Westley Middle School

Our Curriculum

Our Vision

At Westley Middle School, we want our students to experience the widest possible range of learning opportunities through a knowledge based curriculum. As well as knowledge we want our students to develop the skills of scientists, historians, geographers, artists and musicians. We want them to be curious and passionate about learning new skills and knowledge. We want them to be independent thinkers who can create, describe, reason, debate, inform, and explain their ideas. We want them to be resilient with a ‘have a go’ attitude and a determination to succeed.  We want a curriculum that prepares children for life.

We believe that reading is key ingredient in enabling students to be able to access the curriculum and bring learning to life. We want all our students to have a passion for reading. For this to happen children need to be taught how to read well, including learning skills such at inferring and predicting. Students who are not fluent with their reading are given extra sessions with adults and often follow the Easy Read intervention programme. Children are taught explicit vocabulary in all lessons in carefully planned lessons (see example below).

All children are expected to read throughout the school day. This includes using our well stocked library and reading out loud in lessons. Teachers are trained in a variety of strategies to develop children’s reading and confidence.

We want students to engage with and take notice of the environments in which they work. We will endeavour to give all our students many outdoor learning experiences. This may be as simple as building a shelter in our school playing field or going on a trip to London. We want to work with parents and other adults within our local community to help bring the curriculum to life and offer a variety of experiences

The values of potential, respect, opportunity, understanding and diversity (PROUD) are at the core of everything we do and are promoted during assemblies.

Further Information

For further information about the curriculum at Westley Middle School please direct enquiries to Assistant Headteacher, Mrs Fran Hart, via the school office.

How We Teach Our Curriculum

At Westley, we believe that children need to be explicitly taught new knowledge and skills. We use instructional teaching rather than discovery so children quickly gain knowledge. As part of the all-through education model we ensure that all children are covering the same objectives and cover similar topics. The topics that are covered in each subject in each year group are set out in subject handbooks. Each subject leader has thought carefully about why we teach what we do and in what order.

Children follow the National Curriculum in all subjects and work through units of work. Each unit of work is mapped out and subject leaders work with the curriculum lead to ensure units are sequenced with a reason behind the order lessons and units are taught. For example, in PE, students are taught throwing and catching skills before being taught netball and then they are taught basketball. This allows for skills to be learnt and then developed.

Students should know why they are learning what they are and what they are working towards. They should know what the end goal is and, if possible, how their specific learning is valuable in life. Using  the PE example again, a student should know that they are learning a lay-up in basketball because this is an attacking strategy to help them score more baskets and beat the opposition. Although a lay-up may not be used specifically by the vast majority of adults in the UK, they should know that basketball is an excellent example of a sport that helps you to keep fit, makes you happy and helps with the social side of life, and that developing successful strategies is an important part of being successful in many aspects of life.

One of the great strengths of a middle school setting is having specialist teachers teaching their subjects in specialist classrooms. Maths and English are at the heart of our learning but we pride ourselves on having a broad and balanced curriculum.

In key stage two each student has a minimum of 5.75 hours of English, 5.75 hours of Maths, 2.5 hours of science, 2.5 hours of PE and a minimum of 1.25 of each foundation subject.

Since joining Unity in the Summer term 2020 we have worked closely with Alex Bedford to use some of their excellent resources. We are embracing the work Unity have done on metacognition and using the concept of cumulative quizzing to make sure new learning is secure. We are also using Knowledge organisers and knowledge strips in lessons. Each Unity lesson is language-rich with students being taught specific tier-three vocabulary.

This has initially started in humanities and science but over the next year we hope to work with Alex to expand this across the curriculum. Rather than just use all of the Unity resources we are keen to make a bespoke offer that fits into our middle school and the all through education model that we strongly believe in.

For further information please read An Introduction to Curriculum with Unity Schools Partnership.

Key Stage Three provides the bedrock of knowledge for success at Key Stage Four, whilst being an important stage in its own right. Our all-through curriculum provides continuity across key stages two and three. It aims to deepen students’ knowledge in specialist subject areas.

In addition to the core subjects and Humanities and Arts, students study separate Sciences and are introduced to French and then to German in year eight for those whose linguistic ability enables them to benefit from it. Students can study Latin and, in the final year of key stage three, have opportunities to study Spanish and Japanese. This exposure to language develops students’ grammatical literacy. Through all subjects, students are provided with opportunities to develop their research and analytical skills and to articulate their opinions coherently and confidently.

Through assemblies and the pastoral and academic curricula we promote the values underpinning British society including equality and diversity. Students are taught about the importance of good mental and physical health including relationships and sex education as well as environmental awareness and how to be positive members of the community both locally and globally. Extensive extra-curricular opportunities in all areas help to foster a strong sense of community, identity and wellbeing. 

Knowledge organisers will be sent home at the beginning of each unit in some subject areas. This will include the knowledge that students will be quizzed on.  The questions will not be new to students as we will use the concept of cumulative quizzing to build up knowledge throughout a unit of work. This helps to develop mastery of a subject. Teachers all follow our feedback and marking policy. Teachers live-mark and record students who have not met the learning objective. More importantly they record what it is they struggled with and what they will do to ensure they master this the following lesson if not before.

Students complete baseline tests in maths and English at the start of the year and at the start of different units. This helps inform the teacher and dictates their plans. Teachers are also able to pre-teach before starting units. In some subjects students complete weekly tests or quizzes so teachers can plan and fill in any gaps in knowledge

At Westley we believe that homework plays an important part of a student’s learning journey. Homework should help students develop independence and resilience whilst reinforcing learning. Students get weekly homework. The expectation is that this will be completed to a high standard and all homework will be appropriate for the student.

Reading: Success in accelerated reader and a minimum of 20 minutes of reading per day (accelerated reader will show engaged time per day)

English comprehension sheet each week.

Maths: Weekly homework will include Tables Time practice and mymaths online homework (or equivalent).

Y7&8 pupils will also be set 20-30 minutes of French vocabulary practice and Science online work each week.

Parents to be informed via email from subject teacher if they have not done their homework.

Students who complete their homework on time will receive awards.

Subject leadership

Subject leaders will be able to have time to work with teachers to plan. They have dedicated leadership time. Subject leaders will have a dedicated staff-meeting slot at the end of the term to lead a planning session or the following half-term. Subject leaders in all subjects will have time to monitor the teaching of learning of each subject. Subject leaders monitor their subjects through learning walks, book looks and by speaking to students about their learning experiences.