Curriculum at Alexander McLeod
At Alexander McLeod Primary School, we are passionately committed to providing our pupils with the best possible start in life. We are driven to equip every child with the knowledge, skills and values they need in order to become resilient, responsible and happy citizens of the changing world they live in. We fervently believe that all children deserve to succeed and our ultimate goal is to nurture articulate, well-informed children who are prepared for life’s many opportunities and challenges.
- To deliver a relevant and ambitious curriculum that supports our pupils to understand the world around them and encourages them to form and express educated opinions.
- To provide an inclusive and safe environment that equips all children, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities, to unlock their full potential.
- To foster inquisitive minds, providing opportunities for all children to question, choose, evaluate and argue rationally.
- To adequately prepare children for the next stage of their educational journey.
- To maintain high expectations of our pupils’ behaviour and attitude towards learning in school.
- To establish and maintain positive relationships between everybody in our school community including pupils, staff and parents, recognising each person’s worth.
- To maintain a culture of mutual respect and co-operation.
The Prototype Theory (Rosch 1973) suggests that when we encounter words, we use our previous knowledge and experiences to inform our understanding of the word. Furthermore, over time we build up webs or networks of meaning called ‘schemata’ (Anderson 1977) and one prototype triggers another, which triggers another, and so on. In order for our pupils to be able to create these layers of meaning and association, it is vital that they encounter rich and subject-specific vocabulary across the curriculum. In this way, every subject in the curriculum serves to improve children’s literacy, rather than the other way around. Sequencing the curriculum is vital; knowledge must be deliberately and explicitly revisited throughout a Key Stage and beyond.
Although skills are not as prevalent in the current national curriculum as perhaps they were previously, they are still a fundamental part of what we teach our children. Fleetham (2018) states that ‘skills-based learning provides classroom environments where independence, thinking skills, collaboration and active learning are developed at the same time as knowledge is acquired.’ Therefore, an engaging, high quality curriculum should consist of a balance of both knowledge and skills. Knowledge and skills are intertwined – being able to effectively use knowledge arguably matters more than just the acquisition of it, which is why skills are equally important. Research indicates that children learn more effectively and remember more when they can use skills to access, process and express their knowledge. An extreme swing to one approach rather than the other leaves a significant gap in children’s learning which is detrimental. (Moore 2017).
At Alexander McLeod, our school values of independence, co-operation, responsibility, self-confidence, respect, perseverance, honesty, effort, friendship, aspiration and equality are extremely important to us and underpin everything that the children learn. By embedding these values into our curriculum and school life, we aim to nurture responsible, resilient and mindful individuals who are well prepared for life in the wider world. We ensure that our values are celebrated in all lessons as well as weekly circle times and children are rewarded for displaying them through our Star of the Week assemblies.
In line with our mission statement, we believe as a school that our children have a right to become informed about the issues and current affairs that affect the future of the world they live in. For this reason, we have an established expectation that at least one of the topics planned for each year group has a strong link to a current affair or global issue. We strongly encourage our pupils to develop informed opinions about the challenges faced around the world and then channel their emotional investment in these issues in a positive and constructive way. It is our hope that all children at Alexander McLeod can make a meaningful and valuable contribution to the world around them.
Curriculum theme weeks
Each academic year, there are a number of whole-school curriculum theme weeks. There is a STEM week in the autumn term, a Humanities week in the spring term and a Creative Arts week in the summer term. Subject leaders work together to make these weeks meaningful and memorable for the children of our school, helping them to understand why we study different subjects and the opportunities for learning and personal development in each area. During these weeks, all the learning taking place across the school is entirely based on the theme and children are fully immersed in the focus subjects. In addition to these planned weeks, our school also mark locally and nationally significant events such as important anniversaries.
The link below will take you to our whole school curriculum overview for 2020-21. For more detailed information on planning for the current half term in a particular year group, please visit the individual year group tabs.
Alexander McLeod Curriculum 2020-21