‘What we’ve got to do is make learning like bubbles; irresistible.’
Mick Waters, The Curriculum Foundation
This is the premise on which we base our curriculum.
We have now implemented the programmes of study in the new National Curriculum 2014, which forms part of our whole school curriculum.
‘The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.’
The National Curriculum in England, 2014
How is our curriculum organised?
A topic based, creative approach
Although we place an emphasis on the core subjects of literacy, maths and science, our curriculum adopts an integrated approach, teaching foundation subjects – history, geography, art, design & technology and music – along with a full range of enterprise skills, through ‘learning challenges’ that have been carefully chosen by staff, with contributions made by the children themselves. These learning challenges are reviewed annually to ensure that they continue to inspire and motivate, and are relevant to the needs and interests our children.
Our curriculum places a great emphasis on teaching children to work independently, think creatively, to ask questions, to collaborate, to generate their own ideas, to problem solve and to look for alternative, innovative outcomes. The aim is to actively engage pupils in their learning and create independent, self-motivated, enterprising young people. To encourage this way of learning, we ensure we plan lots of creative opportunities within each learning challenge, e.g. role play and hands-on activities, enterprise projects, outdoor learning, philosophy lessons, practical maths and science, child-initiated learning, educational visits and creative partners working with the children in school.
Key skills for learning and life
Ifchildren are to achieve the curriculum aims, they need to secure key skills in English, numeracy, ICT capability and personal learning, thinking and social skills. These skills, attitudes and dispositions are central to personal development and to unlocking and developing a lifelong love of learning. We want children to achieve well, make excellent progress and develop life skills and understanding. And we want them to enjoy education so they continue to learn throughout their lives. By providing a curriculum that enables them to secure these essential skills, we are giving children the capacity to learn independently, to collaborate and to reflect. The key skills for learning and life are taught through all areas of the curriculum, making experiences more memorable, relevant and purposeful for the learners.
Enterprise Education is one of our curriculum drivers. We need to prepare our children for a world that is changing fast. Many of the jobs of the future haven’t even been invented yet, so we need to equip our children with the skills they will need to handle uncertainty and respond positively to change; to create, innovate and take risks and manage them; and to have a can-do attitude and the drive to make things happen. We believe that young people need to be enterprising, to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and have the confidence and aspirations to take on the challenges and opportunities of life in the 21st century. Enterprise Education helps us to meet our curriculum objectives and give learning a real purpose. We teach Enterprise skills explicitly through our topics.
The children have an hour-long English lesson every day, in addition to extra time for the focused teaching of reading and phonics. We plan from the new National Curriculum to ensure full coverage, continuity and progression of knowledge and skills in spoken language, reading, writing, grammar, punctuation and spelling. English planning is linked to the topics currently studied. This places the children’s learning in a meaningful context and enables practice and consolidation of their literacy skills.
Since language is the key to learning, we place a great emphasis on teaching children to read and enjoy books. We try to foster a love of reading through ensuring we have a wide range of books in school, which are appropriate to the child’s level of understanding and interest, and which they enjoy reading. We promote reading through holding book fairs and various book events during the year and by linking ICT to reading. We also encourage parents to support their child’s reading development by sharing books with them at home and listening to them read on a regular basis.
‘Letters and Sounds’, a systematic phonics programme, is used to teach phonics throughout the infants and a mixture of reading scheme books (Oxford Reading Tree, Ginn’s ‘Lightning and Lighthouse’) and ‘real’ books, along with a range of other reading materials, to teach guided reading.
Children are taught to write in a range of styles for different purposes (story, poetry, playwriting; recount, report, persuasion, explanation, instruction, discussion), always being aware of purpose and audience. Children develop skills at word, sentence and text level, and practise their writing in other areas of the curriculum to reinforce and consolidate their knowledge, skills and understanding.
We follow the programme of study in the new National Curriculum for Mathematics, using a range of resources for planning and teaching our daily Maths lessons through the strands of Number & Place Value, Shape & Space, Measures, Statistics and Calculation.
Our planning is supported by Focus Education, Hamilton, NCETM, Scholastic and other supplementary schemes that we feel are effective in supporting teaching and learning.
There is a strong emphasis on mental maths in our lessons and developing children’s ability to understand place value and solve mathematical problems using the most appropriate method of calculation, i.e. mental, using concrete apparatus, informal jottings, informal or formal methods.
We use a range of models and images to make the learning of maths fun, practical and memorable for the children (100 number square, number beads, Numicon, Cuisinaire etc), often teaching maths outside and always relating the subject to maths in the real world.
We work to develop the children's ability to solve mathematical problems, to reason their thinking, to think creatively and to enable them to use their mathematical skills in a range of contexts. There is a great deal of practical work supporting each child’s day-to-day real life experiences and the children have opportunities to use calculators and computers as appropriate.
The study of science is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Our aim is that, through practical science, our children will develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena, working scientifically and using their knowledge and skills to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
Science is taught through a range of topics covering all aspects of biology (Plants, Animals including humans, Evolution), chemistry (Materials, States of matter, Rocks) and physics (Forces, Light, Sound, Electricity, Earth and Space) in the new national curriculum programmes of study.
Children spend at least two hours a week on this subject. Learning often takes place outside, and links to other subjects are made whenever appropriate and possible.
Usually, one of our whole school themed weeks is given to the subject of science. During Science Week, everyone is involved in practical and enterprising activities and the week’s work culminates in an event to which parents and friends of the community are invited, such as a science museum, a workshop or a guided tour of the grounds.
ECO and the Environment
We are an ECO School and ensure that opportunities for ECO work are planned and taught across the curriculum. We have an ECO Committee made up of staff, parents and children, who plan whole school ECO events and ensure that the school and the people in it are as ‘green’ as they can be!
ICT and Computing
ICT is used across the curriculum, from Reception to Year 6, to develop children’s skills in research, computing, word-processing, data handling and information design, and to enhance their learning in other subjects.
As we increase our ICT capabilities in the school, and with the greater emphasis the new curriculum places on computing, children are having greater access to computers, both during discrete ICT/Computing lessons and to support learning in other lessons. They have regular, supervised access to the Internet and this is protected by a safeguarding filter system. Parents are asked to sign an ‘Internet User Agreement’ regarding responsible use of the Internet at school. Children are taught regularly, as part of the curriculum, about e-safety, especially with regard to social networking and cyber bullying.
Physical education plays a very important role at Hayfield. It is so important to us that we have a PE Committee that regularly meets to plan sports and games activities that maximise the provision for all in PE. This committee is made up of teaching staff, parents and other adults in our community who have skills in PE and teaching, and is supported by our Sports Captains in Y5 and Y6.
Children have two hours of curriculum PE each week and regular opportunities to partake in a range of physical activities - after school clubs, fundraising events, competitive sports through the School Sports Partnership, interschool lunchtime tournaments, Sports Week etc. With our large playing field, newly re-surfaced ball court, extensive playing areas and easy access to countryside walks and hill climbing, plus community minibus access, we are well equipped to provide a rich and varied sporting experience for our children. A group of junior children also attend weekly swimming lessons at New Mills Leisure Centre. We can now proudly boast that every single junior child at Hayfield has taken part in at least one sporting activity outside of school this year, and the children are enjoying returning to school with an increasing number of trophies!
Music is another strong aspect of our curriculum and the children have many opportunities to participate in a range of music activities. Children can join lunchtime and after-school clubs to learn drumming or guitar, or sing in the school choir in preparation for the annual Young Voices Concert in March; Y4 learn to play an instrument through the Derbyshire Music Partnership Wider Opportunities programme (also, some Y5 and Y6 have violins lessons through Wider Opportunities); Y6 sing and perform with Kinder Choir, and Y5 enjoy iPad Garage Band lessons during the summer term; and all children have opportunities to learn to play a variety of instruments with the peripatetic music teachers we have in school each week.
Children have a RE lesson every week and teachers follow the Derbyshire RE Syllabus. Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops children’s knowledge and understanding of the nature of religion, faith, beliefs and traditions, and about secular views, including evolution, in the context of a diverse and global society. It also gives them an awareness of discrimination, prejudice, extremism and radicalisation, which, in turn, helps them to become tolerant and respectful of different people and different ways of life.
The Early Years Curriculum
Our Reception Class teacher follows the new Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and is passionate about providing a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and that can be built upon in Year 1 and beyond. A big emphasis is placed upon partnership working with parents and carers, and observing and assessing every child regularly to ensure that individual needs are being met and that no child gets left behind.
We adhere to the four guiding principles that, according to the DfE, should shape practice in early years settings. These are:
every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers; and
children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in Early Years, including with special educational needs and disabilities
What makes our school such a great place in which to teach and learn are all the extra bits – the experiences we provide, the events we plan and the projects we undertake to enrich the curriculum, help us engage with the community and give children a real purpose for learning.
We take part in as many national events as possible, such as National Sports Week, National Anti-Bullying Week, Switch Off Fortnight, Travel Smart Week, National Book Week and National Science Week. We also run regular enterprise projects, which have included designing and making products for selling at the Christmas Fair; Sculpture & Recycling Week culminating in an Art Exhibition, Cultural Diversity Week providing cultural experiences for children and their families, and Food Around the World Week where children have cooked dishes from other countries and sold them at a special food festival, with profits going to the New Mills Food Bank.
Additionally, the school celebrates World Book Day, National Poetry Day, Kindness Day, Peace Day, ‘Green Day’ and Etiquette Day, and community events such as the May Queen Festival, Sustainable Hayfield’s Apple Day and Well Dressing.
In addition to the breadth of sporting, musical and drama opportunities, and the extensive range of lunchtime and after-school clubs children can attend, other extra-curricular activities include Bikeability, CPR and defibrillator training, Road Safety and Personal Safety Day, and the school also partakes in all local school transition activities, e.g. Y6 Bonding Day, Y5/6 Science, Maths and English mornings and Y3/4 Languages Day.
Children enjoy at least three educational visits a year to places like Manchester Museum, Jodrell Bank and Chester Zoo. Year 6 also attend a 3-day residential at Lea Green Outdoor Centre.
Using their enterprise skills to plan and organise fundraising events is something the children especially enjoy - and are very good at! Children in Need, Red Nose Day and Macmillan Coffee mornings are regulars on our calendar, and children have also been successful in raising substantial amounts of money for charities like Unicef to support victims of global disasters, e.g. floods and earthquakes.