Curriculum at Hayfield
‘What we’ve got to do is make learning like bubbles; irresistible.’
Mick Waters, The Curriculum Foundation
This is the premise on which we base our curriculum. We have fully utilised the National Curriculum, which forms part of our whole school curriculum.
‘The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.’
The National Curriculum in England, 2014
How is our curriculum organised?
A topic based, creative approach
Although we place an emphasis on the core subjects of English and maths, our curriculum adopts an integrated approach, teaching foundation subjects – science, history, geography, modern foreign language, art, design & technology, computing, religious education, physical education, PSHE (RSE) and music - in a cross curricular way, where feasible, that celebrates the many different strengths our children possess.
Our curriculum places a great emphasis on teaching children to work independently, think creatively, to ask questions, to collaborate, to generate their own ideas, to problem solve and to look for alternative, innovative outcomes. The aim is to actively engage pupils in their learning and create independent, self-motivated, enterprising young people. To encourage this way of learning, we ensure we plan lots of creative opportunities within each learning challenge, e.g. role play and hands-on activities, outdoor learning, practical maths and science, child-initiated learning, educational visits and creative partners working with the children in school.
Key skills for learning and life
If children are to achieve the curriculum aims, they need to secure key skills in English, numeracy and personal learning, thinking and social skills. These attitudes and dispositions are central to personal development and to unlocking and developing a lifelong love of learning. We want children to achieve well, make excellent progress and develop life skills and understanding. And we want them to enjoy education so they continue to learn throughout their lives. By providing a curriculum that enables them to secure these essential aptitudes, we are giving children the capacity to learn independently, to collaborate and to reflect. The key skills for learning and life are taught through all areas of the curriculum, making experiences more memorable, relevant and purposeful for the learners.
We plan from the National Curriculum to ensure full coverage, continuity and progression of knowledge and skills in spoken language, reading, writing, grammar, phonics, punctuation and spelling. English planning is linked, where appropriate, to the topics currently studied. This places the children’s learning in a meaningful context and enables practice and consolidation of their literacy skills.
Since language is the key to learning, we place a great emphasis on teaching children to read and enjoy books. We try to foster a love of reading through ensuring we have a wide range of books in school, which are appropriate to the child’s level of understanding and interest, and which they enjoy reading. We promote reading through holding book fairs and various book events during the year and by linking computing to reading. We also encourage parents to support their child’s reading development by sharing books with them at home and listening to them read on a regular basis.
We use the 'First Class Phonics' scheme (provided by BCEd) for our systematic phonics programme. This improves on the widely used 'Letters and Sounds'. It increases pace, progression, supports word structures better, especially in early reading. The whole scheme has a significant emphasis on reading, because we know this skill is critical to all learning. This scheme is used to teach phonics throughout the infants and a mixture of reading scheme books (Oxford Reading Tree and Phonics Bugs with some Ginn’s ‘Lightning and Lighthouse’) and ‘real’ books, along with a range of other reading materials, to teach guided reading.
Children are taught to write in a range of styles for different purposes (story, poetry, playwriting; recount, report, persuasion, explanation, instructions, discussion), always being aware of purpose and audience. Children develop skills at word, sentence and text level, and practise their writing in other areas of the curriculum to reinforce and consolidate their knowledge, skills and understanding.
At Hayfield Primary, we teach maths for mastery. Put simply, this phrase encompasses the range of elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chance of mastering mathematics. Mastering maths means acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. At any one point in a pupil’s journey through school, achieving mastery is taken to mean acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable them to move on to more advanced material.
This approach is solidly grounded in a CPA approach, which stands for Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract. Children learn in different ways. The use of concrete apparatus in maths (such as cubes, paper strips, dominoes, counters, dice etc.) supports learning from Reception right through to Year 6, by allowing children to manipulate equipment to represent problems. From here, children are taught to represent the problems they solve in pictures and diagrams such as bar models or part-part-whole diagrams – pictorial representation. Once these elements are solid, children are ready to comprehend more abstract maths, which by Year 6, might come in the form of algebraic formulae! However, this is not necessarily just a linear progression from concrete to pictorial to abstract. At any one time and in any year group, a child may use a combination of any of these approaches to learning. What matters is the depth of understanding.
Challenge in maths comes in the form of stretching problems, which require the application of skills learned in lessons. All children will be taught the same curriculum content as their classmates and will move through the curriculum broadly at the same pace, with support and intervention, or challenge, implemented as appropriate. All children work daily to achieve fluency in their understanding and use of number facts, place value, mental maths and calculation methods. In combination with consistent and regular arithmetic homework throughout Key Stage 2, this daily work is contributing to a very high standard of fluency by the time our children reach the end of Year 6. This in turn makes life much easier for the children when it comes to applying their understanding of number to reasoning and problem-solving.
Teachers use a range of resources, from White Rose maths planning materials to the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics), the NRich website and Headstart Maths resources to create exciting and varied lessons which hinge upon a culture of reasoning. Children are constantly encouraged to explain their thinking and to use clear mathematical language to reason aloud. This in turn leads to a clarity of understanding, which is apparent as you walk around maths lessons.
Through ongoing Continuous Professional Development and membership of a local regional maths hub, teachers at Hayfield are becoming increasingly confident and proficient in the delivery of a mastery maths approach to teaching. We are sharing high quality practice across the school (and with other schools in the PEGS cluster) and the children are increasingly positive and confident about their maths lessons. In short, maths lessons at Hayfield are buzzing, with the aim of producing happy and confident mathematicians, with a solid grounding in the subject sufficient to tackle the secondary curriculum and beyond.
The study of science is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Our aim is that, through practical science, our children will develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena, working scientifically and using their knowledge and skills to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
Science is taught through a range of topics covering all aspects of biology (Plants, Animals including humans, Evolution), chemistry (Materials, States of matter, Rocks) and physics (Forces, Light, Sound, Electricity, Earth and Space) in the new national curriculum programmes of study.
We will deliver a Science Curriculum that:
- Builds upon prior knowledge and a progression of skills to ensure all children have a secure understanding and knowledge of key science concepts
Develops creativity and challenges all of our learners through inclusive teaching practice
Inspires and excites our children through engaging practical sessions which are enriched with visits and visitors
Encourages our children to be self-motivated, independent, curious and resilient learners by developing inquiry based skills and sessions
Encompasses outdoor learning to create meaningful experiences within their natural environment
Children spend at least two hours a week on this subject. Learning often takes place outside, and links to other subjects are made whenever appropriate and possible.
History and Geography
History and Geography adds colour to the curriculum: It’s about who we are and even more importantly what happens next.
Through these subjects, the children at Hayfield are taught through the mastering of key techniques or tools (such as understanding chronology or line graph construction) and then using a range of skills (e.g. interpretation, comparisons or analysis) so that they gain a full understanding. The curriculum is organic but progression is at its heart. Techniques or tools will be covered in multiple classes; the skills are very different.
Both History and Geography are taught through a range of topics reflecting the priorities stated in curriculum 14. Wherever possible, in History, the topics are introduced chronologically so that the children can more readily make links and connections. For example, LKS2 studies pre-History both in our country and further afield before older classes move onto later periods such as the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. We aim to be knowledge rich, not content heavy.
Children spend an afternoon a week on History and Geography topics and links to other subjects wherever possible as part of the creative curriculum. Educational visits are also an extremely important giving the children a range of experiences not possible in the classroom such as handling artefacts, collecting data and conducting experiments to test a hypothesis in a real life situation.
Computing is used across the curriculum, from Reception to Year 6, to develop children’s skills in research, computing, word-processing, data handling and information design, and to enhance their learning in other subjects.
As we increase our computing capabilities in the school, and with the greater emphasis the curriculum places on computing, children are having greater access to computers, both during discrete lessons and to support learning in other lessons. They have regular, supervised access to the Internet and this is protected by a safeguarding filter system. Parents are asked to sign an ‘Internet User Agreement’ regarding responsible use of the Internet at school. Children are taught regularly, as part of the curriculum, about e-safety, especially with regard to social networking and cyber bullying. We have annual 'internet safety' briefings for parents to keep them up to date with latest internet 'safeguarding' challenges.
Physical education plays a very important role at Hayfield. We clearly see the mental health benefits as well as general fitness and wellbeing improvements.
Children have two hours of curriculum PE each week and regular opportunities to partake in a range of physical activities - after school clubs, fundraising events, competitive sports through the School Sports Partnership, interschool lunchtime tournaments, Sports Week etc. With our large playing field, re-surfaced ball court, extensive playing areas and easy access to countryside walks and hill climbing, plus minibus access, we are well equipped to provide a rich and varied sporting experience for our children. A group of junior children also attend weekly swimming lessons at New Mills Leisure Centre. We can now proudly boast that every single junior child at Hayfield has taken part in at least one sporting activity outside of school this year, and the children are enjoying returning to school with an increasing number of trophies!
Music is another positive aspect of our curriculum and the children have many opportunities to participate in a range of music activities. Children can join lunchtime and after-school clubs to learn drumming or guitar; Y4 and Y6 learn to play an instrument (currently ukulele) through the Derbyshire Music Partnership Wider Opportunities programme, Y5 sing and perform with Kinder Choir and all children have opportunities to learn to play a variety of instruments with the peripatetic music teachers we have in school each week.
Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. – National Curriculum 2014. Art is a fantastic way for all children of all ages to express themselves, be creative and to explore. “All children are artists” – Pablo Picasso. Here at Hayfield Primary exploring the arts is built into all areas of the curriculum wherever possible. As a school we enjoy celebrating the art that is created through displays, assemblies and sharing work with pupils and parents. We are currently on the journey to be an Arts Mark School.
Design and Technology
Design and technology is a fantastic subject where children can be creative and practice lots of skills they have learned in other subjects. They are able to use their computing skills when researching their project, art when they are designing, maths when measuring and English when they evaluate what they have made. Food technology is also part of the D&T curriculum.
There are usually four processes that the children work through when they are taking part in D&T:
Researching - children need to research what they are going to design in order to find the best ways to do so. They can explore different materials that would be suitable for their design.
Designing - children can draw diagrams or pictures of what they plan to make, and label them with their different materials and equipment that they will need to make it.
Making - children often find this process the most exciting as they start to create their own project which they can be very proud of.
Evaluating - children begin to think about what they really like about their project and what was successful. They can also then think about anything that didn't go to plan and how they might improve their project if they were going to do it again.
The most important part of D&T is designing something for a PURPOSE.
Children have a RE lesson every week and teachers follow the Derbyshire RE Syllabus. Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops children’s knowledge and understanding of the nature of religion, faith, beliefs and traditions, and about secular views, including evolution, in the context of a diverse and global society. It also gives them an awareness of discrimination, prejudice, extremism and radicalisation, which, in turn, helps them to become tolerant and respectful of different people and different ways of life. We have strong links with the local churches and support events with them.
Modern Foreign Languages
Learning a language really does have a positive impact on a child's learning. It increases their cultural awareness and understanding, improves their speaking and listening skills and reinforces grammatical terminology. Modern foreign languages (MFL) is statutory within the curriculum in KS2.
But learning languages should be fun and engaging for us all. At Hayfield Primary we like to:
Keep it simple – learn together and with each other in class. So for example, the children sing songs, learn about cultures and class countries, make flags, speak and listen to each other.
Work at it as a school – We celebrate languages and cultures together as a school. Classes have a country associated to them and learn about the culture and language in an age appropriate manner. Our language club sing songs each term to the whole school to celebrate and share their learning.
Explore the language together – Our teaching staff work with the children and learn together, to show them that it’s fine not to know everything and make mistakes! We are fortunate to have language specialists within our teaching staff, which really benefits the learning of the children.
The Early Years Curriculum
Our Reception Class staff follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five years old. We use the ‘new EYFS reforms early adopter version’ published in July 2020.
In our Reception classroom, our staff are passionate about providing a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and that can be built upon in Year 1 and beyond. A big emphasis is placed upon partnership working with parents and carers and spending time getting to know every child to ensure that their individual needs are being met and that no child gets left behind.
We adhere to the four guiding principles that, according to the DfE, should shape practice in early years settings. These are:
- every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
- children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
- children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers and
- the importance of learning and development. Children develop and learn at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Our Early Years staff reflect on the different rates at which children are developing and adjust their practice appropriately. Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
- playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
- active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
- creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
Above all, our aim is to give our youngest children the best possible start to their time in our school. We are proud with how settled, secure and valued our children feel in our Reception class.
What makes our school such a great place in which to teach and learn are all the extra bits – the experiences we provide, the events we plan and the projects we undertake to enrich the curriculum, help us engage with the community and give children a real purpose for learning.
We take part in as many national events as possible, such as National Sports Week, National Anti-Bullying Week, National Book Week, Poetry Week and Black History Month. We also run enterprise projects, such as the year 6 bike repair scheme which involves taking donated bikes, fixing them and then gifting them to suitable individuals.
Additionally, the school celebrates World Book Day, ‘Green Day’ and community events such as Remembrance Day, May Queen Festival, Sustainable Hayfield’s Apple Day and Well Dressing.
In addition to the breadth of sporting, musical and drama opportunities, and the range of lunchtime and after-school clubs children can attend, other extra-curricular activities include Bikeability, Road Safety Day, and the school also partakes in all local school transition activities, e.g. Y6 Bonding Day, Maths and English mornings.
Children enjoy educational visits every year to places that enhance learning within our curriculum. Year 6 also attend a 3-day residential to Whitehall Outdoor Centre.
Children in Need, Red Nose Day and Macmillan Coffee mornings are regulars on our calendar, and children have also been successful in raising substantial amounts of money for charities like Unicef to support victims of global disasters, e.g. floods and earthquakes.