Our Curriculum Statement
Our Curriculum Statement
We believe that children learn and thrive best in a school environment that stimulates learning and inspires children to achieve all they aspire to be. Our school community values each individual and celebrates their uniqueness, recognising the importance of good self-esteem, mental health and the importance of feeling safe within our surroundings. As such, we maintain a safe, calm and purposeful environment, which nurtures our life-long learners.
As a Rights Respecting School, we teach children how to express their opinions in a meaningful and respectful way: we ensure our children, and wider school community, understand that their expression of feelings and opinions are recognised and welcomed. Children, parents and carers are actively involved in the school improvement process through the Children’s Leadership Group and the Parent Forum.
We believe our focus on the development of effective behaviours for learning allows children to take risks in their learning, challenge themselves and their peers and learn the importance of making mistakes: our sequential curriculum means we learn to walk before we run and we build the resilience to know that stumbles are part of that journey. Our curriculum is enriched through links to our community and local area, building bridges with people and places and ensuring children are equipped for their next steps in their learning journey.
Statement of Curriculum Intent
We believe that learning is most impactful when it is holistic. We view this approach as being challenging, collective and collaborative. Our curriculum seeks to provide connected experiences through real-life and inquiry-based experiences in a safe environment where each child has a voice. Robust, knowledge-led discovery is used, alongside the planned development of skills, as a stimulus for cumulative fluency to stretch the minds for all our pupils so that they develop high aspirations and can realise their potential.
We introduce learning experiences through exciting and engaging hooks to ignite a life-long love of learning and thirst for knowledge-based enquiry. We believe this equips children for life now and beyond their school life. As such, as much as possible, we base learning upon real-life, first-hand experiences that reflect the interest and needs of our children and the community in which they live.
Through the layering of experiences and learning over time, we aim to develop the depth of understanding needed to become independent, limitless thinkers, who have the vocabulary and confidence to express their ideas and become the change-makers of the future. Our school vision, Learning Together for Life, drives our intent and ensures that our curriculum adapts to changes in the world: in this way, we prepare our children to be globally aware and responsible citizens.
Statement of Curriculum Implementation
Our curriculum is designed to provide a consistent, relevant, well-rounded and comprehensive learning experience. We divide our intent into the following three main modes of learning:
Proficiency: We understand, in order to be life-long learners, children need to be proficient in the key skill and knowledge associated with core subject. This proficiency can only be achieved through repetition over time. In Early Year, this means prioritising young children’s proficiency in the prime areas – Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional development. In Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2) and Key Stage 2 (Year 3 to Year 6), this prioritisation of the prime areas of English and Maths continues and we focus on them daily each morning as core, discrete subjects, following small-steps guidance for Maths and ensuring English repetition builds confidence and stamina in grammar and spelling to develop our writing. This enables the necessary repetition that leads to proficiency and mastery. We deliver these sessions with a passion, enthusiasm and rigour that challenges and inspires children.
Stories hold a special place within our curriculum and, from the moment children join Montbelle, they are taught the power of the possible through exposure to a wealth of genres and authors that ignite a life-long pleasure for reading. We know, where children read for pleasure, they are likely to achieve more at school than children who do not. For younger children, daily systemic phonics teaching helps form the key that unlocks their early reading development, whilst older children build on this foundation and dig deeper in to the comprehension skills need to fully understand the power of stories and narrative – this knowledge can be translated to all other areas of learning and used to develop proficiency in creating, verbally rehearsing and writing their own stories.
Maths is presented as a spiral curriculum that revisits key number, calculation, shapre, space and measure oncepts over time to ensure understanding is fully embedded and children become competent problem solvers.
Experiential – The remainder of our curriculum is divided into a broad and balanced range of National Curriculum and Statutory subjects to allow for breadth of coverage. These are mainly taught in the afternoon and, past Early Years, as individual subject areas so children develop an aware of what, for example, ‘history’ is.
Learning is adapted to the children’s needs and interests to ensure that everyone has opportunities to realise their own potential, and is facilitated within subject lessons that focus on inspiring children and deepening their understanding. Hooks are used to captivate interest, and children are encouraged to take risks, problem-solve and actively explore concepts, themes and ideas, through hands-on activities that fully utilise our indoor/outside learning environment and wider local community.
In developing our curriculum in this manner, children are able to actively revisit, practice and apply subject-specific learning over time within practical topics; layering their knowledge and skills to build cumulative fluency, and ensure learning is fully embedded in rich and meaningful ways. At times throughout the school year, this experiential learning is enhanced by subject focus weeks, or whole school subject-specific projects, such as Science Week. Such learning is celebrated by our whole-school community through half-termly curriculum afternoons.
Extra-curricular activities, or sessions delivered by peripatetic teachers, provide further opportunity for children to develop key skills, knowledge and understanding through focusing on specific areas of interest, such as sports, music or drama. At times, specialist teachers or visitors to the school enhance our experiential curriculum and help bring subjects alive for the children different ways.
Residential trips in years 4 and 6, in addition to weekly Forest school sessions for children in the Reception and Year One, all provide the ultimate experiential experiences for children and further opportunities to engage fully in outdoor experiences to explore real-life learning in the natural world.
Individual subjects are strategically led and managed by a subject leader, who use their own passion and knowledge about their subject area to inspire others within our wider school community and support the continued professional development of our teachers.
Thematic – Each half-term we timetable a ‘Take One- week’ to allow children the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge base in a wider, multi-disciplinary way. Through exciting and enjoyable projects children are able to creatively make links in their theme-based learning and use real-life experiences to add breadth and depth to their global understanding. Take One weeks use a central, whole-school stimulus, such as take one story, picture, poem, problem, or symphony, to dig a little deeper and draw upon subject-specific disciplines in a joined-up meaningful way. In so doing, they not only allow children the opportunity to consolidate their proficiency and experiential learning, but do so in a fully immersive and cross-curricular way that fosters their life-long love of learning beyond the confines of school.
Thematic learning is further enhanced through specific focus weeks throughout the school year, such as ‘Anti-bullying week’ and ‘Heartstart week,’ as well as children’s enterprise and take over day, all giving further scope to link learning through common themes, and dig deeper into areas of interest and specific focus.
Early Years – As a whole school community we recognise the unique and special role that the Early Years plays in laying firm foundations that can inspire and withstand a life-long love of learning. Replicating the three whole-school modes of learning – proficiency, thematic and experiential, our early year’s curriculum shares much with the rest of school, whilst also being unique and different.
Our Early Years curriculum is largely skills based as we understand that all knowledge is first underpinned by skill, and without the necessary skills children will struggle to engage with the knowledge-rich content that comes later, and fully realise their own potential. The curriculum is also heavily focused on fostering, honing and exploiting children’s characteristics of learning so that they develop a thirst for active exploration, enquiry and discovery that will carry them throughout their education and beyond.
Finally, we are proud of the fact that our Early Years curriculum recognises that young children learn best through quality play. Early years specialist practitioners therefore skilfully plan play-based learning activities that enable children to use first-hand experiences to explore the world around them in a fully holistic, developmental and meaningful way. As such individual interests, schemas and learning styles are used as the stimulus for child-centred learning journeys that develop autonomy, independence and social skills. Within playful activities and sustained, shared interaction, language naturally forms a central pillar of our Early Year’s curriculum and is promoted at every opportunity within our communication friendly spaces, and interchanges. Whilst, through the median of play, fine and gross motor skills are continually developed to enable children to take charge of their own learning, manage their selfcare independently and develop as emergent writers.
Our ‘Hidden’ Curriculum – At Montbelle we feel that the way children learn is just as important as what they learn. We passionately believe that the development of a healthy lifestyle, a growth mindset, well-developed social skills and emotional intelligence, British values*, and behaviours for learning are just as important children’s futures as the fulfilment of academic potential.
Every aspect of our curriculum is therefore underpinned by a comprehensive set of values and learning behaviours, and we utilise every given opportunity within our school day to explicitly teach, reinforce and model these values and behaviours to our pupils. For example, characteristics of learning in the Early Years, and behaviours for learning in KS1 and KS2 are taught through planned activities, and are explicitly referenced in every lesson so that children understand what they are, why they are important and how to best use them to progress confidently within their own learning journeys.
In addition, children are always provided with stretch and challenge to enable learning at a greater depth, and are taught from a young age that that an element of ‘struggle’ is an integral part of learning. Likewise, mistakes are embraced as a necessary part of skill and knowledge development, and an ethos is created, and actively maintained in school, which enables all children to explore and experiment in a safe environment, knowing that they will at times struggle, fail and make mistakes, but that it is ok to do so.
Specific time is allocated for all children to explore social, emotional and personal development through whole-class and group circle times, team building activities, an inter-school buddy system and a restorative approach to peer dispute. Whole school, phase and in-class assemblies are also used to reinforce these messages, alongside specific work on British values and citizenship.
Our whole school behaviours for learning :
*British Values: Democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect and acceptance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. (Ofsted, 2014)
Statement of Curriculum Impact – We believe that the impact of our curriculum will shape our young people, at each stage of their education, to have the knowledge and skills to be successful, independent and motivated learners, ready for the next stage in their education. They will achieve in line with their peers nationally. Furthermore, they will be unique, resilient, recognise their achievements, be supportive of others and have the ability to build positive relationships. They will be confident in their own beliefs, respectful of the views of others and will have built strong learning behaviours that will allow them to continue ‘Learning Together for Life’.
At Montbelle we want our children to become enthusiastic, engaged readers and to develop a life-long love of books. We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through their time at Montbelle. Core texts are used to support learning across the curriculum and there are also daily opportunities for reading for Pleasure and a weekly visit to our school library.
Reading underpins children's access to the curriculum and it clearly impacts on their achievement. There is considerable research to show that children who enjoy reading and choose to read benefit not only academically, but also socially and emotionally.
To be able to read, children need to be taught an efficient strategy to decode words. That strategy is phonics. It is essential that children are actively taught and supported to use phonics as the only approach to decoding. Phonic decoding skills must be practised until children become automatic and fluent reading is established. At Montbelle, we are introducing the Little Wandle, Letters and Sounds validated Phonics programme in the 2021-2022 academic year.
Fluent decoding is only one component of reading. Comprehension skills need to be taught to enable children to make sense of what they read, build on what they already know and give them a desire to want to read.
Reading increases children’s vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Furthermore, children who read widely and frequently also have more secure general knowledge.
Your child will read three times a week in a Guided Reading session at school. They will read books where they can read fluently and encounter the sounds they are learning in a context: children will read the same text a number of times. This supports children to fully embed their phonics learning and build on the fluency that will support their next steps.
We also have reading volunteers who may read with your child to support their learning. If you wish to become a reading volunteer please contact the office.
Our Early Reading Policy can be read here:
How to support developing readers at home:
- Your child will read the text with you that they have read in school: do find time to read it with your child.
- Share other books with your child on a regular basis to develop a love of reading for pleasure – 10 minutes a day is better than a longer session once a week. It can help if a regular time is set aside so that it becomes part of a routine.
- Encourage your child to have a go at reading words, by using phonic skills to read any unfamiliar words, and by working on building up their sight vocabulary.
- Talk about the meanings of words to help to develop your child’s understanding and use of language.
- Encourage your child to read a range of texts such as stories, newspapers, comics, labels, poetry, non-fiction, tickets, signs, leaflets etc.
- Read books to your child as well; if they see you enjoying a book it will encourage and motivate them to want to learn to read.
- Ask them questions about the text to develop their understanding.
During the year, Parent Workshops are delivered during the school year to support our parents understanding of Phonics and early acquisition of reading skills. National events such as World Book Day and Roald Dahl Day are celebrated in school, alongside other events which have previously included visits from authors, story telling workshops and even a stories around the camp fire event.
Curriculum Overview - Subject Progression Grids
The following grids set out the progression of knowledge and skills in our broad and balanced curriculum from Early Years to Year 6. These grids reflect the National Curriculum expectations for each subject area and outline the vocabulary children will learn and understand at each stage of learning.
The White Rose Maths Mastery Scheme of learning is used at Montbelle. This scheme means pupils acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. It is used alongside the latest DfE guidance on curriculum prioritisation which identifies the core concepts that are needed for pupils to progress in their study of mathematics.
Curriculum Overview by Year
Curriculum Overview by Year
Our whole school curriculum is intended to be flexible and allow teachers to respond to the individual needs of each class, world news and sustainability where the opportunity arises. However, over all, our topics will remain the same for each year group, following the curriculum progression maps. #TakeOne weeks will change each year.
Please Click on the year group below to find out more information their curriculum:
Curriculum Overviews and Knowledge Organisers
At the beginning of each Half Term, parents and carers will be provided with the information they need to support their child's learning. Please see below for an example of each document.
Our Nursery Provision
We run a happy and thriving part-time Nursery at Montbelle with a morning session (8.30-11.30am) and an afternoon session (12.30-3.30pm) each day. We also offer ten full time spaces for the 30 hours provision based on eligibility and availability
We are fortunate to benefit from a light, airy and spacious indoor learning environment and a well-resourced outdoor environment with a large sandpit, water exploration area, mud kitchen and tree house! We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS) at Montbelle and assess children according to their developmental age. Young children learn through play so every child has independent and autonomous access to both indoor and outside learning environments on a daily basis when they can choose the activities and areas of learning that interest them through carefully planned adult led activities and out quality continuous provision.
Through our key person system children are made to feel safe, happy and secure at school and excellent relationships between adults and children are formed quickly. Communication between school and home and strong partnerships between the two are vitally important to children’s wellbeing and development and we pride ourselves in keeping parents and children happy through a range of initiatives such as our weekly working together ideas, open classrooms, parental workshops and Let’s Learn Together sessions, to name but a few! Needless to say, all teaching staff are on hand at the beginning and end of the day to discuss any issues or enquiries as they arise.
During the day children are free to access a healthy snack bar inside their classroom. They have a choice of water, milk and different fruit and vegetables each day. We also run regular cooking activities for children when they learn about the importance of healthy eating, get the chance to apply their developing maths skills and have lots of fun creating delicious foods to eat.
Each half term we aim to focus on a general skill set such as exploring and investigating, designing and planning or using our imaginations. These have been specifically chosen so that all children experience a range of different learning opportunities. Topics are based on children’s own interests so are kept flexible and are shared with parents through our half termly Nursery Overview so that learning can be reinforced at home. Through each topic we also focus on key reading book to support our teaching which really bring it alive for the children through a range of engaging and interactive activities. Children are given the time, space and resources to follow their own interests during child initiated play in the indoor and outdoor learning environment. These form mini-topics that are on-going throughout the year and ensure learning is kept meaningful, engaging and fun for the children – and the reason why they enjoy coming to school each day!
Across the year we have a different focus for each term:
Autumn – Our focus in the Autumn term is to settle children into their new learning environment, ensuring that they feel happy, safe and valued. We explore and celebrate our differences and find out those things that we like and dislike. Children are encouraged to talk about their families and share own personal experiences. This term also gives us an opportunity to discover and talk about all the changes that take place during Autumn. We also begin to explore and celebrate different cultures and beliefs and will perform a Christmas Nativity to support our understanding of Christianity.
Spring – Spring is a time for growth and new beginnings. This gives us the opportunity to discover what plants, animals and we humans need to stay healthy. We will be taking part in lots of hands on growing activities and will involve the children when developing our outside area.
Summer – During the Summer term we will be further developing our independence and supporting our transition into the next academic year.
We enjoy planning for exciting visitors to come into school to share and enhance our learning further during key topics too. One particular favourite across the years has been our 2 week programme from the Living Eggs company, which provided us with a fantastic experiences of watching chicks hatch and grow.
We do go on both local trips and trips further afield to develop our class based learning. Trips are always highly enjoyable and informative and help bring the learning alive for children. Past trips have included trips to the Theatre, Godstone Farm, the local bus garage, and Environmental Curriculum Centre. Details of this year’s trips will be communicated nearer to the time.
Thorough risk assessments are completed prior to any school trip as children’s safety is our paramount concern. We adhere to strict adult: child ratios and always need parent volunteers to support us.
Spending quality time engaging, talking and playing with your child at home is the very best way you can support their development. As such we send home Working Together Ideas to share with you some of the key aspects of learning that we have been focusing on in class that week and to give you some ideas on how you can support this learning at home through talk and play.
These ideas are not compulsory and there is no expectation that every idea is completed. Instead we would like you to dip in and out of them using them to support learning at home as and when you see fit. We provide every child with access to EvidenceMe so that parents and children can record any learning at home though pictures and annotations. We will also share some examples of school based learning with you through EvidenceMe.
Applying to our Nursery
Please see the admissions page. You should apply directly to the school for a place in the Nursery.
Our Early Years Foundation Stage
In Reception, children work towards the Early Learning Goals which represent the developmental level children are expected to reach at the end of their Reception year before they move up to the National Curriculum in Year 1
The curriculum is divided in to 7 areas of learning and to ensure we are developing children holistically into well rounded individuals each area is given equal precedence over the year. The 7 Areas of learning are:
1. Personal, social and emotional development
2. Physical Development
3. Communication and Language
6. Understanding the world
7. Expressive arts and design
Changes have been made to the EYFS curriculum this year to reflect the revision of the National framework for Early Years. These changes provide for areas to be covered in more depth. There is also a new focus on early language and extending children’s vocabulary across all 7 areas and this improves children development in a broad curriculum.
In Reception children are taught through a combination of whole class, focused groups and independent learning and are taught by a qualified Teacher and Teaching Assistant. Young children learn through play so every child has independent and autonomous access to both indoor and outside learning environments on a daily basis when they can choose the activities and areas of learning that interest them through carefully planned adult led activities and our quality continuous provision.
In addition, the children learn to read through high quality phonics and guided reading groups. The schools involvement in the NCETM early maths programme through our Maths Hub is also used to secure early understanding and mastery of number through additional daily maths teaching. Children also enjoy PE sessions twice a week and a Forest School session where they get the chance to learn and explore in a natural outdoor setting. We are fortunate to benefit from a light, airy and spacious indoor learning environment and a well developed outdoor garden complete with a large sandpit, water exploration area, mud kitchen and tree house!
Through our key person system children are made to feel safe, happy and secure at school and excellent relationships between adults and children are formed quickly. Communication between school and home and strong partnerships between the two are vitally important to children’s wellbeing and development. We pride ourselves in keeping parents and children happy through a range of initiatives such as our weekly working together ideas, open classrooms, parental workshops and lets learn together sessions, to name but a few! Needless to say, all teaching staff are on hand at the beginning and end of the day to discuss any issues or enquiries as they arise.
Each half term we aim to focus on a general skill set such as exploring and investigating, designing and planning or using our imaginations. These have been specifically chosen so that all children experience a range of different learning opportunities. Topics are based on children’s own interests so are kept flexible and are shared with parents through EvidenceMe so that learning can be reinforced at home and can be shared with school. Through each topic we also focus on a core text and really bring it alive for the children through a range of engaging and interactive activities. Children are given the time, space and resources to follow their own interests during child initiated play in the indoor and outdoor learning environment. These form mini-topics that are on-going throughout the year and ensure learning is kept meaningful, engaging and fun for the children – and is also the reason why they enjoy coming to school each day!
Across the year we have a different focus for each term:
Autumn- Our focus in the Autumn term is to settle children into their new learning environment, ensuring that they feel happy, safe and valued. We explore and celebrate our differences and find out those things that we like and dislike. Children are encouraged to talk about their families and share own personal experiences. This term also gives us an opportunity to discover and talk about all the changes that take place during Autumn. We also begin to explore and celebrate different cultures and beliefs and will perform a Christmas Nativity to support our understanding of Christianity.
Spring- Spring is a time for growth and new beginnings. This gives us the opportunity to discover what plants, animals and we humans need to stay healthy. We will be taking part in lots of hands on growing activities and will involve the children when developing our outside area.
Summer- During Summer term we will be supporting the children’s transitions into new classes, we enjoy inviting parents in to meet for picnics, rising 5’s and class swaps.
We take part in lots of local trips around our community to reinforce class base learning – for example, we visit the post office to buy stamps and post letters, or go to the local shops to use money to buy ingredients for cooking. We also visit the church in Chislehurst to learn about Christian beliefs surrounding Christmas.
Each term we go on a trip further afield to further develop our class based learning. Trips are always highly enjoyable and informative and help bring the learning alive for children. Past trips have included trips to the Theatre, Godstone Farm, the London Aquarium, and ice skating.
Thorough risk assessments are completed prior to any school trip as children’s safety is our paramount concern. We adhere to strict adult: child ratios and are always appreciative of support from parents who can accompany school trips.
You will be kept informed about the learning your child will do in Reception. Please see below for an example of a parent curriculum maps and knowledge organiser: