In September 2014 the Government introduced the new National Curriculum. There has been substantial guidance around the content for subjects in the curriculum that we are to teach in school, and at Newnham St Peter’s C of E Primary, we have used this as an opportunity to review the way that we teach the curriculum.
We have a continuous focus in school to help our children achieve the best outcomes possible; develop their independence and love of learning. We therefore wanted to take the opportunity to make sure that the way that we approach our curriculum allows these attributes to be developed in our children.
From September 2014 children in classes will undertake Learning Challenges. Each term, children will be set a Challenge that allows them to investigate key areas of subjects, to gain understanding and knowledge but also to use that learning to achieve a Challenge. The outcome of the challenge will be about doing something for real – it may be an event, a product, a celebration, a campaign, some fundraising or a performance for example. Children have to think about what the best outcome will be as a way of fulfilling their challenge and using their learning about their subjects to make this happen.
We feel that this approach will really help children to apply their skills from the National Curriculum subjects and use their understanding in real life opportunities; getting them thinking about achieving, persevering and making a difference – whether that is about connecting to a community, raising people’s awareness of a subject, or running an enterprise.
The process followed is set out below in summary. A more detailed illustration is permanently on display in school.
For the autumn term 2014 the challenge was to set up a Museum in the local village and invite parents, carers and local people along. You can see photographs of the exhibits, the three day event and also posters and brochures in the Children’s Gallery on this website.
The children have found it both more challenging and more interesting. Consequently they are more motivated and keen to engage and learn.
These are some of their thoughts…..
“We’re going to make a museum. We’ve made pots, lamp holders for Florence Nightingale, Great Fire of London houses, sketches of Samuel Pepys”….Y1/2 pupil.
Are you completing your homework linked to the Challenge? “[I am] enjoying doing the topic at home...learn lots, fun, interesting”….Y3/4 pupil.
What is the challenge you are working towards? “To create a Museum for the public at the Armoury Hall. The story I’m writing is really good and it’s going into the Museum”….Y5/6 pupil.
Parents too have been impressed.
“The level of work was outstanding and the children and staff obviously put a lot of effort into their projects, showing commitment, creativity, great understanding skill and care in the presentation”….parent..
We hope that you will see the benefits that this approach to the curriculum will have on our children, our school and our community. If you are interested in getting involved in any of the challenges, especially if you feel that you have expertise to share, do please get in touch with the School Office.