Curriculum

  1. Curriculum Intent

Children’s learning is the central purpose of everything connected with the Curriculum.  Helping children learn – academically, socially, spiritually, morally, emotionally and physically – is the only real purpose of schools.  

1.2 Mission & Vision Statement

In September 2020 the Governing Body set a new 3 year strategic  plan.  Our core mission was defined as “Inspiring a generation to learn, flourish and achieve in a caring, Christian community.”

Our Vision for children is:

For every unique and precious child at our school, we will:

  • Protect and nurture pupil wellbeing 
  • Inspire all pupils to achieve their potential and be well-prepared for the next stage of their education. 
  • Immerse pupils in a compelling and well-taught curriculum; to develop critical thinking, a rich vocabulary and a love of learning. 
  • Guide and prepare pupils for their future as global and compassionate citizens. 

1.3 Curriculum Values

We are a values-centred school, which means that our values inform our school policies, curriculum planning and our day to day interactions and decision-making.

1.3 a) Core Values & British Values

At the Priory Primary School, we recognise that our core values of love, respect, forgiveness and aspiration shape and inspire our curriculum.  We want to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.  We want to respect other people’s ideas and culture.  We want to learn from our mistakes and continually improve without fear.  Our values are given their Christian distinctiveness by being rooted in the life and teaching of Jesus.  We want to be known for high standards.  

Therefore alongside promoting fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance, our broad, balanced and compelling curriculum seeks to foster ‘character’ as well as ability.

“We want to educate the heart as well as the mind.” Heartsmart founder, Dave Hill

1.3 b) Learning Values

The school is keen to develop lifelong learning skills in pupils and has chosen 6 key learning behaviours or values which will support the children in becoming successful learners. 

Ruby Resilience (bubble fish) – resilience and perseverance ‘I can’t do it…yet’ 

Ralph the Risk taker (lion) – risk taking and courage 

Team Bee – collaboration and teamwork ‘Together we can…’ 

Sparky the unicorn – creativity

Dot the Dolphin – communication

Winston the Wise Owl – problem solving

1.4 Pupil Outcomes

Underpinned by our strong values and in line with our vision, we have identified 9 outstanding outcomes which, if achieved, will ensure children develop academically, socially, personally and spiritually.  These aims are at the heart of our curriculum design.

  • A lifelong learner
  • A compassionate neighbour (locally and globally)
  • An avid reader and keen storyteller
  • A resilient problem solver
  • Head, Heart and Body Smart
  • Ready, Respectful and Safe
  • Foundations for Life (knowledge, skills and understanding)
  • Confident (when working independently or as a team)
  • Happy
  1. Curriculum Design

2.1 National Curriculum

The Priory School follows the sequencing and progression of the National Curriculum 2016. School lesson planning takes into account end of year expectations in the National Curriculum which clearly define what children should be capable of for their age. 

These end of year expectations consist of key concepts, key areas of knowledge and skills in different subjects.  The school has mapped this content out in the following documents:

  • Year Group Curriculum Maps – overview of curriculum content by year
  • Subject Overviews – overview of subject specific content year by year
  • Subject progression of skills – overview of the core skills & language* development across the school within each subject (*work in progress during 2020 – 21)
  • Subject Guidelines – the intent, implementation and impact relating to each National Curriculum subject 

2.2 Core Themes – The ‘LIFE’ Curriculum (development paused during COVID)

Alongside delivery of core National Curriculum content, the school enriches and develops this with our own values and priorities, which are unique to our context.  The Priory School’s curriculum therefore is exploring the possibility of having pillars or themes* (currently under review) which lie at the heart of our curriculum design – Our ‘LIFE’ Curriculum. 

‘I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness.’ John 10:10 

L – Lifelong

To promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding, skills and physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.  This can be summed up by the phrase ‘Head, Heart and Body Smart.’

I – Inclusive

Valuing all, we seek to share the very best of what has been thought and said.  We celebrate knowledge and ideas beyond our borders and culture.  This can be summed up by the phrase ‘a compassionate global neighbour’.

F – Foundational

To prepare pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life, so that they will make a positive difference in our world.  This can be summed up by the phrase ‘Ready, Respectful and Safe’.

E – Environmental

To celebrate our unique setting as a coastal church school in the heart of historic Christchurch, an area of outstanding natural beauty. 

2.3 Core Teaching Principles – ‘LOCKS’

To help deliver a powerful curriculum, we have adopted 5 key principles – to lock in learning.  These allow teachers to use their own judgement and strengths when planning, but also create a consistent approach and vocabulary across the whole school.

  1. Active Learning

Powerful learning takes place when learners are actively involved, not passive.  We encourage pupils to participate in lessons through discussion, use of mini-whiteboards, no hands-up and targeted questioning.  We are mindful of the length of our ‘teacher inputs’ and keen to develop a healthy pace to our lessons.  We are mindful of children sitting for too long and we recognise that a healthy, active body leads to a healthy, active mind.  

The cpa approach in Maths (using Maths No Problem!) ensures that less able pupils are always able to use concrete resources to support their learning.  In English, Talk4writing principles ensure all pupils orally rehearse their own writing.  

  1. Ownership

Children share responsibility for their learning with their teachers, parents and carers.  The proportion of responsibility each bears will depend on the age and characteristics of the children.  Nevertheless, learning is constructed in such a way that, by the end of the primary years, children begin to see and experience the potential for taking responsibility for their own learning and choosing their own level of challenge.  We are developing child friendly assessment toolkits in Reading, Writing and Maths and looking to develop journaling.  

Pupils can identify their strengths and where they need to target their own efforts to improve. 

  1. Challenge

We believe learning is most powerful when children are challenged and stretched in their thinking.  We are developing a mastery approach to Maths, using Maths No Problem! where children move through each lesson from fluency to problem solving and reasoning.  We use hot and cold tasks so progress can be clearly demonstrated.  

Learning across year groups is sequenced and progressive.  We have high expectations.

  1. Knowledge

We believe learning is most powerful when it is clear to children what they are learning and what ‘good’ looks like.  We use consistent language across our school for learning intentions and success criteria.  We are developing toolkits in writing to support our learning.  We are helping our teachers have outstanding subject knowledge across the curriculum.

Lessons are linked to National Curriculum expectations and we have worked on effective teacher modelling of metacognition.

  1. Significance

We believe learning is most powerful when children see its relevance and importance.  It has to matter to them.  As such learning is based around meaningful real life contexts e.g every Maths lesson starts with a real life problem.  Where possible we use hooks (or brilliant beginnings) to engage the children in the subject they are studying.  We look for patterns and themes across learning, so pupils can make connections and are not jumping from one topic to the next.