We want our children to be knowledgeable and creative, confident to apply what they know in order to make a significant contribution. We know our children very well, and we know how the school can serve our specific pupils: we see how Hunsley children come to school with a thirst for learning from families who want their children to be involved in a thriving environment. We also know our children are engaged, thoughtful people with a strong sense of care for each other, the community they live in and the value they themselves can offer. Each day, we aim to create a space where these qualities can thrive through the delivery of our curriculum.
We have an exciting and engaging curriculum at Hunsley Primary Our children tell us they love to learn and the curriculum is the heart of the school. The knowledge and understanding our children gain, and the ways in which the children are taught, make each school day vibrant and engaging for pupils and teachers alike.
What is our curriculum ethos? The whole school curriculum at Hunsley Primary is arranged around a specific subject specialism approach, with children learning their distinct curriculum subjects across their weekly timetable. Our curriculum provides all children with the opportunity to develop and retain knowledge across a wide range of subjects. We value the importance of every subject we teach and build on key concepts, year by year. Children recognise and appreciate the distinct nature of History, how it differs from Geography and what it is to be learning in a Design and Technology lesson. Underpinning this focus on subjects is a key message about subject-specific skills and what it means to be ‘working scientifically’, ‘working mathematically’ or ‘working as an artist’, for example.
At Hunsley Primary, we value the importance of all subjects equally and have identified the key knowledge we feel our children should have mastered by the time they leave us and progress to secondary school – staff call these strands the ‘threshold concepts’ which are needed to unlock further knowledge and understanding. Our curriculum is designed to introduce these key concepts and this essential knowledge early in the child’s school career and then return to the concepts and build upon them with each new year as the children grow, deepening understanding, challenging misconceptions and making sure they have the disciplinary language, personal confidence and the capacity to take part in discussions, experiences and opportunities relating to these subjects. We also want the children to see how ideas connect and how they build into more complex concepts, so the children can develop maps of understanding about academic subjects – an example would be the chronology of British history and how we have come to be the people we are today over time.
Each subject is explored initially through questions: for example, What is a continent? Each question provides a link to those threshold concepts, to enable the children explore and investigate and challenge misconceptions. There is also opportunity to build on the children’s own interests, questions and personal targets as we learn and investigate together.
So how do teachers plan for progress in the curriculum subjects? Teachers plan together as a team, sharing responsibility for understanding how the curriculum progresses across the year groups and why. As we teach in subjects, we make sure the children understand what it is to be a historian, an artist, a writer and so on through the use of ‘Challenge Checklists’ which contain the key ideas, knowledge and skills we want the children to master.
We check learning through quizzing and questioning, and believe that each teacher should understand what a child should learn each year, and how their teaching builds upon the previous years’ to challenge, develop and support, ready for the next step in the curriculum journey the following year. Each teacher is responsible for knowing why they teach what they teach when they teach it, and how this fits into the child’s long term journey through primary school.
Collaboration across the teaching team is what makes our curriculum so special. Teachers are excited to work as a group and to understand the part they play in the bigger learning picture.
How do we use the partnership with South Hunsley to enhance the curriculum? We are proud to be a key feeder school to South Hunsley. Hunsley Primary grew from the secondary’s vision and values – we share the same ambition and rigour; we share the same staff and teams. We make the most of the learning resources we have access to, from the sports facilities and libraries to the outdoor learning spaces. Secondary subject specialists, for example in maths, PE, French, Drama and Science have helped to shape the curriculum which will eventually see the children transition from Y6 to Y7. We value our close working relationships as a trust too (joint planning, training, monitoring).
Do the children experience a wide and engaging curriculum? Yes! From educational visits off site, to places like Pottteric Carr and Conisbrough Castle, to in-house workshops and guests, such as our storytelling, Healthy Living and Siemens Materials workshops, the children enjoy a school day designed to engage, challenge, allow for thinking and encourage reflection. After-school clubs and lunchtime groups for sports, languages, science, gardening, judo, choir, musical instruments, eco-club, pupil leadership and many more all take place in this thriving school curriculum offer.
How do we enrich the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding, as well as their personal development, in matters of health, economics and well-being? The children experience a fully-integrated curriculum of assemblies, Talk Time, Religious Studies and House Team Development Days and charitable activities which are underpinned by key approaches such as our Hunsley Primary Values, Characteristics, Pupil Leadership Team and e-safety SafeAPPS, delivered throughout the year; we revisit important concepts such as personal safety, resilience, friendship, teamwork and responsibility again and again, to ensure that all children have opportunities to broaden their understanding of the community and develop confidence in how to care for themselves, stay safe, and maintain a thirst for learning about the world and their place in it.
As a free school, do we teach the National Curriculum? We do – we know that our children must be ready for the world beyond school and we feel that the National Curriculum is a really robust and high quality means to achieve this. In Reception, we follow the statutory curriculum framework. In Key Stage 1 and 2, we follow the National Curriculum to ensure that our children are very well-prepared for life beyond primary education. We choose to teach some of the sequential elements of the National Curriculum at alternative points in the children’s journey, so that we can bring them into the children’s frame of reference earlier on and revisit, deepen and develop later on in the curriculum programme.
Are the children always taught in their year groups? Yes – most of the time, the children are taught in their specific year groups; however, we do create vertical family groups for House Team Development Days, as well as for some of our Find Out Friday investigations and workshops. Where children will benefit from a more personalised programme of learning, we look to teach them in the best ways possible, which can sometimes involve being taught specific skills with other year groups for stretch and challenge. We know that this helps the children to build academic confidence to discuss with others, use knowledge and select the right skills to apply in the wider world around them.
During the school day, the children will eat together as a whole school, enjoy assemblies, clubs and pupil leadership activities in mixed groups, and play together with other classes at break times too, thus continuing to shape our significant familial atmosphere and a sense of inclusion for all children in the school community.
For more information about the curriculum, please talk to your child’s teacher. For some inspiring images of our children learning, explore this website or follow us on Twitter or Facebook!