Our purpose is to provide a nurturing and caring learning environment with high standards and expectations, where children grow into responsible, resilient, and independent learners.

Our school ethos is firmly rooted in our Christian values, in line with our school vision at Layston of believing in the reality of God in our lives and the Christian values that guide and inspire us. We are bold in our application of Christianity to transform relationships and take the Gospel intent of “Love one another” as a blueprint for making active choices in our day-to-day lives together. We foster awe and wonder through a creative curriculum that underpins and promotes our love for learning. We are inclusive and nurture each person as a child of God with every chance to shine.

Layston’s curriculum is enriched and designed to recognise the school’s unique characteristics. High expectations across the curriculum promote learning at a greater depth, allowing children to articulate their learning, demonstrating quality thinking and application of knowledge and skills.

The ‘Layston Learner’ gingerbread model is designed to develop learning behaviours and encourage active, independent, and resilient learners. This, combined with our bespoke forest school provision, encourages positive attitudes to learning and risk taking.

The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of skills, knowledge, concepts, and values.

Spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development, as well mental health and wellbeing are prioritised to ensure children have concern for others and an appreciation of diversity. Children leave our ‘Layston Family’ as confident individuals, well equipped to participate fully in the next stage of their education, as global citizens.

Our carefully crafted curriculum balances the national expectations, quality teaching and a range of experiences allowing our children to flourish.

Clear strategic planning allows the curriculum to be ambitious and adapt to the context of the school and children’s needs. Age related expectations combine the acquisition of knowledge and development of skills to create a purposeful and exciting learning journey for every child. The curriculum has high expectations to combine transferable skills, demonstrate a breadth of vocabulary and develop strong cross curricular links.

Stimulating classroom environments support and engage quality thinking and reasoning. Planning is responsive to children’s needs, incorporating progression of basic skills in an innovative manner. A range of continuous professional development supports all staff to further develop curriculum pedagogy. Our marking policy is an opportunity for children to reflect on their learning and think deeply in their feedback.

Layston uses rigorous triangulated monitoring throughout the year to gauge the impact of the curriculum design. Learning is measured through analysis of skills and knowledge across the curriculum by expectations demonstrated by individual understanding. The impact of our curriculum is seen in:

  • High standards: consistently performing at above national and local averages.
  • Strong progress from individual starting points.
  • Quality experiences which are memorable, worthwhile, and challenging.
  • Teaching, which is personalised, innovative and child led.
  • Learners that are resilient, independent, and confident global citizens.
  • Individuals who value and respect one another and have an appreciation of a diverse community.

In line with our Christian ethos and focus on nurture, Layston continue to put the children’s wellbeing at the centre of our thinking.  We acknowledge that the children will have had different experiences during the past 18 months, however, the common thread running through all is the loss of routine, structure, friendship, opportunity, and freedom.  These losses can trigger anxiety in any child. We know that an anxious child is not in a place to learn effectively and the school community continue to promote the 5 ways to wellbeing and prioritise nurture, outdoor learning opportunities, team building and social and emotional literacy within the delivery of the National Curriculum.

The 5 Levers of Recovery continue to be relevant as part of Quality First Teaching. We encourage learning opportunities that help build relationships. We listen to our community through developing parent partnership and pupil voice to ensure we are meeting the needs of all. Our curriculum builds upon the children’s current knowledge and skills, identifying gaps in learning through Assessment for Learning (AfL), and supporting them with practical opportunities. We continue to develop metacognition (higher order thinking skills) by teaching our children about Growth Mindset and Building Learning Powers so that they become resilient, reflective, independent, and confident in their learning and problem solving. Through closely monitoring all our children, especially those who may be SEND or Pupil Premium, we can ensure that they are not disadvantaged against their peers, giving them the space and opportunity to rediscover themselves as learners and develop their voice. Applying these skills outside of the classroom in forest school is also key to our curriculum at Layston.

We recognise transitions as significant in the lives of all our children and support these through transition videos (website), social stories, parent partnership, home visits in the Early Years and close relationships with our feeder schools. We are always open to discussions with parents who feel their child may need additional support with transitions.

Our focus for 2021-22 will be:

  • Identifying and closing gaps in learning, through AfL, Growth Mindset, and building resilience, reflectiveness, independence and confidence within all learning opportunities
  • Developing the children’s understanding of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing
  • Continuing to develop outdoor learning opportunities, Forest School and a broad and creative curriculum
  • Supporting the movement to decolonise the curriculum and create space for anti-racist learning and a celebration of diversity and inclusion
  • Buddy system reintroduced on the playground and around school to support the development of emotional and social learning

Therapeutic responses to anti-social behaviours and promotion of pro-social behaviours through STEPS training, Buddy system, PSHRE curriculum and Christian values (see PSHRE and Behaviour policies)

Continuing to develop partnership with parents and listen to pupil voice through Talk Circles and class discussions as well as our Worship Group and Eco Warriors Group.

The Government framework for key stages one to four intends to introduce the essential knowledge that children need to be educated citizens. It aims to introduce pupils to the best that has been thought and said, and to help engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

Please follow this link for further details of the programmes of study for the National Curriculum.

At Layston, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), as set out in Early Years Statutory Framework 2021. EYFS is recognised as a separate stage of learning that sets the foundations for when children begin more formal education. There is an emphasis on learning through active play, where the children are encouraged to build on their individual needs and interests. It is broken down into seven areas of learning. The prime areas are the fundamental parts of development which children need to develop fully in all the other specific areas of learning.

Prime areas

  • Personal, social, and emotional development
  • Physical development
  • Communication and language

Specific areas of learning

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the world
  • Expressive arts and design

At Layston, our curriculum encourages the children to be independent learners. At the end of the year, we assess children against the early learning goals and create the EYFS profile.

Children are taught how to use our engaging and well-organised environment and develop their skills and interests through lots of time to play and create in it over the year. We enhance the environment over the year.  We also have periods of direct teaching every day. Children learn phonics through the Read Write Inc programme and maths through the White Rose programme in line with the rest of the school. Children also take part in a morning of forest school every week, and music and P.E. sessions with specialist teachers.