We use a variety of techniques in order to deliver a broad and balanced 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. The children when questioned by Governors all say they prefer this style of delivery that we have developed since September 2014. 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 will 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 will include 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.
Please ask your child about their new topics each half term, and when you call into the classrooms have a look at their learning journey tree. We want to involve you as parents and carers in out learning as much as possible so at the start of each new topic you will receive a ‘parent’s information sheet.’ This will outline the learning that will be covered so that you can support them at home. This will be sent home as a paper copy and can always be found on the website. 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.
We use personalised Picknalls books to record their work in and you will have a chance to see these on the open evenings throughout the year, but please ask at any time to see your child’s work and celebrate their progress. I have also been staggered by the amount of children who are choosing to complete additional connected curriculum topic work at home – the children get sent to me to receive a Headteachers award which they are always very proud of.
Each classroom from Nursery to year 4 has a role play area that also helps to excite them and encourage creativity in their learning.
If you would like any further information on Picknalls curriculum please contact myself or the class teacher and we will be happy to update you further. I look forward to continuing to share with you the impact on the children’s thirst for learning and their progress and achievement over the year.