their learning at St. George’s!
In 2017, we opened our own school kitchen. We employ three chefs and provide food for another local school, too. We place Food Education highly within our curriculum due to the poor health indicators within our community. We have a school Food Council and work with an outside agency called We Can Grow to help our children appreciate the Farm to Fork philosophy.
In September we opened our “Community Room” for the first time. This has meant we now have a dedicated space to provide extra opportunities for our families. In October we started “Dragonflies” – a baby and toddler group. Through this, we are able to start to plug some of the gaps we see in our nursery children such as knowing some familiar songs, stories and rhymes, being independent, learning how to share. It is also a way of helping parents learn how best they can support their youngest children. It has been very successful and provides a fun, caring first-point-of-contact for some of our newest families. We have also just set up a parents’ art and crafts club. Whilst this focusses on art skills, its real purpose is to provide some joy and variety into our parents’ lives and to give them a space for their own wellbeing. Plans for January include Family Learning and also our school chefs are going to offer a “Cooking on a Budget” course to our parents.
Due to the careful sequence and layering up of our curriculum, and the very good teaching and learning provided, our children move from a low baseline to standards close to national norms. They also leave us with significantly more confidence and aspiration. The children’s knowledge and skills are built up across all curriculum areas and they are increasingly able to apply these skills in other contexts. Reading is seen as an important skill by our children and they are far better equipped to be able to access the KS3 curriculum. Where children are identified as falling behind there are a significant number of intervention strategies that we deploy and, as a result, all groups of learners make good progress from their starting points.