For all children to develop a wide range of knowledge and skills alongside an inquisitive mind and a love of learning, that will prepare them for the next phase in their education as well as enable them to become effective citizens of the future.
Our school values underpin our curriculum vision and indeed every aspect of life at Mersham Primary School.
Children at Mersham Primary School are inquisitive and enthusiastic about learning and our curriculum is designed to excite and motivate children by being stimulating, fun and relevant. Our fantastic outdoor facilities allow us to provide a wealth of learning opportunities outside – the school prides itself in enabling children to have those opportunities to learn actively outdoors to not only teach fundamental aspects of the curriculum, but also to support children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as inclusion for all. Achieving the standards for the Platinum School Games Award since 2016 is further testament to this.
In order for our pupils to be well-prepared for the next phase of their education, we believe our curriculum and its implementation must develop pupils who are aiming high, are resilient, independent and have the ability to reflect on their own learning. Being located within a rural community, the local area provides a fantastic resource for teaching our curriculum and those key values. For example, Geography, History, Religious Education, Physical Education, Music and PSHE can all be developed as a result of children being able to follow a trail around the village, participate in events at the local Church and Sports Club, as well as build dens in the woods nearby.
The National Curriculum provides the core framework for what children learn at Mersham Primary School but this is adapted to each child in the school, taking into account their age, gender, individual circumstances or academic ability. We have also thought carefully about how to make this relevant and real for children and how learning in the classroom links to the world they know and understand. From Early Years to the end of Year 6, the curriculum builds key knowledge and skills sequentially in each subject area, taking into account what children already know and understand. We also consider how to make learning memorable through creating exciting learning experiences that may include offsite visits and visitors to the school or that link to the children’s own interests.
Reading has a strong focus at Mersham Primary School as without this, children will have difficulty accessing the broader curriculum. In addition to being taught phonics and reading skills, children are encouraged to “Read for Joy”. Class teachers select high quality texts to share with the children as a whole class and children are encouraged to read a range of texts independently. D.E.A.R (Drop Everything and Read) happens on a regular basis where the whole class, including the adults read for pleasure. The library, run by our Year 6 Library monitors, is also available at lunchtime for children to read and borrow books.
Enabling children to meet their full potential is an important goal for the school, and our focus on reading, promoting maths fluency, supporting children to have a broad vocabulary and providing meaningful cross-curricular writing opportunities are some of the ways in which we strive to prepare children not only for the next stage in their education but also to become effective citizens of the future.
At Mersham Primary School our curriculum makes links across the subjects to enable children to make connections with the real world and see a purpose in developing and retaining knowledge and skills. We consider carefully the needs of each cohort and review the curriculum in response to those specific needs as well as changes in education and the local context. Visitors to the school, visits off site and experiential learning are all key ways in which we enable children to embed new knowledge and skills.
For those pupils with Special Educational Needs there needs to be more flexibility within the curriculum and they may access the curriculum in different and often very practical ways, whilst ensuring those who attain ‘greater depth’ standards are challenged and inspired.
Our curriculum is also supplemented with the ‘Mersham Century’ – 100 additional learning experiences we aim all children to have an opportunity to complete before they leave the school. There are 50 activities for Reception and Key stage 1 and 50 activities for Key Stage 2. In addition, children can extend their learning at home, through a variety of tasks designed to further develop their thinking.
Our curriculum progression of knowledge and skills documents, led by subject leaders, have been a key development in ensuring that the curriculum is not just exciting, but also ambitious providing appropriate challenge as children move through the school.
The impact of our curriculum can be seen in the standards our children attain at the end of each Key Stage as well as through the progress they make each academic year. The children have a positive attitude towards their learning and our school values reinforce those vital learning behaviours that will enable children to be well-equipped for the next stage of their education and beyond.
Children at Mersham Primary School love coming to school and visitors often comment on the general behaviour of the children and how caring and supportive they are of each other. For example, the Year 5 pupils buddy up with the new children in Reception each year to support the younger pupils to build relationships across the school community. Children of all ages are also keen to take responsibility in a range of roles across the school which include Lunch Monitors, House Captains, School Council, Music Leaders, Sports Leaders and Eco-Eagles.
The impact can be seen in the way our pupils make the transition to their next school. Feedback from secondary schools that children from Mersham attend, is overwhelmingly positive about their behaviour and attitudes to learning. Families will often share with us the many achievements that pupils go on to make at secondary school and we receive numerous requests from our ex-pupils asking to return to our school for work experience.
The National Curriculum
The National Curriculum (NC) provides both the content and the framework for most of what we teach at Mersham Primary School. In the Early Years, children experience the seven areas of learning required as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. Older children in Key Stage One and Key Stage Two are taught the ‘core’ subjects of English, Mathematics and Science and the ‘foundation’ subjects of History, Geography, Music, Art, Physical Education (PE), Design and Technology (DT), French, Computing, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) and Religious Education (RE).
Where possible the curriculum is delivered through cross-curricular themes to connect work from different subjects together, allowing children to make effective links in their learning.
The National Curriculum also requires that children are ‘secondary ready’ by the time they leave primary school. Our core vision is ‘For all children to develop a wide range of knowledge and skills alongside an inquisitive mind and a love of learning, that will prepare them for the next phase in their education as well as enable them to become effective citizens of the future’ and all that we do is working towards achieving that vision for every pupil.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, reading is supported through the use of a structured scheme which guides children through the early stages of learning to read. Daily phonics sessions based on the DfE’s “Letters and Sounds” scheme are taught to support children’s ability to decode words. The children also have access to a wider range of books with richer language and content.
Equal attention is given to pupils becoming numerate. Children are taught mathematics using the structure provided by the White Rose materials. Children are taught to develop fluency in maths and are provided with regular opportunities to apply their maths knowledge and skills through problem solving and by explaining their reasoning.
Keeping Families Informed
We have high expectations of all children at Mersham Primary School and we follow the progress of each child individually. We encourage parents and carers to take a keen interest in their children’s education and we provide regular updates on what their child is learning. As well as class newsletters, website updates and Google Classroom, we hold regular ‘Walk in Wednesdays’ that enable parents to come and view their child’s work, a class assembly three times a year that celebrates children’s learning as well as opportunities for parents to get involved with learning activities during the school day.