The Curriculum at Hotham
“At Hotham our vision is to equip children for life by providing them with the academic, social and personal skills they need to succeed in education, to relate well to others and to pursue their dreams.”
When designing our curriculum approach, we considered how we could fulfil our school vision and equip all children for life. This can be seen through our approach to teaching English, Maths, REAL Projects, Science and RE.
In English, children write for a purpose: stories to be read, letters to be responded to or leaflets to persuade. Children are taught to identify the key features of successful works and are encouraged to edit and redraft their pieces to produce beautiful work through Peer Critique and Multiple Drafting (PCMD). In reading, children are taught to infer so that they can read situations and identify bias. We place a high value on oracy in order to enable our pupils to communicate their ideas articulately.
Where possible, we teach the foundation subjects through REAL Projects (Rigorous, Engaging, Authentic, Learning) as these connect deep subject content with real world problem solving. We believe that the children need to see a relevance and context to their learning and have opportunities to showcase their work to a range of audiences. Children are launched into their projects where they embark on a learning voyage, exploring and unpicking their essential question. Our curriculum not only teaches children what they need to know across different year groups but also provides them with the skills they need for each subject. As in English, children are encouraged, through PCMD, to support each other in creating their best work. The emphasis on the use of an expert brings this to life, providing inspiration and an insight into how children could apply what they have learnt in a future career. There are also great opportunities for enrichment built in through trips and visitors. As part of this process, children reflect upon their final outcomes and celebrate their achievements. REAL projects support children to become independent and develop the skills they need to learn for themselves. We aim to build in legacies from these projects that not only impact the children themselves but also the wider community.
The development of children’s computing skills is essential in order to equip them for life after Hotham. Children are taught to be efficient in their use of technology, both as a resource for learning but also as a medium to communicate their ideas.
In maths, we have invested in Maths No Problem which uses the CPA model (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract). It always starts with the concrete, maths with real objects, in real contexts. Children are asked to represent maths in ways that are meaningful to them and encouraged to explain their reasoning in detail. At the start of lessons, children are presented with real life problems which introduce the skills they will be learning. Children apply their maths in depth across a range of contexts to understand the true value of what they are learning.
In science, we teach the topics as set out in the National Curriculum. Our children are taught to apply their acquired knowledge to practical investigations, using what they know to make hypotheses and conclusions in relation to scientific processes. Science teaches the majority of our RHE curriculum; working with national banks to deliver the financial curriculum. PSHE skills are embedded across the curriculum as children participate in high quality discussion and collaborative activities.
Our French is taught through CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) predominately in the bilingual classes but also in the open classes. CLIL is based on teaching language through real-life situations in which students can acquire the language. We use key French texts and link learning to our REAL projects, integrating it into the broader curriculum where possible, as well as delivering some French lessons through iLanguages.
Music has long been a strength of the school. All children have the opportunity to learn at least one orchestral instrument during their school career taught by specialist teachers and many sing in the school choirs. We perform as much of music as possible both in school and out in the local community. This is not only as an important dimension of our REAL projects, but also provides opportunities for children to excel in musical performance.
In RE, children learn about the major religions and their beliefs, customs, festivals, scriptures and rights of passage. They also learn from religion, making comparisons across faiths and considering their own beliefs and practices. RE is taught termly across two days, looking at each religion in depth.
Alongside academic learning, we value the personal and social development of our pupils. Our curriculum is also underpinned by our school values “Respect, Responsibility and Resolve.” We teach children to work respectfully with others, take responsibility for their own learning and build their resolve in the face of challenge. The nature of our curriculum encourages children to work collaboratively with one another and to value each other’s opinions. Our PSHE curriculum enhances this through a structured approach to addressing specific personal and social issues which children will encounter as they become citizens of the world. Staff also supplement this by addressing key social issues in class as and when this is required.
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