At Melbourn Primary School we pride ourselves on providing our children with an inspiring curriculum. When planning, we ensure that everything we know about our children is incorporated into what we do. This ensures their needs and interests are at the heart of the learning journey. The curriculum is structured to provide continuity and progression throughout year groups, key stages and the whole school. We organise the curriculum through a mixture of topic work and discrete subjects. Subjects are linked through themes where there is a connection likely to promote high quality learning but are taught discretely where it is of more benefit. Curriculum frameworks are regularly developed and refined.
We try to base our curriculum, whenever possible, on practical and first-hand learning. Our aim is to delve ‘deeply’ into specific subject areas to allow our children to become passionate about what they learn. The school grounds and local environment, educational visits and visitors to school contribute greatly to a curriculum relevant to the children’s experience. They are used each term to support the learning and teaching.
Our curriculum is planned with five main aims:
If you wish to learn more about the curriculum, we teach at Melbourn Primary School, please contact the office who will arrange an appointment for you.
Reviewing our Curriculum- The Journey:
At Melbourn, we are very excited to have been reviewing our curriculum. We are following a clear journey which will give our staff the confidence to teach every one of the foundation subjects to a high standard along with ensuring that learning is irresistible for our children! Every aspect of our journey is being approached as a team to ensure teachers are well-equipped to deliver a curriculum that we are all proud of.
The journey so far:
1. Clarify our curriculum intent.
2. Create our subject 'Purpose, Principles and Expectations'.
3. Staff training- 'Deeper not wider'
4. Organise our curriculum objectives around chronological and skills progression.
5. Allocate curriculum objectives according to links and local interest points.
Alongside this journey, we have selected foundation subjects that are our focus areas for the year. This year, our staff and children are focusing on Art, PSHCE and RE. We will be providing staff training on each of these subjects throughout the year to ensure teaching and learning in this area is as strong as others. Each year, we will choose different focus subjects to maintain high standards in all subjects. Please watch our website grow as our subjects develop more and more.
At Melbourn, we have two designated MFL teachers who both speak fluent Spanish. We follow a specifically designed curriculum recommended by our local secondary school. This curriculum is chosen to support the children’s progression from Key Stage Two into Key Stage Three. It is important to us that our children are prepared for their next steps in education. In addition to our weekly in class Spanish lessons, we also run a Spanish and Mandarin club. Our Mandarin club is also ran by a teacher from our local secondary school.
Please follow this link for our Spanish curriculum:
Children are taught phonics skills using the RWInc scheme as a basis. This scheme uses regular assessment and has a clear structure which enables children to make good progress. The children enjoy learning the sayings that support them in writing letters and having 'Fred Frog' as part of the phonics session. Fred can only speak in sounds so he supports the children in learning blending needed to read and segmenting needed to spell. Alongside phonics 'Talk for Writing' is used so that the children are able to learn and explore stories and start writing with a good understanding of structure and using a broad vocabulary. The children also have access to books that match their reading ability which, are used for both reading in school and at home. Our Early Years team believe that an enjoyment of books and stories is at the heart of what they do.
For mathematical learning the teaching is based on 'mastery'. The children start learning shape, space and measures and then move onto number. Teachers regularly review learning to ensure the children are secure on concepts and use baseline to assess the level of the children when they come in so that learning is building on prior knowledge.
During the Reception Year the children explore and investigate, watch and listen, talk and discuss, create and communicate in a very practical way through play or adult led activities. We plan our learning by exploring the interests of our children. We also incorporate key events inside and out of our locality.
At Melbourn we understand the importance of personal, social and emotional development. We believe it underpins all aspects of learning and in the EYFS curriculum this is a prime area. Time is spent helping children form positive relationships, building confidence and self-awareness, as well as managing their emotions in order to give them a solid foundation to their school life. Learning in this area is interwoven across the curriculum and the school day as well as being taught more discretely.
We know that physical development is valuable for our children and we teach them to move more confidently showing an awareness of space along with understanding how to look after themselves and be healthy. We help children improve their fine motor skills daily through activities like cutting, threading, teaching pencil control and playing with playdough. We also develop gross motor skills through weekly PE, teaching children to ride balance bikes, making obstacle courses and using equipment like balls and bats.
We develop the children's creativity by having art resources available daily and teaching the children how to use a range of media including paint, pastels, chalk, charcoal, pencils and pens. We also encourage role play and story-telling by having puppets available, role play areas based on the home and a theme in line with our current topic. We sing regularly and teach the children how to play percussion instruments.
Finally, we help the children to gain an understanding of the world by learning about different religious celebrations and festivals. Being able to talk about things they have celebrated and their own beliefs as well as understanding that other people have different beliefs and celebrations is important for our school. We develop the children's understanding of the past by sharing events from their own lives through newsflashes and looking at events that have happened longer ago but are still remembered today such as the gunpowder plot. We talk about different environments and encourage children to look for similarities and differences between them. We also encourage children to ask questions and investigate what the answers are.
We encourage them to gain a good understanding of technology by showing them the range of technology used within school. We use ipads to support learning in our topics and we teach the children how to use simple programs. We help the children understand how to use some technology and that it can be used for different purposes.
‘The more that you read, the more you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.’ Dr Seuss
Children are taught phonics skills through the Read Write Inc (RWI) scheme. The regular assessment and clear scheme ensures progression for all pupils. The children have access to Oxford Reading Tree books which are used for both reading in school and at home.
Our Early Years team believe that an enjoyment of books and stories is at the heart of what they do. Writing is planned around the idea of ‘Talk for Writing’ and allows children to learn and explore stories. This also provides access to high quality vocabulary.
We teach phonics to Year 1 and 2 using the Read Write Inc (RWI) scheme. The children are assessed half termly and taught accordingly with the RWI scheme ensuring progression. The start of each lesson involves learning a new sound, reading, and writing words that contain the new sound. Each new sound is reviewed daily to encourage quick recall and speedy reading. Along with phonics, Year 1 and 2 children access ‘Whole Class Guided Reading’ where they are taught specific reading skills to help them understand what they have read. This has a strong focus on vocabulary and supports our pupils in ‘Closing the Vocabulary Gap’.
We use a variety of reading schemes, such as Oxford Reading Tree, Big Cat and Project X to support home reading.
Our school aims to make “learning irresistible” and to this end reading lessons encompass activities which promote reading widely for pleasure. Our approach to guided reading means that every child is taught the necessary reading skills for their age group as well as exploring new and exciting vocabulary.
Children are taught to write legibly and present their work to a high standard. They learn to recognise a variety of different genres and become confident writers themselves. Writing is inspired by a variety of texts and real-life occurrences.
Key Stage 1 and 2 Writing:
Writing is a greatly valued skill at Melbourn and something which we encourage our children to take great pride in. We teach handwriting regularly to ensure that all children are able to write comfortably at speed. Writing is always based around our current learning or a book that we are interested in and often offers cross curricular links. For example, our children have written biographies about significant people during 'Black History Week', written letters to penpals in Canada or have written diaries of Samuel Pepys. Writing is modelled to a high standard and includes the grammar expectations for the year group. Our teachers use 'talk for writing' whenever appropriate to ensure that children have a sound understanding of the text type. In all of our classrooms we display high quality writing on our working walls. We assess writing usings 'marking ladders' to help the children to understand what is expected of them.
The teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) is embedded into all lessons, including maths. In addition to discrete SPaG sessions, every class begins writing sessions with a ‘Grammar starter’. Allowing them to apply this grammar in context supports their ability to remember and apply this skill. There is a school wide emphasis on these basic skills. All children from year 1 onwards are taught how to edit their own writing and how to collaboratively improve their own and other’s writing. Children in years 5 and 6 are set grammar homework.
All children are taught spelling rules (and the exceptions) and given a weekly spelling list to practice at home. All children complete weekly dictations based on the spellings they have learned.
At Melbourn Primary School, we strive to ensure that our children become confident, resilient and knowledgeable mathematicians. We dedicate one hour, daily sessions to the teaching of mathematics which follows a consistent structure across the school. With arithmetic and times tables underpinning many areas of mathematics, our curriculum at Melbourn Primary School aims to improve children’s rapid and accurate recall of essential number facts through sufficient, planned opportunities.
Each maths lesson that is taught allows the opportunity for embedding prior knowledge before the teaching of new concepts is modelled, practised and applied to more complex procedures through a progression of Fluency, Problem Solving and Reasoning tasks (Deep, Deeper, Deeper Still – Key Stage One). To ensure that our children understand that ‘maths is everywhere’, there is a strong commitment to linking our mathematical learning to real life concepts and other areas of the curriculum. Where possible, children are exposed to different representations (concrete, pictorial, abstract) of new concepts to challenge their thinking and allow them to make connections between mathematical ideas. The use of concrete manipulatives and other resources are encouraged to support the children in securing a deeper understanding of their learning.
In order for our children to master key concepts and gain a deep understanding, confidence and competence in mathematics, we plan and teach using manageable small steps that are sequential and build on prior knowledge. To achieve this, we follow the robust Scheme of Learning available from White Rose from Year 1 to Year 6. While we appreciate that the White Rose planning structures have been informed by world-class research and maths experts, teaching staff at Melbourn adapt the planning to suit the needs of the pupils in their class.