Curriculum

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Year 1 & 2 Curriculum (Click to view)

Year 3 & 4 Curriculum (Click to view)

Year 5 & 6 Curriculum (Click to view)

 

Our Curriculum Intent – how do we consider the quality of the curriculum in each subject as a driver of change?

As a school we base our learning on a broad and balanced curriculum and strive to deliver a wide and varied learning experience underpinned by our exclusively yet inclusive faith nurture offer. Our Curriculum has been designed to ensure each and every child can ‘live wholesome and purposeful lives’ by offering stimulating and awe-inspiring learning experiences with Vaishnava values at its heart. Our commitment to developing each child’s unique potential within a secure and caring environment is second to none. We believe that our children should not only reach their best academically, but also develop a thirst for enquiry, becoming reflective practitioners who make a positive contribution to modern society. We envisage that all our learners should leave the Gurukul with strong values deeply embedded in a spiritual programme, offering our children the opportunity to challenge the status quo with humility and grace. As a faith school, the tenets of the faith will embody the basis from which our learners will make important decisions and become independent learners who are well equipped for the next stage of their learning journey. We use a range of sources to meet the needs of the curriculum and provide an exciting and enlightening learning experience for our children, responding to their interests by maximising the opportunities in our purposeful outdoor environment, local area and national and global arenas.  The children of the Gurukul are happy learners who work hard to reach the challenges set by their teachers. Excellent teaching and learning give children opportunities to be successful in a creative, safe, calm environment where classrooms and other learning spaces promote creativity and high aspiration. 

Our curriculum is bespoke to the needs of the pupils, not only by focussing on appropriate subject specific knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the National Curriculum, but by modelling the virtues given to us by Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada and by developing individual and collaborative learning experiences, a positive growth mind set, a sense of responsibility and challenges that take them beyond the classroom. This is the benefit of our small school; we have a big heart.

Thus, we will develop outward looking pupils who are able to engage in learning about themselves and have an understanding of the wider world and its complex cultures.

Ultimately our curriculum is intended to:

  • Develop our head and body : What we learn
  • Develop our minds: How we reflect and introspect
  • Develop our hearts and character: Who we are
  • Develop our actions and attitudes: How we live and learn
  • Develop our moral compass: Where we fit in the world.

Our Curriculum Implementation– how do we consider the content and teaching sequence in each subject?

The curriculum consists of many planned experiences making best use of the school environment both inside the classroom and learning spaces outside: lessons, topic days, festivals, school council, soft start collective worship, assemblies, clubs, sports; and outside of the school’s learning space with enrichment trips and visits, workshops, residential camps, fund raising, and community work.  Outcomes may be designed to meet the requirements of the new National Curriculum but also to develop lifelong skills. Our vibrant and rich curriculum is designed so that the subject specific skills are scaffolded within a cross-curricular theme or context each term. In order to ensure that progression and balance is maintained, the programmes of study are then developed into long term overviews which broadly highlight the topics for learning as well as links to other subjects. These topics are designed with the end in mind, working towards a final project, show or community event. Teachers then translate these plans into smaller units –weekly, daily plans where the specific needs of the learners are addressed including clear learning objectives, success criteria, key questions and differentiated activities. Building on prior knowledge is key to our curriculum success and recognising that children learn best when they have real and meaningful learning experiences. We are constantly reviewing our assessment approaches and practices to ensure that we maximise assessment opportunities developing better ways of assessing children’s needs and measuring impact on progress and attainment and, as such, teaching is carefully tailored to meet the needs of all the children. As a school that delivers vertical grouping classes, we ensure that sequences are well-thought and planned appropriately and teachers are supported through specific CPD to enhance the teaching and learning journey.

Reading

Reading is fundamental to functioning in today’s society; it is important because it develops the mind and thus inadvertently develops language skills, numeracy, scientific, analytical etc. We at the Gurukul therefore recognise that reading is the key to unlock our understanding of the world. Teaching children to become immersive readers is a large and exciting part of what we do and promote here at the Gurukul. Children have access to a wide range of exciting books and material including our learning environments which are rich in language. In the early years and KS1, children are taught phonics systematically using the government’s ‘Letters and Sounds’ approach. All pupils will normally have an hour and a half of English lessons in the morning. This is a mixture of learning about reading, writing and speaking and listening, which includes a variety of text types and genres. Across KS2, core texts are embedded into the English sequence, encouraging reading of high-quality texts to support reading progress but also writing. A Whole Class Reading approach as the main teaching method for KS2 is adapted to suit the needs of the learners e.g. for those children that require further phonics in KS2, this is provided through well planned interventions that are age appropriate.

Each week, parents and volunteers listen to children read in school and we ensure reading books are carefully matched to where a child is at with their decoding, understanding and word awareness.   

Writing

Writing is an essential part of our curriculum offer and very important at the Gurukul. We have lots of wonderful opportunities to inspire pupils, which makes sure they enjoy writing, and excellent teaching and support to ensure children make excellent progress. In EYFS children learn how to hold a pencil properly and begin to form letters, words and sentences. We promote the use of cursive handwriting as children progress from EYFS to KS2. We teach aspects of Talk for Writing; conducting a cold task at the beginning of a writing sequence, planning accordingly based on this and then finally completing a hot task at the end of sequence to measure progress and impact. Our planning includes a range of non-fiction, poetry and fiction genres. We link our writing context to our curriculum topics, finding real life reasons for children’s writing to enthuse them with purpose; recent examples include letters to public figures who inspire them,, postcards to elderly people as part of the Post Cards of Kindness movement, adverts to persuade community members to attend our Summer Fair, reports about class outings for the school website and poetry as part of the Premier League Primary Stars competition.

Maths

We are committed to ensuring that children are able to recognise the importance of maths in the wider world and that they are also able to use their mathematical skills and knowledge confidently in their lives in a range of different contexts. We want all children to enjoy mathematics and to experience success in the subject, with the skills to reason mathematically. We are committed to developing children’s curiosity about the subject, as well as an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics.

  • Teachers reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in mathematics.
  • The large majority of children progress through the curriculum content at the same pace but we have provision for children who need further extending or additional support.
  • Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge, through individual support and intervention and activities.

Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and procedural knowledge. Practice and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts.

Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual and procedural knowledge and assess children regularly to identify those requiring intervention, so that all children keep up.

To ensure whole consistency and progression, the school uses a number of maths schemes in including Hamilton (vertical group planning), classroom secrets, rising stars, underpinned by the White Rose Maths scheme (block teaching and the lens through which activities are designed) and the school’s ongoing engagement with the DFE funded Maths Hubs programme continues to ensure that staff at all levels understand the pedagogy of the approach. New concepts are shared within the context of an initial related problem, which children are able to discuss in partners. This initial problem-solving activity prompts discussion and reasoning, as well as promoting an awareness of maths in relatable real-life contexts that link to other areas of learning. In KS1, these problems are almost always presented with objects (concrete manipulatives) for children to use. Children may also use manipulatives in KS2. Teachers use careful questions to draw out children’s discussions and their reasoning. The class teacher then leads children through strategies for solving the problem, including those already discussed. Independent work provides the means for all children to develop their fluency further, before progressing to more complex related problems. Mathematical topics are taught in blocks, to enable the achievement of ‘mastery’ over time. Each lesson phase provides the means to achieve greater depth, with more able children being offered rich and sophisticated problems, as well as exploratory, investigative tasks, within the lesson as appropriate. 

Science

The principal focus of science teaching in key stage 1 is to enable pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. They are encouraged to be curious and ask questions about what they notice. They will be supported to develop their understanding of scientific ideas by using different types of scientific enquiry to answer their own questions, including observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They will begin to use simple scientific language to talk about what they have found out and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences in a variety of ways. Most of the learning about science will be experienced through the use of first-hand practical experiences, but there should also be some use of appropriate secondary sources, such as books, photographs and videos. ‘Working scientifically’ is described separately in the programme of study, but must always be taught through and clearly related to the teaching of substantive science content in the programme of study. Throughout the notes and guidance, examples show how scientific methods and skills might be linked to specific elements of the content. 

Pupils will read and spell scientific vocabulary at a level consistent with their increasing word reading and spelling knowledge at key stage 1.

At Key Stage 2 pupils learn about a wider range of living things, materials and physical phenomena. They make links between ideas and explain things using simple models and theories. They apply their knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas to familiar phenomena, everyday things and their personal health. They think about the effects of scientific and technological developments on the environment and in other contexts. They carry out more systematic investigations, working on their own and with others. They use a range of reference sources in their work. They talk about their work and its significance, using a wide range of scientific language, conventional diagrams, charts, graphs and ICT to communicate their ideas

Foundation subjects

Design and Technology is a subject which our pupils are involved in designing and making things from upcycling clothing to pizza. Children are taught to plan, design, construct and evaluate their work using a wide variety of materials and tools. In our school Design Technology is taught in all year groups through at least one topic per term, which includes one topic relating to food. Design Technology projects are often made cross curricular – linking to other subjects taught. 

In Art children have opportunities to draw, paint, print, make collages, use fabrics and threads and use clay.  They are taught the skills and techniques and then given the opportunity to practise them to produce individual and group pieces of work.  Children are encouraged to critically evaluate their own work and that of others in order to learn from their experiences. 

The children are taught Art as part of their termly topic work.  Areas covered include sculpture, mosaics, printing, cross curricular linked to topic work, such as the Egyptian pyramids, nature, traditional Chinese art, Vaishnava art and symbols, painting, pointillism, graffiti and the works of the Impressionist artists.  More detail can be found in our Long Term plans.

 Computers and other IT can help pupils make accelerated progress. We support pupils to develop their skills such as researching, typing, editing and art skills. Then we use those skills in cross-curricular work. Computer programming allows the children to use various methods including Espresso coding and stop gap animation.

Music and drama is a key part of our curriculum offer. We make music an enjoyable learning experience through high quality teaching of traditional devotional instruments. We encourage children to participate in a variety of musical experiences through which we aim to build up the confidence of all children. Our teaching focuses on developing the children’s ability to understand rhythm and follow a beat. Through singing songs, children learn about the structure and organisation of music. Our pupils regularly lead the kirtan (sacred music) during the midday worship at Bhaktivedanta Manor.

Religious Education at Gurukul takes a unique form and is based on the Vaishnava practises found in the ancient religious scriptures of our faith, the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Whilst our intent is for all our pupils to gain a deep understanding of the practices and teachings of Vaishnavism, we also plan lessons to link with termly topics covering the major world religions.

Physical Education is where our children participate in all activities supported by a partnership with Keen Bean Coaching. The aim of physical education is to promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles.  Children are taught to observe the conventions of fair play, honest competition and good sporting behaviour as individual participants, team members and spectators. We follow the guidelines set by the national curriculum to ensure we offer a range of PE activities that allow each child to feel challenged and offer opportunities to progress further.

Physical education is seen as key to developing healthy lifestyles in young people and at the Gurukul we provide a range of opportunities to develop this and allow each child to feel challenged and progress further. Sporting skills are also taught outside of the normal curriculum time. Regular lunch time clubs: Scooters (KS1), Daily japa walk, Football Club and after school clubs: Tae Kwon Do, Playground Leaders, yoga, Bharat Natyam dance etc. encourage children to be as physically active as possible.

SEN

At Gurukul we believe that all children are entitled to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum through which we support children with additional needs. All children are encouraged to achieve their full potential and to be included in the social and academic life of the school. We aim to provide educational experiences that take into account the individual needs of children, appropriate to their level of ability. We have developed a programme of early intervention, drawing on specialist outside support (assessment and implementation of strategies) when required in order to identify pupils who have special educational needs. 

Our curriculum impact – How well are our pupils learning the content within our curriculum?

We have four intentions when it comes to measuring the impact of our curriculum.

To develop our learner’s learning (Our head and body: what we learn)

We strive to ensure that our children make excellent progress irrespective of their varied starting points. We intend that the impact is that children will be academically and physically prepared for the next phase of their education, in Britain and the world as Vaishnavas with strong values deeply rooted within the principles of the faith.

Develop the character of our learners (Our heart and character: Who we are when we learn) 

The impact will be that our learners will have fully rounded characters with a clear understanding of complex values like equality, friendship, trust and many others. Only by really learning what these mean, will our learners be able to develop a character that prepares them for living in the community demonstrating tolerance and equality. We measure this not just by the work our children produce, but in the behaviours, we see each and every day in all learners in all learning spaces within the school, Temple hall and in the many roles we give them. The impact of this intention is seen in the daily interaction of all members of our school community.

Develop behaviours and habits to become effective learners (Our actions and attitudes: How we act when we learn)

The impact we intend to achieve by developing this intention is seen by how the children approach challenges every day. This could be in the outdoor environment, in a game or disagreement, or in class in a complex learning challenge. The impact should be that children don’t give up, are highly motivated to succeed and achieve and are equipped with the resilience to do this. Furthermore, our learners will make choices based on learning experiences achieved throughout their school journey through the lens of the faith nurture offer. 

Develop the moral compass of our learners (Our place in the community and wider world: Who we are)

Our learners will be motivated by a strong personal sense of morality. They will make decisions for the right reasons and in the best interests of their community. They will decide what is right and what is wrong, and will be resilient to the influence of others. They will go out into the world and make a difference in their own life and to others. Our learners will be the owners of their own destinies.