How is our curriculum delivered and taught?
We inspire and enthuse children through learning experiences which develop an enquiring mind and have a purposeful connection to real life. This approach provides varied opportunities to reflect on the knowledge, values and skills needed to widen our learning and investigate challenges we may encounter in later life. It also promotes personal drive, ambition and resilience within a supportive environment.
Enquiry Based Learning
At the beginning of a new topic, the teacher explicitly links new tasks to prior learning so children can see how learning is connected and can be applied. Once the basic knowledge and skills have been taught first, with an objective in mind, children have the opportunity to plan their learning journey alongside the teacher. Enquiry based learning is about everyone being involved with the learning and having ownership of the process; planning, doing, evaluating, and reflecting. The journey is about how we find answers to questions and how we get there, as well as ‘being there’. Simply, this is the route that we take to find answers to the questions we have about a given subject or study. It involves making and accepting mistakes and confronting, accepting and navigating difficulties as part of the process, not as something to be afaid of.
Medium Term Plans
Medium term plans are devised carefully to ensure there is a clear sequence of learning over half a term. We have deliberately chosen a focus subject and an enhanced subject to enable us to deepen the learning and focus on knowledge and skills development.
Our PHSE curriculum is integral to our curriculum and lays the foundations for our medium-term planning. Our curriculum is underpinned by a core emphasis on the effective development of personal, health, social and emotional skills. We believe explicit teaching of these skills will support our children to be confident in their learning approaches, applied strategies and communication with others. This will develop mutual respect and acceptance of others.
We have consulted our children and families to find out about their background knowledge and experiences. We know that good learners and readers actively draw upon their broad background, knowledge and experiences to make sense of their learning. As a Federation, we support this by identifying and providing key experiences for children by the end of each phase and by the time they leave our schools. (see Appendix)
We enrich the curriculum by inviting visitors into schools and arranging numerous external visits. Enrichment days are also planned, providing children with the opportunity to immerse in their learning, for example a medieval banquet or 1960s day.
Working walls are used to promote deep learning. They are interactive displays that reinforce and consolidate children’s knowledge and understanding, helping them to become more independent and reduce working memory overload.
Continuing Professional Development
High quality CPD is used to ensure teachers have strong subject knowledge and can evaluate the impact of the curriculum. As our schools have a small number of staff, wherever possible, subject specialists lead across the Federation and teachers are specialists of all subjects at the phase they teach.
We understand the vital role of vocabulary in accessing and understanding learning within a challenging curriculum. Therefore, vocabulary is explicitly taught each week by identifying two focus words. These words are sent home in learning diaries for KS2 and on stickers for KS1 so parents can support the learning and application of vocabulary at home. Vocabulary is selected from the Avril Coxhead’s Academic Word List and subject content. Words are then organised into a tiered system: Anchor words (words they should already be familiar with), Goldilocks Words (not too easy, not too hard; just right), Step On words (specific to the topic). Vocabulary is also identified in each subject as part of curriculum progression within each phase.
Developing a Growth Mindset is a crucial tool for all our learners. Regular learning opportunities are planned to develop a positive approach to learning and so children are encouraged to ‘Be the Best’ they can be with no predisposed ceilings. The language associated with effort, persevering, showing resilience and embracing mistakes is used daily as a positive approach to moving learning on. Children are encouraged to be reflective, identifying where they are now in their learning and where they can go next; all are rewarded when they are seen displaying these attributes. This positive culture that we can all be ‘Super Learners’ is celebrated on a daily and weekly basis, both in class and across wider opportunities.
We aim to deliver a Mastery Style approach where we believe every child should have access to high quality teaching with their peers, allowing them to access the learning objectives for their year group. We believe that all children should be given the opportunity to master key elements of the curriculum throughout the year and have the time to embed these foundations securely and deeply, applying them to a variety of situations, before moving on. Activities planned use a low threshold – high ceiling approach, where the initial activity is a lively and engaging task that all children are capable of accessing. Direct teacher modelling of small stepped learning activities enables learning to be rapidly moved on to a much higher level. The whole class are helped to unpick the structure of what they are learning, to develop the concepts more deeply, often with only slight variations between each step to ensure understanding is thoroughly developed. Connections between previous learning and wider application are made explicit and the children are expected to continually verbalise their learning with their peers and teachers to embed their reasoning and hi-light any areas of misconception. Staff model the use of precise vocabulary and encourage children to develop their reasoning skills further as this is a critical part of developing the depth of learning needed.
However, we also recognise that all children start from different places in their learning and need different experiences to move that learning on. A wide range of activities are planned for within each lesson, which will support and extend the different learners as they begin to practice and apply new learning. The use of support staff and small adult focussed learning activities allow teachers to personalise the learning to meet those varied needs. Areas of concern may also be picked up again in additional sessions outside of the whole class lesson to try and prevent any gaps widening which would stop the main class learning together.â€¯
We also recognise that a few children who appear on our SEND Register will need additional interventions that are aimed at their very specific Provision Maps set up with the SENCO. Where possible, these are delivered outside of the whole class teaching, enabling them to have access to the class learning with their peers and begin to access age expected learning.â€¯
As a Federation, we work in partnership across our schools to plan and celebrate learning experiences through termly whole federation events. These include exhibitions and performances at village halls in our communities.
We recognise that positive learning behaviour is crucial for educational and personal success. Teaching learning behaviours will reduce the need to manage misbehaviour. Therefore, we promote six weekly learning behaviours over half of a term as a means of promoting self-reflection and good relationships so that people can work together with the common purpose of helping everyone to learn. Recognition of these are celebrated in our family assembly each week and recorded in Learning Journey books.
* Tune in and concentrate * Learn from your mistakes and improve
* Keep trying and don’t give up * Have a go on your own and push yourself
* Enjoy your learning and try new things * Work hard
Our schools are very fortunate to have large outdoor learning environments. This enables children to experience Forest School learning, hands on experiences of managing an allotment and looking after chickens, as well as observing first-hand the lifecycles of plants and chickens.