Intent

At Simonside Primary School, we are passionate about creating a curriculum with our children’s interests at the heart and where every child can achieve.  Our curriculum is designed to be exciting, creative, engaging and challenging for all of our children. We consistently seek ways to ensure all children are actively involved in their learning and provide a range of learning opportunities that inspire life-long, inquisitive learners.

Staff at Simonside are committed to providing children with a real purpose for their learning, inspiring future thinkers, innovators and problem solvers; this is achieved through our Project Based Learning approach.  Through our REAL (Rigorous, Engaging, Authentic, Learning) projects, our children are not only able to deepen their knowledge and understanding but also begin to appreciate that their learning has value beyond the walls of the classroom.

Our aim is for our children to leave Year 6 with everything they need to be successful as they continue their learning journey into secondary school and beyond.

At Simonside Primary School, we have 6 curriculum drivers, which are based on the needs and background of our children, and the values we hold; they underpin and shape the curriculum we design for our children.  Our drivers encourage our children to be:

  • Respectful
  • Motivated
  • Independent
  • Confident
  • Resilient
  • A Team Player

Project Based Learning is at the heart of our curriculum; it is our intention to provide children with a range of real-life experiences, coupled with real-life audiences, to enable them to see the true value of their learning.  We want our curriculum to excite and engage our pupils to overcome the deprived backgrounds many of them come from.

Implementation

Through our Project Based Learning curriculum, we provide children with a unique, exciting and creative approach to learning. Termly topics are devised and created to capture pupils’ interests and imagination and cover every objective from each National Curriculum subject.

Each topic begins with an open-ended question that generates intrigue and cannot be answered using online search engines, such as ‘Can learning about past conflict promote a legacy of peace?’ or ‘Is seeing believing?’

Following a Project Launch Day to hook pupils’ interests and create awe and wonder, classrooms are transformed into immersive learning spaces, linked to the topic studied. We believe that this is important as it provides our children with a real, sensory ‘hook’ for their learning, alongside additional experiences on which they can draw.  Topics are supplemented by a range of visits out of school to places of local importance and by ‘experts’ to support pupils’ learning.

Throughout their projects, children develop the skills needed to provide a considered and informed response to the over-arching question.  Staff and children work together to design a REAL ‘project outcome’, which has a meaningful context and purpose, as well as a real-life audience.  As our projects and topic themes are designed with the children’s interests in mind, this means that no two years in our curriculum are the same; this keeps it relevant, engaging and current.

Impact

Enjoyment of the curriculum promotes achievement, confidence and good behaviour.  Children feel safe to try new things.  High quality visits and visitors to the school enhance the curriculum and provide opportunities for writing for a purpose.

Children have opportunities to share their learning with each other, their parents and carers and other learners, through school-based and external exhibitions, performances, competitions and events involving other schools.  Developing their independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future citizens is at the heart of all of our teaching and learning.