This Day In History
>> THE GST CURRICULUM
The Griffin Schools Trust (GST) is a family of primary and secondary schools in the Midlands and the South East of England. We are committed to providing an outstanding independent-style education for all students, predicated on breadth and excellence.
All schools provide a rich programme of free extra-curricular activities, create an involving and stimulating physical environment and build a staff team of interesting people who are motivated to advance their own knowledge and skills as well as their pupils’ achievement.
GST schools do not teach young people to know their place, but rather to discover their talents and passions and to take their places in society, making a difference through leadership and service wherever their futures may take them.
Curriculum at Lordswood
‘Let the Questions be the curriculum.’
At Lordswood School, we have designed a curriculum which is built upon our mission statement of ‘Proud Traditions, Wide Horizons and High Achievement’, in all that we do. Our curriculum considers the needs of the 21st Century child and is ambitious in providing our children with the knowledge, skills and learning behaviours required to become successful life-long learners. Staff use a variety of stimuli to hook the children in at the start of their learning which challenges further curiosity and the development of their core skills which can then be transferred to situations throughout their education and future lives.
At the heart of our school are a set of core values. These underpin our curriculum and the ethos of our school. Through our core values, we foster an environment where the emotional, physical, academic, social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of each child is considered. We firmly believe that everyone is entitled to an ambitious curriculum and our curriculum design is accessible for all, including children with SEND and disadvantaged backgrounds.
Our curriculum intent is underpinned by the National Curriculum and ensures that, at each stage of their learning journey, each child acquires a rich bank of skills and knowledge. We expose children to the best authors, artists, musicians etc and make sure that learning is made memorable and committed to the long-term memory by repeating concepts, making links and building upon previous learning. We also value the importance of using our curriculum to make strong links with our local and wider community.
As a school on our own metacognition journey, we see the importance of teaching our children to raise questions throughout their learning journey and take risks in order to achieve. We value the importance of helping our children become independent thinkers and learners by creating a culture where the common use of metacognitive tools and strategies are implemented across our school.
At Lordswood, we have designed our curriculum so that subject specific skills are taught within our exciting cross-curricular topic which is based in our high-quality Power of Reading text. We organise our Foundation Curriculum into week long subject blocks which allows our children to fully immerse themselves in the learning for the whole week. In addition, we have some weekly learning opportunities which run throughout the term including musical instrument tuition, choir and PE. Hooks, weekly enrichment for every child and extra-curricular opportunities supplement our curriculum and develop the children’s particular interests and talents. The children’s learning is assessed each week, recorded on our tracking system and used for future planning.
We want to give our children inspirational learning opportunities which excite the whole school. We regularly engage in special days which complement the curriculum, promote community and encourage engagement. Examples include Anti-bullying week, Black History Month, The Big Draw, World Religion Day, Safer Internet Day, World Book Day, National Science and Engineering Week and World Earth Day to name but a few. In addition, we take part in country wide charity events and specific trust events, which have become our proud traditions, including International Dance Day, Sports Festival, The Shakespeare Festival, Founders Day, our own Monologue Festival and of course our Griffin Schools Trust Arts Festival (GAF) lasting for two weeks at the end of the Summer term. In addition, our trust deploys a specific arts and sport fund to enrich and support children’s learning through activities outside of school.
At Lordswood we endeavour to create and renew strong links with other organisations within our community which again enriches and creates high aspiration for our children. We work closely with local museums and art galleries, primary schools and secondary schools, local competitions, Busters walk to school Wednesday and book clubs, The Salvation Army, The Royal Opera House Bridge and Medway Creative Schools Partnership to name but a few.
We believe strongly that it is important to celebrate the wide achievements of our children and this is done through Gold Book nominations resulting in attendance at our Gold Book BBQ, Wow Work displayed in classroom and on social media and our weekly celebration assembly. Work is displayed on our subject specific boards which also promotes careers in the subject area. This work is then used to create portfolios for each subject. We also believe in developing and celebrating the skills of our staff and students by working towards quality marks for example Science Quality Mark and our Golds Arts Mark.
Throughout everything we do at Lordswood we use the pupil voice to enrich our offer and give the children a say in what we do. Our school parliament is organised into four ministries which are Arts Ministry, Learning Ministry, Environmental Ministry and Sports Ministry. These ministries have teacher and children representatives from across the school and regularly meet to discuss and then feed back to our cabinet. This allows our children to organise their own events, design and implement their own environment and have an input into their own learning. In addition, the children are all in four houses which enables inter-house competitions like our spelling bee and tables challenges. Each house is run by its year 6 house captains, voted on by the children in the house. We are training our leaders of the future.
We have two key strands running throughout our curriculum. First, we have our values teaching. Each month we have a specific value which the whole school focuses on. This is reinforced in our singing, assemblies, newsletters and class teaching. Secondly, we are a thinking school and follow a metacognition way of teaching. We use a variety of thinking frames in all subjects, encouraging a higher level of questioning and teach specific characteristics of learning [Habits of Mind].
Our school Google Classroom platform allows us to post homework, competitions and prep for learning activities. This allows our children to be ready for their class learning with the basic knowledge which can then be stretched and deepened. We can also post whole school activities, for example ‘Thunk of the Week’, which is philosophical questions that the whole family can enjoy and discuss together.
Our school’s vision and values drive the curriculum to ensure that our children are prepared for the future and able to succeed in life. They are tolerant, caring individuals with a strong moral conscience who can think for themselves and have the confidence to take on leadership responsibilities. They take risks and are emotionally resilient recognising that we make mistakes and learn from them. They dream big and have high aspiration fostered by the belief that with determination and hard work anything is possible. Through exciting curriculum design, pupils acquire a deep body of learning over time, acquiring a range of vocabulary and make interconnected links to prior knowledge. Lordswood children leave our school as well-rounded individuals, who are ready to take on the challenges of their next chapters in education and life.