Our Curriculum Intent – All Strands of Life Entwined
“Education should be about broadening minds, enriching communities and advancing civilisation. Ultimately, it is about leaving the world a better place than when we found it.”
– Amanda Spielman, June 2017
At West Coker CE VC Primary School, we encourage our children to ‘love learning’. We aim for them to be intellectually inquisitive and so become learners for life. We also encourage them to be ‘reflective learners’, who consider HOW they have learnt as well as WHAT they have learnt and so become independent in their learning.
Our Core Christian Values of Respect, Hope, Community, Wisdom and Kindness run through everything we do and help ensure that our pupils flourish and leave our school as conscientious, well-equipped citizens of the future. Together, we seek to embed a supportive, thoughtful and considerate atmosphere throughout that allows everyone to thrive.
We aim to teach topics that are relevant and inclusive for all, providing a platform for educational, physical, emotional and social growth. Our learning journeys in each class are designed to ensure children progressively build a body of knowledge, skills and understanding across core concepts.
We also aim for learning to be at a level, which encourages pupils to thrive on a sense of challenge and rewards perseverance towards individual and shared goals, whilst also ensuring that children maintain the feeling that their goals are achievable and manageable. We are very conscious that children will not achieve if they feel overwhelmed.
Mental Health and Well-Being
At West Coker C of E VC Primary School, we believe that for children to fulfil their potential they need to feel safe, grounded and happy.
Things we do to support mental health and well-being:
- Zones of Regulation
- Daily Check-ins
- Weekly well-being assemblies
- A ‘Kindness and Calm’ approach to everything we do!
- Health and Well Being Action Group
At West Coker C of E VC Primary School we understand that mental health and well-being is not just the absence of mental health problems. We aim for everyone in our school community to:
- Have confidence in themselves
- To be able to express a range of emotions appropriately
- To be able to make and maintain positive relationships
- To cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life and to deal with change
- To be ready to fulfil our potential everyday.
Please see our Mental Health and Well-Being pages for more information about this.
During their time at West Coker CE VC Primary School, a child will build ‘Cultural Capital’ through a diverse range of experiences that will enable them to grow as informed individuals as well as gaining a sense of belonging to our school community. We aim to ensure that during their time here they will experience the following:
- Weekly opportunities to share achievements in assemblies such as Wizard of the week, Reading Achievement, Maths and Times Tables achievement, House Point Certificates (for demonstrating the school values) and Kindness certificates. These are celebrated alongside any other successes our pupils have, whether inside or outside school.
- Opportunities to be involved in decision-making that affects the whole school through School Council, Parent Forum and Pupil Surveys all focused around enhancing the educational offer and pupil experience at West Coker.
- Opportunities for pupils to represent the school regardless of ability, through inter school sporting events and musical and dramatic performance.
- A range of extra-curricular clubs designed to engage and enrich our pupils experiences,
- The opportunity to play a musical instrument and sing, and to perform to community audiences at our church festivals and community events.
During your child’s time with us, they can expect to experience visits and visitors to the school.
- Residential Visits – We are consulting with parents as to how best to ensure children benefit from the experience of overnight stays whilst maintaining affordability.
- Termly educational visits that are linked to learning.
Our Curriculum Implementation
Our curriculum is modified from the Cornerstones Maestro Curriculum. We have designed it around the specific needs of our pupils using our locality, where applicable, and it is continually responsive. Consequently, our school curriculum is not static, it is continually adapting in response to our pupils’ changing needs. Our school staff are reflective practitioners, they consider what works and what does not, and review and refine the curriculum and their approach constantly.
The Core Christian Values of Respect, Hope, Community and Wisdom are the common thread that helps inform how we teach and interact with pupils and how we expect pupils to interact with one another.
- Through our knowledge-led approach, children are taught to master subjects through subject specific knowledge, where skills are an outcome not its purpose (i.e. skills are the outcome of the repeated practical application of knowledge).
- The development of knowledge and consequent skills are delivered contextually where appropriate, such as through a particular topic/theme or key question. This helps children to store and retrieve their knowledge and skills. Staff help pupils to make connections in their learning between different topics/themes/key questions. This strengthens learning and makes it more durable and transferable.
- Staff use intelligent repetition of key concepts to enable deeper understanding and stronger connections to take place. Intelligent repetition is used to promote the acquisition of core knowledge, efficient recall, to practise, to deepen understanding and to make connections.
- Staff provide children with ‘knowledge organisers’ at the start of each topic that sets out the important, useful and powerful knowledge on a single page.
- Time is built into lessons to re-visit information that has been forgotten. Staff understand that for knowledge to embed in the long-term memory, it needs to be learned over many different interactions and that it takes effort. Staff understand that greater effort results in stronger connections.
Progression and Mastery
- Our curriculum recognises that children need to be taught the key concepts within each subject in a way that minimises overload and maximises retention.
- Our curriculum recognises the importance of progression. We understand that this is not a superficial movement from levels or stages. It is an understanding of the concept of Mastery.
- Through the Mastery approach new knowledge is built upon secure previous knowledge. Mastery includes making connections between different aspects of learning or different contexts for in order to create a rich web of knowledge. This results in the construction of strong semantic memory.
- Our curriculum grows progressively more and more complex through sequential and spiral learning, giving our children the capacity to learn more, make connections and deepen their understanding.
- As our school’s curriculum grows progressively more and more complex and sophisticated over time, and our children move from year to year, our children have the opportunity to think more deeply about important concepts and apply them to within other contexts.
Local Context, Educational Visit & Visitors
- Our curriculum makes good use of local and other areas, school visits and school visitors to close gaps in our children’s experience. It also provides wider opportunities and experiences that will enable our pupils to apply their knowledge, skills, values and understanding in much wider contexts.
- At our school we teach critical thinking skills in context, we give pupils the information and the opportunities to think critically about the subject matter and use it to solve problems and generate creative solutions.
- We teach children how to keep themselves and others safe.
- Assessment is interwoven throughout the curriculum. Summative and formative assessments are used well by staff to check pupils’ understanding of key concepts. This supports staff in identifying gaps in knowledge and understanding and enables them to respond appropriately by adjusting their teaching.
- Assessment information is also used by staff to identify gaps in knowledge and skills, identify the depth of understanding and to inform and improve future curriculum design.
- At West Coker C of E VC Primary School we also recognise the value of assessment as an important learning tool which provides opportunities for children to strengthen their memories through concerted effort.
- We make good use of the value of assessment tasks (recall starters at the beginning of lessons, rapid recall of knowledge, supported through the use of knowledge organisers and end of topic quizzes) in strengthening memory by providing children with opportunities to ‘struggle’ and make sustained effort in trying to retrieve information, the process of which strengthens their memory. We understand that it is through the concerted effort within such tasks that strengthen memory recall and creates the strongest connections in their learning.
Leadership and management of the Curriculum
- At West Coker C of E VC Primary School our subject leaders are passionate about our curriculum and share their vision with confidence.
- The subject leaders work to ensure they have an up-to-date account of what is being covered and how well it is being covered.
- We work together, listen to each other, evaluate and identify strengths and areas to be developed.
- Subject leaders monitor the delivery and coverage of their subjects well.
- The school leadership strives to always support subject leaders helping them progress within their subject areas.
- Subject leaders understand that in depth understanding of fewer, but high dividend concepts is more important than surface level understanding of more content.
Our Curriculum Impact
As a result of our curriculum, most children who leave our school:
- have a strong web of knowledge across the curriculum subjects that is deep, durable and transferable from one context to another
- can retrieve knowledge and make connections between contexts
- can apply their skills across a range of subjects
- can think deeply about important concepts
- can apply their knowledge and use it to solve problems and generate creative solutions
- are creative, innovative and can think critically
- are sympathetically aware of other people's feelings; they are tolerant and forgiving
- are able to make deeper connections in their learning as a result of their access to experiences through our school that they would not otherwise have had
- are able to think critically about the knowledge they have gained and make emotionally literate and morally responsible decisions/choices
- have the knowledge and resilience that they need to resist potential risks in order to keep themselves and others safe.
Please now visit our individual subject pages which will provide more in depth and specific information about how the subjects are organised. These pages will also articulate how the specific intent of each subject is implemented across the curriculum.
We are proud of the area of our school curriculum that we call Christian Citizenship. This focuses on developing children’s personal and social skills, as well as their understanding of the world around them. It also supports the requirement, within the new National Curriculum, to prepare children for ‘Modern British Citizenship.’ We have now divided this curriculum into four areas and the children rotate through these areas on a half-termly basis. The areas are:
Caring Community –
The children work with and within the local community, learning about their local environment, its history and the people who live there.
We have been fortunate enough to establish a strong link with the local twine works and the children also work regularly with the village church. The children have visited people atthe village elderly people's home to chat, sing and play games. These sessions proved very rewarding for both sides.
See a report written for Somerset Museums:
Fun Foresters -
This promotes children’s interactions with each other and with the environment, nurturing cooperation and respect. We work both at school and in the field, exploring, creating, building and learning basic bushcraft skills. Some activities are linked directly to classroom learning in order to bring a more practical and real approach to the curriculum. Children of different ages working side by side enhances the family feel of our school.
International Issues –
To balance the work we are doing locally we believe it is important for children to develop understanding and empathy with the lives of people in other countries. We hope to establish a link with a location in another country and learn about their lifestyles. This area also lends itself to children's awareness of current affairs and built work around last year's Comic Relief event.
Life Skills -
The children learn important important skills and knowledge to help themselves and others inside and outside of school. These skills include making emergency calls, identifying allergies and anaphylaxis and how to respond.
All of these areas promote the core Christian values that are important to us as a Church School.
We asked the children what they had learned from Christian Citizenship this year. To read some of their responses, click here:
The school curriculum creates real opportunities to apply skills and knowledge from National Curriculum lessons and provides a stimulus for other classroom work.
Our school curriculum, along with many other things we do in school, helps to prepare children for modern British citizenship.
Reading is taught through a progression in synthetic phonics.
Our reading scheme merges a number of published schemes, including Oxford Reading Tree, Reading 360 and All Aboard, to provide the children with a broad range of materials and stimuli across the genres.
Our resources to support reading include a number of guided reading texts to engage reluctant readers, or those experiencing difficulties. We have also purchased the Phonic and Reading Bug online resources, which help to challenge and inspire all young readers.
Our main phonics teaching utilises Phonics Bug, which is an interactive resource based around a progressive synthetic phonics structure and is linked to the Reading Bug scheme. This matches children's phonic attainment levels to their reading attainment levels.
Our full curriculum is evolving to comply with the new National Curriculum requirements. Details of coverage can be found below.
Further information about our curriculum can be obtained by directly contacting the school.
You can also follow the link below, if you would like to see the full National Curriculum for primary schools in England: