The Russell School

Aim High, Have Courage, Be Kind

Our Curriculum 

Schemes used across the school:

The published schemes in use within school have been adapted to best suit the needs of our pupils and are incorporated into our own medium term plans, which set out the knowledge, skills and concepts that children will learn over time.

Home reading texts

Oxford Reading Tree, X Project,

Guided reading texts

Rigby Star, Rigby Navigator

Writing

Talk 4 Writing

Spelling

No Nonsense Spelling

Handwriting

 

Grammar

Spag.com (homework)

Phonics

Letters and Sounds, LCP, Phonics Play

Maths

Herts for Learning scheme, White Rose

My Maths (homework)

Computing

Rising Stars

Science

Rising Stars

RE

Hertfordshire SACRE

PSHE

Jigsaw

Music

Charanga

PE

Champions, Fitter Futures (homework)

MFL

Language Angels

Humanities

Collins Connect, Plan B

Specialist teaching

Toe by Toe, Stareway to Spelling, Lego Therapy

Intent

Our curriculum is underpinned by the personal qualities which drive our school ethos.  ‘Aim High’ – determination and curiosity; ‘Have Courage’ – self-belief and resilience;   ‘Be Kind’ – empathy and personal responsibility.

We aspire for each child to develop a deep interest in, and love for, learning so they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will require to be successful, both now, as children, and in the future.  We prepare them for a world that requires flexibility, resilience and independence and want them to have the confidence to take calculated risks and not be afraid of making mistakes on their way to success. 

Our curriculum design is underpinned by the following principles:

We will have the highest expectations of all children.  We recognise every child as a unique individual and will set ambitious, aspirational targets for their continual improvement. We strive to create a sense of awe and wonder which nurtures curiosity and opens up opportunities for deeper learning and personal growth.

The curriculum is fully inclusive. We support children to overcome barriers that may prevent them from succeeding and exploit opportunities to stretch and challenge every child regardless of their ability.

Children will receive a broad and balanced curriculum. Whilst we recognise that core skills in English and maths are the foundations for learning, we place equal importance upon all areas of the curriculum.  We continually look for meaningful opportunities for children to apply the skills and knowledge they have learnt in English and mathematics in other subject areas.  Staff will seek out relevant and meaningful opportunities to develop children’s social, moral, cultural and spiritual understanding across all subjects. We provide a wide range of enrichment activities such as trips, residentials, themed weeks and curriculum enhancement days to broaden and deepen learning. Children have access to a diverse range of extra-curricular clubs which extend the curriculum beyond the classroom and further opportunities for personal development.

Children will be supported to become highly articulate. They will be taught to speak clearly and precisely, using sophisticated, ambitious and expressive vocabulary. They will learn about Standard English, have opportunities to develop the art of public speaking and will become skilled at engaging in a productive discussion.

Reading will be at the heart of the curriculum. Staff will promote a love for reading and exploit opportunities for children to read widely and deeply across all subject areas. 

The curriculum will embrace differences and draw on the individual talents and interests of children.  The curriculum is built around the needs of the children within our school, taking into account the context of the community in which they live.  It has been designed to address the gaps they may have, whilst drawing on their strengths and talents. The Russell School is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse and we therefore place an emphasis on promoting diversity. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning and visits to places of worship that are important to different faiths are planned.

Outdoor learning opportunities will provide memorable learning experiences and help children to make sense of the world around them by putting their learning into a meaningful context. We believe that every child should experience the world beyond their classroom as an essential part of their learning and personal development. Outdoor learning activities are woven throughout our curriculum and create opportunities for children to apply their knowledge and skills to real life contexts as well as nurturing respect and responsibility for themselves, other people and the environment.

The curriculum will develop the local and global cultural capital of our children. We will expose children to the to the skills, knowledge, language and habits that can be used to advance their life-long learning and give them an advantage in life. Children will be given plenty of chances to visit places of interest as part of their learning experience and we will utilise the wealth of cultural and historical capital  that the local and wider area have to offer.  Disadvantaged pupils who may not have access to enrichment activities, such as outside clubs, musical instrument lessons and cultural activities will be supported to do so through school.

We will instil children with the ability to know how to make a positive contribution to their community and wider society. We strive to educate our children to have respect for others and themselves as well as a healthy respect for the institutions and values of this country. Cultural diversity is fostered through an appreciation of the variety of human experience, creativity and achievement found in the local area, the United Kingdom and beyond.

Implementation

Our key goal is to ensure that learning is memorable and will be retained for life. To maximise memory retention, the following cognitive scientific principles underpin the planning of our curriculum:

Learning is most effective when spaced rather than blocked

  • Interleaving helps children to discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention
  • Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength
  • Sustained mastery takes time

Children will develop a deep, secure understanding. The curriculum will be delivered at a pace that enables a robust understanding of key concepts, knowledge and skills, giving children the time they need to master fundamental concepts in subjects.  Opportunities for children to apply their learning to new contexts are built across all areas of the curriculum.

Teachers will show flexibility when planning and will choose what to teach based on their accurate assessments of what pupils can already do. Opportunities for problem solving will be woven across the curriculum to enable children to apply their learning. Children will embrace the curriculum in accordance to their learning style and have access to practical, multi-sensory learning.

The curriculum is delivered through cross-curricular topics, allowing children to make effective links in their learning. Detailed medium term plans (which incorporate the NC programmes of study) show clear progression of the skills and knowledge taught for each subject as well as meaningful links to other subjects, including personal development, outdoor learning and enrichment opportunities. English, maths and science learning is linked into topic teaching wherever possible. Published schemes are adapted to enhance our own personalised plans to provide a bespoke teaching and personalised learning experience for our pupils.

Curriculum content is sequential and builds on prior learning. We incorporate many opportunities for repetition and practise opportunities for essential knowledge, skills and understanding in every subject. This ensures that children revisit previous learning which allows them to gradually develop a deeper understanding of the skills and processes within subjects, at their own pace and in the best possible way for each individual child. Both core and foundation lessons are designed with a ‘concrete, pictorial, abstract’ approach, providing children with the scaffolding required to access the learning at all levels.

Our personalised ‘Teaching Model’ maps the teaching sequence for foundation subjects. Each new topic begins with two key questions 

  • What do the children already know?
  • What do they want to find out?

Prior knowledge is recorded and is used as an assessment tool by teachers to ensure new learning is pitched appropriately. Children record new learning to this at the end of each lesson, producing a knowledge map over time.  This aids memory retention and provides continual opportunities for retrieval of previously learned content. 

Lessons may take various formats including

  • Direct teacher led lessons, teaching new skills and knowledge
  • Independent research, information gathering and summarising Presentation lessons, where children apply their basic skills
  • Challenge and deepening activities which add depth and breadth to learning

Children are encouraged to select from a range of differentiated challenges, enabling them to pitch their learning at a level that will move their learning on.

The same quality of work is expected across all subjects which leads to higher standards and outcomes.  Opportunities to write at length across all subject areas have been meaningfully planned into the curriculum.

A fit body and a fit mind are interlinked. We will ensure pupils have a wide range of opportunities to engage in sport and physical education.

The type of homework tasks set will be based on evidence from research.  In the main, homework tasks will involve reinforcing or practising what has been learnt in the classroom.

 Impact

The impact of our curriculum is the measure of how well our intent has been realised. It is demonstrated through: 

  • The success of our learners
  • The confidence of our children at being able to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time
  • Judgements which are based upon a triangulation of different monitoring and evaluation activities within school such as work scrutiny, pupil voice discussions, outcomes of assessments and quality of teaching and learning
  • Outcomes for all groups of pupils within the school
  • The learning attitudes, engagement and motivation shown by the children
  • Ongoing feedback and assessment which addresses misconceptions and gaps in learning and informs planning to ensure that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils
  • A range of assessment and analysis strategies: timely testing, moderation of work, pupil interviews, use of assessment grids and data tracking systems, to ensure children know what they are meant to know at specific points during their education.
  • Evidence from monitoring which shows that children are active in their learning, are able to construct their own knowledge and are able to think flexibly and creatively
  • High levels of engagement in home learning
  • Positive parental feedback

For more information, please see the following:

  • Individual subject pages – more detailed, subject specific information on the intent, implementation and impact for each subject area
  • Long term planning – plans for each year group which map out the areas of study across the three terms to deliver the national curriculum

 

Within the classes, our children are grouped according to their abilities for the core curriculum subjects. Planning is detailed, inclusive and differentiated to meet all pupils' talents, skills and abilities.

Parents are closely involved in all aspects of our provision. The school endeavours to provide as many opportunities as possible for more or most able pupils to ensure they are challenged in all subjects across the curriculum.

Curriculum maps and timetables for each year group can be found on the class pages.