We are a much larger than average primary school (680 children on roll) situated in Blackpool’s South Shore. With a mainly white British, working-class demographic and located in an area of high deprivation and unemployment, our children start school with very low entry points and low aspirations. We also have an increasing number of Eastern European families and children with English as an additional language.
As a result of this, we believe our curriculum should look to raise pupils’ aspirations, by providing them with a wide range of practical learning experiences, developing their cultural capital, as well as teaching them about what is possible in terms of human creativity and achievement. We want to be able to send our pupils out into the world with developing employability skills, in order to help break the negative cycles of drug use, high levels of unemployment and low aspirations. We want to open the doors of opportunity to each pupil, helping them to recognise the potential they have to make a positive contribution, not only within their own community, but on a global scale, so they can achieve amazing things.
We are committed to helping our pupils make links across themes and subject disciplines, by providing a cohesive learning journey. We believe the curriculum should be connected in a meaningful way, evidencing clear progression and should demonstrate a consistent approach throughout school. We seek to plan lessons that encourage pupils to recall and utilise prior learning, actively engaging with the knowledge and skills we believe should be taught.
We use Dimensions ‘Learning Means the World’ Curriculum, which is underpinned by four highly relevant world issues, known as the four Cs:
These four Cs create a purposeful and meaningful back drop for delivery of our ambitious, personalised curriculum.
Our school values are aligned to and taught through the four Cs, ensuring further cohesion within and across the curriculum: Pride, Endeavour, Equality, Respect
Developing language and vocabulary is a priority for us across the school and we passionately believe that communication is key to accessing learning and securing pupils’ future success. We are committed to developing functional English, especially reading. As a learning community, we expect teachers to ensure that their own use of English, both written and spoken, is of the highest standard in order to support pupils’ development. We feel the strong communication focus in this curriculum model best reflects our aspirations in this area for every pupil.
As a school that predominantly represents a white British demographic, we want our pupils to fully appreciate and embrace cultural diversity, learning about and experiencing a range of different cultural and faith heritages, as well as a range of diverse groups. We want them to learn about their place in the world, understanding and appreciating the differing backgrounds represented in the local, national and global populations. We actively and explicitly promote balanced viewpoints by teaching about cross-cultural friendship, respect, tolerance and understanding through ‘Learning Means the World’.
We also feel our pupils need a more structured approach to developing greater awareness and appreciation of local, national and global conservation issues and initiatives, learning how they have an important role to play in sustainability. We believe this curriculum can change hearts, minds and habits, promoting a proactive, rather than a reactive response.
We believe that life skills should be taught throughout the curriculum and an understanding of responsible, respectful behaviour is an important aspect of learning and pupils are able to view this in the light of the conflict-focused themes. They need to understand the relevance of present – day conflict and its consequences, as well as past, historic conflicts. We also put a focus on learning from conflict, not simply learning about conflict. We want our pupils to learn appropriate ways to effectively communicate in order to avoid unnecessary conflict. We want them to be able to deal with confrontation in positive ways and have a deepened understanding of how measured, socially acceptable responses will help develop their roles as responsible citizens.
The built-in progression and continuity within ‘Learning Means the World’ through a progressive Skills Ladder and Knowledge Building focus means that staff can concentrate on developing memorable learning for the pupils. Making lessons engaging and creative, by using the practical, hands-on activity ideas as a springboard, staff can be confident of a consistent whole school approach.
With the progressive ‘Learning Means the World’ Learning Pathways (Explorers, Pathfinders, Adventurers and Navigators) and through aspects such as pupil-led activities (independence) and high ability tasks (resilience), we challenge our pupils to extend their learning.
The ‘3D PSHE’ programme is integrated into our ‘Learning Means the World’ curriculum, alongside discrete lessons. This helps us directly address key issues and priorities such as health (exercise, eating habits, healthy diet, healthy lifestyles), substance-related abuse (especially drug and alcohol use) and goals and future aspirations. Through this we look to create a culture of ambition, balanced with a healthy dose of realism, in order to help our children “achieve amazing things”.