Woodborough Woods is a school with a Christian foundation, which seeks to express its Christian character by serving families in the local community and by providing a Christian ethos where children and their families can feel valued. There is an opportunity to experience the meaning of the Christian faith in the welcome that is offered to all and in the relationships of love and respect that characterise the shared life of the school. Designed to be sequential, this curriculum enables pupils to build knowledge and skills by making links with previous learning; this is shown in our progression documents. By fostering an enjoyment of learning, our children are given the opportunity to develop as independent, resilient pupils who are equipped with the ability to use their knowledge and skills to make wise choices as they take their place in the world.
The school’s direction stems from its Vision Statement: ‘Grow Together’ following Jesus’ example to ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’ (Matthew 22:37-39) because through love for one another, we can build a strong learning community ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to flourish. It recognises the importance of the community it serves, and seeks to build relationships based on kindness and respect. It will strive to be a place where Christian priorities and values inform every subject in the curriculum and are reflected in the day to day life of the school.
We believe that the children are the centre of all our work here and we strive to ensure our school is one with a happy and caring environment. We take pride in promoting the highest standards of conduct and achievement allowing children the security and confidence to reach their full potential.
As a Church of England Voluntary Aided school, our aim is to provide this secure environment, firmly rooted in Christian values. We believe that the education of children is a partnership, one between parents, teachers and governors all working together to provide the best interests for the children in our care.
The Woodborough Wood’s Primary Curriculum sets out the planned progression children will make from Class R to Class 6. It is designed to:
- provide a stimulating environment in which children are given the opportunity to develop fully their spiritual, intellectual, emotional and social potential.
- ensure that children develop the appropriate knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes in all curriculum areas that are built upon year on year and are appropriate to an ever-changing world.
- create a framework of love, security, trust and respect which comes from a school community committed to Christian teaching.
- value achievement and aspiration, recognising success at each level of development.
- promote a love of learning and an enquiring mind.
- give each child a sense of their own worth and a respect for others, enabling them to live together in society irrespective of each other’s gender, ability, socio-economic circumstances, differences and ethnicity.
- establish a safe and fun learning environment of which children, staff and parents can be proud.
- encourage a strong partnership between the school, parents, governors, churches and the local community.
At Woodborough Woods, we believe that our curriculum should offer children not only the National Curriculum but life skills and experiences beyond this.
Alongside teaching the requirements of the national curriculum, key drivers have been identified. We have prioritised the key skills and aspirations we want our children to experience and develop during their time with us. We use these ‘drivers’ to underpin the learning and experiences we undertake in all areas of school life and to ensure our curriculum offer is enriched. These key drivers are personal to our school and reflect the social and educational needs of our local area.
The following key drivers underpin our learning and are developed through the school. Our four key drivers for our school curriculum are:
Independence is the ability to live your life to the full, confidently and to be self-sufficient. Children will develop the life skills necessary to work with growing independence and perseverance to become resourceful problem-solvers able to nurture aspirations for the future. We aim to promote our young people’s independence and develop a commitment to learning and self-improvement, both inside and outside of the school environment.
We will give our young people opportunities to organise themselves, show personal responsibility, initiative, creativity and enterprise.
We will nurture our young people’s awareness that actions have consequences, and to make choices based on this awareness, understanding that they have ownership of their actions.
We will give our young people opportunities to develop their self-help skills, to self-manage, to problem solve and to engage in activities with increasing independence.
Resilience means having the skills and resources to deal with challenges and barriers. Resilience is a measure of how much you want something and how much you are willing, and able, to overcome obstacles to get it. It has to do with your emotional strength.
Our children will develop the emotional and physical security needed to become resilient individuals who are able to take risks and deal with different challenges across the curriculum and in the wider world by thinking positively and having the confidence to ‘have a go’.
Inquisitive means eager to learn or know and being confident to ask for information.
We desire for children to be curious about the world around them and ask questions. We encourage the children to be inquisitive and questioning through their learning and school life experiences.
This approach to learning enables inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and nurtures problem solvers.
Ambition is the hope, desire or aspiration to strive to achieve something.
To be the best they can possibly be and to challenge themselves as a learner. The development of ambition encourages children to produce work of high quality, take pride in themselves and be the very best that they can be.
The design of our curriculum is:
- Influenced by our context.
- Based on research of best practice and how children learn.
Our curriculum is underpinned by four big ideas:
Building Connections in Knowledge
Maintaining Subject Identity
Design to Improve Learning & Memory
The Four Big Ideas
Building Connections in Knowledge
At Woodborough Woods, there is a shared understanding that knowledge does not sit as isolated information in pupils’ minds; knowledge is connected in webs therefore teachers build connections between new learning and what children already know. We understand that learning is generative; the more children know, the greater aptitude for new learning. Therefore, our curriculum builds a broad knowledge base within each year which always informs the next stage of learning. Our curriculum is taught through overarching themes to utilise the connections through related subjects and concepts. The themes have been designed with clear progression and links so that in subsequent years they will be able to explore concepts deeper, applying their knowledge in different contexts.
Maintaining Subject Identity
Some subjects are less related than others. In these cases, the integrity of the individual subjects is maintained and is taught outside of the overarching theme. Subjects that are often taught outside the overarching theme are: Mathematics, R.E, Computing, MFL (French), Music, P.E and PSHE. Progression in subject specific knowledge is at the forefront of our curriculum design. Individual subject content is progressively mapped out to ensure new knowledge is built on prior learning as well as ensuring progression in each subject across the curriculum.
The aim of the curriculum narrative approach is for learning to be broken down into small steps which builds progressively in a coherent sequence, in order for children to master intended learning outcomes. We define learning outcomes as the knowledge, skills, attributes, behaviours or attitudes teachers expect learners to have developed by the end of the learning experience.
Design to Improve Learning & Memory
At Woodborough Woods, we aim to take learning at a pace that allows deeper learning, ensuring that no child is left behind as well as providing deepening tasks and richer experiences for children who are exceeding. Crucially, each new unit of learning also incorporates elements from a previous unit. This approach ensures the subject content can be learnt in depth and mastered.
Planning and Subject Leaders
Teachers map out their year by plotting key skills and knowledge from the individual progression documents. As they do this, they begin to consider related material from the subjects which lend themselves to form an overarching theme. The themes have been designed to complement and build on one another with clear progression and links so that in subsequent year groups they will be able to explore concepts deeper, applying their knowledge in different contexts. Some of our themes include Harry Potter, Wilderness Explorers-adventure is out there, Extreme Earth and Infinity and Beyond.
Curriculum Mapping: A long term view
At Woodborough Woods, we pride ourselves on providing our children with an exciting, rich, broad and balanced curriculum. To ensure each year group provides the breadth of the curriculum, we map our curriculum coverage over the course of the year. Curriculum maps show what element of each subject will be taught at which point in the year. Curriculum maps are available on our website and shared with parents at the beginning of the year.
Medium Term Planning
We plan with an overarching theme using key progression documents whilst maintaining individual subject identity. Our themes are often based around a key text, visit or stimulus. The medium-term planning document used encompasses sticky knowledge, prior knowledge and the key vocabulary that we would like the children to obtain through the course of the unit.
Short Term Planning
When planning, teachers break down the learning into smaller steps which build progressively in a coherent sequence in order for children to master the intended learning outcomes. Our learning outcomes are defined as the knowledge, skills, attributes, behaviours or attitudes teachers expect learners to have developed by the end of the learning experience.
Assessment forms an important part of our approach to teaching and learning at Woods. It is only through assessment that we can find out whether what has happened in the classroom has produced the learning we intended. Curriculum, teaching and assessment are inextricably linked. When all three are aligned, they should facilitate effective learning for all children, irrespective of their starting points. This is illustrated below:
At Woodborough Woods, we use standardised testing in Y1-6 to help monitor the progress of pupils in the core areas of the curriculum. Standardised scores allow us to benchmark pupil performance against a national sample of pupils who have taken the same test. In the wider curriculum subjects, we make ongoing assessments after each lesson and use this feedback to inform future lessons. Children’s books and pupil discussion also offer insight into the depth of learning that has taken places and whether this has been remembered.
As we are in the early stages of our curriculum development, we have recently inducted new subject leaders. Our leadership model promotes work in teams and across our school we work collaboratively to offer support and ensure consistency. The role of a subject leader is essential to the success and strategic development of our curriculum. They are the driving force behind improving pupil outcomes and experiences within their subject. Subject leaders are provided with regular leadership time to monitor, evaluate and reflect on developments within their subject. At Woods, we encourage opportunities for a professional dialogue where colleagues reflect on their subject knowledge and practice. Subject leaders use a range of coaching skills and techniques to support them in ensuring that there is a powerful culture of sharing and cascading excellent practice.