At Ordsall Primary School excellence in teaching and enjoyment of learning is at the heart of what we do. It is our intent that our curriculum provides children with rich, vibrant and memorable experiences that promote a progression of skills, knowledge and understanding which can be applied across the whole curriculum. Our curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 alongside the PSHE Programme of Study developed by the PSHE Association, the Religious Education agreed syllabus of Southwell Diocese and other experiences and opportunities which best meet the learning and developmental needs of the children in our school. (These documents can be found by clicking on the subject links below)
At Ordsall Primary School the ancient proverb I hear things, and I forget them. I see things, and I remember them. I do things, and I understand them is the central pillar of what we do. This means that we implement our curriculum through the delivery of learning opportunities, in a contextualised and creative way, across the whole curriculum through first-hand experience. It is our mission that Ordsall children will not only understand and remember what they learn but they will learn how to learn, apply their knowledge and cement their learning and the strategies they develop for the future.
The aim of our curriculum is to offer our children a rich and exciting curriculum and experiences which are influenced by the local area and local needs. The curriculum offers breadth and cultural diversity, through work such as Black History Month or through work in music and RE, so that our children can develop a deep body of knowledge which they can not only apply creatively in their learning but that they will also become aware of wider society. In this way we are preparing our children for the next stages of their lives.
Recent research by the Creative Industries Federation and the Department For Education indicates that by 2024 and beyond there will be an increase in creative and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) occupations and by 2030 Pearson predicts that interpersonal skills, cognitive skills and system skills will be in high demand. As a result of this research we are developing a curriculum which builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children, whatever their starting points, so that they can be the best that they can be. This includes meaningful learning experiences to bring this to life, such as our recent work in 2021 on a project called "Think Like An Engineer", when the children across the whole school engaged with STEAM activities (science, technology, engineering art and mathematics) led by the University of Sheffield and the Innovation District.
The school delivers a series of programmes to support the development of children’s mental health and well-being. The school engaged with a pilot project led by York University and the Education Endowment Fund to develop our approach to the teaching of metacognition. Metacognition is now a central piece to all of our learning, with children encouraged, supported, taught and shown how to become resilient and be unafraid of failure. This is supported through the use of an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant and a Mental Health First Aider, who engages with children to support them to acquire techniques to manage their emotions. As a result of this work, the school prioritised the following for the staff and children's return to school, following the periods of National Lockdown.
Developing children’s independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future citizens is also at the heart of all our teaching and learning. Children have opportunities to share their learning with each other, their parents and carers, the community and other learners through school-based performances, competitions and events involving other schools and local exhibitions.
Our children study a broad range of subjects so that they access the full curriculum. It is not narrowed. The school first began it's work to construct a curriculum during 2018-19. The aim was for it to be ambitious and designed to give all pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils and including pupils with SEND, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. The requirements of the National Curriculum are delivered through the curriculum, which has been developed with support, to ensure full coverage and progression across the school.
The curriculum that has been designed has been coherently planned using set Milestones within each year group. These milestones indicate not only the knowledge that the children will gain during the term, but also the skills progression within each subject. This means that the children develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum which move them forward, in a sequenced way, towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge for future learning. This ensures not only that we are planning for the children to do more, know more and remember more but they are also developing key skills in each subject that are transferable across the different topic areas that they will study. In short, they are learning how to learn not only for today but for their future through the development of subject specific skills.
The more able are challenged further to deepen their learning and children who find aspects of their learning more difficult are appropriately supported by additional staff and resources so that they too are enabled to experience success. National requirements and school requirements are mapped out for individual year groups, who then use the long and medium term plans to plan the delivery of the curriculum for their children accordingly. These plans have been carefully and collaboratively devised so that any new teachers to the school, for example Newly Qualified Teachers, are able to pick up the curriculum as they begin to work at the school with support from their colleagues so that there is no hiatus in children's learning.
Following the periods of National Lockdown the school has returned to developing its work on curriculum transition from EYFS to Year 1 and beyond. As our children enter Year 1 they consolidate the Early Learning Goals of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and over the first half of the Autumn Term the majority of children progress to the National Curriculum. Throughout this period and beyond, all children are still developing their phonic knowledge through the Read Write Inc programme, developing their fluency in reading through the daily phonics lesson.
Our curriculum is underpinned by Fundamental British Values and the school’s code of conduct and these are embedded through many areas of the curriculum. Assemblies focus on issues such as tolerance, understanding, equality, resilience, diversity and democracy as well as cultural and annual events and celebrations. Music and the cultural significance of it is celebrated and explained through the celebration of different styles of music from different times written and performed by a range of composers and performers.
Visitors and role models come to the school as part of our first hand experience approach to develop both subject and the wider curriculum. These have included sports men and women, members of religious denominations, theatre companies, writers, artists, people from charitable organisations, motivational speakers and people with a range of backgrounds, jobs and roles and the Chief Operating Officer of SUMO Digital , one of the world's leading computer games design companies. These visits not only contribute to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the children, which is woven into every aspect of school life, but they support the core values of our society and the children’s aspirations and dreams.
The English and mathematics curriculum have been developed internally and are supported through our links with the East Midlands Support Service, which is led by Education Improvement Advisers, the Trent Valley Teaching School Alliance and the Candlebury Lane Teaching School Alliance. English and maths are taught discretely but wherever and whenever possible learning is linked to foundation subjects and topics to demonstrate its application and purpose. These subjects are taught throughout Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 with a flexible group approach. This is driven by pre assessment tasks that assess what children do and do not know within a new concept. More targeted ability grouping is introduced in Year 2 and Year 6 as children prepare for external assessments, but not at the expense of our core values and principles. In all year groups there are small group interventions such as triage and pre-teach in order to support children in gaining the key skills to become successful readers, writers and mathematicians. Following the periods of Lockdown the school prioritised reading, early language development and number fluency through a series of a structured intervention and catch-up programmes across all year groups.
More specialist coaches and teachers support the teaching of Physical Education, Computing, Art and Music. Through their use, the teachers own subject knowledge in these areas is developed so that all of our staff can provide the very best education in these subjects. All subject leaders are given training and opportunity to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding so that they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school. Theme days, weeks, whole school activities and opportunities within and outside school all enrich and develop the children’s learning. After school club, to support families, along with other events and a wide range of clubs provision extend these opportunities further.
The outdoor environment and the local community are considered an exciting opportunity for active learning for all our children. Through the use of the unique community and environment in which the school is situated the children are able to learn first-hand about the contribution this area has made to the culture and history of the area, country and internationally, for example the Mayflower and the development of the railway. The school grounds have been continually developed so they can enrich different curriculum areas and the children have the opportunity to participate in a full range of activities to enhance their experience such as sports or Outdoor Adventurous Activities provided by the school or outside providers. These experiences are then built on through residential activities for children to areas of our country that are contrasting or have played an integral role in significant events. These experiences allow the children to connect vividly with their learning back in the classroom.
If you would like to see our intent in action please follow the school on Twitter @OrdsallSchool or each year groups using https://www.ordsallprimary.com/class-pages/ tor go to https://ordsallprimary.primarysite.media/ to see examples of our work.