Mowmacre Hill Primary Curriculum
Mowmacre Hill Primary School Definition of Learning – Learning is being never afraid to ask why and persevering to discover how, when and what if. It is a constant cycle of new learning, consolidation and application.
At Mowmacre Hill Primary School, our vision is to create a primary school that encourages its children to question and discover for themselves. Questioning and discovering their personal potential, their responsibilities in the Mowmacre school family, the Mowmacre community and as international citizens. We aspire to help each child to realise their potential to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, effective contributors and curious young people who are confident to challenge the status quo.
As Mowmacre Hill staff, we endeavour to guide and inspire our children through innovative and excellent teaching practices, which reflect and respond to the children’s individual starting points. A mastery approach to teaching and learning has been adopted across all areas of the curriculum. Staff have the opportunity to work closely with leaders to identify how lessons reflect the children’s previous learning and aspirational future outcomes. Achievement and attainment across our ambitious curriculum are closely monitored through assessment, moderation and learning conversations however, equal importance is placed on the assessment and monitoring of children’s emotional and social needs. Our wellbeing team of professionals work closely with all staff to ensure that our pupils and their family’s needs are identified and supported both in school and through careful signposting to specialist external agencies.
As part of the Discovery Schools Academy Trust, we benefit from being part of a forward thinking academic organisation and have access to facilities and opportunities beyond an individual school’s scope.
The Mowmacre Primary School Leadership Team drive curriculum implementation through frequent meetings and liaison with subject leaders. Subject development is planned and actioned collaboratively. Mowmacre Hill has benefited from the development of school specific initiatives led by the Lead Practitioners of Discovery Schools Academy Trust (DSAT) and through the completion of nationally recognised leadership programmes led in partnership with Inspiring Leaders and DSAT. The school has adopted a mastery approach to learning which ensures that children consolidate their learning before acquiring new knowledge and considers the key approaches of metacognition.
The teaching team have collaborated on producing the ‘Mowmacre Hill Primary School Progression Documents’. The documents identify and track the key assessment statements across each subject area and across the primary curriculum. English writing skills have been identified in the MHPS ‘Pebbles and breadcrumbs’ documents. ‘Maths No Problem’ is used to ensure coverage and depth of curriculum needed in the area of mathematics. These documents are used to develop subject leader’s knowledge of how skills develop in relation to chronological and individual starting points, assessment and monitoring of subjects and curriculum moderation and will enable leaders to hold ‘meaningful discussions about how they know that the curriculum is having an impact.’ Clear identification of subject specific skills allows teachers to develop their teaching pedagogy to utilise the key elements of rehearsal, encoding and retrieval strategies; in order to enable working memory acquisition.
Wherever plausible, links are made between subject areas to ensure understanding and the contextual application of skills. Leaders and teaching staff have worked together to plan for ‘quality outcome’ led learning. Teachers follow the planning sequence recommended in the research report Beyond Levels: alternative approaches developed by teaching schools (DfE 2014).
‘Successful pedagogy involves thinking about the relationship between individual lessons and longer term outcomes. Too frequently lessons fail because they have been designed backwards ie resources, activities, learning intentions and then success criteria. What the project crystallised in all participant thinking was the necessity to plan in the opposite way ie success criteria, learning intentions, activities that deepened thinking and resources.‘
The assessment of the wider curriculum uses a whole class assessment process, which enables ‘in the moment’ assessment recorded on a working document: this enables assessment to be used to address misconceptions immediately and before any new learning. The approach also minimises excessive marking load, which had previously had a minimal impact.
Ultimately, the impact of Mowmacre Hill curriculum will be preparing children to be academically, mentally and physically prepared for life in high school, in Modern Britain and as worldwide citizens. Children at MHPS have a vast range of starting points; the purpose planned curriculum aims to prepare children to succeed in their individual life journeys. No child is left behind and through careful considerations of experiences both academically and socially, teachers craft personalised curriculum for their classes, cohorts and the school community as a whole. Monitoring and feedback is carried out through the triangulation of evidence of work in the children’s books, learning conversations, teacher knowledge and assessment data. Assessment data is validated through moderation and scrutinised during periodical ‘data parties’ to ensure accuracy. Data will be compared to both age related expectations and SEN milestones (Pivats). . Feedback practises at Mowmacre Hill ensure sustained progress whilst minimising unnecessary work load for staff; teachers and children to become creators of an effective and purposeful learning journey; to standardise feedback principles for all staff and to develop children’s meta-cognition skills to be owners of their own learning and not passive consumers of teachers’ comments. Working walls are present in all classrooms, which include clear ‘Learning Journeys’ to empower pupils to be able to envisage and explain the path of their learning and how it develops over time. Learning is both scaffolded and contextual in order for children to be able to commit their learning experiences to their long term memories and to utilise current research in metacognition practice. Whole class feedback initiatives allow teachers use evidence of pupils’ learning to feed into their planning and adaptation of the curriculum, both collectively and individually. Subject leaders and the leadership team of Mowmacre Hill regularly evaluate the progression of skills in the core and foundation subjects in order to adapt and improve the impact of the curriculum.
Our curriculum has been designed with P.S.H.E. at its heart, giving the children the tools to become citizens of the future. It is based around 5 drivers taught across the school. These are:
These themes are taught in engaging ways, incorporating the national curriculum and some further Mowmacre Hill personalised aspects of enquiry where appropriate. All topics are based on the children’s previous knowledge, interests and starting points are collated before each topic is planned.
As a whole school, we provide a creative curriculum which has been collaboratively formulated by the Mowmacre Hill staff. Staff have collated and quality assured National Curriculum progression documents which allow staff to consult and refer to the skills taught in previous years in order to consolidate and build upon these.
A medium term plan is then formulated which makes explicit the prior learning, intended learning, activities, metacognition tools and tasks, vocabulary and destinations (end product).
Each sequence of learning has an enquiry line which is referred to at the beginning of each lesson. The destination (end product) is explicit, as are the stations of learning that will be taught in order to reach the destination.
Each station (lesson or series of lessons) has an access route which makes explicit any challenge or considerations that will be used in order to enable the children to achieve the intended learning.
This is taught in discrete Religious Education weeks timetabled throughout the year. They often coincide with religious festivals. A range of religions are covered, following the Leicester City guidance.
Computing is taught in discrete lessons weekly, following the computing curriculum. I.T. skills are incorporated into topics where appropriate to supplement this. Online safety is taught across the school in termly sessions. It is also a focus for Safer Internet week in February each year.
At Mowmacre Hill Primary School, we plan mathematics using National Curriculum 2014, using the Affinity Teaching School’s Mathematics Calculation Policy and Maths No Problem which clearly set out a model to a ‘mastery’ Mathematics curriculum.
Our mathematics curriculum equips pupils with tools that include the ability to calculate securely in all four operations, a comprehensive understanding of the number system, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think in abstract ways. It is designed to enable children to learn key skills, practice, consolidate and apply them and then to master them. Children learn about mathematics wherever possible in a context so that they understand how it relates to real life.
During the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum, mathematics forms part of many interactive learning experiences. Pupils develop their knowledge and understanding of mathematics through play, exploration and discussion. They learn to count, read, write and order numbers to 20 using songs and rhymes, which is extended to 100 and beyond during The National Curriculum in Key Stage 1. They work with shapes, learning their properties; use language to give positional clues and compare quantities, identify and recreate patterns. Mathematics in EYFS is very practical and includes indoor and outdoor learning.
During Key Stage 1, mathematics lessons include mental mathematics starters which are designed to be faster paced and enable children to calculate mentally as fast as they can. In their main lesson, they learn how the number system works and learn strategies for calculating with all four operations. Additionally they learn about shape and space, through practical activity which builds on their understanding of their immediate environment. They develop their use of mathematical language, using it to talk about their methods and explain their reasoning when solving problems.
During Key Stage 2, children move to calculating fluently with all four number operations, moving to formal traditional methods throughout the Key Stage. Children use a wider range of mathematical language and expected to articulate their reasoning about mathematics clearly, using precise mathematical language. A large focus is on problem solving and in all areas of the mathematics curriculum, problem solving skills are developed and built upon.
At Mowmacre Hill we use English to communicate in both written and spoken form. We use language to build our view and opinion of the world and our community. We believe that developing a love of our language in our children is vital in achieving success at school and later in life. The exploration and enjoyment of the English language is our priority and we value all its aspects – speaking, listening, reading and writing. English is taught daily across the whole school with work appropriately differentiated to match all abilities. There are also specific lessons in spelling, vocabulary, handwriting and reading.
Speaking and Listening
Talking is fundamental to learning. Pupils are encouraged to speak clearly, confidently and with expression in order to state their ideas and opinions. Just as important, is the need to listen carefully to others and respond in appropriate ways. At Mowmacre Hill Primary, pupils are given opportunities in all areas of the curriculum to develop their speaking and listening skills, in paired, group or whole class situations. Therefore, role play, poetry recital and drama are key elements of speaking and listening across the school.
Children who read for pleasure gain a richer vocabulary, more knowledge, critical thinking skills and become independent learners. Guided Reading is an important part of our curriculum. Children work as a whole class and in focused groups to develop their reading skills and their understanding of texts. We focus on the specific reading skills of word reading, fluency and language comprehension. We provide children with rich reading experiences within the English lessons and encourage them to appreciate the author’s use of language and writing techniques in order to develop their own writing skills. Our children take their reading books home daily to share with their families/carers. As they go through the school, they are given more responsibility for making their own reading choices from the excellent resources we have in school. We are beginning to use Accelerated Reader to allow the children to use a digital programme to aid their language comprehension skills.
We place great value on the importance of spelling. A structured programme of spelling extends across the whole school, beginning with Read Write Inc Phonics in EYFS and KS1 moving into the Mowmacre Hill Spelling programme from year 2 all the way through to year 6.
At Mowmacre Hill we aim for children to be independent writers. We encourage them to write clearly and with confidence in any given genre. We teach them to use punctuation and grammar accurately, to be able to proofread their own work and make amendments and improvements. We place value on the development of correct letter formation and neatly presented handwriting. We give children a wide range of opportunities in which to develop their writing skills and display work of which they are proud. Through our English curriculum, we aim to nurture in the children a love of literature and language, and the confidence to continue reading and writing throughout their lives.
Handwriting is of fundamental importance to educating our pupils because pupils who do not learn to read and write fluently and confidently are, in every sense, disenfranchised. The mastery of handwriting is therefore one of the key priorities of the school. Mowmacre Hill follow the national framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) and the handwriting requirements of that framework apply in full to the school. Handwriting is a physical activity that involves movement and recognition skills that need to be learnt and become part of the automatic cognitive skill set of the pupil. To achieve this, Mowmacre Hill Primary School has chosen the Kinetic Letters handwriting programme.
Physical Education develops children’s physical skills, confidence, capabilities and potential. It gives opportunities for children to be creative and competitive while learning to work with and respect others. At Mowmacre Hill Primary School children learn how to plan, perform and evaluate actions, often in pairs and small groups, helping them to develop the quality and effectiveness of their work. We promote a positive attitude towards active lifestyles and aim to introduce children to lifelong physical activity.
In addition to being taught by their class teacher children across the school are also taught by our sports teacher, Mr Boulger. Our aspiration is for all children to do a minimum of 2 sessions of PE a week.
The school runs a range of after school clubs which involve children in competitive and friendly sporting fixtures. These include dance, rugby, tennis and football. The school plays competitive sport in the local leagues and against other schools in the Discovery Trust. We are proud to have several children representing the city and county, having accessed trials through the school. Our partnership with Leicester City Football Club allows us to identify talented athletes and give them opportunities to develop their skills.
The documents below provide a more detailed look at our current school curriculum intent and implementation: