In response to a Government initiative that gave every school the opportunity to develop its own curriculum, we have planned a curriculum that is creative, enjoyable and focused upon discovery.
Teachers have planned a series of topic-based approaches to learning that are firmly rooted upon a set of skills and knowledge from the National Curriculum. Wherever possible, the topic will be used to link together subjects such as literacy, numeracy, science and art.
By linking the separate subjects under the umbrella of a topic we believe the learning becomes more enjoyable for our children and our teachers, through the challenge element the pupils’ journey is extended with creating meaningful and useful work leading to an end result e.g. creating a tourist brochure about the village having studied the local area.
Where possible we link our learning with our fortnightly Forest School sessions. This allows the learning to extend beyond the classroom.
As a small school we have mixed age classes which allow pupils to develop their skills in line with their ability in that area. Our topics and learning are based on a 2 year rolling plan. Please see our curriculum map for more details.
Below we have described our philosophy of subjects in a little more detail:
Every Child A Reader
We believe that reading is a vital life skill, one that is high on our priority list at Miserden. In our school we passionately believe that ‘Every Child Will Be A Reader’ and we make this happen through an emphasis on early phonics teaching, using a wide range of graded home / school reading books, children reading to adults in school and the use of good texts that stimulate young minds and nurture a real love of reading!
Children start making marks on paper at an early age and from these early mark makers we aim to develop confident and fluent writers. Across the school children are encouraged to write for different purposes and we constantly look to develop their vocabulary and sentence structure skills. This year we have started to teach children to join from Reception with a focus on developing marks, building strength in their hands through games and only then developing traditional joins. In KS1 the focus is on writing confidently and at length. In KS2 the focus is on spelling, punctuation and grammar and being able to write in a range of styles and genres. All classes follow the new curriculum carefully.
In Reception the children learn the 44 main sounds heard in the English language as well as learning tricky words. They use these sounds to read and write simple words and sentences.
In Year 1 the children revisit the 44 main sounds and learn different ways to spell these. The children also continue to learn many more tricky words and develop a more adventurous vocabulary. At the end of Year 1 all children are screened using the national phonics screening check.
Year 2 consists mainly of learning to spell and read more complex words and write extended sentences.
In KS2 we use a programme called ‘Toe by Toe’ which continues to develop the children’s spelling and phonic skills if needed. We also use the Year Group Spelling Lists provided in the National Curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to continually apply their phonic knowledge in their writing across all subjects.
Speaking and Listening
Across the school we are consistently trying to develop the children’s speaking and listening skills. Learning to take turns and listen to different people is also a lifelong skill.
Taking part in plays, productions, worship and presentations helps children to develop their confidence for speaking in front of a group / audience. Each week we debate a ‘Big Question’ allowing children to think and talk about a question, often related to our values. This is giving them confidence to move onto the next phase of their education.
Mathematics is an important element of everyday life. At Miserden we aim to give all children positive and fun experiences that will enable them to acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding of the subject. We place a strong emphasis on the four rules of number as well as other core skills such as shape and space, algebra and statistics. All this is done in line with the National Curriculum. In maths lessons and throughout the day children are provided with problem solving activities, relating to real life situations – that give opportunities to use and apply their skills and knowledge. Alongside explicit maths lessons, where they learn both written and mental methods, we aim to include mathematics in our cross curricular activities, using practical, hands-on experiences wherever possible. To develop mental maths ability we use MOB maths where pupils work through a set number of questions in a specific time.
Drama and Dance
Through PE and through our wider curriculum children have many opportunities to explore new concepts through drama and dance.
Every child takes part in productions and plays throughout the year.
This is an important subject in our Church of England School. It is systematically covered from Foundation Stage through to Yr 6 and monitored in a range of ways. As well as Christianity, children learn about Judaism, Islam and Hinduism and how to respect the faith of others. They learn about sacred writings, places of worship, beliefs and traditions as well as many other faith characteristics.
P.E. is composed of dance, gymnastics, swimming, games including outdoor and adventurous, and athletic activities. At Miserden we deliver PE through Atlas Sports and our Forest School programme of outdoor and adventurous learning, Pupils also have the opportunity to develop their PE skills through out of school clubs. Recently we have taken part in the County Archery tournament coming 7th in our district. Cross Country running, with several pupils placed and football tournaments. Every year our weak and non-swimmers have lessons at Cirencester Pool.
Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Emotional Development (PSHCE)
PSHCE includes everything our school does to promote pupils’ good health and well-being. Overall our PSHCE curriculum exemplifies how we help children to be healthy, happy, economically secure and successful citizens.
However, much of this is also influenced and developed through day to day teaching, keeping children safe and our overall ethos including collective worship.
Our PSHCE curriculum is divided into core themes which are:
- Health and Wellbeing
- Relationships (which includes RSE)
- Economic Development
- Social and Emotional Development
- Citizenship and Living in the Wider World
Additional to this we do blocks of work on safety awareness, sustainable and safe journeys to school and explicit teaching of drug awareness and relationships and sex education (RSE*). Any issues that arise for specific children, year groups or due to external influences may also be built into PSHCE and classroom discussions. This is part of being responsive to our children’s needs. Our citizenship strand also demonstrates how we promote fundamental British values (democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and respect and tolerance of / for others).
How we promote British Values
- Include in suitable parts of the curriculum, as appropriate for the age of pupils, material on the strengths, advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries;
- Ensure that all pupils within the school have a voice that is listened to, and demonstrate how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes when things need to change or be decided upon.
- Use teaching resources from a wide variety of sources to help pupils understand a range of faiths, and cultures.
Early Years Foundation Stage
In the Foundation Stage, we believe that play is an essential part of every child’s life and vital to all aspects of their development. This is carefully matched to real-life and hands on learning experiences. All of our children read, write and work with numbers on a daily basis.
Science enables children to discover and investigate the world around them and to satisfy their natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge. We aim to encourage children to think independently and to explore scientific ideas through investigation and experiments. The scientific areas studied link where possible to our themes, enabling us to make the abstract more meaningful. When they do not link, we teach science as a discreet lesson making sure we cover all aspects of the National Curriculum.
We teach history through a thematic approach. We aim to provide history education which will help pupils gain a structured knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We aim to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. We encourage children to ask questions and think critically. History at Miserden supports children's understanding of people’s lives, the process of change throughout the ages.
At Miserden we aim for geography education which inspires pupils’ natural curiosity and fascination about the world. We aim to equip children with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human environments. Our varied and rich Geography curriculum is delivered through our exciting topics which enables children to explore different countries throughout the school.
Computing and ICT
All of our children are taught coding skills using guidance from the new curriculum. Every year all pupils are taught about Internet Safety at least once.
All pupils have opportunities to listen to a wide variety of music from different times and cultures. Pupils also learn to improvise and develop their own musical compositions. At Miserden we are offering an increasingly broad opportunity for children to have specialist instrumental teachers. We develop singing through School plays and using visitors such as Gloucester Cathedral Junior Voices Project, I-Sing pop.
Art and Design and Food Technology
Through looking at, discussing, exploring and practising the techniques, children develop a visual perceptiveness and language with which they can explore the world around them and express their ideas and feelings. Art is experimental and explorative and is not just about the finished piece, but the whole creative process.
Art work is taught as part of a theme with a variety of mediums being explored.
Our youngest pupils often have the opportunity to cook many different dishes. Forest School regularly has cooking sessions over the open fire. Children cook a range of foods with a focus on healthy and savoury products.
Modern Foreign Languages
French is taught in KS2. Pupils learn basic language skills including days of the week, greetings and numbers.