We have spent a considerable amount of time in shaping the ethos and values for our school. We worked with staff, governors, parents and pupils to encapsulate the core values we felt were the most relevant to us at Hillside Primary School. We agreed that we wanted our children to be Resilient, Ambitious, Caring and Respectful. We felt it was vitally important that these core values were at the heart of everything we do and therefore also embedded within our school curriculum. We want our children to be ambitious and to set themselves short and long-term goals. We want them to work hard to reach their goals, developing a high level of resilience, so that they can cope with adversity, embrace challenge and enjoy solving problems. In addition to developing these effective behaviours for learning, we want our children to be kind and considerate human beings, who are caring and respectful members of their community, taking responsibility for their actions and understanding that actions have consequences.
Our curriculum has been designed and shaped by extensive research and through discussion around the needs of our school community. We dedicated staff CPD and INSET sessions to plan and develop the curriculum. Our staff were given time to be creative and imaginative to develop a curriculum that is unique to our school whilst covering National Curriculum objectives.
Meeting the needs of Hillside children
Our curriculum has been carefully designed, planned and organised to ensure breadth, balance and depth for every learner in our school. We discussed our pupils’ backgrounds, life and cultural experiences and this has helped us to design a curriculum that meets their needs. We felt that it was essential to provide opportunities for our pupils to experience a broader range of cultures, to learn about different ways of life and about the benefits of a multicultural society, as there isn’t a great deal of cultural diversity within the locality. We wanted to be able to respond to national and world events, enabling the children to see different perspectives and develop their own opinions within an ever-changing world.
In addition, our school community also felt that our children needed to develop a better understanding of where they live. Therefore, we have tried to embed a local context throughout our curriculum and use this as an important driver for community engagement and personal development, helping to shape who they are.
We decided to take a mastery approach to learning, helping children to develop a concrete understanding of subject knowledge and skills. This approach enables us to take learning at a deeper and steadier pace, ensuring that no child is left behind, as well as providing richer experiences for children who are working above the national expectation for their age. We have blocked several subjects/objectives, combined similar curriculum themes and built in many opportunities for repetition and revisiting previous learning, making it easier for pupils to remember and make vital links between each piece of information to gradually develop a deeper understanding of the skills and processes within subjects.
At Hillside Primary School it is our underlying belief that every child should be included, feel valued and experience the feeling of success in a wide range of curriculum areas. Therefore, we designed our curriculum to ensure every child receives an appropriate mix of academic and personal development, which means in practice our curriculum places a high level of importance on core and foundation subjects. We also provide additional or bespoke support, resources and alternative teaching approaches to make our curriculum accessible to all and recognise that for some children, we may need to deliver objectives from an earlier Key Stage or even a different curriculum.
Finally, we place priority on ensuring that we meet the emotional and well-being needs of our children. We understand that children will not be successful learners unless they are happy and emotionally secure, therefore we try to make learning fun, to teach the children strategies for regulating their emotions and have adopted a flexible approach to timetabling, so that we can quickly and effectively address any issues as soon as they arise.