At Goldthorpe Primary school we endeavor to provide a bespoke, tailor-made curriculum to meet the individual needs of all of our pupils. Teachers’ carefully considered lesson design is based on our development of a connected learning curriculum, underpinned by inspiration taken from the Reggio Emilia Principles and supported by our strong Eco-Schools ethos.
What is Connected Learning at Goldthorpe Primary?
“Connected Learning is where children use and apply skills during cross curricular activities.” (Goldthorpe Primary School, 2016)
At Goldthorpe Primary School, connected learning enables pupils to make connections across the curriculum. Teaching around a thematic unit (a unit of structured learning tasks that can be taught over an appropriate period of time) allows pupils to see the relevance of their learning experience and helps them to relate knowledge gained in different learning areas/subjects. In our connected learning curriculum we place more emphasis on enquiry based activities and a greater breadth of subject material in a thematic unit as compared to previously known ‘topics’. Teachers look closely at the content of what is being taught and make meaningful connections between the content across the curriculum, with carefully designed lesson planning. Owing to this, teachers value the importance of devising activities and learning tasks that help develop critical thinking skills, independence and personal capabilities which encourage creative thinking and develop problem solving skills. Connected learning combines elements of teacher directed and enquiry based learning, planned with; rather than for; the children which allows the teacher to facilitate the learning as a motivator enabling them to take more ownership over their own learning and therefore being more engaged.
At Goldthorpe Primary School we ensure core and foundation subject learning remains rigorous but also forms part of a whole process of learning owing to the enquiry based thematic learning, carefully linked across the curriculum. This includes the development of foundation subject knowledge and skills, skills required for researching and recording, for presenting and for using a range of media forms to present their learning. In addition, the personal, independent and universal skills that the students develop throughout their learning at Goldthorpe Primary School also provide crucial foundations for their future schooling and even for their future in the world of work.
Our Connected Learning Curriculum encompasses the following:
Art & Design
Through Art & Design, children are encouraged to develop creativity and imagination. Children are encouraged to build skills to develop their control of materials, tools and techniques. We develop our children’s critical awareness of the roles and purposes of Art, craft and design in different times and cultures. Our aim is for children to become more confident in using visual and tactile elements and materials and processes to communicate what they see, feel and think. At Goldthorpe Primary School, Art and Design skills are used across the curriculum but are also taught discreetly at times.
At Goldthorpe Primary School all classrooms are equipped with a laptop with a broadband Internet link, and interactive whiteboards to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. The school has multiple class sets of laptops which have internet access – which is carefully monitored at all times to ensure that children are protected from inappropriate material. Teaching and learning also benefits from the inclusion of iPads which are used as a learning resource by pupils, and also a teaching tool for staff to ensure ICT is embedded in the curriculum daily.
We teach Computing as a stand-alone subject as well as encouraging children to use and develop their skills across all other subjects through connected learning. Our aim is to provide children with the skills to live in the 21st century and we constantly update our facilities to ensure our children have access to equipment of the highest standard.
Design Technology draws from and contributes to all the other areas of the curriculum and is essentially practical. We encourage children to develop designing and making skills, as well as knowledge and understanding of the processes involved. Over time, they become able to create high quality products through combining these two elements. We also nurture creativity and innovation through designing and making, and explore ideas, attitudes and values about the made world and how we live and work within it. We like children to exercise their initiative, proposing, planning and developing ideas as well as exercising and developing physical manipulative skills. Children develop a critical awareness of both their own and others’ responses to their designs as well as responding to designs around them in the man-made world.
Through Geography skills, pupils are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of their local community and to take pride in the local area. Pupils investigate a variety of people, places and environments at different scales, both in the local area, and in the United Kingdom and abroad. They then find out about different environments and the people who live there. They also begin to learn about the wider world by carrying out geographical enquiry inside and outside the classroom. Children are encouraged to ask geographical questions, and use geographical skills and resources such as maps, atlases, aerial photographs and ICT.
Through the teaching of History skills, pupils learn about significant people, events and places from both the recent and more distant past. They learn about change and continuity in the local area, in Britain and in other parts of the world. They look at History from various perspectives including, political, economic, technological, scientific, social, religious, and cultural. Children use different sources of information to help them investigate the past both in depth and in an overview, using dates and historical vocabulary to describe events, people and developments. Good use is made of the local environment and community, and children learn that the past can be represented and interpreted in different ways.
As part of the new primary National Curriculum, that took effect from September 2014, learning a MFL became a requirement for children within primary schools. Here at Goldthorpe Primary we introduced Mandarin lessons as part of the curriculum with a specialist teacher. Mandarin is taught in classroom settings in class groups, by our specialist Mandarin teacher, Ms Chen. The lessons are planned by Ms Chen and are designed to motivate children from the first moment and are mainly practical in focus. They have clear, achievable objectives and incorporate different learning styles. Each class across the school from FS2 to Y6 has at least one timetabled lesson of at least thirty minutes per week. Mandarin can also be revisited by class teachers during sessions throughout the week to consolidate knowledge and ensure new language is retained. Mandarin lessons provide a variety of sources to model the language, use games and songs to maximise enjoyment and make as many connections to real life situations as possible.
Children take part in a range of musical activities, which include singing, composing and performing using tuned and percussion instruments. They also listen to and discuss a variety of styles of music. All classes have weekly music skills sessions either taught discreetly or embedded into the connected curriculum and we will soon be starting ukulele, violin and singing lessons with a music specialist who will support the school one day a week. The school also have a range of instruments available to the children including acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums and keyboard.
Personal, Health, Social and Citizenship Education
Children’s personal and social development is an area that has become an increasingly important part of education. In order to allow individuals, friendship groups, and classes to react to, and cope with, the pressures of the world around them, we will allow time for talk, discussion and reflection so that everyone knows that they are important and that their opinions are valued. Circle time and P4C sessions are activities that are often used to allow children to participate as partners in the process of developing responsibility for their own behaviour and learning. It aims to encourage the development of self-esteem, interpersonal skills and to strengthen relationships whilst at the same time allows all involved to have fun together. This also forms an integral part of our discipline policy and pastoral support for the children.
All children participate in all PE activities, which include dance, gymnastics, athletics and outdoor games taught by specialists. Together, these promote the children’s physical development, an awareness and understanding of the body, the development of skills and imagination and an appreciation of creative performances. Most importantly, children enjoy PE, and many also pursue sporting activities outside school, living a healthy lifestyle. At Goldthorpe Primary School we are fortunate to benefit from highly skilled adults delivering sports lessons across the school; with a specialist dance teacher taking KS2 dance lessons and specialist sports coaches delivering PE to all classes. These highly skilled specialists also offer extra-curricular activities such as football, dance, gymnastics, athletics and tennis.
Religious Education must be provided in the school under the terms of the 1944 Education Act and the 1988 Education Reform Act. In Religious Education lessons, teaching takes account of the church calendar, well known stories from the Bible and the study of a variety of different faiths and cultures including Judaism and Islam. We follow the Barnsley Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. Parents may ask that their children are withdrawn from religious assemblies and religious education lessons and such requests should be made in writing.
Science helps children to understand more about the world around them and encourages them to question aspects that they don’t understand. Our Science curriculum gives children experience of a wide range of practical work, as well as developing scientific skills and attitudes through our connected curriculum. Children are given an awareness of the role and importance of science in everyday life together with a consideration of the part that science has played in the development of everyday items. Our children are also given the opportunity to consider ways in which living things and the environment need protection. Science is approached through inquiry based, investigative and exploratory ‘hands on’ teaching and learning.
You can find more information about our connected curriculum and the skills covered for Foundation Subjects and Core Subjects under ‘Curriculum Documents’.