An overview of our school Curriculum
The School Curriculum
We recognise that every child has an entitlement as laid out in the new National Curriculum (2014) requirements. We also feel that all of our learners need to be enabled to reach their full potential.
Our curriculum has evolved over time from 'big questions' and 'big ideas' to our current topic based approach to learning.
Our curriculum intent:
We are committed to providing our children with the tools they need for the future by being the best that they can be, now, every moment, every day, every year and beyond. Through our curriculum we enable our children to take on challenges and learn at the edge of their comfort zone. Our curriculum has been designed to meet the needs of all learners and to spark interest and engagement whilst learning about the local, national and global community. At the centre of our dynamic, forward-thinking curriculum is pupil voice where children develop their own opinions and challenge stereotypes.
The principles of our curriculum are supported by our core learning values:
The curriculum has been to designed to provide a full range of experiences and support our learners to have a Growth Mindset in everything they do and increase their cultural capital. Learners will experience an education which is broad, rich and engaging whist providing depth to their learning experiences which enables them to make links and embed knowledge and know more and remember more over time.
Every term, the children in each year group will concentrate on a specific area of an over arching trust wide topic which has been carefully planned by colleagues across the trust and builds on concepts taught from the previous year.
Each theme has been influenced by the National Curriculum programmes of study whilst taking in to account our children's starting points and life experiences. The themes are centred around both modern and historical themes and include opportunities for our children to learn about a range of local and global places and events. We believe that our curriculum is more realistic and meaningful when appropriate cross-curricular links are made and learning is not only broad and balanced but also relevant.
Wherever possible, the knowledge, understanding and skill of subject areas are planned to support the research of the topic that will be covered, giving purpose, momentum and motivation to learning.
Learners at Halfway Houses Primary School often enter with low levels of literacy and speaking and listening skills. Thinking and speaking are intrinsically linked and are a key thread of every part of our curriculum places an emphasis on language. We prioritise the teaching of reading as we believe that reading is the window to all areas of learning.
Our curriculum rationales explain our intent in depth and can be found below.
Our Termly topics are;
Term 1: Home and Away
This theme provides the children with an insight in to the historical and geographical context of their own local environment. They will be able to explore their local community and find out more about the rich heritage beyond the knowledge they may already have through first hand experiences. They will be able to use a range of primary and secondary sources to bring their learning to life.
Term 2: Time Tunnel
This topic enables pupils to explore key episodes of British and world civilisations in history. They will question and understand the past and the impact of key times and events that have impacted upon our world today. Pupils will learn how each era was different to the next providing them with a context to understand ourselves and others.
Term 3: One World
This theme enables pupils to have a deeper understanding of the world around them. They will begin by exploring the four countries within the United Kingdom and will begin to understand the difference between physical features such as coasts and mountains. They will then move on to explore mountains and features of Europe and different continents around the world before finally studying migration and the effects of this across the world.
Term 4: Through the ages
This theme will enable pupils to have an understanding of periods of time that have had a significant impact on the way we live our lives in modern day Britain. They will learn about ancient civilisations and will question and understand the past and the impact of key times and events that have impacted upon our world today. Pupils will learn how each era was different to the next providing them with a context to understand ourselves and others.
Term 5: Environmental Explorers
This theme has been designed in order to enable pupils to broaden their geographical picture of the world. Pupils will learn about key physical aspects of the world we live in and how life has adapted to living in extreme environments. Pupils will also explore wider global issues such as human impact on climate change and pollution alongside an understanding of the need for humans to take responsibility to address these issues to help play an active role in our future.
Term 6: Going Global
This topic will enable pupils to learn about topical, world issues such as world trade, famines, pollution. They will learn about the impact of these on civilisation and economic and social change. They will learn about these issues from a local and international view point giving them increased understanding of the world around them.
The why, what and how of learning
The ‘why’ of our learning policy states that all learners, most specifically pupils, need to be enabled to reach their full potential.
The ‘what’ of our learning policy is that every child has an entitlement as laid out within the new National Curriculum requirements.
The ‘how’ of learning is embodied within our four agreed learning values of aspiration, collaboration, creativity and independence. These values are considered and planned for within all aspects of our curriculum. Two of the values are the subject of specific focus in each term.
The 'why', 'what' and 'how' of learning are firmly linked in our planning which focuses on a enquiry/research approach to an overarching topic which is set for the whole school.
Through the implementation of a broad, balanced, engaging curriculum we will enable our pupils to experience more, know more and remember more and develop positive mental and physical wellbeing to become future citizens of the world.
We measure the impact of the curriculum through:
Reflecting on standards achieved against planned outcomes
Celebrating learning with planned events such as open afternoons, sharing of passport for learning projects and discussion of pupil's learning.
Work samples and moderation demonstrating mastery and greater depth
Tracking of data against expectations through termly assessment booklets
Revisiting prior learning and assessing knowledge at the start of a topic.
Please see our Long and Medium Term Curriculum Plan, Subject Overviews and Curriculum Rationales for more detail about how each year group will cover the curriculum how you can support your child at home. For any additional information about the National Curriculum, please follow this link: www.gov.uk/dfe/nationalcurriculum or speak to a member of the senior leadership team.
Curriculum Road Maps
Passports to Learning 2023-24
Long and medium term planers 2023-24
Each term the children in years 1-6 complete a passport to learning project. These can either be based around our termly topics or on the children's interests and hobbies. Children therefore have a degree of freedom as to how they respond to the topic they have been given. It is expected that the children complete their projects as independently as possible and bring them in at the end of each term to display at the open afternoon. They can then be shared with our visitors and other children in the class.
Alongside this, children are also expected to practise their spellings and times tables regularly and ensure that they read their school accelerated reader book.
Special Educational Needs
It is recognised that 1 in 5 children can have a specific educational need at some stage in their learning. Our school policy aims to identify needs as early as possible in order to support children effectively before the need has too great an impact upon their learning in accordance with the Equality act 2010 and the SEND and disability regulations 2014 For many children the needs are supported by the class teacher and teaching assistant but all children are monitored on a regular basis and for some children more specialised intervention is required. The school is able to call upon external agencies for further support when required. It is our policy to involve parents as much as possible in their children’s needs.
Sex and Relationships Education
Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) is a key aspect of Personal, Social and Health Education at Halfway Houses Primary School. As such it is more than the biology of reproduction and is taught in the context of caring relationships. The SRE is provided in upper Key Stage 2 and forms a foundation for further work in secondary schools.
Religious Education is included in the basic curriculum alongside the core and foundation subjects. The work undertaken is non-denominational; whilst reflecting the broad traditions of Christian belief, the work also draws on the beliefs of other faiths.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education if they so wish - we will make the necessary arrangements on receipt of a written request.
During the time the children are at the school, they will have the opportunity to accompany their class on a variety of educational visits, either linked with the current programme of study in the classroom, or educationally worthwhile in their own right. These visits are an important part of the children's learning, and are planned with that in mind. There are also regular visits to the school by a variety of providers.
Parents and School
Children's education does not start at the age of 5; it does not only happen between 8.30am and 3.20 pm and it does not always need a teacher to contribute towards it. As a school, we value - and require - the care and support that individual parents give to their own children; to derive the greatest benefit from school, the child must be at the centre of a partnership between home and school, where the aim is the full development of the child. As professionals, we can guide the children's learning, we can stimulate their imaginations, and we can equip them with the skills they need for a successful life. We can do it on our own - but we can do it so much more effectively and efficiently with the full support of the parents. We hope that you will feel able to be fully involved not only in your child's learning, but also in the life and work of the school. Busy teachers with large classes will always appreciate the offer of classroom assistance. Many parents find it not only enjoyable, but also eye-opening to help in their child's classroom.
Progress and development are matters of great concern to both parents and teachers alike. We have formal Open Evenings early in the Autumn Term and midway through the Spring Term. Reports are sent out annually towards the end of the Summer Term and parents have the opportunity to come and discuss this report with the class teacher. Whilst these are all important occasions, we place a lot of emphasis on the school's open door policy whereby parents can visit the school whenever they feel there is a problem that they wish to discuss. Class teachers, Year Leaders, SENCo, Pastoral team and SLT are quite happy to talk with parents when the need arises, rather than wait for the next official open evening. Similarly, we would far rather invite parents to the school when we feel there is a problem than delay the discussions unnecessarily.
The Friends of Halfway School is an association of parents, teachers and others who are extremely active in arranging a variety of social and fund-raising events. All parents are automatically members of the Friends and the organising committee is always looking for new faces to provide fresh ideas and inspirations.