Our School Curriculum
At Spring Gardens Primary School we have designed an inclusive curriculum that places our core values and character skills at its centre. We know that children learn best when they are safe, happy and valued. We believe that everybody who attends our school has the right to;
- be happy
- be valued
- be safe.
Our curriculum is underpinned by our ethos of; CARING LEARNING ACHIEVING
We strive to:
- Broaden children’s horizons and enrich their cultural capital
- Provide children with essential skills for a lifelong love of learning and an understanding of the world-past, present and future
- Nurture high aspirations
- Develop rounded individuals who are valued and valuable members of our modern society.
- Ensure that children have healthy minds and bodies
- Champion confident, independent and inquisitive learners
As a school, we have recognised there are specific character skills which we want to promote as we believe they form the bedrock of our school’s Golden Rules. We firmly believe they will prepare our children for life in the wider community and their future ahead of them.
These skills are referred to as RESPECT:
Resilience, Empathy, Self awareness, Positivity, Excellence, Communication and Teamwork
Our rich and varied curriculum ensures a range of experiences that embodies the academic, spiritual, moral and social and cultural aspects of life in our society. The curriculum is designed to have the highest expectations of all children, ensuring that achievement is never capped or restricted. Staff have a clear understanding of the planned outcomes and children know what they are learning, how it all fits together and what they need to do to reach those end goals. We strongly believe that our meaningful curriculum enriches the lives of our young people, makes them proud of their British values and enables them to contribute more effectively to the diverse community of which we are at the heart. We are committed to addressing social disadvantage through our continually developing curriculum that aims to ensure that all children have the best chances possible in life. The curriculum is designed to foster thought, curiosity and a desire for learning in all children, regardless of their starting points.
We are proud of the opportunities we provide that enable children to grow in the skills, knowledge and resilience that results in lifelong learners with a passion for self-improvement and ambition. We provide a curriculum that encourages our children to become responsible, well-rounded, socially aware and confident citizens. Our curriculum embodies coherent and sequential learning that is taught in context to ensure that every experience is meaningful, relevant and has lasting impact. When possible, cross curriculum links are exploited and connections are made to our culturally rich local environment and heritage.
We are committed to using engaging and creative approaches to teaching and learning. We strive to develop motivating and exciting techniques and strategies that inspire children and provide opportunities for them to engage in deep thinking and decision making as well as developing their independent thinking and problem solving skills.
At Spring Gardens we are proud of our rich and diverse curriculum offer that we believe supports our children in the development of the key skills needed to meet the needs of our complex and forever changing society. We carefully design our curriculum to be broad, balanced and knowledge-rich, so that our children know more and remember more. We plan for progression in knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare children for future success in education and careers. We are passionate about securing the non-negotiables in terms of essential aspects of learning, to ensure that our pupils can succeed in the next phase of their learning with a view to reaching their full potential. Having a strong foundation in English and Maths through a secure understanding of phonics and mental maths skills, enables children to develop independence in their learning and is fundamental for the success in all areas of life.
Children acquire subject-specific knowledge, with literacy underpinning everything we teach. They have excellent opportunities to read daily and develop a love of reading that helps to inspire their writing and language skills. Children have discrete spelling and grammar sessions to help build the skills and confidence needed in their writing in all areas of the curriculum. We link foundation subjects where possible whilst some subjects are taught discretely. Subjects are developed to maintain their rigour and integrity, building understanding and skills progressively and used to integrate with other subjects to secure strong and meaningful learning. The curriculum provides coherent experiences to learn, refine and secure the skills to be independent thinking learners, who can work collaboratively, exercising emotional intelligence, and recognising their individuality, uniqueness and creative potential.
Carefully mapped curriculum overviews ensure that our curriculum is coherently structured and deepens prior learning in a meaningful and relatable way. Subject Programmes of Study and Progression of Skills documents are used to ensure that children access a progressive and coherent curriculum which deepens understanding and develops the transferable skills needed to excel in their education. Sequences of lessons are carefully crafted around final outcomes which allows children to reflect upon their own learning journey. We are mindful to address the forgetting curve by giving children opportunities for constant recapping of knowledge and skills. Children revisit learned information throughout the year to improve the chances of committing learning to long term memory.
We place great emphasis on learning beyond the classroom, and our children have regular opportunities to take part in enriching learning experiences, such as; daily assemblies; regional and national writing and poetry competitions; sessions delivered by the community police for online safety; specialist music lessons, inter-school sports tournaments; and making the most of our own school grounds. We hold enrichment weeks that enhance our curriculum and engage parents and carers, giving them the opportunity to experience learning alongside their child. Our Wildlife Garden provides the perfect opportunity for children to learn whilst being immersed in nature and we use this to support them in all areas of our curriculum. Problem solving and application in the real world, including working with the local community to create enriching learning experiences, play a key part in our curriculum offer.
Vocabulary and linguistic development are important and we embed both subject specific vocabulary as well as transferable vocabulary within our curriculum. We strive to expose children to a rich world of vocabulary throughout their school life, through high quality texts and adult role models. We believe that enabling our children to experience the richness of our language enhances the experiences and opportunities available to children, particularly the most disadvantaged.
At Spring Gardens, we see Cultural Capital as the accumulation of knowledge, attitudes, habits, language and possessions that enables individuals to demonstrate their cultural competence and social status. Our school plays a crucial role in developing this through immersing children in our local community through music, visiting theatres, faith centres, galleries and historic sites and by introducing them to literature and art. Embedding cultural capital into our curriculum is a way of closing the gap between children from differing socio-economic backgrounds by ensuring that children from all backgrounds have the same opportunities in society to achieve their full potential. A curriculum that is ambitious and aspirational for all will enhance the Cultural Capital of every child and family. We have high aspirations for all of our children and therefore we have high expectations in terms of their attitude, work ethic and resilience. We understand that some children require more support at certain times in their learning journey and we ensure that learning intentions are broken down into clearly modelled steps and scaffolded approaches are used to enable children to access the full curriculum. At Spring Gardens, this is an issue of equity and social justice and is key in our drive to diminish the disadvantaged gap and ensure all children thrive.
A child’s early years at school are extremely important. They lay the foundations for all future learning and influence attitudes to education. Children develop rapidly during this time - physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially and it is our aim to provide children with an progressive, sequential, engaging curriculum that enables them to develop the skills and knowledge they need to be ready for the National Curriculum at year one.
We want our children to become-confident, resilient, independent learners who are willing to have a go, embrace new experiences and manage risks. Children make the most progress and flourish when they are valued and provided with opportunities to follow their own interests through active play. We firmly believe that children’s emotional wellbeing is a core principle of all of our practice. We strive to provide and deliver experiences and opportunities for children to fulfil their best potential through quality first teaching and learning.
Improving our Practice
We continually look to develop and refine our own understanding and reflect upon how we can achieve the best possible outcomes for the children in our care. We seek to collaborate closely as a teaching team to develop best practice and source high quality CPD opportunities. These are not always external, but often shared expertise from within our own school. As a school, we work closely with external partners which include, Initial Teacher Training providers such as North Tyneside SCITT and Whitley Bay High School Teach Direct. We have also established excellent working relationships within our collaborative of schools as well as the Local Authority. We understand the importance of research informing our practice, and we relish opportunities to work with the likes of the Education Endowment Fund to maximise effectiveness in teaching and learning.
Post Covid Recovery
Given the time away from school that many of our children have had during the lockdowns over the past two years, it has been essential to re-review our curriculum in order to ensure that it acknowledges the starting points of all of our children. We understand that the pandemic has led to gaps in childrens’ knowledge, learning delays and a wider range of starting points. When the children returned to school in Summer 2021, we condensed our curriculum to focus on the key skills and coverage that we had identified as a priority. Since then, we have worked tirelessly to support children to access a broad and balanced curriculum which immerses them in their learning and is precisely tailored to their individual needs whilst challenging them to make rapid progress. We have used some of our Catch-up funding to provide 1:1 maths tuition through Third Space Learning and have invested in Launchpad for Literacy in EYFS and KS1 which is aimed at identifying gaps in pupil knowledge in order to support and deliver intervention focused on key skills. We have used the North Tyneside ‘A Different Year’ planning and curriculum materials to support our curriculum planning as the children returned to school as well as the NCETM evaluation document to help us to identify gaps in mathematical skills and understanding across the school. In our first half term this year, we focused on securing basic skills in Mathematics and Literacy, specifically concentrating on number and place value as well as grammar and punctuation and have prioritised coverage of the KPI (Key Performance Indicators).
At Spring Gardens we are reactive to the changing needs of our children and community. We seek ways to reflect upon what are the key priorities and essential aspects of learning that are needed to meet the needs of the particular cohort of children. We carefully take into account the challenges that families have faced and do our utmost to address any deficit in learning, experience or opportunity as they arise.
At Spring Gardens we are committed to offering a range of extra-curricular clubs after school to enrich the experiences of our children. All of our extra curricular clubs are free of charge for children and we encourage them to try new things or develop skills they already have. We therefore provide a rich and varied programme of clubs and activities, with a mixture of school staff and external providers. Examples of activities that we offer include Basketball, Football, Dodgeball, Multi-skills, Tag rugby, Lego League, Steel Pans, Choir and Book Club. We are hoping to widen our offer in the future and have asked the children about the sorts of activities they would like to see. We also offer a free Breakfast Club where children can have a positive start to their day, with a nutritious breakfast and a range of activities that enable them to socialise with children from other year groups.
We know our curriculum is having a positive impact as the children tell us they love their learning and can express their knowledge and understanding of the subjects taught in a meaningful way.
Children leave Spring Gardens Primary School with a secure grounding in all aspects of the curriculum, with the understanding of how 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 Spring Gardens respectful, skillful, ambitious and with a thirst for life and all it has to offer.
At Spring Gardens we carefully balance the requirement for pupils to reach national expectations in core subjects with our wider curriculum aims of providing a full spectrum of thoughtful and enriching experiences. The planning of inspiring and imaginative activities promotes enjoyment of the curriculum which in turn positively impacts on achievement of children, confidence and attitude to learning. Alongside offering our children a carefully mapped progression of skills within all curriculum areas, we try to enable the children to practice and incorporate these skills across all subjects; giving them the opportunity to express their learning in a variety of ways. Our curriculum is carefully organised for depth as we aim to support children in gaining a deeper and more insightful understanding of the matters, skills and processes within subjects. Teachers have high expectations of all children and are able to provide challenge, stretch and enrichment in learning because they know the starting points of the children and understand the progression required to reach the end goal. We place a great emphasis on quality first teaching that is supported with relevant and timely interventions to maximise learning in all areas of our curriculum. We have a good understanding of how well the curriculum is meeting the needs of our children and are able to respond to needs quickly and effectively. This is achieved through the use of a range of assessment and analysis strategies: hot and cold tasks, especially in Literacy, the use of KWL grids at the start and end of units of work that show the learning that has taken place, assessments and extension tasks and activities, as well as observations and discussions with children. With the direction of our Senior Leadership Team and Subject Leads, book looks take place regularly to evaluate the impact of learning and to monitor the experiences within our broad and balanced curriculum. We have robust, triangulated systems in place to track children’s performance and inform classroom practice, allowing pupils to make good progress. We pay particular attention to vulnerable groups to ensure that we are able to respond immediately with timely intervention and mastery sessions when necessary. We collect and collate data termly and Pupil Progress meetings with the HT, DHT, Phase Leader and class teacher are then held to unpick the data further and analyse individual pupil performance. We use Target Tracker to track attainment and progress as well as to identify any gaps in knowledge or retention and Provision Map to track interventions and Additional Needs provision.
Pupil voice has been used in many of our subjects to gleen an excellent insight in the enjoyment of the lessons and topics covered. Our children are able to articulate their understanding of the skills and knowledge they have acquired and can make meaningful links between other areas of the curriculum. Subject leaders are aware of the strengths and areas for improvement through monitoring and evaluation activities including book looks, learning walks and data analysis and use this information to produce purposeful action plans that continue to develop the curriculum offer.