At Elmhurst Junior School we want our pupils to engage with a curriculum that prepares them for their future lives. A curriculum that challenges and engages pupils of all abilities and backgrounds, where adaptations are made to ensure every individual, regardless of need or background, accesses the full depth and breadth of learning intentions.
Our curriculum has clear end points identified by the National Curriculum and these are communicated through an overarching knowledge based question for each unit of work. Every subject has specific knowledge steps that guide our pupils on a clearly sequenced learning journey of discovery.
Our curriculum aims:
- To provide experiences that challenge and promote the enjoyment of learning
- To give pupils an understanding of the purpose and value of their learning and to see its relevance to their past, present and future
- For pupils to develop a rich and deep subject knowledge through a coherent and progressive framework built upon National Curriculum end points.
- For pupils to gain both key subject related facts (substantive knowledge) alongside how a subject works (disciplinary knowledge)
- To encourage an appreciation for cultural influences; the role of Britain’s parliamentary system; to understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity
- Spiritually – to explore beliefs, experiences and faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world
- To develop self-esteem and confidence in their abilities
Our curriculum intends to promote the knowledge and skills of reading as a priority area. Without the ability to read confidently and with an understanding of the written word, our pupils will not be able to access the full breadth of the wider curriculum.
Each subject is mapped out carefully, sequencing knowledge across the academic year and across the Key Stage. Progression maps and medium plans ensure learning objectives and key vocabulary builds upon previous learning, reinforces key facts and paves the way for the next steps in acquiring future knowledge.
As a priority area, reading starts with the need for a secure phonic knowledge. We use Read Write Inc which is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme that is used throughout the school. When confident and fluent readers, pupils use an age related book banding system to ensure they read age appropriate books that both challenge and engage them, helping to instil a love of reading.
Our mastery approach to the curriculum is designed to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of mathematical concepts. We follow the White Rose Schemes of Work as a guide to support teachers with their planning and assessment, supplemented with supporting resources from Test base, NCETM.
White Rose Maths is underpinned by the motto:
“#Mathseveryonecan We believe everyone, no matter what their starting point is, can learn and improve at maths.”
This is a belief that we too believe in for our pupils at Elmhurst School.
Pupils are all provided with MathsWhizz online tutoring to help secure and develop the core knowledge required in becoming fluent and confident mathematicians. Daily times tables work and the use of TimesTables Rockstars help to promote the rapid recall and use of multiplication facts.
Writing is derived from experiencing high quality, modelled texts. Sequenced teaching of core grammar and spelling helps pupils to draw upon a strong toolbox of knowledge to use within their own written texts.
Our curriculum aspires to develop core, learning behaviours:
Be ambitious – Stretch yourself, seek new horizons
Motivate – Energise others and yourself to be an Elmhurst Example
Include – Embrace diversity and seek the differences that make us unique
Influence – Make a difference, make a change to yourself, to others … to the world
Empower – Be strong, strengthen others and realise your potential
Pupils learn best through high quality experiences led by knowledgeable teachers, highly skilled in meeting the needs of all learners. Our teachers provide a challenging, yet accessible curriculum for all.
At Elmhurst Junior School reading is given high priority and all children are helped to foster a genuine love of books. We believe that each child requires focused guided reading sessions every day. This not only teaches the skills associated with reading but also builds on comprehension skills and allows discussion to take place. We know that by teachers regularly reading books to the children they will develop a knowledge of authors and genres. This helps to immerse pupils in the world of the written word and enables them to access a full and rich curriculum.We ensure lessons meet the needs of pupils with SEND enabling pupils to access the full curriculum and to work with greater confidence and independence whilst remaining challenged.
Our teachers and support adults use a range of questioning styles to ascertain pupils’ knowledge and to challenge and review them throughout the learning journey. Teachers use the clear knowledge progress in their planning sequence to create exciting and imaginative lessons that enable pupils to acquire and retain key knowledge and vocabulary and to understand how a subject works.
Teachers provide an environment where pupils develop the skills to debate, share, challenge concepts and secure understanding. Teachers are examples of high standards and model the expectations for learning through their lessons and actions.
Teachers use quality texts to read to the children enabling all to experience the joy of reading and escaping into the world of imagination and fictional works.
Classrooms promote independence and support, Walls of Excellence celebrate pupils’ outcomes and the breath of subject knowledge children retain. Individual resources are provided to ensure all learners’ needs are met so that the curriculum and learning experiences are accessible for all and additional needs are not a limiting factor to positive pupils outcomes.
Pupils at Elmhurst are active in their learning using both our indoor and outdoor learning spaces to experience the curriculum. Pupils are provided with activities that challenge their perceptions about the world and a subject; we enable them to develop the knowledge and skills to find their own solutions to problems and empower them to become resilient learners.
We will enrich our curriculum by:
- developing partnerships with external providers that extend children’s opportunities for learning
- Strong links with Millfield School allow pupils to access their learning in world class facilities and engage with highly aspirational young adults as supportive role models
- welcoming parents and carers to take part in children’s learning and experiences
- offering opportunities for children to learn outdoors
At Elmhurst Junior School we use knowledge organisers for each unit of work which indicate the essential ‘sticky’ knowledge and vocabulary that pupils should know. These are used in class regularly as a visual aid to support pupils on their learning journey, ensuring that pupils embed everyday knowledge and develop specialised knowledge across the curriculum.
This knowledge is directly linked to key questions within our medium term planning and is broken down into a series of lessons, which build towards a final piece of work. Lesson objectives consist of substantive and disciplinary knowledge which are shared with pupils in every lesson, so they have a clear understanding of what they are learning and why. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their previous learning.
An example of a Medium Term Plan and relating Knowledge Organiser
Pupil progress is reviewed from lesson to lesson ensuring key learning objectives are secured and development areas identified and reviewed. Pupil outcomes are strong across the subject areas and is clearly evident through their work in books and their discussion of subject knowledge.
Pupils’ formal assessments are improving across the year groups and the gaps identified through reviews are addressed by individual or small group pupil work and – where needed – a review of the teaching content.
We expect all pupils to make good or better progress and close review of phonics progression and subsequent reading outcomes paves the way for pupils to meet age related expectations at the end of Key Stage 2. Writing across all subject areas and half termly writing tasks shows a clear development in children’s use and application of grammar and spelling in independent texts.
Our focus on pupils securing core arithmetic knowledge is supporting pupils in being more confident mathematicians and the application of this knowledge enables learners to be more successful when challenged with reasoning and problem solving tasks as well as recalling and applying mathematical knowledge in different contexts.
Pupils with SEND mostly make good progress through an adapted curriculum that retains the challenge and breadth of knowledge in line with their peers.
Example of a knowledge retrieval task:
Elmhurst Curriculum overviews