Curriculum at Marsden Primary School


At Marsden Primary School, our curriculum is firmly based on our ethos – Everyone Cares, Everyone Matters. With this at the heart of everything we do, we plan, deliver and review our curriculum to ensure that every child receives a high quality education which is rich in knowledge, inspires a love of learning and prepares children for the next steps in their education through the careful planning and sequencing of skills and knowledge across all subjects. Our primary aim is to ensure all of our children are safe, happy and feel valued. Through our curriculum, we ensure children learn how to look after themselves physically and mentally both within and beyond our school environment.

Our children learn in a calm, nurturing environment which celebrates children’s individuality. We want all of our children to reach their full potential and have high ambitions and aspirations for their own futures. Our broad and balanced curriculum ensures that by the time our children leave us at the end of Key Stage 2, they will have achieved our five golden goals:

To be Aspirational
To be Confident
To be Independent learners
To be Problem Solvers
To be Resilient

We believe that by securing these lifelong skills, our children will be prepared for life beyond primary school, enabling them to become citizens who make positive contributions to society and have the necessary skills to achieve their own personal goals.

Through careful planning, our five golden goals are seamlessly woven through our curriculum with all children having an opportunity to build these life skills through each and every subject. Alongside our golden goals, our 3 ‘Marsden Musts’ played a key part when designing our curriculum:

Marsden Musts:
Children to be involved in their learning – before, during and after.
Every class to regularly have a visit or a visitor linked to topics.
Learning to be active and practical.

How do we help children achieve the 5 golden goals?

1. Our curriculum is ambitious

We set high expectations for all learners in every lesson. Our curriculum does not narrow as children progress through school and we challenge our children with appropriate next steps in their learning. Our children with SEND do not access a reduced curriculum; instead their learning is appropriately differentiated to meet their individual needs and their progress and attainment is closely monitored through the use of IPPs and review meetings to ensure they are meeting their full potential.
Although we set challenging goals for all of our children, teachers ensure children are given appropriate resources and scaffolds to enable them to achieve learning objectives and meet end of year outcomes.

2. We follow an enquiry based learning approach

At Marsden Primary School, our children play an active role in their learning through our enquiry based curriculum. As a maintained school, we follow the programmes of study set out in the National Curriculum but we take these objectives and make them bespoke to our school.

In English, children’s learning is based around high quality texts. Our English curriculum has been mapped out to ensure children are given opportunities to study different genres of text and write for different purposes. We deliver discrete phonics, spelling, grammar and reading lessons to ensure children develop core English skills that can be applied across the curriculum.

Our maths curriculum is supported by White Rose Hub materials and Busy Ants textbooks. Using high quality maths resources has enabled us to deliver a progressive curriculum that provides children with opportunities to demonstrate the depth of their understanding of key concepts. Whilst we utilise the resources White Rose Hub and Busy Ants provide, teachers have excellent subject knowledge which they use to adapt materials to meet the needs of the children in their class.

Learning in foundation subjects is based on a key enquiry question. Latest research shows that this engages children in their learning, encourages them to ask questions and be curious about the world around them, promotes independent thinking and enables children to reflect on what they have learned. Every unit of work starts with a key question and then in order to help children ‘answer’ this question, learning is broken down into smaller steps which enables children to gather vital knowledge and develop subject specific skills.

All medium term planning has been produced by subject leaders and quality checked by senior leaders. This has helped ensure subjects are well sequenced and progressive from EYFS to Year 6 and allowed subject leaders to have a thorough understanding of their subject. This approach has also ensured our curriculum is a ‘good fit’ for our children who we know better than anyone else.

Some of our subjects are supported by a scheme of learning which has been designed by an external provider. These schemes are there to support teachers’ subject knowledge and have been adapted to meet the particular needs of our children. Where schemes are used, subject leaders have ‘unpicked’ units to break learning down into small, manageable steps which fit our enquiry based approach.

Wherever possible, we use our local area within topics as this helps provide children with a real sense of belonging to their community and encourages them to become responsible and respectful citizens who value their local area. We encourage our children to ask questions and be curious about the world around them.

Every subject leader has a clear rationale as to why particular topics have been chosen for children to study.

3. We provide children with a variety of rich experiences to build their cultural capital

As part of our curriculum, children are given regular enrichment opportunities in the form of visits and visitors. Teachers must ensure that any enrichment opportunity contributes to children achieving our 5 golden goals and/or enhances their knowledge and understanding of a topic. We use our local area as a focus for fieldwork and link history topics in Key Stage 1 and 2 to people and places within our vicinity. We make use of the excellent museums close by to enhance our provision and in upper Key Stage 2, children visit Nissan, a local car manufacturing plant, to explore a major source of industry on our doorstep.

To promote children’s independence, confidence and resilience we offer two residential opportunities in Key Stage 2, both of which are well attended.

Our extracurricular provision is wide in scope with different clubs being offered to children across all key stages.

We utilise our Pupil Premium funding to ensure our disadvantaged pupils are given equal opportunity to experiences which will help improve their education outcomes.

4. Our curriculum is accurately assessed and continually reviewed

Through continuous professional development, subject leaders keep up to date with the latest developments in their subject area and disseminate this back to staff. This allows us to take a critical look at our curriculum and adapt it where necessary to ensure we are always delivering Quality First Teaching which is at the heart of a high quality curriculum.

To help our children know more and remember more, lessons are sequential and build on prior learning. Lessons begin with reviews of what children know so far and children are actively encouraged to make links within their learning as this is a proven method in helping children learn more and commit this learning to their long term memory.

Whilst designing our curriculum, subject leaders identified key end points that children should achieve in their subject by the end of each academic year. To ensure that these key knowledge end points have been committed to long term memory, a gap of one to two weeks is left between the unit ending and teachers ‘testing’ what children have learned. We have followed OFSTED research series guidance which suggests that low stake style assessment is used and therefore teachers use informal approaches such as quizzes, mind maps and posters to test children’s knowledge and understanding.

We recognise that in order to reach these curriculum end points children will need to build their knowledge over time. Therefore, within each unit of work, key knowledge for that unit is made explicit – we call these the ‘way points’.

Each subject has an assigned link governor who meets termly with subject leaders. Meetings are given a focus to help the governing body hold leaders to account and ensure children are being provided with a broad and balanced curriculum.

For more information about the National Curriculum 2014. please click on the link.

For any other information about our school curriculum please contact Mrs Wilson.