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Curriculum

‘Pupils are proud of their school, as they make good progress and are enthused by the redesigned curriculum. One pupil said to an inspector, ‘we are a team who all help each other’." Ofsted April 2016

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.

The structure of the school day consists of the mornings being focused sessions including English lessons, Maths lessons, Phonics sessions, Guided Reading activities etc. From year one to year four we split the children into ‘sets’ which enable the teachers to deliver sessions more specific to the ability of the children. Staff are able to go at the pace required for the set. This may be to ensure small steps of learning and consolidation activities for some or a faster pace of learning with breadth, depth and mastery for others. Only in exceptional circumstances will children work out of their own year group and for specific areas of the curriculum.

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 (these may be tweaked over the year according to the children’s interests or special events in the world, e.g. a space topic as a one off with Tim Peake going into Space or a royalty topic with the Queens 90th birthday.)

The school’s well-designed curriculum provides a rich range of learning experiences. Pupils learn about equality of opportunity and democracy through the ‘Connected Curriculum’ and the school’s highly inclusive approach to ensure all pupils, irrespective of ability or need, have equal access to learning. OFSTED, April 2016.

Impact

The assessment system used to check individual pupils’ progress is well understood and shared with school leaders and teachers. As a result, teachers have a clear understanding of the progress required by individual pupils and organise adults well to provide additional pupil support. OFSTED, April 2016.

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’
  • Reviewing interim and end of year reports and how we report progress to parents
  • 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 19/20 School Development Plan
  • Work through the aspects of curriculum in the ULT 19/20 Development Plan

'Pupils at Picknalls are confident and energetic learners. They enjoy coming to school and experiencing the exciting and broad curriculum on offer. 'OFSTED, April 2016.

Written by the Headteacher, Mrs Tapp, and Senior Leaders

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 Parent information sheet

Picknalls First School Long Term Topic Plan 2019-20
EYFS Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4

Autumn

Term

Units

EYFS Unit 1
'I like to'
A Personal, Social and Emotional Development themed topic
Year 1 Unit 1
‘On Safari’
A geographical focus learning about Africa, and how it compares to the UK.
Texts: Handa’s Surprise, Lazy Lion, Ugly Five, Lion Hunt
Year 2 Unit 1
''The Isle of Struay'
A geographical focus comparing a Scottish Island to Uttoxeter
Year 3 Unit 1
'To Europe and Beyond'
A study of Europe, the Northern hemisphere and a study of Uttoxeter
Year 4 Unit 1
‘Vikings’
A historical focus studying the history of the Vikings
EYFS Unit 2
‘Mystical Magic’
Dragons
Harry Potter
Fairies/Pixies
‘Celebrations’
Hannukah
Christingle
Christmas
Year 1 Unit 2
‘Happily Ever After’
A geographical focus learning about Traditional Tales and where they may be set and changes in the weather.
Texts: Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Goldilocks, Jack and the Beanstalk, Twisted Fairy-tales
Year 2 Unit 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 Unit  2
'Stone Age'
How people lived in the Stone Age
Year 4 Unit 2
‘Canada’
A geographical focus looking at aspects of Canada

Spring

Term

Units

EYFS Unit 3
‘Sensational Stories’
Nursery Rhymes, 1 a day for 2 weeks
Each member of staff to choose a favourite story
Year 1 Unit 3
‘Who Lives in a Place Like This?’
A geographical focus learning about different habitats.
Texts: Lost and Found, Meerkat Mail, Tiddler, Into the Woods

Year 2 Unit 3
‘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 Unit 3
‘The Groovy Greeks’
A historical examination of Ancient Greek civilisation
Year 4 Unit 3
‘Moving and Growing’
Science focus
EYFS Unit 4
‘Woodland Wonders’
Habitats of minibeasts
Animals you find in British Woodlands
Forest school sessions
Hatching duck eggs
Easter
Year 1 Unit 4
‘Man on the Moon’
A history focus learning about famous astronauts with a focus on Tim Peake and Neil Armstrong.
Texts: Man on the Moon, Beegu, Journey into Space, Way Back Home, A Place for Pluto
Year 2 Unit 4
‘In the Forest’
Traditional and non-traditional texts– Little Red Riding Hood
Science: Food chains, lifecycles
Year 3 Unit 4
‘Our World’
Stories about creation and a scientific focus on plants
Year 4 Unit 4
‘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 Unit 5
‘Deep Sea Diving’
Shipwrecks/boats/cruise ships
Pirates and mermaids
Coral reefs
Atlantis
Sea animals
Year 1 Unit 5
‘A Toy’s Story’
A history focus comparing toys old and new.
Texts: Lost at the Toy Museum, Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs, Toys in Space, Sugarlump and the Unicorn
Year 2 Unit 5
‘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 Unit 5
‘Relentless Romans’
A history based topic about what the Romans did when they invaded and settled in Britain
Year 4 Unit 5
'Life in a Cold Climate'
A study of the Arctic and Antarctica.
EYFS Unit 6
‘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 Unit 6
‘Best of Britain’
A history and geographical topic focusing on different seaside towns and locating them on a map.
Texts: Queen’s Knickers, Katie in London, Billy’s Bucket, The Queen’s Hat
Year 2 Unit 6
‘Travel and adventure’
Texts: Dougal’s Deep Sea Diary, Man on the Moon, The Snorgh and the Sailor, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch
Looking at a non-European country—Mexico
Year 3 Unit 6
'Fighting Fit'’
Keeping healthy, teeth and digestion
Year 4 Unit 6
‘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.