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The Curriculum at Pluckley Church of England Primary School
At Pluckley Primary School we have developed a Skills based Creative Curriculum where the children from Year R -6 learn through a thematic approach. We place a very high priority on helping children to think for themselves, to take on responsibility for their own learning and to be creative and innovative. This approach allows working in depth to give children the time they need to consolidate learning and placing direct experience at the centre of the curriculum
Our school aims to provide as broad a curriculum as possible to suit the varying aptitudes, interests and abilities of its pupils. Every effort is made to provide a happy, caring environment in which children can feel secure, be encouraged to give of their best, develop a positive attitude to all the learning processes, and feel part of an integrated community. In this way, we will be able to fulfil our mission statement.
‘Enjoying, Learning and Achieving Together’
Strong emphasis is placed on self-confidence and self-motivation; the development of self-respect and respect for others, and the appreciation of the need for sound learning habits. The school aims to provide a balanced curriculum for the education of the whole child, so that the intellectual, physical, emotional, aesthetic, moral and spiritual development might be assured. Children actively input into the planning of each topic so that it can be relevant and exciting for them.
The statutory programmes for the National Curriculum are undertaken throughout the school. The detail of our National Curriculum delivery is set out below.
‘Creating the conditions for children to develop confidence in themselves as learners, discoverers and critical thinkers is vital in a rapidly changing world.’
Smarden and Pluckley Primary Schools are dedicated to make reading a stimulating, engaging and creative experience that allows a culture of enthusiasm, appreciation and confidence across all areas of the curriculum. By reading in school we aim to create a generation of young readers that are independent, have a varied and diverse vocabulary and that celebrate our unique literacy heritage. We hope to unlock the potential in all children, encouraging lively and enquiring minds that expand both their own horizons and the world in which the live. This is alongside the pleasure of creativity, imagination and discovery that is inherent in all reading.
As reading enables children to access to all areas of the curriculum and the wider world, it is a subject that is taken very seriously by staff members. As a result, class teachers at Smarden and Pluckley have dedicated reading sessions daily and regularly encourage independent reading, both in school and at home in partnership with parents and carers. Children are actively encouraged to read a variety of genres, styles and techniques in order to make learning varied, accessible and enjoyable. As such, all teachers aim to use a multisensory approach that uses methods such as audiobooks, guest speakers, drama, film, theatre and e-books as well as exciting and relevant books in the classrooms in order to make reading accessible to all learners, no matter their preferred learning styles. Comprehension material will be discussed in groups and written comprehensions will be done on a regular basis in order to help build skills that may be needed in later life. We use a variety of reading schemes in order to try and achieve this.
By building children’s skills and enthusiasm, we hope to inspire young minds to read for pleasure, enjoyment and knowledge throughout their entire lives.
At our schools we believe using a range of reading schemes, such as Rigby Star and Reading Rockets, alongside exploring real books is very important. The school uses a mixture of Letters and Sounds program and Jolly Phonics to teach phonics.
Writing, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
At Pluckley Primary School, we recognise that English has a pre-eminent place in education and society, and that the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.
An important aspect of learning to write well is learning how to use grammar, punctuation and spelling correctly. We teach grammar, punctuation and spelling as their own subjects and within our Literacy lessons to ensure that the children are confident. We then embed this learning throughout the topic through the other subjects, such as science experiment write ups, historical recounts and geographical comparison pieces.
Through engaging lessons, we aim to foster a love of literacy and language and an enjoyment of learning. We challenge children of all abilities and ensure they make good progress in all areas of the English National Curriculum. They are encouraged to have a growth mind-set and to develop the skills of perseverance and resilience. Through our creative curriculum, pupils are given a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We celebrate children’s hard work and effort, as well as their success. They are encouraged to revisit their work, making changes and developing their ideas to ensure they achieve their best.
Our goal is for our children to have a strong command of both the written and spoken word underpinned by an appreciation of our literary heritage.
At our federated schools our mission is to create life-long mathematicians. Our vision is for all pupils to become independent learners with lively enquiring minds who seek pleasure in Mathematical Mastery which in turn prepares children for the wider world.
Maths Mastery is where students must achieve a level of mastery in prerequisite knowledge before moving forward to learn new skills. This is supported by the National Curriculum (DfE, 2013) which clearly specifies its three aims of developing fluency, reasoning and problem solving.
These aims will be achieved by providing stimulating, practical lessons, the opportunity to question and explain and to develop a deep mathematical vocabulary.
Teaching will incorporate various approaches which will meet the needs of different learning styles within the classroom for example kinesthetic, spatial and auditory learners. It will include physical activity, manipulatives, practical tasks, real life problems and cross curricular link.
Pupils will work in groups, with learning partners and independently each ensuring they develop the skill to clarify their understanding for others and themselves. The understanding of the 'how's' and 'why's' is now extremely important. Being able to clearly communicate ideas is essential.
The school will create a learning environment that ensures all children succeed.
‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’ -Mark Twain.
At Pluckley Primary School our vision is reflected through the belief that scientific enquiry is at the core of all scientific learning. This vision is delivered by enthusiastic members of staff whose aim it is to inspire our children by giving them opportunities to peruse their natural curiosity; allowing them to explore a rich learning environment, providing them with a range of scientific resources; developing their investigative skills in and out of the classroom in a range of contexts and assisting them in developing an appreciation of the nature of science. We encourage our children to ask questions, make observations, take risks and we listen to their ideas, using these as the foundations for their learning, to ensure that they are able to continually evolve their knowledge and understanding of the ever changing world around them.
Our science learning takes place in a safe environment where the children feel confident enough and are encouraged to make mistakes, to enable them to reflect and learn from them.
Our science lessons are incorporated within our creative curriculum, this enables the children to make connections between ideas and to promote an understanding of how they are developed and applied beyond the classroom.
Recognising its historic foundations, Pluckley Church of England Primary School preserves and develops its religious character in accordance with the principles of the Church of England and in partnership with the Church at parish and diocesan level.
Through the provision of Religious Education we aim to:
The teaching of RE at Pluckley Church of England Primary School has two main parts:
1. Knowledge, skills and understanding
2. Breadth of Study - Religions and beliefs
Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
RE in the Early years is linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum through the Early Learning Goals. Christianity is the main religion taught at this early stage, with other religions drawn on as appropriate. During the Foundation Stage children begin to explore the world of religion in terms of special people, special books, special times, special places, special objects and visiting places of worship.
Children listen to and talk about religious stories. They are introduced to specialist worlds and use their senses in exploring religions beliefs, practices and forms of expression. They reflect on their own feelings and experiences. They use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation of, and wonder at the world in which we live.
Key Stage One: RE is predominantly about Christianity, with at least one other principal religion: Hinduism as the principal and Judaism as the subsidiary. Children also study a religious community with significant presence locally, where appropriate.
Key Stage Two: we build on the foundations laid at Key Stage One. Christianity is taught and at least two other principal religions: Judaism and Islam. Sikhism is taught in Year 6 at a subsidiary level to provide a "bridging unit" for transition to Secondary School, where it is taught in Year 7.
Children also study a religious community with a significant presence locally and a secular world view, where possible.
We recognise history as a valuable subject and make every effort to make it as real and relevant for children by incorporating it as the focus of the creative curriculum topics. Such topics include the Tudors, Romans and Egyptians. They often include trips out to places that will help the children's learning really come to life Canterbury, Maidstone museum workshops and the British Museum The younger children often learn about the more recent past with various projects on such topics as Great Fire of London, Grandparents, Pocohontas/Native American Indians, Man on the Moon and Seaside Holidays.
We recognise geography as a vital subject and make every effort to make it as real and relevant for children by incorporating it in our Creative curriculum topics - often as the focus of it. A growing sense of locality is the general thrust for geography and, wherever possible, we make the most of every opportunity to take the children to places close to the school for their study eg the seashore, Kent etc.
Design and Technology
We believe DT is an important part of primary education and include all the features of the National Curriculum system in our planning.
At Pluckley Primary School we aim for our children to be confident, competent and discerning users of digital technology, preparing them for the participation in a rapidly changing technological world. We believe that having the knowledge and understanding of e-safety issues is a fundamental skill within computing and we ensure that we are continually encouraging children to become responsible and thoughtful users.
Our schools ensure that they are providing the children with a safe environment so that they can experiment with and develop their computing skills independently, with the knowledge that they are free from harm. Information and communication technology is an integral part of the national curriculum and is a key skill for everyday life. Computers, programmable robots and digital video cameras are a few of the tools that can be used to acquire, organise, store, manipulate, interpret, communicate and present information. These skills are then incorporated within our creative curriculum to aid and enhance the learning in other curriculum areas.
Our enthusiastic staff ensure that they are digitally developing their children in all areas of the curriculum, ensuring that they are able to evaluate and use a range of technologies, including those that are new and unknown; understand what algorithms are and how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; understand computer networks including the internet and know how they can provide multiple services, such as the World Wide Web and have an appreciation of how search results are selected and ranked.
Music lessons takes place each week for each class. This year the school have purchased a class set of Ukuleles and the children from all classes have enjoyed learning this instrument. A significant number of the children have individual or small group lessons (on a fee paying basis) during the week on instruments such as the piano, keyboards and guitar.
PE and Games
In our school we believe that physical education is an essential part of a child’s educational development. Or children are inspired to engage in physical activity, raise their attainment, extend their potential and develop a lifelong active lifestyle.
By placing PE and sport at the heart of a broad and balanced curriculum we aim to offer a variety of activities to enhance skills in physical education. Positive participation in physical education that will enable children to build, self-esteem, team work and positive attitudes in P.E. allowing each child to be the best that they can be by :
· Improving health and well-being
· Providing high quality opportunities and outcomes
· Encouraging community involvement
· Promoting lifelong learning, active participation and competition
· Raising achievement and supporting excellence
· Having the emotional and thinking skills to achieve in PE and sport
Our vision will be delivered by enthusiastic staff allowing all children the opportunity for an enjoyable physical education throughout the schools. We aim to celebrate achievement at all levels and provide physical activities that are diverse and appeal to all children.
PE is not only important for children health but also their wellbeing. By employing a specialist team of trained staff and coaches’ children gain an in-depth experience of many different aspects of physical activity including a Military ethos based course covering many of the OAA aspects. We also have residential trips.
Physical education encourages pupils to be active and supports them in their understanding of how to participate safely and effectively. They understand the barriers to participation and work to overcome these for themselves and others. Our PE curriculum will be inclusive and ensure that pupils of all abilities access the range of activities we offer and that they are physically active for sustained periods of time in order to encourage them to lead healthy, active lives. There will also be opportunities for pupils to take on leadership roles in which they can build character and embed values such as fairness and respect.
Art and Design
The children receive opportunities to explore materials and use a variety of media. Art, along with Music and PE are seen as important developmental points for primary aged children and we seek to show them enjoyment of the arts as well as learning practical skills.
Personal, Social, Health Education
The subject is usually known as PSHE. Work centres on helping children understand about relationships, their own feelings and issues relating to growing up e.g. friendships, bullying, personal changes. The work is often done in circle time where the children have an opportunity to talk about issues. Recently the Government have given primary schools guidelines on citizenship and these are part of our PSHE programme.
Modern Foreign Languages
“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” Frank Smith
Knowledge of a modern foreign language is a skill increasingly sought by employers. We believe that early introduction to learning a modern foreign language at primary level supports a love for, and confidence in, learning a new language. Additionally, it also lays the foundations for successful foreign language learning at KS3 and provides opportunities for our children to experience and appreciate other rich and diverse cultures.
Although, the teaching of MFL is only compulsory from KS2, we believe that all children, even our youngest, enjoy and benefit from learning a foreign language.
Lessons are planned to be exciting, interactive, multi-sensory and engaging, where all children are challenged and achieve. Interactive teaching programs are used to further children’s learning both at home and school. Learning is linked to the creative curriculum wherever possible and a Language Day celebrates and focuses on the culture as well as the language. To make their learning purposeful and relevant, we are developing links with other schools so that we can offer KS2 children pen pals with whom they may exchange letters.
Sex education is an integral part of the Personal, Social and Health Education curriculum. Governors have agreed a Sex Education Policy in line with Kent Guidelines.
Our Residential Trips are very popular. They are the ultimate adventure education trip and an outdoor learning experience that allows every child to develop. Pupils are challenged in a safe, fun and friendly environment through a series of activities that involve collaboration, problem solving, new skills and confidence building.
Our Year 4 children go to a PGL centre – Windmill Hill in East Sussex for a couple of nights. There is a longer trip for our Year 6 group who attend the Bowles Activity Centre, which offers the next challenging stage in the children’s outdoor learning.