The Curriculum at Fairstead Primary

At Fairstead Community Primary and Nursery School, we believe that all children are entitled to receive a high-quality of education regardless of their needs or disabilities. We believe that it is vital that our children are equipped with the tools needed to become independent learners, both inside and outside of the classroom. All children should expect to receive an education that enables them to achieve the best possible outcomes, become confident, able to communicate their own views and ready to make a successful transition into secondary school and then adulthood. 

Principles

The breadth of our curriculum is designed with three goals in mind:

  1. To give children appropriate experiences to develop as confident, aspirational citizens
  2. To provide links with our local and wider community to make learning relevant and purposeful
  3. To provide a coherent and structured curriculum that blends skills and knowledge

The breadth of our curriculum is designed to provide rich cultural capital, to enable our pupils to have confidence and independence, ready for their next stages in learning. We are also a school at the heart of our community, and we feel it is important for our children to have a developed sense of their locality and be proud to be part of it. 

We aim to provide a stimulating, creative curriculum within a positive learning environment, based on mutual respect and trust.

Our four core values shape the curriculum, bring about the aims and values of the school and respond to the needs of our community:

Our curriculum is based on research, with three main principles underpinning it:

Children learn best when doing so with others. Lessons encourage interaction and collaboration.

Children are encouraged to look for links and build on their prior knowledge.

Learning results in a change in long term memory and therefore cannot be assessed in the short term.

Structure-EYFS

Our curriculum is based on the requirements set out in the 2021 statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The Early Years Foundation Stage is based on 4 core principles;

The four core principles of the EYFS are:

  • A Unique Child – recognises that every child is unique and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
  • Positive Relationships – describes how children learn to be strong and independent.
  • Enabling Environments – describes how children learn in environments which respond to their individual needs and there is a strong bond between practitioners and parents and carers.
  • Learning and Development – recognises that children learn and develop in different ways.

The Early Years Foundation Stage applies to children from birth to the end of the reception year. At Fairstead Community Primary School children join us part-time at the age of 3 (nursery) and transfer to the reception class at the beginning of the school year prior to their fifth birthday.

Through play in a secure environment with effective adult support and high-quality interactions, children will focus on the following areas of learning.

Prime areas:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional development

The prime areas are seen as vital for igniting curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building children’s ability to learn and form relationships.

Specific areas:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the world
  • Expressive art and design

Characteristics of effective learning:

We ensure that our environment and delivery of the curriculum incorporates the 3 characteristics of effective teaching and learning.

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating and thinking critically

All children within the Early Years have access to daily continuous provision using the indoor and outdoor environment and have challenges set to support their independent learning.

Classrooms are organised to ensure that ALL learners can access learning areas independently with visuals to support them in selecting high quality resources.

All children across EYFS stage are given the opportunity to engage with Forest School sessions and other enrichment activities linked to topics.

Progression is monitored throughout the year through daily observation of children’s independent learning. Summative assessments are completed at the end of each term and specific children are identified. Phonics assessments are undertaken each half term and groups amended accordingly. At the end of the reception year children are assessed using the EYFS statutory profile and data is shared to successfully support their transition into Year One.

Structure- KS1 And 2

At Keystage 1 and 2 we have a spiral curriculum based on National Curriculum expectations. In order to ensure all children make connections in their learning, our curriculum across Keystage 1 and 2 distinguishes between subject topics and ‘threshold concepts’. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied. Threshold concepts tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, children will return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build an understanding of them.  

Our coherently planned academic curriculum, underpinned by our four core values, sets out:

  1. A clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered
  2. Progression within the unit content
  3. Criteria for assessing understanding

The diagram below shows a model of our academic curriculum structure for non-core subjects and Science:

  1. The curriculum breadth for each year group ensures each teacher has clarity as to what to cover. It also provides key knowledge within subjects and has been carefully selected to ensure progression, relevance and purpose.
  2. Threshold Concepts are the key disciplinary aspects of each subject. They are chosen to build conceptual understanding within subjects and permeate through all units.
  3. Milestones describe subject specific, broad objectives and span two academic years e.g. Milestone 2 for Y3-4
  4. Knowledge categories in each subject give children a way of expressing their understanding of the threshold concepts.
  5. Units contain clear component knowledge that is linked to the milestones and summative assessments
  6. Assessment: pupils first develop their Basic (B) understanding of the concepts and acquire new knowledge. They then progress to an Advancing (A) or Deep (D) understanding as they show they can apply the knowledge acquired in the Basic stage.

Transition from EYFS to KS1

It is our aim in KS1 to build on EYFS’ high-quality provision into KS1 by enhancing our KS1 curriculum by incorporating the fundamental core skills of Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL) and develop an enabling environment that builds on the EYFS and reflects the demands of the KS1 curriculum. 

To define an ‘enabling’ KS1 learning environment, we want to create a calm, empowering and supportive spaces, whilst providing the rigor and stimulation children need to develop through;

  • Directed activities: Curriculum taught through focused teaching with the class, groups and individuals, with children working alongside an adult or independently.
  • Enhanced Provisions: Curriculum through additional resources, artefacts, tools and equipment, visits and visitors.
  • Continuous provision: Curriculum through well resources high quality indoor and outdoor learning environments.

Classrooms and resources will be organised to further support the curriculum for example the small world area animals would be grouped by type – mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians – meeting one of the science objectives. Provision can be planned so that subject- specific knowledge and skills can be taught and learned through children’s self-chosen activity, rather than an adult-led session.

Areas of curriculum and provision to develop classrooms

  • Enquiry (science/geography/history)
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Maths number & shape/measure
  • Independent writing area
  • Block area
  • Small world
  • Art & Design area (shared area and display area)
  • Workshop

Developmentally appropriate provision is developed, adapted and progressed across the year.

“Developmentally there is very little difference between a Reception child and a Year 1 child. Key changes come around the age of 7.” Julie Fisher, Moving onto Key Stage 1

How we determined the breadth of our curriculum

We determined the breadth of our curriculum by considering the specific needs of our school community and the cultural diversity within it, ensuring learning is relevant and purposeful. Our breadth includes the study of our locality and aspirational role models and it provides opportunities to extend the children’s cultural capital. All subjects within the National Curriculum are included in our breadth with subjects taught discreetly, enabling children to believe they could become scientists, historians or geographers of the future. Our ambition is to provide our children with the best opportunities to become confident and aspirational citizens.

Links and Progression

Links are made within and across subjects and within and across year groups. These links help children make connections between their prior learning and their new learning. The more links children make the easier it is for them to ‘remember’ new knowledge.

Teaching and learning focuses on the threshold concepts, the key disciplinary aspects of each subject, and these are repeated many times within and across year groups. The milestone statements guarantee teaching for progression (knowledge and skills) across year groups.

Planning and Timetabling

Long-term plans specify the content to be taught across each year group.  Medium-term plans provide the detail for each year group and a clear end point. Within short term plans, teachers identify how they will use Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures and apply Fairstead’s 6 teaching and learning principles for effective practise in the classroom.

  • Ratio
  • Challenge
  • Open to learning
  • Practise
  • Feedback
  • Modelling and unpicking

Teachers plan lessons so that pupils with SEN and/or disabilities can access our curriculum and ensure that there are no barriers to every pupil achieving. Where needed specific target interventions are scheduled using a combination of skilled staff to close the gaps for pupils. 

Teachers will also take account of the needs of pupils whose first language is not English. Lessons are planned so that teaching opportunities help pupils to develop their English, and to support pupils to take part in all subjects. 

Where possible we make links to our local community and use our locality to provide enrichment and outside learning opportunities through Forest Schools, educational trips and visitors to school for pupils. 

Based on research, we structure our timetables to support retrieval, while not overloading working memory, based on the following principles;

  • Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
  • Interleaving of subjects e.g. Geography and History helps children discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention.
  • Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.

Curriculum organisation and timetabling enable learners to have opportunities for constant recapping of knowledge and skills with well-spaced reviews (Interleaving and addressing the forgetting curve). 

Impact

EYFS

Ongoing assessments and observations in EYFS are evidenced using Tapestry, with parents also involved in recording learning which has taken place. At the end of Reception Year, statutory assessment takes place, with children expected to make a Good Level of Development.  

KS1 and 2

The intended impact of our curriculum is that children build knowledge, make connections between different knowledge acquired and use it to explore and create. When pupils begin working within a new milestone they are likely to be working at a basic stage. By the end of the milestone, most pupils have sustained mastery of the content, e.g. they have fluency in procedural knowledge (skills) and strong, semantic understanding and they are assessed as working at an advancing stage within the milestone. Some pupils demonstrate a greater depth of understanding. Their use of procedural knowledge (skills) is automatic and they use their semantic knowledge to make connection that are not obvious. These pupils are assessed as working at a deep stage within the milestone.

Assessment

Formative assessment opportunities; ongoing Assessment for Learning, retrieval questions linked to prior learning, low stakes quizzes. These can be used throughout the unit.

Summative assessment opportunities; teacher assessment based on evidence in books and observations of learners in lessons. Medium planning includes POP Tasks (Proof of Progress) based on a basic or advancing question, giving children independent opportunities to demonstrate their learning across a unit.

Impact is monitored through:

  • Teacher assessment
  • Assessment data tracking for progress and attainment
  • Pupil Progress Meetings
  • Lesson observations
  • Learning walks
  • Pupil book study
  • Pupil discussions

Contact Us

Headteacher: Daniel Farthing
Address: William Booth Road
Kings Lynn
PE30 4RR

Tel: 01553 774666
Email: office@fairstead.norfolk.sch.uk

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