The Plaistow Curriculum
Read on to learn about our bespoke curriculum design:
At Plaistow we want our children to take joy in their own unique learning journey in order for them to become creative, aspirational lifelong learners.
Our broad and balanced curriculum results in real, purposeful and meaningful outcomes that pupils are proud to display and discuss.
We have incredibly high expectations for what our children can do and achieve. As a school community we work tirelessly to break down any barriers that may stand in the way of our pupils’ making excellent progress and feeling empowered to take the next step in their learning journey. Pupils at Plaistow are given every opportunity to participate in exciting, rich experiences which motivate, challenge and inspire as they prepare for the future.
The curriculum embodies a thematic model of learning rooted in core texts selected for being of an exceptionally high quality. In structuring our curriculum around books, as children progress from year to year they will be exposed to a wide range of literature from a variety of genres which will in turn create a generation of avid readers who have a love of literature.
At Plaistow we follow the National Curriculum but also ensure that our curriculum reflects what we as a school community believe our children should learn by the time they leave us at the end of Year Six.
High quality texts from a range of authors representing our multicultural school community underpin and inspire our thematic curriculum. This means that core texts may be from the classic canon of English and world literature or can also be books written by diverse authors with subjects which pertain to the children, adults and families in our local area.
Rich vocabulary and meaningful experiences across the wider curriculum feeds into and inspires pupils' writing.
The decision to choose a thematic model of learning structured around incredible pieces of literature was strategic. The knowledge, vocabulary and ideas experienced in the wider curriculum and through reading will in turn feed into pupils’ writing outcomes making them more rich, purposeful and exciting.
The Plaistow curriculum is ambitious and rigorous. It is expertly sequenced and knowledge-engaged. We believe that children must be exposed to and taught both knowledge and skills across all curriculum areas. The curriculum design and strategies for teaching and learning activate pupils’ prior learning, build on their understanding and move new pieces of knowledge into the long-term memory.
Pupils build on prior knowledge and skills as they progress through an academic year through horizontal progression. For example, pupils in Year One will acquire new strategies for reading as they learn more advanced skills in decoding and comprehension. Or a pupil in Year Three will progress from learning strategies in division using informal jottings to using a more formal written method of calculation.
The curriculum is also designed to ensure vertical progression whereby pupils build on knowledge and skills year on year as they move through the school. Pupils in Year Two will build on the knowledge of plants that they learned about in Year One. Pupils learning about the Anglo-Saxons in Year Four will use this knowledge to put learning about the Vikings into a historically chronological context.
Themes are split into two ‘big questions’ that pupils will be able to answer by the end of a term. Learning outcomes across the curriculum are purposeful and memorable. Pupils feel like they are working towards something real so that discretionary effort is maximised. Learning could result in a performance, an exhibition or a campaign for something the class community passionately believes in. Outcomes are usually cross-curricular. We live in a cross-curricular world and we therefore need to provide our children with experiences that prepare them for it.
We are passionate about educational visits at our school. Children go at least one trip each half term to bring the theme to life and enrich their learning experience.
Outcomes are creatively displayed in our exhibition corridors. At Plaistow, we do not see displays as just ‘wallpaper’, or something nice to look at as you walk down a hallway. Displays are created by, with and for our children. They are a showcase of their learning and talking points for them to discuss and take pride in what they have achieved.
Creativity is key at Plaistow. We believe that by celebrating and participating in the Arts pupils build the cultural capital needed to engage, enjoy and sometimes challenge the world in which we live.
Whole School Curriculum Map
Our curriculum map outlines key learning that takes place across a year group ensuring that the National Curriculum is strategically covered in a broad and balanced way as pupils move through the school.
Themes are inspired by high quality texts and last for a full term. This is so that children have the opportunity to become fully immersed in the theme in order to build on prior learning and to generate as much new knowledge, understanding and vocabulary as possible. This also gives time for pupils to build up to and create outcomes of an exceptionally high quality, drawing on all subject areas so that learning is not hurried or rushed.