At Plympton St Mary Infants and Old Priory Junior Academy (St. Mary's Priory Schools), we aim to provide a broad and well-balanced curriculum that will inspire our pupils and motivate them to learn.
Our curriculum follows the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum supplemented by opportunities to provide enrichment, inspire curiosity, and support the development of every child’s academic, social, communication and wellbeing needs. We believe that we have a responsibility to educate for the whole child, preparing children for their futures as flourishing members of the community.
As schools in St. Christopher’s Trust, we are committed to building flourishing communities. To ensure that our curriculum meets the needs of our community, our staff body collaborated to design five anchors, on which we base our curriculum. These anchors take into account, the curriculum that we want to offer our children, gaps for pupils in our locality, and our vision for an inclusive, inspiring curriculum. We use the anchors across every stage of our planning. This ensures that we provide our children with a range of targeted opportunities for growth and development, that enables them to succeed at every stage of their education.
Our aims draw on the four elements of the Church of England Vision for Education *:
- Educating for wisdom, knowledge and skills
- Educating for hope and aspiration
- Educating for community and living well together
- Educating for dignity and respect
Our aims are:
- To provide a curriculum which inspires children who love learning; demonstrate lively, enquiring minds; are prepared to take risks; support each other in learning from failure; and celebrate success together.
- To support children in developing a reflective approach to life by providing awareness and experience of a range of faiths and beliefs. To enable children to look to the future with hope and aspiration, supporting them through difficult times and instilling in them the belief that tomorrow is always a new day.
- To develop a community enveloped in our ethos which supports all members regardless of race, gender, special educational needs or disabilities, to achieve their full potential. To welcome parents as part of this community and partners in their child’s development.
- To support all community members to respect themselves and others, developing personal moral values, respect for other religions, cultures and ways of life, so that they will become successful citizens in the future. To enable children to understand that their relationships with others are key to success in all aspects of life.
*Although Old Priory is a community junior school, it is part of a Church of England Trust, with the majority of pupils transferring from our Church of England infant school. The CoFE Vision for Education was written for all schools, not just Church schools, and we have therefore adapted it to reflect our vision for both of our schools.
Within Early Years the curriculum is designed to recognise children’s prior learning from previous settings and their experiences at home. We respect that children have different starting points and we strive to provide a nurturing environment for all. We do this through providing a range of child led, hands on learning opportunities. We believe that the ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. As such we provide many first hand experiences to underpin the children’s knowledge, with the aim of broadening their understanding of the world around them. We believe that our first experiences of school should be happy and positive, enabling us to develop a lifelong love of learning. In order to provide this climate we use positive language to build a positive sense of self. We provide an environment which will enable children to trust in themselves and in their peers, building resilience, ambition and integrity.
In addition to providing an exciting curriculum for our children, we place a high value on the core subjects and weave our work in reading, writing and maths, across our teaching. We ensure that children become effective communicators and are confident with numbers.
Our Intent for Individual Subjects is available at the bottom of this page. We use a number of schemes of learning to enable us to deliver the National Curriculum in ways that will achieve our curriculum aims. Our foundation curriculum is based around a Geography or History topic each term with links being made to other foundation subjects where appropriate. Subjects are taught discretely, following our curriculum progressions. Teachers will take advantage of opportunities to explore particular current topics of local, national or global interest where this is appropriate. Whilst most subjects are taught each week, for some subjects such as Art and DT, we recognise the value of giving children a block of time to produce a final outcome. In this instance, a topic may be blocked to be taught over consecutive days, or for skills to be taught throughout the term with a longer end of unit session to produce high quality creative outcomes.
We are inclusive schools and value the many opportunities for learning that working with a diverse range of pupils brings. We aim to provide high quality teaching that is differentiated to meet the needs of the majority of pupils. Some of our pupils will require provision that is additional to, or different from, our core offer. Provision for our children with SEND is outlined in our SEN Information Report and Policy.
In both of our schools Collective Worship plays a central role in bringing our community together, and embedding our ethos and values. Parents have the legal right to withdraw their children from daily acts of worship, but are asked to discuss the matter first with the Headteacher. We hold a weekly Celebration Assembly, including parents, across both schools to recognise achievements throughout the week.
Our values are embedded in both schools and focus on ensuring that children develop as rounded individuals. At St. Mary’s our Christian values are Friendship, Thankfulness, Respect, Forgiveness, Perseverance and Trust. At Old Priory our values are Respect, Collaboration, Individuality, Resilience, Ambition, Respect and Honesty. In both schools, our core value is Love, reflecting our overarching ethos ‘Love in all we do’ (based on 1 Corinthians 16:14)
Our Curriculum Anchors
Our curriculum is built to include our five anchors at every stage. This ensures that we provide our children with a range of targeted opportunities for growth and development that enables them to succeed at every stage at their education.
Our five anchors are:
Knowledge, Skills & Progression
We believe that knowledge underpins the application of skills. Our curriculum is designed to enable children to develop knowledge and skills together throughout their learning experience. We have designed our curriculum to create sequenced progression so children are building on their knowledge and skills each year. We aim to create a curriculum where children can know more and do more.
Reading & Vocabulary
Reading skills and the ability to communicate effectively are key to successful learning. The acquisition of language skills is of the utmost importance to us and therefore the teaching of all aspects of English is given a high priority in our school. Confidence in basic language skills enables children to communicate creatively and imaginatively, preparing them for their future journey through education and beyond. Children need to be able to widely, across the curriculum and for pleasure. Our intention is to promote a life-long love of reading for all of our pupils and we practise and celebrate reading daily throughout the school.
Exploration & Discovery
Using our curriculum, we intend to instil a sense of exploration and discovery in all learning opportunities. Learning will be varied and interesting including activities that provide the children with concrete experience.
We believe ‘memorable’ experiences provide a solid foundation in which to hang learning on; this helps knowledge and skills transfer to the long-term memory.
Community & Belonging
We want our children to leave us knowing they belong to a community, both local and global, and to understand their role as responsible citizens and how British Values supports this.
Children will be accepting of diversity and view the differences between us positively. Our pupils will see and treat each other as equals and will hold the belief that everyone matters and should have every opportunity to succeed.
Values & Wellbeing
We believe that children can only be successful learners and citizens if they are able to get on well with others. To support this we teach children about our school values to enable them to interact with others and the world around them. We believe that teaching and promoting values helps children to create their own set of values, which in turn supports their wellbeing. Our school values are Respect, Honesty, Collaboration, Resilience, Ambition and Individuality.
In our ever-changing world, and particularly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, personal wellbeing and mental health are vitally important. We intend our children to be equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to ensure positive wellbeing now and in the future. We also teach children how to be members of a diverse community, recognising struggle in others and learning how to be proactive in providing support to one another. Learning goes far beyond just academic success and we believe strongly that children become the most successful learners when they have developed and can apply their own set of values.
To find out more about our curriculum intent, implementation and impact for each subject, please click on the documents below.