In 2013, we started a new curriculum based on the 2014 statutory national curriculum with a cross-curricular approach at the heart of our curriculum planning. Teachers work in the following Phase Teams to plan themed work;
- Year 1 and Year 2
- Year 3 and Year 4
- Year 5 and Year 6
Themes are planned on a two yearly cycle with each theme covering 2 terms; this means children work on 3 different themed topics over the course of each academic year.
|2017-18||Autumn Theme||Spring Theme||Summer Theme|
|Years 1 & 2||All Creatures Great and Small||Creative Geniuses: Bristol and Beyond||A Moment in Time|
|Years 3 & 4||Look at Us Now||Invaders and Settlers||Wonderful Water|
|Years 5 & 6||Creative Genius||Thrills and Spills||The Great War|
Each theme has a quality text at its core; this is usually a book but can be a short film or film clip. Phase teams start the planning process by looking at what learning opportunities can be found within the book; linking with the national curriculum objectives that need to be covered during the term across every subject area. Time is spent ensuring that writing opportunities are identified across the curriculum, making clear which genres will be the focus for literacy teaching and which genres lend themselves to writing opportunities outside of the daily literacy lesson. Links are also identified for other subjects, including looking for opportunities to offer children real life contexts for applying mathematical knowledge and skills.
Children are invited to contribute to planning what they will learn. At the start of a theme, they are asked to think about what they would like to find out about and to generate questions around the theme title.
Each theme works towards an end product; this may be a musical performance to parents, an open afternoon for sharing work or an event linked specifically to the theme, for example, at the end of a theme entitled ‘The Great War’, year 5 and 6 children cooked ‘trench stew’ and ‘biscuit pudding’, inviting their parents to sample the WW1 food and listen to a performance of WW1 songs.
By working in Phase Teams, there are many opportunities for cross phase learning. Educational visits often include more than one year group as do end of theme celebrations. Within themes, teachers work together to plan ‘wow’ days and experiences where children learn with children from other classes and year groups; for example, Year 1 and 2 children took part in a whole day of creative activities on ‘Chinese New Year’; working in mixed aged groups and moving between teachers and classrooms.
How can I find out more about what my child is learning?
Each teacher produces a ‘Curriculum Newsletter’ which is published on their class page of our school website. This newsletter gives detailed information about the theme being covered and the kind of learning opportunities the children will have. Class pages also include photographs of the work children have produced and special events that have taken place.
Learning to Learn Strategies
One of the keys to children succeeding at school is for them to understand how they learn; if a child can explain the different skills he or she is using, this enhances awareness of what helps a child to learn. We believe strongly in encouraging children to explain the why, how and what of learning and we use a number of strategies to enhance this.
ELLI (Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory)
We have invested in training and resources to support approaches which make learners think about learning more explicitly in the classroom. . This is usually through teaching pupils strategies to plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning. It is usually more effective in small groups so learners can support each other and make their thinking explicit through discussion. Overall these strategies involve being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner, being able to set and monitor goals and having strategies to choose from or switch to during learning activities.
Being able to plan and manage you own time in a task and keep yourself motivated are examples of self-regulation and meta-cognition. Teachers and learners use The Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI). Learning dimensions (powers) are introduced to the children through a series of ELLI characters. This starts in Reception and continues through the school.
|Changing and learning||Chameleon||A sense of myself as someone who learns and changes over time.|
|Critical curiosity||Cat||An orientation to want to ‘get beneath the surface’.|
|Making meaning||Spider||Making connections and seeing that learning ‘matters to me’.|
|Creativity||Unicorn||Risk-taking, playfulness, imagination and intuition.|
|Interdependence||Bees||Learning with and from others and also able to manage without them.|
|Strategic awareness||Owl||Being aware of my thoughts, feelings and actions as a learner, and able to use that awareness to manage learning processes.|
|Resilience||Tortoise||The readiness to persevere in the development of my own learning power.|
Become a Better Learner – Find Out More