Norwood Primary School – Our Curriculum Ethos
At Norwood Primary we are passionate about preparing our children for the challenging but desirable future they face by offering an inclusive curriculum which provides a range of opportunities to participate and excel within and beyond the school day. Following on from the child initiated Early Years, our creative cross curricular and topic based curriculum allows us to encourage children to follow lines of enquiry that appeal to them and through the structure of expert direction and teaching enables them to experience inspirational learning opportunities which allows them to be challenged and stimulated at all levels and build skills for life. The progress of every child is carefully and regularly monitored to ensure that teachers are aware of, and plan for, the needs of each individual child.
Our definition of The Curriculum is all the activities that we plan, organise and deliver in order to facilitate the development of our pupils, their learning, their personal growth and an understanding of British values. Whilst our curriculum includes the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, it also aims to provide a range of experiences to enhance and enrich learning and development of all. These range from excursions or visits within the locality to welcoming visitors on site as well as working with the community such as the local church or mosque. In addition to the standardised curriculum, we want our children to be exposed to our ‘high Norwood standards and expectations’, our vision and values in order to create responsible and respectful citizens of the future.
Our school curriculum is driven by our core values and we aim for all our children to develop the qualities and characteristics outlined in our vision statement. To make these values accessible to our children we have developed our own Norwood Learning Journey which encompasses all the elements needed to support our learning and to help us be successful.
Our school logo, and an important characteristic of Eastleigh, is the railway and particularly the train. Our Learning Heroes come aboard the train with us and help us on our journey.
The Norwood Curriculum is the whole learning experience. Along with planned lessons and routines, this includes after school activities and clubs, roles and responsibilities within the school community, enhanced and enrichment activities such as visits to art galleries and the theatre, and activities to develop understanding and tolerance of the needs of others such as charity events and fund raising.
What has changed?
The National Curriculum provides the school with the outline of knowledge, skills and understanding that we are required to cover in school. From September 2014, schools teaching KS1 and KS2 pupils took on a new Primary National Curriculum. This now applies to all pupils, except for those in Year 2 and 6 who are still working accessing the old curriculum for Maths and English until 2016.
English, Maths and Science remain very important and are considered the core subjects in both primary and secondary education. The National Curriculum sets out in some detail what must be taught in each of these subjects, and they will take up a substantial part of your child’s learning week. Alongside these are the familiar foundation subjects: Art, Computing, Design & Technology, Modern Foreign Languages (KS2 only), Geography, History, Music, and Physical Education. For these foundation subjects, schools have much more flexibility regarding what they cover in these subjects.
Much of the publicity about the changes to the curriculum has focussed on ‘higher expectations’ in various subjects, and it is certainly the case that in some areas the content of the new primary curriculum is significantly more demanding than in the past. For example, in mathematics there is now much greater focus on the skills of arithmetic and also on working with fractions. In science, a new unit of work on evolution is introduced for Year 6; work which would have previously been studied in secondary school. In English more attention will be paid to the study of grammar and spelling; an area which was far less notable previously. This has meant that although the core principles are still outlined, it has given schools more freedom with the breadth of the content particularly within the foundation subjects.
Staff at Norwood Primary have been working hard to make sure we meet statutory requirements of the 2014 curriculum but also that we continue to offer a curriculum that is broad and balanced, with a clear progression of key skills allowing our children the opportunities to apply these skills.
Through creative, cross-curricular themes children learn different strands of the curriculum from the range of subjects taught, all within one common theme for a term or half a term. We aim to inspire children at the start of a topic through exciting and creative hooks with a meaningful outcome for a real audience. These themes are taught through key questions that provide the basis for the children to explore different concepts, knowledge and skills. Our theme titles are collated into a ‘Big Picture’. Follow the link below to see an example. As a school with a very diverse community we have also planned to include more parent involvement around important calendar events of different faiths to support our place in a multicultural society whilst also fulfilling the requirement to promote British values.
This year we have also committed ourselves to raising the profile of the arts within school and the curriculum which we have begun to address through the promotion of the arts in general but particularly music and there is plenty more in the pipe line.
Staff are also committed to ensuring that we support all vulnerable groups and individual needs through detailed planning and continuous assessment while at the same time promoting children’s health and well-being. Follow the curriculum link below to see our topic overview.