The curriculum includes the subjects that children study, the content of each individual subjects, how they are taught (there are several different approaches, for example, to the teaching of reading), how they relate to each other in the wider context and how teachers organise the children's learning over a half term, a term and the whole year. As a primary school, we also explore the most effective ways of ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum during the children's seven-year learning journey with us at Dormansland.
Dormansland School Curriculum
It is important that children have a rich and exciting curriculum experience at primary school, learning in a variety of ways. We encourage all our children to work to the best of their ability, to take risks, to learn from their mistakes and always to strive to be the best they can be.
Our curriculum is based on the New Primary Curriculum and, in our Reception class, on the Early Years and Foundation Stage curriculum. We provide for the comprehensive academic, personal and social development of every child, while encouraging each one to work and think independently and to make decisions and choices within an acceptable moral code.
Beyond this, however, we endeavour to provide a school day which excites, challenges and motivates each individual child.
The Thinking behind our Curriculum
We recognise that the children at Dormansland Primary School represent a highly diverse group of individual learners. We live in a cosmopolitan world, where communities must learn to live and share with each other. We live in a rapidly changing economic climate so we must understand the value of money and how to make good decisions. We live in a technologically driven world and are increasingly aware of climate change and diminishing natural resources. Future work patterns and job opportunities may well be different from those we have experienced in our own lifetime. The children we teach now will undoubtedly need a range of different skills and attributes in order to survive and to make a positive social contribution. The world is smaller and the connections between peoples and places are more immediate and interdependent.
We want our children to be creative, successful, resilient and reflective learners who make progress and achieve, who become confident individuals who know how to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives and who become responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society. Every learning child at Dormansland has the right to a fulfilling educational adventure that will provide the bedrock for further learning and personal development.
We want our curriculum to be broad, flexible and modern, enabling teachers to plan personalised and highly stimulating learning which questions and challenges children. A curriculum which facilitates the combining and connecting of areas and idea while generating innovative approaches. Above all, we want to support every child’s understanding, confidence and the courage to take a few risks along the way, while promoting a developing sense of autonomy and learning satisfaction.
The curriculum at Dormansland is designed to develop for every child:
Above all, we encourage and develop a growth mindset in our children, helping them to understand that nothing should stand in their way if they are determined to be the best they can possibly be.
How learning is organised
Our teachers are encouraged to find ways of organising children’s learning which promote excellence, enjoyment, perseverance, self-discipline and independent learning. We have designed our curriculum so that children are able to develop key skills, to apply them across all subject areas and to make connections between aspects of learning. Children are taught in single age group classes of mixed ability. Subjects are often drawn together or integrated so that the children are provided with a more cohesive, meaningful learning experince, rooted in context and life skills.
In our reception class, children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum for children from birth to five. The curriculum is made up of seven areas (three prime and four specific) of learning:
Children are encouraged to develop and use the new skills they have been taught in a well-planned, play-based curriculum, where many activities are child-initiated. Continuous observations are made of the children’s learning journey, which are documented along with photographs for their Foundation Stage Profile. The children have full and continuous access to our outdoor environment and this forms an integral part of their learning development.
The Primary National Curriculum
Once the children reach Year 1, they continue developing their skills through the Primary National Curriculum (2014).
At Dormansland. we organise the curriculum into six key areas of learning:
Maths, Economics and Enterprise
We have high expectations for children’s learning and their practical use of mathematics. We firmly believe that children should be taught to work out calculations in their heads whenever it is possible to do so, and learn to use written methods when the calculation is too difficult to solve mentally. Children need to have a rapid recall of number bonds, times tables, doubles and halves and know for themselves that their answers are reasonable.
Through a range of age-appropriate enterprise initiatives in each class, the children are taught about the value of money and simple economics. They are consulted over the spending of any money received as a class, either through a particular fund-raising project or from the school's PTA committee. They also contribute their own ideas when considering ways of helping people in under-developed countries around the world. They develop a basic understanding of budgeting and making personal life choices with regards to income and expenditure.
Communication, Languages and Literacy
We believe that mastery over language empowers children to communicate effectively and imaginatively, as well as allowing them to participate fully in the life around them. We teach English through a daily lesson that has a high proportion of whole-class and group teaching. Teachers provide quality texts, both fiction and non-fiction, to provide exciting models for pupils to use as starting points for their own work and to motivate them in their reading. Beginner readers are taught phonics to help them to make quick early progress. Wherever possible, we link our work in English to other subjects in the curriculum and we encourage children to use and apply their English skills in these subjects. Children use ICT in English lessons where it enhances their learning, such as using multimedia to study how words and images are combined to convey meaning, or reading e-books on our bank of LearnPads during daily reading workshops.
From Year 2 to Year 6, children are taught French once a week. We focus mainly on spoken language, although the children begin to do some written work higher up the school. French is taught in a fun and interactive way using songs, puppets and games. During the summer term, the Year 6 class organise a real French market for the school, where everyone is encouraged to speak French in order to participate in this popular event.
Scientific and Technological Understanding
Our overall aim is to develop children with enquiring minds and a scientific approach to solving problems. Children are encouraged to explore the natural world and to develop the skills and processes of science including observation, investigation, prediction and deduction. These skills are fostered through a scheme of work which encourages children to experience scientific enquiry for themselves and to delight in their findings. Each February, we hold a Science and Design Technology Week to which we invite science experts and parents/carers to work alongside the pupils.
Computing is at the centre of our evolving society. We are proud of the ICT facilities we have at Dormansland. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard and computers which are directly linked both to the internet and to our own school network. Our ICT suite is equipped with networked computers and an interactive whiteboard. We have a bank of LearnPad tablets which are used to support learning across the curriculum and by every year group. Access to the internet is carefully monitored to ensure that children are protected from inappropriate material. Children are taught how to keep themselves safe when using the internet and social media sites.
We have a school web site which is updated regularly. Our aim is to provide the children with the skills to live in the 21st century and we are constantly updating our facilities to ensure that they have access to the best available.
Children enjoy researching, designing and constructing their own products. We cover the areas of textiles, cookery, mechanisms and structures, undertaking one project each term. Each February we hold a Science and Design Technology week, when children have the opportunity to spend a greater length of time on this subject.
Historical, Global, Social and Spiritual Understanding
History is about people, how they lived at different times, what happened, all the changes that have taken and are taking place, and the reasons why. It is important that children have an understanding of the world and the human society in which they are growing up.
Geography allows the children to explore their immediate locality, investigate local issues and understand how settlements evolve. It also allows them to investigate human and physical conditions in the wider world.
Religious Education and Collective Worship
RE is taught within classrooms in accordance with the guidance of the Surrey agreed syllabus for religious education. This guidance document is available for parents to see at the school. Collective acts of worship take place each day. They are broadly Christian and non-denominational in character and content. Our Harvest, Christmas and Easter celebrations are held in St. John’s Church. Parents/carers may make a written request for their child to be exempt from religious education lessons and collective worship.
Physical Well-being, Health and Lifestyles
Through PE we promote physical activity, healthy life styles and positive attitudes. We teach games, gymnastics, dance, athletics and swimming and in addition, outdoor and adventurous activities are organised. Parents/carers are invited to Sports Days in the summer term, where every child takes part.
PSHE and Citizenship
Personal, social and health education (PHSE) and citizenship help to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active, responsible citizens who can make a positive contribution to their community. They learn about democracy and how governments operate at both a local and national level.
Our PSHE includes drug and substance abuse education. We teach children how to recognise and avoid harmful or addictive substances and how to keep themselves safe and healthy.
We encourage pupils to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum.
Sex and Relationships Education
At Dormansland, we have devised our own curriculum for sex and relationships education which focuses not merely on knowledge, but also on attitudes and interpersonal skills. Questions posed by the children are answered frankly and directly, taking into account the child's perceived level of understanding. In years 4, 5 and 6 we use a series of excellent DVDs as part of our sex education curriculum.
If children ask teachers any questions relating to sex or sexuality, it is our policy to answer their questions discreetly and honestly, with due regard for our equalities policies. We always inform parents of any question of a sensitive nature that your child may have asked so that you are also able to respond to this.
Parents are entitled to withdraw their child from formal sex and relationships education if they so wish, but we cannot withdraw a child from playground chatter, so we do hope that as many children as possible are able to take part in these lessons. Parents are encouraged to speak to a member of senior staff, in confidence, if they are considering withdrawing their child from this aspect of the curriculum.
A copy of our Sex and Relationships curriculum is available in our curriculum documents section at the foot of this page. Please note that the text in bold indicates the compulsory Science aspects of the SRE curriculum and that your child cannot be withdrawn from these specific sessions.
Creative and Expressive Arts
Art encourages children to express their personalities, feelings and ideas. Children experience various techniques such as painting, collage, sewing and clay work, as well as learning about the work of other artists. We hold a special Art Week each summer to maximize expert input for the pupils. We also use visits to enhance knowledge and skills.
Children throughout the school are encouraged to develop their musical abilities. We provide an all-round musical education incorporating individual talents, improvisations, composition, notation, appreciation and singing. We have peripatetic music teachers for a range of instrumental teaching.
In Years 4, 5 and 6, the children take part in a residential trip as part of their outdoor learning curriculum. These are planned to provide them with a range of opportunities that they would otherwise not be able to access through school.
Assemblies take place every day and reflect the school community at Dormansland and our understanding of our place in the richly diverse, wider world. Assemblies are broadly Christian, exploring themes such as friendship, perseverence, self-esteem and tolerance. We learn about famous people and theoir contributions to the history of mankind, and festivals and traditions from around the world. In our assemblies, we celebrate the achievements of those within our own and the wider community, as well as reflecting on ourselves as burgeoning learners.
As well as the learning that we organise during the school day, we also offer a wide range of before-and after-school clubs and activities. These are offered to different age groups at different times throughout the year. They include such areas as dance, Zumba, art, choir, board games, puppetry, netball, football, multi-skills, yoga, cricket, judo, sewing, musical theatre, athletics, creative writing, animation, coding, even Minecraft! We also offer a range of early morning and after-school revision booster sessions for our children in year 6 dduring the spring and early summer terms. We offer instrumental tuition during the school day, at lunchtimes and after school. These currently include guitar, violin and drumming. Many of our clubs are free or run at a very low cost to parents.
The school runs an 'Early Bird' sports club every morning before school, focusing on a different sport each day. Our 'Amigos' after-school club runs until 6pm from Monday to Thursday, and until 5pm on Fridays.
Further details of our school curriculum can be found via the page below. A more detailed curriculum document is available from the school office, which parents can request to see.