Curriculum Intent

LEOPOLD PRIMARY CURRICULUM INTENT

Leopold Primary School is a four form entry, inner city school, on two sites, (one with Nursery provision) in Brent. The school is situated in a challenging locality. There are a high number of children with; social needs, emotional and behavioural difficulties, pupil premium and a high number of children known to, or recently involved with social services. We serve a disadvantaged community with high level of social deprivation and we believe that our children deserve a curriculum that enhances their life chances. Many families in our school community have low incomes with complex social housing issues. Crime rates in the area are some of the highest in the country with knife, gun and drug crimes. The majority of children enter our foundation stage with starting points well below the national average and there is a high level of special needs across the school. Many of our parents have low levels of literacy and numeracy and limited experiences outside of the local area. However this contrasts with a small number of professional households.

There is high mobility amongst pupils and staff. This combination of challenges, including the expansion of the school to two sites and the inadequate leadership structure, has meant that the school has failed to maintain standards over a number of years.

The Headteacher resigned suddenly in 2018 and an Executive Headteacher was seconded from an excellent local school to lead the school from April. The leadership model for Leopold Primary was ineffective: ‘One school two sites,’ did not work in practice, due to the distance between the buildings and insufficient leaders. A number of audits were commissioned which resulted in numerous recommendations to be actioned.  A restructure was undertaken to streamline the efficiency and effectiveness of both sites to improve pupil outcomes: the appointment of 2 Heads of School and four assistant heads on each site.

Therefore the school vision, aims and ethos, outline the drive and ambition of staff and the community to overturn this deficit, accelerate progress and provide unique experiences, including cultural capital, to ensure each child has every opportunity to thrive and succeed in the 21st century. We believe that our pupils deserve a first class education, therefore we aim to provide our children with rich, inspiring and evolving curriculum opportunities which build confidence, tolerance, resilience, communication, respect and readiness to contribute to society. These include annual residential trips to Spain, France, Science museum, Gordon Brown, Camping, visits to London and local theatres, museums, art galleries, Kew garden, London Zoo, enrichment weeks, mascot opportunities for England international games, in house child counselling support and access to a range of secondary feeder schools in Brent.

Safeguarding is our number 1 priority, therefore it is reflected in our daily practice and embedded in every decision we make to maintain a culture of vigilance at school and in the community. Our awareness of high crime, growing mental health concerns and gang affiliation in the area, has sharpened our efforts and we work closely with the Safer Neighbourhood police team, Safer schools police officer, IMAGO, local secondary and primary partners, transition programmes, citizenship programmes, local businesses, Wizard theatre, London Transport, Local authority and parents to deter pupils from choosing a life of crime. A Parent Forum, held each term with the Heads of School, provides a platform for community speakers and updates from the inclusion team. In addition, regular safeguarding updates are shared with parents. Effective, bespoke transition arrangements are built into the curriculum to support parents and pupils into the next phase of their development from Nursery to year 7.

Given that EAL is at 49%, we recognise that we are a language rich school therefore bespoke reading and writing opportunities are planned across the curriculum so that we are fluent in Standard English. Cultural barriers to learning have been actively broken down to ensure equality of opportunity for all pupils regardless of gender, race or religion. 32% of Leopold pupils are Black Caribbean and Black and white mixed Caribbean heritage, therefore we ensure that the curriculum is connected to black history and heritage so that pupils can feel proud and valued.

Clear succession planning has ensured that the staffing structure has been developed to meet the needs of the children and community, with staff representing our pupil profile. Coherent plans for the improvement of leadership have resulted in a specialist team with the capacity for robust and continuous improvement. High quality professional development, ensures that pupils are taught by a strong team of staff, with subject specialism and knowledge, evidenced through improving pupil outcomes.

Timely assessment opportunities, ensure that pupils receive feedback to improve their work and consolidate their knowledge. Reporting arrangements are in place to keep parents well informed about their child’s progress.

Through professional networking and ambitious target setting, stakeholders work collaboratively with leaders to achieve a common vision. This Vision underpins everything that we do.

CURRICLUM PRINCIPLES

  • We believe that every child should enjoy learning and receive a first class education through high quality experiences and enrichment opportunities that embed life- long learning
  • Our curriculum is ambitious and lays the foundation for our pupils’ improved future success. It is designed to nurture creativity and to be inclusive of all our pupils’ diverse needs and backgrounds.
  • We aim to overturn inequality by ensuring that all pupils, regardless of circumstance, have every opportunity to succeed and thrive. Every child is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate our differences within our diverse school community. The ability to learn transferable skill: to become an independent, inquisitive, learner is a core aim of our curriculum.
  • We recognise the rich cultural background of our community, therefore language opportunities are embedded across the curriculum so that we are fluent in Standard English
  • We value the importance of our pupils recognising their own heritage in the curriculum. When learning about the amazing achievements in human history, we encourage our pupils to recognise their own heritage and history within this. We firmly believe in the importance of developing a strong sense of identity and self-esteem in order for our children to have the highest aspirations.
  • We believe that the school work force and curriculum should reflect the community we serve, therefore all groups are represented and the curriculum is purposefully developed to connect and engage pupil interests.
  • We respect parents as the first teachers of their children and aim to work with families to secure a learning and growing relationship together
  • Our intention is that through a broad curriculum offer, pupils create stems for their future careers. Careful consideration is given to the opportunities included in our curriculum offer, in order to broaden horizons including skills that will support future application into higher education at the best universities.
  • We believe that childhood should be a happy and enquiring time in our lives, that children should have a range of experiences that enhance their learning and expand their understanding and curiosity of the world around them.

 

  • English
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Geography
  • Science
  • Art and Design
  • Computing
  • Design Technology
  • Physical Education
  • PSHE
  • Music
  • Religious Education
  • Spanish
  • Enrichment

Mathematics

At Leopold, we have implemented the Singaporean mathematics mastery approach supported through the Math No Problem scheme of work. A fundamental aspect to this approach is applying the concrete, pictorial and abstact framework

 

Here is a further explanation from Maths No problem

Children (and adults!) can find maths difficult because it is abstract. The CPA approach builds on children’s existing knowledge by introducing abstract concepts in a concrete and tangible way. It involves moving from concrete materials, to pictorial representations, to abstract symbols and problems. The CPA framework is so established in Singapore maths teaching that the Ministry of Education will not approve any teaching materials that do not use the approach.

Concrete step of CPA

Concrete is the “doing” stage. During this stage, students use concrete objects to model problems. Unlike traditional maths teaching methods where teachers demonstrate how to solve a problem, the CPA approach brings concepts to life by allowing children to experience and handle physical (concrete) objects. With the CPA framework, every abstract concept is first introduced using physical, interactive concrete materials.

For example, if a problem involves adding pieces of fruit, children can first handle actual fruit. From there, they can progress to handling abstract counters or cubes which represent the fruit.

Pictorial step of CPA

Pictorial is the “seeing” stage. Here, visual representations of concrete objects are used to model problems. This stage encourages children to make a mental connection between the physical object they just handled and the abstract pictures, diagrams or models that represent the objects from the problem.

Building or drawing a model makes it easier for children to grasp difficult abstract concepts (for example, fractions). Simply put, it helps students visualise abstract problems and make them more accessible.

Abstract step of CPA

Abstract is the “symbolic” stage, where children use abstract symbols to model problems. Students will not progress to this stage until they have demonstrated that they have a solid understanding of the concrete and pictorial stages of the problem. The abstract stage involves the teacher introducing abstract concepts (for example, mathematical symbols). Children are introduced to the concept at a symbolic level, using only numbers, notation, and mathematical symbols (for example, +, –, x, /) to indicate addition, multiplication or division.

Each year group In addition, from Reception to Year 6, there is a 15-minute Maths Meeting every day, during which the teacher focuses on basic maths skills.

The following PDFs contain examples of the activities children may participate in during a Maths Meeting.

Reception

Year One

Year Two

Year Three

Year Four

Year Five

Year Six

All children, from Reception to Year 6, are given a personal login to access IXL online maths resources. The website complements all of the skills taught in class, and teachers are able to view reports showing children’s IXL usage and progress. The site can be found here.

English Curriculum

Synthetic Phonics – Read Write Inc

Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and selected Year 2 pupils are working under the Read, Write, Inc scheme of learning. The programme guides children on their reading journey, and helps them to establish skills in writing, spelling and phonetic work.

By the end of Year 1, all children utilising the Read, Write, Inc framework have progressed into accurate and well-practiced readers.

Further information, and introductory videos for parents, can be found here.

The Power of Reading

In addition, we have adopted the approach developed and recommended by the Centre of Primary Literacy Education (CLPE). This approach is steeped in research of how to effectively teach reading and writing through high-quality texts. Selected texts are rich in vocabulary; reflect our pupils’ experiences and develop a love of reading. Pleasure for reading is a central driver of the approach along with developing pupils’ literacy skills.

The impact of this approach can be seen in this video:

All children, from Reception to Year 6, are given a personal login to access IXL online English resources. The website complements all of the skills taught in class, and teachers are able to view reports showing children’s IXL usage and progress. The site can be found here.