Monks Risborough Primary School’s curriculum has been developed to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum while at the same time going beyond that to make the most of the school’s unique location and strengths. Following the initial development of the Monks Risborough curriculum, we have reviewed our approach with parents to ensure that the curriculum fits with the values of the community as a whole.
Within our school we place great importance on children’s spiritual, personal, social and cultural development combining highly effective learning with personal growth.
Our child centred approach to learning is built to achieve purposeful and enriching key learning outcomes and put the children at the heart of our decision making. These outcomes provide each child with an exciting focus for their learning, developing skills that are necessary for today’s world and instilling a lifelong love of learning.
Our Christian values underpin our school life and curriculum. They guide all members of the school’s community in their thoughts, learning and behaviours. Our core Christian Values are:
These Christian values are central to underpinning our approach to developing caring, responsible citizens and ensuring children have the opportunity to learn how they can be empowered through following them. Importantly, our approach to the teaching of values ensures that children have the opportunity to learn from mistakes made and improve their behaviour.
In conjunction with our school values, our curriculum intent is underpinned by the following set of curriculum foundations. These enable us to make the most of our locality and its community within our curriculum:-
As a staff we have identified and explicitly teach a set of objectives which help us to address the ‘hidden’ curriculum - those skills children need to be successful both within their learning and life. These skills including collaboration, independence and critical thinking, are made explicit and taught alongside our core curriculum objectives in most lessons. Over time children develop a deep understanding of these characteristics helping them to understand the range of skills they are learning within all learning tasks. These objectives also guide the teachers to consider the wider opportunities within the activities they are planning to ensure a breadth of life skills are also developed.
As a school we foster the understanding of a growth mindset.
The language of a growth mindset is used explicitly within all lessons and specific activities are planned in each year group in relation to this principle.
The above principles have direct impact on our approach to the planning of the curriculum, and teaching and learning. For example, in KS2 children are not taught in ability groups within maths lessons but are taught to self-regulate –choosing and selecting the challenge they are capable of within each individual lesson.
Organisation of the Curriculum
It is our intention that all learning should be purposeful and relevant. To achieve this we have developed a creative curriculum in which most learning (learning that is applicable) is based upon one area of the curriculum as a focal point. Towards the end of each term, children will work in groups to assimilate information and develop an ‘outcome’ to be shared with a particular group of the school community i.e. parents, children or governors. Through this, regular links between what the children are learning and how this will then feed into their outcome can be made. This approach also enables far greater opportunity to make cross-curricular links, for example, opportunities for Art in Religious Education or Writing within History. Crucially this approach enables practise and overlearning of key skills and develops understanding of learning within a social context.
The Wider Curriculum
– Pupil led learning opportunities:
Within our curriculum we provide a number of opportunities to ensure children have the opportunity to be at the centre of decision making within the school, or to put into action entirely child led activities. Opportunities for this are listed below:
- Extra-curricular clubs:
The school runs an extensive offer of extra-curricular clubs, enabling the children to engage or deepen skills in which they have a personal interest.
Off-site visits and residentials
We recognise off site visits and residentials as a central aspect of ensuring children engage with hands on and memorable learning. Well planned visits help to enrich the curriculum, bringing class learning to life and helping to put learning into context. Additionally, off-site visits play an important role in helping the children to live out our school values, for example, the choir singing for senior citizens is important in building children’s understanding of community. Off-site visits empower children through developing independence, self-esteem, teamwork and of understanding risk. Whether it is a day visit or residential, the school tries at all times to ensure every child is able to attend, applying to charities to support with funding where necessary.
Visits to places of worship help us to promote British Values.
At times it is valuable to attribute a theme of the week to the whole school, highlighting essential aspects of learning, such as anti –bullying week. On other occasions, the opportunity to carry out a themed week can provide a greater opportunity for exploration of a key curriculum area as well as to involve a wide range of stakeholders, for example Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). The themed weeks we hold as a school annually are: Anti-bullying Week, STEM Week, and Book Week.
Planning for the implementation of our curriculum
EYFS Planning is mapped out with a long term whole year plan, a half-termly topic web (shared with parents), a week-by-week strategy, a ‘book of the week’ learning opportunities map and then detailed daily plans. This ensures all learning points are secure for all children of all abilities, leading to the national expectation of the Early Learning Goals in each area of development. Each half term’s learning is based around an engaging topic in which the children help to add ideas to. Weekly learning focuses around a book of the week, related to the topic- this promotes strong early literacy skills and gives the children a shared experience upon which they can build their learning. The learning is purposeful, leading to an outcome each half-term. The outcome is shared with parents and/or other children across the school, for example, in the summer term, after learning about the Environment, the children put on an Ugly Bug Ball in the school field –making their own costumes (Expressive Arts & Design skills), playing Bug Top Trumps (the children make their own cards using their learnt maths skills and their new information about different mini-beasts) and partake in a variety of extra activities planned for by the children themselves.
Links with Home
In the Reception year at Monks Risborough, a very strong partnership with parents is forged. Research has shown there to be a significant impact upon a child’s academic progress and emotional well-being when home supports the school learning. To aid this triangulation, weekly learning is displayed in the classroom window so parents know what they can re-enforce at home with conversations, games and joining in play. Children choose their own Library and reading books to bring home and it is expected that these will be read at home daily to maximise access to the ongoing curriculum.
Key Stage 1 and 2
Our approach to the implementation of core and foundation subject learning:
Our termly / half termly overviews enable opportunities within the planning stage to link together all areas of learning (or those that are applicable) so that children’s learning is enriched through focusing on a common thread. These overviews help us to identify how a deeper knowledge base can be developed from which the children can practise and embed the key skills of reading, writing and maths. Our overviews also guide teaching to ensure that opportunities to cover our core curriculum foundations are met termly. Each overview will identify the outcome the term’s learning is building up to.
- Long term planning:
Long term planning provides a brief overview of all individual subjects and topics taught within the year. It details when the topic will be taught, ensuring we have appropriate coverage for each area of learning across the school.
-Medium term planning:
Medium term planning provides an overview of the objectives for each subject on a weekly basis, outlining the key progression in skills across a set period of time (usually one term).
-Short term planning:
Short term planning is the daily lesson with more extensive details of each activity. Within this, specific groups of pupils are identified and strategies to support each group (or individual) are outlined.
To support, extend or explore curriculum opportunities further, as well as to help children develop positive routines and study skills ready for the next stage of their education, home learning is set across the school. The expectation for the amount of homework to be carried out is tailored to the children’s age and has been reviewed through parental questionnaires to help the school ensure that the amount of homework set is manageable.
What does your child learn at school each day? Find information about our curriculum subjects here.
Assessing and tracking children's learning
We track our children's progress using a system called Target Tracker.
Within this system, children are expected to make 6 steps of progress each year which enables us to monitor whether they are on track to be ready for the next stage of their education. We will implement interventions if it looks they are not on track. Children's progress is rarely on straight trajectory and we will always look at earlier progress too.
The 6 steps are:
b - beginning the year's objectives
b+ - working within the year group's objectives
w - working towards the expected standard for the year group
w+ - close to but at risk of not reaching the expected standard
s - working securely at the expected standard
s+ - working at greater depth within the year group's expectations
Each letter will be preceded by a number for the year group the child is in.