Curriculum Rationale and Intent

The Hollyfield Curriculum

Intent: What we want for the Hollyfield child.

Our aim is to provide a curriculum that meets the needs of the Hollyfield Child. Our curriculum allows our children to develop the skills they need to thrive in the future, provides them with new experiences and opportunities which enrich the curriculum and instils a curiosity and love of learning they will continue into adulthood. The curriculum sequence of learning and order of the topic areas have been carefully and strategically planned so that as children move through the school, they can build on and make links to prior learning. This will allow children to know more and remember more. At Hollyfield we believe that children should have a clear understanding of the different subject areas and the skills these require. For example, in History we want children to understand the role of a historian, the skills they need and to understand why history is important to our lives today.

Our topic areas have been carefully allocated to specific year groups to maximise learning and allow children to make purposeful links across different topics. For example, children learn about volcanoes in Year 3 before learning about the Romans and reading Escape to Pompeii in Year 4. In Year 2, children look at the life of the significant figure John Cadbury and learn about how chocolate is made. This links to our rainforest topic in Year 3, where children learn more about the cacao beans and life in the rainforest. In Year 5 when the children study the Ancient Maya civilisation, they really understand the challenges faced living in the rainforests as they have this prior knowledge. Other topics have been chosen because they have links to our local area and our children’s heritage. For example, Year 2 learn about John Cadbury because of the significant changes he made in Birmingham. Year 6 learn about the Falcon Lodge Estate and how it has changed over time because it is significant to them as this is where they live and grow up. To support staff in making links between the different topics, we use knowledge organisers, WOW books and handovers to allow them to have a very clear understanding of our whole curriculum which enables them to make purposeful links across different topic areas in different year groups. Subject leaders have created skills and knowledge progression documents so that staff are confident they are delivering a progressive curriculum that builds on prior knowledge each year. Teachers then use these progression documents to create a curriculum map for each topic area. These curriculum maps include: a key enquiry question that gives their learning purpose and drives the children’s curiosity, identifies transferable skills, highlights key vocabulary, identifies children’s prior knowledge and maps out the best sequence of learning that allows a reflection of previous concepts before building on it again.  At the end of each topic, children complete an innovative and creative task to apply the new knowledge and skills they have learned. These activities are often linked to cultural arts. As part of their topic learning, children are given the opportunity to visit places of interest, complete fieldwork activities, take part in outdoor learning activities, have school sleep overs (space camp) and have visitors in school to enrich our curriculum whilst engaging and captivating the children.

Transferring core skills

We ensure that within our wider curriculum, opportunities are given to the children to apply the skills they have learned in reading, writing and mathematics. Extended pieces of writing are evident in topic books and high-quality texts are used to develop children’s reading.  Maths skills such as place value, statistics and shape are used in the wider curriculum to embed these skills and give them a real-life purpose. In classrooms, bookcases display Geography and History texts, and a set of high-quality guided reading texts have been purchased which are linked to the children’s topics. This allows children to become immersed in the topic area they are studying and read like a historian, designer, or geographer.

Implementation – How we achieve our aims.

We want children to become completely immersed in their learning and have sufficient time to study all areas of learning at a deep level. To enable this, we combine learning in three curriculum subjects – Design Technology, Geography and History – within a theme-based approach. This approach results in high quality learning outcomes as the learning is more purposeful and links back to the key enquiry question.  Ultimately, it makes greater sense to the learner. Teachers are encouraged to make links with other subjects such as dance in PE, Music and Computing if appropriate. For example, …

In all classrooms, the enquiry questions are displayed on the topic working wall and teachers refer to these regularly in their teaching. These enquiry questions challenge the children to contextualise the learning and apply it to real life as well as encouraging children to demonstrate and explain their understanding. Key vocabulary for each subject area is also displayed on those working walls and uses dual coding to support learners of all abilities. Each lesson begins with a ‘flashback four’ or a ‘retrieval quiz’ designed to help children know more and remember more and helps link prior knowledge to the objectives being taught in that lesson. Staff also use subject skill sheets to highlight which skills the children will need in their lesson. For example, as a geographer we are using our observation skills today, or as a historian we are looking at chronology today. Staff use their detailed and well-planned curriculum maps to deliver lessons that are well sequenced and accessible to all children regardless of their ability. At Hollyfield we believe in a culture of ambition for all our children and believe that all children should have equality of opportunity. Because of this, all our lessons are carefully differentiated. Differentiation provides a scaffold to those children who need it and also ensures all children meet the same learning objective. For Art and Design and Technology, staff use a website called Kapow Primary to supplement the curriculum.  Kapow Primary is a fantastic resource that ensures progression of skills across the school and provides videos to support staff’s subject knowledge. In both subject areas we use an overview sheet which makes it explicitly clear to the children which DT or Art skills they will be developing in order to create their final product. In RE we follow the Birmingham Agreed Syllabus and in PSHE, we follow a scheme of work called ‘SCARF’. Following these schemes of works allows us to deliver a curriculum we know is progressive for our children.  In Music, we follow the scheme ‘Music Express’ but supplement it with our own composing lessons to ensure we cover the whole breadth of the Music curriculum. As children move through the school, they also have the opportunity to play a range of musical instruments for example glockenspiel, ukulele and recorders. In computing, we use a scheme called Purple Mash and use ‘Barefoot’ lessons to teach our online safety lessons. In PE, staff follow units of work provided for them. As children move through the school, they develop fundamental movement skills and play a range of invasion, striking and fielding games and racket sports. At the end of a unit of either dance or gymnastics, children perform their work in an assembly. This builds their confidence and provides purpose to their learning.  At Hollyfield we strive to provide children with the skills, knowledge and understanding to inspire a lifelong love of learning. We pride ourselves on providing children with as many hands on experiences as we can and truly believe the curriculum we have developed does this.

To ensure all of our staff have the most up to date research and teaching pedagogy, we undergo regular training. This ensures our children are exposed to the best of what’s been said, thought and written. Some training is provided specifically for our staff to meet the needs of our children, and some training is provided by our trust of schools.

Impact- How our aims impact on the children

Throughout the wider curriculum, we teach knowledge, skills and understanding. As a result of the way our curriculum is planned and designed, knowledge is accumulated over time, skills become more sophisticated and understanding develops as the children progress through the key stages. Our links to cultural arts help our learners to develop creativity and problem solving skills as well as helping them become confident performers. Our ‘juicy mistakes’ help children to ‘have a go’ without fear of failure and encourages them to learn from their mistakes.

As a result of our progressive curriculum, skills are taught and applied with increasing complexity. Our children have the opportunity to apply their skills across the curriculum, whether it is designing their own investigation in Science, evaluating a source of evidence in History or making a product in Design and Technology. Knowledge and understanding develop through applying these skills successfully.  We teach new concepts slowly and recap on prior learning constantly before learning something new. This ensures our children know more and remember more.

Our curriculum is rich in opportunities and as a result, children know about Britain and its history, the things which make Britain great and unique and the role everyone plays from designers to historians to support Great Britain.

Assessing the curriculum:

All foundation subjects are assessed on Classroom Monitor and this is then used to track progress in each subject. The progression of skills, knowledge and understanding document is used to plan from and from this, each topic has a target sheet displayed in the children’s books. These targets are what the teachers use to assess, track and monitor progress. Evidence is gathered from books, photographs and videos as well as the teacher’s knowledge of the pupils. Responses to key questions, oral contributions, use of technical language, explanations and justifications are all used to decide whether a pupil is working at the ‘Expected Standard’ or not. Pupils are assigned a T, A, M or E for each statement and then a judgement is made of the children’s overall achievements in each subject. The crucial element in the wider curriculum is that there is progression of knowledge, skills and understanding as pupils progress through the key stages.