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Curriculum Statement – Fairlawn Primary School
At Fairlawn Primary School we understand the importance of ensuring the holistic development of our learners as well as their academic success. Our school values of Curiosity, Resilience, Responsibility and Respect underpin everything we do and we provide an engaging curriculum and the support and care they need to thrive and reach their full potential. We believe that we have a responsibility to prepare our learners to become educated, global citizens and to provide them with the very best opportunities and experiences to experience awe and wonder in the world around them and to understand the importance of communities and communication. As such, we go beyond the National Curriculum requirements to improve the cultural capital of the children in our school.
Our curriculum is broad and balanced and we believe that all children can be successful in all areas by ensuring equity for all. We believe that STEAM subjects are integral to future careers for our learners and will equip them with the skills necessary to problem solve, which is why we maximise opportunities for learning in these areas. However, our children do not learn through discrete subjects or lessons but rather work as states of being e.g. being an artist, a historian, an athlete, a linguist etc. We follow a ‘Curious-city’ curriculum, which was developed by ‘Lighting Up Learning’ and is a locality based, enquiry led approach to learning. We seek to link learning to the rich heritage and cultural opportunities available in Bristol and, wherever possible, links are made to our local area and the figures who live/lived here. We regularly take our learners out into the community and have visitors into school who represent our diverse community.
As our curriculum is enquiry led, the children are given questions to answer which provide lines of enquiry to follow. For example, the learners may be asked ‘What is my hat made of?’ and this may require them to work as Scientists to use and understand the properties of different materials. As Artists, they will design their own hat and work as Engineers to understand the different purposes of a variety of hats. The work across each enquiry culminates in a final challenge in which they answer the question by showcasing all of their knowledge and skills. In the example above, the learners design and create their own hat with a clearly identified purpose before showing these on a ‘hatwalk’.
Maths is taught following the Mathematics Mastery approach and we specifically focus on the use of high quality mathematical vocabulary to ensure depth of understanding and the ability to reason. This emphasis on language permeates across all curriculum areas and equips our learners with the rich vocabulary required to engage with the world around them.
The ability to read independently for pleasure and knowledge underpins all other aspects of the curriculum. Reading starts in Reception and is taught through systematic synthetic phonics, following the Letters and Sounds scheme and continues into Year 1. When ready, the pupils are benchmarked and monitored to measure reading attainment and progress. In Year 1, word reading and comprehension skills continue to be developed using phonetically leveled Big Cat readers. Reading comprehension continues to be taught throughout the school using the Cracking Comprehension scheme. The joy of reading is key to pupil’s success and class books are carefully chosen to excite, inspire and motivate.
As writers, we aim to nurture our pupils’ creativity, give them the tools to express their ideas effectively and help them find their own author’s voice. Writing almost always starts with a quality text linked to a Curious City enquiry. Handwriting is taught from Year 1 and follows the Penpals handwriting scheme. After pupils have secured their phonics they continue to develop their spelling skills following the Schofield and Sims spelling program.
Children in our EYFS unit learn skills, acquire knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through a play-based curriculum. We know that play is an important part of healthy brain development, and although play comes naturally and spontaneously to most children, some need adult support. At Fairlawn, we are highly committed to providing play-based learning opportunities to enable children to develop cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills. We recognise that children’s learning is a continuous journey through which they build on the skills they have already experienced as well as exploring new and exciting activities. Every child's learning takes a personal path based on their own interests and learning needs, which are recorded by key adults in a Learning Journal. We know that if we start with the children’s interest, they will be motivated to learn and if they are motivated to learn then we can successfully expand their knowledge and vocabulary. Adults in our team support the learning by playing alongside the children, working on specific adult-led tasks with the children, as well as observing how the children play in order to plan future learning. Our rich and varied environment also supports children's learning and development, giving them the confidence to explore and learn in secure, safe yet challenging indoor and outdoor spaces.
We regularly review the curriculum to take into account local events, different cohorts of learners and the changes in our community. An enquiry question or challenge may be adapted with each new academic year in order to respond to the needs of our pupils, school and wider community. Our curriculum stays current and purposeful for our learners and ensures that they are given opportunities to develop a passion for learning and to meet their potential across all areas of the curriculum.