Mary Dean’s CE Primary School’s Knowledge Rich Curriculum
Intent, Implementation and Impact
A School Family Learning for Life in all its Fullness
Quality of Education:
Mary Dean’s carefully constructed curriculum is broad and balanced, whilst reflecting the learning priorities gathered from staff and Governors. All pupils are welcome in our school, those of any faith, and those of none, and we have high aspirations for all our learners to reach their full potential. Our curriculum is designed to support an enquiry based approach and encourages input and reflection from the children and the learning community to tailor it to our needs. ‘Launch days’ start each new topic area in KS1 with practical learning opportunities to enthuse and engage the children from the start. Enrichment days are offered throughout the year to further promote subjects such as STEM, RE, Art and creativity and Sport. We have high expectations in speech, language and communication and especially reading to strengthen the children’s ability to think and learn at a deeper level. In turn, this allows children to better articulate their learning through the development of a rich, diverse and challenging vocabulary.
Behaviour and Attitudes:
Attendance levels at school have been sustained at a high level for a long period of time. This supports the engagement and continuous development of children as they journey through our school. Children generally behave well and care for each other. Safeguarding is embedded into our curriculum, including teaching children about how to behave responsibly and keep themselves safe in the online world. Older pupils willingly take on monitor roles and support their peers in a family-feeling approach during lunch breaks and Reading Buddy sessions. Parents and children tell us that they feel safe in school.
Hope and aspirations:
As a Church of England school, our curriculum has a strong Christian underpinning. We make close links with the Church of England’s Vision for Education and the recognition of Jesus’ promise of ‘life in all its fullness’. Our Christian values underpin all that we do in school, fostering independence, resilience and care for one another. RE is a core subject in our school and we follow ‘Understanding Christianity’ in addition to a broad multi-faith curriculum. Charitable links are a priority for our school to support all children with the opportunity to be courageous advocates. Currently, we are supporting the bereavement charity, Jeremiah’s Journey. We have high expectations of our children, preparing them to achieve high academic standards at the end of each Key Stage, whilst also helping them to be productive citizens of the 21st century world. We build children’s aspirations, by inviting visitors and past pupils into school who can raise pupils’ awareness of the world of work and provide inspiration for future careers.
Mental health and wellbeing are prioritised within our curriculum and supported by adults trained in ELSA, enabling children with opportunities to exhibit spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding. To promote healthy lifestyles, the school has invested in a range of facilities such as Forest School learning for our younger children, a super adventure playground accessible for all children and the provision of a stunning outdoor classroom. We also hold the Gold Games Mark and encourage all pupils to undertake regular activity through a range of clubs and our own annual half marathon event. We feel that our dedication to supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of our children is also reflected through the structure of our school day, providing regular breaks and hydration opportunities for the whole school community.
Our curriculum has been strategically planned to meet the needs of all our learners and foster specific attributes suited to our school.
Knowledge organisers have been crafted to support our pupils’ engagement in their own learning and to demonstrate links between subjects and year groups. Children are increasingly knowledgeable and are encouraged to link previously learned information and vocabulary through this approach. The school is continuously evolving a series of mini tests and quizzes to gauge the acquisition of knowledge with a view to developing pupils’ long term memory and building information retrieval skills.
We are currently reviewing our curriculum for the Foundation subjects to ensure that a broad and relevant offer is made for all children, whatever their needs and aptitudes.
Our active curriculum is enhanced by our outdoor learning facilities. All pupils can make use of our outdoor classroom whilst the youngest children engage in Forest School Activities within our spacious grounds. Our spiritual garden provides a space for reflection and is well-respected by all.
Sport has a high profile within school to raise the aspirations of many and to increase the physical well-being of all. The school invites expert tuition into school as part of the taught curriculum and also as after school clubs. We also invite top flight athletes to inspire the children in particular sports. School teams take part in a diverse range of events and competitions from cross country, football and tag-rugby to rowing and multi-skills.
Our mixed age classes are housed in stimulating classrooms that reflect the growing knowledge of the children. Staff work and plan in teams to support each other, promote expertise and to focus on links between subjects and year groups.
Mary Dean’s maintains excellent outcomes at Year 2 and Year 6 with pupils attaining above the National expectation in all subjects (2019). Pupils are well-rounded, confident and articulate, ready to take on the challenges of secondary school life when they leave us.
Our school has a regular, in-depth monitoring process which focuses on the curriculum, teaching and learning. Information is gathered from learning walks, observations, pupil conferencing, book scrutiny and pupil progress meetings. The analysis of these informs future planning and training.
Results of monitoring are shared with the whole staff team so the focus is clear for all to move us forward to the next step. Each member of the staff team enhances our vision and ethos as we work together to formulate new plans.
Successes are celebrated with everyone and reflection on areas of less progress ensures the focus remains shared.
Curriculum subjects are led by teachers who train their thoughts on developing their subject across the whole school. There is a clear sense of purpose to each subject and increasing links are sought between different areas to maximise progression and confidence.
Each Team Leader manages the performance of team members and support and advice are readily available for anyone in need.
Successes are shown in improved learning outcomes throughout the school coupled to positive comments from the children. Progress towards gains in knowledge can be seen through the application of tailored quizzes and activities designed specifically for various subjects.