It is important to us all that our curriculum is broad and balanced in every single year group across school. We seek to sequence learning in a progressive way so that the experiences that our children have, from the moment they start with us until the moment they leave for secondary school, are meaningful, rich and enjoyable. Our intent is that that every child at Walter Halls feels success and finds out what kind of clever they are and that primary school gives them the skills they need to become life-long learners.
Our curriculum is always building and growing to enable us to be responsive to the children we teach and the context in which we work. For this reason, we focus our energies on two main ‘Curriculum drivers’ which help us to match our curriculum carefully to our children’s needs. These drivers are: POSSIBILITIES and COMMUNICATION. Every learning experience we plan should seek to demonstrate wider possibilities and aspiration to our children; giving the learning purpose and meaning that resonates with our children. We also work hard to ensure our children are able to communicate in a confident and sophisticated way: through the books they read and the vocabulary they gain and through a confidence that comes from performance and the arts.
Reading is central to every part of our curriculum. Children connect a variety of quality texts to various areas of their learning and vocabulary acquisition take high priority in all areas of the curriculum. Each term year groups follow a chosen 'theme' which extends across English teaching and learning as well as wider curriculum areas to connect particular books to as many areas of learning as possible. Vocabulary is mapped out and progressive in all subjects across all year groups and helps our children communicate thoughts and ideas in a sophisticated way.
Our children are taught phonics as soon as they are ready to access this from Nursery onwards and we use the ‘Read Write Inc’ phonics scheme to deliver this from F1 through to KS1.
Our Values are explicitly taught and referred to regularly throughout a wide range of our curriculum areas. For example, in PHSE/RSE, in the books we choose, in other history, geography or RE topics we cover, we will seek to make these connections to ensure we are finding every opportunity to teach citizenship and foster all aspects of fundamental British Values in our children.
EYFS approaches to teaching and learning are important to us at Walter Halls and we continue to use these approaches into KS1 and beyond as we believe that they positively foster independence, curiosity and making valuable connections with many different areas of learning. Our Year 1 classes follow an EY approach, using ‘continuous provision’ in their daily timetables to ensure core learning is regularly revisited and to help with a successful transition into KS1. Our approaches to the planning and teaching of maths across school also aligns with this style, through ‘daily routines’ which are practised and revisited regularly every day.
‘Rosenshine Principles in Action’, as an approach to effective teaching and learning strategies, is a key way we seek to implement our curriculum in every year group. By following these strands in our planning and teaching methods, we ensure knowledge ‘sticks’, is progressive and builds over time.
Whole School Theme Weeks and Focus Days compliment our curriculum each term. Whole School Theme weeks seek to embed a cross-curricular approach, ‘baking in’ core learning to a wider range of subject areas. We undertake these theme weeks at the end of each half term as a celebratory end to units of learning and as an opportunity for children to review and revisit what they have learnt. Because we do this as a whole school, we regularly unite our children’s learning experiences as one school community. Focus days seek to ‘hone in’ on core areas of the curriculum so that children have the time and space to immerse themselves in one subject area. These days end with a tangible ‘product’ of their learning and add purpose to the knowledge and skills they cover.
All leaders, teachers and teaching assistants at Walter Halls participate in curriculum review and improvement. We have 4 working teams: The Core Team (English, Maths, Science & Computing), The Wellbeing Team (Sports, PHSE, RSE, SEND & EAL), The Arts Team (Art, Music, Drama & D&T) and The KUW Team (Knowledge & Understanding the World – RE, History, Geography and MfL). Click on each team to find out more about our curriculum.