‘To strive for excellence in learning and all that we do’
Our curriculum is underpinned by five key words. These ‘curriculum drivers’ are fundamental to our whole school curriculum and all subjects are planned with these in mind. The curriculum drivers are: Investigate, Relevance, Memorable, Diversity and Independence.
The curriculum drivers, together with our three school values (effort, honesty and respect), help us to create a school and curriculum we are proud of where the children enjoy learning and are motivated by the opportunities we provide for them. It allows us to create a tailored curriculum, personalised to the needs of our pupils that enriches their lives and sets them up for their future.
Our curriculum is designed to encourage children to think and be active learners, through enquiry-based lessons which give pupils a chance to explore and investigate. We aim to develop children’s natural curiosity and encourage them to drive their own learning forward through investigations and problem solving. Many of our subjects are planned with open-ended questions as a stimulus to motivate the children from the beginning of a lesson or unit. Where this is not the case, teachers will endeavour to plan questioning and investigation skills into the learning. We know that children learn best when they discover things for themselves and see things in action, so this approach is vital for fostering a love of learning and developing the minds of independent thinkers.
We promote the importance of being independent at Great Dunmow Primary School, and we plan all lessons to ensure the children are able to engage their independence in a variety of ways. We want pupils to have the resilience and resourcefulness needed to be able to solve problems and also to prepare them for the next stage in their lives. We give all our pupils opportunities to take on responsibilities within their classes and around the school, along with opportunities to be creative and use their own initiative, particularly when organising themselves. This starts early and is one of the most important skills we develop in the early years of their primary education, yet we pride ourselves on how confident and independent our children are when they leave us.
At Great Dunmow Primary School, we have created a curriculum that is relevant to our children and the world they live in. They learn skills that they need now, but that also can be developed in the future as they mature. Time has been spent ensuring that our curriculum meets the requirements of the National Curriculum, allowing the children to learn the age-appropriate knowledge for each and every subject. Our curriculum provides the children with meaningful experiences too. One way we do this is through ‘WOW days’ which stimulate an interest in the subject before we begin teaching. The resources we use and the trips we plan are all carefully considered to ensure they are relevant and authentic. Our aim is for the pupils to leave school with a well-rounded education that equips them with the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to be active citizens who can cope with any challenges they face and will contribute positively in our modern world.
Knowing how important it is for the pupils to remember what they have learned in order to further develop their skills throughout each school year and in subsequent years, our curriculum, in all subjects, is planned to ensure there are opportunities to revisit and build on previous knowledge. Alongside this approach, we use ‘WOW days’ as a way to mark a new topic and stimulate the children’s curiosity. Wow days are not standard curriculum lessons, but more of an experience linked to the learning, which the children will remember as fun and ‘not like being in school’. School trips are also promoted as a way to make learning memorable, with every year group being encouraged to find exciting and unique venues each term where possible. As a school, we create opportunities for the pupils to experience things that they would not normally experience in order for them to make links in their learning and remember it.
Our school focuses on exposing our pupils to people from all walks of life to enable them to be accepting of everyone regardless of their gender, religion, ethnicity or ability. While some subjects provide specific opportunities for diversity to be celebrated, other subjects need to be carefully planned and thought through to give pupils a more balanced understanding of the World we live in. All subjects where influential people are studied, have been planned with diversity as a steering factor. This enables us to include people from a diverse range of backgrounds, including where it challenges cultural stereotypes. In the books we use in English, we have considered the content covered as a whole school to ensure that there are a range of cultural backgrounds represented as well as including characters who do not conform to stereotypes.