In 2011, Mandy Oxer, headteacher at Saltersgate, was looking for a curriculum that would help the school teach subjects with a cross-curricular approach.
Kelly Hemmingway, the Curriculum Manager at Saltersgate, explains their decision to purchase the Cornerstones Curriculum:
‘We’d done our research and had certainly heard good things about Cornerstones; then we were invited to an Information Session. We went along and signed up almost immediately. We’ve never looked back’.
Inspiring children and staff
The staff at Saltersgate used the Cornerstones Curriculum to completely overhaul their curriculum. The Imaginative Learning Projects (ILPs) helped them change their approach to planning and resourcing lessons, and allowed pupils to take more ownership of their learning. Kelly shares the impact the curriculum has had on the children’s engagement:
‘The children and staff have fully embraced the changes brought about by the Cornerstones Curriculum. Pupils find it engaging, fun and enjoyable, and teaching staff agree that pupils are now extremely inquisitive. They constantly ask about the next stage of their learning. The Engage stage of the ILPs is particularly popular’.
Before implementing Cornerstones, Saltersgate teachers felt that the children were uninspired by discretely taught subject lessons. After six years of working with the Cornerstones Curriculum and tailoring it to the children’s needs, they are now fully engaged and positive about their learning. Kelly explains:
‘The children now focus on completing projects within a themed topic. It means they are so absorbed in their learning that many don’t even realise they are covering subjects they previously thought were ‘uninspiring’. Now they are always interested in learning more’.
It’s not just the children at Saltersgate who enjoy learning with Cornerstones – staff love the ideas and flexibility of the curriculum:
‘There are so many ideas in each ILP, and we’ve found them easy to adapt when necessary. In fact, over time we’ve been able to adapt the Cornerstones Curriculum to suit our needs perfectly’.
Striving for excellence
Saltersgate has an excellent reputation, and the Cornerstones Curriculum has helped the school to maintain its high standards:
‘Our ethos is ‘striving for excellence’, and Cornerstones helps us do exactly that. We see it in school every day, and the reaction from parents has been overwhelmingly positive. The Cornerstones Curriculum has helped the school to develop and grow. It’s an amazing asset, and everyone at the school loves using it’.
The school received an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted grading in March 2015, and feedback about the curriculum was overwhelmingly positive, particularly regarding the impact on children:
Pupils benefit from a rich, well-planned curriculum which provides many exciting opportunities for learning.
Ofsted also recognised the curriculum’s impact on children’s engagement and language development:
Pupils are very eager to learn and use their skills very purposefully across a range of subjects. The richness of the curriculum has a particularly strong impact on pupils’ language development. This is amply demonstrated in the excellent quality of pupils’ writing.
The Cornerstones Curriculum has also influenced teaching, which Ofsted have graded as outstanding:
Middle leaders and managers plan an exciting curriculum full of rich learning opportunities. They have skilfully adapted what was already in place to meet the requirements of the new primary curriculum.
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About Saltersgate Junior School
Saltersgate Junior School is a three form entry school in Scawsby, Doncaster. It has 365 pupils from Years 3–6 with a below average number of SEN and ethnic minority children. Children entering the school are nationally above average and are still above average when they leave at the end of Year 6.