Our Summerbank Curriculum Approach
Developing our Curriculum
When planning our curriculum, we thought about the needs of our children and families. We want learning to be meaningful and memorable so that our pupils are ready for the next step in their journey. Together as staff, we reflected on what our curriculum offer would look like to a child in our school. This is captured by the word cloud below. We believe that our approach demonstrates ambition for every child and will lead to well-rounded, lifelong learners who are ready for the challenges and opportunities that await them.
Our curriculum is underpinned by the National Curriculum, using this as a starting point we have added to this to meet the needs of our children. Our offer is broad and vibrant and we have worked hard to think about the progression children encounter and the use of meaningful contexts to engage and embed. We are all on a learning journey together and because of this, we continually reflect on the impact of our teaching through assessments, discussions, learning walks and data scrutiny. If we need to adapt our teaching, we will because the most important thing is that our pupils are challenged, prepared and happy learners, who have the essential knowledge, skills and understanding which are the building blocks for later life.
Mapping out Content
Through our long and medium term planning we have identified meaningful connections allowing children to develop and deepen their knowledge and understanding. We do this by defining the content of what we teach; selecting meaningful contexts and ensuring the concepts within each subject discipline progress and expand over time. Thoughtful planning of connections within and across subjects supports children to develop robust schemas where new information becomes embedded. We have been selective about the use of published schemes which we have put in place where we feel they offer the best support to both children and teachers.
Underpinning our curriculum are our curriculum drivers. These are aspects of learning which we have identified as particularly purposeful in supporting our children to gain deep and embedded knowledge, skills and understanding:
- Communication, Language & Vocabulary
Understanding of language provides access to the whole curriculum. Pupils develop their ability to justify their ideas with reasons; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others. Communication is a key life skill and developing our children’s communication skills, language and vocabulary provides a foundation which prepares them for life.
- Use of Story
Stories are universal, conveying meaning and purpose that help us understand ourselves and others better. We are not able to physically transport our children to distant countries, to different periods in time but through the magic of story they can ‘live’ those experiences, making connections with characters, events and places. For centuries, stories have been used to pass on knowledge and make that same knowledge memorable because stories are easy to remember.
- Knowledge of the World
The knowledge that resides within us, our ‘cultural capital’ is made up of subject knowledge and our personal knowledge (our disposition, our attitudes). We support our children in gaining powerful knowledge and developing their understanding of the world around them through the breadth of curriculum we provide. This is tailored to meet the needs of our locality both in terms of academic and the wider curriculum of school.
- Making Connections
So much of education hinges on children’s ability to make links in their learning. Building on previous understanding is an essential process. To enable this, our curriculum is carefully structured so that children build on the learning that has taken place previously in that subject, but also use learning from other areas of the curriculum to make sense of new concepts.
The Organisation and Teaching of the Curriculum (EYFS)
A new set of documents ‘Summerbank Foundations’ has been produced which capture the expected learning in each of the seven areas, for children at different stages:
- Pre Foundation (Pre-Nursery)
- Foundation One (Nursery)
- Foundation Two (Reception) which feeds into the achievement of the Early Learning Goal
The statements in our Summerbank Foundations are then used to plan out ‘Expected Learning for each half term’. To ensure that children’s learning is embedded, practitioners review at the end of a half term and move any statements requiring further development into the next half term’s planning.
Story Topic Unit Plans are developed by teachers contextualising the Expected Learning by identifying specific opportunities linked to the book. These are completed before the beginning of each half term, then added to through the term if necessary.
The Organisation and Teaching of Subjects (Y1-Y6)
Over time we have refined how subjects are connected together and taught. How this is implemented is dependent on the needs of individual subject disciplines rather than a ‘one approach fits all’.
Story Topic: Through the school we have developed a ‘Story Topic’ approach where a key text or group of texts is used for English teaching over a term. In the Autumn this is linked to a Geography theme; in the Spring History and in the Summer teachers select a text which allows them to best address the needs of their cohort addressing gaps/taking forward learning. Art, Design & Technology and Computing (where appropriate) are also linked to the theme/story.
Published Schemes: Music, PE, PSHE, D&T and Computing are taught throughout the year using the Charanga, Merton, Kapow/Jigsaw, Kapow and Purple Mash resources. Phonics is taught through the Storytime Phonics Scheme in EYFS and Y1. We use an adapted version of the Phonics for Life resource to teach pupils in Y2 upwards.
Discrete Teaching: Mathematics is taught discretely. We undertake three ‘totally science’ weeks during the year (one each term) where children are immersed as scientists. This is supplemented by pre/post teaching sessions. The first day of each half term is a PSHE with the whole school following a common theme which is then revisited during the half term, assemblies are also linked to this.
Specialist Teaching: We have a Computing specialist in school who teaches the children in our computing suite. Spanish is taught by a native speaker to children in Year 5 and Year 6.
We are currently developing our RE approach to align with the new Agreed Syllabus for Stoke-on-Trent. It is our intention to integrate this with our Philisophy4Children curriculum.
Our PSHE curriculum is also currently being revised in consultation with parents.