Our curriculum is carefully designed to meet the needs of all learners at Fairlands.
Thinking about the curriculum is not just being clear about 'what' children learn; it includes knowing 'why' we want children to learn things and 'how' we are going to deliver this in an exciting and inspiring way.
We have pulled this together into one large framework to give us a clear overview.
A child centred, thematic approach
At Fairlands, we believe learning should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for everyone. Our teaching aims to equip children with the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to make informed choices about the important things in their lives and to take responsibility for their own learning.
We have developed our own creative and thematic approach to learning that is designed to cover the new 2014 Primary National Curriculum. It is delivered through topics which provide a rich menu of exciting and motivating learning contexts that make meaningful links between all aspects of our children’s learning.
In the Early Years, we base learning contexts on children's fascinations and interests.
In Key Stage 1 and 2, we guide the context through carefully planned topics, through which we can deliver all the subjects of the national curriculum. Our latest Topic Map can be found here.
Each month, we focus on a different value as part of our Values Education. A Values-based approach encourages reflective and aspirational attributes and attitudes. These can be nurtured to help people discover the very best of themselves, which enables them to be good citizens and prepare them for the life of work. The Values are mapped out in our policy (below) but are also adapted to respond to local, national and global current issues.
Every aspect of our curriculum is also underpinned by the five British values of:
- The Rule of Law
- Individual Liberty
- Mutual Respect
- Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Our Values Education & British Values Policy is here.
The Early Years
At Fairlands we strive to create a safe and happy environment, which inspires, challenges and supports pupils to achieve their potential. The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage provides the structure for our curriculum and approach.
We use the four guiding principles to shape our practice:
- every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
- children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
- children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs
- there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers
The framework covers the education and care of all children in Early Years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Key Stage 1 & 2
For each national curriculum subject, the school has developed a year by year breakdown of the skills which children must progress through. These form the 'backbone' of our thematic approach and are either delivered through 'topic' lessons or in discrete sessions as is most appropriate. These are either detailed in Progression of Skills documents or in curriculum policies - please follow the links below.
Reading - Progression of Skills
The ability to read is fundamental to pupils’ development as independent learners. In order to read across the curriculum with fluency, accuracy, understanding and enjoyment pupils need to orchestrate a range of strategies: drawing on knowledge of context and grammatical knowledge; applying phonic knowledge and skills; applying graphic knowledge and developing word recognition. Reading development is closely related to that of writing, for it is by reflecting upon and talking about the texts they encounter that pupils come to understand how writers write and the special relationship which exists between author and reader. It is through their critical and imaginative engagement with texts that pupils’ reading of fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts enables them to make sense of the world and their place within it.
Phonics involves the relationship between sounds and their spellings. The goal of phonics teaching is that children learn the most common sound-spelling relationships so that they can decode, or sound out, words. This decoding ability is a crucial element in reading success. In the Early Years and Key Stage 1 there is a greater emphasis on word reading to ensure all children can sound and blend unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately. Word reading is taught explicitly through a daily phonics sessions, following the Letters and Sounds scheme as well as shared and guided reading. The teaching of word reading through Phonics continues into Key Stage 2.
Writing - Progression of Skills
At Fairlands, we place a high priority on improving children's standards of written communication. We believe speaking and listening with confidence are significant factors in developing effective writing. Reading and writing are closely connected and mutually supportive; we read as writers and write as readers. Writing is a craft and most children learn best through their own writing, within a meaningful context designed to meet the needs of real or imagined audiences. We aim for all writing tasks to be prepared through preliminary talk and teachers model writing for their pupils when appropriate. Children are given the opportunity to collaborate with other children both to compose and to revise their writing and to improve their skills through reflection. The teacher’s response to the child’s composition (e.g. praising aspects of the content) is crucial in developing confidence and motivation. Children are closely involved in assessing their own development as writers through increasingly sophisticated grammatical and linguistic choices. The skills of transcription (i.e. handwriting) and grammatical and phonological awareness are thoroughly planned for and taught. Where possible and appropriate, links with new technologies can be used as an inspiring stimulus for writing and to enable children to author their own multimedia texts.
Maths - Progression of Skills
Mathematics is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject. Mathematics teaches us how to make sense of the world around us through developing a child’s ability to calculate, to reason and to solve problems. It enables children to understand and appreciate relationships and pattern in both number and space in their everyday lives. Through their growing knowledge and understanding, children learn to appreciate the contribution made by many cultures to the development and application of mathematics.
Science - Progression of Skills
Science is a body of knowledge and skills built up through experimental testing of ideas. Science is also a methodology, a practical way of finding reliable answers to questions we may ask about the world around us. Science in our school is about developing children’s ideas and ways of working that enable them to make sense of the world in which they live through investigation, as well as using and applying process skills.
Computing - Progression of Skills
We believe that skills in computing are fundamental to children’s learning and should be incorporated into all areas of the curriculum wherever possible. It is recognised that we have a responsibility to encourage digital literacy in all pupils in preparation for their future. New technologies require children to be able to interact fully with computers, laptops, tablets and a growing number of other devices, programs and software in order to fully support their learning in a number of contexts. It is recognised that the level of expectation on children’s capabilities for using new technologies is rising particularly within the new National Curriculum for Computing with its strong emphasis on computer science and computer programming skills.
Religious Education (RE) - Herts RE Scheme of Work
Religious Education is received by all children in classroom teaching and during school assemblies. The children will be involved in learning about many religions of the world. The teaching of Religious Education follows the guidelines laid down by Hertfordshire County Council in the agreed syllabus. Parents & carers have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education and those wishing to do so should consult the headteacher.
Design and Technology - Progression of Skills
Design and technology is part of every child's immediate experience. It is important that children are not only aware of what design and technology is, but also develop a practical approach to it. We ensure that children develop skills and knowledge of a wide range of materials and equipment through practical activities in a safe and controlled environment.
Music - Progression of Skills
Music is a unique way of communicating that can inspire and motivate children. Music reflects the culture and society we live in, and so the teaching and learning of music enables children to better understand the world they live in. We provide opportunities for all children to create, play, perform and enjoy music, to develop the skills to appreciate the wide variety of musical forms and to begin to make judgements about the quality of music.
Geography - Progression of Skills
We believe that geography provides a way for children to make sense of the world around them. Pupils are given opportunities to learn about their world and to develop skills, knowledge and vocabulary to facilitate this learning. Pupils at this school will have access to geography appropriate for their age and ability that follows the guidelines of the National Curriculum.
Art & Design - Progression of Skills
We believe that that art is a vital part of the education of all children. The child’s use and understanding of the visual language of art needs to be developed by effective teaching and by a considered sequence of experiences. We aim to provide an art curriculum which will enable each child to reach their full potential in learning in art, through investigating and making, through research and the development of skills and through their evaluation of their own art and that made by others.
History - Progression of Skills
The aim of history teaching is to stimulate the children’s interest and understanding about the life of people who lived in the past. We teach children a sense of chronology, and through this they develop a sense of identity and a cultural understanding based on their historical heritage. Thus they learn to value their own and other people’s cultures in modern multicultural Britain and, by considering how people lived in the past, they are better able to make their own life choices today. We teach children to understand how events in the past have influenced our lives today; we also teach them to investigate these past events and, by so doing, to develop the skills of enquiry, analysis, interpretation and problem-solving.
Physical Education (PE) - Progression of Skills
Physical education develops the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding, so that they can perform with increasing competence and confidence in a range of physical activities. These include dance, games, gymnastics, swimming and water safety and athletics. Physical education promotes an understanding in children of their bodies in action. It involves thinking, selecting and applying skills and promotes positive attitudes towards a healthy lifestyle. Thus we enable them to make informed choices about physical activity throughout their lives.
Modern Languages (ML) - Progression of Skills
We believe that many children really enjoy learning to speak another language. We believe that the earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language, the faster the language in question is acquired as children tend to be less self-conscious about speaking aloud at this stage of their development. The early acquisition of a foreign language facilitates the learning of other foreign languages later in life and indeed has a positive impact on literacy skills in English. The study of languages prepares pupils to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly carried out in languages other than English. The increased capability in the use of languages promotes initiative and independent learning and encourages diversity in society.
Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) - Progression of Skills
Relationships education is learning the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults.
Health education is learning about physical health and mental wellbeing to give them the information that they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing.
Sex education is learning about the facts of human sexual reproduction.
We deliver these three curriculum areas through an integrated programme called 'Jigsaw'.
How do I find out more?
Find out more about our curriculum by:
- reading the half termly Curriculum Information Booklets
- reading individual Curriculum Policies
- attending parent consultations and open events
- discussing individual needs with your child's class teacher