Introducing the Dunham Curriculum
The Dunham Curriculum is designed to support our children's needs and develop their strengths. In Years 1 to 6 it is guided by the National Curriculum (link below) and in the Foundation Years guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (link below), but is enhanced by the opportunities we provide to aim for the profound personal development of our children, and their ability to live 'Life in all its fullness'.
This means that our Christian values guide our teaching and form the heart of children's learning through daily collective worship and the appreciation of each other. Our values also guide our 'living together' curriculum which includes children having the opportunity to work in teams with other ages across school. Our teams are Buzzards, Owls, Kestrels and Sparrow Hawks, as chosen by our School council. This 'living together' curriculum also includes teaching children about diversity - we have regular 'World Culture Days' and visit places of spiritual and moral interest such as the National Holocaust Centre. Children say that they feel very well supported in tackling bullying and although we acknowledge that bullying can and does occur the whole community feels confident in preventing and dealing with any bullying, including that that might come from a sheltered understanding of diversity.
We plan for a rich program of visit and residential opportunities that enrich our children's learning experiences both in knowledge and in understanding of themselves and their well being. Our children also benefit from a variety of after-school provision ranging from sports such as golf, fencing, table tennis and climbing, to languages such as German and Japanese. We offer a cooking club, and regular lunchtime clubs run by responsible Class 4 children, who love the opportunity to lead. Children are encouraged to take on responsibilities to develop their independence and their understanding of service to their community.
As a small school we are proud of our sporting achievements, and have gained the Silver School Games mark. (Gold next year!) Children have the opportunity to take part in many competitive events via the Tuxford Academy sports organisation - these include boccia, cricket, football for non-footballers etc. We also never cut our PE time - believing that being active leads to better mental health and so better learning.
Children's health and well-being is of paramount importance to us. We follow a clear structure of e-safety lessons, and the 'Jigsaw' program for personal, social, health and emotional education, which includes living, growing and relationships education at an age related level. We also educate children about keeping safe in many different situations.
We are proud of all our children's achievements. Academically our children make great progress whatever their starting points or needs. This is because we make sure that our curriculum is delivered in such a way that children keep-up so that there is as little catch-up as possible. We do this through using the 'mastery approach' to maths, which enables deeper learning for children and we concentrate on their arithmetic fluency so that they are confident mathematicians. The children's reading and writing has it's foundations in their phonics learning (see below for the program) which is now very well enstablished in school and builds, with parental support, into fluent readers by Year 2. We use active reading stratgies when children are learning to comprehend text, and word-study to teach spelling as it uses many strategies to aid children's learning. These ways of working also encourage memory development - how children can learn and recall. Homework at Dunham school is targeted at basic skills. We believe that after school is a time for play, rest or for attending clubs such as Brownies, so we keep homework to simply reading, spelling and arithmetic practise. If families would like extra homework we can provide it but not if a child is missing out on other important aspects of family life.
It is really important to us that children enjoy school, behave well, and attend every day so that they get the very best from each and every day and so fullfil their potential. We believe our curriculum enables us to do this, but is so much better when delivered in partnership with parents - not only in academic support for homework but also for enabling this community to flourish with a vibrant Parents & Friends association and a community commintment to the school's vision and ethos.
If you'd like to know more about our curriculum or have any questions, please read on to the next pages or contact the school directly.