The Powell Corderoy School Curriculum
This year, reflecting on our values and school ethos, we have completely rewritten the school curriculum. Our new curriculum for 2019/20 outlines the aims and aspirations we have for every child attending Powell Corderoy, and provides the framework (shown above) on which all of our learning experiences are based. In addition, our Key Stage 1 and 2 lessons ensure coverage and progress against the National Curriculum, and the Surrey Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education, whilst our Reception Class follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, further details of which can be found further down the page.
Some subjects such as English, Maths, PE, RE, French and some parts of Science and Computing, are taught discretely. We generally use the mornings for maths and English, and the afternoons for everything else.
For other subjects, we have introduced a project-based approach which used a topical theme to deliver core skills and knowledge through real-life experiences and child-led learning. Each project lasts approximately half a term, and has a real-world outcome or intention which is loosely designed by the teacher. For example, an outcome might be making and selling a product, putting on a performance, organising an event or launching a website. An intention might be to raise awareness of a local issue, to improve the school environment or to help a person in need.
The projects are carefully designed as a vehicle through which the Powell School Curriculum can be delivered, whilst enabling children to make progress in National Curriculum subjects. They ensure children have opportunities to apply the key skills they learn in core subjects in real-life situations. For example, they may use their maths skills to manage class budgets and calculate costs, or their English skills to write letters and leaflets. This helps children to transfer their skills and knowledge between subjects and see the real-life value in the learning.
Teachers propose a project outline at the beginning of each half term, and the school’s leadership team review them closely to ensure there is a good range of learning experiences across the school, and the project is in-keeping with the aims of the school curriculum. Feedback from both children and parents helped inform the project proposals, and as we develop this new model, we plan to involve the children more in designing the projects they’d like to take part in. Teachers then look for opportunities to bring in content from different subjects as they plan a learning journey towards the project outcome. We are excited to see how these will progress in our first year using this model.
Each half term, the projects across the school will have a common theme, reflected again in assemblies and some whole-school experiences. The termly themes are outlined below:
|Autumn 1||Autumn 2||Spring 1||Spring 2||Summer 1||Summer 2|
|Geography focus||DT focus||History focus||Science focus||Art focus||PSHE focus|
This doesn’t mean the only time children will learn geography is in the autumn, or the only time they will learn science is in the spring – the skills and knowledge for each subject will be integrated throughout different projects, but there will be a focus / lead subject each half term, which we will use to ensure each subject gets its moment in the limelight.
Our new curriculum began this September, so we look forward to reporting on the impact in due course. Our hopes are that, as well as maintaining the good progress we’ve previously seen in core subjects, our children will leave Powell with a strong set of morals and a relevant awareness of the world they live in. We hope to see an improvement in children’s ability to apply their school learning to a range of real-life contexts, and that children will see themselves as life-long learners who value effort and progress. Finally, we hope that the memorable and meaningful learning experiences they have at Powell Corderoy will give them the enthusiasm and confidence to dream big and strive for their personal goals, whatever they may be.
We look forward to reporting on the impact of the new Powell Corderoy School Curriculum in due course.
Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
In Reception, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, which covers all areas of children’s learning and development from birth to five years old. It divides teaching and learning into seven areas of learning and development: the prime areas (communication and language, physical development, and personal, social and emotional development) and the specific areas (literacy, mathematics, understanding the world, and expressive arts and design.) These lead to 17 Early Learning Goals, which summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that children should gain by the end of the reception year. The EYFS also sets out how children learn, with the characteristics of effective learning. So we encourage good attitudes to learning in everything we do, using the skills in our school Learning Charter.
We provide a balance between adult-led and child initiated experiences. Children are supported in their development through play and exploration opportunities, short teaching sessions, and adult-guided work. The curriculum remains very play based throughout the year, although the balance shifts slightly towards more activities led by adults at the end of the year.
Literacy (reading and writing) is taught through the phonics programme Letters and Sounds. This is a structured, systematic and comprehensive approach to teaching reading, writing and spelling, which continues into Key Stage 1.
We have a well-equipped outdoor learning area, with many exciting learning opportunities, including a construction zone, a sand pit and a garden for digging and growing. We love going out and about in our wonderful school grounds to observe changes and explore the natural environment. We also offer the children Forest School sessions at a woodland site a short walk away on the Nower. The environment and activities inside and outside are carefully planned to promote learning, so while it may look as though the children are ‘just playing,’ they are actually learning all the time.
The classrooms and outdoor space are organised so that children can access most resources by themselves, and they can extend their own learning independently. These are called enabling environments. Rather than having set topics we follow children’s interests and provide hands on experiences to engage the children. Our resources are open-ended and can be used flexibly so that the children are not restricted and can follow their interests and ideas creatively. Our timetable allows for long periods of free-flow independent play both inside and outside, which enables children to become deeply involved in their learning.
An important part of teaching in Reception is through interactions. Adults observe the children closely as they play, and join in sensitively to support them and move their learning on, extending their language and thinking, and helping to develop their skills. Our aim is that the children leave Reception as happy, confident, independent learners, who are settled into school and ready for the challenges of Year 1
We use Tapestry Online Learning Journals to track children’s learning and share it with parents and carers. Each child has their own login, where parents and carers can see what they’ve been doing in school and add their own comments or observations about their child’s learning at home.
All children are expected to read and to practise their spelling / number facts daily at home. From Year 2 onwards, children bring home maths practice books and are expected to complete about a page each week. Occasionally, teachers may set additional home learning tasks to support the work being done in school.
When children start in Reception, they learn to print letters (without the lead in/out strokes used for joining, in order to ensure they are secure with the letter shape first, and can form it correctly. Once this is secure, they will be introduced to a cursive script which is the foundation for joined handwriting.
Phonics and Spelling
Children in Key Stage 1 follow the Letters and Sounds programme for learning phonics, which consists of six phases.
We also use a programme called No Nonsense Spelling to teach spelling rules and patterns, which children practice in school and at home. Alongside this, we have a new spelling programme called Dojo Spelling, which focuses on high frequency or tricky words. Children work through different coloured Dojo belts to master these words.
Our spelling programmes all follow the national curriculum for English, and in Key Stage 2 children also learn the spellings from the compulsory word lists for their year groups.
Our teaching in maths is supported with many resources, including the use of Numicon to help develop children’s understanding of number concepts.
We subscribe to Times Tables Rockstars. All children have their own login which they can use to access the games and practise their skills from home.