Our Freezywater St George's Curriculum

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Our Principles

Values Education

Our curriculum embraces our Values Education. We strongly believe that we have a duty to ensure our children grow up understanding how values shape our lives and how they need to live out these values in order to become fulfilled and responsible global citizens.  It is our faith and beliefs that give our values moral substance and our school values have been chosen because of their distinctively Christian nature, although many are shared with those of other faiths (or indeed, of no specific faith).

Through our holistic curriculum, children will learn to balance different values, grapple
with controversial issues and seek ways to live in harmony with others who have different opinions.

Our overarching school values are: Respect and Reverence

Our monthly focus values are: Peace, Courage, Trust, Generosity, Friendship, Responsibility, Perseverance, Humility and Honesty.

These values permeate Collective Worship and Assemblies together with PSHCE lessons, but more importantly, everyday life in school.

They are linked to Rights and Responsibilities and are promoted amongst all members of our school community – including governors and parents.

Our RE curriculum supports and promotes these Christian values through discrete learning on a weekly basis.

Building Learning Power

We also need our children to understand that learning can be tough – life can be tough!

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

Children need to learn that in order to do well, they must work hard, and if they do work hard they have a greater chance of living their dreams!

“Hard work beats talent any day, when talent stops working hard enough!”

We therefore promote “Building Learning Power”: mastering the essential characteristics of good learning that can be applied to all aspects of life today.

These are:

  • Reflectiveness
  • Resourcefulness
  • Resilience
  • Reciprocity

These learning “muscles” are encouraged in everyday learning and explicitly referred to and celebrated.

Our Core Subjects

We believe that Maths and English need to be taught with rigour. It is the bread and 
butter of learning. Children who struggle with reading need to catch up if they are to 
cope with the ever increasing demands of each new year group they enter. Although most young people will text and message (rather than write in length), writing is still a key manner of expressing ourselves to others and without this ability, futureprospects are grim. And maths? It is no longer acceptable for any adult to say theyare no good at maths – it cannot be worn as a badge of accepted incompetency! So we must ensure all our children leave primary school as capable mathematicians, able to maths in the environment without depending on the support of technology.

In order to achieve these aims we teach English discretely (using Lancashire and Enfield guidelines), linking with other subjects, especially our Learning Challenges, where appropriate. This enables our children to study texts in greater depth and improve reading skills at higher levels. Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation are also taught discretely and as part of wider learning and application. These skills are applied within humanities and science.

Children are taught Maths discretely throughout the week (following the Rising Stars strategy), including time to apply their learning to problems and maths tasks. Maths is also applied within Science - data handling and measures in particular.

At times, the Learning Challenge approach may be adopted, especially within an English Topic. 

Our Learning Challenges

In our school, we adopt a Learning Challenge approach to the teaching of humanities 
(history and geography), RE (where most appropriate) as well as Science (through SNAP Science). The approach can also be used in English topics.

What are the principles behind our Freezywater Learning Challenges?

The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work. It requires deep thinking and encourages children to work using a question as the starting point.

In designing humanities topics, teachers use a prime learning challenge, expressed as a 
question, as the starting point. Using the information gained from pre-learning tasks
and the school’s context, a series of subsidiary challenges are then planned. Each subsidiary learning challenge is also expressed as a question. Very importantly, the learning challenges make sense to the children and are within their immediate understanding.

Pre-learning tasks ensure that children are directly involved in the planning process.

They help to find out what children already know; what misconceptions they may have
and what really interests them.

Teachers take account of the outcomes from pre-learning tasks to plan the subsidiary learning challenges for each major area of study.

Pre-Learning tasks could take many different forms and can last for as long or as short as required. Some may be written tasks - others oral.

We use pre-learning tasks as part of a school’s programme of home learning to help get parents and carers directly involved in their children’s learning. 

Past Examples of Learning Challenges

Knowing what to Teach

How do teachers know what to teach?

Continuity and progression in the curriculum is built around essential knowledge, 
understanding and key skills within each subject. These are broken into year group expectations and have additional challenges for able learners.

The ‘Essential Knowledge, Skills and Understanding’ grids within the Learning Challenge Curriculum allow children’s essential skills to be developed, alongside National Curriculum requirements (where appropriate). They also give scope for us to follow children’s own interests, thereby promoting independent learning.

The application of English skills is of paramount importance and includes oracy. In
addition teachers encourage the application of mathematics and ICT skills where it is
appropriate and beneficial to do so. Careful consideration is also given to the quality of 
work produced by children in the core subject areas.

Time for children to reflect or review their learning is central to the whole process. This
is in keeping with the ‘Learning to Learn’ principles where reflection is seen as a very important part of an individual’s ability to know how well they are learning . It also 
supports the BLP concept.

How is Learning Evidenced?

The children maintain a Learning Log, over which they are given as much independence
as is appropriate for their age, maturity and ability. This acts as a log of the learning 
relating to each subsidiary question. It is also where children can demonstrate
mastery and self- initiative.  It is commented upon by their peers and children can add their own reflections. The Learning Log builds over the year as new “Challenges”are undertaken.

At the end of each challenge, children present their learning to the rest of the class, or a designated audience, making the most of their oracy and ICT skills to do so. We also integrate a mandatory piece of extended, extensive writing to pull together what the child has learned – relating back to the initial question. For this, the child uses all their notes, new knowledge, skills and understanding to “show-off” their learning.

Initially children require direction in this so the reflection time is often presented in the
form of a question which helps them to review their work.

The final part of the skills structure is the year group ‘engagement or empowerment’ 
skills. Learning challenges aim to develop:

  • team workers; 
  • effective participators; 
  • reflective learners; 
  • independent enquirers; 
  • resourceful thinkers; 
  • and self-managers.

​These skills support Building Learning Power, which (as stated above) we are developing
across the school.

Learning Challenges may stretch across a half term, may last a couple of weeks, or
may be condensed into a week or less, depending on the subject matter and the interests of the children. They incorporate Art and DT.

What Else?

Music, PE and Spanish are provided by specialist teachers who work alongside, or in place of, class teachers. Music is a high status subject within our school and is taught discretely as well as linking with Learning Challenges to excite learners. Every child performs in a musical every year. Every child learns an instrument. Every child sings.

Outdoor PE follows Enfield SOW, with experienced and trained coaches leading sessions. Dance and Gymnastics are taught internally also following the Enfield scheme of work.  Spanish (in KS2) uses a variety of internet-based and written support to meet National Curriculum requirements, with a focus on oral competency and enjoyment.

Throughout the year we celebrate diversity, acknowledging local, national and international events; we ensure our children are kept safe through e-safety learning, life skills and anti-bullying teaching; that they are engaged through participation in trips and working with visitors.

Our children leave us as rounded, confident individuals ready for the next step of their 
education, with the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to succeed.

Annie Gaudencio

Revised January 2017