At Mersea Island School we believe children learn best through an engaging and creative approach to the curriculum. We actively seek opportunities for learning beyond the classroom and are very lucky to have such an amazing setting, with a wealth of learning opportunities on our doorstep. We aim to develop our pupils' knowledge, skills and understanding by encouraging them to make links with their learning in a range of different contexts. We place great emphasis upon educating the 'whole child', and ensuring that each child achieves success in at least one field. Great care is taken to make the whole curriculum accessible to every learner regardless of ability, aptitude or attitude. Our curriculum is intended to be progressive, building on prior learning and to actively encourage children to have purposeful, memorable experiences. We advocate that teachers use a variety of teaching and learning styles, where we aim to develop pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills through engaging activities which are set in a meaningful context. We recognise our school has a very unique setting and use the local environment as a rich learning resource. We are mindful that our pupils need to be aware of the cultural diversity which exists beyond the island and actively seek opportunities to deepen our pupils’ awareness, understanding and tolerance of the multicultural world in which we live.
We take great pride in ensuring our pupils are equipped and ready to face the challenges ahead of them as polite, tolerant, caring and respectful citizens in the wider community.
Our curriculum drivers are closely linked to our vision: Community Aspiration Respect Enjoyment
There is a strong emphasis on ensuring these key drivers form an integral part of everything we do.
We want our children to receive a high-quality English education so that all pupils have the skills and knowledge they need to enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and equip them with the skills they need to become life-long learners. The curriculum for English is carefully sequenced to build knowledge, skills, vocabulary and experiences which build on prior learning and enable pupils to make connections between ideas/their learning and the world around them. We also want pupils to have an appreciation of literature and its rich variety and aim to nurture a sense of fun and curiosity to explore the many genres within the subject. The texts have been carefully chosen to inspire, enthuse and challenge the children. They form part of our literary heritage, are written by a range of significant authors and cover a range of genres, styles and cultures, both modern and classic.
At Mersea Island School we want every child to enjoy reading and develop a love of books. We recognise that the ability to read provides the essential foundations for children to learn. We strongly believe reading forms the basis of all learning across the curriculum. Understanding a range of texts and developing a good grasp of vocabulary at an early age opens up a world of knowledge and enables children to make important links and connections across the curriculum and with the world around them.
We are very lucky to have a daily Reading Club which is run by a very committed group of staff and volunteers from the local community. This provides pupils with an additional opportunity to share a book, read to an adult, to develop comprehension skills and to be enthused by the adults around them to develop a love of books and reading. Pupils are invited to attend, the sessions run from 8.30am to 8.50am Monday to Friday during term time.
English skills are at the heart of the children’s learning and we want the children to recognise their literacy skills enable them to communicate with others effectively (for a variety of purposes) and to express their own feelings and ideas.
English lessons will focus on a sequence of teaching that support an “end point” for writing. Quality texts will be used as a catalyst to write and from Reception to Y6, children will learn through a whole school systemic approach of: Explore/Practise/ Write/ Improve/ Share
At Mersea Island School, we want our children to receive a high-quality mathematics education so that all pupils are fluent in the fundamentals, have the ability to reason mathematically, and can apply their knowledge and understanding to solve problems set in a range of meaningful contexts. The curriculum is carefully sequenced to combine knowledge, concepts and procedures, systematically building skills and, over time, drawing on connections between mathematical ideas. We want pupils to have an appreciation of how important mathematics is in our lives and aim to nurture a sense of fun and curiosity about the subject.
To see mathematics as being relevant to their world and applicable to everyday life as well as being something that they will need as they move on through their school life and ultimately to the world of employment. To that end, a high-quality, interrelated and creative maths experience should be one that develops the children’s ability to think mathematically and allows them to apply the skills they have developed in a variety of ways.
Our curriculum is intended to divide new material into manageable steps lesson by lesson. The school uses a variety of teaching and learning styles in mathematics lessons with a range of practical, class, group and independent work undertaken across the school. We recognise that in all our maths groups there will be children with different mathematical strengths and weaknesses, so provide carefully planned learning challenges for all pupils using a range of strategies to ensure high impact, timely intervention is in place where needed. Pupils are set weekly homework tasks to consolidate and/or extend their learning. Emphasis is placed on developing a secure understanding and recall of times tables facts. Daily teaching of times tables is planned throughout the school, ensuring progression in timetable assimilation. We have our own Times tables awards system. The expectation is for the vast majority of pupils to have achieved ‘gold’ standard for their year group by the end of the summer term.
Science plays a significant role in our understanding of how the world works and provides children with the experience of awe and wonder. The children undertake a broad and balanced programme that takes account of abilities, aptitudes and physical, emotional and intellectual development. Through science the children learn a range of skills, concepts, attitudes and methods of working. Most learning in science is completed practically and as far as possible is presented in such a way that the children discover for themselves with guidance rather than being given a theory and asked to prove it. The children will then gain a much greater understanding.
We are continuing to work with the Primary Science Teaching Trust to help further develop the teaching and learning of science across the school.
Other Areas of Learning
Much of our curriculum is underpinned with a creative thematic approach to inspire and motivate our pupils, and is evidenced by the breadth and quality of their work. Like Science, Design & Technology is addressed within the themes using an investigative approach which engages pupils' interest and encourages their ability to think for themselves.
The humanities - History, Geography, R.E, together with the more creative subjects such as Art, Music and Drama, are taught within the themes which increases the relevance and interest for the pupils. French is taught across the school, often with some specialist teacher input. R.E. is based on the locally agreed Essex scheme. Parents may withdraw their children from R.E or assemblies with a religious bias if they so wish and alternative arrangements will be made for those pupils.
Physical education and all-round fitness for our pupils is given strong emphasis. The school site provides an extensive hard play surface and a large playing field along with two multi-purpose school halls. All pupils have at least two PE lessons a week, with specialist sports coaches used for some aspects of the P.E. curriculum. The children also have opportunities to compete in inter-ship competitions and to represent the school in a number of sports including football, netball, squash and cricket.
The school has a whole-school network and Internet connection is available in every classroom and shared teaching area. Interactive whiteboards are used across the school to enhance the learning environment. We have computing facilities which enable all pupils to have whole class computing teaching sessions, in addition to their access to the computing resources within the classroom.
The school continues to invest in laptops and ipads for use by pupils within the classroom setting. Digital cameras are used widely by all pupils and younger children work with large and small programmable toys called roamers.
Computing is a vital tool in the modern world and pupils are encouraged to develop their skills in all aspects of the curriculum. We believe that computing is a tool which should be readily accessible to pupils at point of need, wherever this arises.
Learning to learn…
Thinking skills and learning strategies are taught to encourage pupils to become independent learners. We aim to develop resilience and confidence in our pupils. Pupils at Mersea Island School are actively encouraged to take a leading role in their learning. Pupils are expected to respond to marking and make every effort to focus on their targets to maximise progress. Regular ‘targeted teaching time’ enables timely interventions for all pupils, to help move their learning forwards.
As each child progresses through the school, all pupils are expected to read a minimum of four times a week, and to practice their times tables for 10 minutes at least four times a week. Children going beyond this minimum will be rewarded with ship tokens. In addition each child will be set homework at a level appropriate to their age in accordance with the school's homework policy.