Wider Curriculum Opportunities & Cultural Capital
Our curriculum extends beyond the National Curriculum and includes a wide range of enriching experiences and opportunities both within and beyond the school day. This includes an extensive programme of after-school clubs, that support the core curriculum offer, as well as those which develop specialist skills, such as Spanish and French, sailing and archery, whilst also extending the range of children’s experiences (Cultural Capital). A primary focus of our curriculum is to raise aspirations, engender a sense of personal pride in achievement, and provide a purpose and relevance for learning.
The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and make very good progress across the curriculum. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth and those who can struggle are encouraged and given targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs.
In addition to our exciting and stimulating cross-curricular themes, we also provide further opportunities to enhance children’s learning wherever possible. These include:
Whole School Theme Days/Weeks
Throughout the year, themed days/weeks are woven into the curriculum to extend the breadth and balance of opportunities we offer our pupils. These include, Anti-bullying Week and Safety Day, Creative Arts Week, World Book Day, Black History Day, Sport & Health Week, Mini-enterprise Week, Fair Trade Fortnight, Science Day, Cultural Day, Community Day, European Day of Languages, National Museum Day, RE Days and others.
Big Question Fortnight
On an annual basis, children across the school engage in a whole-school enquiry-based learning experience which is driven by a process of discovery and enquiry. This provides an exciting opportunity for children to explore, develop and acquire new skills in a direction in which they are interested. Research shows that children from the whole spectrum of abilities find learning in this way to be fun and motivating, and outcomes are positive for every child. This is our experience at Woodstock Primary; pupils tell us they value the opportunity to lead their own learning.
Children are introduced to the Big Question in an assembly and then classes brainstorm and discuss their ideas; Big Questions are developed within classes and with their teacher children agree a common theme to lead their Big Question Enquiry Project. Children then decide independently or as a group, ways in which they can research their questions and present their findings.
Forest School & Outdoor Learning
Forest Schools is a Scandinavian initiative designed to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment. As a school we are very fortunate in having our own woodland area and a teacher trained to deliver the Forest Schools programme.
Forest Schools is offered to our Foundation Stage and Year 1 children and also as an after-school club for Y2-Y6 pupils. Sessions are designed around the needs of the group to ensure that they are learner-led. Sessions are designed around a theme, themes are sometimes subtle such as evolving or exploring the site or more obvious such as butterflies, spies, fairies or nature investigators. Many areas of the National Curriculum are intrinsically covered, in the Forest Schools experience without the programmes needing to be curriculum led. Teamwork skills are developed through games and activities. Individual skills and self-esteem are heightened throughout activities such as hide and seek, shelter building, tool skills, lighting fires or environmental art, the list is endless. Each activity develops intra and inter-personal skills as well as practical and intellectual skills.
We are an Eco school and value the benefits of outdoor learning. Children are stimulated by the outdoors where they can undertake a range of practical activities to support and enhance learning across the curriculum. Our Foundation Stage and Key Stage One pupils also benefit from tending their own growing beds to produce fruit and vegetables to use in cooking activities.
Further up the school, opportunities are built into the curriculum for children to continue learning beyond the classroom including undertaking fieldwork and enquiry based-work in the local area.
Educational Visits and Residentials
School trips and visits are an integral part of the education of children at Woodstock Primary. We value the opportunities such visits offer our pupils and the commitment of staff and adults undertaking them. Trips include class visits aimed at bringing learning alive and providing first-hand experience and bringing learning alive; extra-curricular outings such as activities with the school choir or sporting events; and attending or taking part in performances or competitions. Blenheim Palace is on our doorstep and provides a rich and inspirational learning resource.
Children in Years 2, 3, 4 and 6 take part in residential visits. These are planned to provide new and exciting experiences. Children in Year 2 make an annual overnight visit to the Ridgeway Centre in the Vale of the Whitehorse; pupils in Years 3 & 4 gain first hand-experience of Roman Britain when visiting Cirencester and Chedworth Roman villa; and our Year 6 young people take part in a challenge week at The Frontier Centre in Northamptonshire where they experience orienteering, climbing, abseiling, raft building, archery and lots more.
Visitors into School
Visitors have a valuable role to play and can contribute to many aspects of the life and work of the school. They deliver talks, workshops and full day activities across a wide range of subjects, giving pupils access to outside experiences and expertise. Visitors provide a link with the wider community – children have the opportunity to work alongside artists, musicians, authors, health professions and others.
Half-termly STEAM presentations introduce children to the world of work, develop career-related learning and breakdown gender stereotypes. Presentations introduce children to different career options and aim to increase aspirations while also raising self-esteem and breaking down barriers. Talks are wide ranging reflecting different employment sectors and delivered by both men and women, for example a recent talk by a drone designer was delivered by a female engineer with a degree in physics – she spoke about her contribution society in a male dominated job; other speakers have included surgeons, an architect, a photographer, a volcanologist and an animator – he told an enraptured hall full of staff and children about his struggle in school with dyslexia to going on to receive his first (of four) Baftas!
As a school we offer pupils opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities after school. At any time, a wide range of clubs is on offer – our programmes of clubs and activities available is revised termly depending on the time of year and other commitments children may have.
PE & Sport
At Woodstock Primary we are using our PE & Sport Premium to part-fund a qualified sports coach. Craig McKay who is already known to many pupils across the school, provides high quality instruction during PE lessons; he also runs sporting activities at lunchtimes; and promotes increased pupil participation in PE & Sport beyond the school day.
In the summer term we reviewed the school’s approach to the delivery of swimming lessons. This year children in Years 3, 4 and 5 will benefit from a whole term swimming.
Music, Art & Drama
Woodstock Primary School provides opportunities for children to take part in a wide range of musical activities and performances where they are encouraged to sing, compose and work creatively with sound. Through active listening, pupils’ awareness, understanding and appreciation of a wide variety of music are developed. A range of opportunities are provided within and beyond the curriculum for children to showcase their musical skills and talents, for example every two years our older pupils take part in Young Voices where school choirs across the Midlands region come together to performance at the Indoor Arena in Birmingham. Visits to the theatre further enriches pupils’ cultural development.
As a school we appreciate and understand the importance of drama within our curriculum. Research reveals that drama had a positive impact on children’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. Drama is developed across the whole school in a variety of ways including story-telling, and annually across Year 5 through the input of actors from Oxfordshire Playhouse - children write play scripts and have opportunity to develop these through rehearsal and performance. The actors choose a script and go on to perform it at the Playhouse!
Opportunities to Volunteer
Volunteering is an activity that everyone can get involved in and benefit from. At Woodstock Primary we promote and encourage pupils’ active citizenship and positive contribution to the school and wider community. We offer lots of opportunities for pupils to take on new responsibilities and be involved in successfully supporting the life and work of the school. These include elected representatives on our Children’s Council, Eco Committee, E-safety Team, PE & Sport Committee and Rights Respecting Committee. Older pupils can also apply and be interviewed for positions such as Playground Leaders and Librarians, and within classes children can volunteer to take on various responsibilities ranging from lunch duties, to collecting and distributing registers, to helping with the organisation of equipment in assemblies.
Pupils tell us that they enjoy the opportunity to volunteer to help make their school an even better place to be and rising to the challenge that additional responsibility brings.
A rounded programme of daily assemblies helps to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and provide clear guidance on what is right and what is wrong. Once a week, assemblies are led by a member of our local clergy, and at least once a term child participate in a service at St Mary Magdalene’s Church. At the end of the school day on a Friday an Assembly of Celebration is held. Once a term, specialist STEAM assemblies are held to inspire children and raise their aspirations about potential careers for the future.
Homework can make an important contribution to a child’s progress at school. As well as reinforcing learning in the classroom, homework helps children to develop the skills and attitudes they will need for successful independent lifelong learning.
Homework is set in-line with the school’s policy, with tasks planned to appropriately challenge all pupils. Weekly activities focus on literacy and numeracy to reinforce and consolidate skills taught. Often whole-school homework is set which provides an opportunity for children to think creatively and produce their own form of response for example a model or piece of art work, a project, an IT presentation, a recount following a family visit.