We aim for our unique curriculum to give all of our pupils the best chance in life to make positive choices for their futures and to be well equipped to contribute positively to the society they live in.
We recognise that what pupils learn and how pupils learn is fundamental in creating, in every child, a desire to achieve the best for themselves and others, fostering a mindset of learning for life.
Our curriculum drives our ambition that every door remains open for our pupils and that no pathway to success, whatever that individual ambition may be, is limited or closed to them.
The intent of our curriculum is to promote 3 key notions:
Through our curriculum design, our intent is that children:
Embed AMBITION to succeed, for their present and future life so that they:
Understand the importance of WELL-BEING for themselves and others so that they:
Have an understanding of CULTURE AND COMMUNITY so that they:
The school’s curriculum is broad and balanced:
The curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 and other experiences and opportunities which best meet the learning and developmental needs of the children in our school. We place a strong emphasis on the development of basic skills within reading, maths and writing and their application to a range of contexts necessary to be confident learners. A blocked curriculum approach for many of our foundation subjects has been implemented at the school to ensure coverage and progression in a number of curriculum areas. This approach enables project based learning, fostering each child’s curiosity and interest throughout each topic and also enabling the achievement of depth in knowledge and skills. Opportunities to explore children’s previous experiences, current understanding and interests within the theme are planned at the beginning of each new topic and this is used to inform the learning for each topic to ensure relevance. The children’s own community, its heritage and traditions are frequently used as a starting point for engaging interest. The curriculum themes also ensure a wide range of cultures and communities are explored.
Despite a thematic approach, subjects are delivered as clearly distinct disciplines so that children can be aware of the clear skills and attributes of each subject. Some subjects are delivered by specialist teachers, such as Art and Computing. The displays in the classroom learning environment support children’s learning and understanding of the progression within each subject discipline. The learning displays are built with the children as the sequence of learning progress and are regularly referred to within teaching and by children in independent practice.
The school’s core values are vehicles that support children’s PSHE development and are woven through all school life. These are:
These values are also used to underpin our Learning Mind Frames and learning dispositions. Children are taught what respectful learners, responsible learners, collaborative learners, thoughtful learners, ambitious learners and learners that endeavor look like across all phases and can identify when they have displayed these learning attributes or when they need to.
The school’s commitment to Visible Learning practices supports pupils to be assessment capable learners who see assessment as a tool to accelerate their own progress. Children are given a common language of learning and the relevant tools to enable them to discuss their progress and next steps. Feedback is highly valued by teachers and pupils as a valuable tool to help reflect, evaluate and set targets.
The use of technology supports the both the effective teaching of and independent learning within our curriculum subjects. We use Google technology throughout learning when it is appropriate and useful. Pupils, staff and parents/carers access our various Google Classrooms and we are a technology rich school, equipped to a very high standard; all classes have open access to Chromebooks for the pupils to pick up and use at any time during the day. In year 4-6 each pupil has access to their own Chromebook and our older pupils also use their Chromebook at home to support home learning, additional practice or specific intervention programmes. Learning platforms support the children to independently exploit this technology for learning and to follow their own targeted pathways for learning.
High quality literature, books and stories also play an important part in our curriculum implementation both within our explicit reading lessons and as key texts, written by classic and modern children’s authors which drive our English and writing curriculum. Stories and books are also used to introduce concepts and themes in foundation subjects, assemblies and PSHE learning and all pupils have opportunity to listen to a story read aloud by an adult at the end of each day. Stories promote many of our curriculum discussions and are a key vehicle for linking prior and developing knowledge to shape questions, theories and form concepts progressively throughout the key stages.
The curriculum provides children with memorable experiences, in addition to diverse and rich opportunities from which they can learn and develop a range of transferable skills. High quality visits and visitors to the school enhance the curriculum and provide opportunities for writing for a purpose. Planned involvement in local educational schemes (such as Widening Horizons in Year 5), residential trips and off site trips further enhance curricular experiences. A varied timetable for extra-curricular activities is offered by the school, with clubs that support the core curriculum offer, as well as those which develop specialist skills, whilst also extending the range of children’s experiences. Many clubs focus on being active and promote a healthy life style.
The school has attained the Healthy Child Quality Mark and is committed to promoting pupil well-being through our robust PSHE curriculum, our embedded school and British values, teaching positive psychology and supporting individual personal development needs through exceptionally strong pastoral support and Trauma Informed approaches.
The school has also achieved The School’s Eco award which recognizes our commitment to empowering pupils to lead change within school and have a positive impact on the wider community. The programme encourages pupils of all ages and abilities to work together to develop their knowledge and awareness of environmental issues. The pupils in our school Eco Council work with the Eco Leader to gather and present evidence in order to achieve the award.
The outdoor environment and the local community are considered an opportunity for active learning for all our children. The school grounds have been developed so they can enrich different curriculum areas, particularly science. Our forest school area is used regularly by children from across the school lead expertly by our trained forest schools teacher.
The school has achieved Silver Arts Mark status and is actively pursuing the Gold award. The school has an excellent choir which has a positive reputation around the city. As such they perform regularly at key events and venues including the Lord Mayors Carol service, Christmas lights switch on celebration and Armed forces day. This aspect of the school is enriched by links to professional bodies including the Theatre Royal, Plymouth University and Plymouth City Council. Pilgrim Primary also makes full use of the skills of other professionals; throughout their time at the school, children will work with specialist coaches as they learn football, basketball, rugby and multi skills. The school has also achieved the School Games bronze award and has string links with the Plymouth Argyle FC, with coaches working with key year groups to support both reading and PE skills.
The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and most make very good progress in all subjects and areas of learning. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities to achieve to a greater depth and those who need it are encouraged by having targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs. Pupils with individual and special needs have their needs met through adaptations and quite frequently, individually tailored programmes, including a fully alternative provision based on nurture principles for pupils with highly complex needs.
Communication skills are vital to our pupils. As such early assessment is the key used to identifying specific needs and our well trained Speech and Language Teaching Assistants deliver high quality interventions under the guidance of our own speech and language therapist. The school has also committed to developing skills and confidence in Oracy. We aim for all children to: Communicate with confidence in a climate where all ideas are valued, welcomed and discussed. Develop their vocabulary so that they are able to express themselves with accuracy, using words and phrases which are ambitious and aspirational in all subject areas. Be able to disagree with each other in a calm and polite way, explaining their reasoning and understanding that it is positive to challenge each other’s thinking through discussion. Use language to express how they are feeling and discuss why they are feeling a particular way in order to ensure their positive well-being.
The innovative practice across the school provides a strong foundation and opportunities for children to collaborate and develop social skills both indoors and out. Our curriculum design and the quality of provision ensures that the needs of individual and small groups of children can be met, first and foremost, via high quality teaching, supported by targeted, proven interventions where appropriate. Resultantly, typically pupils make very good progress from their often, exceptionally low starting points, with almost all pupils making expected progress and a relatively large proportion making accelerated progress to exceed targeted outcomes.
Positive academic outcomes are achieved whilst pupils maintain and grow their positive mind frames, developing their confidence and identities as learners. Enjoyment of the curriculum promotes achievement, a desire to learn and good learning behaviours and conduct. Children feel safe to try new things. Our pupils can articulate their learning and discuss the strategies they use to learn. They can articulate their next steps, they see errors as opportunities and are comfortable to say they don’t know or they need help, they know what to do when they are stuck and actively seek feedback about their learning.
Children have opportunities to share their learning with each other, their parents and carers and other learners through school-based and external exhibitions, performances, competitions and events involving other schools. Developing their independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future citizens is at the heart of all our teaching and learning.
Subject leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review and the celebration of good practice contributes to the ongoing commitment to evolve and improve further. All subject leaders are given training and the opportunity to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school. It is also the role of each subject leader to keep up to date with developments in their subject, at both national and local levels.