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The Learning Challenge Curriculum

At St.James’ Infants we use the Learning Challenge curriculum, which is a curriculum centered around and driven by the children. Each half term, the children study an area of learning which is driven by an overall question, encouraging the children to think and find out things for themselves. Before the term begins we invite groups of children to a planning conference. We share with them the overall question for the following term and ask them what they would like to find out about. This ensures that we deliver a personalised curriculum and give the children ownership of their learning. Past examples include ‘Have you fastened your seatbelt?’, ‘Can you help the Jolly Postman?’ and ‘Who is going for gold?’


All of the National Curriculum subjects are covered through this approach and there are strong cross – curricular links. The learning challenge curriculum sits alongside daily Phonics and Maths Basic Skills sessions in which all children take part and work in small groups with children of a similar ability. Alongside the delivery of the learning challenge curriculum we aim to provide pupils with the skills required to be a life-long learners. We build upon the skills of independence, resilience and reflection. We use ‘Learning Ladders’ so that all pupils have a clear understanding of the next steps in their learning, again encouraging independence.


All teaching and learning is carefully planned to ensure that the needs of all learners are met. Our work is also enhanced by a range of visits and visitors. We try to make good use of the local area by visiting the Arboretum and local places of worship including Derby Cathedral. We have also travelled to ‘Making It’ in Mansfield, Foremark Reservoir and Nottingham Aeropark.


Children are always encouraged to reflect on their learning at the end of lessons, evaluating their learning by using a simple traffic light system. We also use pre and post learning activities enabling the children to recognise the learning journey they have been on and where they would like to take their learning next.