ST MAWES SCHOOL – OUR CURRICULUM STATEMENT
At St Mawes we pride ourselves on our vibrant and broad curriculum which has been developed in response to the perceived needs of our pupils and community. Our curriculum is underpinned by 3 main drivers. Prior to our curriculum review, our drivers were Enterprise, Healthy Living and Sustainability. These drivers are now:
- Aspirational futures
- Health and well-being
Aspirational futures was selected as a priority to address the issue of the school’s position in a socio-economic deprived area that is geographically isolated. As staff we feel it is important that we actively address and broaden the horizons for our pupils; considering a variety of educational destinations and employment. This we felt was particularly significant for girls and our STEM curriculum actively addresses this issue and seeks to provide positive role models for the pupils, linking to the real world. We aim to inspire pupils to be entrepreneurial in their outlook and understand the routes to employment in the STEM areas.
Health and Well-being
This second driver has been stimulated by national reports and research into pupil’s physical and mental well-being. We have a comprehensive, reflective PSHE curriculum embedded in all we do at school and link with many organisations such as Healthy Schools and the Aspire Wellbeing team to inform our practice. We believe deeply in the education of the whole child and the promotion of British Values alongside spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. St Mawes is a mono-cultural environment, so our curriculum seeks to address this through topic themes, residential trips, assemblies, class discussions and shared experiences.
This driver is particularly pupil driven and has arisen from their passion to eliminate single use plastics in school and develop a better approach to supporting our environment for the future. To supplement the teaching curriculum the pupil parliament has led on a number of initiatives and we have linked with the Roseland Plastics Free group and Surfers against Sewage.
We see the curriculum organisation in the mixed aged setting as a great strength to enhance the following:
Pre-teaching of vocabulary
Pupils are in an environment where they are exposed to language not only for their age grouping but also above it. This often leads to early adoption of language and a keenness to attain.
Learning is highly cyclical and revisits key concepts
This aids retention and embedding in longer term memory.
Delivery of the curriculum is highly personalised
As pupils remain with a teacher for an extended period of time; the relationship is enhanced by close knowledge of ability, learning styles and curriculum interests.
Opportunity for reciprocal learning
The curriculum can be led and delivered by pupils to younger peers. This is advantageous for both parties.
In response to the mixed aged setting, our rolling programmes reflect the time spent in each classroom. For example, the humanities and arts curriculum in Key Stage 2 is based on a four year rolling programme. This was created with the Roseland and Truro Primary Curriculum team when Ms Praed was part of the working party. Together we outlined the new framework and incorporated links to key resources available such as Sense of Place and Inspire to utilise excellence in the local area. Key Stage 1 follows a two year rolling programme for Humanities, Arts and Science. Maths, Literacy, Computing and Physical Education for both classes are delivered in a yearly cycle with age related expectations linking with the Humanities and Arts provision. Ms Praed has developed a cross key stage planning document with links to a variety of resources which aids delivery and mastery in Maths.
The Science programme for both Key Stages is on a two year rolling programme to revisit key explorations. Reception follow the EYFS framework with discrete sessions for mathematical learning and daily phonics. The environment is set up to encourage exploration and, through continuous provision, pupils experience the early learning goals. The pupils can listen to and participate in the class activities with older pupils if they wish. Development of spoken language and use of the NELI resources are a key feature of the reception year experience. STEM is promoted through active learning in the outdoor environment.
All the rolling programmes are responsive and can be altered to account for special events, progression in curriculum aims and pupils’ interests.
The topics are planned using the rolling programmes and these form the skeleton onto which the flesh of the learning is hung. Each topic is planned in outline on the mid-term plan and this informs the curriculum overview which is shared with parents and pupils. In the mid-term planning we are mindful of our drivers, intended end points, sequencing of lessons, key events to stimulate learning and depth of knowledge to be imparted. The mid-term planning makes explicit key vocabulary to be shared and quality texts available.
Both classes have an outline for the weekly time allocation to ensure a balanced curriculum delivery. This can be applied flexibly to allow for a response curriculum.
Daily planning has a clear format but can be adapted by staff to meet the needs of the learning. Planning is saved electronically and shared with the teaching assistants. Staff are reflective of the pupils’ attainment and engagement in a lesson and will adjust accordingly. Staff seek to incorporate pupils’ own reflections and interests.
Reflective practice for all
Reflective delivery is enhanced in lessons through the use of the learning line and feedback for individuals and groups. Pupils can request a revisiting of learning and a teacher can arrange weekly one to one support on Friday mornings in dedicated improvement time (DIT).
Staff are reflective on their own delivery and we seek whenever possible to inform delivery with research. As a school we are always seeking to improve the curriculum offer. This reflection is a lesson, sequence and driver level. Pupils are consulted regularly and genuinely engaged in the development. Our curriculum is also informed by the priorities from the Aspire Academy Trust and the national agenda. Currently we are focusing on sequencing and time allocation of the school day to support the retention of knowledge, the STEM offer, mastery in mathmatics for mixed aged settings and reading skills. Please see the school development plan for details. We are supported by the Aspire Academy Trust, the Maths Hub and are members of EFF.
Links to the community
Expertise in the locality is utilised to support the curriculum and there is a calendar of yearly events and community participation such as the village nativity, school musical performance, sailing, flower show, carols at the castle, harvest celebrations and St. Just Feast day, Truro Cathedral awards, community assemblies and residentials. These are all a vital and vibrant part of our curriculum. These elements of our yearly curriculum calendar mean pupils are engaged in very public performances and there is a high expectation of participation and representation. They develop strong speaking skills and the confidence to present themselves in a variety of situations.
Staff specialism, passions and expertise
Although we are a small staff we are fortunate to have a high level of subject expertise. Ms Praed has a strong background in Performance and Visual art. She is an expert in movement study and dance. Mrs Crinks has a passion for PE, PSHE and Early years. She delivers the Religious Education across the Key Stages and attends the SACRE conferences. She is the Early Years lead and has worked closely with Christine Barnes, Early Years Advisor and is part of the Aspire EYFS network led by Helen Bingham. Mrs Crinks liaises and supports the early years provision at St Mawes Playgroup.
Mrs Davison has invested in the computing curriculum and attended much INSET on this area. Pupils have great access to resources and a vibrant computing curriculum.
Madame Hall supports the languages curriculum. Ms Praed is well versed in music (particularly singing) and this is enhanced by peripatetic staff such as Mrs Baylis (flute), Tamsin (Brass) and Eleanor (Piano). We have a high percentage of pupils accessing instrumental tuition in school.
Mr Ayre is a PE sports specialist who supports our P.E. curriculum. Other specialist are employed on a termly basis to deliver Capoeira, Sailing and Dance. All staff members and volunteers are encouraged to share their insights and passions with the pupils so we can deliver a wide, vibrant and exciting curriculum.
Evidence for this is primarily anecdotal but it has been interesting to witness how many more pupils have selected STEM based destinations and there is little variance between boys and girls. Ms Praed’s attendance at the International STEM conference for Primary Education has led to insight into the latest research for raising aspiration in STEM subjects. Our curriculum planning will continue to deliver this aspect and is a vital part of the School Development Plan. Pupil conferencing has shown it is clear pupils of both sexes are considering STEM destinations and are focusing on further education and degree level. ‘When I go to University,,,,’ is now commonly expressed by pupils and they have a better knowledge of the routes to success. This focus develops the cultural capital for our pupils.
Health and well-being
Pupils’ participation in physical activity through the sports programme is high and we have gained the Gold School Games Award. The school believes a health and well-being programme must offer non-competitive offers for physical exercise with a large emphasis on dance, yoga and capoeira. Combining music and movement enhances the well-being of pupils and this occurs daily in school. Promotion of strong body image and self-esteem are vital and core to PSHE.
Ability to discuss mental health issues has been observed as moving forward at both Key Stages. Families are supported well by our parent support advisor with positive outcomes. Families have successfully engaged and value the service and feedback has been very positive. There is a general sense of calmness and security which impacts on the excellent behaviour for learning in our school. This has been evidenced in our Aspire hub monitoring visits.
Staff follow the ‘trauma informed schools’ approach and this holistic ethos is employed daily. All of our pupils reported in the survey they feel safe and secure at school and have someone they can approach to share issues with. The curriculum emphasises the right to pupil voice and being a small setting, pupils can be consulted on developments and feed into the process. See reading consultation document.
Another important part of our health programme is to directly address the relatively monocultural face of our culture. The current curriculum development is exploring ‘no outsiders here’ as a vehicle for promotion of tolerance and celebrating difference.
Through the geography curriculum, pupils’ awareness of the issues are high and motivated. This has continued as a driver by pupil request. They have explored the issues, campaigned in the village and school to reduce single use plastic and are active in reducing all plastic usage in school. They have elected to join the Roseland against plastics team and are interested in reducing energy waste and recycling.
Assessment of learning
In school there is regular ongoing teacher assessment supported with assessment activities where appropriate. Feedback can often be immediate and personal. Marking aims to be informative and identify missing components and offer next steps to the child or group. Pupils are very much encouraged to self-mark, reflect and improve their own work in relation to their personal targets. There is an opportunity every week for dedicated improvement time (DIT) and this is either allocated or requested by pupils.
Progression in subjects is assessed by observing and assessing the development of skills, vocabulary and retention of knowledge.
Key Performance Indicators and formal assessments take place termly to analyse the pupils end points in Maths, Reading and Writing. As a collective staff we consider the outcomes and put in place intervention and support to assist when needed.
To aid retention of knowledge, pupils and staff have been active in exploring how memory works and strategies for revision at both Key Stages. We are being explicit in addressing how pupils retain what they have learnt and working with our pupils to assist them.