The curriculum is the totality of pupils' learning experiences. It is everything that surrounds the child, from their academic learning, well-being and preparation for life. 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.
At The Spinney we say "The Curriculum is a gift we give our children to take into their future. It is a gift we will never see them fully open, but we hope it served them well."
In addition to knowledge, skills and a good character we want to develop our children to be freethinkers. Our curriculum Intention can be described as
"We want our children to be happy today, fulfilled in the future and able to make their world an even better place."
We implement our curriculum intent through the taught curriculum which 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.
Underpinning our curriculum are our Spinney Golden Threads:
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, sequenced and balanced through a whole school approach aligning with the statutory National Curriculum to ensure key knowledge and concepts are taught. In our last OfSTED the school was described as "forward thinking and outward reaching" and we have continued to use that to guide us in designing our curriculum, drawing on a national and international smorgasbord of projects and programmes and innovations that are proven by research to have a positive impact on children's academic, and social, emotional, mental, cultural and physical development. These include EmpathyLab, MindUp, Enabling Enterprise, The Big Draw and so on.
In selecting curriculum innovations we are looking for the triple win - high academic outcomes, character development and pro-social learning including positive social action.
Much of the learning in foundation subjects is planned in mixed year group teams 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. Our mission statement at The Spinney is "Teaching and Learning Together" so we design the learning to be a co-constructed adventure with curriculum maps providing key concepts, skills and knowledge that children will learn along the way. The learning maps also serve as a useful aide memoire to the children of what has been taught and learned. Parents as partners in the children's learning is another key principle in our pedagogy and by sharing the learning objectives with families we encourage parents to support the child's learning at home, developing their cultural capital through museum visits, library visits, and practical home learning projects.
Teaching and learning is undertaken in various styles; sometimes as whole class instruction, sometimes with individuals, sometimes in group work, sometimes inside the school or in the grounds or on educational visits, sometimes through active learning. This is to ensure we offer a wide range of opportunities for the children to engage in and enjoy and also to ensure that there is a good match to meet each child's ability and need.
At The Spinney there is an emphasis on learning for application in real situations, so 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. Once protocol changes, visitors and parents will be welcomed back in to school as volunteers to support and extend the children's knowledge, skills and understanding.
Please speak to the office if you would like to volunteer in the school.
The Teaching Faculty
The Spinney teachers are intellectual, creative, inspiring and hard working. They collaborate as a faculty to design the curriculum opportunities together to ensure that the learning is sequential, coherent and challenging. The school and the teaching team prioritise high quality continuous professional development and keep abreast of the latest research. pedagogic thinking and educational innovations.
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".
Some of the ways that parents and carers can support their children's learning at home is to practise times tables with them, to read to them and also to listen to their reading. Other activities such as cooking, board games, gardening, family events or visiting museums together are greatly encouraged and can of course be hugely beneficial.
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. We believe that the planned curriculum should be an adventure, a journey of learning undertaken by the children in partnership with their classmates and the teachers. Children are involved in planning aspects of the curriculum and contribute to the Termly Curriculum map. Children are also involved in reviewing the effectiveness of curricular by providing verbal feedback so that the teachers can reflect on, review and iterate their teaching.
Impact of Our Curriculum
The Spinney children leave our school as happy, confident, sociable individuals, compassionate caring citizens, and with a love of learning.
In addition our pupils perform highly in the Statutory National Assessments achieving higher in Reading, Writing, SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar) and Maths when compared to Local Authority or National data.
Please see the School Performance Data Page