At Larkhall we are dedicated to providing a rich, experiential curriculum which promotes children’s independence, a thirst for enquiry and a lifelong passion for learning. We believe this is done best through cross-curricular learning, in which children learn through purposeful, topic based contexts. The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) and the National Curriculum are the statutory requirement for children’s learning during EYFS and Key Stage 1 and 2.
In addition to the National Curriculum, Larkhall has developed its own school curriculum which not only ensures the coverage of the National Curriculum, but also facilitates learning experiences that enable our pupils to achieve their full potential. We believe in providing enriching opportunities which develop the core skills of spoken language, numeracy, reading and writing.
We strongly believe in our responsibility to provide an exciting, enriching curriculum which not only covers national curriculum objectives but is also empowering for our students. The Larkhall curriculum is planned so as to expose children to progressively more complex ideas and subject matter which reflects their own heritage and cultural backgrounds. As such, we have mapped a full range of key figures, influences and events for children to learn about throughout their time here, as well as ensuring the texts they are engaging with throughout all curriculum areas reflect the range of backgrounds of the students here.
The additional components to the Larkhall Curriculum are as follows:
Personal, Social and Character Development (PSCD) including Building Learning Power (BLP)
At the heart of the Larkhall Curriculum is the recognition that every child is an individual with unique strengths and needs. We understand that for many pupils, their success as a learner is directly linked to the development of their emotional intelligence and core character traits.
As a BLP school, this goes hand-in-hand with the belief that children need to understand themselves as learners and they can all develop their learning muscles. Therefore we are committed to providing opportunities throughout all areas of learning which promote and support the development of the key character traits that will help them to become successful, lifelong learners.
In addition to the Larkhall Curriculum, which provides learning both inside and outside of the classroom, we believe it is important for children to have many opportunities for extra-curricular learning. As a result, we offer a full range of enrichment opportunities within and outside the school day, including lunchtimes and after-school. We have a peripatetic music teacher who provides individual and small group guitar and piano lessons. In addition there are specialist sports coaches, teachers and members of support staff who run clubs in a range of areas including sport, art and cooking.
Every term children go on trips linked to further developing their PSCD skills which can be local (such as to the local library) or into London. During Phase 3 children are given the opportunity for more extended visits including overnight stays, which as well as supporting several curriculum areas, help to build independence and interpersonal skills.
Competitions are also an important part of the Larkhall experience and children from across the school regularly take part in sporting competitions as well as entering maths, writing, artistic and citizenship projects. Each child is part of one of the four school houses (Marylebone, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street and Kings Cross) and work together with children in their houses from all year groups to acrue Larks at various events including Sport Day.
Seven areas of Learning
We organise the National Curriculum coverage into our Larkhall Curriculum through seven core areas of learning which each have a policy laid out below. Each term children are immersed in each area of learning linked to a topic, thus providing a meaningful context for learning. Attached to each is the relevant policy for that curriculum area.
- Understanding English, Communication and Language (UECL)
- Mathematical Understanding (MU)
- Science and Technological Understanding (STU) including Computer Science and Forest School
- History, Geography and Social Understanding (HGSU)
- Understanding the Arts (UA)
- Physical Health and Wellbeing (UPH)
- Personal Social Character Development (PSCD) including HRE and e-safety/digital literacy
In addition, each of these 7 areas has supporting documents which provide clarity and guidance for how each subject progresses throughout the school. These help children know and remember more.
The National Requirements
Pupils of compulsory school age in community and foundation schools, including community special schools and foundation special schools, and in voluntary aided and voluntary controlled schools, must follow the National Curriculum. It is organised on the basis of four key stages and twelve subjects, classified in legal terms as ‘core’ and ‘other foundation’ subjects. The Secretary of State for Education is required to publish programmes of study for each National Curriculum subject, setting out the ‘matters, skills and processes’ to be taught at each key stage. Schools are free to choose how they organise their school day, as long as the content of the National Curriculum programmes of study is taught to all pupils.
The National Curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement. The National Curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the National Curriculum specifications. The National Curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.
Numeracy and Mathematics
Teachers should use every relevant subject to develop pupils’ mathematical fluency. Confidence in numeracy and other mathematical skills is a precondition of success across the National Curriculum. Teachers should develop pupils’ numeracy and mathematical reasoning in all subjects so that they understand and appreciate the importance of mathematics. Pupils should be taught to apply arithmetic fluently to problems, understand and use measures, make estimates and sense check their work. Pupils should apply their geometric and algebraic understanding, and relate their understanding of probability to the notions of risk and uncertainty. They should also understand the cycle of collecting, presenting and analysing data. They should be taught to apply their mathematics to both routine and non-routine problems, including breaking down more complex problems into a series of smaller challenges.
Language and Literacy
Teachers should develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.
Pupils should be taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They should learn to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication. They should be taught to give well-structured descriptions and explanations and develop their understanding through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas. This will enable them to clarify their thinking as well as organise their ideas for writing.
Reading and Writing
Teachers should develop pupils’ reading and writing in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge. Pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and be encouraged to read for pleasure. Schools should do everything to promote wider reading. They should provide library facilities and set ambitious expectations for reading at home. Pupils should develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. They should be taught the correct use of grammar. They should build on what they have been taught to expand the range of their writing and the variety of the grammar they use. The writing they do should include narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations: such writing supports them in rehearsing, understanding and consolidating what they have heard or read.
Pupils’ acquisition and command of vocabulary are key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum. Teachers should therefore develop vocabulary actively, building systematically on pupils’ current knowledge. They should increase pupils’ store of words in general; simultaneously, they should also make links between known and new vocabulary and discuss the shades of meaning in similar words. In this way, pupils expand the vocabulary choices that are available to them when they write. In addition, it is vital for pupils’ comprehension that they understand the meanings of words they meet in their reading across all subjects, and older pupils should be taught the meaning of instruction verbs that they may meet in examination questions. It is particularly important to induct pupils into the language which defines each subject in its own right, such as accurate mathematical and scientific language.
In addition to the Larkhall Curriculum which provides learning both inside and outside of the classroom, we believe it is important for children to have many opportunities for extra-curricular learning. As a result we offer a full range of after-school sports clubs across the whole school as well as Thursday afternoon clubs, in which teachers lead a club based on an interest of theirs, which all children in Years 1-6 sign up to. These clubs have included cooking, comic books creation, cricket, fashion design, sewing and singing. These interest-led skill sessions support students to mix with children of different ages with similar interests. Over the term they can develop their skills with PSCD being central to their experience.