The National Curriculum
As Shotley Primary is an Academy we do not need to follow the National Curriculum for all subjects. Instead we have designed our own skills and knowledge based curriculum which we feel will be interesting, exciting and relevant to our pupils and give them the skills they will need to be good citizens of the future.
We still use the National Curriculum for English and Maths so that we are able to give our pupils the best chance of learning the right knowledge to enable them to be the best they can be!
The curriculum at Shotley 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 local community and beyond while supporting the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, ensuring that children are well prepared for life in modern Britain with global awareness. It centres around the environment and uses the arts to enhance its outcomes.
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. A project-based curriculum approach has been implemented at the school to ensure coverage and progression in a number of curriculum areas. This approach enables project based learning, fostering each child’s curiosity and interest throughout each topic and also enabling the achievement of depth in knowledge and skills. Projects begin with an essential question eg. 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 as well as engagement with the local community, to enrich children’s learning experiences. High quality visits and visitors to the school enhance the curriculum and provide opportunities for writing for a purpose.
Performing arts have a high profile in the school and the school provides wider opportunities for instrumental lessons and involves Rocksteady music. There is an annual Nativity performance for children in Reception to Year 2 with children in Year 3 – Year 6 taking part in an end of the year production. Shotley School also makes full use of the skills of a wide range of professionals; throughout their time at the school, children will work with specialist coaches as they learn hockey, cricket, dance, gymnastics and work with local artists. The children also take swimming lessons on an annual basis throughout the school. The school holds the ‘Active Schools Silver Award’ for competitive sports.
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.
This curriculum design ensures that the needs of individual and small groups of children can be met within the environment of high-quality first teaching, supported by targeted, research based interventions where appropriate, impacting positively upon children’s outcomes. Enjoyment of the curriculum promotes achievement, confidence and good behaviour. It is designed so that children can build upon previous knowledge, and through the use of researched-based pedagogy techniques, they can retain and apply new knowledge effectively.
The innovative practice across the school also provides a strong foundation and opportunities for children to collaborate and develop social skills both indoors and out and with a range of audiences.
Children will develop a sense of autonomy that allows them to make their own decisions in their learning; they will see themselves as effective learners, will understand resilience and determination, will be able to overcome failure and feel safe to try new things.
At the end of their time at Shotley CP School, children will have studied their local and wider area and will have developed a knowledge and understanding of their local heritage, of place, and a historical and geographical context in where they live, extending their parameters and a perspective of how they fit in today’s world, whilst developing their own sense of what it means to belong. They will also have an awareness of wider and more global places and people in which they, as British citizens, are connected in some way, thereby building empathy and awareness of those beyond their own immediate experience.
In addition to this, they will have developed a sense of their own impact, whether immediate or long term, positive, or not so positive, on others and the world including their impact upon the environment, and how they can make changes.
Children have opportunities to share their learning with each other, their parents and carers and other learners through authentic outcomes that are school or locally -based with 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.