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Curriculum Statement

 

Fairlands Middle School is part of the Mendip Edge Federation and, together with all the First, Middle and Upper Schools, is also part of the Cheddar Valley family of schools. While each school has its own identity and autonomy, there are strong links between these schools. These important links provide excellent opportunities for liaison, which ensures that the pupils in the Cheddar Valley have a seamless transition, with regard to the curriculum they are taught, from one phase of education to the next.

The Fairlands curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of our pupils, who are at a special point in their learning. They are at an age where they are at ease with school life and their natural curiosity gives them a thirst for learning without the distractions of adolescent life. The curriculum is designed to educate the whole child. It is broad and balanced, engaging and motivating, while making sure that pupils’ thinking is constantly challenged, so that they develop independent, enquiring minds. The ethos of our school, which is incorporated in our curriculum, reflects British values. It aims to foster social, moral, cultural and spiritual awareness in pupils and equip them with the skills they will need to be responsible citizens in an ever changing world.   

The 2014 National Curriculum aligns itself well with the curriculum already taught at Fairlands, as it advocates deepening pupils’ understanding rather than accelerating their learning beyond their years. Our curriculum is differentiated in order to provide equality for all learning differences. We always have high expectations of our pupils, but offer enough support to those who need it, so that they have the confidence to accept the challenges presented by their teachers. A wide range of teaching and learning styles is used in the delivery of the curriculum, which provides a wealth of rich experiences and encourages creativity in our pupils. Progress in learning is based on the premise of encouraging pupils to improve by offering them a balance of honest praise, linked with constructive criticism which sets out the next steps they need to take to improve. This forms the basis of our marking policy. Reflection time is built into our lesson time to give pupils the opportunity to capitalise on this style of marking and make real improvements to their work. The pupils’ progress is measured both summatively and formatively and it is the latter which informs planning for the next lesson.

The benefit of a middle school curriculum is that pupils experience specialist teaching in specialist rooms, such as science laboratories and design technology rooms, from Year 5, when they join our school. Despite this specialism, the skills of literacy and numeracy run through the whole curriculum at Fairlands. These are key skills needed in the workplace and are taught across the curriculum, not just in English and mathematics lessons. Other skills for life, such as independent thinking and problem solving, are woven into the taught curriculum across the subject areas. Our Year 6 pupils do sit national tests in spelling and grammar, reading and mathematics. However, these tests do not impact on the rest of the Year 6 curriculum and all subjects are taught alongside English and mathematics all year.

In both Key Stages 2 and 3 pupils are taught the full range of subjects. The curriculum is divided up as follows:
 
At KS2 pupils’ weekly timetable is made up of
• 5 lessons of literacy and numeracy in Year 5 and 6 in Year 6
• 3 lessons of science
• 3 lessons of humanities, comprising history, geography and RE
• 2 lessons of PE, which includes team sports, dance and gymnastics
• 1 lesson of MFL, learning French, German and Spanish
• 1lesson of ICT which includes coding, citizenship, drama, art, music and design technology ( food and textiles and resistant materials)
• In Year 6 the ICT and drama rotates with the extra literacy and numeracy lesson

At KS3 pupils’ weekly timetable is made up of
• 3 lessons of English, mathematics and science
• 3 lessons of  MFL (2 of French and 1 of German in Year 7 and either 3 of French, 3 of German or 3 shared between both languages in Year 8)
• 4 lessons of humanities ( including history, geography and RE)
• 2 lessons of PE, which includes team sports, dance and gymnastics
• 1 lesson of ICT which includes coding, citizenship,  food and textiles, resistant materials, art, music and drama
 
An important part of our curriculum is learning outside the classroom and fieldwork plays an important part in the teaching of humanities. We also offer residential visits, which develop pupils’ social skills and encourage them to be independent, as well as enhancing work in different curriculum areas. We sometimes feel that it is better to study something in depth and to this end we have collapsed timetable learning. In particular, we use this style to deliver health and sex and relationship education. We have also introduced enrichment days, which give staff the opportunity to lead learning with a particular focus on their subject specialism. Learning is not confined to school and we like our parents to be involved in their children’s education as well. Parents can be kept up to date with what their children are learning in school in a variety of subjects by logging on to Edmodo, our learning platform website. In addition, a variety of homeworks are set across the curriculum to reinforce, enhance and extend work covered in lessons and also to involve parents in their children’s learning.