At Upham, we plan a two year curriculum, Years A and B, so that children in our mixed age Classes 2, 3 and 4 do not repeat content. Class 1 follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. Our aim is to produce a varied, rich curriculum which children are engaged and motivated to learn by. In October 2022, OFSTED observed and reported that, "The curriculum is broad and ambitious for all pupils. Subject leaders are clear what knowledge and skills pupils should acquire at each stage".
How do we Design Our Curriculum?
In order to achieve the intended learning from the National Curriculum and also school-determined content, as much learning as possible is planned into ‘Blended Units’. These take learning from many subject areas and integrate them together into a unit which presents learning which is engaging, meaningful and challenging for all children. A central context is created for the children to provide a purpose or direction for the learning and an engaging experience (or ‘hook’) is used to spark enthusiasm and interest. Learning is then planned across curriculum areas where the learning cumulates and builds (blends). This provides relevance for the child as well as rich learning contexts in which to build the skills and understanding necessary to demonstrate the required knowledge.
Learning across the curriculum is presented to children as:
What am I learning? – The learning intention (ie the specific knowledge or understanding) within the session itself.
How am I learning? – The process of learning; specific learning behaviours are discussed with the children using our 'footsteps'.
Why am I learning this? – The context or purpose the children are working towards within the Blended Unit.
Much of the children’s learning is not blended and if a subject is not meaningfully contributing to the cumulating learning context, a link is not forced. Therefore much learning is separate or discrete from the Blended Units. This would include core skills activities such as spelling tests as well as other curriculum areas. These will change over the year so for example Science in The Autumn Term may be part of a Blended Unit but in the Spring is completely discrete. Daily Maths and English sessions might be part of the blended curriculum or may be discrete. This ensures that core skills can be applied across the curriculum, deepening skills but also furthering learning in these areas.
Our whole design of our curriculum stems from our central vision and ultimately the core values of 'love and care'. These shape the decision making about the way in which children learn, through to what they learn and then evaluative processes around the outcomes we would expect as a result of having learned our curriculum.
Though we 'package' learning by making links within topics, as this helps children to think and use links to build deeper learning, preserving the content from each subject as separate disciplines is critical. We are careful to identify the key learning required for each subject so that the integrity of these subjects is prioritised, within the blended context. Here are examples of subject overviews which also include progression maps for knowledge and skills from EYFS (Class 1, through KS1 (Class 2) and through KS2 (split into lower KS2 for Class 3 and upper KS2 for Class 4):
Each term we review one or more subjects which includes might include changes to topic areas or how knowledge is built. Sometimes other changes or decisions are made which affects all of these overviews. For example, in Spring 2022 we decided to deliver our planned multicultural week during Summer II rather than Spring II. This was because we felt this better balanced the learning expectations for the spring term and will offer more time for children to fully immerse in another culture later in the summer and achieve deeper learning. A few of the maps above have not yet been updated to reflect this improvement.
Our overview planning shows how the key learning (as identified in the progression maps above which detail content specified by the National Curriculum but also additional content specific for Upham School) is identified; for particular classes and at particular times of the year. The decision making for these is taken by the whole teaching team collaboratively together, in the context of the intent document above. Since we run a two-year curriculum, both years are included.
One improvement that was made during 2021/22 to our curriculum design was the move of 'multi-culture week' from Spring II to the end of the summer term. This made better use of time and enabled richer cross-curriculum study. This change will be carried forward and the overviews below reflect this. A few of the progression mats have not yet been updated to reflect this change but will when those subjects are next reviewed.
Year B, relates to the academic year 2021/ 2022 and Year A the academic year 2022 / 2023:
Class 1 (Early Years Reception Year) does not follow the National Curriculum as Classes 2,3 and 4 do (above), they using the Early Years Foundation Stage . As a result, learning is set out differently and as this class is not mixed age, they only follow a one year curriculum. Across this curriculum the overarching principles are:
There are seven areas of learning and development that shape the curriculum. All these areas are interconnected and important:
Three Prime Areas: Communication & Language,
Personal, Social & Emotional Development
Four Specific Areas: Literacy
Understanding The World
Expressive Arts & Design
Our EYFS curriculum is developing and shaping. We tailor it to the needs of the current cohort so it is not 'rolled out' the same each year. We are currently developing our aspirational planning which shows key milestones for core activities across the year:
You might also like to view planning from last year to see how these aspects are being developed to ensure our EYFS provision is the best it can be:
Learning in RE
As a Church of England Aided School, the Governors determine the RE Curriculum the school uses. We select the Local Authority 'Living Difference IV' Curriculum which also means that we can share practice and moderate with colleagues from other schools. In addition, materials from the Church of England 'Understanding Christianity' resource are used to enrich and deepen exploration of Christianity within RE.