Learning Strategy

The University of Cambridge Primary School is committed to exemplary teaching and learning. It aims to be bold, free thinking and rigorous; underpinned by a commitment to the values of excellence, equity and learner empowerment. We aim to be:

  • Ambitious:everyone is encouraged and enabled to achieve and attain highly
  • Innovative:the learning community benefits from belonging to a research and teacher education community both within the school itself and as part of wider University and school partnerships
  • Inclusive:everyone is welcome and everyone included

At the core of our curriculum: developing compassionate active citizens

As such, our principled approach to designing our curriculum is rooted in democratic notions of education (Dewey, 1916; Greene, 1995; Friere, 2001; Hart et al, 2004; Swann et al, 2012) in which children’s voice is central: in which we empower children to make sense of the complex world in which they live (Rudduck and Flutter, 2004); in developing their ability to question; to discuss, challenge and contest diverse positions respectfully and compassionately; and to consider views about our world and how we should live in it.  There is a critical thinking nature so that we question assumptions about truth and knowledge[1].  In understanding the intercultural communities in which we live, there is a need for children to learn with the diversities that exist in their local and global communities; inspired by the words of Lord Williams and the Cambridge Primary Review (2010),

‘If you’re going to be a decision-making citizen, you need to know how to make sense and how to recognise when someone is making sense…that there are different ways of making sense, different sorts of questions to ask about the world we’re in, and insofar as those questions are pursued with integrity and seriousness they should be heard seriously and charitably’ (Lord Williams, 2008; quoted in Alexander (2010: p.13))

At the core of our curriculum is the hope to nurture and develop compassionate citizens who want to make a positive contribution to their local and global worlds[2].  The curriculum passionately advocates to inspire a relentless optimism for and about children.

[1] For example, in learning about an historic figure like Christopher Columbus, we ask the question, ‘Did Columbus discover America?’ which raises questions of immigration, invasion, power and colonisation. This criticality is handled sensitively as appropriate to children’s needs and ages.  Another example would be to explore the opportunities as well as the issues arising from global trade (of chocolate for example). The aim is to develop knowledge and understanding for children to be able to articulate their position and respectfully engage in debate to develop compassionate responses.

[2] These principles are consistent with our diversity statement and the UK government promotion of British values https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/promoting-fundamental-british-values-through-smsc