Our curriculum is unique because it is shaped by and for our children. Children have the opportunity to plan with teachers at the beginning of topics and design collaborative ‘learning journeys’. Our pupil’s engagement in learning is high because lessons are stimulating and interesting, allowing for pupils to learn independently, collaboratively and as part of whole classes.
Teachers plan the curriculum around the needs of our children and have the freedom adapt the curriculum in response to the children’s interests. Individual teachers too bring their own interests and these may shape certain aspects of the curriculum, for teacher who has spent some years living in Japan will inspire the children more about this country than another. In order to ensure continuity and progression across subjects, each curriculum area has a subject leader and the whole curriculum is monitored and improved by our assistant head responsible for the curriculum.
The “Practice Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage” (QCA), Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (DFE) and “Child First” (the Surrey Early Years Guidelines) are used to provide a framework for the Early Years Curriculum. The Early Years Curriculum s planned under the headings of the Foundation Stage. The 7 Areas of Learning and Experience are:
- Social and Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Art and Design
All these areas are promoted through use of both indoor and outdoor classrooms. Whenever possible, and appropriate, children’s learning will be through first hand experience and/ or structured play activities with plenty of opportunities for children to talk about what they discover and what they are being taught.
From Key Stage 1, we follow the national curriculum and teach the ‘core’ subjects of Literacy, Numeracy, Science and Information Communication Technology (ICT). Our ‘foundation’ subjects are: Art, Design Technology, Geography, History, Music, Physical Education, Religious Education, Personal Social Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE). In Key Stage 2 we teach French as a modern foreign language.
Our curriculum is based both on looking forwards and looking back. We look back because our shared cultural heritage shapes who we are today but also looks to the future, which is difficult because we do not know what kind of world to prepare the children for. What we do know is that values must be at the heart of the way forward because these will shape the kinds of people our children turn out to be. We know that their values and learning skills will be the key as to whether they can make the best of their learning in the future.
As a result of our INSET day in May 2012, we produced a new overview of Goldsworth’s own innovative and exciting curriculum. In each curriculum area there is an emphasis placed on skills and across all curriculum areas the ‘toolkit for learning’ builds learning skills by encouraging: resourcefulness, resilience, reciprocity and reflectiveness.Our school values, which we agreed upon together at our school development planning day with parents, governors and pupils in September 2011, underpin all learning at school as they form our attitudes towards learning and each other.
In addition to the well planned and comprehension curriculum delivered by our outstanding teaching staff, our TAs and specialist teachers deliver the following learning experiences: Forest Schools, Tennis coaching, Specialist Sports Coaching, Trumpet and Clarinet lessons and gardening. All children have swimming lessons twice a year in our newly improved swimming pool.
The teaching of reading
We aim to foster a love of books in all our children so that they become readers for life. Children are taught to read by a variety of methods including phonics, learning key words and using meaning. Their progress is carefully monitored and a wide range of books (fiction and non-fiction) make up our guided and individual reading schemes.
At Goldsworth, we follow the Jolly Phonics scheme initially, teaching children sounds and letters, then adapt planning from the Phonics Play scheme, combining with other useful resources such as ‘Letters and Sounds’ or ‘Pips’ to meet the needs of our children. The teaching of phonics is organised into groups depending on children’s prior knowledge and progress through letters and sounds. These groups run 3 times a week, for 20 minutes and continue into Years 3 and 4 if necessary.
At Goldsworth, we value guided reading as a means of improving reading skills, comprehension skills and group discussion. All children read as part of a group twice a week, usually outside of the hour’s literacy lesson. The questions that adults ask during guided reading cover the range of Assessment Foci (AF) during the course of several sessions. Children are given the opportunity to discuss these questions as part of the guided reading group.
Help and support
All children receive quality first literacy teaching on a daily basis and activities are differentiated accordingly. In addition, where identified pupils are considered to require targeted support to enable them to work towards age appropriate objectives, intervention programmes will be implemented. Some children are able to have the benefit of 1:1 sessions delivered by our Reading Recovery Teacher. A ‘second wave’ of support is provided through the ECAR project in year 1, where we have two TAs trained to deliver the programme and a ‘third wave’ through the delivery of the ELS programme in KS1 and an ALS programme in lower KS2 if they are necessary. The Better Reading partnership enables teaching assistants and volunteers, who have had half a days’ training, to help children read better throughout the school. These children are listened to read on a 1:1 basis three times a week.
We are very lucky to have a well resourced and efficiently run library for the Junior children at Goldsworth. The borrowing section of our library is electronically logged and children can scan out their own books. We also have an extensive reference section of the library which children can use for independent research during or outside of lesson time. Our librarian helps children select books and fosters a love of books within children at the school.