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 June 2017 OFSTED observed and reported that "Teachers adapt the comprehensive curriculum successfully to meet the varying learning needs".
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 skill 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.
Learning by Subjects
In order to ensure strong continuity and progression, learning across the curriculum is broken down by National Curriculum subjects:
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 III' 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.