The Primary Curriculum
The Government has released a new National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 and 2 which is to be implemented from September 2014. The National Curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens.
At Riverside, we have embraced this opportunity to develop a curriculum that is relevant to our pupils in their community and our wider locality. We believe that children learn best when they feel safe and valued, when they are happy, excited, curious and actively learning. Therefore, our curriculum not only covers the requirements of the New National Curriculum but includes further learning opportunities and additional content that we feel is important for our pupils.
What influences our curriculum design?
We have identified 3 main areas that drive our curriculum design and delivery. We aim to reflect these drivers in our curriculum provision wherever possible:
‘Self-awareness’ encourages pupils to understand themselves, their emotions and their relationships with others. It encourages understanding of personal health, safety and self-responsibility.
‘Aspirations’ challenges pupils to be the very best that they can be both now and in their future lives by taking risks, setting and meeting challenges, by persevering and being resilient. It aims to broaden pupil awareness of the many possibilities for their future and the choices they will have as adults.
‘Our Communities’ engages pupils in their school, local, National and Global communities. It promotes pupils’ understanding of the wider world and their role within it as citizens.
Alongside this, our Curriculum reflects our belief that how children learn is as important as what children learn. We have identified key ‘entitlements’ in our curriculum planning. Our entitlements are planned activities that we feel all children have the right to experience during their time at Riverside. These entitlements really put learning into context. They aim to provide new experiences that enthuse and engage pupils, inspiring them to take their learning further. These can range from performing to an audience, taking part in a group project, visiting new places, tramping through the woods and puddles, watching the sun set or learning to ride a bike.
Core skills curriculum
In order for our learners to have successful futures, we recognise that carefully planned provision for skills within Literacy and Numeracy is vital. In order to support this, we use consistent schemes and approaches.
The Read, Write Inc. Literacy programme is designed to get our younger pupils reading as quickly as possible. As soon as they are ready to, children experience this synthetic phonics approach to acquiring reading and early writing skills. This begins in the Early Years phase of school. Once children have become fluent and competent readers, they progress on to the Literacy and Language Programme which further refines their reading comprehension and ensures children become competent writers for a range of purposes. Both programmes include crucial aspects of speaking and listening which widen pupil use and understanding of vocabulary.
The Renaissance Reading programme ensures that once our children start reading with fluency and comprehension they read appropriately challenging texts suited to their stage of learning. Pupils are motivated to read both at home and in school so that they can successfully complete the on-line quizzes in the programme. The reading curriculum is further supported by a well-stocked library and full time Librarian.
At Riverside, we use the Visual Maths approach throughout school to secure our pupils’ understanding of the core concepts within addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This structured approach enables pupils to clearly visualise the mathematical concepts they are learning, with pupils using equipment and drawings to model mathematical thinking, before moving on to record their calculations more formally. Visual Maths progressively builds learners’ mathematical understanding, and boosts their confidence, motivation and enjoyment. It ensures that each pupil has the necessary level of mathematical understanding before moving on to a new concept.
Embedded in our all our core skills curriculum are rigorous assessments, aimed at identifying individual pupil needs and future provision.
We are committed to children learning beyond the school day. At Riverside, we run a whole host of Extra-Curricular activities for all ages, from a variety of sports opportunities to art and craft clubs, computing and cooking clubs.
Residential opportunities are also offered within our curriculum design with Year 4 pupils spending one night camping by the River Dart and Year 6 participating in a 3 day residential in Brixham, experiencing team building and risk-taking activities.
Assessing the New Primary National Curriculum
As the new curriculum is introduced from September 2014, the government have removed the expectation that schools use curriculum levels to assess children (this will not come into place for Year 2 and Year 6 until September 2015). Schools have been asked to develop their own system that they feel meets their needs. Schools will still need to be able to show evidence of the good progress the children are making.
During the autumn term, Riverside will be developing a structure for summative assessment that best demonstrates pupil progress within the New National Curriculum framework.