Foxes Piece is a primary school in the very prosperous town of Marlow which, unusually for this location, serves a very diverse local community.
Our curriculum is designed to be engaging, purposeful, balanced and relevant for our pupils. While there is an emphasis on the core skills of English and Maths, as we see these as underpinning success in a wide range of other subjects and life skills, we also provide an engaging programme of study in all curriculum areas and value the development of the whole child, so that Foxes Piece children become positive and active citizens in society.
Our high expectation of children begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Children begin their time at Foxes Piece in Reception class and our aim is for them to meet the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Reception year. Regular assessments are used to identify target areas and children for specific activities. Pupils begin phonics (matching sounds with letters) lessons in Reception, and these continue through into Key Stage 1 (KS1). There is a maths lesson every morning. There is also a focus on play-led learning in Reception based around topics and core texts, which children access throughout the morning and the afternoon.
Throughout KS1 and 2, the morning is dedicated to early morning activities, maths, reading and writing lessons, while in the afternoon, children access the wider curriculum with many subjects being timetabled discrete lessons. In Years 5 and 6, focus gradually shifts to the end of Key Stage assessments (SATs) as children are prepared for these tests and their transition to secondary school.
Pupils tell us they enjoy their learning and they like coming to school (see attachment below). Overall, attendance and behaviour are very good and pupils are encouraged to reflect our school values (the Foxes Five – see below) in their words and actions.
INTENTION (What we teach)
Our over-arching aim for our curriculum is to provide an excellent education for all our pupils so that they leave Foxes Piece well prepared for the next stage of their education and for success in life. Our motto, “Everyone is Someone,” focuses on the importance of the individual while our school values (the Foxes Five) of Honesty, Kindness, Respect, Independence and Resilience also encourage children to look outside themselves and to the impact their actions have on those around them as well as to their role in society and the wider world.
This over-arching aim is then broken down to become more specific:
Our curriculum has been developed with the needs of Foxes Piece pupils at its heart. Everything children learn in school is part of our curriculum and we have high aspirations. While the basis of our teaching is the National Curriculum, we are always conscious that for some of our children school is their only or main window onto the wider world. As a result, what we teach is enhanced through WOW days, community and charity links and contributions, trips, visitors and family events, as well as through engaging learning and extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, so children have a good range of experiences and varied memories of primary school.
IMPLEMENTATION (How we teach it)
The aim for our curriculum is that, where possible, it builds and links year on year, so children can use previous knowledge from within a subject and between subjects to reinforce what they already know and strengthen links for new learning. We are also looking to expand the horizons of some of our curriculum subjects, so that children’s general knowledge (cultural capital) is developed and they are given a more extensive world view. This is an ongoing process.
Our approach to teaching is that while children should, where appropriate, have opportunities to explore and discover for themselves, this is supported by direct instruction so that all children have the information they need to create, develop and build clear and accurate learning. Activities are carefully planned to enable learning to take place in manageable small steps which ensure children are not overwhelmed and pupils are challenged and/or supported as they need so that our classroom environment is inclusive. Modelling and guided practice are an integral part of many lessons. By teaching our curriculum well and creating and developing effective learning habits in our pupils, we bring out the best in everyone.
As we are also aware that frequent retrieval of information strengthens that knowledge within the long-term memory, we are starting to try to include retrieval opportunities both from previous year groups as well as the current year in a range of subjects. In addition, to help ensure children master the key learning facts and to give parents a better overview of what their children are studying, we are introducing Knowledge Organisers for topics in Reception and for History, Geography and Science in Years 1-6. As well as including key learning these Knowledge Organisers set out new ambitious vocabulary words to help develop our pupils’ word skills and include a section on Cultural Capital to extend general knowledge. Our intention is that aspects of the current and previous Knowledge Organisers will form part of regular retrieval practice.
The curriculum for each year group can be accessed below on the Curriculum Overview page. Within the parameters of the National Curriculum and topic headings we empower our staff, with the guidance and support of subject leaders, to decide what to teach and when to teach it. We believe that staff are best placed to make these decisions and that this freedom allows them most effectively to enthuse and motivate children as well as maintaining their professional skills. The vast majority of subjects are taught discretely but staff are encouraged to make meaningful links within and across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning.
IMPACT (how we know what we have taught and what the children have learned)
We regularly assess our children’s progress both in lessons and with more formal tests, and feedback is provided regularly to parents through Parent Interviews or the annual report. These assessments together with class and other teachers’ views form the basis for professional discussions around which children need additional support and what that should be.
We are still in the process of developing and refining our assessment in subjects other than English, maths and science and are trialing a variety of options to see what works best for us.
Our subject leaders regularly and rigorously monitor teaching within their subject area.
If you would like any further information about our curriculum, please ask at parent Interviews or contact Mrs Potter (Year 6 teacher) who is our Curriculum Lead.
Clubs and extra-curricular activities
There are opportunities for children to be involved in a wide range of extra-curricular activities throughout the year. As in all other aspects of school life we encourage the involvement of parents in helping to provide these activities, and are very grateful for the time and additional expertise they give to us.