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Curriculum

‘You can see from their smiles as they are welcomed by staff that pupils enjoy school. Parents, understandably, are happy with the school. The staff are ambitious for pupils to succeed and broaden their knowledge of the wider world. Pupils study many interesting topics.’ OFSTED Jan 2020

Intent

We believe Picknalls First School should be a wonderful place where children want to be and learning takes place both in and out of the classroom.  Learning should be through a mixture of exploration, discovery, creativity and a variety of sensory and kinaesthetic experiences which encourage learners to want to explore more in a journey of lifelong learning.  They will learn the English and Maths skills needed for life and learning to progress in their education.

Whatever their background they will learn to shape their futures and develop their unique capacities and skills.  They will be encouraged to be curious and use thinking skills to innovate, be creative and problem solve.  They will develop the first understandings of employment and entrepreneurship.  A primary education should set learners up for life, with the knowledge and skills to be well-rounded individuals, mentally and physically healthy, with an appreciation for and a generosity towards people, the world and the universe around them.

Picknalls First School is very proud of the journey it has been on over the last few years in relation to its curriculum development. We feel our curriculum offers a broad and balanced approach which allows all children, no matter their ability, to be able to fully access the curriculum and enrichment opportunities.

Our experienced teachers deliver quality first teaching alongside the highly skilled support staff. All staff collaborate to ensure all children are on track to meet and exceed personal attainment and progress targets through our ever-evolving curriculum. 

As we are a First School we have the privilege of starting each child’s journey and therefore focus on ensuring the basic skills of each subject are secure. The basic skills are reinforced across the whole of our ‘Connected Curriculum.’ We then build on these steps to ensure that each child is prepared for their next stage of education and in shaping their future ambitions.

When redesigning our curriculum we worked very closely with our Middle and High School partners within the Uttoxeter Learning Trust (ULT). Our primary aim when forming the ULT in 2017, was to become a locally geographic all through 3-18 schools network, with one of our key strengths being the strong transition and curriculum development.

Our vision is of a seamless educational journey for the children and young people from pre-school through to sixth-form and beyond. All of our children and young people will be equally and highly valued, no matter which school they are in: no child will be left behind and no school will be left behind. Everyone will be an achiever and every child will be well known within his/her school.’ ULT Visions, Values and Strategy Document, July 2019.

Implementation

We use a variety of techniques in order to deliver a broad and balanced ‘Connected Curriculum,’ which is based on the National Curriculum, that ALL children at Picknalls First School can enjoy and succeed in.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has had a major impact on education and all staff at Picknalls First School are ensuring that all children are given the opportunity to shine now that all children are back in full time education. We are adapting how we do things but ensuring no child is left behind and that opportunities are still rich and vibrant. We have ceased ‘setting’ in a morning as the children are now working in ‘class bubbles’ and SLT will closely monitor the impact of this. 

The structure of the school day consists of the mornings being focused sessions including English lessons, Maths lessons, Phonics sessions, Guided Reading activities etc. The afternoons are when we deliver our ‘Connected Curriculum’ as links are made between the subjects whenever possible so that the learning is seamless and connects together. Links between the topic and the morning English and Maths lessons are made wherever possible. When questioned by Governors and Leaders children all say they prefer this style of delivery that we have developed. Quotes such as ‘the learning makes more sense,’ and ‘our topics are great fun and really interesting,’ are confirmation that the way we deliver our education works.

The topics for the Connected Curriculum throughout the whole school follow the same process. We start with a ‘launch day’ where a fascinator will be used to introduce the topic and hook the children in. Fascinators may include: a trip, a visitor, a special object, a display etc. Each classroom throughout has a special ‘Learning Journey Tree.’ The trunk of the tree includes the topic name, the roots of the tree will show what the children already know about the topic and what they would like to know over their learning, and the leaves on the tree will show what their new learning has been. Each year group will work through their learning journey and we will finish with an outcome day where they will complete an assessment to show the progress they have made in their learning. The EYFS and KS1 classrooms also have a dedicated role play area in order to bring further learning to life.

Although subjects have a named person responsible for the oversight and development of their individual subject, each middle leader works in a subject team to ensure support for similar subjects and to create wider curriculum approaches and thinking. Regular subject team staff meetings allow for each team to design an action plan, implement the actions and monitor the impact across the whole school. Weekly staff meetings, and a dedicated Subject Leaders meeting, also allow for Subject Leaders to share updates quickly and effectively across the whole school.

We include parents wherever possible in the child’s learning in order for them to support the learning beyond the classroom and outside of the school. Parents receive a half termly ‘parent information sheet’ which can also be located on the website. This outlines the learning that will be covered so that parents can further support them at home. The topics for the year are also on the website in our long term plan.

‘The school’s ‘connected curriculum’ helps pupils build on what they have learned before. Pupils in Year 1 go ‘on safari’, learning about the geography of Africa. In Year 3, ancient Greece is brought to life through the ‘groovy Greeks’ topic. Pupils recall interesting facts because the curriculum really does connect with their learning and interests.’ OFSTED Jan 2020.

Impact

‘Pupils’ personal development is a strength. Pupils have great opportunities to become school councillors. They are very clear about British values of democracy and respect for people whatever their colour, beliefs or background. Pupils make a huge contribution to their school and community. They can become well-being champions; ICT buddies to help younger pupils; school councillors; eco warriors and more.’ OFSTED Jan 2020.

Our journey began when Leaders realised that some children were struggling to retain the curriculum content of single subjects, for example having to retain everything they had learnt in history on a Tuesday afternoon until they repeated the subject the following Tuesday afternoon. It was obvious that this style of delivery did not suit all learners. Some found it hard to make the links between subjects and learning and they struggled with the recall of facts from one week to the next. Standards at this point were broadly in line or below age related expectations. Since introducing and then tweaking our Connected Curriculum delivery, we are celebrating levels above National averages in all externally validated aspects. Internal school level data for both attainment and progress is also very positive and shows we successfully close the gap for many vulnerable groups.

Where children are not on track to achieve expected outcomes personalised interventions and strategies are employed.

How do we celebrate children’s learning at Picknalls?

  • Rewards
  • Positive role models
  • Work on display
  • Red merit certificates
  • General assemblies and presentations
  • Parent assemblies
  • Internal and external competitions
  • School trips and visits
  • School visitors
  • Bronze, silver and gold merit awards
  • End of year celebrations
  • Performances
  • Social media
  • Parents reports/parents evenings

‘We are single-minded about ensuring that all of our children and young people, individually and collectively, achieve their potential - and even surpass what they expect of themselves.’ ULT Visions, Values and Strategy Document, July 2019.

Next Steps

Although very proud of our curriculum journey so far, we constantly keep the curriculum under review.

Current aspects under review are:

  • Carrying out pedagogical research on a ‘no marking policy’
  • Expanding opportunities for children to talk about their learning
  • Work closely with Middle Schools to ensure curriculum design continues to build between Key Stages and to aid transition into the Middle Schools
  • Work through the aspects of curriculum in Picknalls 20/21 School Development Plan
  • Work through the aspects of curriculum in the ULT 20/21 Development Plan

‘At the heart of leaders’ ambitions are pupils and their families. Pupils thrive and the school’s aims, ‘achieve, believe and care’, are at the centre of everything this school is about. Pupils behave exceptionally well, work hard and achieve well.’ OFSTED Jan 2020.

Written by the Headteacher, Mrs Tapp.

Subject Page Links

Use the links below to visit our subject pages:

English

Maths

Computing

British Fundamental Values and SMSC

Assessment

Children are assessed on a 9 point scale using the following categories – emerging, expected and exceeding:

Point Assessment Meaning
Emerging (below average at the end of the year)
0 Not meeting 25% of the year group expectations
1 Not meeting 25-50% of the year group expectations
2 Not meeting 50-75% of the year group expectations
3 Not meeting more than 75% but not all of the year group expectations
Expected - meeting ALL of the year group expectations (average at the end of the year)
4 Make the occasional error; however they understand the concepts of their year group fully
5 Rare mistakes, very confident at meeting the year group statements
6 Confident and works at a rapid rate, meeting more than 50% of the year group exceeding statements
Exceeding (above average at the end of the year)
7 Meeting the exceeding statements fro their year group
8 Confident in and rarely make a mistake in the year group exceeding statements
9 (Gifted and Talented) Exceptionally confident in handling the exceeding statements for their year group and show exceptional ability for their age

The examples below are based on a year 4 child. If your child is in a different year group the end numbers will be exactly the same – it will simply be the start number that changes, for example, e.g. a year 1 child may be a 1.4 at the end of the year and a year 3 child may be a 3.4.

A term by term explanation based on a year 4 child:
Autumn Term
Average – 4.0 or 4.1
Above Average – 4.2 or above
Below Average – anything that starts with a number that is not a 4 to indicate they are not yet working on the year 4 curriculum

Spring Term
Average – 4.1 or 4.2
Above Average – 4.3 or above
Below Average – anything that starts with a number that is not a 4 to indicate they are not yet working on the year 4 curriculum or a 4.0

Summer Term (End of year)
Average – 4.4 or 4.5
Above Average – 4.6 or above
Below Average – anything that starts with a number that is not a 4 to indicate they are not yet working on the year 4 curriculum or a 4.0, 4.1, 4.2 or 4.3

Our interim reports show the wording emerging for below average, expected for average and exceeding for above average. Our end of year reports show their new grades as explained above.

Click on the topic titles to download the relevant year group page.

Picknalls First School Long Term Topic Plan 2020-21
EYFS Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4

Autumn

Term

Units

EYFS Autumn 1
'At the...'

  • Farm
  • Zoo
  • Seaside
  • Fairground
  • Museum
  • Library
  • Food Market
Year 1 Autumn 1
‘On Safari’
A geographical focus learning about Africa, and how it compares to the UK.
We will also look at different animals and their bodies compared to ours.
Year 2 Autumn 1
''The Isle of Struay'
A geographical focus comparing a Scottish Island to Uttoxeter
Year 3 Autumn 1
'To Europe and Beyond'
A study of Europe, the Northern hemisphere and a study of Uttoxeter
Year 4 Autumn 1
‘Vikings’
A historical focus studying the history of the Vikings
EYFS Autumn 2 
‘Mystical Magic’
  • Dragons
  • Harry Potter
  • Fairies/Pixies

'Celebrations’

  • Hannukah
  • Christingle
  • Christmas

Year 1 Autumn 2 
‘Happily Ever After’

  • An English focus learning about Traditional Tales and story writing. 
  • In Geography we will look at map work and creating Fairy Tale maps.
Year 2 Autumn 2 
‘Animal Magic’
A literacy based focus using the texts Mr Percy’s Magical Greenhouse and The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Learning about rainforests
Year 3 Autumn 2 
'Stone Age'
How people lived in the Stone Age
Year 4 Autumn 2 
‘Canada’
A geographical focus looking at aspects of Canada

Spring

Term

Units

EYFS Spring 1
‘Sensational Stories’
  • Nursery Rhymes, 1 a day for 2 weeks
  • Each member of staff to choose a favourite story
Year 1 Spring 1
‘Who Lives in a Place Like This?’
A scientific and  geographical focus learning about different animals and their habitats and developing locational knowledge.

Year 2 Spring 1
‘Famous People From the Past’
Factual writing in English about Queen Elizabeth I, Samuel Pepys & the Fire of London, Florence Nightingale
History focus, Science: Healthy Living

Year 3 Spring 1
‘The Groovy Greeks’
A historical examination of Ancient Greek civilisation
Year 4 Spring 1
‘Moving and Growing’
Science focus
EYFS Spring 2
‘Woodland Wonders’
  • Habitats of minibeasts
  • Animals you find in British Woodlands
  • Forest school sessions
  • Hatching duck eggs
  • Easter
Year 1 Spring 2
‘Man on the Moon’
A history focus learning about famous astronauts with a focus on Tim Peake and Neil Armstrong.

Year 2 Spring 2
‘In the Forest’
Traditional and non-traditional texts– Little Red Riding Hood
Science: Food chains, lifecycles
Year 3 Spring 2
'Fighting Fit'’
Keeping healthy, teeth and digestion
Year 4 Spring 2
‘The Victorians’
A historical focus looking at what life was like for a Victorian child
An exploration of how British life changed during the reign of Queen Victoria

Summer

Term

Units

EYFS Summer 1
‘Deep Sea Diving’
  • Shipwrecks/boats/ cruise ships
  • Pirates and Mermaids
  • Coral reefs
  • Atlantis
  • Sea animals
Year 1 Summer 1
‘A Toy’s Story’
A historical focus comparing new and old toys from the past.

Year 2 Summer 1
‘Taking Care of Our Planet
Texts: Dear Greenpeace, The Snail and the Whale, Michael Recycle, 10 Ways to Take Care of Our Planet
Science—materials

Year 3 Summer 1

‘Our World’
Stories about creation and a scientific focus on plants

Year 4 Summer 1
'Life in a Cold Climate'
A study of the Arctic and Antarctica.
EYFS Summer 2
Cultural Carnival’
  • Visit a different country each week and learn about a local carnival/festival
  • Finish topic by designing their own carnival float
  • Invite parents in to enjoy a carnival
Year 1 Summer 2
Best of Britain
A Historical focus on Britain and the Royal family and a Geographical focus on the four countries in the UK. 
Year 2 Summer 2
Travel and adventure
Texts:  The Snorgh and the Sailor, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch series
Looking at a non-European country—Mexico
Year 3 Summer 2
‘Relentless Romans’
A history based topic about what the Romans did when they invaded and settled in Britain
Year 4 Summer 2
Change
An exploration of issues relating to global warming and environmental change.
Philosophy We believe Picknalls First School should be a wonderful place where children want to be and learning takes place both in and out of the classroom.  Learning should be through a mixture of exploration, discovery, creativity and a variety of sensory and kinaesthetic experiences which encourage learners to want to explore more in a journey of lifelong learning. They will learn the English and Maths skills needed for life and learning to progress in their education.
Whatever their background they will learn to shape their futures and develop their unique capacities and skills.  They will be encouraged to be curious and use thinking skills to innovate, be creative and problem solve.  They will develop the first understandings of employment and entrepreneurship.  A primary education should set learners up for life, with the knowledge and skills to be well-rounded individuals, mentally and physically healthy, with an appreciation for and a generosity towards people, the world and the universe around them.