At The Hermitage School we offer an exciting, relevant, balanced and challenging curriculum. As a school we have selected four curriculum drivers which underpin our curriculum:
- Knowledge of the World
- Physical and Social Wellbeing
The drivers enable the teachers at The Hermitage School to design a curriculum which prepares our children for, and develops an appreciation of, life in modern Britain. Some examples are shown below, although this is not an exhaustive list:
- Knowledge of the World - How things work, environmental awareness, how things have changed, global links
- Physical and Social Wellbeing – Social skills, confidence, self-esteem, resilience, cooperation
- Enterprise - Entrepreneurial skills such as communication, drive, confidence and success
- Possibilities – Determination, adaptability, open-ended investigations, careers
Guided by the four drivers, the curriculum focuses on what learning our children need. We recognise that children learn best when connections are made to the real world and across a theme. They need to see the impact of their learning, immediate and long term.
Learning at our school takes place within a topic. Each topic is an overarching theme that the majority of subjects are delivered under in a cross-curricular manner. At the start of each topic, an Entry Point is used to act as a ‘hook’ to capture the children’s imagination and attention. At the end of each topic there is an Exit Point which aims to consolidate and combine the learning that has taken place throughout the topic in a real life context. Through activity days and focus weeks, children have the opportunity to take their learning to a new dimension. Our exciting and inventive curriculum engages learners and ensures learning is a memorable experience.
The DfE have recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” The government set out its definition of British Values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values were reiterated by the Prime Minister. At The Hermitage School we hold various events and teach lessons to celebrate and promote British Values.
Democracy: Democracy is a strong theme within our school. Children have the opportunity to have their voices heard formally through our School Council, Working Parties, Eco Committee and the termly school questionnaire as well as informally though class discussions, debates and an open culture where opinions and views of others are respected. The elections of House Captains, School Council and Eco Committee representatives are based solely on children's votes. Democracy is also taught through various topic areas in our curriculum.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs: Our school ethos and behaviour policy is underpinned by our values where concepts such as ‘Respect’, are actively taught and children are active participants in discussions, assemblies and class reflections related to what this means and how it is shown. This is achieved through enhancing children's understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. International Week in the Summer term also supports children’s understanding of different faith, beliefs and how to avoid stereotypes. The Hermitage School has strong links with the community, with children visiting local places of worship and throughly enjoying fortnightly assemblies from Open the Book.
The Hermitage Whole School Themed Weeks
At various times during the year, all the children in the school participate in Themed Weeks. The emphasis of these are on the teaching of transferable life skills, e.g. Reflective Learners, Emotional Managers, Team Workers, enhancing our community links and exploring new activities and opportunities. We also use this opportunity to develop and assess speaking and listening skills for all children though group activities and all forms of presentations.
During Art weeks the children get to explore and develop new skills within the art. Each art week explores the work of the artist of the term for example Matisse, Lichtenstein, Hockney and many more.
The children produce work in the style of the artist which is then displayed around the school. Each week we hold an Art Exhibition which gives the children the opportunity to showcase their work to parents and other family members.
Each class studies a different country from around the world, looking at traditional costume, dance and foods, exploring cultures and beliefs and identifying geographical locations and landmarks. It also provides an opportunity to hold discussions on stereotyping and assumptions made about different cultures and beliefs held by others. Children compare and identify similarities and differences between countries. It is a week of celebration and also about engendering greater respect, tolerance and understanding. We celebrate diversity and acknowledge how each and every one of us is special and how our school community is enhanced because of our global links. During this week, we make very good use of all of our families’ international contacts and backgrounds.
Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education contributes to personal development by helping children and young people to build their personal identities, confidence and self-esteem, make career choices and understand what influences their decisions, including financial ones. Developing self-understanding, empathy and the ability to work with others will help young people to enjoy healthy and productive relationships in all aspects of their lives.
PSHE education plays a central role in our curriculum. It is a planned programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives. At The Hermitage School, as part of a whole school approach, PSHE develops the qualities and attributes children need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society.
The benefits to children of such an approach are numerous as PSHE prepares them to manage many of the most critical opportunities, challenges and responsibilities they will face growing up in such rapidly changing and challenging times. It also helps them to connect and apply the knowledge and understanding they learn in all subjects to practical, real-life situations while helping them to feel safe and secure enough to fulfil their academic potential.