Aspirations Curriculum: Learning for the Future
The curriculum at Marsh Hill is designed to provide a broad, balanced and rich education that meets the needs of all children, which includes those children who are identified as having SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) or being academically more-able. It provides opportunities for the children to develop as inquisitive, independent, confident and successful learners, with high aspirations, who know how to make a positive contribution to their school community, local area community and their wider society.
Our curriculum endeavours to ensure that the following aims are achieved for each individual pupil:
- personal academic success;
- creativity and problem-solving skills that lead to becoming analytical;
- being reliable and responsible;
- having perseverance and resilience through a growth mind-set;
- being able to collaborate and communicate effectively;
- a sound understanding of physical development and wellbeing;
- a comprehensive understanding of mental health and how to support each other;
- showing appreciation and understanding for a variety of community cultures;
- and being able to form relationships with others.
We believe that these characteristics are key elements needed to support the development of the whole child; they promote a positive attitude to learning successfully at school and in later life. Learning is, after all, a lifelong journey. This will allow our pupils to develop into young educated citizens, with the skills required to achieve further successes.
Our curriculum celebrates the diversity and utilises the skills, knowledge and cultural wealth of our community, while supporting the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, ensuring that children are well prepared for life in modern Britain. We ensure continuity and progression from year to year, so that all children are able to perform at a high level, with confidence, across the curriculum. Assessment for learning underpins all teaching and learning so that future learning is informed by the attainment of individuals.
We have high expectations for all pupils and are committed to ensuring our curriculum complies with the Equality Act 2010 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014. Our SEND Information Report emphasises the importance of providing an inclusive learning environment for all pupils, including those with SEND. Additional information on this can be found in our Special Educational Needs Information Report on the school’s website. Our curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 and the Birmingham Agreed Syllabus for the teaching of Religious Education. It also includes other experiences and opportunities which meet the learning needs and development of our children.
Our curriculum is broad and balanced: it is structured in such a way that we are able to ensure coverage of the required knowledge and skills to be gained at each key stage of the primary curriculum. We follow an educational approach to teaching and learning: Revisit, Revisit: Remember.
Here is a brief overview of how our curriculum is structured for Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2:
Provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The current practice in EYFS at Marsh Hill has a balance of adult-led and child-initiated learning through planned play based activities. The classes have a free-flow unit with the opportunity to close the concertina doors if necessary.
At the start of each day, children have a different activity to complete until the register is taken, such as writing their phonic sounds, writing numbers, completing number calculations, writing about their weekend, practising red words or reading a book.
The morning is split into outdoor and indoor learning, two practitioners will teach a differentiated adult-led activity linked to the phonics carpet session and two practitioners will be supporting and facilitating child-initiated learning through planned questioning and through observations. Focus children are observed in the mornings. Over the course of a morning, the children have a phonics session followed by independent activities and a writing adult led focus that is linked to the phonics session for the autumn term and progresses to writing sentences when the children are ready. After snack time, the children have a maths carpet session followed by independent activities and a Maths adult led focus that is linked to the carpet session.
In the afternoon, the children have a reading session where the class is split into smaller groups, two groups read with an adult and two groups access independent activities. They then have a whole class carpet session linked to the current topic. Practitioners facilitate independent activities that are linked to either Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design or Physical Development that take place indoor or outdoor depending on the activities. One practitioner is facilitating and observing identified children from key person groups, with a specific focus linked to their learning journeys.
The continuous provision for both indoor and outdoor is planned for weekly and is linked to the topic and prior learning. Additional lessons that take place across the week are whole class Music, Religious Education, PSHE and PE.
To build strong relationships with all of our families, each child has the opportunity to take home the class camera each term: this is to take photos of special events taking place at home or something special they want to share with school. There are then three sessions across the week (in the afternoon) where the children present their photos to their class and talk about each photo, this is to develop links with parents, encourage parental involvement but also to develop the communication and language skills of the children.
Provision in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
Across key stages 1 and 2, two core subjects are taught daily. These are English (reading and writing) and Mathematics. In key stage 1, a phonics session is taught daily whilst in key stage 2, children are taught reading comprehension skills through an approach called Close Reading. Mathematics is taught as two key components: mental arithmetic skills and mathematical reasoning. All other subjects, commonly known as the foundation subjects, are taught in a balanced way throughout the academic, as shown in this table:
Each subject is led by a member of school staff. If a teacher is new to the role of Subject Leader, then they are supported by an experienced Subject Leader for a period of time. Subject Leaders play an important part in the success of our curriculum by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review. All Subject Leaders are given training and the opportunity to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding, so that they can support curriculum development and implementation and their colleagues throughout the school. They are responsible for the progression of skills within their subject area from EYFS through to Year 6. There are regular opportunities for Pupil Voice, particularly at the start of units of work. Ideas from the children can then be used to inform future planning to ensure relevance to the learning that takes place.
Marsh Hill takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and most make good progress in the majority of subjects and areas of learning. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth application and those who struggle are encouraged and given targeted support to embed and rehearse skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs. A teaching strategy which is embedded throughout our curriculum is ‘talk for writing’. As a school, we’ve adapted this approach to suit our needs. During every lesson, we aim to provide pupils with the opportunity to orally rehearse what they are going to write. This allows for collaboration, peer-to-peer support and vocabulary/language evaluation.
At Marsh Hill we see homework is an important part of a child's education, and can add much to a child's development. We see homework as an important example of cooperation between teachers and parents/carers. One of the aims of our teaching is for children to develop as independent learners, and we believe that doing homework is one of the main ways in which children can acquire the skill of independent learning. Homework plays a positive role in raising a child's level of attainment. However, we also acknowledge the important role of play and free time in a child's growth and development.
The nature and range of homework will change as children progress through the school and will always take into account individual needs and interests. In Reception and Key Stage 1, short, varied activities (reading together, sharing a book, practising key words, counting objects and practising number skills) provide a wonderful opportunity for young children to talk about what they are learning with an adult and to practise key skills in a familiar, supportive environment.
As children progress through the school, homework provides an opportunity to further develop the skills needed for lifelong, independent learning. Homework is differentiated when appropriate, taking account of individual pupils’ needs and interests.
While homework is important, it should not prevent children from taking part in the activities of various out-of-school clubs and of other organisations that play an important part in the lives of our pupils. We are well aware that children spend more time at home than at school, and we believe that they develop their interests and skills to the full only when parents/carers encourage them to make maximum use of the opportunities available outside school.
As of March 2021, weekly homework activities were available on Google Classroom. Moving forward with new teaching strategies stemming from the Covid pandemic, online homework activities will now be available at least once a half term, for pupils to access and complete. We believe that keeping our online classrooms active will further support our pupils’ understanding of computing when they begin their secondary education.
Enjoyment of our curriculum promotes achievement, confidence and good behaviour. Children feel safe to try new things. We have developed an ethos of growth mind-set over recent years: this has supported our pupils with their resilience and passion for learning. Our curriculum is further enhanced by annual high quality educational visits and visitors to our school: these provide opportunities for writing for a purpose and a real audience.
Children have opportunities to share their learning with each other, their parents and carers and other learners through Parents’ Consultations, which take place termly, and Parent Workshops.
Each Subject Leader regularly monitors and evaluates their subject through book & planning trawls, lesson observations and pupil conferencing. Each term, Subject Leaders have the opportunity to feedback to the whole staff about the strengths and weaknesses within their subject. They continually make adjustments to their subject to ensure that the children are not only accessing a broad and balanced curriculum, but one that is the best that it can be.
Governors take an active role in the delivery and standards of the whole school curriculum. Subject Leaders, on a rolling schedule, attend Governors’ meetings to discuss their subject in depth. This includes providing an overview of the current attainment of pupils’ success within in each year group.
If you have any questions about the curriculum, please email email@example.com
To view the National Curriculum, click here
The curriculum offered at Marsh Hill Primary School is in line with the Birmingham Curriculum Statement.
The Birmingham Education and Schools’ Strategy and Improvement Plan and the Birmingham Curriculum Statement are available at www.birmingham.gov.uk/educationimprovement