What do we want our children to learn?
At Alwoodley Primary our motto learning together, growing stronger underpins our approach. We believe all learners are entitled to an ambitious, knowledge-rich curriculum which will open doors and maximise life chances. We want their education to be meaningful and memorable and hope that it is bookmarked in their memories for them to draw upon for many years to come.
At Alwoodley Primary School, we challenge learners by instilling shared powerful knowledge through a curriculum which is broad and balanced. Curriculum overview grids specify what will be taught and how we have sequenced learning. Subject leaders have implemented progression documents that set out in detail, the knowledge (both substantive and disciplinary) that pupils will remember. These can be shared upon request.
At Alwoodley Primary School, we continuously review and evaluate our curriculum to ensure pupils receive the best possible education and achieve the highest standards in all subjects. We value all subjects and ensure each one is given equal importance, with a clear understanding that all children have their talents that can be seen and promoted in a wide range of areas. Through our inter-leaving approach, we ensure that skills are transferred across subjects and that children are given opportunities to consolidate their understanding whilst retaining prior knowledge. High expectations in speech, language and communication strengthen children’s ability to learn at a deeper level, allowing them to articulate their learning; demonstrate quality thinking and application of skills and knowledge.
We have ensured we meet and go beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum by personalising the curriculum to reflect the needs of our pupils.
Furthermore, we have ensured our curriculum is tailored to create purposeful links with our local and wider community. Physical and mental wellbeing are prioritised within our curriculum allowing children opportunities to develop their spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding, thus preparing them to make a positive contribution to their community and the wider society. Every child is recognised as a unique individual, and we celebrate and welcome differences within our school community. Our Alwoodley Passport is a way of celebrating our broad experiences. Personal development is a priority in school; it is one of our golden threads.
Our curriculum is enhanced by providing an extensive range of extra-curricular activities that extend the formal curriculum. We continuously work together as a staff, alongside governors, parents and pupils, to reflect on, and develop our curriculum as we constantly strive for the highest of standards. We regularly share pupils’ achievements and celebrate their work with parents and our community through a range of events such as art exhibitions, learning mornings, music performances and through our Twitter account.
How do we facilitate their learning journey?
The curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum (including RSHE and PSHE) and other experiences and opportunities which best meet the learning and developmental needs of the children in our school, allowing them to flourish. Our curriculum is one where knowledge is built over time, and where children develop their understanding of concepts through the inter-connection of ideas and skills. The curriculum provides children with memorable experiences and opportunities from which they can learn, develop and apply a range of transferable skills.
The curriculum exposes the children to the key concepts of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. It is constructed with deliberate layering of cumulative knowledge as the children progress through the school, with references to past learning made explicit in order to build their understanding. We work to ensure that our children understand that we are all equal in our differences. Protected characteristics are covered in our curriculum offer and enhanced further in our assembly coverage.
As an accredited Advanced Thinking School and a Thinking Matters hub school, our curriculum is informed by the latest evidential research from cognitive science about memory, forgetting and practice in order to help students remember, and apply, the best of what has been thought and said. We make knowledge stick so that it can be flexibly applied in a variety of different contexts and situations. Our sequential knowledge curriculum begins in EYFS so that students can successfully access a broad and balanced curriculum throughout their education. We have worked with specialist colleagues, subject associations and our feeder secondary school on curriculum content decisions to ensure lessons are planned sequentially and that key knowledge enters long-term memory. We place importance on how children learn as well as what they learn; this is another of our golden threads.
Age-related expectations combine the acquisition of knowledge and development of skills to create a purposeful and exciting learning journey for every child. The curriculum has high expectations to combine transferable skills, demonstrate a breadth of vocabulary and develop strong, meaningful cross-curricular links. Inviting classroom environments stimulate learners and engage them in quality thinking and reasoning. Learning enquiry sequences are responsive to children’s needs; incorporating holistic approaches to teaching and learning.
The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners of all abilities demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and most make very good progress in most subjects and areas of learning. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth and those who present with a barrier to learning (including SEND and EAL pupils) are encouraged and given targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs.
Subject leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review and the celebration of good practice contributes to the ongoing commitment to evolve and improve further. Subject leaders are given the opportunity to develop their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding, so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school. This model supports staff well-being and demonstrates to the pupils that the adults in school are also – learning which reiterates our motto: learning together, growing stronger.
What difference does learning at Alwoodley make?
Our children are very well-prepared for each stage of their learning journey. Practice across the school provides a strong foundation and opportunities for children to collaborate and develop social skills both indoors and out. The curriculum design provides a structured path for children to develop their knowledge and understanding over time, connecting ideas and taking opportunities to develop their own thoughts and ideas about the world they live in, and to see the world in a new way. The curriculum enables the children to question and challenge ideas, to voice their thoughts and opinions in an articulate way and to participate confidently in discussion.
Enjoyment of the curriculum promotes achievement, self-confidence and good behaviour. Children feel safe to try new things and present excellent behaviour for learning. High quality visits and visitors to the school enhance the curriculum and provide opportunities for broadening horizons and enriching the learning experience.
The curriculum organisation at Alwoodley ensures that the needs of individual and small groups of children can be met within the environment of Quality First teaching, supported by targeted, proven interventions where appropriate. In this way it can be seen to impact positively on children’s outcomes.
Subject leaders monitor individual subjects: reviewing learning, evaluating pupil voice, providing individual feedback to move practice forward, celebrating positives and highlighting areas of development that can be addressed collaboratively. Our whole school team strengthens our ethos and vision as we work together to reflect upon our curriculum and revise it according to the needs of our school community. We don’t confuse coverage with progress when assessing. Learning is measured through the analysis of learners’ application of skills across the curriculum and through showing how the acquisition of knowledge is reflected in quality thinking and the demonstration of individual understanding.
Reading and Phonics at Alwoodley.
Reading is at the heart of the curriculum at Alwoodley and is a golden thread. Throughout the school, a love for reading is nurtured through our use of VIPERS, whereby high-quality texts are used to develop language, alongside reading skills. Children are provided with opportunities to develop their reading skills in directed reading sessions, as well as using opportunities across other curriculum areas.
At Alwoodley, we use Bug Club (Pearson) to teach phonics. In Nursery, the children start to learn patterns and rhymes as well as individual letters and the sound that they make. They then follow a structured route as they work towards the expected standard in Year 1 (which is assessed in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check) and the National Curriculum expectations for word reading through decoding, by the end of Key Stage 1. In Bug Club lessons, children learn to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension.
Throughout the programme, children learn the English alphabetic code: the 150+ graphemes that represent 44 speech sounds. (A grapheme is a letter or letters that make a sound). The children will rapidly learn sounds and the letter, or groups of letters that they need to represent them in daily Bug Club sessions. Irregular or tricky words are also taught explicitly and the children have planned time to apply them into sentences.
Phonics books are closely matched to the children’s increasing knowledge of phonics and tricky words so that, early on, they experience plenty of success. These books are used during daily VIPERS sessions, enabling all children to reread the text throughout the week. Fluency and comprehension increase with each read. The children are assessed regularly in phonics to ensure that they progress and are well supported. Rapid Phonics (Pearson) intervention is used to support any children who need further support with their Phonics knowledge.
As early readers in Key Stage 1, we closely match home reading books to the phonics sounds being taught. Reading for pleasure is promoted in our Early Years and KS1 and children also enjoy choosing high quality picture books from our library to share at home. From Key Stage 2, children are encouraged to develop as independent readers, discovering favourite authors amongst the well-stocked shelves in the school library.
Maths at Alwoodley
The teaching of Maths at Alwoodley Primary School follows the programmes of study and objectives set out in the National Curriculum. We follow White Rose maths planning whereby the objectives are grouped into units of study and the mathematical skills of fluency, reasoning and problem-solving are taught throughout each unit. Please see further information about the maths curriculum can also be found on our maths page.