Our Curriculum Intent (What we plan to teach)
At Castle Primary School, we teach a broad, balanced and engaging curriculum, for all our children.
Our curriculum begins in the Early Years with the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. Children learn and are taught through the areas of learning:
The foundations learnt in the Early Years are built upon as children move into Year 1 where they then follow the National Curriculum. Our curriculum ensures that children are taught the necessary skills and knowledge which build towards their future learning and eventually employment. We want our children to be challenged, supported and inspired to ‘aim high’ and achieve their potential.
The implementation of the revised curriculum in 2014 saw expectations for children raised. For example, all children by year four must know all of their multiplication facts up to 12x12, the expectations for reading and writing have also been raised and there is now a greater focus on grammar.
The National Curriculum sets out the aims of a programme of education. It also sets out the structure for those aims to be implemented, including the knowledge that children should acquire. Therefore, our curriculum ensures this knowledge is taught in a progressive, logical order and builds towards a specific end point for that unit of work, such as an extended piece of writing, a themed day to showcase learning or a final product the children have made.
Alongside teaching the essential skills and knowledge, we plan and teach a creative curriculum. This means making links across a range of subjects. For example, within our foundation subjects we may have one topic, such as ‘Ancient Egyptians’ and from this we will incorporate our art, design technology and English, whilst ensuring that subject specific focus is clear and progressive. This helps to bring our curriculum to life for our children and allows us to incorporate many memorable experiences that our children will take with them when they leave us at the end of year six. We also aim to incorporate our school values of: inspiration, friendship, courage, excellence, respect, equality and determination throughout.
Class teachers take responsibility for providing a curriculum that is suitable for all pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) with support from the Inclusion Lead. We are committed to ensuring our curriculum complies with the Equality Act 2010 and the Special Educational Needs and disability Regulations 2014.
We aim through our planning, teaching and feedback to help pupils remember long term the content that has been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger ideas or linked concepts. It is through knowing more and remembering more that our children progress.
So how do we implement our curriculum intent?
Children's first year at school (Reception) will centre around developing key knowledge as outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. There is a focus on following children's interests - however, the teaching of key knowledge and skills are woven into children's experiences to ensure they learn and make strong progress. Through Years 1 to 6, English and Maths are taught on a daily basis to ensure that children develop essentials skills in reading, writing and mathematics. Where possible this is linked to other subjects so that children can apply the skills they have learnt in a practical manner. Statutory assessments take place at the end of year 2 and 6 and are published annually. New areas of Maths are taught by initially incorporating concrete resources such as deines, clocks, money etc, before moving on to pictorial representation and finishing with the abstract (written numbers, calculations and worded problems).
Reading and phonics
Phonics is taught through the Little Wandle structured synthetic phonic scheme in years R to 1 (endorsed by the DfE). Children progress onto Spelling Shed which then forms our framework for spelling from Year 2 to 6. It is also an online learning platform which will support spelling homework through a variety of games and activities. We acknowledge that not all children will confident with phonics by the end of year 2, so provision is made for those children requiring additional support with phonics in key stage 2. Little Wandle provides a structured, consistent approach throughout the school. All teachers and support staff have undertaken extensive training in the delivery of phonics. This also includes delivering 'Reading Practice'. This is addition to guided reading and provides a consistent structured approach to practicing decoding, prosody and comprehension. Follow this link for guidance and advice from the Little Wandle website:
Our maths curriculum is structured around the White Rose framework. This ensures continuity and progression across the school. Guidance and advice for parents is available via the White Rose website - follow this link to find out more about the White rose scheme of learning:
We also endeavour to ensure that children experience a wide ranging curriculum that encompasses the creative arts, sports, humanities, science and computing. Learning is enhanced by the numerous educational visits organised for the children to enjoy, be it local walks around Portchester and the castle, or further afield to Marwell, Old Portsmouth and Southampton.
Children in key stage 2 also enjoy a variety of residential visits. These provide many children with their first experience of staying away from home and are hugely rewarding. Current residential are:
Year 3 A visit to the New Forest followed by a sleepover in the school. This is for one day and one night and for many children is their first experience of staying away from home. The overnight stay helps develop confidence and prepare them for the longer residential visits that follow. At a time when parents may be finding it increasingly difficult to fund residential visits, this is a cheaper way of supporting children in their first residential experience.
Year 4 Stubbington Study Centre (run by Hampshire County Council), where the children partake in a range of activities including orienteering and coastal field studies, to develop team work and communication, in a purpose built centre. This is a two night stay.
Year 5 Stone Farm/ The Eden project, where the children have the opportunity to experience first-hand what it is like to be in a rainforest and learn more about the Mayan civilisation. They help look after the animals on the farm and to take responsibility for feeding time. This is also a two night stay.
Year 6 Kingswood on the Isle of Wight. In their final year, children spend a week on the Isle of Wight where they enjoy many adventurous activities linked to team building to develop their self-confidence and sense of achievement.
Our commitment to providing the very best opportunities for our children has been recognised through a number of awards. These include: the 'Artsmark' and 'Musicmark', for the quality of our performing arts curriculum. Castle also has 'Healthy School' status for its promotion of healthy lifestyles. We are delighted to have been awarded the prestigious School Games Platinum Mark Award for our contribution to sport in 2022/2023.
The School Games Mark is a Government-led award scheme launched in 2012, facilitated by the Youth Sport Trust to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community, and Castle is delighted to have been recognised for its success.
Every year, schools can apply to be considered for bronze/silver/gold/platinum award marks from School Games. The adjudicators judge schools against stringent criteria in the areas of sport, participation, competition, staff and clubs. Only a handful of schools are judged to be worthy of the platinum award.
Below, you will find our whole school curriculum maps which identifies what will be taught across the year in each year group. You will notice that often elements are repeated within consecutive years, this allows for depth of learning to take place and encourages the children to become 'lifelong learners'.
Parents are welcome to contact the school (see contact us section) if they wish to find out more about our curriculum. Parents wishing to view the national curriculum document please go the following website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-primary-curriculum
Provision for remote learning
In cases where remote learning is required (for instance in the case of a school closure such as lockdown arrangements during the Covid-19 crisis) the school will deliver a remote curriculum through the use of the Seesaw app. This will enable pupils to benefit from interactive learning, following the planned curriculum (as far as practicable) with regular online support and interactions with their class teacher.