Our foundation stage curriculum is based on the 2021 Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.
The EYFS framework includes 7 areas of learning and development that are equally important and inter-connected. However, 3 areas known as the prime areas are seen as particularly important for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building children’s capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
The prime areas are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
The prime areas are strengthened and applied through 4 specific areas:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
Our curriculum aims to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. We aim to support the learning of all children at every level through carefully planned activities and provision both indoors and outdoors, providing quality interactions between adults and children and extending children’s learning through challenge and questioning. Nursery and reception staff work closely together to ensure that skills and knowledge taught is built upon throughout foundation stage and all staff are trained appropriately so that there is consistency in planning, teaching and assessing children. Our half-termly topics are taught through stories; learning is therefore directly linked to topic specific knowledge and vocabulary. Puppets, props and Signalong actions are used when telling stories and learning songs and nursery rhymes in foundation stage, giving children a fun, interactive introduction to rhyme and story language. Where possible we provide real-life experiences to give learning a context and purpose.
In Key Stage 1, we teach the foundation curriculum through a thematic approach linking to an overarching theme. This way the children are immersed in the topic and are allowed to apply their knowledge in many different ways and through many different mediums. We teach the curriculum through the use of high-quality texts.
In Key Stage 2, we block disciplines into Driver Topics, Secondary Topics and Tertiary Topics. By blocking topics. children are given time to explore, understand and manipulate in-depth a carefully selected progressive knowledge curriculum. We accompany each topic with a high-quality text which is linked to the driver. This gives children opportunities to make conceptual links to the driver as well as being exposed to incidental learning opportunities which arise within the books.
We feel that by focusing on a single disciple at a time we can immerse the children in the topic. Also, we believe that children need to be able to identify the subject being taught so that they can apply the necessary skills. By blocking the units, children will also be able to build upon prior knowledge from the previous lessons and they will be able to use and apply the key vocabulary and understanding set out on the knowledge mats.
As a federation, we have created a bespoke curriculum which builds on prior knowledge from previous years and previous subjects. We do this to ensure that the knowledge outlined in the progression document for each subject is embedded by the time they leave the school. Alongside this, we have created a progressive vocabulary system which exposes children to tier 2 and 3 words, developing their vocabulary. This is evident in the 'knowledge mats' that accompany each unit.
Example half term in KS2
Example Knowledge Mat
Impact of Covid-19 on the curriculum offer from September 2020
From September 2020 the school has endeavoured to continue to offer the children a full and ambitious curriculum. However, the school made some adjustments to the sequence of learning and timetables to ensure that gaps caused through the two national lockdowns were eradicated. From September 2020 until October 2020 the school prioritised the learning from the year group below. Using diagnostic testing (PIRA/ White Rose) teachers were able to pinpoint gaps in learning and address them during this time. From October, children were able to move back to their chronological year group curriculum and were able to access their subject matter with a solid foundation. At the start of a new topic or sequence of learning, opportunities were built in to recall previous knowledge to put the new learning into context.
Alongside this, the school adapted the timetable so that a catch-up/drop-down session was included each week. This session was planned using the results from the diagnostic testing and allowed the teachers to address misconceptions from the week, pre-teach new material for the following week or consolidate learning. Also, the school introduced retrieval challenges into the morning jobs time so that children were constantly revisiting previous learning.
Finally, the school ensured that there was a catch-up culture and that children who were identified at milestone points at being ‘below the national expectation’ were identified during pupil progress meetings and rapid intervention was put in place.