Curriculum Intent Statement

Our motto ‘little seeds big dreams’ demonstrates our ambitious ethos for all pupils; we believe that every child should succeed and no child should slip through the net. In addition, we fully embrace the strengths that are reflected in our school community and work in very close partnership with parents to build on these, as well as addressing the challenges.

Contextual strengths:

Contextual challenges:

  • The global nature of our pupils and their families, drawn from across the world, brings together different strands (languages, cultures, religions and experiences) which we weave into the rich tapestry of our curriculum. 
  • We are fortunate to be supported by a network of engaged and aspirational parents, who instil in their children a love for and value of education, even though their own school experiences vary in length and context.
  • We are uniquely placed to develop pupil and staff expertise across the whole curriculum due to our position as a lead school for a national Maths Hub and English Hub and as a result of our RWI Model school status.
  • Our staff at all levels are highly committed, engaged and nurturing towards our whole school community. 
  • Our teaching practice is evidenced based and informed by best practice from the NCETM, English and Maths Hubs and the EEF. We have many specialist practitioners including three trained Maths Mastery specialists, English specialist teachers and an Early Reading Leader who supports other schools. We have a specialist dance teacher and a PE coach as well as a resident art teacher and we work with external music specialists.
  • Our context has led to us expanding our SEND team with the addition of a specialist SEND teacher and a trainee mental health practitioner who is supporting our families as well as pupils.
  • The global covid pandemic has exacerbated local social issues such as poverty, overcrowding and the mental health of adults and children. A lack of routine has affected pupils’ focus and behaviour, which the school will prioritise this year.
  • Although the official eligibility for free school meals (FSM6) is currently 21%, in line with the national average, this does not reflect the high levels of deprivation and overcrowding existing in our school community.
  • Over 80% of pupils begin in the nursery well below typical EYFS baseline levels, the majority still requiring potty training  Early spoken language has evidently been affected by younger pupils having had prolonged periods away from the classroom.
  • 85% of pupils speak English as an additional language (although this is likely to be higher) and begin to develop fluency in English in KS1.
  • The number of pupils with speech and language difficulties has increased, in conjunction with the rise in numbers of pupils with ASD, which has tripled in the last three years.
  • Some families are unable to access enrichment activities such as trips to museums, possibly due to levels of education, poverty or social isolation.

Our Curricular goals:

Accounting for these strengths and challenges our three curricular goals are:

CURRICULUM GOAL 1 : To ensure every child is secure in their understanding of the core subjects (English and Maths)

Based on multiple sources of evidence, we know that the core skills in English and Maths underpin all aspects of learning. With this secure knowledge, pupils will be able to unlock the whole curriculum and will have the necessary skills to become lifelong learners.

CURRICULUM GOAL 2: To deliver a broad curriculum that creates active and resilient learners

We seek to instil in our children, not just a set of facts or a series of skills, but how to succeed as learners. Our 5 school values are pillars central to this ethos: care, character, challenge, creativity and confidence.

CURRICULUM GOAL 3: Deliver a curriculum which champions the diversity and inclusivity of our community and gives our pupils the vital cultural capital  to achieve their dreams. 

Based on our context we know that we need to do more to ensure our pupils have access to the ‘best that has been thought and said’. We will provide them with the rich experiences and knowledge necessary to be informed and confident in any situation. 

CURRICULUM GOAL 1 : To ensure every child is secure in their understanding of the core subjects (English and Maths)

Confident communicators and readers for life

  • All of our curricular goals rest on an ability to understand, master and deploy language, which is why we have both reading and oracy at the heart of all subjects. The use of talk partners and a ‘no hands up policy’ across the school means all children must participate fully in all class discussions - there is no opting out!
  • There is a strong focus on language acquisition and oral confidence, particularly in the Early Years but maintained across the school. We are determined to bridge the vocabulary gap rather than allow our pupils to fall through it and use targeted language interventions such as NELI and ‘talk through stories’ to achieve this.  From low starting points our pupils progress rapidly and achieve excellence due to this relentless focus. 
  • In KS2, bespoke speechmaking and debating units are part of the taught curriculum allowing all pupils to become confident communicators. 
  • Reading is the bedrock of our curricular offer and all of our pupils who can access the curriculum are taught to read through absolute fidelity to the Systematic Synthetic Phonics scheme RWI , which is taught with passion and purpose from nursery to year 2.  
  • We consciously support our pupils to be lifelong readers through developing a deep reading for pleasure culture. Every class has a rich daily story time and many teachers are experts in children’s literature, enabling them to advise and guide children’s choices. Our school’s successful model for building a RfP culture is now being rolled out through the English hubs at a national level. 

Mathematics -  We prioritise the key skills that are required to be successful mathematicians. Our children love mathematics and see maths as an integral part of life

  • We follow a mastery curriculum in mathematics using the scheme ‘Maths No Problem’. Mastering maths means pupils of all ages acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. This is achieved using a range of pedagogical strategies, most notably small steps of learning and careful variation of representations and questions. 
  • The curriculum for maths has been carefully sequenced this year to account for gaps following the global pandemic and uses the NCETM ready to progress criteria to prioritise core elements of the curriculum, again ensuring pupils are ready for their next stages in learning and any gaps have been fully addressed.
  • We do not accelerate pupils into new content, instead we focus on deepening through reasoning and application to unfamiliar contexts. 
  • For fluency practice we use Numbots in Ks1 and Times Tables Rock Stars in KS2, which are  both carefully sequenced programmes allowing pupils to learn and practice number bonds to 10 and times tables. 
  • Daily arithmetic practice or ‘fluent in 5’ is built into every maths lessons, the content of which has been carefully mapped to reflect the learning from the previous year that should then become automatic. 
  • Daily retrieval in the shape of the ‘flashback 4’ (yesterday, last week, last month, last year) allows pupils to recall and revisiting taught content, ensuring they know more and remember more. 

CURRICULUM GOAL 2: To deliver a broad curriculum that creates active and resilient learners

We seek to instil in our children, not just a set of facts or a series of skills, but how to succeed as learners. Our 5 school values are pillars central to this ethos: care, character, challenge, creativity and confidence. We want our children to be:

  • Caring, both of others and themselves: Our PSHE and RSE lessons delivered through the jigsaw scheme of work , RE and online safety curriculum  support pupil’s self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem and aim to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead happy, healthy and confident lives and build healthy relationships.
  • Lovers of learning: We want our children to be active participants in their learning who independently seek out learning and knowledge for its own sake. We are developing our teaching and understanding of metacognitive strategies. 
  • Risk takers and problem solvers: having a willingness to take calculated risks and to view mistakes as learning opportunities. We believe that intelligence is not fixed so we nurture a growth mind-set in children who learn that they need to work hard to succeed.
  • Independent critical thinkers: being confident enough to form and defend their own opinions as active citizens. Many of our foundation subject lessons are centered around questions to explore and answer. Debating is taught throughout the school and pupils are encouraged to use these skills across the curriculum.
  • Citizens of the world: Individuals who see themselves as agents of change and take responsibility for themselves, each other and the world around them. We are part of the global Connecting Classrooms initiative and have links with schools in Kenya and Nigeria where pupils work collaboratively to solve global issues affecting them. 
  • Our speechmaking units encourage pupils to write about things in their world that they are passionate about and can change. Pupils are encouraged to share their voices through multiple forums such as  class learning forums, the school council and as playground buddies.
  • Independent researchers and to be digitally literate: We encourage independent research and opportunities to develop independence in all areas of the curriculum.  Our computing curriculum is based on the notion of pupils being ‘content creators’ rather than passive consumers of technology.

CURRICULUM GOAL 3: We strive to deliver a curriculum which champions the diversity and inclusivity of our community and gives our pupils the vital experiences and tools to achieve their dreams. 

  • We equip our pupils with secure knowledge of the world and the cultural capital needed to boost their confidence and aspirations in an increasingly competitive world. This comes from rich and carefully thought out experiences and the careful selection of knowledge taught in the curriculum. For instance our pupils in year 5 study Greek classics through engaging with The Iliad project, exploring some of the universal themes through drama and storytelling
  • Pupils' learning experiences should be one of awe and wonder, both engaging them in the here and now but also providing them with moments that will live a lifetime in their memories and keep kindled the love of learning we seek to ignite.  Therefore the curriculum is enriched with exciting and memorable experiences, visits and visitors.
  • Varied visits and educational experiences are designed to support the curriculum and broaden experiences from EYFS to year 6 both around the capital, the country and beyond the UK’s borders e.g. Art trips to Venice and Rome & French trips to Paris as well as local seaside and camping trips. 
  • We think carefully about guest visitors like Franciscan monks or authors and specialist weeks that build real experiences into the curriculum to enrich learning.
  • Ambitious lesson content, democratic structures such as Student Council and planned activities such as debating are interwoven into our curriculum so that pupils build knowledge and understanding of important places, people, events and ideas such as democracy.
  • The rolling Shakespeare programme in KS2 is accessible to all children in KS2 with a focus on comprehension and performance skills
  • Our curriculum reflects the inclusive, multicultural and multilingual school culture. We celebrate all of the major faiths through the taught RE curriculum and the year group festival assemblies so our pupils not only have significant knowledge of but also learn from other cultures/faiths to develop British values such as tolerance. The school was awarded the Gold RE Quality mark in recognition of its high standards.
  • Our pupils with SEND and disadvantaged pupils fully access the curriculum. We are an inclusive school and take pride in ensuring pupils with SEND have access to quality personalised learning opportunities and a range of intervention groups. The school has its own soft play and sensory room so that provision is accessible and appropriate.
  • Work on Equalities and Diversity, including through involvement with Newham’s  Education for Change initiative is ensuring that the school continues to be more inclusive and looks at representation of protected characteristics through the curriculum and culture. New art units include The Sign Twins and in history there are revamped units on Slavery and the Partition of India.  

How do we ensure that there is curricular progression?

  • In order to achieve our goals, we have carefully planned our curriculum so that it has breadth as well as ambition. We follow the National Curriculum, going above in some areas and have developed age-related curricular end points through progression documents in the core subjects and threshold concepts documents in the foundation subjects. These concepts are the ‘big ideas’ that shape our pupil’s thinking within each subject. This means that we have a shared understanding of the start and end points  of the curriculum and how these can be achieved. We have reduced content so that there is curricular depth and know the curriculum is deliverable in the time available.
  • Schemes are in place in literacy (RWI and Take One Book) and in maths (Maths No problem and Number Sense) to provide a strong foundation and consistency for all our staff when delivering core subjects. As they have been developed by curriculum experts, they are carefully sequenced to ensure careful progression and clear end points.
  • We have adopted a subject specific approach in the foundation subjects, so that children can be taught the disciplinary and substantive knowledge required for each subject. However, we have made careful cross-curricular links to optimise this understanding where it is sensible to do so, allowing schema to be more deeply embedded. We use subject experts to teach the curriculum in art, music and PE and deploy internal expertise and external consultants (team teaching and planning support) to support Science, RE, Computing, Mathematics and phonics. 
  • We pursue a mastery agenda across all subjects, building up learning in small steps and ensuring students progress, learning lessons from current research. Our approach to planning across the curriculum ensures that children revisit concepts to ensure knowledge, vocabulary and skills shift from working to long-term memory . Medium term plans in all subjects mean all staff are aware of where learning fits into a broader sequence of learning. All staff use retrieval practice to ensure that prior knowledge is activated or revisited  in each lesson sequence, ensuring children know more and remember more. 
  • A timetable of learning conversations and lesson visits across the different subjects is helping teachers to implement the planned curriculum and focus on improving their practice and reflect on impact of lessons. Live feedback marking is helping pupils to make improvements in the moment , thus further deepening understanding. 
  • Our intervention programmes are carefully targeted and rigorous, ensuring that pupils who begin to fall behind are targeted for further support enabling them to keep up.

Elmhurst Curriculum Map 2023-24