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. We believe authentic relationships and high expectations are the key to our rapidly improving school.
‘Inspiring all to learn and achieve’
At the Priory Church of England Primary School we aim to provide our pupils with a curriculum that is broad and balanced. Put simply, this means that we aim to provide an inspiring curriculum which provides children with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to develop into well-rounded, informed individuals. In other words, that alongside the need to prepare children for national curriculum tests, we also value and give time to the Arts, Sport, Science, Computing and the full range of other subjects.
We are in the process of developing a bespoke curriculum for the Priory School, which covers the National Curriculum programmes of study, but is also unique to our setting and the needs of our children. As you can imagine, this is an ever-evolving task.
At our School Conference in January 2019, we shared our Curriculum design and intent. See the Powerpoint presentation below:
As a first step towards implementing our new curriculum, we have written detailed curriculum maps which explain what the children will be learning in each subject area across the year.
Curriculum Core Themes
|Aut 1||Aut 2||Spr 1||Spr 2||Sum 1||Sum 2|
Physical, Social and Emotional Development focus
Expressive Arts and Design, Physical Development focus
|Once Upon a Time |
Communication and Language and Literacy focus
|Minibeast Madness |
Understanding the World focus
|Commotion in the Ocean|
Understanding the World focus
|Class 1 ||Up our Street|
History & Design &Technology
Geography & English
|Fire of London|
RE + Pupil led project!
|Time for a brew – British Values |
(Geography & R.E.)
(Scott & Shackleton & Ellen MacArthur)
Include author study on Roald Dahl
|Class 3 ||How to train your dragon|
History (Vikings) & English
Geography & Design & Technology & Science
History and Citzenship
Science, Art & Geography
Design & Technology (pneumatics), English and History
|Sun, Sea & Sombreros|
|Class 4 ||Tomb Raiders |
History (Egyptians) + Art
|Bright Lights, Big City! |
Geography + Science + Computing
|Amazon Adventure |
Geography, Science and English
History (Second World War) and Music
Science (sound) History and Art (Masks)
Geography (rivers) and RE (water as a symbol)
|Class 5 ||Ancient Greeks|
History + Art
|To infinity and beyond|
Sustainable energy (Geography & Science)
Science & Computing
|Circle of Life|
PSHE & Science & Art
|Class 6 ||Workshop of the World |
English (Charles Dickens) + History (Victorians)
|Revolution and Unrest|
Local history of Christchurch
RE & Science (evolution)
A look at British values in action
|All the World’s a stage!|
Shakespeare and Y6 production
Over the year 2018-19 the school worked hard to develop new projects and topics and ensure there was a progression of skills, knowledge and vocabulary as children moved up through the school. We have embraced both a cross-curricular approach (i.e. many subjects are integrated into a single main theme) and also discrete subject teaching when we feel this is more appropriate.
Our Curriculum Maps for 2019-20 are available to download below. Please note these are ‘live’ documents and we are continually improving them.
Our Approach to Teaching and Learning
We are keen to promote both excellence and enjoyment throughout our curriculum.
We have used an acronym LOCKS as a device to help us lock in learning over time.
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 ensures that less able pupils are always able to use concrete resources to support their learning. In English we will be developing talk4writing principles so all pupils orally rehearse their own writing.
2. A sense of 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 Writing and Maths and looking to develop journaling in Maths. They can identify their strengths and where they need to target their own efforts to improve.
3. A sense of 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 will be developing hot and cold tasks so progress can be clearly demonstrated.
4. A sense of clarity (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. Lessons are linked to National Curriculum expectations. During 2018-19 we worked hard to improve our modelling to the children.
5. A sense of 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. Where possible we use hooks (or brilliant beginnings) to engage the children in the subject they are studying. There is a coherence across subjects, with in many cases a golden thread running through the half-term units.
What have we been working on?
In 2018-19 we worked on effective modelling and active learning strategies. In 2019-20 we are looking at ways to ensure all children make good progress within and across individual lessons through the Lassie Project.
At the Priory School we have written Subject Overviews and Subject Guidelines for each subject in the National Curriculum. This is to ensure a consistent approach across the school and that there is an intentional progression of skills, knowledge and language across the school.
Our main approaches to the different subjects is outlined below – but please speak to your class teacher if you would like more information.
In Literacy, we follow a Talk for Writing approach, which encourages the children to orally rehearse before recording. See our English Curriculum page for more information.
In Maths, we adopt a mastery approach and use a scheme of work based on the Singapore model called Maths No Problem! It follows a concrete, pictorial and abstract approach to really embed concepts and deepen understanding. See our Maths Curriculum page for more information.
Our intent in Science is to:
- develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about the natural world
- develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics through, where possible, investigation and first-hand experience
- develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
- be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future
We aim to do this through practical investigations and outside trails. A particular method we use is ‘Pink Card Planning’ to ensure the children understand the concept of planning for a fair test and are able to identify the different variables.
Art and Design
Art and Design makes a unique contribution to the development of the child. All of the children at The Priory are encouraged to enjoy and appreciate Art and Design, and to respond and express themselves creatively.
During their time at The Priory, pupils are equipped with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works. In class, Art and Design is sometimes taught as a discrete activity, but may also be incorporated into the project-based curriculum and through cross-curricular learning. Pupils are taught to use materials, tools and techniques for practical work in accordance with current health and safety requirements.
Every Summer the school always has a special Arts Week. In 2018-19 the theme was ‘Diversity’.
Geography is a valued part of the curriculum, providing a purposeful means for exploring, appreciating and understanding the world in which we live and how it has evolved. Geography explores the relationship between the Earth and its people through the study of place, space and environment.
History is a foundation subject within the National Curriculum 2014. History will be taught through a topic based approach whenever possible using a range of resources to support planning, teaching and assessment. The study of History aims to give children a sense of their own identity within our social, political, cultural and economic background.
Music is a unique method of communicating that can inspire and motivate children. It allows for personal expression, and it can play an important part in the personal development of pupils. From the day they arrive in Reception, pupils are taught a wide range of techniques.
At the Priory, music is taught through performing, composing and music is created, produced and communicated. Pupils are taught to sing, and to use tuned and untuned percussion instruments individually and in groups. Through performing and listening children learn the elements of music, which include pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations. Music also plays a vital role in many weekly and yearly events of the school calendar. Songs are chosen for whole-school-singing that contribute to the topics explored in assemblies and there are many opportunities to perform at various events throughout the year, these may include our Nativity Service or drama production. Pupils also have the chance to take part in various workshops and festivals while in school, as well as having the option of joining our 3 choirs.
We are proud that in 2019-20 nearly a third of the school have signed up to join the school choir!
Peripatetic lessons are also available in Guitar, timbrels, violin, ukulele, flute, clarinet, recorder and piano* (subject to last minute changes). We also have a popular link with Rock Steady, for children to develop playing in a band. There is a charge for these peripatetic lessons but no child will be denied the opportunity to learn an instrument due to an inability to pay.
We believe physical activity is so important to children’s well-being and health that we have dedicated a separate section on our website.
All children are timetabled for 2 hours Physical activity each week. This is usually an indoor PE lesson, consisting of gymnastics or dance and an outdoor Games lesson. Our Class 3 children go swimming every summer and we have just started running catch-up swimming lessons for children in Y4 – 6 who have not yet passed the National Curriculum Award.
We recognise that the Chief Medical Officers in the UK recommend 60 mins of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. This is something we would love to see for every child at the Priory and we work hard through our lunchtimes, playtimes, Bikeability, daily run and extra-curricular activities to provide the opportunities to make it happen!
Modern Foreign Language
We are working with our friends at Twynham Secondary School to provide specialist language provision for our KS2 children. Each child in KS2 will receive 30 minutes of specialist language teaching in French every week. This is a new project for the school and we are very grateful to Twynham language department for including us in the scheme and taking responsibility for curriculum coverage.
We are pleased to be a Google school and in 2019-20 we are looking to develop our use of Google classroom within the Computing Curriculum. We have invested in lego wedos, crumblies and mini roamers to help the children develop their basic programming skills. Younger children enjoy espresso coding, while we use scratch with our older pupils.
Keeping safe online is a priority in our curriculum teaching and all classes revisit online safety in curriculum time in the Autumn term. Please see the online safety page for more information.