Moorthorpe Primary School
Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Curriculum focus:growit cookit filmit askit
Main focus:Learning Environment and Resources
People involved:Teachers Teaching Assistants
Years:1 2 3 4 5 6
Moorthorpe Primary School became an Open Futures school in 2006. Its Headteacher, Margaret Wildey, has fostered an approach that focuses on identifying the skills that pupils need to develop within a curriculum, as well as ensuring that there are opportunities for them to enjoy, practise and apply what they are learning. With Open Futures, she, and her Governors, recognised a programme that matched these goals and that would respond to all of the elements of Every Child Matters.
Since the programme was introduced, all four strands have been successfully embedded within the school’s timetable. The programme began with Year 2 pupils and teachers and teaching assistants, not just pupils, had to come to terms with the new strands. Supported by the four professional partners, confidence and expertise soon grew and the potential of Open Futures to enhance many more aspects of teaching and learning across the curriculum became clear.
growit takes place weekly, with four small groups working alongside a teaching assistant and experts from the RHS. The teacher, Stephanie Hudson, plans flexibly for this weekly activity in order to respond to the prevailing weather conditions, but the sessions always take place.
cookit takes place every three weeks with Year 2, but is also in place across the school, delivered by a teaching assistant and, as available, the Focus on Food Project Officer. With the support of a local retailer, a new kitchen has been set up so that pupils and staff can work in quality surroundings. The school’s approach to cooking has been fundamentally changed by the Open Futures philosophy:
“Growing and then cooking their own fruit and vegetables has delighted the children and has encouraged them to try new things.” – Margaret Wildey
filmit too is built into the weekly planning, with many areas of the curriculum benefiting from the capacity to capture learning on film. Using the Interactive White Board, the children are also enjoying and learning from the films that other Open Futures schools have produced and put online.
askit is also in place in all year groups at different times of the year and is supporting many aspects of the school’s work in literacy, particularly speaking and listening but also pupils’ emotional literacy.
As the school comes to the end of its second year of Open Futures it is in the process of deciding how best to develop the programme, particularly how to link it with the new Children’s Centre and also how to forge greater links with parents and the wider community. In moving forward, the school can be confident that their development of the programme thus far has been an overwhelming success, which it puts down to a number of factors. Vital, was the comprehensive staff development programme and ongoing training promoted and supported by the key partners, which enabled teachers and teaching assistants to feel increasingly confident about running sessions on their own and training others. Also hugely significant is the role played by the school’s teaching assistants, without whom the small group work essential to the strands could not happen. Most important, however, is the willingness of everyone to be flexible and supportive:
“Set backs do occur but you just have to find ways of getting round them. It’s only a problem if you make it a problem.”