Cotton End Forest School – Our Curriculum
At Cotton End Forest School, we are committed to providing a knowledge-based curriculum which is linked to ‘Learning Beyond the Classroom’ opportunities. This approach is hands-on, broad and balanced, and provides our pupils with opportunities to gain essential knowledge, skills and understanding. We intend that all children should enjoy their learning, achieve their potential and become independent life-long learners with skills which will allow them to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Through a knowledge-rich, holistic, outdoor-focused approach, we will aim high, striving for every child to achieve highly, both academically and socially. Through learning opportunities in the classroom and beyond, including Forest School, our curriculum will nurture curious minds, stretch imaginations and provide opportunities for every child to become leaders in their own right. We believe that education takes place beyond the walls of the classroom, and we utilise our outdoor space to promote a fully inclusive environment where children feel safe and confident to try new things.
Our curriculum provides memorable experiences and opportunities from which the children can learn and develop skills for life. The acquisition of knowledge and development of skills is planned through a knowledge-based curriculum. Underpinning this work is Forest School and ‘Learning Beyond the Classroom’. We plan lessons which give children opportunities to learn new skills outside of the classroom walls, as well as allowing children to learn through a hands-on style of learning.
In order to ensure progression and balance are maintained, the programmes of study are developed into medium term plans which clearly highlight the learning objectives and assessment opportunities. Short term planning is then differentiated to the needs of each class, linking to prior learning, resources and Learning Beyond the Classroom opportunities. We also link our curriculum to Forest School sessions when appropriate. Planning includes questioning prompts which promote challenge as well as scaffolding. Teachers plan and tailor units of work and lessons to address the specific individual needs of pupils so that all pupils are able to reach their full potential regardless of their starting point.
Quality first teaching is provided to ensure that at least good progress is promoted in each lesson. Our feedback and marking policy is implemented to give instant feedback to children, which allows them to reflect on their learning and to think deeply and carefully about their work.
Children will leave Cotton End Forest School ready for the next stage of learning at secondary school. The curriculum will have provided them with the knowledge and skills to support them in their future endeavours. Our pupils will have developed skills for life: resilience, improved self-esteem, self-motivation, problem-solving skills and improved relationships with adults and peers. Furthermore, our curriculum promotes an improvement in wellbeing, mental health and self-regulation skills.
The children will be able to work collaboratively with their peers and independently as inquisitive learners who are motivated to excel and have a thirst for learning. They will be respectful and show tolerance and acceptance to those from different faiths and backgrounds.
Learning in Early Years is a range of adult led and child led activities. Teachers lead sessions including phonics, maths and topics. Child led sessions (continuous provision) allow the children to access outside and inside learning activities which are carefully and purposefully planned for. Adults interact, play, question and challenge the children so their learning is moved on.
At Cotton End Forest School, we believe that English is a fundamental life skill. English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. We aim for the children to be able to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. We want our children to gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. We will encourage our children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.
Through the teaching of English, we aim to enable children to:
We believe that our maths curriculum will create enthusiastic, creative and articulate mathematicians. Through a varied and inspiring curriculum, we aim to develop the children’s problem solving, resilience and reflective skills – skills that can easily transferrable across the curriculum. Our approach to maths is both skills and knowledge based. In order for children to develop into well rounded and passionate mathematicians, we aim to encourage the children’s understanding of the world around them and arm the children with the skills to approach everyday problems.
As a school, we believe that fluency is key. Children need to have a secure understanding of basic principles in order to deepen their knowledge of the maths curriculum further. Through our rigorously planned curriculum, children are encouraged to challenge themselves through the use of critical thinking and efficient and effective approaches to problems which they may face. All pupils are encouraged to develop deep thinking and question the way in which the world works, promoting the spiritual growth of our pupils. In maths lessons, children are always encouraged to delve deeper into their understanding of mathematics and how it relates to the diverse world around them. Sequences, patterns, measures and ultimately the entire study of mathematics was created to make more sense of the world around us and our aim is to enable all of our pupils to use maths as a tool to explore these possibilities through the use of rich, inspiring and challenging mathematical tasks.
Children are encouraged to make mistakes in a safe and supportive environment. They are supported to discuss these misconceptions with their peers and staff alike. We place oracy at the heart of our learning through shared work and class discussions. Use of appropriate vocabulary is modelled throughout lessons by both staff and children, allowing everyone to ‘talk like a mathematician’. Once a child can articulate their understanding of a concept, can they truly begin to make connections within their learning.
The PKC Science curriculum aims to equip children with the foundations for understanding the world through a scientific lens. Pupils will be taught units of work that cover and go beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum in the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Pupils will encounter people who have made significant contributions to the field of science over time, understanding that science has been a quest for understanding for many years, and will continue to be so in the future. Pupils will build a body of key foundational science knowledge as they work through the curriculum, asking questions and developing a sense of curiosity about the world around us.
This art curriculum is a knowledge rich curriculum. Knowledge, in the realm of art, means knowledge not only of artists, designers, architects and
their work, but of the artistic concepts that relate to their work shown in different types and styles of art, how these relate to each other in a
historical context and how this affects the children’s own use of materials and development of skills. The curriculum is designed to enable children
to learn by making connections between the work of artists, architects and designers (which they study critically) and their own work, which they
evaluate and relate back to the works they have studied. This process is cyclical. For children following the curriculum, becoming informed about
the subject discipline of art is a process that takes place alongside a growing love for the subject. Meaningful opportunities for self-expression
and individual response are woven through the curriculum, giving children space to learn who they are as an artist.
We offer a structured sequence of lessons, helping teachers to ensure that they have covered the skills required to meet the aims of the national curriculum. The content allows for a broad, deep understanding of computing and how it links to children's lives. It offers a range of opportunities for consolidation, challenge and variety. This allows children to apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science. They develop analytical problem-solving skills and learn to evaluate and apply information technology. It also enables them to become responsible, competent, safe, confident and creative users of information technology.
Wherever we look, evidence of design is all around us. From chairs to hospital equipment, from clothes to websites, from advertisements on the side of a bus to playground equipment, everything has been designed. This curriculum aims to inspire students to think about the important and integral role which design and the creation of designed products play in our society. The curriculum is split into three different areas: ‘cook’, ‘sew’ and ‘build’. It is designed so that each year group will complete a unit of work in these three different areas once a year.
Forest School encourages children to develop a sense of adventure and to use a range of outdoor skills. We aim for our children to know how to use tools safely and with purpose and for them to become confident, independent, resilient individuals who are able to assess risk, work together as a team and have the determination to persevere with challenges.
The PKC Geography curriculum is knowledge rich. This means the knowledge children will gain has been carefully specified, ordered coherently and builds over time. As children work through our geography curriculum they will know more and understand more about the world around them. A good geographical understanding relies on firm foundations of knowledge and skills. The skills our curriculum develops, like the knowledge, are specified, ordered coherently and progress over time. This curriculum structure helps pupils to deepen their understanding of physical and human geographical processes, fostering curiosity and fascination for the world we live in.
The PKC history curriculum allows children to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of local, British and world history. The substantive knowledge taught in the curriculum has been carefully chosen and sequenced using a largely chronological approach. Each unit of work should not be viewed as a stand-alone topic, but as a chapter in the story of the history of Britain and the wider world. In this sense, the chronological approach provides a solid framework, anchoring each unit within a wider narrative. Understanding in history requires an understanding of causation. Children will be able to understand the causes of significant national and global events, (such as World War I), when they have some background knowledge of what happened before (such as the origins and growth of European empires, including the British Empire).
Our curriculum offers a carefully planned sequence of lessons, ensuring progressive coverage of the skills required by the national curriculum. Our chosen themes – Introductory conversation, numbers, colours, animals, clothing, parts of the body, family members, holiday destinations, French towns, directions, days of the week and months of the year provide a comprehensive introduction to the culture of French-speaking countries and communities. It aims to foster children’s curiosity and help deepen their understanding of the world. The curriculum has been designed to provide the opportunity for children to gradually build on their skills. The children will be taught how to communicate clearly and confidently expressing their ideas and opinions, initially through speaking and listening and progressing on to reading and writing. Our resources are carefully selected to offer opportunities to listen to native speakers.
Through our French curriculum, we intend to inspire pupils to develop a love of languages and to expand their horizons to other countries, cultures and people. We aim to help children grow into curious, confident and reflective language learners and to provide them with a foundation that will equip them for further language studies.
At Cotton End Forest School, we recognise the importance of music and aim to make music an enjoyable learning experience. We encourage children to participate in a variety of musical experiences during their time at school through which we aim to build up the confidence of all children. We believe that singing and performance lies at the heart of good music teaching. Our teaching focuses on developing the children’s ability to sing in tune and with other people. Through singing songs, children learn about the structure and organisation of music. We also teach them to listen to and appreciate different forms of music. As children get older, we expect them to maintain their concentration for longer, and to listen to more extended pieces of music. Children will develop their language and vocabulary including descriptive skills in music lessons when learning about how music can represent feelings and emotions. We teach children to make music together, to understand musical notation, and to compose pieces. The children are given the opportunity to learn instruments both individually and as a whole class and music is celebrated through performances within school and to parents and the wider community. Through Forest School and outdoor learning opportunities we encourage children to explore music in their natural environment and use and extend the skills learnt in music to enhance all aspects of learning in school.
At Cotton End Forest School, our intention is to develop a lifelong love of physical activity, sport and PE in all young people. We aim to help ensure a positive and healthy physical and mental outlook in the future and help young people to develop essential skills like leadership and teamwork. Within each lesson, we strive to give every child the opportunity to develop skills in PE, consider the impact on their health and fitness, compete/perform and evaluate. These elements are always clearly identified both in lesson plans and on progression maps. All lessons are carefully differentiated which helps to ensure that learning is as tailored and inclusive as possible. It is also the intention to ensure that children access physical activity through Learning Outside the Classroom.
In an ideal world, children would arrive at school socially developed and ready to learn but this is not always the case. As such, high-quality life skills education is essential for all students to reach their full potential. 1decision provides an interactive bank of resources which supports PSHE, RSE, Health education, SMSC development, and safeguarding.
Mapped to the PSHE Association’s Programme of Study, and ensuring full coverage of the statutory elements for Relationship Education and Health Education, the 1decision resources help children to develop the skills needed to manage difference influences and pressures, as a part of their personal development. The unique suite of resources allows students to experience challenging situations in a safe environment.
Our Aims: During their time at primary school, children will encounter many of life’s challenges for the first time. 1decision aims to provide children with the knowledge and skills needed to lead safe, healthy, and happy lives.
At Cotton End Forest School, we believe the principal aim of RE is to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief. This is vital so that our pupils can understand the world around them. Using the agreed syllabus, we aim to increase the pupil’s knowledge of religion and belief locally, nationally and globally. We encourage our pupils to reflect on their own ideas and ways of living. Our religious education curriculum is enhanced further with trips to places of worship in our local area and religious figures regularly visiting the school. We use the RE Agreed Syllabus 2018-2023 Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton as the basis for our curriculum.
The Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team monitor the progression, continuity and effectiveness of the curriculum together with the Governing Body. Governor meetings are held monthly.
Assessments in years 1 - 6 take place termly. We use White Rose for Maths, PIRA for Reading and Twinkl for Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling.
Key assessment points throughout a child's time at Primary School are:
Outcomes from these assessment points are shared with parents in the end of year school reports, which are sent out in July.
We value the diversity of individuals within the school. All children have equal access to the curriculum and are treated fairly regardless of race, religion or abilities.
For more details about each class’ individual curriculum please refer to the class pages.