What do we mean by the school’s curriculum?
The curriculum is the content taught across Mosspits Lane Primary School to ensure learning and personal development for all pupils. Statutory documents that form the basis for the school’s curriculum are:
Early Years Foundation Stage: the Statutory Framework for EYFS and the (non-statutory) Development Matters
Years 1 to 6: the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 and 2.
However, our richly planned curriculum goes beyond statutory requirements; it has been developed as bespoke to our school, linking high quality published schemes of work with those designed by the school’s leaders. Units are planned to ensure the diverse characteristics and needs of our pupils and their families and the wider world are incorporated. The importance of the school’s locality and community and the vibrant diversity and heritage of the city of Liverpool as a learning resource is celebrated and embedded throughout. This learning is enriched with a curriculum that extends their learning beyond the locality to an understanding for pupils of their place in the UK and wider, with exciting global and multicultural content.
Alongside our taught curriculum, we are passionate about teaching our pupils to grow as individuals.
We have created a programme of personal, social and health education (PSHE) to nurture pupils to become positive, confident adults, fully incorporating the statutory requirements of Relationships Education & Relationships and Sex and Health Education. This is taught as a PSHE programme as well as being woven into the fabric of the wider school curriculum and school life. We place great emphasis on social, moral, spiritual and cultural learning along with promoting British values. Pupil wellbeing and positive mental health is of high priority and we work holistically with children and their families to promote this. We are incredibly proud of how strong our PE and school sport offer is and we are committed to making sure pupils are physically active and have a huge range of opportunities to participate in a multitude of sports, games, active play and physical activity, at all ages.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
In our EYFS setting, we nurture and develop children from their own starting points, to grow creative learners that aspire and achieve. The EYFS curriculum is broad and progressive, built around the children’s interests, and enriched by memorable experiences and opportunities. We believe strongly in supporting children to develop key learning skills that prepare them for lifelong learning, as well as competence in all areas of the EYFS curriculum. Our EYFS provision is inclusive, with stimulating learning environments that challenge, support and celebrate learning.
The EYFS curriculum is based upon four principles:
In the EYFS, there are 7 areas of learning and development that are all important and inter-connected. Three of these areas are particularly vital for building a foundation to ignite children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving. These are called the prime areas of Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional development
We also support children in the four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. These are Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design
We believe that children should be engaged by learning that develops and challenges them and excites their imagination. Early childhood is the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. At Mosspits Lane, learning and development in EYFS lays secure foundations for future learning and development. However, we also believe that early childhood and EYFS is not only preparation for KS1 but learning in preparation for life. The EYFS team works closely with Year 1 to ensure that there is continuity and progression between the Early Years curriculum and the start of the National Curriculum. This includes the progression of learning, topic areas and resources.
Y1-6 Curriculum overview
In Years 1-6, teaching and learning is delivered as discrete subjects: English (including Phonics, Reading, Spelling, Handwriting, Spoken Language & Writing), Mathematics, Science, Computing, Art, French, History, Geography, Design Technology, PE, Music, RE and PSHE. Schemes of work have been embedded in all subjects as a result of careful research using highly considered expert bodies and specialists.
Teachers in each year group use subject schemes of work to deliver high quality teaching and learning activities that have been planned to ensure coverage of a progression of core knowledge and overarching concepts in each subject. Schemes of work are underpinned by the requirements of the Department for Education’s National Curriculum (2014). Units of work are planned to ensure that the NC requirements are incorporated, although this is only a starting point and schemes both meet and exceed requirements, to ensure a wider, broader, richer curriculum offer.
Curriculum maps have been created to show coverage of areas of learning for each year group as well as for individual subject areas. These can be found in the curriculum area of the school website.
Some units of work provide creative, cross-curricular opportunities for learning. However, the progression of knowledge in a subject area takes priority over the need to make cross-curricular connections.
Vocabulary is a core element of all learning across the curriculum and this is taught explicitly to ensure pupils acquire the language to underpin learning and understanding. Pupils’ speaking and writing will be transformed by use of a richly diverse vocabulary.
The curriculum is the progression model. Each subject has been planned as a progression of learning from Year 1 to Year 6, with components carefully sequenced across units in each year group, from year-to-year and across phases. As well as this, the Year 1 curriculum builds on the starting points from EYFS. Key knowledge has been identified across each subject and units of learning have been planned for a clear model of progression. Units of work build on and consolidate previous learning so that pupils acquire knowledge in component parts, connecting the knowledge into a schema for more in-depth understanding and mastery of concepts. New content can be accessed because of previously learned content.
Key knowledge in our school’s curriculum is both substantive and disciplinary. Substantive content is the substance that pupils learn in each subject – the building blocks of factual content, concepts and vocabulary. Disciplinary knowledge is subject-specific. Pupils learn how knowledge is gained and renewed by practitioners in the subject i.e. historians, scientists and geographers. Disciplinary knowledge fosters the critical and creative aspects of learning in a subject.
The curriculum organises and repeats substantive and disciplinary knowledge in ways that show pupils how each component fits together. Learning is revisited multiple times in different contexts to ensure it is embedded. Through this, pupils gain a secure grasp of well-connected pieces of knowledge and consequently know more, remember more and are able to do more, securing deep knowledge over time. with the aim of allowing pupils the opportunity to transfer knowledge, skills and understanding across subjects.
High quality teaching and Learning
The curriculum requires the highest quality teaching to ensure pupils secure deep knowledge over time so that it is mastered. This teaching will:
• build on pupils’ prior knowledge and experience;
• avoid overloading pupils’ working memory by breaking down complex material into smaller component steps;
• encourage the retention of learning by using repetition, rehearsal, practice, reworking and focused retrieval of critical knowledge and skills;
• deliver a carefully-sequenced curriculum which teaches essential concepts, knowledge, skills and principles;
• have a rigorous focus on ambitious vocabulary acquisition;
• use powerful analogies, illustrations, examples, explanations, comparisons, and demonstrations;
• be ready for common misconceptions and prepare strategies to counter them;
• be built on the planning of effective lessons, making good use of explicit modelling, definitions, explanations, and scaffolds to support learning as well as concrete and practical resources;
• adapt teaching in a responsive way to support struggling and excelling learners while maintaining high expectations for all, such as pre-teaching vocabulary/less secure key concepts
• provide pupils with tools and strategies to plan, monitor and evaluate their learning.
As far as possible, Mathematics and English are taught every day. English includes Spoken Language, Writing, Reading, Handwriting, Spelling/Grammar and Phonics. Phonics is taught during the first lesson of every day for EYFS-Y2 (and in KS2 for those pupils still accessing a phonics programme.) Mathematics includes regular basic skills and times tables practice sessions outside of the Mathematics lesson. English includes daily spelling instruction. Most subjects are fixed on a weekly basis to ensure adequate spacing for revisiting, recalling and consolidating learning in the best way possible, but some subjects such as Art and DT, may be alternated half-termly for more sustained coverage for practical reasons. This can be seen more clearly on a set of curriculum maps - see subject sections.
At Mosspits, we plan and deliver an inclusive curriculum. We believe that supporting pupils with additional and special educational needs should be part of a proactive approach to supporting all pupils. It means understanding and overcoming the specific barriers pupils face to learning and what they need in order to thrive so that they can be included in all that the school has to offer. For pupils with SEND, this will be in light of advice/documentation from outside agencies involved with a pupil or in discussion with parents and the school’s Inclusion lead.
Our school does all it can to meet specific, individual needs. We comply with the requirements set out in the SEND Code of Practice (2014) in providing for children with SEND and we have taken advice and guidance from the EEF’s guidance document, Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools (2020) and the EEF’s blog Assess, adjust, adapt – what does adaptive teaching mean to you? (2021) for practical ideas and teaching strategies including the 5-a-day principle.
All pupils will be exposed to the same content (with rare exceptions) with the expectation that the majority of children will progress at the same pace and acquire increasingly deeper and broader knowledge. Our curriculum is adapted, designed or developed to be ambitious and meet the challenges that are often faced by pupils with SEND, developing their knowledge, skills and abilities to apply what they know and can do with increasing fluency and independence. Although schemes of work have been pre-designed, teachers take responsibility for planning lessons to ensure the needs of every child is met using adaptive teaching. Teachers will prioritise familiar but powerful strategies, like scaffolding, flexible grouping, cognitive and metacognitive strategies and explicit instruction, to support pupils with both additional and special educational needs and disabilities. Teachers will provide opportunities for all pupils to experience success by identifying pupils who need new content further broken down, making use of formative assessment, adapting lessons, whilst maintaining high expectations for all, connecting new content with pupils’ existing knowledge or providing additional pre-teaching if pupils lack critical knowledge. This means understanding the needs of individual pupils and weaving specific approaches into everyday, high quality classroom teaching.
A note on differentiation by task, previously embedded in our education system. Research and current educational thinking has shown that having different groups of pupils has little to no effect on pupil attainment. We believe that lower expectations for some groups, particularly by setting them different work, will result in pupils having different knowledge and worsening gaps.
The teacher, with support from the school’s Inclusion lead, provides curriculum resources and educational opportunities which meet the child’s needs within the normal class organisation as far as possible. Children’s special educational needs may be met by the use of carefully implemented interventions or one-to-one support from teaching assistants and teachers, planned within the curriculum. For more detailed information on how the school ensures the needs of SEND pupils are met, please refer to the school’s SEND policy.
Pedagogy is the way that teachers deliver the content of the curriculum, the teaching style used and the theories employed. Each subject has its own specific approaches to pedagogy, detailed in the individual subject policies. However, there are a number of whole school approaches and strategies that have been adopted as fundamental practice. These have been taken from recommended experts and specialists in the education field, particularly in their subject areas such as Christine Counsell and Steve Mastin’s work in the Opening Worlds Humanities programme and Ruth Miskin’s approach to Read Write Inc. Teachers are given training in a range of pedagogical approaches and techniques to ensure that all pupils access the same ambitious content, with most progressing at the same pace and acquiring increasingly deeper and broader knowledge, accessing increasingly complex content.
Literacy across the curriculum
Our curriculum is designed to ensure that reading is developed and practised extensively across a wide range of subjects beyond discrete reading lessons. High quality texts and reading activities are implemented across Science and the Humanities along with stories and narratives, to give meaningful context to knowledge. In turn, this powerful knowledge that, if thoroughly and securely taught, builds the wide and secure vocabulary acquisition that underpins literacy and all successful communication. Furthermore, vocabulary size is the outward sign of the inward acquisition of knowledge.
The importance of Cultural capital
We are passionate about preparing our pupils to live and thrive in culturally and ethnically diverse modern Britain. This means ensuring that the school’s curriculum is interwoven with a range of cultural, creative and enrichment experiences from both a variety of cultures and from popular culture. We believe that, for pupils to be able to appreciate and understand other cultures, they need to feel confident in their own cultural identity first, so this is a starting point in the Early Years and a thread that continues throughout. Our school curriculum embraces the different cultures and ethnic groups that make up our school, and explores our local context, in Liverpool. This includes a celebration of the achievements and culture of our pupils’ heritage as well as those beyond the school and the city, to the wider world.
To enhance our subject-specific, knowledge-rich curriculum, children have wider experiences such as:
Threaded throughout our curriculum planning is a focus on diversity, with examples such as representation within the texts we study in English; the artists, designers, scientists and musicians studied in Science and foundation subjects and the locations, places and cultures studied in our rich humanities curriculum.
PE and school sport
PE and school sport is of huge significance across our school and we are dedicated to encouraging our pupils to be as physically active as possible. Using the PE and school sport premium, we plan an extensive programme of activities, initiatives and enrichments to get pupils active on a daily basis and engaged in PE and school sport, competitions, extra-curricular sports and pathways into clubs, promoting physical activity outside of school. In recognition of the work in this area, we have a School Games Gold Mark. See the PE and school sport policy (and PE premium document on our website) for more details.
Curriculum evaluation, review and improvement
The school’s leaders regularly review the school’s curriculum with middle leaders and class teachers. Reviews are made of what is being taught, how planned units have worked and if there are any issues to be addressed to ensure the best possible pupil progress. This is an ongoing, cyclical process.
Assessment, reporting and feedback
Our school uses ongoing formative and summative assessment throughout the curriculum to ensure high quality teaching and learning for all pupils. The school’s assessment policy sets out how the curriculum is assessed for each of the different subject areas. Teachers use parent/teacher evenings to report on pupils’ attainment and progress; this information is supplemented with an end-of-year report in all areas of the taught curriculum.
Formative and summative assessment strategies are constantly reviewed to ensure they meet the needs of pupils across the school. These take the form of a range of daily formative activities to check on misconceptions and support pupils to make progress in lessons. This is supplemented by summative assessments which give a summary of attainment and progress over time. For more information on curriculum assessment, see the school’s Assessment and Feedback policy.
Feedback is given to pupils at every stage of their development with its sole purpose being to provide information for pupils to improve. We recognise that purposeful feedback to pupils is a key component of high quality teaching and is an integral part of classrooms across all phases and subjects. It supports pupil progress, builds learning, addresses misunderstandings, and closes the gap between where a pupil is and where the teacher wants them to be. For more detailed information, see the school’s Assessment and Feedback policy.
Monitoring standards and provision
The Governing Body is responsible for ensuring the school curriculum is implemented. Governors work with the headteacher and senior leaders to review the curriculum and its policies. The Headteacher works alongside the designated Curriculum Lead, currently the Deputy Headteacher, to monitor the school’s curriculum, to make sure it is fully embedded and staff are adhering to school curriculum policies and practice. Monitoring information will be used to make improvements to ensure that the curriculum is delivered as intended. Subject leaders plan, review and monitor their subjects (with support/direction from the curriculum lead); this includes teaching and learning, schemes of work, subject policies and whole school practices that are important in ensuring continuity and progression in learning for the subject across the school. In addition, where subject leaders hold Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) posts, there is an expectation to ensure the standard of teaching/learning in these areas as well as a responsibility for pupil progress.
Developing Middle Leadership capability
The school is fully committed to supporting the development of leadership at all levels of the school; this includes middle leadership. The school’s curriculum lead works specifically with all non-TLR holders, who are curriculum leaders to support them in effectively leading curriculum areas. Some of this work has included planned CPD activities both internally and externally, how to monitor effectively, how to design and implement a knowledge-rich, progressive curriculum and writing effective action plans. All leads attend termly subject leader briefings to keep updated with current pedagogy and practice in their subject areas. Those teachers who are relatively new to curriculum leadership are given additional support in this role.
The role of the school’s curriculum lead
The school’s curriculum lead has a responsibility to have a complete overview of the whole school curriculum, ensuring it is mapped out and sequenced as an ambitious progression model, both within subject boundaries and making powerful links across subjects. The curriculum lead has an overview of training and development of teaching staff to ensure high quality CPD and subject-specific knowledge/expertise in subject pedagogy is an ongoing core priority. The curriculum lead takes responsibility for undertaking actions to ensure the school are regularly updated with current national priorities and current curriculum thinking. This ranges from researching education papers and publications on curriculum from a range of sources, attending curriculum CPD, sourcing subject-specific support from school improvement partners and specialists and accessing specialist guidance or mandatory documentation via the Department for Education, Ofsted, or educational and subject advisory organisations such as the Education Endowment Foundation, the Geography Association or DATA (Design Technology). The school has entered into partnerships that support work across the school’s curriculum such as the NW3 Maths Hub, Read Write Inc Phonics programme, Opening Worlds humanities programme, Resonate Music Hub and Haringey Science.
The school environment is an important stimulus for teaching and learning across the school. Class displays in Y1-Y6 all have working walls for English and Maths. Each classroom also displays key vocabulary in Humanities and Science on a weekly basis, to support learning in these subjects. French questions and commands, along with bilingual labels are in every classroom from EYFS. Some classroom boards are used for teaching and learning, whereas others display and celebrate pupil work and achievement. All year groups have a learning journey outside in the corridor, detailing key learning from the current topic area. Around the school, every subject is represented by a display board which is regularly updated showing examples of progression in a strand of the subject across the school phases.
Curriculum maps for each year group can be found in individual Year groups under 'Curriculum information'.