The Curriculum at Redlands
With over 40 languages spoken at our school, we have designed a curriculum that is inclusive whilst being creative. Children who attend our school have varying levels of fluency in English, so we have to provide learning opportunities that are on the one hand language-rich, but on the other are accessible to all. We focus on partner talk in every area of the curriculum – children work and plan together, exchanging ideas and methods, supporting one another to achieve well. In subjects where an understanding of technical language is required, we provide language support for all learners via word banks, displays and focused EAL teacher or teaching assistant guidance where necessary. We strongly believe that a broad, creative curriculum is essential for all our learners to succeed. We deliver English, mathematics and science in an integrated cross-curricular way wherever possible. Each year group has a topic title and as much learning as possible is linked to this topic. Trips are planned early on in the topic as a stimulus for learning, and children are encouraged to lead their learning by deciding what they want to learn and how. It is a highly inclusive approach. Teachers do not ask children what they already know about a topic, but rather what they would they like to find out. Planning is then based around the children’s ideas, and success criteria are devised together with the children so that they have a good grasp of what they are aiming to achieve. This gives them ownership of their learning and results in high levels of engagement. As a multi-cultural school, we celebrate the diversity of our children and see it as a hugely positive opportunity for learning. We pride ourselves in the global dimension in our teaching, using texts and learning resources that have a strong global element or message. We regularly refer to the Global Goals or Sustainable Development Goals in our teaching and we are not afraid to tackle challenging subjects such as social injustice, poverty, child-labour and terrorism. Our teachers are highly skilled at delivering lessons that encourage children to think for themselves, to challenge stereotypical thinking, to speak out against injustices and to make a difference to the world they live in.
The personal, social and emotional aspects of learning are fundamental to our curriculum. Right from nursery there is a strong emphasis on self-awareness and respect for others. As a school located close to the university and hospital we have a number of families who are with us for a few years only. Consequently children at Redlands learn how to welcome and include new children from the earliest stage. This nurtures a growing sense of empathy amongst our pupils who have sophisticated levels of understanding other people by the time they leave our school. Their social
skills and emotional maturity are often commented on by the secondary schools they move on to. We strongly believe in the growth mindset approach to learning. At our school children understand that mistakes are an essential part of learning and that their attitude towards their learning makes all the difference. We help the children to develop meta-cognition so that they understand how they learn and what helps them to learn better. They become increasingly reflective about their learning as they move up through the school and develop the ability to self-assess accurately. They know that resilience is the key and that new challenges can be exciting rather than daunting. This approach applies to every aspect of our curriculum and we are now developing a mathematical mindset in our teaching of maths to complement the work we have done on growth mindset. We also believe in the value of curriculum enrichment. We provide outdoor learning for the younger children and a wide range of trips, visits and visitors for all children in the school to enhance our curriculum and to offer a broader experience for all. We also offer University of Redlands Primary Degree courses in the second half of the summer term which offer the children opportunities to learn new skills beyond the curriculum. These are taught in mixed year groups so that the children get to work with different people and are provided by all members of staff, including the admin team and caretaker, and parents drawing with their personal strengths and skills. The aim of introducing these courses was not only to provide wider learning experiences but also to raise aspiration amongst our children. Finally, we really value the positive impact that cross-phase partnership learning has. Each class is paired with a class in another phase in the school and children from both classes work together on a regular basis. This has positive a positive impact for both younger and older children: the younger children love to learn from the older children and, often, accept help more readily from them
thereby having a greater sense of success; the older children acquire greater patience, tolerance, understanding, respect and empathy, and a sense of responsibility and achievement when the younger children succeed at something they struggled with before. It is a very powerful learning experience for all concerned.
All these elements play an important part in the design of our curriculum which is carefully created
to meet the needs of our diverse community of learners.
Mrs Shabana Aslam