Here at Cockton Hill Junior School we believe in delivering a broad and balanced curriculum. We structure our curriculum around the National Curriculum 2014 and supplement it further with activities and topics that interest and motivate our pupils.
We believe we are preparing our children to study to a high standard – including University – and learning all aspects of the curriculum well allows children to realise career goals. Shaping children’s futures is fundamental and we support our children in realising their full potential in all areas of the curriculum as well as helping them to excel in their interests and passions.
Our curriculum is innovative, rich and varied; it is relevant for our children living in a town in the North-East of England in the 21st Century. It aims to celebrate all social and academic skills and subjects – mindful of our geographical place within the UK. Our cultural heritage centres around Auckland castle being the seat of the Bishop of Durham and the market town which grew from that to serve as a central hub for local pit villages.
We believe our children are central to their learning experiences. They are asked what they already know and teachers use this to plan learning journeys which help our pupils deepen their understanding and explore new learning. Progression documents clearly outline key skills and identify the knowledge we want children to retain to long term memory. From sharing unit hooks, learning is developed with the children to ensure they can actively participate in their own learning journeys inspiring and motivating them to learn and be inspired by new and exciting knowledge.
We teach the full range of subjects and these are initially planned as stand-alone subjects. The teaching of subjects in this way does not mean cross-curricular links are not present but in order to prepare children for life beyond our school subjects are best delivered and taught in this way. In this sense, cross curricular links are fostered where they occur with relevance and clarity rather than forcing aspects to fit.
Subject teaching is delivered in teaching blocks. This model has ensured that progression in skills and knowledge is embedded well across school. Teaching and learning focuses on one main foundation subject during block teaching and this builds knowledge and skills rapidly.
Our learning journeys are structured to support an enquiry based approach and include 4 key elements:
Enquiry Based Questioning
Children learn by asking probing questions and finding out answers. By doing this, they discover new knowledge and can learn new learning skills.
Within each episode of learning, children are asked or ask a question which encourages deep thinking. This could have a literal answer which requires research and careful reading or by contacting an expert to ask for some information to help them. The question may not have a definite answer and children may need to use their new found knowledge to make predictions or think “What if…”
Using speaking and listening, children then articulate what they have discovered using high-level vocabulary and choose unique ways to represent this to their peers. We encourage our children to be always inquisitive, to challenge thinking and make their own predictions for what they might discover.
Real and Relevant Contexts
We believe we live in the most fascinating location in the United Kingdom. On our doorstep we have fascinating history, a wide and varied geographical landscape, famous artist and musicians… Our children need to be aware of the locality within which they are growing up and learn from its past so they can shape its future.
With this in mind, all learning across the curriculum stems from real life contexts. Not only does this enable pupils to see a Real and Relevant context, they learn about their local communities of Bishop Auckland, Durham and the North East. Only then can they explore our great land and the wonderful planet with all the unique learning it has to offer.
Every aspect of a learning journey needs to be rooted in real life. In Art, this may be a painting, in Music a piece of classical composition or in History a real-life artefact. It may be a video, a visit or visitor, some reading or an experience. It is a real life-event or a simple fact which can catch the pupils’ imagination. Only then will our pupils be inspired to deepen their knowledge on their continuous learning journey.
Learn Something New
Learning is a continuous journey. No matter the subject area, our children need to deepen their knowledge and understanding, building upon prior knowledge to find answers to their questions and predictions. It is vital therefore, that learning begins with what we already know. Staff then need to build a journey which meets the needs of their learners – helping them to deepen their knowledge and ensure key facts are secured and remembered.
Subject specific skills are carefully mapped out to progressively build upon prior learning so pupils are continuously learning something new and recalling the facts they need in order to articulate their understanding.
Present Our Learning
Pupils articulating their learning is the best way for them to deepen and secure new and exciting facts and skills as well as reinforcing the important vocabulary related to their new learning.
Where possible, children are given autonomy in how they present their learning. This can vary depending on the stage in the learning journey and the focus of their work. It could include a poster, a written outcome, a thinking map, an oral presentation. It may be an individual response or with a partner or small group. A focus on the skills being learnt, the vocabulary used and the knowledge children keep stuck in their minds is key to enabling pupils to engage in a continuous learning journey.
It is the aim of our curriculum that children develop the skills to drive their own learning and can, in identified units, work collaboratively to self-organise their journeys towards an independently chosen outcome.
Our first priority is that all children acquire competence in the basic skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing and number. These skills will then enable children to engage fully in the wider opportunities offered to them in other curriculum areas. English and Maths are taught daily, usually each morning and lessons build on previous work. A ‘Keep Up’ approach is central in order for all children to be well-prepared for the next steps in learning.
Meeting Individual Needs
By matching activities to children’s individual abilities and interests, we give each child the opportunity to experience success as we believe achievement builds confidence alongside competence. Well-planned and carefully tracked ‘Catch Up’ interventions supplement the ‘Keep Up’ curriculum to support children who require a more focused unit of work.
More Able and Talented
In our school, we have pupils at the top end of their ability range in their year group. These children are known as ‘More Able and Talented.’ Every teacher at Cockton Hill Junior School provides these children with additional challenges in their particular strength, to enhance their educational achievement.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
At Cockton Hill Junior School we recognise that all pupils are entitled to a quality of provision that will enable them to achieve their potential. We believe in positive intervention, removing barriers to learning, raising expectations and levels of achievement and working in partnership with other agencies in order to provide a positive educational experience for all our pupils including those with a special educational need or disability.
Our SEND Information Report (SIR) provides details of how we support children with SEND and their families.
Further information can also be found in the SEND section of the school website.
If you would like to discuss your child’s needs in more detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment on 01388 602058 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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