23rd April 2021
In Autumn 2019, I wrote to all parents explaining the changes we would be making to the way that we were teaching subjects other than English and Maths (Foundation subjects). Since that time, the pandemic has interrupted school life significantly and I wanted to take the time to update you on our approach and our next steps as this term’s curriculum newsletters are released. Much of our curriculum is based on statutory content but there are some aspects of our curriculum which can be changed and adapted based on the specific needs of our children. Parents and teachers at Holy Trinity are collectively best placed to understand the specific needs and therefore following the information in this letter we are asking parents to respond to some survey questions to help us continue to shape our plans.
Our Foundation Curriculum
At Holy Trinity, we organise the teaching of our foundation subjects into our three terms so that each has a focus that maximises teaching time and capitalises on cross curricular learning. This is based on the fundamental principle that we want to teach our children to be critical thinkers, to be compassionate and creative, to have a deep understanding of the way our world and society works and to be ready for their next steps in life. The main bulk of the teaching in each subject is then done in one term of the school year which allows our children to embed and use their knowledge before moving on.
Geography and DT Focus
Music, Art and Drama Focus
English and Maths continue to be a priority and a driving factor in our curriculum offer and links are made between these subjects and the projects in each term. Other foundation subjects such as Computing and PE continue to be taught in every term.
Since we first introduced this approach a number of other schools locally and nationally, have also adopted this method and we, along with these many schools are now finding this a successful way of approaching the National Curriculum. For the first time this summer we will be embarking upon a term full of Music, Art and Drama. Children across the school will have a focus word, statement or question to direct their learning which you may have already heard about since returning from the Easter break. The projects for each year group are listed below.
|Farmyards and Fairytales
Sun sea and Sand
|All Creatures Great and Small||Colour||What is beauty?||Dreams||Whimsy||Changes|
PSHE and RSHE
Alongside this deep understanding of foundation subjects Holy Trinity promotes personal wellbeing and development through a comprehensive PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) and RSHE (Relationships, Sex and Health Education) curriculum. The statutory requirements of which have recently been updated and we will now be teaching content that was previously not included or is covered at a younger age. Our Curriculum is based on one developed by the PSHE Association with some units of work taught in an adapted order to ensure that links to other areas of our teaching are capitalised upon and our pupils have access to areas of the curriculum that are particularly pertinent to their own experiences.
Religious Education and Worship
As a Church school, it is also important to us that we provide a well-rounded Religious Education programme of study and a daily act of worship for all of our children alongside opportunities to develop and understand our unique Christian vision and develop their morals and characters as they grow with us.
We provide opportunities for children to take part in daily acts of collective worship that link to our values of Love, Respect and Honesty as well as other themes linked to bible passages and the church calendar year. The school has a Reflections Area for children to revisit the week’s themes, have time for spiritual contemplation and build on their understanding of Christianity.
An Explanation of Our New Curriculum
Here is an outline of the changes that we’ve made in the we teach subjects other than English and Maths (Foundation subjects). The teaching of English and Maths will continue with links to the foundation subjects.
In the past we, and most other schools, have timetabled every National Curriculum subject, each week and linked lessons where we could. This gave the children a taste of a subject, but we wanted to give the children opportunities to think more deeply and to question for themselves. With changes to the curriculum and a focus on foundation subjects, we felt that this was a good opportunity to take our strength of cross curricular learning and use it as a basis for a whole new way or delivering the curriculum.
Fundamentally we all want to teach our children to be critical thinkers, to be compassionate and creative, to have a deep understanding of the way our world and society works and to be ready for their next steps in life.
To do this we have organised our three terms to have a subject focus and maximise teaching time. This means that the majority of teaching for a subject happens in one term and children will have ample opportunity to deepen their understanding of the objectives.
Autumn Term – Discover – History Focus
Spring Term – Explore – Geography and DT Focus
Summer Term – Create – Music, Art and Drama Focus
The feedback from our survey also showed that as a Church school, parents and staff were keen for children to be taught values such as tolerance, responsibility and fairness. We then took the National Curriculum objectives and the Religious Education framework and linked them to values and concepts. From this we planned an overarching question for each year group and each term, which would allow the children to not only understand the factual information but to formulate ideas and opinions themselves. The questions for the Discover term are below.
EYFS – What makes me me? How do we celebrate?
Y1 – What makes a house a home?
Y2 – What is a disaster?
Y3 – Do we have to evolve to survive?
Y4 – Is ownership theft?
Y5 – What makes a leader?
Y6 – Are we influenced by the past?
We are confident that this way of organising teaching will provide our children with academic rigour, strong subject knowledge and a well-rounded view of the world. Throughout the year we will continue to review and evaluate our teaching to ensure our high standards are maintained.