ETHOS & CURRICULUM INTENT
At Garden Fields our ethos is encapsulated in the phrase, Growing Hearts and Minds: we aim to develop our children not just academically but also socially and morally, with a high level of pastoral care, and a stimulating and exciting curriculum which prepares our children well for life ahead in the 21st Century. We want our children to have the core educational competencies of being literate, numerate and computer literate, whilst also being resilient, engaged and ethical learners.
Growing Hearts and Minds
Our 6 Competencies
In order to fulfil this intent, we have drawn on Michael Fullan’s 6 competencies which we believe are needed for our children to be prepared for their future learning, careers and wellbeing.
- Character – Character refers to qualities of the individual essential for being personally effective in a complex world including grit, tenacity, perseverance, resilience, reliability, and honesty.
- Citizenship – Thinking like global citizens, considering global issues based on a deep understanding of diverse values with genuine interest in engaging with others to solve complex problems that impact human and environmental sustainability.
- Collaboration – Collaboration refers to the capacity to work interdependently and synergistically in teams with strong interpersonal and team‐related skills including effective management of team dynamics, making substantive decisions together, and learning from and contributing to the learning of others.
- Communication – Communication entails mastery of three fluencies: digital, writing, and speaking tailored for a range of audiences.
- Creativity – Having an ‘entrepreneurial eye’ for economic and social opportunities, asking the right questions to generate novel ideas, and demonstrating leadership to pursue those ideas into practice.
- Critical Thinking – Critically evaluating information and arguments, seeing patterns and connections, construction meaningful knowledge and applying it in the real world.
Alongside these, we also have 6 core values which we aim for our children to embody when they leave Garden Fields at the end of Year 6. These are: Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Cooperation, Inclusivity and Integrity.
1. Our Curriculum Implementation
- Our curriculum is designed to ensure that all pupils have access to all that the National Curriculum offers and high-quality learning experiences that lead to a consistently high level of pupil progress and achievement. For details about the National Curriculum, please follow this link.
- We have organised the National Curriculum subjects have been organised into themes with consideration given to how learning within each subject is connected and sequenced (where curriculum content is not strengthened or supported by a thematic approach, it is taught in discrete lessons).
- These themes are based on 10 ‘big ideas’ that connect subjects and link learning; developing understanding and allowing pupils to revisit knowledge in different contexts over time thereby deepening understanding.
- Our Big ideas are:
- Using Cornerstones’ Curriculum Maestro as a starting point, teachers and subject leaders are able to create curriculum projects to best meet the needs of our pupils and our changing world. Lessons within each subject are planned with purpose and rigour, providing a platform to recall and build on previous learning. Appropriate challenge develops the independence needed to make and learn from mistakes, building emotional and intellectual resilience.
- This creative and comprehensive curriculum, based on the Four Cornerstones of Teaching and Learning: ‘Engage – Develop – Innovate – Express’, provides us with the basis on which to develop outstanding, tailored provision. We have chosen from, and adapted topics to meet the needs and interests of our own learners, looking to make links and connections with the experiences of our diverse community, the inspiring, historical city of St Albans and also by using our rich outdoor environment.
- Aside from our chosen Curriculum Maestro topics, we also use and adapt the Herts for Learning (HfL) Maths and Literacy resources, White Rose Maths, Jigsaw PSHE programme, Rising Stars Computing scheme of work, Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus for R.E and accompanying scheme of work and currently our own P.E. and Music schemes of work.
- What capacities do we want to develop in our young people?
- Confidence and resilience
- The ability to communicate orally and present to others
- Engaged thinking – the ability to think critically and reason and be able to articulate their thoughts
- Collaboration – the ability to work as part of a team, exchanging ideas and learning to compromise
- Creative thinking – developing and exploring new ideas as well as having the confidence to take risks as well as the capacity for artistic expression, whether through drama, dance, music and/or art and design
- Successful in their learning – literate, numerate and computer literate
- We want our young people to develop strong values that relate to:
- Themselves, as individuals capable of moral, social, intellectual, spiritual and physical growth and development
- Their relationships, as fundamental to the development and fulfilment of happy and healthy lives, and to the good of the community
- Their society, which is shaped by the contributions of a diverse range of people, cultures and heritages
- Their environment, as the basis of life and a source of wonder and inspiration that needs to be protected
- Responsibility, respect and compassion for others
- Honesty, integrity and tolerance
- Ethical thinking – children who contribute effectively to the school, local and global communities
- The value and importance of a healthy lifestyle and a sense of sportsmanship
3. What are the beliefs and values that underpin learning and teaching in Garden Fields?
We recognise that we learn best when:
- We can relate to, feel comfortable with, like and feel liked by the person we are learning from
- We can make learning our own by relating it to our own experience and understanding
- We feel included and active in the process and not just a recipient
- We understand the purpose/reason for learning something
- We have a strong sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem
- We feel valued, seen and heard and are given regular opportunities to develop our voice
- Our focus looks at learning within and beyond the classroom, supporting personal growth for each individual. We recognise our responsibility to support the health and happiness of our students as well as prioritising the full scope of a child’s developmental needs as a way to ensure that every child reaches their fullest potential.
- At Garden Fields we understand that a child’s education and life outcomes are dependent upon their access to deeper learning opportunities in and out of school, as well as their school environment and relationships.
- We believe every child should be happy, healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged to grow during their time with us. Garden Fields promotes a culture that ensures our pupils are given time to develop their interests and learn wider skills in a safe and supportive environment, while still being excited academically, engaged and challenged so that they become an effective learner and begin to understand how they learn best.
As a school we don’t just ask, “Am I teaching well?” but “Are the children learning and developing well?”