A Creative and Connected Curriculum
The curriculum is the totality of pupils' learning experiences. It is everything that surrounds the child, from the Latin the course that must be run. At The Spinney Primary School we believe that our curriculum should be broad, balanced, rich 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.
Our curriculum at the Spinney is designed to ensure that our children flourish in five domains (based on Valerie Hannon's book Thrive - Schools reinvented for the real challenges we face)
This aligns with our school's Take 5 Sustainable Agreements. "Take care of yourself, take care of each other, take care of your learning, take care of your school community and your world, take care for the future."
These agreements are displayed in classrooms and around the school.
The taught curriculum consists of the Early Years Foundation Stage Programme of Study, The National Curriculum, the school curriculum and the wider curriculum as our young people engage with the wider eco-system in Cambridge and beyond. At The Spinney we ensure the children have a range of enjoyable and engaging learning experiences that challenge, stimulate and promote thinking and learning. The curriculum meets statutory requirements and is carefully planned and balanced through a whole school approach aligning with the statutory National Curriculum to ensure key knowledge and concepts are taught. Much of the learning is planned around themes which usually last for a term or half a term. This programme of study is presented as curriculum map and parents and children are given termly copies of this detailing the elements of study that will be covered. Parents as partners in the children's learning is another key principle in the school and by sharing the learning objectives with families we encourage parents to support the child's learning at home and developing their cultural capital.
Teaching and learning 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, The University, Launchpad visits, Musical and Theatre performances. Visitors and parents are also welcomed in to school as sources for the children to extend their knowledge and understanding.
EYFS and Key Stage 1 teachers use Story Time Phonics and wonderful real books to encourage and promote a love of reading. In addition the school uses PM Benchmark to assess children's reading strategies to ensure they receive the right intervention to support their learning to read. The school uses a wide range of books as part of a reading scheme to support the children with developing fluency as they progress into Key Stage 2.
In Key Stage 2, there is an emphasis on Reading for Pleasure which includes choosing books from the school library, and this is further enhanced through our partnership with EmpathyLab as well as weekly Dialogic Gatherings where children read and share a classic text.
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).
This wonderful scheme promotes problem solving and collaborative learning. It is highly engaging and fun. Similar to our approach with Reading, Salford Maths tests are used to assess children skills for solving mathematical problems and where there are gaps, a range of interventions are available to support the children to become fluent mathematicians.
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 continual improvement, setting our own challenging targets and working 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 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 Wild Wood.
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.