Our Learning Ethos
Our school curriculum is underpinned by the values that we hold dear at our school. The curriculum is the means by which the school achieves its objective of educating the whole child, within an inspiring environment, in the knowledge, skills and understanding that they need in order to lead fulfilling lives.
The curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning and personal growth and development. It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but also the range of extra-curricular activities that the school organises in order to enrich the experience of the children. It also includes the ‘hidden curriculum’, or what the children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave. We aim to teach children how to grow into positive, responsible people, who can learn and co-operate with others while developing knowledge and skills, an understanding of their place in the world, so that they achieve their true potential.
The staff are working together as an academy to ensure that we are ready to embrace the changes needed to comply with the new National Curriculum for September 2014.
The subjects taught fall within the National Curriculum:
- Art and Design
- Design and Technology
- PE and Games
- Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
- Religious Education (the Devon Agreed Syllabus)
- Modern Foreign Language (French)
We value the individuality of all our children and are committed to giving them every opportunity to achieve the highest of standards – regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, attainment or background. The National Curriculum is our starting point for planning a curriculum that meets the specific needs of individuals and groups of children. We achieve educational inclusion by continually reviewing our practice and how it impacts on pupil achievement. The school can, where necessary, modify or disapply the National Curriculum and its assessment arrangements. We would do this only in exceptional circumstances. In our school the teaching and learning, achievements and well-being of every child are important. We follow the necessary regulations to ensure that we take the experiences and needs of all our children into account when planning for learning.
Children will be taught to listen and speak, to read and write. At Moretonhampstead, we consider that the ability to listen and speak with confidence, read fluently and with understanding and pleasure and write effectively is essential as it provides access to all areas of learning. Children are taught as either a whole class and in small groups according to their ability following the National Curriculum. As well as specific daily literacy lessons, aspects of the teaching of English permeates all other learning opportunities, for example, writing a report on a science experiment.
Parents are encouraged to support their children’s learning and are given pointers on how they can help, particularly with developing their children’s reading skills.
The school aims to give children an enjoyment of mathematics and to make the work both fun and relevant to the world outside. The school follows the National Curriculum and lessons focus on both the development of mental skills as well as written recording. Three important strategies run through mathematics – estimation and approximation, accuracy and application. Children are encouraged to use the ‘real world’ as a valuable resource for learning, e.g. children enjoyed applying these skills when each class was presented with a sum of money and given the challenge of creating the most money through ‘money week’ activities.
Parents are encouraged to support their children’s learning and are given guidance particularly with calculation strategies to ensure continuity.
At Moretonhampstead Primary School, our curriculum recognises areas that are significant for children’s learning:
Children are encouraged to develop an investigative approach to science that reflects their own natural curiosity. Children learn what it means to be a real scientist and apply this understanding to their learning, particularly when taking part in science experiments. They use their existing understanding of the world to enhance their learning. Our new school environment, particularly
the outdoor space and pond area, enables the children to enjoy a range of exciting hands-on learning.
The school is extremely well resourced for this area of learning. Children have good access to computers both in the classroom and in the ICT suite. At Moretonhampstead we believe it is important that children have the skills to use computers effectively, so there is specific teaching of ICT skills as well as time to use these skills across a range of subjects. We are also committed to ensuring the safe use of the internet and technology.
An understanding of history and historical enquiry skills are developed. Our children are enthusiastic to discover more about their own personal and family history through to a growing understanding of local history and ancient civilisations.
Being within the Dartmoor National Park, our local environment provides a rich source of learning. However, we aim for children to develop not only a strong interest in their own surroundings but also the wider world and an understanding of relationships that exist between human beings and their environment. Geographical skills are developed through the use of maps and fieldwork techniques. Our learning also includes how to make our future more sustainable.
Art and Design
The school has an Artsmark Gold accreditation, recognising the strength of the teaching and learning of art, dance, music and drama. Artists come into school to work alongside the children which enriches their experience considerably.
Children explore a wide range of media and they are encouraged to improve their skills in drawing and painting, by both observational work, by using their own imaginations and through a growing understanding of other artists. They work on both 2D and 3D projects, developing increasing skill in a variety of media.
There is a good singing tradition throughout the school and a school choir meets weekly. Children in Key Stage 2 (age 7 and older) have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument within the class setting. This gives children the flavour of what it would be like to learn an instrument. Each instrument is held in the school for a term – so, e.g., one term the children in Year 6 may learn the melodica. A range of instruments are rotated around the South Dartmoor Learning Community so over a period of time, children will be introduced to a range of instruments.
Design and Technology
Children are presented with challenges within this subject area. For example, in the Key Stage 2 Chocolate unit, the children design and develop a chocolate bar including the creation of a brand and advertising campaign. Appropriate emphasis is given to each project to ensure that children plan, make good quality products with a purpose and evaluate their own work. The children are able to undertake food technology very effectively as there is a designated area for this activity within the school.
Physical Education and Games (PE)
The school has an Activemark accreditation, which recognises the strength of teaching and learning in physical education.
For the younger children (up to the age of 7), the children have a daily PE session for about half an hour and follow the Leap for Life programme. This involves teaching children key movement skills. For the older children (age 7 – 11), the children learn dance, games, gymnastics, athletics and swimming.
The school has good facilities with both tarmaced areas, a good sized hall and a large playing field.
As well as promoting a love of physical activity, the school encourages children to understand what it means to pursue a healthy life-style.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
The school holds a Healthy Schools Award which recognises the strength of the school’s teaching and learning of PSHE and its attitude to developing both the physical and emotional well-being of children.
This area of our learning helps children to become more effective learners and supports them as they move from childhood, through adolescence, to become independent young people and effective citizens. The school uses the SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) programme to help children develop skills such as taking responsibility for their own actions, understanding and dealing with peer pressure, feeling positive about themselves and managing an increasingly complex range of feelings.
In addition, the school has a school council and eco group, and uses opportunities to work in ‘family groups’ when undertaking particular topics.
Religious Education (RE)
Children are encouraged to discuss and explore their own feelings and beliefs through a developing understanding of a range of world religions. Children are taught the importance of respecting the beliefs and religious practices of others. The school follows the Devon Agreed Syllabus for the teaching of religious education.
Modern Foreign Languages
Currently all children in Key Stage 2 (7 years and older) are taught French and an understanding of French culture, formally in one lesson per week. In addition, children speak and listen to French informally during other opportunities, e.g. taking the register and giving instructions in French. Younger children enjoy exploring the French language, e.g. responding to instructions.