We define curriculum as the totality of a child’s experience at Sythwood Primary and Nursery School. It is the values that they learn, the experiences they enjoy, the relationships they develop, the knowledge and skills they acquire. It promotes the diverse and inclusive nature of our school community and does not discriminate. More information about our approach to equality can be found in the Key Information and Policies section of this website.
Our school motto of Be Ready, Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Your Best is a core thread that runs through our curriculum; it is the language we use, the behaviours we model and expect and the aspirations we hold. We believe that an effective curriculum offers the knowledge and cultural capital to succeed in life; our children leave Sythwood suitably equipped to become interested and interesting adults, able to contribute positively to the well-being of their community and to wider society.
Our curriculum is designed with these principles in mind:
- Personalised and language rich, reflecting the background, experiences and needs of our children in our community.
- Fewer things in greater depth.
- Well thought through sequencing which enables children to revisit and build on previous learning so children know more and remember more.
- It is outward facing, setting learning in local, national and global contexts wherever possible.
Our curriculum is delivered and taught through the following subjects:
- Forest School
We have woven stories and books throughout our language rich curriculum to improve the quality of pupil's talk and writing. Enormous value is placed on the power of books to not only provoke curiosity in the content being taught but also as a vehicle to pre learn or revisit key content that the children need to know. We have carefully selected stories that come from around the world and reflect different cultures and times. Our stories have both male and female protagonists. We also make use of our rich local heritage as well as leaving space for important current events too.
We strive for children to learn skills alongside knowledge, ensuring that both are explicitly developed. We set out in our progression documents clarity on when, what and how content is taught. Using the Early Years Foundation Stage Frameworkand National Curriculum as a basis, subject leads work to plan a coherent, well sequenced curriculum that highlights the underlying knowledge that children need to learn so that they can access the subject in later years.
We continue to refine and improve our curriculum to ensure the content is current and relevant to our community.
Pedagogical approach to implementing our curriculum
For children to gain a deep understanding of key content in our knowledge rich curriculum, we place value in strong teacher subject knowledge and effective pedagogy (both general and subject specific). With this in mind, we have outlined common threads to effectively and thoroughly deliver the curriculum to all children. We outline this in The Sythwood Way:
The Sythwood Way has been developed based on our professional learning on the limitations of working memory and cognitive load theory. By implementing these principles into the teaching and learning in our school we hope that all groups of children know more and remember more so that they can excel.
Whole class teaching
- We explicitly model new material in small steps
- We use a questioning repertoire to include all children and encourage hard thinking
- We check for understanding from all children and have high expectations of engagement and accountability
- We retrieve material regularly with low stakes quizzing
- We provide scaffolds for difficult tasks so that all children can achieve the learning objective
- We pre-teach vocabulary
- We use storytelling to explain or share information
Marking is used to inform the next lesson, provide opportunities for further practise of skills and to praise.
We have a calm, controlled and consistent environment, a culture where every moment matters. We do this by reinforcing the 4 BE’s and by establishing clear routines:
Assessment (see assessment policy for more details)
- At Sythwood we use a wide range of formative assessment strategies to check for understanding and continually adapt teaching to meet the needs of all learners.
- At the beginning of a new topic, where appropriate, we carry out informal entry assessments of key content to check what children already know.
- Ongoing teacher assessments are made throughout the topic with low stakjes quizzing to address misconceptions and consolidate learning in wider curriculum subjects and targeted verbal and written feedback in core subjects.
- Summative assessment is collected three times a year. Team leaders meet with the SLT to discuss data and next steps.
- We believe passionately at Sythwood School that children are given a wide range of opportunities to offer a broad and balanced curriculum.
- We are fortunate at Sythwood that we have a large enrichment team, who are able to offer these experiences outside of our broad curriculum. These include a forest school leader, art teacher, French teacher and P.E. specialist team.
- At Sythwood School we also know how important first-hand engaging opportunities are to our children so provide a wide range of trips, visits and workshops.