A summary about specific ways we implement our curriculum is here; our Curriculum Statement provides a fuller picture.
A two-year cycle
Teachers work in three different phases to plan and deliver the curriculum: Years 1 and 2, Years 3 and 4 and Years 5 and 6. The benefits of this include:
- teachers can share ideas and skills when planning and delivering topics
- teachers can provide different areas of subject expertise
- a common topic creates a talking point or ‘buzz’ for conversations in school
- classes might swap teachers or combine to work with other children
As a result, we operate a two-year rolling programme of topics, with some topics in ‘Year A’, some in ‘Year B’. An advantage of a two year cycle is that children learn some age-related expectations in one year and then secure their learning in the following year – an opportunity to reinforce or to go deeper with the learning.
Foreign Language, Music, PSHE, PE, RE
These subjects are all additional foundation subjects. They can help to enrich any of the topics we implement, but they are also taught in a discrete way. For example, RE (Religious Education) is taught in a dedicated session. We use the agreed syllabus for RE in Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds, ‘Believing and Belonging in West Yorkshire’ (2019-2024). (At St James’ CE Primary, there is a denominational requirement to provide a certain proportion of teaching from the religious designation because the school is a voluntary controlled Church of England school.)
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC)
The National Curriculum states: ‘Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which: promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society’ (section 3.1, p6). We promote SMSC through our whole-school ethos, effective relationships throughout the school, collective worship, and other curriculum activities. National Curriculum subjects provide opportunities to promote SMSC, too.
Special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)
Our school is inclusive, committed to meeting the needs of children with SEND (special education needs and disabilities) in the most effective way so that they achieve the best possible outcomes. To do this, we adapt how we implement the curriculum to meet the needs of pupils with SEND so that we can develop their knowledge, skills and abilities to apply what they know and can do with increasing fluency and independence. The adaptations we make are appropriate and reasonable, and are made in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and the SEND code of practice.
Flexibility and freedom
In specific circumstances (such as where there is a significant event nationally/globally that merits consideration eg a natural disaster in the news), teachers may choose to deviate a little from the topic. This is important as it provides opportunities for teachers to explore other aspects of learning within or beyond the curriculum – learning which is more spontaneous in that it meets children’s questions, needs and interests in a responsive, more ‘organic’ way. This corresponds to two of our specific curriculum aims: to be relevant and to be creative.
In every class, reading has a high profile. This includes a class novel. Our topics are supported and enriched by quality texts. These might be class novels, extracts from quality texts, shorter picture books (a wide variety of ‘mature picture books’ are available), poetry and non-fiction texts. These texts will complement/contextualise the learning of the topic’s driving subject. The topics aim to show children the links between a text and the wider world, and – importantly – promote a love of reading.
Within each topic (and in Science), there are subject-specific words/phrases that we want our children to know.
Challenge and deeper learning
Across all subjects, teachers provide opportunities for challenge and deeper learning. Pupils benefit from this: whoever needs it, in whatever lesson.