“Learning how to learn is life’s most important skill.” (Tony Buzan)
The knowledge, concepts and overarching ideas of individual subjects are an entitlement for every child. We cover the principles and full scope of the National Curriculum, but our curriculum offers opportunities for learning beyond this e.g. pupils have important opportunities to identify and develop their personal passions, aptitudes and interests through our curriculum offer.
We teach all subjects across all year groups, because we view all subjects as having a justifiable place in their own right and as part of the cultural inheritance that education should bring.
Our Woodlands curriculum weaves a coherent and cohesive tapestry of this learning and joins it together into a meaningful and relevant format and engaging, multi-sensory vehicle.
We are passionate about how we approach this and use everything from drama, music and art to immerse children into everything they do. Making links and connections between areas of learning, developing new skills to a mastery level is an integral part of the National Curriculum.
From Nursery to Year 6, our pupils develop their substantive (know of) and disciplinary (know how) knowledge. They encounter learning experiences that are progressively matched to their cognitive, social and emotional development, exposing them to the wider world in carefully planned stages.
This developing sequential learning provides the framework for pupils knowing more, doing more and understanding more.
Our curriculum framework enhances the National Curriculum, using an enquiry-led approach. Cross-curricular learning objectives are woven into enquiries. Enquiries allow pupils to seek answers to questions that are too big to answer straight away. In doing so, they will experience different states of being and recognise the essential links between them.
Learning about the historical and geographical site of Salisbury and its surrounding area is interwoven through each year group ensuring that our pupils can celebrate their locality, reflect on local traditions and festivals, and compare similarities and differences with other areas and cultures as their learning widens.
Our curriculum provides opportunities for extended pupil talk, including presentations and drama activities; opportunities to write at length; short, fun quizzes; starter games that recap key ideas and vocabulary; immersive or practical activities that engage children and linger in the memory; pre-teaching and revision sessions, particularly for children who are disadvantaged.
Some areas of study, including English and Maths are taught discretely and we use a number of proven, evidence-based schemes of work to provide high-quality learning experiences such as Read Write Inc, Oxford University Press’ Project X Comprehension Express, White Rose Maths and Big Maths.
We also promote a ‘learning to learn’ ethos, encouraging children to take ownership of their learning and develop high levels of self-efficacy – recognising that what they do and decisions they make have a real impact on how successful they will be.
We are guided by pupil voice and aspire to inspire our pupils with challenging lessons with opportunities for pupils to:
- Ask interesting questions
- Think on their feet and manage risks
- Identify misconceptions
- Unearth and solve problems
- Help themselves when they are “stuck”; persevere
- Check and improve their own learning
- Seek and value frequent feedback
- Work well in different groups
- Listen carefully and respectfully
- Maintain concentration
- Be pro-active: seek to improve themselves, their community and the environment, making choices informed by the framework of human rights.
Our new (January 2023) curriculum initiative is creating and implementing “Points of View” (PoV) across the school. Essentially “Points of View” is our term for a Woodlands-inspired, bespoke series of planned inter-active lessons which encourage children to think for themselves, develop the confidence to ask questions, challenge the information they are offered, draw on their own experience, express their views and opinions and ultimately to put what they have learned into practice in their own lives.
Children are given the tools and structures to develop fluent, rich and deep thinking and talk.
Exploring different points of view develops empathy, mutual respect and an appreciation/ celebration of diversity and is an effective vehicle for exploring and strengthening our School Values and British Values.
Reading is at the centre of our curriculum. In order to ensure children can access all that the curriculum and wider world has to offer, they must first be able to read. Reading fluently, with comprehension and for enjoyment allows children to engage with the world around them: “opening minds and opening doors”.
We recognise that Reading:
is a key life skill;
can support the development of a wider vocabulary;
can result in memory improvement;
can support the development of analytical thinking;
can improve focus and concentration;
can lead to improved writing skills;
and can even bring about inner peace.
Therefore, with fun, engaging texts; structured reading lessons; one-to-one support, a focus on skills-based teaching and robust assessment & intervention, we aspire to ensure that all pupils have a range of strategies to decode new words and read fluently with good understanding; become confident and independent readers, seeking out new authors and genres; are equipped for the next stage of their education and have a lasting understanding of the importance of reading, and the pleasure it can give.
Reading with our children is woven into all aspects of our curriculum. We understand that, as Daniel Willingham states, ‘The human mind seems exquisitely tuned to understand and remember stories—so much so that psychologists sometimes refer to stories as “psychologically privileged,” meaning that they are treated differently in memory than other types of material.’ Telling stories throughout our curriculum and weaving in narrative is crucial.
Texts are selected through our “Head Heart and Hands” model, and topics are well-selected so that any cross-curricular knowledge or vocabulary is clearly linked and specific subject objectives are logically included, not shoe-horned into the journey through tenuous links.
We are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Through Phonics children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words.
We follow the Read Write Inc programme to ensure that our phonics system is systematic, robust and well-organised. Phonetic knowledge is taught directly through daily Phonics lessons and when children are heard reading. Teachers are ambitious in their expectations of the sounds and words children should be able to read by the end of each term, with the Phonics Leader regularly and rigorously assessing children’s progress and re-setting ability groups as needed.
When planning their topics, teachers focus on the most important aspects of the topic in relation to usefulness for the pupils, how they are meeting the needs of our school ‘curriculum drivers’, how transferable/connectable the knowledge is and how well-matched the content is to the National Curriculum objectives for that age group.
In conclusion, we equip our pupils with learning skills for life (such as oracy and metacognition), developing cultural capital through our very own “11 by 11 Enrichment Passport”, exploration of and response to quality texts and renowned pieces of art, sculpture and music, through visitors, off-site learning and engaging extra-curricular activities.