Our Curriculum Ethos
At Elizabeth Woodville Primary School, we have developed our own bespoke thematic curriculum. This follows guidance set out by the DfE in the National Curriculum 2014 and is enhanced by the Cornerstones Curriculum.(*Please see Cornerstones tab on the left for further details.)
In developing our approach, it was important that our curriculum design provides inspirational learning experiences for all our pupils. Our thematic curriculum is varied, practical and based on real-life experience and current events; we ensure that children are at the heart of shaping their own learning.
At primary school age, we believe that children benefit from an integrated theme-based approach, focused on the development of key skills and our curriculum reflects this ethos. Engagement activities bring learning to life at the start of the theme and pupils complete a final task or product to express their skills, to demonstrate and apply their thinking.
Our thematic curriculum ensures that all learning is aspirational and subjects are interwoven through a range of linked projects. We build pupils’ expertise across all subjects, enhanced by the involvement of practising experts in their fields, such as, scientists, authors, artists and athletes. Learning at Elizabeth Woodville is always meaningful, engaging practical and fun!
Whole School Approach
Our curriculum is a unified whole school approach as each half term all classes work under the umbrella of a main theme. Examples of themes we have covered in recent years are:
In Leicestershire…, Nose in a Book, Seconds from Disaster, Step Back in Time, Adventure Time and Don’t forget your passport for…
Over the course of the year, we have a range of subject-based themes to reflect all key curriculum areas, for instance, English (Nose in a Book) and Science (Seconds from Disaster).
Within the whole school theme, each year group pair focus in-depth on a particular topic at an appropriate and challenging level for their Key Stage.
An example of this is below:
A Step Back in Time…
Year 1 / 2
Year 3 / 4
Year 5 / 6
Lady With The Lamp
Teachers plan schemes of work across the curriculum to link with the theme title using Cornerstones’ Imaginative Learning Projects (ILPs). These projects provide inspiring, exciting and motivating learning activities that link across subject areas.
Every year group will experience 6 Imaginative Learning Projects in a year. Each individual project is split into sections, which see children progress through four stages of learning:
1) Engage - Bringing Learning to Life
We have an exciting start to each new theme with a ‘Super Learning Day’ where staff design thrilling activities to bring the learning to life! Adults and children dress up to enhance the experience and pupils move around to different classrooms experiencing a variety of exciting activities. This is a fantastic way to start the new theme and engage children from very beginning. Photos of previous Super Learning Days can be found on our website.
2) Develop - Pupils Shape their Own Learning
Pupils also have a hand in shaping their own learning. At the beginning of each theme they share their current knowledge and pose questions, which they would like to investigate. This information is a valuable part of a teacher’s planning process and informs lesson design.
At the end of each theme the investigation questions are reviewed with opportunities for children to share their knowledge with the whole school in a special assembly.
3) Innovate – Applying skills in real-life contexts
Throughout the theme, children have the opportunity to apply their skills, knowledge and understanding in practical situations. They solve real or imaginary problems using the skills that they have learnt.
4) Express – Celebrating our achievements
Pupils become performers, experts and informers for the grand finale of the project, when they have the opportunity to share their learning with other classes, parents and the community.
A Cycle of Improvement
At the end of each half term, pupils and teachers evaluate the success of the theme and discuss improvements that could be made for future cycles. Skills are also rigorously assessed and learning evaluated to ensure all skills across the curriculum are comprehensively covered. The following year new themes are devised to ensure learning is fresh and innovative.