Our values-based curriculum is driven by the need to prepare our children for lifelong learning. It exposes our children to enriching experiences, immersing them in progressive knowledge and skills; equipping them with personal characteristics and values required to succeed in life.
At Whitehall, we are proud of our values based curriculum that incorporates the skills and content of the National Curriculum for our context and our community. At the heart of our work, we build a community of learners who are courageous, have curiosity, and work collaboratively with others. Our key concepts of: identity and human rights; community; equality and social justice; climate and sustainability; inspirational people and legacy run throughout our curriculum and are the cornerstones of our Character Education based framework. Even very young children are trying to make sense of a world marked by division, conflict, environmental change and extreme inequality and poverty. Our curriculum is designed to help them know who they are in the world.
International education comparisons based on narrow skills will become increasingly meaningless. We need to champion a new kind of learning; one which values teamwork, creativity and the diversity of opinion held within our classrooms. We need to educate our children to think more critically, more ethically and become more geo-politically aware. (Global Challenges Insight Report: The Future of Jobs 2017)
This calls for us to think about our curriculum differently; we want learners who can thrive in turbulent and complex times, apply thinking to new situations and challenge the status quo. We want our children to understand and be present in the world.
Our curriculum reflects the importance of connections and how inter-related everything and everybody is; it is designed to enable children to make deep connections between what is taught and how they can contribute with agency and purpose to the world they live in.
So, our curriculum intent is very simple:
To build a community of learners who are secure in who they are, know their community, and are unafraid to seek and utilise opportunities to better themselves and their communities.
To deliver a robust and topical curriculum that not only encompasses the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but goes beyond the experiences of the classroom to ensure that our children are exposed to the richest and most varied opportunities that we can provide.
To become a Rights Respecting School; the curriculum is underpinned by the United Nations Rights of the Child and the Sustainable Development Goals to promote confident and self-motivated pupils who are lifelong learners and are able to make a positive contribution to the world we live in.
At Whitehall, our curriculum intentions are met in the following ways:
- All topics are underpinned and linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and The UN Convention on The Rights of the Child.
- The curriculum raises aspirations, engenders a sense of personal pride in achievement, and provides a purpose and relevance for learning.
- Teachers plan and adapt learning experiences to ensure that success is achievable for all. Lessons are broken down into specific discrete skills and knowledge that will enable children to achieve the desired outcome. Teaching tools such as direct instruction, split-teaching, modelling and deliberate independent practice are utilised to ensure the children receive targeted teaching to enhance their learning.
- Children are active participants in their learning. Children are taught that they will face barriers and challenges and it is how they respond to these challenges that will build their character further and help them achieve their goals.
- The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and, where most, make very good progress in individual subjects and areas of learning. We believe that, through considered, creative planning and teaching, all children will have access to a broad enriching curriculum.
- A culture of learning is established by staff in school. People treat each other with dignity, courtesy and respect while also encouraging and promoting open and critical exchange of ideas.
- Skills are taught progressively across year groups leading to knowledge building over time. Key skills are revisited through a progressive curriculum approach. All subjects develop vocabulary, speech and language skills. Subject leaders ensure standards across the whole curriculum demonstrate high expectations for all.
- The curriculum is based on good quality resources. English is taught through quality texts, and Maths is taught through White Rose Maths. Foundation subjects utilise enquiry-based learning with lessons built around a key question. Enquiry-based learning fosters each child’s curiosity and interest throughout the topics and also enables the achievement of depth in knowledge and skills.
- The outdoor environment and the local community are considered an opportunity for active learning for all our children. The school grounds have been developed so they can enrich different curriculum areas, particularly science. The school has made a commitment to ensuring that all learners have access to good quality educational experiences beyond the classroom walls.
- Lessons teach pupils about international and cultural understanding, respect for ourselves, others and our differences and how to challenge stereotypes.
- PSHCE, well-being and Philosophy for Children (P4C) are threaded throughout the curriculum to help stimulate and improve the children’s critical, creative and rigorous thinking, as well as developing the skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy, safe and prepared for life.
Pupils leave Whitehall Primary School with a secure understanding of the academic content; with the understanding of how to be socially, morally, spiritually and culturally responsible and aware; how to make positive contributions to the local community and how to endeavour to be the best that they can be. We aim for all of our children to leave Whitehall as respectful, skillful, ambitious and with a thirst for life and all it has to offer.
The impact of the curriculum is also monitored through triangulation of outcomes: pupil voice, test/data outcomes, planning, monitoring of books and displays, lesson learning walks as well as discussions with teaching staff, pupils and parents.