Our Curriculum Intent
When planning a curriculum, Mowbray Primary School recognises the social and economic backgrounds of our families. Around 38% of children are Pupil Premium and we are ranked in lowest 20% of schools nationally in terms of deprivation which is higher than the national average – further analysis shows that 81% of our children are from the lowest 30% of households in the country. We also have 15% of children on our Special Educational Needs register which is again higher than the national average.
On entry to Mowbray, the usual picture is that no children are at age related expectations in all of the 17 Learning Goals of the Early Years curriculum and very few are at age related expectations for the strands that are assessed for a Good Level of Development at the end of Early Years. The children throughout school, and especially in Early Years, have significant barriers to learning in terms of their Personal, Social and Emotional Development as well as Communication and Language. A significant number of children start school having had limited access to a rich language environment and as a result, literacy skills, and in particular vocabulary skills, a poorly developed from an early age. As a result of this, our curriculum places a high focus on language and vocabulary development.
We understand that our children need to develop a sense of valuing themselves while developing aspirations for their futures. We are passionate about making learning meaningful, fun and relevant while ensuring that children are equipped with the skills to succeed.
Our curriculum is designed to:
Experience and manage RISK
Build RESILIENCE and PERSEVERANCE
Develop SELF-ESTEEM, SELF-AWARENESS and SELF-BELIEF
Every child is recognised as an individual and we expect that every child will learn and make progress regardless of whatever barriers they have in front of them. We recognise that learning may be more difficult for some children depending upon their needs, backgrounds and circumstances and a wide range of personalised support is available to children and their families in order to help them access our curriculum.
We believe that all children are entitled to an inclusive education. Our curriculum provision is adapted to enable children with a wide range of barriers to learning to access it as well as the wider enriched curriculum opportunities which we offer. We aim for equity in education; providing what is needed for individual children rather than forcing all children to access an identical curriculum. Adaptations to the curriculum can therefore vary from class to class depending upon the needs of the children within the class. This may include, for example, pre-teaching of key vocabulary or other key concepts identified at the planning stage.
Children’s learning is firmly based around the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. However, these are constantly enhanced with a wide range of opportunities designed to engage learning. One of these core enhancements is Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) and we are very proud to have received National recognition of our curriculum by gaining a Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Mark in 2018. Our two main drivers for Learning Outside the Classroom are our excellent Forest School Provision as well as Commando Joe’s – both of which are integrated into the wider curriculum planning to help support children’s learning. We also enhance our curriculum with themed weeks throughout the year which cover a host of different subject areas including; mathematics, art, reading, writing, poetry, sport, science and PSHE.
Our LOtC commitment at the core of our curriculum sees learning enhanced wherever possible. We offer a wide range of Educational Visits to support each topic area which are used to motivate and engage learning. Educational visits are also key to helping make learning “concrete” which in turn helps improve retention of knowledge and skills. We draw on outside speakers, visitors and guests to help develop curiosity in the topics and visitors and workshops in and out of school are a regular occurrence.
Lunchtimes are used as an extension of the curriculum and children have the opportunity to practice skills they have learnt during sessions and lessons in class. We work with the School Sports Partnership to deliver training sessions to children based around our core aims. The children then deliver structured play sessions based upon their training throughout the year which encourages creative thinking, imagination and responsibility as they work towards their leadership awards. In addition, playground buddies have also worked with our Pastoral Manager to develop their understanding of Social and Emotional and use their training to actively encourage and model social play and interaction – particularly in the Early Years.
Each year group has its learning planned around a particular topic which in itself is framed around a particular key question which encourages children to solve problems, make decisions, investigate and manage their learning. This approach allows the children to access a broad curriculum where subjects have been woven together throughout each term to lead towards a project outcome. Topics are often driven by a focus on History or Geography although this is not always the case. Each class teacher is responsible for designing their own topic plans and these plans are monitored by subject leadership teams as well as senior leaders to ensure that our core values are clearly present as well as the key skills and knowledge that are required in each year group.
Base objectives drawn from the National Curriculum have been mapped across Key Stages 1 and 2 along with what skills and knowledge we expect children to develop as they go through each Year Group. Alongside these core National Curriculum objectives, teachers plan in opportunities to develop other learning such as Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural as well as core British Values. Every topic contains multiple elements to develop a child’s character in addition to specifically planned opportunities through the PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) curriculum.
The core subjects of English and Mathematics are given a high focus at Mowbray and these are also planned into the topics throughout the year to both support the learning in the other subject areas and in order to allow the children to practice the skills and knowledge acquired in reading, writing, mathematics and speaking and listening.
The teaching of English at Mowbray is designed to instil in children a love of speaking and listening, reading and writing that will last them a lifetime. We heavily follow the structure of Literature Works and texts form the core of our learning in all aspects of English. Where possible, these texts are chosen to support other curriculum areas (e.g. a non-fiction unit of work may be chosen to support learning in Romans in Year 4 History or texts on Fungi to support Year 6 science). Texts are also chosen to support Personal Development and character such as “Stitch Head” by Guy Bass in Year 6. Giving pupils the key skills in English enables them to access material in all curriculum areas, and provides a foundation for their learning throughout their school career. To achieve this, teachers are focussed on making English interesting and exciting, engaging the pupils with the joy and wonder of books and piquing their imagination and creativity. At Mowbray we view the teaching of English as a fundamental part of the holistic development of the pupil, fostering positive behaviours and attitudes toward learning, and providing key knowledge and skills, to benefit pupils throughout their education and beyond.
We believe it is of paramount importance to ensure that our children have the best possible grounding in mathematics during their time with us. With this in mind, we aim to spark a curiosity and excitement for maths learning, while instilling confidence and knowledge in children as they embark on their journey to mastering the maths curriculum.Starting in September, children in Key Stage One and Reception will be following the Power Maths programme: the most recently recommended programme to meet the criteria for high-quality teaching of mastery in England. In Key Stage Two, children will be continuing to follow a Mastery Curriculum to develop a deeper understanding of maths. We are putting to good use the professional development our staff have undertaken as part of a ‘Teacher Research Group’ through The Great North Maths Hub. As a result, the Maths curriculum has seen a lot change so that it is more focused on what each child needs. Over the course of the next four years, Power Maths will be integrated into the core Mathematics Curriculum of the whole school. All of our resources follow an exciting growth mind set and problem-solving approach. All children are encouraged to believe in their ability to master maths and are empowered to succeed through curiosity and persistence, while tackling the same concepts at the same time and progressing together as a whole class.