In Colindale Primary School, we have a creative curriculum designed to ensure curriculum breadth and balance as well as continuity and progression throughout the school. It provides opportunities for the children to become effective learners, developing higher order thinking skills and widening their horizons.
Our curriculum overviews are based on cross curricular themes and show the work to be covered in each year group. Teachers use the overview, together with the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Guidance, National Curriculum, Colindale subject policies and schemes of work, to prepare half termly plans for the work of their classes.
Within each scheme of work the skills, knowledge and understandings which need to be taught are described in detail. Teachers’ day to day plans target children’s particular learning needs, identified through observations and informal assessments of each child’s progress. Differentiated tasks are planned to extend the learning of the more able children and to support the learning of the less able and those with complex needs within each lesson.
Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception)
The curriculum for nursery and reception is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage framework (EYFS). There are 7 areas of learning and development in the EYFS framework. The prime areas are important because they lay the foundations for children’s success in all other areas of learning and of life, these are: communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development. The specific areas provide the range of experiences and opportunities for children to broaden their knowledge and skills. These are: literacy, mathematics, understanding the world, expressive arts and design. These seven areas are used to plan children’s learning and activities. The curriculum is designed to be flexible so that staff can follow the children’s unique needs and interests.
Included in the EYFS framework are the Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL). The focus of the CoEL is how children learn rather than what they learn. During their earliest years, children form attitudes about learning that will last a lifetime. Children are encouraged to have a positive attitude towards learning new things; explore their environment with enthusiasm and independence; concentrate on their activities for longer periods of time; keep on trying when they come across a problem; use their imagination; talk about what they are thinking; and try different methods if things don’t work the first time. We support children to develop these characteristics to make sure they become effective learners.
Key Stage 1 and 2
From Years 1 to 6 children are taught all the subjects of the National Curriculum. These are: English, mathematics, science, computing, geography, history, art, music, physical education and design technology. They are also taught religious education and personal, social and health education, including citizenship. Children in years 3 to 6 are also taught a modern foreign language.
The development of children’s language skills plays a central role in our curriculum and underpins learning in all other subject areas. We constantly provide opportunities for children to learn to speak clearly and confidently, and to ensure they develop the vocabulary and understanding needed across all their lessons. We systematically teach them the skills they need to become fluent readers and writers, in the context of providing a rich variety of literature and other resources to stimulate and interest them. Children learn to comprehend a wide variety of texts, and to write in many genres with a clear sense of audience and purpose.
The children learn basic number work and other areas of mathematics such as shape, space and measure, algebra and data handling. Children are introduced to new concepts in a practical way before they record work. From an early stage there is an emphasis on mental mathematics, with children being encouraged to ‘work things out in their head’. Problem solving and investigational tasks provide children with opportunities to use their mathematics and make links with everyday situations.
The children learn basic number work and other areas of mathematics such as geometry, measure, algebra and statistics. Children are introduced to new concepts in a practical way before they record work. From an early stage there is an emphasis on mental mathematics, with children being encouraged to visualise the problem and ‘work things out in their head’. Problem solving and investigational tasks provide children with opportunities to use their mathematics and make links with everyday situations. It is also important that children talk about maths to develop their mathematical vocabulary and further embed their understanding of more complex concepts.
Science enables children to understand the world in which they live. We aim to harness the natural curiosity of all children to develop enquiring minds and a systematic approach to problem solving. Children study a diverse range of topics such as electricity, plant growth and materials. Practical investigative and exploratory work gives children opportunities to develop scientific skills such as fair testing, observing, experimenting and recording.
All children have access to a variety of equipment that is used to support learning and the development of computing. We teach children about how to stay safe online when using the equipment, both at school but also at home.
A large proportion of the curriculum is about coding, but we also teach children how to use word processing, digital imaging, sound and music, electronic communication, the pros and cons of researching on the Internet, data handling, modelling and simulations. These skills, used with our wide range of resources such as software programmes, online resources, digital cameras, sound/voice recorders, remote and programmable floor robots/toys and visualisers, are valuable tools which the children use across the curriculum. Some children also use computers and switches to help them access the curriculum.
Children, with parental permission have internet and email access. Our Managed Learning Environment, Frog, enables children and parents to access learning at home and support their child’s learning.
By using their own history and experience as a starting point we aim to give children the opportunity to develop an awareness of the past, an understanding of how and why things change and how events shape the present and the future. We look at different civilisations and eras and learn about the achievements of some important historical figures. We make full use of historical sources, including artefacts, books, pictures, photographs and oral history. Visits to museums and other places of historical interest are organised regularly.
As with history, we use ‘hands on’ teaching methods, through fieldwork and exploring our local surroundings. Children also learn about the wider world and the human and physical processes which shape different places and the people who live in them. Areas covered include map work, land formation, weather and aspects of human geography, such as population and ethnic and cultural diversity.
Art contributes greatly to the life of the school. Children are able to express themselves through different mediums and the reflective process which helps to develop their skills and provides great enjoyment. Emphasis is placed on the display of children’s work at Colindale and we are pleased to see children’s self-esteem develop when they produce high quality work. Children also have opportunities to appreciate art from other times and cultures. Art materials are modified for children with motor difficulties.
Design and Technology
In DT children are encouraged to work with a variety of materials to design and make products and to test, evaluate and improve upon them. This practical approach to problem solving gives them the opportunity to apply knowledge learnt in other curriculum areas to make products which have a real purpose.
All children have class music lessons. They are given the opportunity to understand and enjoy music through being taught singing and composing and performing their own music. They also have the opportunity to listen to a wide range of music and to appreciate the music of other composers from different ages and cultures. We frequently have workshops in school with visiting professional musicians. Children can join the choir and we regularly take part in the Barnet Music Festival.
In addition, we have visiting teachers who offer tuition in various instruments, for example, guitar, piano, drums. Parents have to pay for these lessons and parents on income support are able to apply for a grant to help with the cost of lessons. Some instruments may be available for loan.
Modern Foreign Language
In Colindale we teach Spanish as our modern foreign language throughout KS2.
In Years 3 and 4, children enjoy learning the Spanish language in its spoken form through the informal, yet effective, mediums of songs, games, mime, stories and role play. Their receptive minds allow them to take in sounds naturally and imitate them with ease. They are able to grow in confidence and improve listening skills and concentration. There is an emphasis on speaking and listening, however the written word is introduced gradually.
From Years 5 and 6, children are introduced more formally to the written word and key grammatical concepts. However, speaking and listening skills are still a big focus. There is a communicative approach, which gives purpose and enjoyment to the learning experience.
Children across KS2 participate in projects with different schools in Spain, such as Pen Pals in Year 5; an annual visit to our Year 6 pupils from a Spanish school; and the Etwinning Projects.
We believe that learning a foreign languages from an early age is vital if children are to be internationally equipped for life in this increasingly shrinking world.
PE enables children to develop their skills in athletics, dance, games, gymnastics and swimming. We are very fortunate to have our own swimming pool and two dedicated and skilled swimming teachers. All the children, from Year 1 upwards have a weekly swimming lesson and we offer a parent and child session for Reception children after school.
As well as PE lessons there are morning, lunch and after school clubs for sport and dance and a variety of physical activities and games on offer at playtimes.
We belong to the Barnet Partnership for School Sport in which we participate in a variety of competitions and sporting events throughout the year.
All children with physical disabilities are included in PE lessons and Barnet competitions.
Religious Education forms part of the basic curriculum in accordance with the Education Reform Act of 1988 and is taught using the Barnet Agreed Syllabus. This subject allows the children to learn about the major religions of the world and reflects the wide range of religions that are found in our community and society today. It stresses the importance of religion in the lives of believers and teaches children to respect and value the beliefs of others. Through these experiences, we develop a code of behaviour and morals which will allow our children to live, grow up and participate in our diverse society with an understanding, caring attitude towards others.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from R.E. lessons. However, parents who are considering this must make an appointment with the Headteacher to discuss their decision.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education
Through PSHCE we teach children interpersonal skills; how to stay safe and healthy- including road safety; the importance of diet and exercise; what it means to be a citizen; economic well-being; and the risks involved in the use of harmful substances.
We have a sex and relationships education programme, where children learn to understand the changes which are beginning to take place in their bodies and prepare them for adult life. Parents are invited to view the materials beforehand and to discuss what will be taught. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from the sex and relationships education programme if they wish, but would ask parents who are considering this to meet with us to discuss their decision, as we feel that this is an important part of their child’s education, which allows them to have clear information and an opportunity to discuss any issues which may be causing them concern or confusion.
Teachers and teaching assistants make assessments of the children all the time. It is only by knowing what a child is able to do, that the next step in their work can be planned. Other more formal assessments are made when an assessment activity is planned to enable the teacher to see how much a child has learnt and understood at the end of a unit of work. Children are also tested in phonics, reading, writing and maths throughout the year to assess whether they are on track to achieve the expected levels and identify any gaps, which in turn inform future planning.
Children are also involved in the assessment of their work. We teach them the skills of evaluating what they have achieved, thinking about what they can do to improve it and also thinking about what helps them to learn.
At certain points in a child’s education statutory assessments are compulsory. These measure their achievement against National Standards and are carried out at the end of Reception, Year 2 and 6.