We believe that reading is at the heart of the curriculum and that it must be given high priority across the school. We have developed a reading curriculum that begins with a solid foundation of daily phonics teaching in the early years and throughout Key Stage 1. This is augmented with daily guided reading lessons in Year 1 (from the summer term) through to Year 6 and through the Power of Reading programme.
As we felt that our pupils were not provided with enough opportunities to write at length beyond English and RE lessons, we have designed a curriculum that offers opportunities for extended writing in history, geography and science.
Vocabulary development is an essential part of our pupils’ learning journey as we believe that exposure to language develops verbal confidence and plays a significant part in reading progress. We therefore ensure that vocabulary enrichment forms an essential part of the each year group’s curriculum. Specific vocabulary lists are part of the curriculum for Years 3 to 6.
Maths skills and mathematical fluency are essential throughout life. For this reason, we have ensured that our maths lessons incorporate at least one reasoning session per week and, where appropriate, reasoning tasks form part of the main lessons. Pupils are encouraged to become confident mathematicians through their use of the Times Tables Rock Stars programme, My Maths and Abacus, all of which they access online. Additionally, pupils may use their maths skills in other subjects such as science.
We have ensured also that our curriculum is designed so that pupils are exposed to real life issues. This can be seen in the themes that teach about sustainability (Perfect Planet? - Year 3); British values and the democratic process (Democracy - Year 5); money awareness (Managing Money – Year 6); dealing with the pressures of social media (Social Media: Friend or Foe? – Year 6). We also ensure that pupils participate in celebratory events such as Roald Dahl day, National Poetry Day and in events of national and international significance such as Remembrance Day and Black History Month. Additionally, if a significant news event occurs (whether it be of local, national or international significance), this is taught to pupils across the school, for example the general election of 2019.
We believe that certain individuals have played a significant part in the cultural capital of both our country and the wider world. For this reason, we have designed a curriculum that celebrates the achievements of these individuals. Each year group studies at least three significant individuals throughout the year. Example: Year 3 - Zaha Hadid (architect); Mary Anning (paleontologist); Jane Goodall (naturalist).
We celebrate the achievements of black figures throughout history and the present day through our celebration of Black History in October and as part of diversity in other areas of the curriculum. We ensure that each class studies an individual who has contributed significantly to the cultural capital of the UK and the wider world. By the end of Year 6, pupils have a good understanding of the significant achievement and contribution of black figures of the past and present.
We ensure that mental health is at the centre of our curriculum. We achieve this through our PSHE programme. Our aim is that our pupils adapt to changing life circumstances through practising specific techniques designed to support mental wellbeing.
Thematic Learning: We aim for our learning to be cohesive and have therefore deigned a curriculum that is thematic. Where possible, links are made between and within subjects such as science, art and design, design and technology, history and geography under a thematic heading.
All themes commence with a hook activity and the majority of themes close with a creative outcome that is developed throughout the theme. Following the hook activity, pupils consider questions they would like answered during the theme. These questions are displayed on the Theme Question Wall and inform teachers’ planning.
We teach the requirements of the National Curriculum for history through a variety of themes but we ensure that these themes are linked through strands rather than isolated. For example: ‘Is there a similarity with the burial rites and customs of the Anglo Saxons (Sutton Hoo), the Bronze Age (the Amesbury Archer) and the Ancient Egyptians?’
Enriching the curriculum: our curriculum is enriched through outside speakers, workshops, events and activity days that ensure that our pupils’ learning experiences are memorable and engaging and embed a sense of wonder, curiosity and questioning for our pupils.
Growth Mindset: our curriculum is founded on the principle that the deepest and most significant learning comes from when we make mistakes and that how we deal with these mistakes can form the kind of learner we become. We aim to create a growth culture that values learning and development. We intend for our children to grow to achieve beyond their perceived ability and to have high, challenging but realistic expectations of both themselves and others. Our pupils have developed four characters - which are displayed in each classroom and are referred to frequently in all areas of the curriculum - to remind pupils that no challenge is too great and that the way in which we approach a task can determine our level of success. The four characters are: Resilient Robyn, Independent Iris, Charlie Challenge and The Self Motivator.
We believe that off-site learning is a valuable component of education, further enriching pupils’ experience and exposing them to an enhanced understanding of their world. We therefore ensure that pupils experience at least three off-site educational trips per year.
We have designed our curriculum to reflect the locality and the wider local area. Pupils study the features of Heston, both its history and geography (Where Do I Live? – Year 1; Heston Detectives – Year 4) and their capital city (London – Year 4). The theme of The Tudors has also been re-introduced due to our proximity to Hampton Court Palace.
In order to ensure that pupils know more and remember more, we have designed a knowledge and skills rich curriculum. We endeavour to ensure that knowledge is consolidated and embedded for pupils through frequent quick fire questioning, informal quizzes and the use of knowledge organisers.
For us, RE is a complete learning experience as reference is made to our faith during the teaching of other core and foundation subjects. To deliver our discrete RE, we have chosen to follow the Margaret Carswell scheme of Religious Education which has improved the standard of written RE in pupils’ books as well as exposing our pupils to a higher level of religious vocabulary and scripture study. Pupils also have the opportunity to study other faiths and to visit places of worship across the borough, encouraging them to reflect upon and embrace the diverse nature of Hounslow.