Overview of Curriculum
Merryfields follows the National Curriculum, but all work and learning is adapted to meet the needs of all the children who attend.
We use a creative curriculum, called Dimensions, where all classes follow a topic-based approach, in order to give context to the learning that is taking place. This approach also inspires, as well as challenging, pupils to think ‘outside the box’ and encourages children to be more creative and imaginative in their thinking and learning. A topic lasts for half a term and in addition to sessions in class; children may take their learning into the community via the use of our school minibuses.
Some examples of topics include; Toytown, Where the Wild Things Are, Bright Sparks, Healthy Heroes and Location, Location, Location.
Whilst subjects are taught through a topic-based approach, each subject has its own vision.
Personal, Social and Health Education
At Merryfields, PSHE is considered to be of prime importance and each pupil has their own social skills programme specifically geared to their needs.
The scheme is divided up into six topic areas including:
- Me and my school
- Me and my relationships
- Happy and healthy me
- Me and my safety
- Me and other people
- Me in the world
The above topics will cover feeding, toilet training, dressing and personal hygiene. Children also develop their skills in road safety and using public transport. Key stage 2 children cover drug safety and boys and girls are taught separately on puberty and body changes, dependent on maturity. PSHE is included in most lessons including: circle time, greetings, snack time, playtime and at dinner.
We strive to make our pupils as independent as possible at Merryfields, teaching them the necessary life skills to enable them to lead a healthy and happy life.
The English Curriculum covers the main strands of Spoken Language, Reading and Writing delivered in a manner appropriate to the many and varied needs of our pupils.
This rich and varied curriculum of Merryfields reflects the high priority placed upon the development of communication skills and our approach to “Spoken language” includes a spectrum of individual communication systems including hand signing for visually impaired, Makaton, The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Ipad app and Intensive Interaction.
A range of methods are used to teach reading including, for example, relevant texts with the use of contextual cues, appropriate software, to whole word approaches, to the DFES letter and Sounds Synthetic Phonics Scheme.
The teaching of Writing is very much linked to our approach to the development of fine motor skills, usually taught on a daily basis according to the individual child’s needs. For some children, creative expression through writing follows conventional approaches and emphasis is placed upon the equally valid skills of written composition and transcription. For other children, their “spoken” communication will function as their “text” and a high priority is placed upon valuing the voice of every child no matter how small.
If you wish to ask any questions about our provision in this area or would like advice on how you can support your child’s progress at home, please contact the school
In Maths teaching at Merryfields School, we offer opportunities for pupils to develop skills and concepts in order to perceive patterns and relationships within the world and experience mathematical concepts in a variety of ways, but with the emphasis on sensory and practical approaches. We work to develop mathematical and problem-solving skills which enable a greater independence in everyday life. We use a variety of resources including RM maths online and Numicon, which was introduced to increase pupils’ understanding of number.
At Merryfields School we believe that to develop each child’s potential they should be involved in a broad and balanced curriculum. We believe that experiencing and learning about different subjects within the National Curriculum will enhance their understanding and development.
Through high-quality teaching, science provides the foundations for understanding the world. Linking what the children have learnt to their personal lives. Engaging learning that encourages curiosity, excitement and interest teaches the children to value themselves, the wider world and others.
Computing and E-Safety
Pupils are taught computing through a creative curriculum, giving them the opportunity to learn skills within familiar topics. Some lessons have a computing focus as pupils are taught key new skills. The National Curriculum objectives are used to guide planning and assessment, with teachers selecting objectives appropriate to the needs of their pupils and adapting contents to meet children’s learning styles. Pupils have access to laptops, iPads and programmable toys to enhance their learning. The importance of staying safe online is taught and embedded throughout the curriculum.
Geography provides opportunities for the pupils to be involved in different and varied experiences which support other skills across the curriculum. We aim to widen the pupils understanding and knowledge of their environment and the wider world using a variety of experiences.
Art and Design
Art and Design at Merryfields is planned and delivered to stimulate creativity and imagination. It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences, and a special way of understanding and responding to the world which is fundamental for our children at Merryfields. It enables children to communicate what they see, feel and think, through the use of colour, texture, form, pattern and different materials and processes without the pressures of the written or spoken word. Children become involved in shaping their environments through art and design activities. They learn to make informed judgements and aesthetic and practical decisions. They explore ideas and meanings through the work of artists and designers. The appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts enrich all our lives.
Design and Technology
Design and technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens.
Music provides opportunities for the pupils to be involved in different and varied experiences which support other skills across the curriculum. Through the teaching of Music we aim to develop the pupils' communication and self-expression. This is achieved by providing the opportunities to listen, reflect, respond and perform through a wide variety of musical experiences. Pupils will be given opportunities to develop their self-esteem through the celebration of their achievements.
History provides opportunities for the pupils to be involved in different and varied experiences which support other skills across the curriculum. We provide time for the children to handle artefacts and visit sites of interest. We offer an exciting learning environment based on experience and exploring to gain knowledge.
Modern Foreign Languages
All pupils have access to Modern Foreign Languages. This may be through learning and experiences of different countries and cultures linked to their topic work, or through specific language teaching, which will encourage teaching in:
- Intercultural understanding
- Knowledge of language
- Language learning strategy
Pupils with Moderate Learning Difficulties will have weekly language lessons in KS2, while other pupils have experiences and learning delivered in a way that supports their needs and understanding of the world.
Pupils all take part in two hours of Physical Education a week, and this includes an hour of swimming a week, which for the majority of pupils take place on-site at our purpose built swimming pool. For some of our older pupils, they may learn to swim at Jubilee swimming pool. Throughout their time at Merryfields, pupils will learn and develop their skills in:
- Invasion Games
- Striking and fielding
- Kwik Cricket
Religious Education and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
Religious Education (RE) is a taught according to the Staffordshire Agreed Syllabus. At Merryfields school this is adapted so that lessons connect “with the lives and experiences” of our children experiences (see section 71 (7) of the school standards and framework act). R.E. and SMSC development forms a vital and vibrant aspect of the children’s time at Merryfields. Unless withdrawn by their parents, children are given the opportunity to explore different faiths including key festivals and religious stories. The educational opportunities provided by significant events within the religious calendar are maximised and this can take many forms such as special assemblies, visits from members of the faith community, attending religious events taking place in the community and so on.
The school day finishes with a brief act of celebration and corporate worship. Longer assemblies take place at the end of the week and allow space for children of all faiths or none to be inspired. Throughout the school day staff are alert to the vital role that SMSC plays in each child’s development. So, for example, children are encouraged to respect each other and school property, experience a sense of awe and wonder, reflect upon who they are and wider questions of life and death, as well as grow and develop, if appropriate, within their own faith.
If you wish to ask any questions about our provision in this area, or would like advice for how you can support your child’s progress at home, please contact the school.
All children at Merryfields have an Individual Education Plan, which outlines specific targets and learning for individual children. These targets may be addressed in many different ways.
Further information on the curriculum can be obtained upon request from the school office.