Our School Curriculum
Teaching and Learning Principles
In order to achieve our school vision, school staff consider research, considering all the latest findings, advice and new ideas in education. These approaches are considered in the light of what we understand about our children and our school, and which would be beneficial to introduce at the current time. In this way, we can allow new approaches to embed and be successful. These are the principles that we follow at our school:
- That the curriculum needs to be knowledge based, to ensure that all children, especially those who may be disadvantaged, gain the knowledge and vocabulary they need to do well.
Gaining knowledge and vocabulary allows children to take part in further and future learning. This deepens their understanding of the world and of themselves. Talking about what they have learnt develops their communication skills and self confidence and improves their understanding and written work. Using the knowledge in activities and tasks develops their skills, concepts and interests.
- That the curriculum needs to be designed with our children in mind and allows them to study fewer things in greater depth (rather than rushing through a too-full curriculum)
We have made our curriculum ambitious and linked to what our children in particular need. We want to allow children to build their knowledge across the school years, returning to and building on previous learning, so that by the time they leave us they will have developed the knowledge, concepts and skills which will be most useful for their future study and for their personal development. We offer regular recall activities, so that this knowledge is embedded in the long term memory.
- That learning is best understood when it is broken down and taught in chunks, taking account of prior knowledge and cognitive load.
Teachers teach with an end result in mind. They use what the children already know and they are clear about what they want the children to remember, understand and be able to do by the end of a unit of work. The teachers break down and sequence this learning so that it is manageable for their class. They understand the principles of cognitive load (appendix 1) and apply these to their approaches.
- That children learn best when they feel safe, happy and accepted.
We ensure that the ethos of our school is calm, friendly and welcoming. We take our safeguarding responsibilities seriously and have robust systems in place. Our Behaviour Policy encourages positive learning behaviours and our approaches allow children to reflect on their behaviour, repair and restore. We develop positive relationships with children. We are an inclusive school and work hard to accept and include all children, whatever their need.
- That teachers teach best when they work in an environment that champions team work, personal development and trust.
Teachers work at their best when they have the respect, understanding and support of the whole school team, including the Senior Leadership Team and children’s families. As a school we encourage questions and concerns to be raised in a positive way. Teachers are aware of ‘how we do it here’ as this gives security and consistency, but also know that they are trusted to develop and investigate a new approach and report back on its effectiveness. Senior Leaders take workload and well-being into account when making any decisions and take into account staff views when introducing new approaches and expectations. Leadership is shared and delegated across the school, with all teachers having a whole school subject leader role, alongside their teaching role.
- That learning is most powerful when it is linked to the children’s own lives and the lives of others and when it involves real experiences and high quality stories.
All humans are innately interested in themselves and other people and we use this interest to help the children reflect on how their learning relates to them and their lives and to encourage empathy for the lives of others. We plan memorable experiences to develop a love of learning and give our children experiences that they may not otherwise have. We use the power of books to help children learn about different eras, ideas, people and places, while also increasing their knowledge, vocabulary and reading skills.
Our School Curriculum Drivers
When discussing our curriculum, we decided that these were the most important drivers for our curriculum. These areas were chosen because they were skills that needed further development across the school.
Reflective communicator -
children have the vocabulary and skills to communicate effectively, explain and reflect on their learning.
Self-motivated learner –
children are willing to take risks, question, seek out challenges, make connections and take pride in their learning.
Community Participant –
Children feel a sense of belonging as empathetic, respectful and supportive members of our school community as well as wider communities, able to take on different roles and work in a team.