The School Vision and Values is described in our prospectus. Please click here to listen to our school prospectus.
For details of our Early Years provision click here. On the page below you can read about our KS1 and KS2 curriculum which we have organised into the following sections:
1. The Curriculum Intent
2. Curriculum Implementation
3. Remote Learning 2020
4. Teaching Standards at Meadlands
Part 1: Curriculum Intent
The National Curriculum is the foundation of our curriculum, from which we have built a broad, progressive, relevant offer. It is all of these things because we have worked in collaboration with children, parents, staff and Governors to develop our provision. We neighbour social housing and our locality feeds into the bigger estates in Ham and this has propelled us to make decisions on our curriculum choices around how we teach subjects and the extra-curricular. Some of our children have extremely limited experiences and these families have been hit by the changes to government benefits, COVID loss of income – all evidenced in the increasing numbers of FSM and the demand for food packages and mental health support during the pandemic.
We have identified the strengths in our locality, in our school, staff and families and made use of these. We have also identified the gaps and aim to fill these, which results in an equitable approach where all children are ready for the next key stage in their education. A few examples of this are:
Subject leaders support Class Teachers through plotting developmental units of work from Nursery to Year 6 within their subjects. Dependent on subject, the focus of progress is either linked to skills, knowledge or both. In KS1 and 2 we schedule subjects to be taught in blocks and at the same time. This enables successful CPD, shared planning, monitoring and moderation which has furthered our progressive model and avoided too much (unnecessary) repetition. This has also led to the staff understanding a clear end of unit, end of year and end of key stage goal for each subject and we have worked hard to develop this – encouraging staff to see themselves as teachers beyond their own year group.
We have agreed upon 3 elements that shape our curriculum and these can be seen in teachers’ planning, lesson observations and children’s responses. The choice was deliberate, based on: i) our school ethos and what we deem important, ii) on our ever developing pedagogy to ensure all children make progress and iii) on our baseline data – having identified the social disadvantage gaps, not only do we aim to fill them but turn them into strengths. The three elements are:
1. Vocabularly acquisition
We prioritise early and secure literacy skills. Our curriculum design is centred around rich language development, oracy (expression through speech) and reading, because this is what our pupils need.
2. Memory Skills: Knowing more and remembering more
We place a high value on key concepts in each subject, concepts being a combination of new knowledge and skills. We have carefully ordered these concepts across a year group to enable links to be made between subjects but also to ensure that the learning is revised and progressive year after year.
(2021) Staff are undertaking a 2 year project on Cognitive Learning Theory and the application of this in the classroom. This we hope will improve our own understanding of how children's learn and the best approaches we can take to improve their capacity to take on new facts and skills both in the short and long term memory.
This is a key feature of our SDP 2021 / 22 click here
3. Positive mental health and wellbeing
Positive mental health is key because 'educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all' — Aristotle. SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development) is a 'golden thread' that runs throughout the school. This is evident in PSHE teaching and learning and pastoral care. In addition, all lessons are designed to encourage collaborative problem-solving which develop our school values and provide challenge and ambition, as well as self-management and resilience.
And this is how we achieve it:
Part 2: Curriculum Implementation
Our children study the national curriculum. For some subjects we use a scheme to support learning: The White Rose for Mathematics, Richmond agreed RE syllabus, PATHS for PSHE, REAL PE, Christopher Winter for RSHE.
The curriculum is sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build upon what has been taught previously and on towards clearly defined end points. This is enhanced further by the work of subject leaders who have worked hard to track vertical and horizontal links to create a ‘3D curriculum’ the impact of this is teachers do not work in year group isolation but have a solid understanding of the whole provision in order to support children to build their knowledge and skill.
Refer to subject pages for specific information on each subject. The structure of the subjects is also deliberate, for example: History units across KS2 are taught in chronological order, we found this approach supported children’s ability to sequence events understanding ‘before and after’. The structure of science follows the seasons to enable useful outdoor work. Geography starts with local studies and as the children grow older, the geographical views expand to studies of continents and comparisons of places far away. We have developed a set of Knowledge Organisers (KOs), click here, to shape and inspire each unit of work. We decide on outcomes, knowledge & skill, prior learning, key vocabulary and heroes on all KOs leading to a consistent approach across the school and the embedding of the principles important to us (see Intent above).Teachers use KOs to aid midterm planning, children use them to track and evaluate their own learning journey through a subject, this can be found in the children's work and parents are welcome to view books each monthly in our Friday Book Looks.
The curriculum structure enables strength in our own staff's continued professional development. Staff meetings are tightly linked to the curriculum schedule: subject leaders have time to support less confident staff. Additionally, the staff work together to review children’s books and each other’s planning. This has allowed greater insight into standards in other subjects beyond English and Maths. Furthermore this allows the school to develop leadership and grow everyone’s knowledge of standards outside of their own year group.
As a result of aiming high and being true to our mantra ‘the dreamers of dreams’ staff have been encouraged to step beyond the classroom and we have developed a number of subject specialists, some who are lead teachers for AfC and/or are undertaking further qualifications:
Previous Meadlands Staff
This impacts on everyone, has led to outstanding CPD for all, which results in practice which is cutting edge and a team who are highly motivated.
We have invested in the following specialist teaching, the reason for this was to increase diversity among the adults working with our children, respond to interests resulting from children’s surveys and ensure the highest quality of expertise and delivery.
Please refer to each subject's curriculum page to review the Knowledge Organisers. These are being uploaded throughout the year when the topics are being taught.
English and Maths
These are given a high status in our curriculum to help learners to improve their learning and performance in education, work, and life. These are embedded in the school’s curriculum. You can read about our reading, writing and maths curriculum here.
English literacy is at the heart of our learning and teaching and essential to every area of the curriculum. It is through literacy that concepts are formed and we are able to make sense of the world and our place in it. Children are taught to read in a variety of ways. Each week children read individually and in groups during guided reading lessons; they are also given regular opportunities to share a book with others. Guided reading focuses on the skills of comprehension and critical appreciation. Teachers read a huge variety of written material regularly with the children: fiction and non-fiction, stories, reports, diaries, poems etc. We believe in the importance of exposing children to classic texts at all ages, but most importantly in upper Key Stage two. Our love of reading is show-cased in special events such as our Poetry Slam, reading celebration week, school libraries and LAMDA examinations.
We have a home-school reading system (up to Year 6), which requests that children read for at least 15 minutes each day.
We place a strong emphasis on phonics (letter sounds) in the early years of learning to read as this lays the foundations for successful reading. At Meadlands, we use the resource Read Write Inc. Phonics learning starts in Nursery and continues throughout the school. Although explicitly taught in The Early Years and KS1, children are encouraged to use their phonics understanding in all year groups, as they read and write in all year groups and therefore are given daily opportunities to embed their phonics learning. This is aided by sound charts which are on display in all classrooms. Children remain with their class teacher for phonics learning who provides the appropriate level of challenge for each attainment group. Pupils also learn 'sight words' by repetition and retrieval.
The teaching of phonics begins in Nursery and Reception, where sounds are introduced at a rate of one a day throughout the autumn and spring term. Sounds are consolidated in the summer term. This knowledge is built upon in Year 1; more complex sounds are introduced and reinforced throughout Year 2.
During the summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps us to identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and who may need support in Year 2 to develop reading and writing skills. The test is very low-key and the children are not aware that they are being tested. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation within the child’s end-of-year report. Additional individual and group tuition in phonics will be given to those children in years 1 and Year 2 who find reading difficult. Year 2 children will be tested again in the summer term.
We teach Maths by following the small steps of progression as guided by The White Rose scheme, an approach developed by The Maths Hub and the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics. Fluency, Reasoning and Problem Solving are at the heart of the approach. It uses the Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach to support children's learning and progression. A concrete approach refers to the physical resources that children can manipulate to support their learning, examples include clocks, place value counters and bead strings. A pictorial approach refers to the visual models that can be used to support the understanding of methods and concepts. Finally the abstract approach, is the written method that the progression of skills and knowledge works towards, an example of this is the written method of addition. By embedding this approach we are allowing pupils to spend enough time to fully explore a topic, reinforcing it with practice, before moving onto the next one. All ideas are built on previous knowledge and pupils have ample opportunity to develop relationships between topics.
Lessons typically are broken into four parts:
We also use Times Tables Rockstars as a tool to help pupils develop fluency in multiplication tables.
For further information on the separate subjects please refer to the following pages. For ease, we have categorised our curriculum into 4 sections:
Core Subjects: Reading, Writing, Maths & Science
Culture & Communication: History, Geography, Computing, RE & Spanish
PE & Wellbeing: PE, PSHE, ELSA & Outdoor Learning
The Arts: Music, Art, Design Technology & LAMDA
Please see below the staff, parent and pupil curriculum surveys which were used to shape the decision on topics and trips.
Part 3: Remote Learning, Meadlands-at-Home 2020 - 2021
During the periods of national lockdown Meadlands-at-Home continued to educate all of our children through Google Classroom (Yr2-6), online teaching videos, live teaching, phone calls home, reading book drops. We stuck to the programme, delivering the curriculum as planned had we been in school. Slight alterations were made based on teacher judgements of lessons, which required physical resources and face-to-face teaching (e.g. long division and fractions!)
AfC reports evidenced “In remote learning the children are learning because of the very clear routes through exceptional planned, well resources and well-focussed sessions. There are always high expectations for language. SIP report following Remote Learning review.
Parents (email from parent in Year 5) “Just a quick note to say a massive thank you for all the amazing hard work you put into the fantastic provision for home-schooling. We have been absolutely blown away.”
Teachers continue to share weekly timetables online with links to lesson resources for children who have to isolate with the expectation that workbooks are returned and marked.
This provision mixed with high expectation for all has resulted in fewer children than anticipated being disadvantaged by the school closure experience and a far swifter return to being back on track once school opened. It also led to an incredibly united school community.
Part 4: Our Teaching Standards
The school has a well-established and robust system for monitoring teaching & learning. Lesson observations, tracking progress and sampling children’ work indicate that teaching across the school is consistently good. In the spirit of the school’s love of learning, all observations are carried out by 2 professionals, allowing coaching of less experienced staff. This has been strength in the school and a number of staff have progressed to working as lead teachers in the local authority. An open and deeply supportive culture enables leaders to ‘pop in’ to classes regularly and so gain a clear picture of teaching over time for every teacher.
The supportive nature of the school sits alongside the demand for high expectations for the children and staff. Teachers and other adults enthuse and motivate children to participate in lessons, pupil engagement and resilience is a significant feature in most lessons and the school has recently introduced a no-rubber rule to encourage the Warrior Not Worrier spirit further. Time is used effectively, and the children are keen to do well and apply themselves to their work at a good pace.
CPD is an effective tool in raising standards and staff collaborate with senior leaders to identify CPD needs from an in-house menu: team-teaching with a member of SLT, coaching programme, peer to peer observations in school and other local schools, bespoke support from subject advisors, NPQML and NPQSL. In addition to this, the school has a unique approach to enthusing ambition through a ‘dream big’ CPD programme where teachers have been sent to learn and support teaching in remote communities in Ghana, Tanzania, Nepal, India and Rwanda or specialise in a specific areas such as SEND, Writing and Attachment Theory.
Leaders in most subjects are aware of the knowledge to be deeply embedded and appropriate attention is paid to these through CPD and monitoring in books and planning. At Meadlands, we don’t rest on our laurels, we are an ambitious school and 3 concurrent projects (Precision Teaching, Assessment for Learning, Cognitive Psychology: Understanding Memory) are further embedding practice in the classroom. Staff are encouraged to be curious, evaluate strategies, take risks in trying new ones, learn from each other. This is resulting in practice backed up by research, from which we are hoping to see even greater success in children’s retention of new knowledge and skill. These projects have been curtailed by COVID but will roll forward in our SDP.
Our highly qualified and experienced support staff team provide good to outstanding support, both in and out of the classroom. They manage personalised interventions (with over-sight of class teachers) for those children who are on our CtG register; resulting in those children who are falling behind quickly catching up. A number of teaching assistants have taken part in extended professional development and provide the school with expertise in Lego Therapy, Science Intervention, RWI phonics & Numicon. Weekly TA meetings include regular opportunities for CPD; a well-established PM system further supports this group. A member of the support staff was nominated by peers to be part of the senior leadership team and more recently a teaching assistant was promoted as a non-qualified teacher leading Healthy Living & PE, currently being coached by the Headteacher.
Part 5: Assessment
We have thought carefully about the powerful knowledge and what it is a child at Meadlands needs to know (as detailed above) and from this developed a set of checkpoints through a lesson and a unit of work to ensure that the knowledge has stuck and been retained.
This approach has been something we have revised and refined through a piece of whole school CPD over the past year. It has been disrupted by the pandemic but is now back on course (May 2021)
Through work with an independent advisor, staff have been partnered together to review strategies used in the classroom to support the transfer from the working to long term memory. Such strategies typically seen in lessons are questions which provoke deep thinking, learning objectives which are ‘big curious statements’, critical thinking and opportunities for practice.
Our work towards memory has been deepened by the Maths Mastery approach – where small steps of progress ensure children have secure knowledge and skill and build upon this. This result being at the end of a unit there are no gaps in the foundation of their understanding.
Staff have worked hard not to overload children’s working memory in lessons, more recently KS2 staff have worked along the English lead to review the mid-term and daily planning of writing lessons. These have been successful in stripping back the key elements and clarity in sequencing work – to good effect. Class teachers have reported “this has provided such clarity and helped me understand the misconceptions I need to highlight and re-visit.”
The updated feedback and assessment policy details the successful ‘check point’ strategies teachers have in place to assess children’s learning, these can be seen in the classroom and range from flashback moments, pink slides, marking in the moment, pop quizzes and learning journeys in topic books.
Standards in feedback across the school are consistently high which means children have a sound understanding on how to improve their work effectively. This is clear in books & observed in lessons where verbal feedback is incisive. Written feedback is a strength across the school. Feedback in books is thorough and over time this has evolved in greater collaboration with the children.
The purple pen strategy (where children edit their work) combined with a Warrior Not Worrier Culture (see display boards) means children are quick to respond to feedback. They are able to define challenge in terms of acceptance of ‘marvellous’ mistakes in the knowledge that learning from error is powerful. This is a shift for many of our children, especially the younger ones, who enjoy the extrinsic awards of stickers. It has led to a review of our behaviour policy and reward system.
Through a whole school research project on questioning we have successfully deepened the challenge in our curriculum resulting in teachers understanding and identifying misconceptions and responding to these swiftly. More children make progress, closing the attainment gap and more children are working at greater depth at the end of their key stage.
Our success for all children lays in our deep understanding of all individuals. Social disadvantage is addressed by ambitious targets being set for all and through rigorous attention to the progress made by all children.
Termly progress meetings attended by class teachers, support staff, pastoral care and senior leaders ensure we are not only quick to identify those children who have fallen behind their progress and/or attainment goals but also do something about it by implementing support immediately. This may be a revision of the learning plan for a class, specific intervention for groups or individuals; unique home-learning projects… the decisions are steered by the gap analysis and professional debate. Note, such support is not limited to SEND or PPG children but for any pupil who has fallen behind where they should be.
Check-in meetings happen half termly for any child on the CtG register.
Assessment strategies enable teachers to make SMART next steps for children as evidenced in books, SEND Support Plans and intervention timetables. This triggers intervention where techniques such as precision teaching enable support staff to have a diagnostic approach, knowing the baseline and aimed outcome for each child. This means specific gaps in learning are being identified and filled.