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  /  Curriculum

Fairlands Middle School is part of the Wessex Learning Trust.  While each school in the Trust has its own identity and autonomy, there are strong links between these schools. These important links provide excellent opportunities for liaison, which ensures that the pupils in the Cheddar Valley have a seamless transition, with regard to the curriculum they are taught, from one phase of education to the next.

The Fairlands curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of our pupils, who are at a special point in their learning. They are at an age where they are at ease with school life and their natural curiosity gives them a thirst for learning without the distractions of adolescent life. The curriculum is designed to educate the whole child. It is broad and balanced, engaging and motivating, while making sure that pupils’ thinking is constantly challenged, so that they develop independent, enquiring minds. The ethos of our school, which is incorporated in our curriculum, reflects British values. It aims to foster social, moral, cultural and spiritual awareness in pupils and equip them with the skills they will need to be responsible citizens in an ever changing world.

The 2014 National Curriculum aligns itself well with the curriculum already taught at Fairlands, as it advocates deepening pupils’ understanding rather than accelerating their learning beyond their years. Our curriculum is differentiated in order to provide equality for all learning differences. We always have high expectations of our pupils, but offer enough support to those who need it, so that they have the confidence to accept the challenges presented by their teachers. A wide range of teaching and learning styles is used in the delivery of the curriculum, which provides a wealth of rich experiences and encourages creativity in our pupils. Progress in learning is based on the premise of encouraging pupils to improve by offering them a balance of honest praise, linked with constructive criticism which sets out the next steps they need to take to improve. This forms the basis of our marking policy. Reflection time is built into our lesson time to give pupils the opportunity to capitalise on this style of marking and make real improvements to their work. The pupils’ progress is measured both summatively and formatively and it is the latter which informs planning for the next lesson.

The benefit of a middle school curriculum is that pupils experience specialist teaching in specialist rooms, such as science laboratories and design technology rooms, from Year 5, when they join our school. Despite this specialism, the skills of literacy and numeracy run through the whole curriculum at Fairlands. These are key skills needed in the workplace and are taught across the curriculum, not just in English and mathematics lessons. Other skills for life, such as independent thinking and problem solving, are woven into the taught curriculum across the subject areas. Our Year 6 pupils do sit national tests in spelling and grammar, reading and mathematics. However, these tests do not impact on the rest of the Year 6 curriculum and all subjects are taught alongside English and mathematics all year.

Our curriculum subjects are organised into faculties:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Global Communications (French, citizenship, computing, PSHE, CC, careers)
  • Expressive Arts (PE, performing arts, art, textiles)
  • Science & Technology (science, design technology, resistant materials, food technology)

In both Key Stages 2 and 3 pupils are taught the full range of subjects. The curriculum is divided up as follows:

At KS2 pupils’ weekly timetable is made up of:

  • 6 lessons each of English and maths in Year 5 and 6 in Year 6
  • 3 lessons of science
  • 3 lessons of humanities (comprising history, geography and RE)
  • 2 lessons of PE
  • 1 lesson each of art, design technology (food, textiles and resistant materials) CC (citizenship, ICT, performing arts, french)

At KS3 pupils’ weekly timetable is made up of:

  • 4 lessons each of English and mathematics
  • 3 lessons each of French and science
  • 4 lessons of humanities ( including history, geography and RE)
  • 2 lessons of PE
  • 1 lesson each of computing, citizenship, food and textiles, resistant materials, art, and performing arts

An important part of our curriculum is learning outside the classroom and fieldwork plays an important part in the teaching of humanities. We also offer residential visits, which develop pupils’ social skills and encourage them to be independent, as well as enhancing work in different curriculum areas. We sometimes feel that it is better to study something in depth and to this end we have collapsed timetable learning. In particular, we use this style to deliver health and sex and relationship education. We have also introduced enrichment days, which give staff the opportunity to lead learning with a particular focus on their subject specialism. Learning is not confined to school and we like our parents to be involved in their children’s education as well. Parents can be kept up to date with what their children are learning in school in a variety of subjects by logging on to Edmodo, our learning platform website. In addition, a variety of homeworks are set across the curriculum to reinforce, enhance and extend work covered in lessons and also to involve parents in their children’s learning.

Whole school Intent statement

The Fairlands curriculum reflects our passion that every child should feel a sense of inclusion whilst in their school and their wider communities. Our pupils should all leave with an awareness of their world around them.

Our curriculum aims to inspire pupils through developing the knowledge, understanding the concepts and acquiring the skills that will best equip them in fulfilling their aspirations.

Through our broad and balance curriculum offer, pupils will develop the communication skills and self-confidence to manage the challenges that lie ahead of them.

Curriculum Intent statements

At Fairlands, our aim is to engage, inspire and challenge all pupils through the delivery of a wide-ranging skills based art curriculum that will enable pupils to express their ideas and respond creatively to the world around them.

At Fairlands, pupils undertake a programme of careers education as part of their citizenship, health education and tutor enrichment programmes.  In Years 5 and 6, pupils develop awareness about careers now and in the future. Pupils are encouraged to widen their horizons and learn to not close down options. Throughout Years 7 and 8, pupils will develop knowledge about careers and the impact of making option choices and decisions.

Fairlands citizenship education helps to provide all pupils with the knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society. We inspire pupils to recognise rights and responsibilities as well as develop a commitment to the ideals of democracy and rule of law.

Computing at Fairlands ensures that pupils become digitally literate at a suitable level to aid them in future workplaces. Pupils are taught the principles of information, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Pupils will also be able to create programs and systems in arrange of contexts.

The drama curriculum compliments the English curriculum at KS3. It is used as a tool to explore the set texts in English and as inspiration for writing. Alongside this, pupils develop the drama skills introduced during CID at KS2 surrounding the key concepts of creating, performing and responding. The drama curriculum aims to develop the life-long skills of social interaction, group work, self-confidence and esteem. In addition, drama promotes respect, tolerance and understanding of others and of the world around them.

DT at Fairlands is taught through varied contexts and a variety of practical activities, pupils are taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in the process of designing and making. In food and nutrition pupils are taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating.

The over-riding aim of the English department is to promote high standards of literacy by equipping children with a strong command for the spoken and written word. We promote, foster and develop pupils’ love of literature and language through wide-spread reading for enjoyment within our curriculum. We encourage pupils to be creative; to take risks with their written work and to develop their own individual styles. We promote an appreciation for our rich literary heritage and make links to other curriculum areas. We encourage students to think deeply and reflect on what they have learned in order to become independent, life-long learners.

The Fairlands geography curriculum stimulates an interest in and a sense of wonder and respect about the world we live in. We aim to equip pupils with the knowledge and skills to help them become informed and responsible global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and their responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet. We will enable pupils with the skills to think geographically about their constantly changing world, looking at it from different perspectives and understanding it in new ways.  It explains where places are, how places and landscapes are formed, how people and their environments interact, and how a diverse range of economies, societies and environments are interconnected. Geography enquiry and fieldwork encourages questioning, investigation and critical thinking in order for pupils’ to make sense of their world and think about future challenges that they will face.

The Fairlands history curriculum helps pupils to gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We aim to inspire in pupil’s fascination and curiosity about the past as well as preparing them with the skills for working and living in the contemporary world. Pupils will consider how the past influences the present, what societies were like and what beliefs and cultures affected people’s actions. As they do this pupil’s will develop a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. They will see the diversity of human experience and reflect on their own views, choices and values.  We want to equip pupils with the skills to ask questions, think critically, weigh up evidence, produce arguments and conclusions- skills that are prized in adult life.

Mathematics education at Fairlands provides pupils with the knowledge and skills to use maths in a wide range of situations and apply these skills to everyday life. We encourage pupils to approach problems confidently by being able to communicate explanations in a range of forms (concrete, pictorial and abstract) and to be able to problem solve using their mathematical understanding.

The learning of a Modern Foreign Language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for the pupils.  Pupils develop communication and literacy skills that lay the foundation for future language learning.  They develop linguistic competence, extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between the foreign language and English.  Learning another language raises awareness of the multilingual and multicultural world and introduces an international dimension to pupils’ learning, giving them an insight into their own culture and those of others.  The learning of a foreign language provides a medium for cross-curricular links and for reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understanding developed in other subjects.

The music curriculum at Fairlands provides all pupils with the inspiration and skills to listen to, perform and create music from a wide range of styles, genres and traditions.  Activities are planned to allow pupils to develop both the self-confidence to meet challenges in school and beyond, and the ability to communicate effectively with others.

The PE curriculum fully embraces inclusion and aims to inspire students to continue their sporting journey throughout life. All students will participate in a broad and balanced curriculum developing their skills, knowledge and understanding or many sports. They will also develop their self-confidence; communication and teamwork to help them for fill their aspirations and goals in later years.

PSHE education allows children to acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives now and in the future. It develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society, in addition to living healthy, safe, productive, capable, responsible and balanced lives. Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) informs children and young people about relationships, emotions, sex, sexuality and sexual health. All children, including those who develop earlier than the average, need to know about puberty before they experience the onset of physical change. Learning about sex and relationships is a lifelong process, beginning in early childhood and continuing throughout adult life.

The Fairlands RE curriculum allows pupils to acquire knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices of the religions and world views, which not only shape their history and culture, but also guides their own personal development. The modern world needs young people who are sufficiently confident in their own beliefs and values that they can respect and be sensitive to religious and cultural differences of others, and contribute to a cohesive and compassionate society.  We want pupils to recognise the challenges involved in distinguishing between ideas of right and wrong, and valuing what is good and true. As well as reflecting upon and evaluating the role of religion and belief in the world today, pupils will be encouraged to share their own views, ideas and experiences. They will learn to produce reasoned, thoughtful arguments and well supported conclusions, especially when engaging with questions of meaning and ethical issues.

Fairlands Middle School science education fosters a curiosity, interest and enjoyment of all branches of science through a wide body of scientific knowledge and skills. It strives to provide pupils with an awareness of the implications of science (both past and present) on not only the individual but also the local community and the wider global environment. Using the scientific method and employing teaching methods and resources intended to give all pupils equal access, pupils will work both independently and as part of a team to develop informed opinions of science supported with reasoned argument.

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