The National Curriculum ensures that all children have access to a common body of essential knowledge to which they are all entitled. At Hillside our school curriculum is built around the total experience of the child. We are determined to provide a curriculum that ensures all children gain this common body of essential knowledge, whilst also giving them a multitude of opportunities to flourish intellectually, artistically and physically enabling them to develop personal and social skills which will ensure they contribute fully and successfully in our ever- changing world! We have achieved an effective curriculum because we have a balance between what we must teach and what we like to teach to meet the unique needs of our children in our local community whilst bringing our aims and values to life!
Hillside primary is committed to providing an outstanding, personalised curriculum which is centred around ‘Developing the Individual’ by placing equal importance on academic development and personal development. We take a holistic view of each child and are determined to develop children’s cultural capital by fostering the values of Inspiration, Determination, Excellence, Friendship, Respect, Equality and Courage. Children at Hillside are valued learners that flourish and grow spiritually, morally, socially and culturally.
Through careful discussion and analysis of our pupils’ backgrounds, cultures and learning behaviours as a school we have prioritised the following areas which drive our curriculum design:
- Behaviour of effective learners- our children need strategies to enable them to be more active, independent learners. They need to develop resilience and the ability to independently transfer and interchange knowledge and skills. We know that our children need immersion in rich, engaging topics to enable practice, repetition and reinforcement of skills and knowledge to be fluent in many different, often complex concepts.
- Aspirations – our children do not lack the determination to succeed. What
they do not have is an appreciation of the range of opportunities and possibilities available to them during the next stages of their lives.
Our aim is to deliver a carefully designed, planned and organised curriculum that challenges, engages and inspires children to become confident, successful learners that achieve their best and this is a key driving force.
We followed the three principles below when planning our curriculum;
- We ensure that the content is relevant to our children and is purposeful.
- We ensure the content is engaging by finding inspiriting and innovative ways to deliver the content.
- We ensure that standards are at the centre of our planning and design.
We are determined to ensure that our curriculum provides breadth, balance and depth for every learner across every area of the curriculum in our school.
We have designed and planned our curriculum to offer a range of learning experiences which contribute to every child receiving a full and rich curriculum. The range of experiences we offer
support and champion our culture and ensures that our children benefit from a full range of academic, spiritual, moral, social and cultural activities. These activities enrich their lives and those of our whole school community and make them proud of their British values and the diverse society to which they belong and play an active part. We are proud that our curriculum gives our children the skills, confidence and self-belief to lead a happy and fulfilled life by encouraging them to aim high and work towards their goals and aspirations in life.
Our underlying belief is that every child is unique and as a direct result every child should feel valued, experiencing success in a wide range of curriculum areas. We believe that through the curriculum we can impact positively on how they feel about themselves striving to ensure that they feel successful, confident and able to tackle any challenge that they may face.
We have designed, organised and planned our curriculum to ensure that every child receives an appropriate mix of academic and personal development which means that in practice our curriculum places equal importance on core and foundation subjects.
At Hillside we place high priority on ensuring children’s physical and mental wellbeing is met ensuring that they take part in a range of sporting and physical activities and develop an understanding of how their brain and bodies function. We understand that children will not be successful learners unless they feel safe, are emotionally secure and happy in school; so therefore we carefully design our curriculum by adopting a flexible approach to timetabling to ensure that we can meet and respond to any issues which may arise. Children’s physical and mental wellbeing are as valued and important as their academic development.
This balanced approach is not to the detriment of our high standards in core or non-core subject areas. High standards of teaching and learning enable children to reach national expectations or above and is of vital importance if they are to succeed during the next stage of their education, going on to achieve full, happy lives and careers.
Creativity is encouraged, nurtured and developed across our full range of subjects at Hillside. We are determined that each child at Hillside is able to explore a full range of experiences both within the curriculum and outside of the curriculum. Each child at Hillside is taught music by a talented and highly qualified music teacher who offers many singing and musical instrument clubs for those who want to develop their skills in these areas. They are also taught PE and sport by an inclusive, qualified sports coach who believes in all children regardless of ability and again, offers clubs to enrich the curriculum.
These clubs sit alongside a plethora of other clubs which make our extra-curricular offer busy and varied. These include book club, cookery club, timestables club, street dance, taekwondo, musical theatre and story, rhyme and craft club to name just a few.
We are very fortunate to have vast grounds including a woodland area so that outdoor learning is commonplace and forest schooling is woven within the curriculum as well as being part of our extra-curricular offer.
Our full and rich curriculum, with its excellent range of experiences, ensures that every pupil at Hillside Primary School makes excellent progress both academically and personally. Our unique curriculum ensures that every child is given the opportunity to shine and flourish.
At Hillside Primary school our definition of progress is; the widening and deepening of essential knowledge, skills, understanding and learning behaviours. We design, organise and plan our curriculum to ensure that children are not merely covering content but developing a depth to their learning which enables them to use their skills and understanding in all across the curriculum.
Our careful curriculum design and planning means that we build in many opportunities for repetition and practise opportunities for essential knowledge, skills and understanding in every subject. This ensures that children are able to revisit previous learning, which allows them to gradually develop a depth of understanding of the skills and processes within subjects, at their own pace and in the best possible way for each individual child.
Our curriculum is meticulously planned to move the nature of children’s thinking to a higher order, deeper level of understanding rather than just acquiring new facts and knowledge with little context. Every experience, we believe, should be meaningful.
The curriculum at Hillside is ever-developing and subject to regular review. We are proud that our curriculum is produced through high-quality collaborative working and all teaching staff are involved at every stage taking ownership of the learning experiences that they deliver.
As a school we are on a journey with our curriculum, evolving from the Learning Challenge curriculum then using a ‘blocking’ model of delivering discrete subjects. Following further reflection and adaptations we are now providing a thematic curriculum which aims to fully immerse the children into engaging topics in which subjects are integrated. Areas of learning are now interlinked without losing their discrete nature, thus providing a wide range of connected learning activities. Teachers are careful to use the subject names when teaching to ensure that children understand that they are accessing a broad and balanced curriculum through a thematic approach. For each topic, teachers plan a variety of activities and experiences to motivate, engage and excite the children and educational visits are sought to enrich the learning that takes place in school. Teachers ensure that the national curriculum is taught through topics and remain focused on the objective being taught, adding relevant activities and experiences that add value to the intended outcomes. Our curriculum is more than simply broad and balanced it is coherent, imaginative and well-planned building systematically on prior knowledge and experience.
Leadership of the curriculum is very strong at Hillside. We believe that a reason for this is that leaders have selected the subject that they lead, ensuring that each subject is led with genuine passion and interest. We take a collaborative approach to subject leadership and equal emphasis is placed on foundation subjects as core subject areas.
Each subject lead has a ‘subject support coach’ – a trusted college whose role is to offer support and appropriate challenge to ensure high standards of subject leadership. We also make best use of our collaboration with local schools enabling subject leaders to collaborate regularly, offering support and challenge for each other.
All subject leaders are allocated time out of the class to fulfil their leadership responsibilities, this includes monitoring of books and planning, CPD preparations, pupil voice interviews and liaising with and reporting to governors. Each subject lead also has the support and challenge of a link governor, who again, has been carefully matched with their subject taking into account their interests, knowledge and passion. Their role involves the following tasks:
- Making pre-arranged visits to the school, with a clear focus
- Keeping the governing board informed about the area for which they’re responsible, and acting as a link between governors and staff
- Supporting the member of staff who is responsible for the particular area/subject
- Developing knowledge in the specialist area and taking part in relevant training
- Ensuring the school has relevant policies in place
- Monitoring the implementation of the school’s strategy in the specialist area
Details of our link governors can be found on the Governor page of the school website.
Our subject leaders play an essential role in the design of our curriculum and oversee it to ensure full coverage and support for all staff. They carefully organise the curriculum to ensure children have opportunities to revisit, practise and repeat learning which is essential to deep learning by monitoring key progression and skills. They have worked extremely hard and are determined to ensure full coverage of the national curriculum and progression within and across year groups and key stages (progression maps can be found on each subject page).
Recently the focus for the subject leaders at Hillside, has been to carefully think about, collaborate on and put into place effective assessment systems to enable tracking and monitoring of classes, groups and individuals.
For further details of each subject area please explore the drop down menu below.