To see more detailed overviews of each class curriculum for 2022 - 2023 please click on the following links:
Information about our Curriculum
Symondsbury CE VA Primary School
Curriculum Intent Statement
Our curriculum provides a broad range of experiences for our pupils
Our pupils’ backgrounds, our culture and our climate for learning provide the following drivers that underpin all areas of our curriculum:
- Initiative – which helps pupils to grow as independent learners, not dependant on adults to learn
- Possibilities – which helps pupils to build aspirations and know available possibilities for their future lives
- Environment – which helps pupils to understand and appreciate their locality which facilitates their relationship to the wider world
- Creativity – which helps children express themselves through the arts and explore learning in a dynamic way.
Our curriculum provides appropriate balance
We believe that all children should experience the feeling of accomplishment in a wide range of areas. Our curriculum therefore gives pupils an excellent mix of academic and personal development; it gives equal importance to core and foundation subjects; physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing are both valued, understood and prioritised by our careful consideration of curriculum design.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, along with a well-planned and structured programme of personal development underpins all of our work and is monitored as closely as academic subjects.
At our school the children in our care are at the heart of everything we do. Every pupil should leave knowing God’s love and being able to show God’s love. We believe that all children are unique and must be celebrated for the special gifts and talents that they possess. Each day we encourage our children to work hard, have a positive mind-set, have the confidence to make mistakes, persevere and not give up – in order to succeed, and to feel good about themselves.
At Symondsbury CE VA Primary School we want our children to experience:
- A curriculum that has knowledge, skills and vocabulary at the heart of their learning through enquiry based learning
- Opportunities to embed basic skills and knowledge and find ways to deepen or improve our understanding of what we learn. (The principle of the Cycle)
- An understanding of how important it is to appreciate and preserve diversity in all. (The principle of Diversity)
- A curriculum that responds to findings from pupil feedback and school data to ensure it is bespoke to their needs and reflects the ever changing world, locally and globally (The Principle of Interdependence)
- Developing resilience, perseverance, challenge and support so they have the confidence to aim high and aspire to more (The Principle of Adaptation)
- A curriculum that helps children to know how to live healthy lifestyles – both physically and mentally (The Principle of Health)
- Spiritual, moral, social and cultural experiences threaded through all we do which will facilitate them with all they need to face the any and all futures (The Principle of Oneness)
- A rich curriculum that enables pupils to see the world from a wide range of perspectives (The Principle of Geometry)
- Strong Christian ethos permeating through daily life which gives the children a safe and nurturing environment
Implementation – The Harmony Project – Enquiry Based Learning
The word ‘enquiry’ is defined as ‘a seeking for truth or knowledge’ or ‘seeking information through questioning’. Enquiry-led learning therefore develops in young people the ability to ask questions, to research and generate useful knowledge, and to explore ways of answering the questions raised.
Enquiry-led learning is joined-up learning
In its delivery, enquiry-led learning brings together different subject skills and knowledge and applies them through the project being explored. This approach leads to more discerning learners, to people who ask good questions. If we are to create a healthier, more sustainable future, we have to question and challenge the status quo of what we currently do and look for ways to improve it. This could be at a school or community level or even at a global level through projects that focus on issues that connect students around the world.
When students learn in this way, it is, of course, likely to impact on their thinking and actions as they grow into adult life, too.
In each year group, there is the opportunity to teach six enquiries of learning per year – one each half-term. These enquiries can be focused on projects linked to history, geography and science so that two history, two geography and two science projects are covered each year.
Capturing students’ imaginations
The next step is to think of a question – an enquiry question – that encapsulates the essence of the enquiry and gives the students a way into the learning. An enquiry question might ask students Why are bees so brilliant? or What journey does a river take? The enquiry question might prompt more in-depth reflection and debate linked to global issues – for example, Is Antarctica worth protecting?
We carefully plan each enquiry of learning using the following stages:
The Harmony Principles
There are seven principles of harmony that we will reference in our work and they are:
The Principle of the Cycle – Nature works in cycles
In learning about natural cycles, we want our pupils to learn how we, too, need to design similarly cyclical systems if we are to create a future where there is no unwanted waste or pollution. It is essential to a sustainable future in a world where finite resources are precious and in which we need to reduce our consumption, re-using or recycling as much as we can.
Linking learning to the seasons, connecting what is happening outside the classroom to what is being taught inside the classroom, is a good starting point. The more they can be part of creating cyclical solutions – for example, managing the recycling of food waste back into compost – the better.
From the point of view of learning, we know the importance of revisiting a concept or a piece of work. When we look at it again from a new perspective or in a new light, we can find ways to deepen or improve our understanding of what we learn.
The Principle of Diversity – Diversity is a strength
At Symondsbury we focus is on helping pupils realise that the world has the most incredible diversity. In learning about this diversity, they understand how important it is to appreciate and preserve it.
There are many ways in which we can highlight this diversity, from recognising the uniqueness of each member of a class, to celebrating the extraordinary biodiversity of the rainforest, to learning the different species of trees in a local woodland or even the different types of bees in a bee colony. Where there is space to grow food in school grounds, there is the opportunity for students to learn that there are different species of the same fruit or vegetable, be it an apple, a pear, a carrot or a potato.
The Principle of Interdependence – Everything is connected
We know that bees are an essential part of an ecosystem. As they buzz from flower to flower to collect the nectar that the flowers offer them, they pollinate the flowers in return. It is a perfect partnership and it doesn’t end there. While the bees take the nectar back to their hives to feed their colony, the pollinated flowers slowly turn to fruits. The fruits feed animals and the animals reciprocate by helping to spread the seed, so ensuring the survival of that particular species of plant.
When we learn about Nature’s interdependence, we can see that every element within an ecosystem has a value and a role to play, just like we do at school, demonstrating our school vision.
The Principle of Adaptation – Adaptation is essential for us to survive and thrive
If we can plan enquiries or projects of learning that take pupils out into their local environment and community, then a completely different type of learning will take place. We can enrich learning by looking beyond the school for opportunities to draw on the skills and experience of people from our local communities – and make them ‘partners in learning’. They may be artists, sculptors, gardeners, farmers, local councillors, historians or beekeepers. Through their wisdom and knowledge, they have the potential to add great value to what our students learn, and through these partnerships we build community.
The Principle of Health – We all need to be healthy
If we want the education we offer our young people to make them feel well, and if we want to inspire a love of learning in our schools, we need to plan stimulating, engaging projects of learning and give our pupils a sense of ownership in what they do. If we want to maximise the opportunities for pupils to feel well in Nature, we need to plan and provide experiences that take them beyond the classroom and connect them to Nature. The more we can do this, the more their well-being is likely to improve.
The Principle of Oneness – We are Nature
In all our learning about Harmony, we want our pupils to understand that they are part of something greater, to realise that the world that exists around them also exists in them. By understanding that they are wholly part of Nature, their way of seeing the world shifts to a different, more connected place.
Devoting time to moments of mindfulness every day enables pupils to appreciate a sense of oneness more fully. These quiet times in class or outside in Nature take place at key points, particularly after playtime and lunchtime, and this silent space can be reinforced during their learning – notably when participating in geometry sessions.
Enquiries of learning linked to the principle of Oneness can explore how it has been interpreted over the years across religions, traditions and ways of life. We help our pupils to find a sense of peace in their busy lives and provide opportunities for pupils to rejoice in the oneness of life?
The Principle of Geometry and Beauty – Nature has a Geometry
The practice of geometry provides a different lens for learning. It helps pupils to see how things are. As pupils learn the proportions and ratios of Nature’s patterns, they start to understand that there is an order to life that gives it balance and harmony. They see the world from a different perspective and they begin to develop a much deeper insight into what harmony means. Geometry is a mindful art.
Geometry sessions allow pupils to develop a range of skills that benefit their learning in other areas of the curriculum including:
Improved fine motor skills
Attention to detail and accuracy
Mindfulness and presence
We are passionate about the developments children make in mathematics. Children in all year groups are introduced to new concepts by exploring hands-on resources before moving to pictorial and abstract levels of questioning. We aim for a balance between mathematical fluency (arithmetic), reasoning and problem solving in order to ensure that our children are able to apply the skills that they learn in the classroom to everyday life.
Children are also given opportunities to apply their learning in mathematics during themed weeks, periodically placed throughout the academic year. By creating a rich and exciting mathematical curriculum, we aim to create budding mathematicians, who have deep understanding of number and a desire to tackle a range of problems in order for them to become life-long mathematicians.
Reading – is explicitly taught through quality texts that inspire and engage the children. We approach the teaching of reading through whole class reading sessions across the week. We use Reading Journals and Accelerated Reader to embed comprehension skills. More reading is embedded within the main English session daily.
Firstly, children are exposed to a particular genre where they learn about particular key features and techniques, being exposed to what a good one looks like as an example. Next, children are given a purposeful and exciting writing stimulus which promotes and encourages creativity. They explore and record their ideas through drafting, editing and proofreading, honing their skills through focussed teacher feedback. Finally, children present their completed work before being challenged to compose their own independent piece of writing based on their studied genre. Throughout the process, spelling, punctuation and grammar weave into work through morning jobs, warm-ups and shared writes, ensuring that skills are recapped and reinforced to embed and instil deeper understanding. We promote handwriting where we have a clear set of criteria for identifying children who are making progress in their handwriting; this is linked to our own handwriting policy which we have produced.
Physical and mental health and well-being
The promotion of understanding and managing pupils’ emotional health and well-being is threaded through the week at our schools.
An emotional health and well-being focus is set in the Pupil Voice sessions which meet regularly to reflect on what is going well in school to support pupils and develop ideas for further help. We aim to respond to how pupils want to support their own social and emotional development through school, each class has a worry box that they can access at any time. We promote healthy life styles through the following:
- All children are given opportunities to complete the ‘Daily Mile’ or ‘Daily Dance’
- The school promotes healthy eating through healthy snacks
- There is a very well-designed P.E curriculum that leads to children developing excellent skills and competition in a range of local tournaments
- PH Sports coaches ensure that all children are encouraged to be more active through excellent coaching in P.E sessions.
- Peer mediators at play time offer peer to peer support with playtime difficulties
- Playtime Leaders support the lunch time supervisors in setting up and maintaining structured playtime games and social skills activities
- Daily collective worship gives children the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings
Every child has an opportunity to learn a musical instrument by the time they leave school. The school offers a range of enrichment opportunities in music, including the experience of 1:1 tuition for guitar and piano lessons. Children at Symondsbury CE VA Primary School participate in two high quality performances (Christmas Reception/KS1 production and an end of Y6 production) as well as regular collective worship with families and the community.
Key music skills related to the curriculum are delivered through out specialist music teacher.
First and foremost we want to instil in our children a love of learning and an understanding that the learning is part of a journey they are on. We want them to feel safe, to express and celebrate their learning achievements and recognise their own personal and academic growth.
How we know we are successful in this is through:
- Teacher assessment – formative – through ongoing questioning, dialogue, verbal and written feedback, informal quizzes, practical tasks, day to day work, reasoning. Summative – end of period of learning tests, unaided tasks in writing.
- Learner Voice – pupil questionnaires, self and peer assessment, Pupil Voice sessions, learning dialogue in the classroom that encourages self-evaluation.
- Parental Feedback – parent questionnaires, Fabulous Finish sessions, parent/teacher meetings, informal meetings before and after school, Friends.
- Data Analysis – internal with SLT, subject leadership, pupil progress meetings, governors, School Evaluation Partner (SEP), external data (SATS)
- Quality Assurance – lesson observations, drop ins, learning walks, book looks
- Positive Attitudes to Learning – children engaged and inspired by their learning, posing own enquiry questions, taking initiative, co-constructing the learning pathway
- Respect – visibly demonstrated through their school environment, their work, interactions, moral responsibility, spirituality
- Participating in Community – proudly representing their school through Pupil Voice, intergenerational events, sports tournaments, We Day, community events, invited guests
- Case Studies – to measure the academic, personal, social and emotional progress of our most vulnerable children through case studies.
The impact of what we do and what the children achieve cannot always be measured in data sets and numbers so we always try to look holistically at the whole child. We consider our children as individuals who are facing future challenges and ultimately leave us high school ready having enjoyed and embraced their learning experiences along the way.
Here is an overview of our curriculum for 2022 - 2023 - Please note that this will be updated during the year to reflect enrichment opportunities, Brilliant Beginnings and Fabulous Finishes.