Our Curriculum

Statement of Intent for Layston C of E first School

Loving to Learn, Learning to Love. For every child a chance to shine.

Our purpose is to provide a nurturing and caring learning environment with high standards and expectations, where children grow into responsible, resilient and independent learners. Our school ethos is firmly rooted in our Christian values, as set out in our school vision: At Layston we believe in the reality of God in our lives and the Christian Values that guide and inspire us. We are bold in our application of Christianity to transform relationships and take the Gospel intent of “Love one another” as a blue print for making active choices in our day-to-day lives together. We foster awe and wonder through a creative curriculum that underpins and promotes our love for learning. We are inclusive and nurture each person as a child of God with every chance to shine.

Curriculum Intent

Layston’s curriculum is enriched and designed to recognise the school’s unique characteristics. High expectations across the curriculum promote learning at a greater depth, allowing children to articulate their learning; demonstrating quality thinking and application of knowledge and skills. The ‘Layston Learner’ gingerbread model is designed to develop learning behaviours and encourage active, independent and resilient learners. This, combined with our bespoke forest school provision, encourages positive attitudes to learning and risk taking. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of skills, knowledge, concepts and values. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, as well mental health and well-being, are prioritised to ensure children have concern for others and an appreciation of diversity. Children leave our ‘Layston Family’ as confident individuals, well equipped to participate fully in the next stage of their education, as global citizens.

Curriculum Implementation

Our carefully crafted curriculum balances the national expectations, quality teaching and a range of experiences allowing our children to flourish. Clear strategic planning allows the curriculum to be ambitious and adapt to the context of the school and children’s needs. Age related expectations combine the acquisition of knowledge and development of skills to create a purposeful and exciting learning journey for every child. The curriculum has high expectations to combine transferable skills, demonstrate a breadth of vocabulary and develop strong cross curricular links. Stimulating classroom environments support and engage quality thinking and reasoning. Planning is responsive to children’s needs; incorporating progression of basic skills in an innovative manner. A range of continuous professional development supports all staff to further develop curriculum pedagogy. Our marking policy is an opportunity for children to reflect on their learning and think deeply in their feedback.

Curriculum Impact

Layston uses rigorous triangulated monitoring throughout the year to gauge the impact of the curriculum design. Learning is measured through analysis of skills and knowledge across the curriculum by expectations demonstrated by individual understanding. The impact of our curriculum is seen in:

• High standards: consistently performing at above national and local averages.

• Strong progress from individual starting points.

• Quality experiences which are memorable, worthwhile and challenging.

• Teaching which is personalised, innovative and child led.

• Learners that are resilient, independent and confident global citizens.

• Individuals who value and respect one another and have an appreciation of a diverse community.

Recovery Curriculum Post Pandemic: update Sept 2021

In line with our Christian ethos and focus on nurture, Layston continue to put the children’s well-being at the centre of our thinking.  We acknowledge that the children will have had different experiences during the past 18 months, however, the common thread running through all is the loss of routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom.  These losses can trigger anxiety in any child. We know that an anxious child is not in a place to learn effectively.  So with this in mind, the school community continue to promote the 5 ways to Well-being and prioritise nurture, outdoor learning opportunities, team building and social and emotional literacy within the delivery of the National Curriculum. 

The 5 Levers of Recovery continue to be relevant as part of Quality First Teaching. We encourage learning opportunities that help build relationships. We listen to our community through developing parent partnership and pupil voice to ensure we are meeting the needs of all. Our curriculum builds upon the children’s current knowledge and skills, identifying gaps in learning through Assessment for Learning (AfL), and supporting them with practical opportunities. We continue to develop metacognition (higher order thinking skills) by teaching our children about Growth Mindset and Building Learning Powers so that they become resilient, reflective, independent and confident in their learning and problem solving. Through closely monitoring all our children, especially those who may be SEND or Pupil Premium, we can ensure that they are not disadvantaged against their peers, giving them the space and opportunity to rediscover themselves as learners and develop their voice. Applying these skills outside of the classroom in Forest School is also key to our curriculum at Layston.

We recognise transitions as significant in the lives of all our children and support these through transition videos (website), social stories, parent partnership, home visits in the Early Years and close relationships with our feeder schools. We are always open to discussions with parents who feel their child may need additional support with transitions.

Our focus for 2021-22 will be:

  • Identifying and closing gaps in learning, through AfL, Growth Mindset, and building resilience, reflectiveness, independence and confidence within all learning opportunities
  • Developing the children’s understanding of the 5 Ways to Well-being
  • Continuing to develop outdoor learning opportunities, Forest School and a broad and creative curriculum
  • Supporting the movement to decolonise the curriculum and create space for anti-racist learning and a celebration of diversity and inclusion
  • Buddy system reintroduced on the playground and around school to support the development of emotional and social learning
  • Therapeutic responses to anti-social behaviours and promotion of pro-social behaviours through STEPS training, Buddy system, PSHRE curriculum and Christian values (see PSHRE and Behaviour policies)
  • Continuing to develop partnership with parents and listen to pupil voice through Talk Circles and class discussions as well as our Worship Group and Eco Warriors Group.