St Mary’s Sunrise Curriculum
St Mary’s bespoke Sunrise curriculum is broad and balanced, taking into account our school’s unique characteristics. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive school, where each member of the class is able to access the lesson and reach their potential. Our curriculum is co-designed by teachers and children, where an enquiry based approach enables children to lead and teachers to facilitate the learning. Examples include topic questions such as ‘Do all heroes wear capes?’ and ‘What does our world need from us?’. This ensures that pupil engagement levels are high, which is reflected in the school’s continued high attendance levels. We build children’s aspirations, demonstrating possibilities for their future lives. For example, our regular aspiration assemblies, which have included fashion photographers, police dog handlers, Robot Wars Champions and local councillors, provide children with an insight into the world of work. As a Church of England school, Christian Values are at the core of our curriculum. This includes the pursuit of excellence for preparing our children to be world citizens of the 21st century. We recognise RE as a core subject and we follow ‘Understanding Christianity’ in addition to a broad multi-faith curriculum. Charitable links remain a focus of our termly topics, to provide all children with the opportunity to be courageous advocates. Our values underpin all that we do in school, fostering independence and resilience. High expectations in speech, language and communication strengthen the children’s ability to learn at a deeper level, allowing them to articulate their learning through the development of rich and challenging vocabulary. Mental health and wellbeing are prioritised within our curriculum design, allowing children opportunities to exhibit spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding. To promote healthy lifestyles, the school has invested in a range of facilities, for example: opening our own Forest School; the installation of a Trim Trail and the redevelopment of our Early Years outdoor learning environment. Safeguarding is embedded deep into our curriculum, teaching children about how to keep themselves safe in the modern world. Parents and children tell us that they feel safe in school, with 100% responding positively on recent pupil and parent questionnaires. We feel that our dedication to supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of our children is reflected through our school motto: ‘Active Children, Active Minds’.
Our carefully crafted curriculum balances the national expectations and an all-encompassing range of experiences allowing our children to flourish. Our ‘Ten things to do before you leave St Mary’s’ has been developed with all stakeholders and has enabled us to personalise our curriculum to our school and its learners.
Clear strategic planning allows the curriculum to be dynamic and adapt to the context of the school and our unique local environment. Age related expectations combine the acquisition of knowledge and development of skills to create a purposeful and exciting learning journey for every child. The curriculum has high expectations to combine transferable skills, demonstrate a breadth of vocabulary and develop strong cross curricular links. Outstanding classroom environments stimulate and engage quality thinking and reasoning. We support our children’s physical wellbeing through providing sports coaching from external professionals and take part in numerous competitions and sports festivals, such as the local football and netball leagues, tag rugby tournaments and badminton competitions.
St Mary’s uses rigorous triangulated monitoring throughout the year to gauge the impact of the curriculum design. The Curriculum Team monitor individual subjects: reviewing learning, evaluating pupil voice, providing individual feedback to move practice forward, celebrating positives and highlighting areas of development that through coaching trajectories (iris) are changed. Our whole school team strengthen our ethos and vision as we work together to reflect upon our curriculum and share outcomes driving forward next steps. We don’t confuse coverage with progress when assessing. Learning is measured through careful analysis of application of skills across the curriculum; showing how acquisition of knowledge is enhanced dramatically by expectations to evidence quality thinking and demonstrate individual understanding. Class teachers and curriculum teams conduct performance analysis linked to triangulated monitoring measuring performance against school targets.
Children are clearly able to articulate what they have learnt previously, what they would like to find out and the new learning that has taken place. For example in year 6 when pupils were asked to talk about what they had learnt in geography they were able to describe their previous learning about volcanoes and natural disasters and how this linked to their new topic about climate change and physical geography (erosion and deposition). They were able to demonstrate their knowledge of European human and physical characteristics and how they had progressed to locating on a map human and physical characteristics of countries around the world and major cities.