The Creative CurriculumThe curriculum is the totality of pupils' learning experiences. At The Spinney Primary School we believe that our curriculum should be broad, balanced and relevant, meet the needs of all children whatever their ability and help to develop the whole child, spiritually, morally, academically, creatively, intellectually and physically.
The taught curriculum consists of the Early Years Foundation Stage Programme of Study and The National Curriculum and the wider curriculum. We ensure the children have a range of learning experiences that challenge, stimulate and promote thinking and learning. The curriculum meets statutory requirements. The curriculum is carefully planned and balanced through a whole school approach following The National Curriculum. Much of the work is planned around themes which usually last for a term or half a term. Parents are given termly copies of a curriculum map detailing the programme of study and are updated on each child's progress through Termly meetings with teachers. Children are made aware of the key learning objectives at the start or end of each lesson.
Teaching is undertaken in various styles, sometimes whole class instruction, sometimes with individuals, sometimes in group work to enable the learning to match each child's ability. There is an emphasis on learning for application in real situations. The need to support learning by providing an appropriate context is met, in the main, by organisation around cross-curricular themes. This learning is richly enhanced by making learning links with other providers and partners e.g. The Fitzwilliam Museum, Kettle's Yard, The University. Visitors and parents are also welcomed as sources for the children to extend their knowledge and understanding.
Key Stage 1 teacher use a range of phonics and reading schemes to develop all children's skills, including Every Child A Reader, Phonics Storytime, PELS and ReadingWise.
The Spinney teachers know that children learn better when they are excited and engaged and at the Spinney we are constantly looking to provide stimulating and motivating learning opportunities. To do this we work with parents and the whole community to think creatively about how we can use the skills of everyone in the school. We look for improvement, setting our own challenging targets and work tirelessly to build on success.
Primary education is a vital stage in children's development, laying the foundations for life. But it should also be a positive, exciting and enjoyable, rich experience for all our children. The Spinney has signed up to The Cambridgeshire Creative and Cultural Manifesto for the Curriculum and we believe that the planned curriculum should be an adventure, a journey of learning undertaken by the children, class and teacher. Children are involved in planning aspects of the curriculum and contribute to the Termly Curriculum map.
Learning Beyond the ClassroomThe Spinney curriculum was judged to be "outstanding" during our last OfSTED partly due to the number of additional educational visits that are planned for the children.
As a school we believe that learning is not limited to the walls of our building but can happen anywhere. To this end, staff are encouraged to be responsive to the many learning opportunities available in our historic village and our prestigious University City. Therefore when a learning opportunity arises staff are encouraged to take advantage of nearby resources and activities such as the Botanic Gardens, University and adopt a "Get on The Bus Approach" to the curriculum by taking the local bus into the City. Similarly, staff use the outdoor learning environment as much as possible for example using the outdoor space in Early Years, the playground and adjacent playing field and the nearby Spinney Nature reserve.
For this reason parents must ensure that their child is provided with suitable clothing for the very mixed British weather conditions. One of our sayings at The Spinney is "There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes".
Learning at HomeWe greatly value the importance of children's learning at home and The Spinney works in partnership with parents, recognising that learning is not limited to the school building or school hours. We recognise that the children have access to a wide variety of educational experience out of school, for example through dance lessons, music lessons and martial arts. All of these have an important role in developing the whole child.
One of the most important ways that parents and carers can support their children's learning is to read to them or listen to the children's reading regularly and to foster a sense of enjoyment in the spoken and written word. Other activities such as cooking, board games, gardening, family events or visiting museums together are greatly encouraged and can of course be hugely beneficial.
Each week the children will bring home a number of activities designed to support the learning objectives that they have been working on in class. This may be research activities, maths puzzles or investigations. The children may also have specific tasks in order to practise key skills such as reading, spellings or times tables. The type and frequency of homework will depend on the age or ability of your child.
The school makes use of Maths No Problem, a primary maths teaching programme. Videos to help parents understand their approach can be found below (external website).
Parents are asked to support their children by working alongside them giving them regular, quality time and encouragement and ensuring that they have completed tasks by the given date as necessary.