At the Vine Schools of Christian Malford, Seagry and Walter Powell, our curriculum is driven by the ambition to foster children’s growth in all aspects of life, including spiritual, interpersonal skills, critical thinking as well as academic knowledge.
Through direct teaching, our curriculum is designed to guide children in establishing values that are important to their wellbeing. This will be facilitated by the teaching of our whole school Christian ‘GRAPES’ values, a foundation in British Values and planned opportunities to discuss and consider real world problems.
Our Grapes values are:
Our curriculum is designed to develop and expand Empathy. By approaching the curriculum through empathy, we want our children not just to be engaged in their learning but to be ‘bothered’ about what’s going on in the world around them, empowering them to become courageous advocates and have their voice heard.
Empathy has three main benefits:
Empathy Connects Us to Others:
One of the most important benefits of empathy is that it helps us connect with others. When we feel empathy for someone, we feel a connection to them—we see them as fellow human beings with hopes, dreams, and fears, just like us. And this connection can be the foundation for relationships built on trust and understanding.
Empathy Reduces Conflict:
When we empathize with someone, we’re able to see things from their perspective. And this can help us resolve conflicts in a more peaceful way. Instead of seeing the other person as an adversary, we see them as a fellow human being who is worthy of our understanding and respect.
Empathy Builds Stronger Relationships:
Empathy is the foundation for strong relationships—whether they’re relationships between friends, family members, or colleagues. When we empathize with others, we develop a deeper understanding of them. And this understanding leads to trust, respect, and communication—all key ingredients for strong relationships.
Why is Empathy important in our curriculum?
The Vine Schools’ bespoke, unique curriculum was built for the community they serve. We want children at The Vine Schools to learn, engage with and cherish modern Britain. We want them to show empathy and understanding of the world around them, so that they can play an active part in wider society.
Our staff are motivated to create engaging lessons which are relevant to the modern world. Through addressing modern world issues, children become better global citizens and are able tackle problems with a positive attitude. Children, from our rural setting, leave the Vine Schools with their eyes wide open to the world around them and enter it ready to embrace its challenges.
By addressing modern world issues through the lens of empathy, children become better global citizens and are able tackle problems with compassion, understanding and a positive attitude.
To achieve this, we:
- Discuss current topics, both nationally and internationally. We are supported by Votes for Schools within this. Each week, classes discuss an assembly topic and have the chance to exercise their British democratic right in voting. By voting on topics, children get a voice, which Votes for Schools shares with big organisations, MP’s and even royalty.
- The texts we use have been chosen to support the topic we are teaching. We also make sure that texts reflect the diversity of modern Britain to further reinforce the importance of empathy.
- Using mobile cooking equipment children get to experience a wide range of cooking techniques.
- Visitors from the community support us with different topics. We have visits arranged by former Olympians and children’s authors.
- At The Vines Schools’ children get a wide variety of experiences, from professional Hockey coaches to Fencing with a former Olympic level athlete.
How do we implement the intentions of our curriculum?
At the core of The Vine’s curriculum is the National Curriculum. We have used this to plan topics, which inspire our children, whilst enabling them to develop key knowledge and skills in a systematic and progressive way. We have considered how our curriculum will be implemented to ensure that this happens.
Whole Curriculum Implementation
- Topics/units of work contain a clear learning journey, which enables the children to build on their prior knowledge.
- Connections are made between new learning and prior knowledge. Children are encouraged to look for links which connect their learning experiences.
- Children are provided with the opportunity to apply their maths and English skills across the curriculum.
- The use of pre-teaching enables children’s access to new vocabulary within lessons.
- The children have access to a broad range of experiences, trips and visitors. During the year of 20/21 these experiences will be limited for children due to COVID-19 restrictions and instead staff will include active and engaging activities using the outside area of school, invite visitors in and make best use of technology.
- Collective worship enables our children to understand and apply the values of the school.
- Skills progressions are used to ensure children the children develop their knowledge and skills in a progressive manner.
- Assessment for learning informs gap filling intervention support to ensure the children have the key building blocks needed to secure age appropriate knowledge and skills.
Subject Specific Implementation
- Writing – Children are exposed to high quality texts, which stimulate writing opportunities for a range of audiences and purposes. Grammar is taught and embedded within writing provisions.
- Reading – A mix of Whole class and Guided group reading is used to teach reading. 1:1 and small group reading activities are also used. The children develop the knowledge of key reading skills (inference, retrieval, summarising, sequencing, understanding vocabulary, predicting). The children practise the skills across the curriculum. Reading for pleasure is encouraged through the use of our school library, the sharing of class texts at the end of the day, book clubs and recommendations from peers.
- Phonics – Little Wandle is used to support the teaching of phonics. The children progress through the year group appropriate phases. This begins with phase 2 in nursery, progressing through to phase 3 and 4 in reception, finishing with phase 5 in Year 1. Phase 6 is covered through the teaching of spelling in Year 2. The children apply their phonics skills to reading and spelling. Where children have not secured their understanding of phonics by the end of year 1, intervention support is implemented to ensure that by the end of Key Stage One the children have secured the phonics skills needed. This is continued into Key Stage 2 if still necessary.
- Spelling – Spelling patterns and key word lists outlined in the National Curriculum are taught to the children through application in English and wider curriculum lessons. Spelling Frame is used to support this.
- Maths - White Rose Maths is used to support the teaching of maths, enabling the children to develop fluency in concepts before applying this knowledge to reasoning and problem solving activities. Times Table Rockstars is used to enhance children’s maths learning outside of the classroom.
- PE - The children are able to develop fundamental movement skills through the use of Fortius. The children are also able to apply their skills to invasion games, gymnastics and net and wall games. Specialist provision has enabled staff to be trained in alternative sports such as fencing and archery.
- Religion and World Views – we use a combination of the Swindon Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education and Understanding Christianity to enable our children to engage in systematic enquiry to explore the big questions about life. We want our children to ask questions and wonder about religion as well as to explore and celebrate their own and other people’s beliefs.
- Art and Music - Our curriculum supports the children in developing healthy lifestyles and supporting positive physical and mental health. This is also supported through PSHE lessons and day-to-day classroom practice. For music, Charanga is used to support the teaching of Music.
- Purple Mash is used to support the teaching of Computing. Lessons are used to focus on the teaching of computing skills, which are then applied in other subjects.
- Science – our science curriculum fosters in our children a healthy curiosity about the world. The children develop a strong understanding of the world around them whilst acquiring specific skills and knowledge to help them think scientifically, gain an understanding of scientific processes and also a deeper understanding of the uses and implications of science today and for the future.
- History - The use of topics supports the children in developing their chronological understanding through making links with prior knowledge. Progressions of history skills support progression in seven key strands: Chronology, historical enquiry, historical terms, interpretation, continuity and change similarity and difference, cause and consequence and significance.
- Geography - The use of topics support the children in understanding their knowledge of place. Progression documents support the learning of knowledge of place, knowledge of patterns and communicating geographical knowledge.
- PSHE – Jigsaw is used to support the teaching of PSHE.
- Modern Foreign Languages – As a school, we teach French. Language Angels supports us with this.
What impact do we hope to achieve with our curriculum?
- We develop life-long learners.
- We develop children’s knowledge and skills across all subjects.
- The work of our wider curriculum will impact on attainment at the end of each key stage.
- Our children successfully transition into the next stage of their life as empathetic learners.
- Our children will believe that they can make a difference in our school and wider community and continue to uphold our values in their lives.
How have we designed our curriculum?
When developing our curriculum, we have considered the following key strands:
Progression – We have designed a whole school curriculum overview, which ensures the children develop their knowledge and skills in a progressive way. The design of this overview has ensured that children consistently build on prior knowledge and make links in their learning.
Breadth and depth of experiences – We ensure that our children have access to a wide variety of subjects and experiences. The children are given opportunities to study each curriculum are in depth to build solid knowledge and understanding.
Support and challenge for all – Differentiation is used across our curriculum to ensure that children of all abilities can access the learning and achieve their full potential. Children are given the opportunity to deepen their knowledge
Relevance – In curriculum areas, children are given the purpose of what they are learning to support them in understanding why they are learning what they are. STEMS give children the opportunity to place their learning in real life contexts, highlighting the relevance of why they learn what they learn. We have chosen topics which link to our local context and the heritage of our children, as well as some key historical and geographical topics, which provide the children with key knowledge needed for the next stage of their lives.
Because we have mixed year group classes across our schools’ our KS1 curriculum follows a three year cycle, whilst our KS2 curriculum follows a four year cycle. This helps us to ensure that there is a clear progression in skills and knowledge, without children repeating topics.