At Woodside Junior School, we understand that the children we teach today will shape and influence the world tomorrow. Our curriculum, therefore, is not only broad and balanced, but one that equips our pupils with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to thrive as individuals and members of society during the next phase of their education and beyond.
Our learning journey is built upon our core values: Resilience. Positivity. Proud. Responsible. Collaborative. Inquisitive. These golden threads that run through our curriculum, shape pupils’ behaviour and help them to be effective learners. We teach these values explicitly through whole-school assemblies and implicitly throughout our wider curriculum and the way adults model and interact with pupils on a daily basis.
We know that children thrive in an environment where they are taught a knowledge rich curriculum which is challenging and engaging. Using the National Curriculum as our bedrock, we have created a Woodside Curriculum which is carefully planned and sequenced. We understand that knowledge and skills do not exist in isolation. In each curriculum subject, we ensure that pupils are taught knowledge and skills in an order that helps them to make useful connections to prior learning and future learning and to embed key concepts in their long- term memory. Each subject is carefully mapped out to help our pupils acquire and retain new knowledge and develop increasingly complex skills and give them opportunities to practice and apply them over time.
We firmly believe in aspiration and ambition for all pupils. Consequently, our curriculum is engaging and rewarding for all children, regardless of their starting points or socio-economic background. Through equitable challenge, we aim to ensure that all of our pupils can access learning and that every child is able to read and write by the time they leave Woodside School. Our curriculum also acknowledges that children excel in different subjects such as, the arts, humanities or sport. We always strive to nurture individual talent and ambition.
We have designed our curriculum so that pupils can make meaningful links both within and across subjects to ensure that new knowledge makes sense in the broader curriculum and helps build connections between concepts and subjects. Our text-based approach to learning in English complements the topics being studied in History, DT, Art, Geography and Science. Subjects are taught discreetly but cross curricular links enable our pupils to successfully embed learning in their long-term memories whilst learning a curriculum of inter-connected topics which they find both engaging and enjoyable.
All staff expect high quality outcomes and are firm in creating rigorous learning opportunities for our pupils. Mathematical fluency and confidence in numeracy is a key part of our mastery approach to mathematics. Pupils are given time to fully explore mathematical concepts and challenge comes from investigating ideas in new and complex ways, rather than accelerating through new topics. Reading is prioritised and is taught each day using VIPERS (vocabulary, infer, predict, explain, retrieve, and summarise). We aim to build on prior phonics learning, supporting those who need direct instruction through the DfE accredited programme, as well as ensuring it remains a key focus for reading and spelling in Key Stage 2.
We place a strong emphasis on the teaching of vocabulary- not only in reading and writing- but in all areas of the curriculum. Pupils are introduced to new vocabulary within contexts that stimulate their thinking and is revisited throughout the year in a wide range of subjects. This allows pupils to gain a rich understanding of the meaning of the words encountered and a deeper understanding of the content being taught.
At Woodside School, our cultural capital exposes children to a wide variety of experiences that promote character building, resilience and confidence – all the qualities that will open up doors to different paths in later life. These enrichment activities include lunchtime and after school clubs; mixed-age activities; arts, music, sporting, charity and enterprise events; trips and workshops; STEM Ambassadors; and guest speakers. Our curriculum teaching exposes our pupils to music from a wide range of cultures, traditions and time periods; to artists, sporting icons, designers and scientists. Our extensive school grounds are also used by staff, including our Forest School trained leaders, to enrich our curriculum, as we understand the importance of outdoor learning in ensuring the holistic development of our pupils.
We have established links with the Amersham Music Centre and Rock Steady to provide additional music experiences. Our strong links with the local Sports Partnership and local athletics groups enable all pupils to participate in inter-school competitions including athletics, bench ball, multi-sports and dance. Our pupils particularly excel in cross-country competitions and Woodside have won a number of team medals. Additionally, our school has achieved the School Games Gold Award as well as the Primary Science Quality Mark Gilt - a prestigious national award for the teaching and learning of science. Schools that achieve the PSQM Gilt award have demonstrated an established and ongoing commitment and expertise in science subject leadership, teaching, and learning.
Interaction with the local community forms an essential part of our curriculum development as we want our learners to be connected to their local community. For example, pupils learn about the History of Amersham including the coming of the railway; Anglo-Saxon settlements around the river Misbourne, HS2, the impact of WW2 on the local area, and carry out local field studies in and around the area. We visit the Amersham Museum and participate in local projects such as Amersham in Bloom, Amersham Town Council’s recycling initiative and the Amersham Community board. We invite local speakers from the religious community as well as local magistrates and other local inspirational individuals to inspire our pupils.
We provide our pupils with opportunities to explore and develop their own values and beliefs, to develop a caring attitude to others and an appreciation of the diversity and richness of their own and other cultures. We endeavour to develop in pupils the skills and aptitudes, such as teamwork, communication, empathy, assertiveness, discussing, debating, cooperation, enquiry and resilience that are crucial to navigating the modern world. The skills and attributes they acquire during their time at Woodside are intended to have a positive impact on academic performance and life chances, as well as being key to improving social mobility.
Our school is committed to promoting the British Values, ensuring that our pupils are prepared for life in Modern Britain. Pupils also have a voice in the school through our pupil leadership teams and pupil voice surveys. We give our children an insight into what it means to be British in 21st century Britain, so that all pupils are fully prepared for their life-long journey of learning and understanding. To achieve this, our themed topics cover a range of cultures which have impacted and enriched British society.
We promote a whole school approach to well-being and both staff and pupils are engaged in this vital agenda which permeates all aspects of our school life. Transition from both infant to junior and junior to secondary are significant changes in a child’s education. As a result, we make great strides to ensure that our pupils settle quickly into Year 3 and are well-prepared for the secondary phase of their education. When our pupils reach the end of their time at Woodside, they are ready for the next step of their education, equipped with a range of knowledge and skills and confident in their own abilities to deal with any challenges they may face.
Excellent teaching and knowledgeable staff deliver our curriculum of carefully crafted lessons and additional enrichment activities. All areas of learning are underpinned by strong subject knowledge of our staff and leaders, who develop their practice through comprehensive CPD.
Specific subject knowledge and skills, outlined in our progression documents for each subject, are taught, revisited, and built upon by our teachers. Our curriculum has been carefully planned and sequenced and teachers, when delivering lessons, refer and make links to prior and future learning, and are able to do so as a result of continued professional development of their subject knowledge. These progression documents not only map the knowledge and skills but also include vocabulary progressions, recurring themes and significant individuals.
Our teachers make new learning ‘sticky’ by using images, guest speakers, videos, drama, stories, artefacts, songs, games and the media as a stimulus. Hands-on activities, artefacts, maps and atlases, collaborative tasks and debating lead to engaging and memorable lessons. Retrieval and recall activities are an essential part of all lessons and teachers incorporate these into their teaching using a range of interesting strategies which have been developed and refined through staff CPD.
Teachers check for understanding during lessons and this is used to shape and inform future learning. Assessments in both core and non- core subjects are used to identify gaps in learning and to seek out opportunities to accelerate progress. Knowledge organisers in science, history and geography underpin the learning that takes place in these subjects. Pupils are given opportunities to take quizzes and answer ‘big questions’ at the end of units to assess whether pupils have successfully ‘learnt’ what was intended.
Teachers model outcomes and set high standards through quality first teaching which embraces inclusive teaching for all pupils. Lessons are carefully planned and delivered to ensure that each new segment of learning builds upon the previous one to advance more complex learning by the end of each lesson. By breaking learning down into manageable parts, it allows our pupils to gain a subject specific disciplinary knowledge and build on the components they already know.
Our lessons are planned with clear outcomes and encourage pupils to be intrinsically ambitious in their own success. Our pupils are given opportunities to self-direct their learning, where appropriate, and encouraged to be motivated, engaged - giving them a sense of autonomy, choice, and responsibility for their own actions. Our staff understand that our pupils have different levels of prior knowledge and face potential barriers to their learning. Adaptive teaching and pre-teaching combined with targeted support and effective use of Learning Support Assistants, enables us to set high expectations for all and aim for all pupils to achieve the same curricular goals.
As a result of our carefully planned curriculum, and high-quality teaching, our pupils develop detailed knowledge and skills across all subject areas, and as a result achieve good outcomes. Woodside Junior School is a high achieving school. Our KS2 attainment of the expected standard in reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as spelling, grammar and punctuation, has consistently been significantly above the national average and in the highest 20% of schools nationally. These results truly reflect what our pupils have learnt during their time at Woodside in the core subjects.
Our pupils produce work across the curriculum to a high standard. They learn to take pride in their presentation, learning and achievements. We draw evidence of how well our pupils achieve from a wide variety of sources such as, internal tests, pupil voice, book scrutinies, learning walks and lesson observations. Disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND achieve the best possible outcomes during their time at Woodside.
Our curriculum helps pupils to develop the knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. Additionally, our PSHE curriculum and ‘personal development’ plays a vital part in preparing our pupils for life in modern Britain, providing them with the information they need to deal with the responsibilities and challenges they will face as they grow up. Pupils leave Woodside equipped with the knowledge they need to talk about their feelings and well-being; nourish their physical and emotional health; celebrate their own uniqueness and feel a sense of pride in their achievements. Our curriculum equips our pupils with skills and aptitudes such as teamwork, communication, empathy, assertiveness, cooperation and resilience - all skills that are crucial to navigating the modern world and are increasingly valued by employers.
Woodside curriculum enables the acquisition of the key knowledge and skills needed to be able to make links and inferences about different ideas and opinions. Combined, this allows pupils to confidently take part in discussions about the world around them and ensures that they understand the democratic context in which British society functions. The Woodside curriculum provides cultural capital and gives children the knowledge needed to prepare them for their future successes and be educated citizens.
If the purpose of education is to prepare our pupils for the next stage of their education and beyond, then we are confident that our pupils are making progress in terms of ‘knowing more, remembering more, and being able to do more.’ We ensure that pupils leaving our school are ‘secondary ready’, equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the next stage of their education so that ultimately they can go on to lead successful lives.