At Milldene Primary School we aim to broaden the perspective that children arrive with, through offering a broad, balanced curriculum. This curriculum is linked through work on topics and the development of cross-curricular links, with first-hand experience as a prevalent theme. We plan to keep challenging pupils to achieve more and to develop ICT through its use in other subjects.
We regularly hold curricular weeks or days when this approach is emphasised, when we also promote creativity, and unite the school with a common theme. These weeks enhance the broad experience and keep learning relevant for children. They also give us the opportunity to develop and demonstrate continuity and progression throughout the school. The involvement of parents in both the work of the school and in sharing the outcomes is an important feature of these weeks. During these weeks and also at other times we involve other organisations to enrich the curriculum for the children. In the past we have had involvement from Parrotfish (multicultural activities), Back2School ministries (Christian assemblies), Dave Cole (music specialist), Crucial Crew (dealing with real life situations/emergencies e.g. fire), Setpoint and Pyramid technology (business support for technological activities) and visiting theatre groups. Members of the local community may also visit to support the work of the curriculum, such as the school nurse. We also use school visits as a way of providing interest and stimulus and extension for work on the curriculum. An example of this was when the whole school visited Stansted Mountfitchett castle prior to a history week on the theme of castles.
Well planned play is a key way in which children learn with enjoyment and challenge during the foundation stage. There is scientific evidence that four to six year olds learn by doing and therefore much of their time at school is planned around activities to promote learning across the six areas of experience, as identified in the Foundation Stage Curriculum.
We continue to strive for higher attainment in English and mathematics and we promote this through subject based lessons and also through their use in other subjects such as DT, history or geography. We believe that promoting skills for problem solving and scientific enquiry will develop essential skills for learning across the curriculum. The development of communication skills is also a vital aspect of the curriculum for children and is planned through the acquisition of speaking and listening, writing, mathematical and presentation skills.
In addition to Core and Foundation subjects taught through the National Curriculum we believe that it is important to develop thinking skills both throughout the curriculum and also as a way to meet the needs of the more able pupils. Another key feature of the curriculum at Milldene is the regular use of circle time throughout the school to support Personal, Social and Health Education. Health, fitness and physical activity are developed beyond the National Curriculum requirements through a range of after-school clubs which we are looking to extend through our links with Thurstable Sports College and the local community.
We aim to develop the potential of all our pupils, but there are two groups of children who sometimes need special provision. Milldene has a strong tradition of supporting children with Special Educational Needs. We aim to identify problems early so that these can be addressed by teachers, along with our Special Needs Co-ordinator and teacher assistant. A clear programme of support is developed and the views of both parents and child are sought. We also aim to develop the potential of our more able children and these are identified from assessments and observations and provision made for them by their class teacher.
Organising the Curriculum
We use curriculum maps as topic titles and to organise broader blocks of work within the overall topic. Through this organisation and approach pupils’ skills are enhanced by using and applying them across other curriculum areas and for problem solving. This increase in depth of understanding will also have an impact on the children’s national test results. Whilst organising the curriculum we take care to ensure that the different learning styles are addressed so that learning is meaningful and accessible for all children.
The arrangement of the curriculum into blocks of work means that some subjects may not be taught during a week or even half a term, but there will be a balance over the term or whole year. In term two of year 6 there is an emphasis on the core subjects prior to the National Tests in May, with more development of the foundation subjects after the tests.
The Foundation curriculum aims to enrich the experience of being a child through providing experiences and opportunities in which the child can actively be involved in his/her learning, experiences which have real meaning and which are rich contexts for learning. We aim to enable and support children towards independence as this is crucial in the development of self-esteem, which is important if children are to realise their potential. During the Foundation Years much of the work is developed through play—play which is purposeful and structured so that your child will learn actively and will encounter activities planned from the six areas of learning and experience for young children (Personal and Social Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Knowledge and Understanding of the World, Physical Developments, Creative Developments).
Key Stage 1 – Infant Curriculum
The Infant curriculum continues from that of the Foundation Years and covers the breadth of the National Curriculum; English, Mathematics, Science, ICT, Technology, History, Geography, Religious Education (RE), Art, Music, Physical Education (PE) and Personal, Social and Health Education (P.S.H.E).
Your child will learn and refine skills in a safe and stimulating environment. Structured tasks will allow your child to build concepts, sort and absorb knowledge, to achieve success in tasks attempted. These tasks will be suited to each child’s need, and support and encouragement are given as and when appropriate.
Importance is put on developing social skills and interaction, so that children are able to operate as individuals or in groups. They learn to listen, to follow instructions and to interact positively with each other. Their natural curiosity will be encouraged to question and to explore their immediate surroundings. They will learn to control their bodies and develop fine motor skills.
We place great emphasis on literacy and numeracy and ensure that each child has the opportunity to develop these skills to the full, in an atmosphere of enjoyment and success.
We employ a variety of teaching methods, from individual teaching to formal class lessons, to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum accessible to each child.
Key Stage 2 - Junior Curriculum
Careful planning and record keeping ensures that the education of our juniors is a progressive continuation of their infant education across the curriculum. Cross-curricular topics are still planned to make work meaningful and to develop opportunities to use skills across the subjects, and there will also be single subject teaching.
We aim to offer them a rich, varied, inspiring diet, and encourage every child to achieve their full potential as individual learners.
Curriculum continuity and children’s learning
We are working to develop the four main transitional stages so that children progress smoothly in their learning and development.
· Home/pre-school provision to reception.
Home visits by our reception teacher and teacher assistant, a staged approach to entry to school and to whole school experiences help with settling in to school life. There are also visits to our setting by children from Milldene Playgroup and we are looking to develop further our liaison with other pre-school providers in the locality.
· Foundation Stage to year 1.
The Foundation stage is a very practical and active based learning. For smooth transition and to meet the developmental needs of the children it is important that this type of learning is continued into year one. The teachers of the Foundation class and year 1 plan together for the end of the summer term of reception, and for the beginning of the autumn term for year 1. Our cross-curricular planning at KS1 also supports this.
· Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 (year 2 to year 3)
The year 2 and 3 classes combine for some activities during the summer term and there is liaison between the teachers.
· Year 6 to year 7 (secondary education)
Visits are arranged to Thurstable for year 6 pupils and staff have trialled a joint project which is worked on at the end of the summer term of year 6 and continued at the beginning of year 7. There is also regular teaching by a
member of the PE department at Thurstable of PE for our year 6 class. Meetings are being held to find ways of developing this liaison further.