The development of the Curriculum was a School Improvement Focus for 2017/18. Our brand new Curriculum Maps are located in the ‘School Section’ / ‘ Curriculum’ area of the main website.
At Primrose Hill we are committed to providing a holistic curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and learning experiences. Our existing curriculum has been planned to enable such links to be developed and exploited. We place great value on the development of children as individuals and providing our children with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to develop into well-rounded, informed individuals. Social, moral and emotional issues are given a high profile in the school. We place emphasis on diversity and tolerance, celebrating our amazing community. Our aim as a school is to give children the skills and knowledge they need to be confident, independent and curious learners. Through investment of specialist teachers – Music, PE, Art and French – means the children consistently receive quality learning.
Over the past three years the curriculum has changed through five main measures:
The introduction of ‘integrated learning’ approach which is now embedded in Key Stage 1, and following a successful trial in Y5 last year we are rolling this approach into Y3 and Y4. This is what makes Primrose Hill different to most other primary schools. The integrated curriculum means that children have more input into the learning they experience and there are better links between subject areas.
The creation of new Curriculum Maps across the school, led by the Assistant Head alongside a clear evaluation from teachers and Subject Leaders. In addition, allowing a more creative approach to recording and charting the learning journeys through high quality floors books in Science, Humanities and RE.
The investment of quality and rich texts to teach the English Curriculum through out ‘List of Magic’, focusing on oracy, technical accuracy and presentation.
We have a variety of themed days/weeks based on curriculum subjects such as RE and STEAM which allow classes to focus on key aspects in depth. This is evident in a recent topic around clothes in Y2 working alongside Ted Baker, or half termly RE days where the children think about a central theme and how it applies to different religions through the school.
An annual Curiosity Week where teachers can go ‘off plan’ and develop a learning journey ona theme relevent to their children to to stimulate their interests. Such themes have included ‘paper’, ‘gold’, rainbows’, ‘Pokemon’, ‘The Body’, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Flight’ resulting in quality outcomes and presentations in Achievement Assembly.
We believe our high standards are due to the rich and broad experiences the children have as they move through the school including visits and trips and over 30 extra-curricular clubs. In addition to this we have a new outside classroom in Y1, gardening club and forest school and horticultural therapy – a rich diet of learning experiences is undoubtedly the best way to develop happy, curious children.
Early Years Foundation Stage
This consists of the Nurseries (Tadpoles 2 y/o and Froglets 3 y/o) and Reception classes and has its own Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. The classes work together, following the areas of learning and development towards a set of Early Learning Goals for Communication and Language; Physical Development; Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
In the EYFS we follow the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum’ document. The children’s learning experiences are planned to enable them to develop and achieve in the early learning areas through play and investigative learning experiences. The EYFS curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development.
All EYFS classes, Tadpoles, Froglets and Ladybirds, follow a 2 year rolling cycle of topics as the basis for learning experiences. Class groups can, however, follow topics that are more suitable to their cohorts or that the children themselves show an enthusiasm and fascination in. Teachers ensure that there is an equal balance across the areas of learning when they do this during their PPA time. The EYFS teaching staff share a weekly PPA session where learning pathways can be discussed and modified as required. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part to all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children. The half termly topics are also enriched through the following of whole school initiatives such as ‘Everybody writes’ events and anti-bullying week as they occur during the academic year. Froglets and Ladybirds’ Physical Development experiences are enriched through weekly specialist sessions led by the PE team. Ladybirds have specialist input from our music specialist each week and the whole EYFS have singing assemblies each week led by the Phase Leader.
Our Y1 classrooms are now located on the lower ground floor, meaning they too can enjoy a free flow inside/outside learning experience alongside the EYFS and it is our vision to include them more in the EYFS Phase, especially around outdoor learning. Leading the Camden Early Years Hub ensures our practice is always outstanding.
Key Stage 1
This consists of Year 1 and Year 2. From Year 1 we, as all schools, follow the New National Curriculum. This comprises eleven subjects: English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Design and Technology, Physical Education and Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education. We also teach Phonics throughout Key Stage 1 using the Letters & Sounds programme amongst other resources.
At Primrose Hill, we are committed to ensuring that children have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. We give a high priority to their development and achievement in the Foundation Subjects and the arts. It is intended that children will have daily experiences of learning through an integrated curriculum. At Primrose Hill the curriculum has been designed to enable teachers and children to develop links between different areas of the curriculum. We have developed our integrated curriculum through a topic based approach intended to build upon children’s interests and stimulate a love of learning.
In Key Stage 1, we introduced an integrated and creative approach to planning the curriculum, as we understand that young children learn best through experiencing a curriculum which is relevant and meaningful to them. This is based on good early years practice and in encompassing the National Curriculum requirements. There are whole class Literacy and Numeracy sessions which continue to include recommendations of the strategies. The children will be involved in directed and independent, cross curricular activities related to the week’s learning objectives, throughout the day, either with an adult or independently. The learning is planned to meet the weekly learning objectives. It is expected that each child will carry out an independent maths and literacy task each day. This should be cross-curricular wherever possible, and differentiated as appropriate to meet the children’s individual learning needs.
PHONICS & THE READING PROCESS
We use a mixture of ‘real’ and ‘scheme’ books and the Camden colour banding system to teach reading. Guided reading is introduced in Reception becoming a five stage weekly cycle in Y1 – Y6, including elements of reciprocal reading in Upper Key Stage 2. Whole class Phonics is taught in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1 every day (until the children move into a Spelling programme in Y2). We follow the government recommended programme of Letters and Sounds. This promotes a fun, pace, multi sensory, rigorous and systematic approach to teaching phonics. By the end of Reception children are expected to be secure in Phase Four, secure in Phase Five by the end of Y1 and secure in Phase Six at the end of Key Stage 1. We have an intervention teacher who leads phonics intervention in Y2 and beyond.
The way we teach in Key Stage 1 has gathered lots of interests from other Camden and London Schools. In the work Robin does as National Leader of Education, we have supported other schools in implementing this approach.
Key Stage 2
This consists of Years 3 to 6. Children continue to follow the National Curriculum and in addition they learn a modern foreign language, French. Children also go swimming throughout the school year.
We continue to follow a topic based approach in Key Stage 2, making links between subjects, being more creative with topic choices, following children’s interests or events which are happening locally, nationally and globally; and further developing work on oracy and speaking and listening and incorporating elements of integrated learning. This has included working with a drama specialist, the Royal Academy of Music and most recently the RSPCB.
In Key Stage 2, we introduce reading challenges to enrich children’s reading range and vocabulary, Maths challenges to accelerate children’s mental recall as well as having a greater focus on home learning and in celebrating children’s achievements. The pace and challenge increases at Upper Key Stage 2 with the introduction of Streamed Maths Classes (x3 mixed ability groups of 20 in Y5 and x2 mixed ability and x1 more able group in Y6) which have seen a significant upwards shift in our attainments.
The National Curriculum and Contexts for Learning
The National Curriculum sets out what children should be taught and what they should be able to do at each stage of their education. English and Mathematics form the core of our work and the majority of skills and knowledge is taught as discrete units. However, we recognise the importance of making learning meaningful and memorable for children and for this reason we have introduced ‘Contexts for Learning’ as a vehicle for making connections and linking subjects. Each year-group plans cross-curricular work around a central theme on a termly or half-termly basis. This allows more time for each subject to be studied in depth. Themes include Inventions’ in Y1, ‘London’ in Y2, ‘Out of Africa’ in Y3, ‘Invaders & Settlers’ in Y4, ‘Battles & Invasions’, ‘Save the World’ in Y5 and ‘Coasts’ in Y6.
Religious Education forms part of the curriculum and we follow Camden’s agreed syllabus. Our aim is that all pupils understand the nature of religion and acquire an understanding of the beliefs, practices and strengths of the world’s six main religions; Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism.
We are also focusing on Growth Mindset across the school this year.
For more detail please see our Curriculum page in the School Information section.