Our Curriculum

Last year one of our key school improvement aims was to ensure a broad and deep curriculum for all children. We had the job of pairing the new national curriculum with our vision to further enhance a deep love and desire to learn about a range of subjects and to develop greater depth of learning. Teachers spent huge amounts of time and energy planning exciting topics and outcomes fitting with our whole school themes. Over the year we watched children take part in some wonderful experiences including digging for dinosaur bones, writing and performing shadow puppet shows and using flints to light small camp fires.

During 2015-2016 we introduced ‘REAL projects and project based learning’ for each class. During the staff training day at the beginning of term, we welcomed Carl Jarvis from Hartsholme Academy in Lincolnshire who spoke to us about planning ‘REAL projects’ and immersive learning. We were then able to use this alongside our list of ‘things that already work well’ to come up with a plan!

So what is the plan?

Our ‘Project based, real outcome curriculum’ began in earnest in January 2016. All staff work with the children to start planning the following terms curriculum.  The first stage is for the class to come up with an ‘essential question’ which is derived from a particular interest or passion within the class. This would be a question that the children investigate during the term but is something that can’t be googled! For example: ‘Could a dog live in the desert?’

At this stage, a real life outcome is also planned which will be the basis for the work over the term. As an example: last year our infant classes were learning about the foods that we plant and that we find in the wild. During the term they worked towards making blackberry jam and selling it at a farmers market. The work over the term included picking the blackberries, learning to make jam, learning to measure quantities, finding out how much a jar of jam should cost, designing jam labels, planning the sale of the jam and so on. The idea is that the children are totally immersed in their learning because it has a ‘real life’ outcome and completing the task of course incorporates so many aspects of the curriculum- making it broad and rich whilst ensuring there is a real depth of learning and mastery of skills appropriate to their age. In all strands of the curriculum our school ethos and sound british values are intertwined throughout.

During the planning stages, teachers have ‘project tuning sessions’ where teachers present their plans to each other and give tips and advice as to how the plans could be made even better. Trust me…they are very picky!

As the learning over the term progresses, the children are asked to critique each other’s work and learn to redraft and edit as a result, produce pieces of ‘beautiful work’ and complete ‘POL’s (presentations of learning). There will always be some aspects of the national curriculum that need to be taught but don’t fit with the theme/topic and these will still be taught discretely.

The buzz of learning across the school is always very special at St Hilary and any changes that we make to our curriculum are aimed at making it even better. Curriculum information for each of the classes can be found within this curriculum link.

If you would like to know more about our curriculum, then please do not hesiate to get in touch. This can be done by contacting myself or our deputy headteacher, Mr Hamshar (email: secretary@st-hilary.cornwall.sch.uk or telephone: 01736 763324).

K Butcher

Autumn Term 2017- Real Project Curriculum Overviews