The KVPS Curriculum
At Kirkstall Valley Primary School, our vision for our curriculum is at the heart of everything we do, from teaching and learning to our extra-curricular offer; from daily activities such as assemblies to longer-term projects and collaborative events.
We are committed to ensuring that our curriculum offer is inclusive, comprehensive and cohesive. The full range of core and foundation subjects is carefully mapped so that all children end their primary years having mastered a range concepts, procedures and skills that fuel a thirst for learning, prepare them for future study and develop an understanding of the world in which they live.
Whilst in Early Years, children enjoy a wide range of activities delivered through a positive, stimulating curriculum developed in response to children’s interests and needs. We believe that children learn more effectively if they are given the strategies to do so: if they understand how they can make decisions and investigate for themselves, they will become more interested, more capable, and keen to learn. We build upon experience and start from familiar points with each child, connecting the learning to their individual world and involving parents and families closely in their education. Our Nursery and Reception classes provide a setting where children are respected and learn to respect each other and our physical and natural environment - constructive interaction with their peers and adults in the classroom is explicitly taught as part of every day. Children understand that we are all different, and we create an environment of emotional security and happiness where every child is valued and cared for – an environment that gives an amazing scope for learning.
At Key Stage 1, we teach a creative theme on a two-year rolling programme which encompasses the subjects of geography, history, science, art and design and design technology. Meaningful and relevant links are made to enhance children’s acquisition of knowledge, skills and fundamental understanding without losing any of the rigour of the individual disciplines. RE, music, PE, PSHE and computing are all taught discretely.
Science is taught discretely from Key Stage 2. Our pupils are encouraged to think both scientifically and creatively and our teaching of science seeks to spark curiosity, wonder, humour and even disgust to build a love of the discipline. Also taught discretely are PE, RE, computing, art and design-technology, music, French and PSHE. Our humanities curriculum brings together our teaching in geography and history in termly creative themes that run across phases on a two-year rolling cycle. As children progress throughout their primary years, relevant factual and conceptual links are made between themes. Links between subjects are made where they are relevant and promote understanding. Please see our curriculum map and individual subject pages for further information.
Underpinning each creative theme or unit of work is a core body of knowledge that is systematically taught, revised and revisited at distance to ensure that learning is committed to long-term memory. This knowledge empowers children: it gives them a sense of ‘being knowledgeable’, allows them to mediate social and cultural references, builds on their understanding of the world and provides valuable content for writing and reading across the curriculum. The curriculum also plans in opportunities for children to master processes and undertake activities relevant to their discipline. As historians, for example, they will gain knowledge of the key events and the people and places that have shaped our world today. They will also use this knowledge to analyse sources or explain cause and effect.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development as well as modern British values are embedded into the curriculum, with links being seeded to ensure these values are consistently revisited and consolidated. Pupils at Kirkstall Valley enjoy and benefit from a quality approach to careers, advice and guidance, which is inclusive of all pupils in school.
At Kirkstall Valley Primary School, we understand that our children will be problem-solvers in an increasingly challenging environmental landscape and therefore environmental awareness and concern for the ecology of our planet is also explicitly planned for throughout our curriculum. It is also a fundamental principle of our curriculum design that children gain an age-appropriate understanding of current political, social and humanitarian issues and can react to these with knowledge, understanding and, most importantly, compassion.
Early experiences can bring a lasting impact on children’s development and perceptions of different occupations, and of the subjects enabling access to them. For example, we are acutely aware of the under-representation of women and BAME students who go on to work in STEM careers and, through days such as our Work and Finance Day and our pioneering partnership work with Wates Construction, we aim to remove any barriers, challenge stereotypes and create a culture of high-aspirations and knowledge of possibilities among all our pupils.
For our pupils who are identified as needing further support to reach their full potential, precise, planned interventions are arranged. Teachers carefully manage the timetables of these pupils to ensure that their curriculum is broad and balanced whilst providing opportunities for personalised learning. Where pupils require additional support to access learning due to their social, emotional or mental-health needs, this is supported by our learning mentor and other staff.
We understand that our curriculum needs to be personalised for our unique context in Kirkstall and for the community we serve. Our ‘eleven by eleven’ programme ensures that all children can access a wide range of experiences (some curricular; others not) that they will remember and treasure for a lifetime.
To see what you child’s class is up to this year, please look at their ‘year at a glance’. These documents are designed to be brief: for further information on our teaching and learning, please speak to your child’s class teacher, the subject leader or a member of our leadership team.