Curriculum, the Fairmeadows Way
We are committed to Inspiring Minds Together; providing a curriculum with breadth that allows all of our children to progress and achieve. They will feel prepared for 'life beyond Fairmeadows' with a passion for learning ignited.
At Fairmeadows Foundation Primary School the curriculum is designed to: recognise children’s prior learning through regular standardised testing teachers’ observations and evidence in books/ portfolios. Provide first hand learning experiences, such as, sawing wood, playing an instrument and performing in a play allow the children to develop interpersonal skills during extended breaks/ lunchtimes, R time and with nurture groups. Build resilience and become creative, critical thinkers through regular use of Learning Powers as core concepts within their education. Reading for pleasure is a key aspect of our curriculum, where we aim to develop confident, fluent and able readers for the future. Readers who choose and love to read, valuing books and seeking out new texts.
Fairmeadows Primary, our curriculum and learning is driven by knowledge. The opportunities, experiences, topics and activities are chosen and planned to nourish, deepen and progress skills.
All children start their journey with a natural curiosity. At Fairmeadows, we believe that all children have the right to learning, experiences and interactions which maintain that natural curiosity and love of learning as they continue through the school. Teachers and Support Staff are merely facilitators in their learning, enabling them to access the opportunities. Learning is carefully planned to ensure it builds, connects and strengthens previous learning, both across the curriculum and to the community and world they live in; making their learning relevant and inspiring.
Every child is recognised as a unique individual evidence through staffs healthy and positive relationships with pupils. We celebrate and welcome differences within our school community, through our collective worships, visits to different places with in the community and religious places of worships. The ability to learn is underpinned by the consistently good teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values.
Whilst the implementation of the curriculum is planned to ensure progression, connection and development, these topics and learning opportunities are adapted to suit the interests and needs of the children, ensuring that the learning is child-directed.
We constantly provide enhancement opportunities to engage learning and believe that childhood should be a happy, investigative and interesting time in their lives where there are no limits to curiosity. There is a thirst for new experiences and knowledge, exemplified by the school’s investment in the forest schools programme. To provide pupils with experiences and skills that will lay strong foundations for the remainder of their academic life, the curriculum has been designed on a two-year deep study model to enable pupils to fully engage with themes and topics, giving them the time to study areas of History, Geography, Music, RE and SMSC in greater depth than ever before facilitated through collaborative planning between staff in consecutive years.
Scientific research suggests that superior learning takes place when classroom experiences are enjoyable and relevant. At Fairmeadows Primary, we seek innovative and ways to ensure learning is memorable. The use enrichment (inside and outside the school day) and real-life problems create accessible opportunities for all children to develop and apply their skills, knowledge and learning characteristics.
We use Learning Powers and our Diamond rules to promote SMSC/British Values and positive attitudes to learning which reflect the values and skills needed to promote responsibility for learning and future success. Growth mind set is a key aspect of our learning culture; enabling pupils to identify and celebrate their strengths and areas for development, taking ownership of their learning and their whole development. In addition to the skills and knowledge, we promote our school’s learning Powers from Nursery to Y6; Enjoy Learning, Have A Go, Concentrate, Keep trying, Be Cooperative, Use Your Imagination, Be Curious and Keep Improving
Computing and technology matter, we have invested heavily in training and ICT resources to ensure the curriculum is interactive, fun and relevant to the technologically motivated pupils in our school. Music is a huge focus as we work hard to ensure that every pupil experience includes, being taught an instrument during their time at Fairmeadows and, where possible, more than one.
We believe that successful learning takes place when children are actively involved in the learning process. We call this ‘Active learning’. Learning at Fairmeadows takes place both indoors and outdoors. Children will leave the school with a sense of belonging, confidence and the skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners able to thrive as they move forward to secondary school.
Our definition of learning extends far beyond the academic achievements in reading, writing and maths. Many of our children face challenges and experiences, both before attending and whilst attending our school. These can impact on their social and emotional well-being, as well as their health. As a result, our curriculum prioritises their personal development and welfare into account and offers the flexibility necessary to ensure every child can flourish beyond, Fairmeadows.
This is where our learning culture is promoted through eight Learning Powers used to focus and empower children so that they become responsible for their own learning and resilient in the face of challenges.
These powers are:
These Powers underpin our curriculum aims and develop growth-mind-set. They also provide our children with the right start preparing for life outside beyond Fairmeadows.
Cultural capital is the background knowledge of the world pupils need to infer meaning from what they read and experience. It is the currency for social mobility and the acquisition of this will allow pupils to transcend their economic-given status whilst repairing divisions in society caused by gaps in knowledge.
Specifically, cultural capital is powerful knowledge. It includes vocabulary which, in turn, helps pupils to express themselves in a sophisticated, mature way. At Fairmeadows Foundation Primary School, the way in which cultural capital is acquired and developed. Giving our children Valuable experiences is at the heart of what we aim to achieve.
Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science; three main principles underpin it:
1. learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
2. Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention.
3. Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.
A Coherently Planned Curriculum
For History, Geography, Art & Design and Design and Technology the structure and content is based upon “Essential Curriculum” model and “Curriculum Companions”. This involves the children being immersed in a curriculum that is coherent, progressive and is appropriately sequenced to enable our pupils to develop subject specific knowledge and skills to prepare them well for the next stages of their education.
Teachers plan in Year group pairs, e.g. Year 1 and 2, allowing them to develop a depth of study over the two years that builds on prior knowledge. This will also have a positive impact on workload as collaborative planning is simpler also allowing resources to be shared. Covering fewer topics but in greater depth also allows school to focus on resourcing fewer areas providing a greater range and higher level of quality than before.
We expect pupils in the first year of the milestone to develop a Basic understanding of the concepts and an Advancing or Deep understanding in the second year of the milestone.
Phase one (Years 1, 3 and 5) a Milestone is the knowledge building phase that provides the fundamental foundations for later application. Phase 2 : Children at the end of Years 2, 4, 6 will be working at the end of advancing in and depth understanding.
Schemes of work of other non- core subjects. (See subject pages)
Assessment of Reading, Writing and Maths.
At Fairmeadows, we have designed our own Assessment system to track and assess the progress of children in Reading, Writing and Maths.
This information then creates a total score and categorises the children as one of the following.
The expectation is that the children reach Secure in Summer 2. Teachers use their formative, summative and professional judgement to update their assessments. We track the progress that the children are making based on entry judgements and then identify any children who are not making expected progress during Pupil Progress Meetings each term.
The impact of our curriculum will be measured by assessment procedures which allow us to evaluate outcomes against schools nationally. These will be measured within school through our own assessment systems, national assessments, pupil questionnaires, teacher observations, samples of work and evidence from both Seesaw and social media.
Phonics – by age 7, the majority of pupils will be able to read confidently and successfully.
Reading- by age 11, the majority of children are skilful readers who enjoy reading for pleasure, reflected in exit scores.
Times tables – by age 9, the majority of children will be confident in recalling facts up to the 12 times table and apply these across various contexts.
Secondary ready- at the age of 11. They are confident, self assured and emotionally ready to move on.
Resilient and creative thinkers, who solve problems effective both as individuals and groups.
Love learning, attending regularly with attendance above 96%.