Nettlesworth Primary School Curriculum Design Statement
At Nettlesworth Primary School, we have designed our curriculum with the intent that all children must have the building blocks to become successful adults in terms of being able to gain employment, live healthy lifestyles, be moral citizens and to take opportunities to extend their horizons.
These themes are central to our vision: Inclusion, Pupil Voice and Respect.
In recognition of the context of the start points of many of our children, we have a strong focus on the teaching and learning of maths and English as lack of skills in these areas can impact future career options.
As we hope that our children will aspire to a range of careers and personal interests in the future, and to ensure that they gain knowledge and skills across all subjects, we designed our curriculum to cover not only the statutory aspects of the National Curriculum but to take account of our local mining and agricultural heritage.
The curriculum at Nettlesworth Primary is designed to provide a broad and balanced education that meets the needs of all children. It provides opportunities for children to develop as independent, confident and successful learners, with high aspirations, who know how to make a positive contribution to their community and the wider society. The curriculum ensures that academic success, creativity and problem solving, reliability, responsibility and resilience, as well as physical development, well-being and mental health are key elements that support the development of the whole child and promote a positive attitude to learning. The curriculum celebrates the diversity and utilises the skills, knowledge and cultural wealth of the community while supporting the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, ensuring that children are well prepared for life in modern Britain.
Our key aim is that when children leave us to move on to secondary school, they have:
- confidence in themselves and their attitudes to learning
- a firm grasp of basic skills
- recognise that there is life and opportunities beyond Nettlesworth
- aspiration to they need to aim high and challenge themselves to achieve great things in the future whether that means a job or travel
- A strong sense of moral purpose and respect for others
A coherently planned academic curriculum
Here you will find an overview of the EYFS framework and the Curriculum offer for children in Years 1 to 6. There are also sections on Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development (SMSC), Rights Respecting Ethos and British Values.
The curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 and other experiences and opportunities which best meet the learning and developmental needs of the children in our school.
In the below file (Long Term Curriculum Plans 2019-2020) we have provided an overview of each year groups curriculum with direct reference to the new National Curriculum. In EYFS the curriculum is heavily child initiated with children choosing the topics or areas they wish to study. This is done on a half termly basis via consultation with adults and children.
In Key Stage 1 children follow National Curriculum guidelines but within this there is still the opportunity for child initiated topics to be covered. To date these have included The World, Pirates, Light and Dark, Undersea and Vehicles.
In Key Stage 2 using the National Curriculum, teachers have planned and developed exciting topic titles which connect discrete subjects together with strong links. Each subject is given individual time so that children can learn many skills and have a broad and balanced curriculum. It also allows children the opportunity to develop talents in a wide variety of skills and disciplines.
We are a UNICEF Rights Respecting School and as such give children the opportunity to explore global issues within their curriculum. Children therefore learn about issues such as Fair Trade, Land Mines, Refugees and Endangered Species.
This approach to the curriculum and learning we feel gives us a broad and balanced curriculum which allows children to have a voice in what and how they learn whilst also equipping them with the necessary skills they need in order to be effective learners.
- Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science; three main principles underpin it:
1) Learning is most effective when spaced rather than blocked.
2) Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention
3) Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.
- In addition to the three principles we also understand that learning is invisible in the short-term and that sustained mastery takes time.
- Some of our content is subject specific, whilst other content is combined in a cross-curricular approach. Here at Nettlesworth Primary School we have introduced a creative curriculum based around the Cornerstones Curriculum, a nationally recognised approach for delivering outstanding learning opportunities for children.
What is the Cornerstones Curriculum?
The Cornerstones Curriculum is a creative and thematic approach to learning that is mapped to the 2014 Primary National Curriculum to ensure comprehensive coverage of national expectations. Our new curriculum will be delivered through Imaginative Learning Projects
(ILPs) which will provide a rich menu of exciting and motivating learning activities that make creative links between all aspects of our children’s learning. We have designed
our curriculum by choosing ILPs that meet our students needs and abilities.
We believe children learn better when they are encouraged to use their imagination and apply their learning to engaging contexts. Our curriculum will provide lots of learning challenges throughout the academic year that will require children to solve problems, apply themselves creatively and express their knowledge and understanding effectively across the curriculum.
How it Works?
The Four Cornerstones of Learning provide the structure on which to build your curriculum. We call these Engage, Develop, Innovate, and Express.
Engage – hook children in with a memorable experience.
Develop – allow children time to gather the skills and knowledge they need to develop a deep understanding.
Innovate – offer creative experiences that allow children to apply their skills, knowledge and understanding.
Express – provide the space and time for reflecting, evaluating, and celebrating learning.
To find out more about these stages please click on the link through to Cornerstones website to find out more:
Continuous provision, in the form of daily routines, replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and , in other cases, provides retrieval practise for previously learned content.
- Opportunities for child voice are planned at the beginning of each new topic and this is used to inform the learning for each topic to ensure relevance.
- The curriculum provides children with memorable experiences, in addition to diverse and rich opportunities from which children can learn and develop a range of transferable skills.
- The children’s own community, its heritage and traditions are frequently used as a starting point for engaging interest. We have strong and varied links, as well as engagement with the local community, to enrich children’s learning experiences.
- The school’s curriculum is broad and balanced. The school makes a conscious effort to engage with drives that will enable further development and excellence in specific areas and has achieved the Primary Science Quality Mark at Bronze level. The outdoor environment and the local community are considered an opportunity for active learning for all our children. The school grounds have been developed so they can enrich different curriculum areas, particularly science. We are a Forest School and are committed to ensuring that all learners have access to good quality educational experiences beyond the classroom walls, and for engaging in an ongoing process to ensure frequent, continuous and progressive learning outside the classroom opportunities are integrated into the curriculum.
- We are an Inclusion Quality Mark School, who focuses on the pursuit of outstanding teaching and learning and creating an environment in which every student has the opportunity to flourish.
- We are a NACE accredited school (an award in recognition of school-wide high-quality provision for more able learners within a context of challenge for all) and ensure there is a whole school commitment and a clear focus to providing for More Able Gifted and Talented pupils. We provide pupils with a wide range of experiences and opportunities individualised to their personal needs and interests. Parents are closely involved in the education of their child and are consulted about their provision.
- As a Rights Respecting Gold School, we place the UNCRC (United Conventions of the Rights of a Child) at the heart of its planning, policies and practice. The school has a Rights Respecting Ethos, where children are empowered to become active citizens and learners.
- We hold the Sainsbury’s Games Platinum Award. The Platinum Award was launched 2017 as an extension of the School Games Mark to reward schools who have maintained consistently high standards with their school sport provision.
- We have been awarded the AfPE quality teaching mark for PE for 2018 – 2021. We are so proud of all of the amazing and hard work that goes on in PE in school and are delighted that our hard work has been recognised.
- A varied timetable for extra-curricular activities is offered by the school, with clubs that support the core curriculum offer, as well as those which develop specialist skills, such as fencing, whilst also extending the range of children’s experiences. A primary focus of our curriculum is to raise aspirations, engender a sense of personal pride in achievement, and provide a purpose and relevance for learning.
- The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and most make very good progress in most subjects and areas of learning. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth and those who struggle are encouraged and given targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs.
- Subject leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review and the celebration of good practice contributes to the ongoing commitment to evolve and improve further. All subject leaders are given training and the opportunity to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding, so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school.
- The innovative practice across the school provides a strong foundation and opportunities for children to collaborate and develop social skills both indoors and out. This curriculum design ensures that the needs of individual and small groups of children can be met within the environment of high quality first wave teaching, supported by targeted, proven interventions where appropriate. In this way it can be seen to impact in a very positive way on children’s outcomes. We track carefully to ensure pupils are on track to reach expectations of our curriculum.
- Enjoyment of the curriculum promotes achievement, confidence and good behaviour. Children feel safe to try new things. High quality visits and visitors to the school enhance the curriculum and provide opportunities for writing for a purpose.
- Children have opportunities to share their learning with each other, their parents and carers and other learners through school-based and external exhibitions, performances, competitions and events involving other schools. Developing their independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future citizens is at the heart of all our teaching and learning.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
In Reception, we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, published in March 2014 by the DfES. This framework specifies the requirement for learning and development in the Early Years and provides specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. These areas are:
- Communication and language development
- Physical development;
- Personal, social and emotional development.
- Understanding the World;
- Expressive arts and design.
A vital aspect in the development of essential knowledge and skills is the use of continuous provision. This means children are using and developing certain skills throughout the year on a daily/weekly basis. Continuous provision practice and principles begin in Early Years Foundation Stage and support children to develop key life skills such as independence; innovation; creativity, enquiry; analysis and problem solving. Our EYFS staff members teach and support the EYFS children, making sure that the activities taking place in the EYFS unit are suited to each child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like the curriculum in the rest of the school, but it is particularly aimed at and suitable for very young children; and it is designed to be really flexible so that the EYFS staff members can follow the children’s needs and interests.
EYFS Curriculum Design Statement
Our leaders adopt or construct a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give children, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge, self-belief and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Our curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced.
It builds on what children know and can do, towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for their future learning. There’s a sharp focus on ensuring that our children acquire a wide vocabulary, communicate effectively and, in reception, secure a knowledge of phonics, which gives them the foundations for future learning, especially in preparation for them to become confident and fluent readers. Our school’s approach to teaching early reading and synthetic phonics is systematic and ensures that all children learn to read words and simple sentences accurately by the end of reception. We have the same academic ambitions for almost all children. For children with particular needs, such as those with SEN and/or disabilities , their curriculum is designed to be ambitious and to meet their needs.
Our children benefit from meaningful learning across the curriculum. Our staff are knowledgeable about the areas of learning they teach.
They manage the EYFS curriculum and pedagogy in relation to the learning needs of their children.
Our staff are expert in teaching systematic, synthetic phonics and ensure that children practise their reading from books that match their phonics knowledge. Our staff present information clearly to children, promoting appropriate discussion about the subject matter being taught.
We communicate well to check children’s understanding, identify misconceptions and provide clear explanations to improve their learning. In so doing, we respond and adapt their teaching as necessary. Our staff read to children in a way that excites and engages them, introducing new ideas, concepts and vocabulary. Our staff are knowledgeable about the teaching of early mathematics.
We ensure that children have sufficient practice to be confident in using and understanding numbers.
Our mathematics curriculum provides a strong basis for more complex learning later on.
Over the EYFS, teaching is designed to help children remember long term what they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts. This is checked well by staff and leaders.
Our leaders understand the limitations of assessment and avoid unnecessary burdens on staff or children. Our staff create an environment that supports the intent of an ambitious, coherently planned and sequenced curriculum.
The resources are chosen to meet the children’s needs and promote learning. Our curriculum and care practices promote and support children’s emotional security and development of their character. Our leaders and staff are particularly attentive to the youngest children’s needs. Our staff give clear messages to children about why it’s important to eat, drink, rest, exercise and be kind to each other.
They teach children to take managed risks and challenges as they play and learn, supporting them to be active and develop physically. Our staff provide information for parents about their child’s progress, in line with the requirements of the EYFS.
They provide information to parents about supporting their child’s learning at home, including detail about the school’s method of teaching reading and how to help their children learn to read.
The impact of the curriculum on what children know, can remember and do is strong.
Our children demonstrate this through being deeply engaged and sustaining high levels of concentration.
Our children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, do well. Children with SEN and/or disabilities achieve the best possible outcomes. Our children develop detailed knowledge and skills across the seven areas of learning in an age-appropriate way.
Our children develop their vocabulary and use it across the EYFS curriculum.
By the end of reception our children use their knowledge of phonics to read accurately and with increasing speed and fluency. Our children are ready for the next stage of education, especially year 1 in school.
They have the knowledge and skills they need to benefit from what school has to offer when it’s time to move on.
By the end of reception our children achieve well, particularly those children with lower starting points. By the end of reception our children have the personal, physical and social skills they need to succeed in the next stage of their education. Our children are highly motivated and are eager to join in. They share and co-operate well, demonstrating high levels of self-control and respect for others. Our children consistently keep on trying hard, particularly if they encounter difficulties.
Most children achieve the early learning goals, particularly in mathematics and literacy. Our children enjoy, listen attentively and respond with comprehension to familiar stories, rhymes and songs that are appropriate to their age and stage of development.
Our children develop their vocabulary and understanding of language across the seven areas of learning. Our children demonstrate their positive attitudes to learning through high levels of curiosity, concentration and enjoyment.
They listen intently and respond positively to adults and each other.
Our children are developing their resilience to setbacks and take pride in their achievements. Our children are beginning to manage their own feelings and behaviour, understanding how these have an impact on others.
They’re developing a sense of right from wrong.
In EYFS, we use the woods and the forests, as a means, to build independence and self -esteem in children. Topics are cross-curriculum including the natural environment. Personal skills of teamwork and problem solving are developed and the woodland environment is used to learn about more abstract concepts such as mathematics and communication. You can find out more in the Forest School section of our website.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC)
In our school our work with UNICEF/UNCRC on the Rights Respecting School agenda forms a vital part of and basis for all of our work in the area of SMSC.
All National Curriculum subjects provide opportunities to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Explicit opportunities to promote pupils’ development in these areas are provided in religious education and the non-statutory framework for personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship. A significant contribution is also made by the school ethos, effective relationships throughout the school, collective worship, and other curriculum activities.
Pupils’ spiritual development involves the growth of their sense of self, their unique potential, their understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, and their will to achieve. As their curiosity about themselves and their place in the world increases, they try to answer for themselves some of life’s fundamental questions. They develop the knowledge, skills, understanding, qualities and attitudes they need to foster their own inner lives and non-material wellbeing.
Pupils’ moral development involves pupils acquiring an understanding of the difference between right and wrong and of moral conflict, a concern for others and the will to do what is right. They are able and willing to reflect on the consequences of their actions and learn how to forgive themselves and others. They develop the knowledge, skills and understanding, qualities and attitudes they need in order to make responsible moral decisions and act on them.
Pupils’ social development involves pupils acquiring an understanding of the responsibilities and rights of being members of families and communities (local, national and global), and an ability to relate to others and to work with others for the common good. They display a sense of belonging and an increasing willingness to participate. They develop the knowledge, skills, understanding, qualities and attitudes they need to make an active contribution to the democratic process in each of their communities.
Pupils’ cultural development involves pupils acquiring an understanding of cultural traditions and ability to appreciate and respond to a variety of aesthetic experiences. They acquire a respect for their own culture and that of others, an interest in others’ ways of doing things and curiosity about differences. They develop the knowledge, skills, understanding, qualities and attitudes they need to understand, appreciate and contribute to culture.
Promoting Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship
The non-statutory guidelines for PSHE and citizenship are designed to help schools establish coherence and consistency, and to promote curriculum continuity and progression in pupils’ learning. This in conjunction with our RRSA work provides a wide platform for our children to learn about their place in the world and develop into rounded individuals who are ready to take up their place in a multi-cultural, global world.
Schools have been asked to explain how they promote British values. So what are ‘British’ values? There are certain values that have been attributed to being British, by the government and some institutions. find out more about our approach to British values on our website.
You can view or download our long Term Learning Plans by clicking the links below. You can see our curriculum in action by visiting the Our Classes section of our website.
Children begin their reading journey in EYFS where they learn the sounds that each letter makes. They are then shown how to blend these sounds to read words. We use phonics and letters and sounds in EYFS and throughout school to teach children how to read. From first recognising sounds to being able to read fluently. Alongside, being shown how to blend, children are also given opportunities to learn high frequency words and common exception words. By the end of year 2, we hope that children are fluent readers and in Year 2 we begin thinking in greater depth about what children are reading, encouraging children to predict and infer meaning. Reading continues to be promoted throughout the school and children are exposed to authors and books that will help develop their imagination and love of reading.
Again the writing journey for our children begins in EYFS where children develop their fine motor skills in order to hold a pencil correctly. Children are then shown how to from letters. They are given many opportunities to write and as children move through school they gain stamina for writing at length and they are shown what they need to do to make their writing interesting and/or informative. Teachers plan interesting and engaging lessons for children using texts that model excellent writing.
At Nettlesworth Primary, we follow the National Curriculum covering the main topics of: number, place value, calculations, geometry and statistics. We use scholastic as a framework for planning. Each individual year group covers age specific material, progressing and building on last year’s work. Children are given the opportunity to revisit these topics each term.
Numeracy is daily for 1 hour with extra time given for mental maths, arithmetic and times tables. We are part of the Great North Maths Hub where we share expertise with other schools in developing challenge for all children.
At Nettlesworth Primary School, we teach science weekly as part of the curriculum. We follow the National Curriculum objectives for Science and plan exciting and imaginative activities based around these to capture children’s imaginations and allow them to ask important questions about the world around them. We follow an investigation based curriculum and allow, wherever possible hands on experience of how things work.
We deliver our computing lessons from the National Curriculum. The computing curriculum is made up of 4 key topic areas: ICT, E-safety, Digital Literacy and Computer Science.
In school we teach our children to use many forms of ICT such as : using digital cameras, tablets and computer hardware. Our children gain an understanding of how, where and when ICT is used in modern society and how they can apply ICT to their everyday lives. Children are taught to use a variety of software such as : Scratch to create algorithms and to learn coding skills and multimedia apps to create short stories and movies.
The curriculum is taught throughout school with seamless transitions where the work builds on what the child has learned the year before. We also (whenever possible) integrate our computing curriculum with other subjects such as history and science.
Pupils are given access to the past through structured teaching of important events in the history of Britain, Europe and other parts of the world. They are helped to build a clear chronological framework of the development of societies from ancient to modern times by making links across the different study units. They are given opportunities to investigate local history and to learn about and interpret the past from a range of primary sources.
At Nettlesworth Primary School, our aim is to provide a Geography Curriculum that follows guidance set out by the Government in the National Curriculum and to provide a means of exploring, appreciating and understanding the world in which we live.
We aim to:
- Stimulate curiosity about the environment around us and the wider world.
- Develop geographical skills.
- Develop and understanding of the world by studying places close to us and further afield.
- Provide knowledge of the interaction between physical and human processes and how these affect the world.
- Provide opportunities for field work and exploration of the environment around us.
Each class uses a Durham Music approved program called Charanga to deliver the Music Curriculum. This allows a broad range of styles, instruments and songs to be covered throughout the school. Children have regular opportunities to sing in assembly.
Art, Craft and Design
We follow the National Curriculum Objectives for Art and plan different activities for each year group to give the children an opportunity to explore different mediums, materials, textures and form. Each year group studies different artists and this allows our children to experience a range of cultures and concepts.
We meet the needs of the National Curriculum for Design Technology by ensuring our main focus of teaching is to give children real life problems and scenarios that give their design, production and evaluation a real life feel. Children have the opportunity to work with a range of different materials and focus across the school changes as the child gets older. We work with children to ensure they have experiences of working with construction, textiles, food among many other areas.
Modern Foreign Languages
Here at Nettlesworth Primary School, we believe that learning a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience in preparation for future life. We teach French from EYFS to Year 6 in a fun and enjoyable way through choosing interesting and relevant topics that will engage and stimulate learning and develop children’s curiosity of language.
Religious Education makes a major contribution to the education of our children. It helps pupils develop knowledge and understanding of religion and of the differing religious and non-religious beliefs represented in Great Britain today. Children start to think about their own experiences, feelings, beliefs and values. In Religious Education our children learn about people from a wide variety of faiths and beliefs. As a result, children develop respect, tolerance and friendship. At Nettlesworth Primary School, we follow the Durham Syllabus and have planned Religious Education to ensure children can build up a picture of: Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism.
Pupils receive two hours of timetable PE per week through which we develop the six areas of activity as set out in the National Curriculum- Dance, Games, Gymnastics, Athletics, Outdoor and Adventurous activities and Swimming. Children are given the opportunity to swim during KS2 and we aim for all pupils leaving the school to be able to swim at least 25m in line with curriculum expectations. We also make sure children are involved in 30 minutes of activity per day through timetabled activities at break and lunch time provided by our Sports Leaders and Maths a Day. Sports taught throughout the school include football, tag rugby, netball, basketball, rounders, kwik cricket, hockey, golf, tennis aswell as athletics. All pupils take part in a range of festivals both within school between year groups and with other schools through Durham and Chester-Le-Street School Sports Partnership. We have weekly sports extra -curricular clubs including: multi-skills and Rapperdance.
At Nettlesworth Primary School, we know that pupils who have a positive attitude towards their learning will make good progress and be successful. Consequently, instilling all our pupils with ‘growth mindsets’ has become a key priority for the school from January 2018. We have introduced the theories of Dr Carol Dweck to staff and pupils and are determined to embed its ideas within our school ethos.
We want all our pupils to relish challenges, embrace their mistakes as part of the learning process, value the importance of effort, respond carefully to feedback and take inspiration from others. This will help them to achieve, not only with us, but also in their future lives as adults.
We are very excited about the prospect of nurturing a growth mindset culture at Nettlesworth Primary School. Please see the Growth Mindset presentation shown to parents.
Encouraging children to become confident and resilient learners
Learn, explore and grow together. This is what we embed in all of our pupils here at Nettlesworth Primary School. We know that in order to fulfil the potential of our pupils and encourage them to become confident and resilient learners we, as a team of parents and staff, need to be modelling the mindset of a learner who is not afraid of making mistakes but who thrives upon them, knowing that this is all part of the learning process. The way in which we encourage children to learn and explore is vital to their success, not only at school but at home as well.
At Nettlesworth, we consistently endeavour to challenge and develop the attitudes of all pupils and staff towards learning by considering what makes a successful learner. We have dedicated sessions in class to address what kind of learners we want to be and how we can positively approach challenges inside and outside the classroom. The school is buzzing with talk of perseverance, challenge, risks and celebrating mistakes.
Central to this attitude and approach to learning, are the theories and proven evidence of Growth Mindset. This is a term coined by psychologist Carol Dweck and her research has identified the characteristics of learners with a fixed and a growth mindset:
The following video explains the concept in more detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUWn_TJTrnU
Key aspects of growth mindset at Nettlesworth Primary School:
- We celebrate making mistakes – we can learn from them;
- We never give up – perseverance is the key if we are to succeed;
- We learn from each other;
- We don’t compare ourselves with others;
- We challenge ourselves and take risks;
- We remember that our brains are making new connections and growing all the time.
For further information on how to encourage confident and resilient learners at home, have a look at some of the links below.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
At Nettlesworth Primary we believe that inclusive education means providing all pupils with appropriate education and support alongside their
Further information can be found in the SEN Information Report.
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