Latest External Curriculum Review July 2021
We recently reviewed our Learning Challenge Curriculum with our Learn Sheffield school improvement partner. To make that possible during Covid we took our science learning into our outdoor classroom spaces! Children proudly and confidently shared their learning and knowledge, including their personal learning space on the school's online Google Classroom platform.
I am delighted to share some of the outcomes with you.
Well done team Arbourthorne!
'Arbourthorne’s curriculum is exciting and ambitious and offers pupils rich, progressive, holistic learning, based on the skills, knowledge and attributes that that they will need as citizens of the future.'
'Leaders, teachers and TAs are being strategic and going the extra mile to ensure individual pupils who have fallen behind are supported to catch-up.'
Extracts from the report:
The curriculum is designed to broaden horizons and address gaps in knowledge, given the school’s context where two thirds of the pupils are disadvantaged.
The 6 part curriculum model provides clarity, coverage and expectation in line with the National curriculum. It is well sequenced; the subject -specific progression strands make it clear which concepts children are expected to grasp and pupils’ long term memory is directed towards these, in addition to the knowledge they are acquiring. For example, pupils were able to talk about “cause and consequence” when showing their work from the previous term’s WW2 history topic.
The curriculum is broad and balanced, with a whole school science, history and geography “driver” identified for each of the three terms. The knowledge and skills for the other foundation subjects and PSHE are also carefully mapped out in medium term plans. A termly approach is providing time for greater depth in learning, and is reflected in the quality of work in the pupils’ Proud Books seen in the review.
The medium and short-term planning is very much enhanced by the attractive knowledge organisers which make the key questions and activities clear to children and parents at the beginning of the term. Similarly, pupils enjoy the workbooks that cover the content of each lesson within a unit of work, and which show the sequence of learning and contribute to building up knowledge over time. This structure provides coherence but teachers are encouraged to be imaginative, provide memorable experiences and to enable pupils to present, talk and work collaboratively.
During the Science learning walk, every class was involved in scientific enquiry outdoors. Foundation Stage children were engaged, joyful, sustained concentration, talked and collaborated together...KS1 opportunities were equally rich...
Throughout, there was skilful interaction between adults and children, tailored to individual children’s needs...some particularly effective teaching was seen in the Y6 group, where the teacher clearly challenged the pupils’ thinking and observations about the DNA of onions.
Pupils with SEND access the full curriculum but are supported through a range of strategies such as the use of Google Classroom, pre and post -learning, specific resources and the use of QR codes to capture spoken responses. Similarly the curriculum provides challenge for gifted children including Latin lessons and a bespoke after school club.
A high priority is given to the development of literacy skills across the curriculum. There is a focus on developing vocabulary; Y5 and 6 pupils used subject- specific vocabulary confidently in pupil interviews.
The school has a rigorous approach to the teaching of reading, including reading for comprehension and pleasure; Power of Reading texts complement the Learning Challenge curriculum and pupils were enthusiastic to talk about these books. Writing skills are taught through foundation subjects in Essay lessons as this is an area where gaps have developed during lockdown. In discussion about the Proud books, pupils understood that redrafting is an important part of producing the best work they are capable of.
Similarly arts and creativity continue to be promoted throughout, with wonderful work produced in particular by the Artist in Residence, working with children and families, including through lockdown.
With regard to impact, leaders report that progress data through the autumn term (before lockdown) was higher than for any previous year. This applies to writing and maths but the greatest gains were made in reading, the key priority. Since the end of lockdown, pupil progress meetings are more frequent and focus tightly on individual children falling behind.
Leaders and staff are capitalising on developments in teaching and learning secured by the circumstances of the pandemic and lockdown.
The school provided exceptional support for families and children learning at home. (see Remote Learning Evaluation January 2021) As a result of the rapid advances in the use of technology by all staff, and the provision of resources and support for families, the school is now in a position to use a blended learning curriculum as a matter of course. This benefits pupils of different abilities, widens the resources teachers use, encourages parental involvement and gives pupils confidence in presenting their learning digitally.
Leaders are aware that they are currently mitigating 15 months of disruption. Because of the impact of the pandemic on families, there is a concerted effort to re-focus on the school’s core values and to raise the profile of PSHE especially around respect for diversity. Developments in this area provide a good example of the school’s curriculum response to the needs of children and the community.
Arbourthorne has an outstanding track record in making the school a community hub, both for the benefit of children’s learning and for the welfare of families. As a result of the positive relationships with families, the support offered through the pandemic and through the Better Arbourthorne project, and the development of high quality home learning, the school is benefitting from increased parental engagement in the curriculum
Leaders are continuing to develop innovative curriculum practice. Having been awarded a grant by a funding body, and working with Sheffield University, the school will become a Maker School to develop STEAM from September 2021. Pupils will “learn by doing” and will develop the skills and knowledge to manipulate materials, use tools and code software. They will cover topics that include computing, coding and robotics, 3D digital design and fabrication, and electronics. This is an ambitious approach, relevant to the pupils’ needs that will enliven the curriculum, raise aspiration and prepare children for life in the 21st century.
Learn Sheffield June 2021
Welcome from our Headteacher Vanessa Langley
I would like to extend a very warm welcome to you from all of us at Arbourthorne Community Primary School.
I first entered the teaching profession because I loved the excitement, curiosity and energy for life and learning of young children and could think of no better job than helping and influencing children to discover and achieve their dreams and to lay the foundations for future success. Twenty three years later with fourteen as Headteacher of Arbourthorne, I feel exactly the same and have the privilege of leading a team of talented and inspirational colleagues who share that same vision at Arbourthorne.
Children and families feel part of something special at Arbourthorne. They thrive because the staff take time to know the children as individuals and their families and build meaningful relationships. Children are at the heart of all decisions made by our team. In our school, everything we do is based on the simple belief that all children will achieve highly given the right levels of support and inspiration and that each child has many talents that can be discovered and grown. We know that children flourish personally and academically when they feel safe, happy and are inspired by talented teachers and supported by a community that knows and appreciates them as individuals.
We are proud of the children’s creative, artistic, sporting and academic success from starting points and we encourage and develop these talents at every opportunity.
Our school curriculum has been consistently broad and well balanced for many years and builds carefully on prior knowledge. It has been praised by OfSTED. We have employed an artist in residence, Jayne Cooper, for thirteen years and the result of her work with families and colleagues has been outstanding. Her focus is to develop language and literacy through the arts. Our curriculum aims to open doors and broaden horizons and builds on what children already know, what they need to know and what they want to find out, encouraging curiosity and a love of learning.
Arbourthorne celebrates the success of all abilities in a nurturing and caring atmosphere and every visitor comments on the warmth, friendliness and kindness of the staff and children. Children are encouraged to join in with our sporting activities at lunchtimes and a range of after school clubs and we run family events and holiday clubs throughout the year.
We have a life skills house in our school grounds called ‘Red Robin House’ which opened in 2014 and children from foundation stage to Year Six learn core skills such as cooking a meal from scratch, sewing, baking cakes, growing vegetables, living a healthy lifestyle, mending a puncture on a bike, calling emergency services and caring for the community. We run activities for families and work closely with other providers to offer training and support groups for the community.
We want our children to play an active role in supporting their community and sharing their strengths and skills to make their world a better place and we build a curriculum that allows this to happen. Our 'Better Arbourthorne Project' is helping to extend our offer to the community. We now have a community fridge, a low cost clothes shop run by a parent and a team of parents lead a family feast in which they cook and share meals with up to 100 people each week. We have volunteers working extensively across the school and they are rewarded for sharing their skills and expertise in a special partnership with St Mary's Timebuilders. This year we launched Arbourthorne 'Hearts of Gold' to celebrate the children who show care for others in school by helping them to read, teaching a new skill or helping volunteer to help others generally in school.
In 2021-22, we are working in very close partnership with The University of Sheffield as we capitalise on an increase in technology in the home and school during Covid , and this year we are working to become the first Sheffield Maker School developing Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths subjects through a real life problem solving approach whilst developing 21st Century skills such as critical thinking and team work. Our staff team are being upskilled by the University to understand how to teach computing, coding and robotics, digital literacy, 3D design and fabrication, electronics, materials and tools. This is a year long action research project and is language and experience rich, developing our ambition for our learners and allowing children opportunities to develop the core values in action.
Our children have personality and we celebrate character and individuality. We foster social skills and attitudes through our 8 core values which are designed to create good citizens in society; citizens who are respectful and tolerant of others, who aim high in all aspects of their life and can work with confidence in a team situation. Our children have enquiring minds and the motivation to succeed. We are proud of the way in which our children are prepared for secondary school and the good citizens they become within this community.
Reading our website is important but visiting the school and getting a feel of the atmosphere, meeting our wonderful children and seeing the interaction between staff and children and the eight core values in action will truly help you understand what we are all about.
Please make an appointment to visit our school by calling the school office on 0114 2398163. You will be warmly welcomed!
Ms Vanessa Langley
A little bit about us...
Click on the link below and watch our latest video introducing you to life at Arbourthorne Community Primary School.
If you want to arrange a visit as a prospective parent, to volunteer with us or if you are interested in our approach and want to see for yourself, you will be warmly welcomed by us all.
Buddy visits for Wellbeing Wednesday
Buddy was very much loved by all the children and staff on his visit to school. Buddy and Dom, his owner, loved Team Arbourthorne too!
"What an awesome school! I’ve loved today, nearly as much as Buddy! From the first reply to my email, months ago, to my visit today, awesome! From the very first welcome as I drove in to school this morning to the goodbye at the end, every member of staff was helpful, made me feel welcome and looked happy! That’s not something I see in other schools!!"
Dom McDermott (Beyond The 4 Walls)
Remote Learning Review
We recently reviewed our approaches to Remote Learning with our Learn Sheffield Improvement partner. We continue to strive for excellence in all we provide for our children and families during these more challenging times. There may be occasions when children still need to access learning online. Do let us know if you need any help with online learning, food support, debt management or just need someone to talk to. You have done a wonderful job during this challenging time and your best is good enough! Be kind to yourself.
' The school's practice is exemplary. Current practice is testament, and build on Arbourthorne's well-established and shared values, curriculum structures and teaching principles, expectations, learning behaviours and relationships.'
Marie Lowe Learn Sheffield
One reason why you might choose Arbourthorne for your child!
''I like school so much because all you see when you come through the entrance- there's always a smile on everyone's face and there's hardly one person that has a grumpy face and the school is also full of kindness.''
"I cannot believe the generosity of Arbourthorne School. I have never experienced generosity from anywhere like this and I am very grateful for all the support school offers and I am very proud to be part of the school"
Parent of child supported by pastoral team during Covid lockdown February 2021