At West Earlham Junior School we believe a broad and balanced, high quality challenging curriculum is at the heart of excellent learning.
The curriculum at West Earlham has been developed to deeply engage and motivate the children and develop their reasoning skills and creativity, ensuring that the key skills needed for later life in modern Britain are secured in meaningful contexts.
Each term’s work is planned around an inquiry question, which provides challenge for all children and incorporates all the requirements of the national curriculum within each phase of the key stage and over the key stage as a whole. ICT is used in context throughout, including the teaching of the safe use of the internet.
The inquiries have been carefully planned to develop the children’s Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural understanding, actively promoting democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for all people as fundamental British values. This is further enhanced in a weekly philosophy session for all classes where these issues are explored and tested through questioning and debate.
Throughout the school day all the experiences the children have promote the learner values of Resilience, Aspiration, Motivation, Confidence, Creativity, Adventure and Independence. These values are further explored and promoted through a programme of assemblies, which provide clear guidance on what is right and what is wrong.
The inquiries include the teaching of Religious Education, which is focussed on the teaching of Christianity, but also the other principal religions. Most of our school community is non-worshipping so this element of the curriculum is fundamental to their gaining an understanding of Christianity and the principle religions of modern Britain.
In order for the children to make excellent progress, the development of English and maths skills are priorities for the school. They are taught in discrete daily lessons related to the children’s inquiry where there are natural links, and also applied in the context of the inquiries. Fiction writing is systematically taught using the Talk for Writing model throughout the school. Spelling and grammar are taught in the context of writing, as well as in separate skills sessions to provide a range of opportunities to teach Standard English.
The promotion of reading is embedded throughout the curriculum, and reading is taught through a daily guided reading session, the Class Author and a weekly library session to widen the children’s knowledge of texts and a range of authors.
We ensure the curriculum is of the highest quality by using specialist teachers. All classes have a weekly music lesson delivered by a specialist teacher, which includes the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Language teaching is provided by specialists from the local high school
Learning outside the classroom is valued, and all classes go on several school visits as part of their curriculum every year. The school grounds have been developed to support excellent social interaction at breaktimes and enhance the termly inquiries.
Two hours a week of high quality physical education per class is included in the curriculum using specialist teachers to enhance the school’s own provision where relevant, and the curriculum provides regular opportunities to take part in intra and inter school competition.
Information about what children are learning each term is shared with parents and carers through class newsletters, class blogs, school newsletters and via the school website.
The school offers an excellent range of extra curricular activities, both creative and academic, for which there is a high level of participation, the purpose of which is to broaden children’s experiences further and widen their aspirations. Through the school council and eco-club there are opportunities for the children to volunteer and make a positive contribution to the local community.
In moving to a system of assessment without the use of levels, the school has tailored the Learning Ladders system to compliment the school curriculum. Individual mentoring sessions offered termly to each child form part of the curriculum, as well as the use of on-going daily assessment ladders which clearly show pupils what they are expected to know and understand in each year group. Using the ladders every pupil can see what they have achieved and what their next steps in key skills are.