At Sprowston we provide a high quality curriculum, which engages children and enables them to develop the key knowledge and skills they need for future life. In formulating our curriculum, we carefully considered our children’s needs and what we want them to have achieved by the time they leave us. From this, we designed a curriculum that enables our children to learn what they need. We base our curriculum on the National Curriculum (2014), and carefully sequence the content to ensure children are able to learn it well.
At Sprowston our curriculum looks slightly different in each year group, to reflect the unique stages of development children go through in the EYFS (early years foundation stage) and key stage 1.
In Reception we follow ‘planning in the moment’, which is based on the work of Anna Ephgrave. It is all about seizing the moment for children to progress. Based on what the children are already deeply involved in, this way of planning relies on skilled practitioners using quality interactions to draw out the children’s knowledge and build on it there and then (in the moment). This means that the practitioner needs the skills to be able to see the teachable moment (Learning, Playing and Interacting, DfE) from the child’s perspective and be skilled enough to know when to intervene and when to stand back and observe. The best levels of involvement are seen when children initiate their own play. We cannot know what they will choose to do. Therefore, we cannot ‘plan’ this in advance. We need to watch, wait & wonder and then plan how to respond in that moment (Ephgrave).
What does teaching look like?
“Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term which covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges.” (OFSTED, 2015)
Why this approach?
- Levels of engagement are higher and children develop independence and take ownership of their learning.
- Learning takes place over time, not within a lesson.
- Children need opportunities to apply learning in many different contexts to develop deeper understanding.
- They are able to return to concepts in many different ways over time, naturally linking to other areas.
- Children learn and develop skills that are beneficial for life-long learning such as curiosity, imagination, initiative, determination, perseverance, risk-taking, energy, fascination, focus, attention to detail, resilience, enjoyment of challenge, pride, problem solving ability, ability to plan ahead, flexibility, cooperation.
- Adults have more time to personalise learning where required for individuals within the day.
As the children move through the school, we retain elements of the approach, while gradually adding in more structure. This is to reflect the increasing demands of the key stage 1 curriculum content, as well as preparing the children for key stage 2 and junior school.
In Year 1
We believe that children should experience a wide range of authors and develop a love of reading. To ensure this is a core part of our curriculum, we chose inspiring books each week to ‘hook’ the children into their learning. These books are carefully chosen with national curriculum objectives in mind and ensure children are immersed in new vocabulary and inspiring illustrations that promote awe and wonder. Each half term, learning will be based around a theme and activities are planned across the curriculum that are linked to it.
Children complete ‘challenges’ from different national curriculum areas, which are focused on key skills children need to learn. Many of these will be linked to the book hook for the week.
The children have guided reading sessions, a phonics and Maths lesson every day, as well as further input around weekly themes and literacy. Teachers work intensively with English and Maths groups to provide focused teaching and immediate feedback on their work. Children also have time to explore their own ideas in other curriculum areas in the classroom and outside during the day.
In Year 2
In Y2, the curriculum is organised around larger and more complex termly themes. For example, the autumn term theme is ‘sustainability’. Learning across subjects is related to the theme and builds connected knowledge and skills over the term to give children a deeper understanding of the theme by the end of term.
The day is timetabled in a more ‘traditional’ way, with English, Maths, Phonics, Guided Reading lessons in the morning, and a challenge-based approach to other subjects in the afternoon, which allows some elements of choice. Some of the challenges require whole class direct input from the teacher, while some are available for the children to work on independently.
There are many other things in our curriculum we do that contribute to children’s personal development, such as:
Multi-school council – together with Hall School we are the first schools in Norfolk collaborating to help break down perceptions towards SEND and mental health in schools and the wider community. We are being supported by Kieran Pearce in Essex. We meet termly, with children from mainstream and special schools, to learn more about each other and collaborate on projects.
- Partnering with Friend in Deed – visits to local care homes
- Sing Up event at St Andrew’s Hall
- Class trips
- ‘cultural capital’ doc
- Secret reader
- Reading and Maths cafes
- Stay and plays
- After school clubs
- Celebration assembly
- Lunchtime sports coach
- Class garden – growing vegetables
- E-safety assembly
- Children’s Mental Health Week
- Singing at local venues
- Outdoor learning
- Library visits
- Visitors to school – health practitioners, police, RSPB and even some animal friends
- Fundraising both for the school and wider charities
And we always welcome suggestion for new ideas…!