When we began the process of developing the curriculum at Fairstead, we started with the questions ‘What are our drivers?’ and ‘What do the children need to receive here that they would not elsewhere?’ The answers to these questions were derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our students, our beliefs about high quality education and our values.
The drivers for our curriculum are possibilities, community and independence. 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.
Our curriculum aims to:
- Provide a broad and balanced education for all pupils
- Enable pupils to develop knowledge, understand concepts and acquire skills, and be able to choose and apply these in relevant situations
- Support pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
- Support pupils’ physical development and responsibility for their own health, and enable them to be active
- Promote a positive attitude towards learning
- Ensure equal access to learning, with high expectations for every pupil and appropriate levels of challenge and support
- Ensure knowledge is retained in long-term memory
- Enable pupils to have the knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British values
Our curriculum is based on the EYFS Development Matters document for children from birth to age 5. It is for all children, including those with SEND. This curriculum is followed throughout Nursery and Reception.
The four core principles of the EYFS are:
- 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.
Through play in a secure environment with effective adult support, children will focus on the following areas of learning:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Making relationships
- Self-confidence and Self-awareness
- Managing feelings and behaviour
- Physical Development
- Moving and Handling
- Health and Self-care
- Communication and Language
- Listening and attention
- Literacy – Reading, Writing
- Mathematics –Numbers, Shape, space and measures
- Understanding the World
- People and Communities
- The World
- Expressive Arts and Design
We aim to promote the learning and development of our youngest children and ensure they are ready for Key Stage 1.
KS1 and 2
At Keystage 1 and 2 we have a spiral, knowledge based curriculum based on National Curriculum expectations. In order to ensure 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.
Progression is measured using milestones at Year 1 and 2, Year 3 and 4, and Year 5 and 6, which define the standards for the threshold concepts. Children develop their understanding of these concepts through the first year at a basic level, securing and deepening their knowledge through the second year. The high degree of repetition over time in different contexts ensures knowledge enters our pupil’s long-term memories and is retained. Tasks change during the second phase of each milestone to ensure appropriate challenge.
Teachers set high expectations for all pupils. They will use appropriate assessment to set ambitious targets and plan challenging work for all groups, including:
- More able pupils
- Pupils with low prior attainment
- Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds
- Pupils with SEN
- Pupils with English as an additional language (EAL)
Teachers will 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.
Teachers will also take account of the needs of pupils whose first language is not English. Lessons will be 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.
Across school, our curriculum is arranged in half termly or termly blocks of study. Varied topics are chosen to support learning but also to interest the children.
EYFS classes follow a two year topic plan, with all classes completing the same topics at the same time, but with activities and learning suited to their stage of learning. Texts are chosen to be the heart of this learning and are closely linked to the planned topics. Units of work start with a stunning start activity, and end with a fantastic finish. Continuous provision is planned for and the inside and outside learning environment plays a key part in supporting and encouraging independent learning to take place.
Keystage 1 and 2 follow a half termly or termly topic plan. Subjects are taught discretely, but teachers plan links between subjects, and also links between previously taught knowledge. Year group topic plans show the milestones which will be evidenced across each unit. The milestones are repeated frequently in different activities and in different contexts. This supports retention in long term memory. Planning also identifies key vocabulary and opportunities for outside visits or activities. Topic plans also show the teaching of RE (led by the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus) and RSHE.
More information on the intent, implementation and impact of each subject can be found on our curriculum subject pages.
We carefully assess pupils to ensure they are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum. 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.
In Keystage 1 and 2, ongoing Assessment for Learning and formative assessment help to build a picture of what children can do. By the end of each milestone, we would expect the majority of children to have a deep understanding of the content- they remember it all and are fluent in it. Some pupils will have a greater depth of understanding. Teachers use ongoing teacher assessments and summative testing to assess the children at the end of each term to measure the impact of teaching.
Statutory testing for Y1 Phonics Check, Y2 SATs, Y4 Multiplication check and Y6 SATs occur in the summer term.
Regular monitoring takes place through observations, book looks and by gaining pupil voice.
Our curriculum will be reviewed at the end of each academic year.
Please click the following link to see the overview:-