Curriculum Overview

Our Mission Statement

Through innovative, challenging and inclusive teaching and learning experiences, we will work in partnership with the community to create a school where everyone feels safe, valued and successful.

Curriculum Aims

  • To excite and enthuse learners and teachers
  • To inspire stimulating learning environments
  • To create purposeful, immersive and memorable learning
  • To develop and deepen children’s skills, knowledge and understanding across the curriculum through a diverse range of themes
  • To ensure a cohesive curriculum, where learning is built on systematically, improving and emphasising consistency and progression throughout the school
  • To ensure knowledge is sequenced and mapped coherently
  • To encourage spaced retrieval across a range of subjects
  • To ensure plenty of opportunities for pupils to use procedural knowledge across all subjects, practising and developing a wide range of skills
  • To help children to make sense of our interconnected world
  • To create strong learning links through a joined-up approach
  • To empower children and boost their confidence
  • To allow children to display their understanding in multiple ways 
  • To ensure inclusivity through an accessible and relevant curriculum
  • To specifically develop language through identified key vocabulary

Intent

The curriculum at The Laurels Primary School is designed to provide a broad and balanced education that meets the needs of all children. It provides opportunities for children to develop as independent, confident and successful learners, with high aspirations, who know how to make a positive contribution to their community and the wider society. 

The curriculum ensures that academic success, creativity and problem solving, reflection, responsibility and resilience, as well as physical development, well-being and mental health are key elements that support the development of the whole child and promote a positive attitude to learning. 

The curriculum celebrates the diversity and utilises the skills, knowledge and cultural wealth of the community while supporting the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, ensuring that children are well prepared for life in modern Britain.

Knowledge

We recognise the importance of knowledge acquisition as a key driver in raising attainment for all pupils, especially pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Therefore, we have designed a curriculum that identifies the knowledge pupils should acquire in each year, whilst also recognising the importance of developing pupils’ skills, understanding and attitudes.  

“Breadth of knowledge is the single factor within human control that contributes most to academic achievement and general cognitive competence.  Breadth of knowledge is a far greater factor in achievement than socioeconomic status.  Imparting broad knowledge to all children is the single most effective way to narrow the gap between demographic groups through schooling.”  E.D. Hirsh

Holistic curriculum

Through our school values, children at the Laurels will be Responsible, Resilient and Reflective individuals using skill for life.

As a school, we place importance on children developing the skills they need to succeed in life along with all children achieving their potential academically. 

Along with the subject based curriculum, we have also developed a life skill curriculum and a behaviour curriculum which allows children the opportunity to develop and support the learning of these valuable skills. 

Life skills curriculum – Whether it be learning to use a knife and fork or tying shoe laces, or learning to sew on a button or making a cup of tea the children will be given the opportunity to learn and  develop these lifelong skills.

Behaviour curriculum – Our behaviour curriculum recognises the importance of supporting children’s personal and emotional development and we understand that building relationships, routines and rules ensure children are safe – physically and emotionally. Being well-behaved is a combination of skills, aptitudes, habits, inclinations, values and knowledge. These can (and should) be taught; children are products of their circumstances (good and bad) and as a result it is up to us to teach them.

National curriculum

The National Curriculum is used as the foundation for the teaching of subjects, but we recognise that other opportunities children experience have a significant impact on their development.  At The Laurels, we take great pride in developing citizens of the future. Ways in which we support our pupils to achieve are wide ranging. Here are a few examples: 

  • Before and after school clubs
  • Visits and visitors for all year groups
  • Locality visits 
  • Residential trips (year 4 and 6)
  • Special focus days and weeks
  • Swimming lessons
  • Learning a music instrument
  • Fundraising for special days 
  • Sporting experiences at DMAT
  • Coding 
  • School production
  • School and Eco council

Implementation

As a school we have identified, for each curriculum subject, the key concepts, skills and vocabulary we expect all pupils to learn and understand. Understanding pupils’ possible misconceptions about the theme being studied is also an important consideration that teachers must make to ensure, where at all possible, misconceptions are not allowed to form in a child’s grasp of a concept, knowledge, understanding or skill through immediate intervention and live feedback. 

To ensure progression, teachers have made sure there is continuity, progression and challenge in each unit plan, with knowledge, skills, and understanding developing year on year.  The importance of retrieval practice is recognised and planned for during lessons and used in a range of ways to embed concepts and knowledge. Lessons begin with retrieval practice to revisit previous learning or address misconceptions.

Vocabulary 

Identifying, using, and in many cases, pre-teaching key vocabulary supports understanding. Word-poor pupils are at a significant disadvantage to pupils who are word-rich.  Therefore, we select class texts that provide pupils with more complex and challenging content to widen their vocabulary knowledge. Using subject specific vocabulary by teachers and pupils in all lessons is also expected from Early Years to year 6.

Word aware is our structured approach to promote the vocabulary development of all our children in the school. 

 

Reading 

Reading is promoted across all subjects and  quality texts is key in improving vocabulary learning. We provide children with a wide range of classic and modern texts using the Accelerated reader system in the school library. All children accumulate a word count score with an aim to be a millionaire reader. Classes are paired across the school for buddy reading when possible and reading for pleasure takes place every day. Parents are encouraged to read to and with children daily and share their experiences via a communication book.

Early reading

Children have opportunities to apply their developing phonic knowledge and skills in the context of shared reading and writing across all subjects.  For one to one reading, both in class and at home, children have fully decodable books that are closely matched to their developing phonic level. We mainly draw upon Collins Big Cat texts which are supplemented with phonically decodable books from different schemes. 

In Key Stage 1, children continue to read books closely matched to their phonics knowledge. Teacher-led guided reading sessions take place 3 times a weekly in small groups. Children read a carefully selected engaging text over the three sessions. The focus of the first session is on decoding and prosody (reading with expression), as well as vocabulary choices and word meaning. The second session focuses on prosody (reading with expression) and the third returns to the text and challenges the children to explore the content of the book; for example; looking at and retrieving key information and developing comprehension and understanding around what they are reading. Once children become fluent readers, a range of books is provided to allow children to engage in more lengthy discussions about the content of the book to deepen their understanding and broaden their vocabulary.

Knowledge Organisers 

These are sheets that contain the sticky knowledge and vocabulary that our children need to acquire to be a successful learner in a particular unit or topic of work.  Year groups build on previous organisers to further extend children’s grasp of a subject and this is assessed at the end of a unit of work though low stake quizzing

Low-Stakes quizzing

Retrieval practice has many benefits for memory and motivation.  

  • Improves long-term retention
  • Identifies gaps in knowledge 
  • Causes pupils to learn more from the next unit of work
  • Produces better organisation of knowledge
  • Improves transfer of knowledge to new concepts
  • Provides feedback to teachers
  • Encourages pupils to study 

Foundation subjects

Our foundation curriculum is a creative and thematic curriculum, designed to deliver a broad and balanced whole school approach to teaching and learning, with connection, cohesion and progression, from EYFS to Year 6. It is underpinned by a whole school focus around four world issues which weave throughout and progresses within each:

  • Communication
  • Culture
  • Conflict
  • Conservation

The curriculum is highly relevant, devoted to whole child learning, developing fully rounded individuals whilst fuelling innovation and engagement. The thematic units bring learning to life through exciting, child-friendly topics and engage all learners with dynamic lessons and quality resources. It is knowledge rich where knowledge builds on prior learning on the journey through the school. 

Curriculum Depth
Our curriculum focuses on common attributes that ensure the provision of a deep curriculum:

  • Meaning and relevance
  • Opportunities for enquiry
  • Development of critical, creative and high order thinking skills
  • Integration of subjects
  • Provision of access to information from a range of sources and viewpoints
  • Authenticity of end products

Curriculum Breadth
As well as the full breadth of subject coverage, our curriculum includes the use of a breadth of pedagogical approaches and offers a broad range of learning experiences. 

Subject Coverage

English 

Every class in KS1 and KS2 have a daily English lesson. Discrete phonics and GPS is taught across a week. Additional time is also given to handwriting, individual reading, and listening to, and reading, stories and poems. The reception class follows the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.

Mathematics

Every class in KS1 and KS2 has a daily two-part maths lesson following the White Rose scheme of work. Immediate intervention takes place during the second part of the lesson and in addition to this where needed.

Science
Science is planned and arranged in topic blocks to ensure greater depth of knowledge. Cross curricular links are made whenever possible to make learning meaningful and purposeful and new knowledge builds on prior knowledge to ensure progression and consolidation. 

Foundation Subjects
The foundation subjects of Art and Design, Design Technology, Geography, History, Computing, Music and RE are taught through thematic units and cross curricular links are made whenever possible. Each subject is taught using a combination of specific subject knowledge, subject skills, enquiry and, where relevant, fieldwork. 

PSHE is taught throughout the themes and is also delivered through the accompanying 3D PSHE Programme.

French is taught through KS2. We want children to develop the confidence to communicate in French for practical purposes both written and spoken French.

Curriculum Overviews