At Dorchester Primary School we offer a curriculum which promotes learning and personal development in a supportive and stimulating environment. The curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 and other activities, responsibilities and opportunities which enrich the experience of the children. Our curriculum is underpinned by the three key drivers: Champion choices, Learnability and Cool Collaboration. We seek to provide a broad, balanced curriculum which is unique to Dorchester Primary School and is specifically tailored towards the needs and interests of the children. We aim to provide a wide range of exciting, challenging activities and experiences which build on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children. Our priority is to ensure that each child entrusted to our care can reach their true potential in an atmosphere of mutual respect and become successful, independent citizens with a love of learning and a desire to succeed.
The National Curriculum is delivered using the Chris Quigley Framework as a basis to ensure coverage and progression throughout the school. As they enter Year 1, children continue to work on the Early Learning Goals of the EYFS Framework whilst beginning the transition to the National Curriculum. Milestones and Key Performance Indicators are used to ensure that children are meeting expectations in their learning. We acknowledge that children learn in many different ways and begin from different starting points. We also recognise the need to develop strategies that allow all children to experience success including challenging children further to deepen their understanding and supporting pupils who may have barriers to learning.
As a school, we recognise the importance of reading for all children and therefore, have a comprehensive and rigorous approach to the teaching of reading including daily phonics sessions in Key Stage 1. The school follows the letters and sounds programme for phonics and small group interventions are used in Key Stage 2 to support any child who needs further phonics teaching. At Key Stage 1 and 2 children also have a daily reading session to develop their fluency and comprehension skills. The whole school participates in World Book day, Share a Story month and celebrations related to famous authors in order to promote children’s love of reading and enjoyment of language.
In addition to reading, children have a daily literacy lesson. Writing is taught using Pie Corbutt’s Talk for Writing strategies in order to provide purpose and audience. Grammatical accuracy is embedded in the teaching of writing but also as a discrete element alongside spelling and handwriting. These skills are further consolidated and applied across the curriculum. Small group interventions are used to support pupils to gain the key skills needed for them to become successful writers.
The new mathematics curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils become fluent in the fundamental aspects of mathematics including mental and written arithmetic. Children at Dorchester Primary School are taught explicit concepts and procedures in maths and are expected to apply these in a wide range of contexts. They are taught to reason mathematically and solve problems which demonstrate their understanding. Children are supported in their mathematical development through the use of high quality resources, models and images; mathematical intervention groups are used where needed to ensure all children are able to succeed.
In addition to English and Mathematics, children are taught to develop their skills, understanding and creativity in Science, Computing, History, Geography, Design Technology, Art, Music, Physical Education and Religious Education. Many of these subjects are taught together through a cross curricular approach to make experiences more meaningful and provide children with a real context for learning. Topics are driven by the needs and interests of the children and adapted each year. All subject leaders are given training and opportunity to continue to develop their own subject knowledge and specialist teachers and instructors support the teaching of Music and PE. Instrument tuition is available in Key Stage 2 for those children who wish to pursue this interest. Theme weeks, whole school activities and opportunities within and outside of school, including educational visits, performances, links with other schools and visitors, all enrich and develop children’s learning.
PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education) forms an integral part of the curriculum at Dorchester Primary School. We aim to teach children, through Restorative Practice, how to grow into responsible, confident citizens. We seek to provide them with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead independent, healthy lives. The SEAL programme (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) supports this area of the curriculum and provides opportunities for these skills to be developed across the school. We build in further opportunities to promote the spiritual, moral and cultural development of our pupils though daily acts of Collective Worship. We value the way in which all children are unique and teach them to embrace the spiritual and cultural diversity of both their own community and the wider world. All staff are committed to promoting British Values and a Restorative Ethos through encouraging the children to develop a sound knowledge of right and wrong, including taking responsibility for their own behaviour.
Our children are taught about the community in which they live and are encouraged to work in cooperation with other members of the school community including those who are part of our Academy Trust. Supporting charities both locally and farther afield is encouraged. All children are expected to undertake appropriate responsibilities within the class and school e.g. caring for the classroom environment, participating in out of school activities and assemblies.
We firmly believe that the education of children is a partnership between children, staff and parents. Support from home is vital in maximising children’s chances of fulfilling their full potential. In order to facilitate this partnership, parents are welcome to visit the school to discuss children’s progress with staff at a mutually convenient time. Each class has two parent’s evenings a year and reports are sent home at the end of the summer term. Pupils have opportunities to share their learning with each other, and their parents throughout the year through exhibitions, performances, competitions and showcases.
Our school curriculum is underpinned by our principal purpose: to enable all children to feel safe, happy and successful whilst laying a firm foundation for future learning.