The creation of a fantastic curriculum is one of the most exciting and powerful aspects of starting a new school. We plan for Windrush Church of England Primary School to have the best possible curriculum in order to provide an excellent education to our pupils. A rich, engaging, compelling, well planned and structured, purposeful curriculum accelerates the learning of pupils of all. An excellent curriculum will be at the heart of the school.
Developing our curriculum will be supported by a variety of processes – excellent planning and resourcing, spontaneous innovation by teachers to meet the particular needs of their pupils, using materials and approaches that we know work already, sharing practice within and between schools, polishing existing learning activities through lesson study and observation, using paper and digital resources of the highest quality, and working in a context supported by effective quality assurance.
Features of our planned curriculum
Rich in content – It will have explicit knowledge to be known and understood by pupils clearly identified, combined with first hand engaging learning experiences for children in the context of topics and themes across the curriculum. For example, we have a commitment to inviting visitors to the school and visiting places of interest providing children with memories for life and learning experiences that enrich their vocabulary. This will also be linked to the local context including that of the parent body.
We also know both from experience and research that an excellent curriculum which is delivered effectively makes the most difference to disadvantaged pupils – closing gaps in knowledge and cultural capital to empower these pupils to catch up with their more advantaged peers.
A commitment to reading, writing and maths – We will ensure that our school nurtures a love of reading and equips pupils with the skills, knowledge and understanding to both read and write with fluency. We will have high expectations in these areas, from phonics (Read Write Inc.) through to the explicit learning of grammar and rich opportunities to read and write. Similarly, we will secure the excellent delivery of mastery maths. For those pupils who find this more challenging we will ensure there is adequate support to ensure gaps are closed.
Coherent – Our curriculum will be well planned and sequenced to ensure there is a progression as the children move through the school. This will link to planned known vocabulary, concepts and experiences the children have in each year. There will be cross-curricular themes to enable children to develop learning connections. We will also ensure that as children move through the school in readiness for secondary school they experience, value and enjoy single subject disciplines taught by specialist teachers, for example in Modern Foreign Languages and PE, with further scope to develop this area as the school grows and becomes part of our Witney hub.
Assessment – Our strong curriculum will have effective assessment planned from the beginning to ensure that teachers are able to respond to children’s needs. We will use a range of techniques supported by evidence of what works – e.g. ongoing ‘in the moment feedback’ during lessons, comparative marking and whole class feedback, low-stakes quizzes and more formal summative assessments as appropriate.
Equipping for life – We have a deep commitment to provide a broad, balanced, and rich curriculum that not only enables children to be successful academically, but also to enrich themselves and allows them to make valuable and meaningful contributions to society – to be well-prepared for whatever life brings.
We see it as our responsibility to prepare children for an ever-changing world so they are spiritually, morally, socially and culturally equipped for the next stage of their learning journey. We aim to create an educational environment that allows children to develop the ability to question, reason and gain independence in their learning.
Windrush Church of England Primary School will design its curriculum based on the school’s values, social and geographical context and the needs of its pupils. This will be supported by our church ethos.
Enrichment and extended services
Windrush Church of England Primary School will commit to running extra-curricular activities after school for children to experience. This will include sports clubs, homework clubs, music and arts clubs, plus competitions within the school and in partnership with other local schools. These will be run by staff and, for some, by external providers. We will expect to link with our other local schools in the initial years in order to ensure a breadth of provision.
Where necessary a nominal charge to parents may be made but children in receipt of PPG grant will get these for free. For sport we will aim to achieve the School Games Gold Mark in the future where at least 50% of Key Stage 2 children will be involved in extra-curricular sport.
Wrap-around care will be in the form of a school-run breakfast club to benefit working parents and after-school care, provision being made by an external provider as is the case with our other Witney schools.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Our EYFS provision is shaped by the guiding principles of early years practice. We recognise that every child is unique and will develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. In order to support this our well-trained staff will take the time to develop a relationship with each individual child in order to know how to support them most effectively. Staff will plan a detailed and flexible curriculum that takes into account a variety of learning approaches, including: a focus on play, exploration, being active, creative and critical thinking and using inside and outside spaces equally.
Positive relationships between home and school are vital and we recognise that they enable the children to become stronger and more independent and, to this end, we ensure that opportunities for meetings with families both formal and informal are planned for regularly. Focus children will be selected each week so that a detailed observation of their skills and learning needs are clearly identified and shared with parents.
Our curriculum will focus on the three prime areas of:
- Communication and language,
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development.
These areas are those most essential for a child’s healthy development and future learning. As they continue to develop, the children will be supported to grow further and will develop skills in four specific areas: literacy, mathematics, understanding the world, and expressive arts and design.
A typical day in an Early Years classroom would look similar to this:
- The first hour and a half: welcome, letters and phonics activities
- Then: child initiated learning or adult focused learning both indoor and outdoor
- Followed by 20mins review of learning with snack
- Next: child initiated learning or adult focused learning both indoor and outdoor
- Before Lunch: story time
- One hour lunch and play
- After lunch: carpet time to include PSHE/Circle time
- Afternoon free flow
- Before going home: tidy time and story
Behaviour and attendance
The schools will implement a very clear Behaviour for Learning (BfL) policy which has been shown to be successful in numerous high performing schools and across the trust.
Achievement, effort and contributions to school values and skills for life will be recognised and rewarded in a variety of ways including praise and merits and sharing the success in assemblies or letters and calls to parents. Expectations will be made clear from the start and all staff will receive regular briefings and opportunities for discussion about procedures and protocols to ensure a consistent and united approach. These opportunities for discussion will mean that all staff will follow the same behaviour policy and there will be no ambiguity in interpretation.
Praise for effort rather than just talent and skill will be strongly encouraged as this is the most effective way to ensure children learn the value of hard work and its related impact.
Windrush Church of England Primary School will promote a culture and ethos of good attendance from the outset. We will place high priority on valuing good attendance and punctuality and will address issues of poor attendance. Attendance management strategies will be applied consistently by all staff and our high expectations will be communicated clearly to parents through a variety of media e.g. school newsletters, website, parents’ evenings and annual reports.
Early and first day contact with parents for an absence will be made and trigger points for intervention of poor attenders will be identified and addressed. The school will have strategies in place to identify pupils who are vulnerable to becoming persistent absentees and there will be action plans and parent contracts in place to prevent this from becoming an issue. Structured programmes for reintegrating pupils who have become disengaged or have been absent for specific long-term medical needs will be in place and will include strategies such as a modified curriculum, a reduced timetable or peer mentoring.
Ultimately, it will be the school’s responsibility to ensure that the quality of the curriculum, the teaching and learning and the nurture and support that it offers children will be of high quality to inspire and motivate children to attend regularly and not ‘miss out’ on the exciting educational experiences we will offer. Ensuring that children feel important, accepted and cared for as well as adults having high expectations for what they are able to strive towards and achieve, will promote long term good attendance.
Reporting to parents
Windrush Church of England Primary School will be committed to meeting parents formally twice a year and sending out an annual written report at the end of the school year and an interim report mid-way through the year that will form the basis of the mid-year parents’/carers’ meetings. Curriculum information will be on our website and also shared explicitly with parents at the start of a new term so parents know what their child will be learning in order for them to support further learning at home. The school will work with parents to help them understand how they can support their child at home by running various workshops, such as teaching phonics and reading, and provide guidance on how they can help their child e.g. sharing the calculations policy.
Early identification of pupils’ needs is essential. A child has special educational needs if she or he has a learning difficulty that requires special educational provision to be made for him or her. This may mean that a child has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of pupils of the same age in, or has a disability that makes it hard for him or her to access facilities within the school. Our new school will strive to engender a sense of community and belonging through its inclusive ethos, broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils, systems for early identification of barriers to learning and participation and high expectations and suitable targets for all children.
When a child is identified as needing SEN support, the new school will adopt the recommended model for Special Educational Needs as set out in the Code of Practice (DfE 2014). The SENCo and the class teacher, together with the pupil and parents/carers, will consider a range of teaching approaches, appropriate equipment, strategies and interventions in order to support the child’s progress. Outcomes will be agreed and progress reviewed regularly.
Some pupils may have a greater level of need and may require considerable additional support. Provision may include the involvement of specialist support, usually from an outside agency. This may involve more specialised assessments and/or pupil observations. Where, despite the school providing SEN support, a child has not made expected progress, school and parents/carers will consider requesting an Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessment by the LA. The LA will expect to see evidence of the action taken by the school as part of SEN support.
Reviews of pupils with SEN support will be held three times a year and led by the class teacher supported by the SENCo. They provide an opportunity for parents/carers to share their concerns and, together with the child and teacher, agree aspirations and outcomes for the pupil.
Specialist resource provision
Pupils allocated a place in the resource provision will be advantaged by inclusion. The needs of many pupils with SEND cannot be met solely in a special school or a mainstream school and therefore this integrated arrangement will enhance the educational and social experiences of all children. Children will learn together, play together and grow together in a way that celebrates the qualities each individual child has to offer. Such a community allows children to become friends, to be open minded, considerate, respectful, tolerant and understanding as well as equipping them for their lives outside school, encouraging a real understanding of integration and diversity.
Withdrawal areas for specialist teaching are provided for within the specification of the building and an agreement and commitment towards integration within mainstream classes is clearly understood by the River Learning Trust. Inclusion ensures equal opportunities for all pupils to participate both in the life of the school and its community.
Our intention will be to employ a full-time specialist teacher as soon as numbers are sufficient in order to do so. This teacher will work directly with these pupils but also support specialist curriculum planning with mainstream class teachers. Children allocated a place at the resource base will benefit from having both a specialised and a mainstream aspect to their daily lives.
The accelerated progress of disadvantaged pupils will also be a high priority for our school; tracking and assessment systems, staff training and provision will all have a sharp focus on the impact on disadvantaged pupils (pupil premium including looked after children, and others with relevant disadvantage). A culture of high expectations and our excellent curriculum will support high levels of progress for these pupils, as will high quality first teaching.
In line with all schools in the River Learning Trust, we will be a truly inclusive school for all pupils offering a rich and excellent educational experience whatever their academic ability, social, faith, cultural background or special educational need. We will embrace our duties under the Equality Act 2010 and actively work to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations with all. We will celebrate the differences within our communities and seek to learn from this diversity. This will be reflected in all aspects of school life, in the policies we produce, the curriculum we organise, the language we use, the work and information on display, the visitors we welcome and the events we celebrate.
Establishing and securing a positive and productive school culture is at the heart of our school. The culture is demonstrated through people’s motivation, beliefs and behaviour, and the leadership of the school will continuously reflect on the alignment between the school’s culture and that outlined by the school’s vision. We expect the dialogue and non-verbal interactions to model the values of the school with deep respect, responsibility, resilience and integrity, modelled by both staff and pupils.
Our school culture will ensure that safeguarding is our highest priority. Staff will be well trained and will model appropriate behaviours and pupils will be well informed and educated in order to take safe decisions. Pupils will feel safe and be known as individuals and there will be a strong pastoral support system, this has been key to the success of schools within the RLT. In this context we will have high expectations of all of our pupils, regardless of social background.
Our relationship with parents/carers and the wider community will be crucial in recognising when pupils are vulnerable and when behaviours are a cause for concern. We will therefore ensure that our designated safeguarding leads are equipped to assist and advise families who raise concerns and signpost them to the appropriate organisations who will be able to help them.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural education (SMSC)
Providing high quality SMSC lessons and learning opportunities will be at the heart of the school’s work. This will enable all pupils to develop a positive attitude towards themselves and others, show respect for the world they live in and deal with everyday life situations in a confident and understanding way. Our school will have clear, long term plans for how and when spiritual, moral, social and cultural learning and development will take place and ensure that events and experiences are planned from EYFS through to the end of Key Stage 2.
Our pupils’ spiritual awareness will be developed through opportunities to learn about and reflect on their own beliefs and those of others, and to develop respect for and a love of learning, about the great diversity within our society and the wider world. Moral development will be taught through an appreciation of right and wrong within the context of the school’s rules, rights and responsibilities and the consequences of pupils’ behaviours and actions. A knowledge of the codes and conventions of conduct agreed by society, both non-statutory and those prescribed by law will enable our pupils to make responsible judgements and develop the ability to discuss, debate and appreciate different points of view about moral and ethical issues.
Our pupils’ social development will be facilitated through engagement with activities that serve others and which will develop their understanding of active citizenship. These elements will be built into the work of the school so that every pupil understands the significance of fundamental British values that underpin the notion of citizenship and so that the school holds a central and highly esteemed place within the local area that it serves because of the ethos that every pupil will embody through their engagement with that wider community. Beyond this the school and wider community will be able to see the positive impact that the pupils are having on the world that they are growing up into – for example this could be in terms of pupils adopting leadership roles in school such as School Council or Sports Ambassadors; through charitable work to raise money or awareness for local, national or global organisations; in hours devoted to volunteering or contributing to the enjoyment of others in nurseries, centres for the elderly and charitable organisations.
We know that parental engagement has a large and positive impact on children’s learning and has a significant positive effect on children’s achievement and adjustment, even after all other factors shaping attainment have been taken out of the equation (Desforges 2003). It is therefore a priority to identify interventions that are effective in supporting parental involvement, particularly those parents who are either not significantly involved in their children’s education or who are not involved at all. We will proactively seek to develop strong home-school links, so that parents and staff can work together in an effective partnership to support the child both at home and at school. Opportunities for engagement will be provided through curriculum projects, open assemblies, newsletters, parent consultations, information evenings, PTA events, whole school and class celebrations and the more informal day to day contact during our pupils’ primary school years. We will pay particular attention to harder to reach families through our Home school link worker.