Robert Ferguson Primary School, East Dale Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle, CA2 5LA 01228 535091
Headteacher Mr Graham Frost BEd (Hons) NPQH MA
We go beyond statutory requirements, to ensure our pupils are as well prepared as possible for success in education and beyond. We enjoy hearing how positively and enthusiastically our past pupils engage with and contribute to lessons in secondary school. Each of the following, highly valued and essential aspects of our enhanced curriculum contribute strongly to establishing a life-long love of learning.
We were one of 11 pioneer primary schools across the UK who worked with Empathy Lab and lots of authors and publishers involved in pioneering experimental approaches which harness the power of stories to build a central life skill for children - empathy. Through reading fiction, children are able to imagine what it is like to be someone else and see things from many different perspectives. This enables children to develop skills and understanding which will help them in a range of social situations and help them to be as kind and understanding as possible. Our work on Empathy Lab has left a lasting mark on how we teach reading, and we continue to engage in the annual 'Reading for Empathy Day' and purchase books recommended by Empathy Lab for the children to read.
The aims of Empathy Lab:
Philosophy for Children
- Nurture emotional/affective empathy where we literally resonate with someone else's feelings;
- nurture cognitive empathy or perspective taking where we apply reason to working out how someone else feels;
- nurture empathic concern which is a powerful motivator for helping others, a force for social justice.
- promote reading for pleasure.
- Increased levels of inference and deduction skills through the exploration of teaching empathy linked to the RFPS learner depositions.
- Increased social activism building on our Environmental and Global Learning work.
- Use to enhance engagement with PHSCE topics.
The aims of Philosophy for Children:
- Provide opportunities to develop enquiry based learning, opening up children's learning through enquiry and the exploration of ideas;
- teach children that their ideas have value, and that the ideas of other children have value too;
- teach children that they don't always have to be right;
- develop confidence to ask questions and learn through discussion.
The aims of Environmental Education:
- Equip children with an understanding of the science behind climate change and sustainability;
- develop children's understanding of choices we can make as individuals to live more sustainably;
- mitigate against eco-anxiety through developing a sense of agency to affect positive change;
- develop children's understanding about the challenges and sociological or technological developments which could potentially reduce the impact of climate change;
- in conjunction with British Values of democracy and freedom of speech, develop children's interest in, and capacity for engaging in civic and democratic processes at a local or wider level on the subjects of carbon reduction and sustainability.
The aims of Global Learning:
- Help young people understand their role in a globally interdependent world and explore strategies by which they can make it more just and sustainable;
- familiarise pupils with the concepts of interdependence, development, globalisation and sustainability;
- continue to move pupils from a charity mentality to a social justice mentality;
- stimulate critical thinking about global issues, both at a whole school and pupil level;
- promote greater awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals;
- develop links with schools in other countries through the British council;
- think global, act local;
- promote Fair Trade as a way to actively support better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
The aims of Forest School:
- Develop confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experience in a natural setting;
- support play, exploration and risk taking (awareness of risks, that we grow by overcoming risks) in a natural setting;
- exploit the health and general wellbeing benefits of learning in a natural setting;
- develop children socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually;
- inspire a deep and meaningful connection to the world and how we fit in to it.
Learning to learn is also often referred to as "metacognition and self-regulation" and there is strong evidence
that this has a highly positive impact on children's progress and learning.
Ever Since a joint research project we undertook with University of Cumbria in 2014-2015, we have been in the routine of periodically reviewing the dispositions we aim to nurture, and we express these as statements, which guide our teaching of learner dispositions:
- I empathise with others and show kindness.
- I take risks, enjoy a challenge and set high goals for myself.
- I focus on completing my work to a high standard and manage distractions.
- I am curious; no question is too big.
- I think carefully, critically and solve problems.
- I use my imagination and think creatively.
- I can be independent and learn by finding useful resources.
- I collaborate by listening, sharing ideas and giving feedback.
- I persevere when the task is difficult and learn from mistakes.
- I reflect on how I have done and seek to improve.
- I believe that practice and effort make my intelligence grow.
We firmly believe that this work has helped shape learning behaviours and attitudes across school, helping our pupils to develop self-belief, to persevere and aim high.