At Polesden Lacey Infant School, we teach a curriculum that is exciting, fun and imaginative. You can walk into any of our classrooms and find children who are engaged in thinking, questioning and learning. We have a long tradition of providing a rich curriculum where music, sport and art have a prominent place.
In order for our pupils to be well-prepared for the next phase of their education, we believe our curriculum and its implementation must develop pupils who are enquiring, independent, have a growth-mind set and high aspirations. Alongside these qualities needed for academic success, our school values pervade our approach, so developing a sense of caring, resilience, courage, curiosity, fairness and respect are just as important.
Our beautiful school and the local area provide a fantastic resource for teaching our curriculum, By the time our pupils leave us they will have built dens in the woods, drunk hot chocolate around a fire, explored Polesden Lacey House and learnt about Mrs. Greville who lived and entertained there, visited our local mosque and synagogue. We also expect our children to have a good understanding of history, culture and geography beyond Bookham to enable them to have a wider understanding of the world.
We aim for our curriculum to be relevant to each child in the school, regardless of their age, gender, individual circumstances or academic ability. We think carefully about how curriculum skills develop as a child grows older, and the key knowledge they need to learn at each stage. Subject leaders take responsibility for overseeing this. The content of each subject is sequential, building on prior learning. Alongside this, we intend the implementation of our curriculum to have some fluidity – this means that pupils with special educational needs may access the curriculum in different and often very practical ways, whilst ensuring those who attain ‘greater depth’ standards are challenged, inspired and curious.
The school enriches the National Curriculum programmes of study and motivates and engages pupils by ‘bringing learning to life’. An example of this is Year 2 learning about instructions through a visit to Polesden Lacey National Trust to pick apples and make an apple crumble. All areas of the curriculum are valued and enrichment opportunities are offered across the year.
Fundamental British Values permeate the work of the school. The school curriculum promotes respect, tolerance and diversity. Children are encouraged to express themselves through discussion and debating. This is done partly through our unique use of Circle time where all pupils are involved in discussing both school issues as well as current national and international topics. Children are made aware of the potential for change that individuals can bring about through action, campaigning and lobbying. All children also have the opportunity to participate in Forest School during curriculum time and this is being woven throughout the curriculum. To elect pupils for the local schools’ Infant Council the pupils in Year 2 held an election where pupils stood for election, make a short speech and then voted through a secret ballot.
Reading has a strong focus at Polesden Lacey Infant School. In addition to being taught phonics and reading skills, children are encouraged to read for enjoyment. Teachers read aloud high-quality texts in every class as well as providing story clubs, library challenges and author visits.
High academic standards are an important goal for the school, and our focus on whole class reading, promoting maths fluency, supporting children to have a broad vocabulary and providing meaningful cross-curricular writing opportunities are some of the ways we have deliberately focused on ensuring pupils leave our school literate and numerate.
At Polesden Lacey Infant School you will see a connected curriculum which allows children to make links between subjects and for knowledge to be revisited. Our curriculum is under constant review in response to developments in education, our local context and our intent for the children. The teaching of important skills is enlivened by strong school traditions, staff and local specialists and some fantastic local, national and even international resources. We carefully consider, through regular staff and smaller team meetings, how our curriculum will meet the needs of all our pupils, changing the content to focus on specific knowledge and key skills or to make the learning accessible to our pupils' range of abilities and interests.
The Christmas Tea Party, held during the Autumn term, provides a real purpose for developing musical and cookery skills, whilst giving the children the chance to meet older people from the community, learn organisation skills and use their initiative.
At Polesden Lacey Infant School you will see pupils embracing the curriculum in a variety of ways. For some, a local specialist or a school trip provokes a deep interest and pupils will choose to explore aspects of the curriculum in great depth, often at home. For others, the curriculum is simplified with very practical and physical experiences so that learning is memorable. Our recent work on forming curriculum progression maps, led by subject leaders, has been a key development in ensuring that the curriculum is not just exciting, but also ambitious providing appropriate challenge as children move through the school.
The impact of our curriculum can be seen in the standards our children attain at the end of infant school. Children at Polesden Lacey Infant School make good progress and attain consistently better than national expectations at the end of key stage 1. In addition to our success in reading, writing and maths, our provision of enrichment opportunities enables pupils to achieve high standards across all areas of the curriculum.
Our pupils also demonstrate the impact of our curriculum through their behaviour for learning; children are confident and successful learners. Buddy reading and peer-to-peer teaching ensure older children support younger pupils which helps to build relationships across the school community. Polesden Lacey pupils feel motivated and are not afraid of ‘having a go’ and 'stretching their brains'. They enjoy sharing their learning with each other and visitors.
Visitors to Polesden Lacey Infant School often comment on the behaviour of the children. They are caring and supportive of each other. Our pupils have a voice and know they are not too young to make a difference. The eco-friendly and the Fairtrade initiatives that the school adopts are driven by the children.
The impact can be seen in the way our pupils make the transition to their next school. Feedback from Junior schools that Polesden children attend, is overwhelmingly positive about their behaviour and attitudes to learning.
The National Curriculum
The National Curriculum (NC) provides both the content and the framework for most of what we teach at Polesden Lacey Infant School. In the Early Years, children experience the seven areas of learning required as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. Older children in Key Stage One are taught the ‘core’ subjects of English, Mathematics and Science and the ‘foundation’ subjects of History, Geography, Music, Art, Physical Education (PE), Design and Technology (DT), Computing and Religious Education (RE).
Where possible the curriculum is delivered through cross-curricular themes to connect work from different subjects together, allowing children to make effective links in their learning.
The National Curriculum also requires that children are ‘secondary ready’ by the time they leave primary school. At Polesden Lacey Infant School we believe that we are preparing the children to move to junior school. However, we also believe it is essential that the process by which this is achieved is as creative, engaging and exciting as possible, and instills an enthusiasm for learning which lasts long after the children have left this school.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, reading is supported through the use of a structured scheme which guides children through the early stages of learning to read. Daily phonics sessions based on the a combination of Jolly Phonics and DfE’s 'Letters and Sounds'. The children also have access to a wider range of books with rich language and content.
Equal attention is given to pupils becoming numerate. Children are taught mathematics using a ‘mastery’ approach i.e. teachers must ensure that all children acquire the required knowledge and skills before moving on to new concepts.
Keeping Families Informed
We have high expectations of academic achievement at Polesden Lacey and we follow the progress of each child individually. We encourage parents and carers to take a keen interest in their children’s education and give regular updates on what their child is learning. Each term, class teachers send home a letter setting out the main subject areas to be covered. In addition, teachers keep parents informed through a weekly overview which gives further details about areas of the curriculum that have been taught during the week.
We have a duty to promote pupil wellbeing and pupil safeguarding. Our PSHE education plays an important part in fulfilling all of these responsibilities. We use the PSHE association across the school to bring together all aspects of PSHE: emotional literacy, mindfulness, social skills, spiritual development, healthy living and relationships.