Wider Curriculum Opportunities & Cultural Capital
Our curriculum extends beyond the National Curriculum and includes a wide range of enriching experiences and opportunities both within and beyond the school day. This includes a programme of after-school clubs, that support the core curriculum offer, as well as those which develop specialist skills, such as arts and crafts, music and science whilst also extending the range of children’s experiences (Cultural Capital). A primary focus of our curriculum is to raise aspirations, engender a sense of personal pride in achievement, and provide a purpose and relevance for learning.
The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and strive to make very good progress across the curriculum. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth and those who can struggle are encouraged and given targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs.
In addition to our exciting and stimulating cross-curricular themes, we also provide further opportunities to enhance children’s learning wherever possible. These include:
Whole School Theme Days/Weeks
Throughout the year, themed days/weeks are woven into the curriculum to extend the breadth and balance of opportunities we offer our pupils. These include, Anti-Bullying Week and Online Safety Day, The National Gallery Take One Picture Art Week, World Book Day and author visits, half termly house sporting events, Science Day, Faith Days, PE Days such as the Whole School Dance Festival in the Summer term.
A rounded programme of daily worship is organised and supports to instil school values, promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and provide clear guidance on what is right and what is wrong.
At various points of the term, worship is led by a member of our local church, and at least once a term children participate in a service at Church.
At the start of the school day on a Friday an Assembly of Celebration is held. At the end of a half term, a special celebration assembly is held for the headteacher learning awards and each term a special reading assembly is held.
Big Question Learning
Children across the school engage in a whole-school big question linked to collective worship each week. Children reflect, debate and discuss before sharing their thoughts. These are then shared with our school community on our weekly newsletter.
Within our curriculum, big questions are used to develop curiosity and motivation in subjects such as RE, History and Geography. This provides exciting opportunities for children to explore, develop and acquire new skills through debate, discussion and by developing inquiring minds. Research shows that children from the whole spectrum of abilities find learning in this way to be fun and motivating, and outcomes are positive for every child.
In the Spring term all pupils take part in the Little Waltham Speech Festival. Pupils prepare a speech to deliver to their classmates on an issue they are passionate about such as climate change or how children can make a difference in the world. All pupils receive a special certificate for delivering this speech to their class and two pupils from each class then deliver their speech to the whole school in a special afternoon assembly.
Forest School & Outdoor Learning (Coming Academic Year 2023-24)
Forest Schools is a Scandinavian initiative designed to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment. As a school we are very fortunate in have large school grounds and a rural environment. We will have a teacher trained to deliver the Forest Schools programme from September 2023.
Forest Schools will be offered to our Reception children and also as an after-school club for Key Stage 1 pupils. Sessions are designed around the needs of the group to ensure that they are learner-led. Sessions are also designed around a theme such as evolving seasons, investigators, butterflies or fairies. Many areas of the National Curriculum are intrinsically covered, in the Forest Schools experience. Teamwork skills are developed through games and activities. Individual skills and self-esteem are heightened throughout activities such as hide and seek, shelter building, tool skills or environmental art, the list is endless. Each activity develops intra and inter-personal skills as well as practical and intellectual skills.
Further up the school, further opportunities will be built into the curriculum for children to continue learning beyond the classroom including undertaking fieldwork and enquiry basedwork in the local area.
Educational Visits and Residentials
School trips and visits are an integral part of the education of children at Little Waltham. We value the opportunities such visits offer our pupils and the commitment of staff and adults undertaking them. Trips include class visits aimed at bringing learning alive, enrich the curriculum and providing first-hand experience. Examples of current school trips include visits to Mountfitchet Castle and Toy Museum in Year 1, Duxford Imperial War Museum in Year 6 and a trip to London’s West End to see ‘Wicked’ in Year 5. A trip to the West-End is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of our pupils and the theatre show ‘Wicked’ supports the teaching of anti-bullying, inclusion and diversity, fake news and self-confidence within our curriculum as well as linking to our school values.
In addition, extra-curricular outings take place such as events involving the school choir taking part in performances or sporting teams participating in competitions. In our local area, the Wilderness Foundation at Chatham Green and Little Waltham Meadows Nature Reserve are on our doorstep and provide a rich and inspirational learning resource.
Children in Year 6 take part in residential visits. The residential is planned to provide new and exciting experiences. Our Year 6 pupils visit Danbury Outdoors in June where they experience activities such as climbing, bouldering, caving, high ropes and lots more.
Visitors into School
Visitors have a valuable role to play and can contribute to many aspects of the life and work of the school. They deliver talks, workshops and full day activities across a wide range of subjects, giving pupils access to outside experiences and expertise. Visitors provide a link with the wider community.
At Little Waltham we have regular visits from the local church and parish. We also have visits from authors,
As a school we offer pupils opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities before and after school. At any time, a range of clubs is on offer – our programmes of clubs and activities available is revised termly depending on the time of year and other commitments children may have.
PE & Sport
At Little Waltham we use our PE & Sport Premium to part-fund qualified sports coaches. We also have used the Sport Premium to subsidise sporting opportunities such as whole classes participating in Teddylympics (Year 1), Mini Games (Year 2) and Superstars (Year 4) and to subsidise before and after school clubs. Sports Premium has also supported the school to offer house sporting events and whole school events such as having professional dance teachers to work with our pupils before they perform in our Little Waltham Dance Festival to parents in the Summer term 2023.
Music, Art & Drama
Our school provides opportunities for children to take part in a wide range of musical activities and performances. Our school choir performs each half term in collective worship, we take part in the Junior Music Festival in Chelmsford, offer musical instrument tuition through Essex Music Services and offer ukulele afterschool club to pupils in the Autumn term.
As a school we appreciate and understand the importance of drama within our curriculum. Research reveals that drama has a positive impact on children’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. Drama is taught throughout the curriculum and each class performs a class assembly to parents to perform and showcase their learning in history, geography and other subjects.
At the end of the Autumn term, our Reception and Key Stage 1 classes perform in our Christmas Nativity. At the end of the Summer term, the Year 6 pupils all perform in an end of year school production. Years 3, 4 and 5 take part in a performing arts week in the Summer term and perform to parents.
Opportunities to Volunteer
Our school is at the centre of our community. Volunteering is an activity that everyone can get involved in and benefit from. At Little Waltham we promote and encourage pupils’ active citizenship and positive contribution to the school and wider community. We offer lots of opportunities for pupils to take on new responsibilities and be involved in successfully supporting the life and work of the school. These include elected representatives on our School Council, Prefects and a Pupil Wellbeing Committee. Our Year 2 and Year 6 pupils are trained in the Autumn term to become Playleaders, and within classes children can volunteer to take on various responsibilities from lunch duties, to collecting and distributing registers, to helping with the organisation of equipment in assemblies.
Pupils tell us that they enjoy the opportunity to volunteer to help make their school an even better place to be and they enjoy rising to the challenge that additional responsibility brings.