Sandcross is an inclusive school and, as such, our approach to our curriculum complies with our duties to fulfil the Equality Act 2010 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 to ensure our curriculum is accessible for those with disabilities or special educational needs.
With our values underpinning all the work we do, our children should learn together in an atmosphere of high expectations, mutual respect and friendship.
We believe every child has the right to be a successful and confident citizen who is able to understand and contribute to the world they live in. We want our children to be passionate about learning and to understand the wonders of the world around them as they journey through life.
We believe that any child, regardless of background, given the right provision, can thrive.
At its core, our curriculum is about enabling a better understanding of how life works interdependently and how everything interconnects in a complex web of relationships that work in ever changing, awe-inspiring ways.
Our curriculum is designed to challenge, develop and nurture the “Whole Child‟ with a mission of “Inspiring Lifelong Success‟ so our children leave Sandcross as well rounded individuals who have the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in our future world.
Implementation - So, how are we going to deliver this?
Our curriculum is delivered through learning enquiries with the six driving Principles of Diversity, Cycle, Health, Adaptation, Interdependence and Oneness. As children seek truth and develop the skills to question, research and generate knowledge, they are encouraged to find resolutions to the questions raised. High quality oracy, reasoning, problem solving and with a growth mindset, our children enjoy a knowledge and skills rich learning environment where memorable experiences excite, engage and develop our children’s understanding. Half-termly visits and outdoor learning ensure that children are immersed in their enquiries and demonstrate their understanding with life long memories.
Our curriculum nurtures the ‘whole child’ by igniting their potential with extensive opportunities in music, sport, drama and a comprehensive after school clubs offer.
Impact - What difference is this curriculum making to our children?
Children leave Sandcross with the ability to think for themselves, be resilient, kind, respectful and responsible. Ultimately, we want children to be socially, morally, spiritually and culturally responsible and aware; how to make positive contributions to the local community and how to endeavour to be the best that they can be. We aim for all of our children to leave Sandcross skilful, ambitious and with a thirst for life and all it has to offer.
We Inspire Lifelong Success
Through each topic, our curriculum aims (in green above) will be at its core and every half term, children’s will have a driver where all content will flow throughout the half term. Through these drivers, children will develop a deeper knowledge about the world around them and what their responsibility is within it.
Our curriculum is delivered through values-based learning enquiries with the six drivers at the heart of each:
Focus driver each half term
The Driver of Diversity – Diversity is a strength and is celebrated
The Drver of the Cycle – Many aspects of our world works in cycles
The Driver of Adaptation – Adaptation is essential for us to survive and thrive
The Driver of Health – We all need to be healthy
The Driver of Oneness – Wellbeing is vital for reconnecting and growing
The Driver of Interdependence – Everything in our world is connected
Organisation and planning
We plan our curriculum in three phases. We agree on a long-term plan for each year group. This indicates what topics are to be taught in each term, and to which groups of children. We review our long-term plan on an annual basis.
With our medium-term plans, we give clear guidance on the objectives and teaching strategies that we use when teaching each topic. We are following the new 2014 National Curriculum guidance along with age expectations documents in English and Maths, which teachers prepare half termly that link to children’s stage and interests. Other foundation subjects are based on skills development and we make use of national schemes of work for much of our medium-term planning in the foundation subjects.
Our short-term plans are those that our teachers write on a weekly or daily basis. We use these to set out the learning objectives and success criteria for each session along and closely link these to age expectations documents, and to identify what resources and activities we are going to use in the lesson. Planning relates to children’s age and stage to ensure assessment and planning are linked
In the Foundation Stage and at Key Stage 1 we adopt an interdisciplinary topic approach to curriculum planning. We plan the curriculum carefully, so that there is coherence and full coverage of all aspects of the National Curriculum and early learning goals, and there is planned progression in all curriculum areas.
At Key Stage 2 the curriculum at our school places a greater emphasis on the core and foundation subjects than it does at Key Stage 1, and we teach these subjects separately. This means that, for example, a child may concentrate in one term on a history topic, and then switch to a greater emphasis on geography in the next term. Over the three terms of the academic year, each child has the opportunity to experience the full range of National Curriculum subjects.
Children with special needs
The curriculum in our school is designed to provide access and opportunity for all children who attend the school. If we think it necessary to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of individual children, then we do so only after the parents of the child have been consulted.
If a child has a special need, our school does all it can to meet these individual needs. We comply with the requirements set out in the SEN Code of Practice in providing for children with special needs. If a child displays signs of having special needs, his/her teacher makes an assessment of this need. In most instances the teacher is able to provide resources and educational opportunities which meet the child’s needs within the normal class organisation. If a child’s need is more severe, we if necessary, use the support provided by Learning Support Assistants, and we involve the appropriate external agencies
The Foundation Stage
The curriculum that we teach in Reception and Nursery meets the requirements set out in the revised National Curriculum at Foundation Stage. Our curriculum planning focuses on the Early Learning Goals and on developing children’s skills and experiences, as set out in this document.
Our school fully supports the principle that young children learn through play, and by engaging in well-planned structured activities. Teaching in the reception class builds on the experiences of the children in their pre-school learning. We do all we can to build positive partnerships with the variety of nurseries and other pre-school providers in the area.
During the children’s first term in the reception class, their teacher begins to record the skills of each child on entry to the school. This assessment forms an important part of the future curriculum planning for each child. The Foundation Stage Profile is used to assess children’s progress during the year.
We are well aware that all children need the support of parents and teachers to make good progress in school. We strive to build positive links with the parents of each child by keeping them informed about the way in which the children are being taught and how well each child is progressing.
Monitoring and review
Our Local committee is responsible for monitoring the way the school curriculum is implemented. This committee reviews each subject area according to the policy review timetable.
We have named governors for all areas of the curriculum. The governors liaise with the subject leaders of these areas, and monitor closely the way the school teaches these subjects.
The headteacher is responsible for the day to day organisation of the curriculum. The headteacher and senior staff quality assure intent, implementation and impact of all subjects, ensuring that all classes are taught the full requirements of the National Curriculum.
Subject leaders monitor the way their subject is taught throughout the school. They examine long-term and medium-term planning, and ensure that appropriate teaching strategies are used. Subject leaders also have responsibility for monitoring the way in which resources are stored and managed.
The colours on the below overview relate directly to the colour of the subject overviews further down this document. This is to give a brief idea at a glance about which subject is the main focus for a topic e.g. Year 1 superheroes (orange) is the same colour as the history (orange) overview as this is a history-focused topic (though other subjects will be weaved throughout the topic due to our cross-curricular approach.
Language and Communication (English including reading, writing and phonics; Oracy; and French);
Understanding the World (Geography, History, Eco and Religious Education);
Health and Wellbeing (Personal, Social and Health Education; Physical Education; and Relationships and Sex Education);
STEM (Science, Design Technology, Computing, Economics and Mathematics);
The Arts (Art, Music and Drama).
Principles drivers for our Curriculum
Our principle drivers provide the context for all our learning enquiries. We link each enquiry to a driver and both during and at the end of each enquiry, we ask our children to evaluate both what they learnt through the enquiry and what the principle means to them.
At its core, our drivers are about enabling a better understanding of how life works interdependently and how everything interconnects in a complex web of relationships that work in ever changing, awe-inspiring ways.
The Driver of the Cycle – Everything works in cycles
We want our children to be able to see how cycle works in our word - from nature's seasons to their own cyclical habits.
We can do this in many ways. We can get them to close the loop on food, growing it, harvesting it, preparing and eating it, and then composting any food waste back into the soil. We can ask them to review packaging so that the only materials we use are both sustainably sourced and able to be recycled. In our plastic dominated culture this is not easy, but it is a great challenge for them. We can work with them to learn about and enrich our local biodiversity, be it planting in avenues of native trees or banks of wildflowers. We can get them to manage our energy so that we consume less and save more. We know that reducing CO2 emissions is critical to a stable climate into the future. Without a stable climate, the cycles that we depend upon will be de-stabilised and increasingly unpredictable. Perhaps most importantly of all, we can help them to understand that cycles have limits and that if we live beyond these limits we undermine the capacity of the world to sustain us
The Principle of Interdependence – Everything is connected
The principle of interdependence helps us to understand that everything is connected. We see these inter-relationships at work through ecosystems where every element of the system has a value and a role to play, and also in our own communities when they work well. So, when we plan out learning, the starting point is to see how we can link learning together to give it greater meaning, rather than teaching through separate subjects with little or no connection from one subject to another. We can still teach subject specific skills and knowledge, but the application is to something much more joined up. The principle of interdependence also reminds us of the importance of good relationships if we are to work well together and the values culture we need to create to enable a collaborative approach to learning to be successful.
The Principle of Diversity – Diversity is a strength
The richness and strength in our world lies in its diversity. Life would certainly be poorer without it, but how much are we asking our young to learn about and become experts in the amazing diversity that exists in the world?
In school we place great importance to this principle of diversity. We want our children to grow up understanding that diversity is a good thing and to give our children a role in promoting it. Ultimately we want them to become authorities in diversity and to realise that we need to promote diversity in all things, including how we teach and learn, as much as how we plant and grow. This richness is what makes our world well.
Valuing the uniqueness of each of them is of course the starting point for this principle.
The Principle of Adaptation – Adaptation is essential for us to survive and thrive
The principle of adaptation teaches us that just as nature has been brilliantly adapted to its place through millions of years of refinement, so it makes sense to adapt our learning or at least key elements of our learning to our place. Through this idea of adaptation, we can find ways to connect learning more fully to the idea of local and the communities in which we live, to learn more about their history and traditions, what it is that we value about them and what we might want to change. It opens up opportunities for our young people to be designers, to consider how our place might be adapted into the future to make it a better place to live. Importantly, it provides opportunities to connect to those in our communities who have wisdom, knowledge and expertise to share with our young people. When this approach works well, it builds a real sense of belonging.
The Principle of Health – We all need to be healthy
Nature teaches us health. It is inherently healthy. We all need to learn what it means to live healthy lives. It therefore makes sense to put health at the heart of all that we do. We can learn about health in our play, in our relationships, in the food that we eat. We can also learn about health in terms of the air, water and soil and what that means in terms of how we run our school. If we believe health is fundamental to a good life, we need to find ways to teach health and practise health as much as possible.
The Principle of Oneness – We are Nature
As well as the physical well-being, there is the mental well-being that comes from stimulating, challenging learning. This is an area that education has to get right if we want our children to grow up with a real love and passion for learning. This doesn’t happen when the teacher talks too much. It does happen however when children and young people are engaged in relevant projects of learning and when the teacher’s role in turn informs and questions what they do. This requires the teacher to have a constant awareness of where the children are in their learning and what needs to provoke that learning to the next stage. But is this what we are training our teachers to do? When we get this balance right, the children really do thrive. It is a huge part of what makes them healthy.
Alongside that, our children must learn the value of reflection times and stillness to refocus or clear their minds. As they grow, they begin to realise that moments of deep quiet can lead to moments of great revelation. This practice is gaining in popularity in schools across the world and it is having a beneficial impact on many young people. It is essential to their future well-being. We must keep encouraging it.
The culture within which this health initiative is set is a values culture where values are explicitly taught so that the children grow up with a foundation of values that underpin how they live their lives. These values need to be lived out, too. Children need opportunities to lead projects of change based on what they think is important. They need time to plan out and prepare for their projects and they need time to make them happen.
Nature teaches us that we are all one. The patterns we see around us in Nature exist in us, too. When we notice that the Fibonacci spiral of our curled index finger is the same shape as that of a snail shell or an unfurled fern or the galaxy’s swirling spiral across the night sky, we understand this.
With this understanding, we also realise that when we damage, degrade or pollute Nature, we do it to ourselves as well because we are wholly dependent on the health and well-being of the world around us. Our starting point therefore is to value the natural world and to treat it with the greatest respect because it sustains us. With such demands on natural resources, we must educate our young people to understand how to value and respect these resources and live within the carrying capacity of the world.