Curriculum Policies

Our Curriculum

Providing a first class education for our children is our core purpose. We seek to lay the foundations of knowledge, skills and attitudes that prepare children extremely well for their next stage of education so that transition from one stage to another is natural, seamless and timely. We seek to develop in children a life-long love of learning and the underlying skills to enable them to succeed. Our curriculum aims to go beyond the merely academic, but also into the behaviours and attitudes we wish our children to demonstrate as citizens of the world.

We believe that:

  • The curriculum in our schools is everything that our pupils experience including the school and classroom environment, their interactions with staff and pupils and the quality of the daily pedagogy used in the delivery of a course of study.
  • The content of our curriculum should build 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking and communication, and will continue to evolve responding to our ever-changing world.
  • We have a moral duty to our most vulnerable pupils for whom we know education is the best route for a successful future.
  • All children are capable of excellence through becoming reflective and independent learners within an environment that exposes them to great outcomes.
  • We seek to promote children’s intrinsic motivation by giving them ownership over the direction of their learning.
  • Children should love coming to school each day where their time will be filled with fun, purposeful and challenging learning.
  • Children deserve learning experiences that will stick with them for a lifetime.

As a school, our aim is to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that takes into consideration the overall requirements of the National Curriculum (2014). In particular, we recognise the priority of children to have core knowledge and skills in English, Mathematics, Science and Religious Education. (Religious Education is taught using the Essex locally agreed syllabus). We recognise the increasing need to develop children’s skills, exploring and using a range of technology and media as lives are lived on an international platform with international interconnectivity. Our aim though is to go further and provide an education that supports children’s holistic development – academically, intellectually and culturally; socially and emotionally; physically and spiritually.

We seek to provide an inclusive curriculum either as a whole school, across year groups or within classes. This would offer ‘learning without ceilings’; rigour and challenge; and enjoyment, engagement and enrichment whilst acquiring the associated knowledge, skills and behaviours. This includes a range of opportunities that further our aims via extra-curricular and enhancement activities where children are provided with the opportunity to enrich their learning further.

‘The curriculum is a framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage (intent); for translating that framework over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional context (implementation) and for evaluating what knowledge and understanding pupils have gained against expectations (impact/achievement).’

Sean Harford, Director for Education for Ofsted, January 2018

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We know that we are responsible for educating the whole child and so we have a moral duty to ensure that we have a values-led curriculum, which promotes the behaviour and dispositions we wish to see in the citizens of the future. As well as ensuring that the children have a grasp of the age expected knowledge base for their year group, we also was our curriculum to reflect the following principles:

1.   A focus on cultivating dispositions as well as developing knowledge

Helping learners to be confident about the disposition they are developing (e.g. getting better at dealing with setback) as well as what they are learning (e.g. complex algebra).

2.   A set of learning to learn strategies

Equipping learners with a menu of learning strategies which they can deploy according to the context in which they find themselves (e.g. encouraging them to make inferences from the information they are given or scaffolding using a simplified version of a problem first).

3.   Growth mindsets for all

Explicitly ensuring learners see that the analysis of and reflection on their mistakes is a sign of strength and not weakness.

4.   Learners as teachers

Giving learners regular opportunities to teach other pupils something (e.g. having mini-mentors during lessons or encouraging older pupils to coach the younger pupils).

5.   Authentic and connected prior experiences

Ensuring all learning themes and units of learning in English and Maths start by finding out what learners already know and inviting them to share this through pre-assessment tasks.

6.   Stretching goals, feedback rich environments; all powered by engaging questions

Beginning all learning themes by exploring a ‘big question’, which is capable of being investigated at many levels and to which there are no easy answers.

7.   Emotional and intellectual, social and individual

Consciously creating opportunities for all four of these important aspects of learning to be developed during units of learning.

8.   Practical and academic experiences, within and beyond the formal curriculum

Learning of all kinds is genuinely and equitably celebrated within and beyond school (e.g. Children’s University and recognition of sporting/personal achievements).

Throughout our learning journeys, in a variety of subject areas, we aim to move children’s understanding from the shallow to the profound so that all children can demonstrate mastery in their understanding.  Shallow learning is necessary within a curriculum, so that children grasp the foundational concepts of a theme or theory. Once they have built a core knowledge, they are then able to move into deeper learning where they can apply their understanding in a variety of ways, recognising and valuing how the learning is transferred through metacognition.

Through the curriculum offered in our schools and the emphasis on mindset and metacognition, children should develop some of the following characteristics of different modes of learning that moves their understanding from the shallow to the profound.

This deeper learning can be developed through the types of inquiry-based questions we ask children as part of their project based learning journey. This also models to children the type of questions we wish them to ask of themselves and their learning opportunities. Children should also be given the opportunity to continuously reflect on their learning journey and adapt their questions and thinking as the learning develops and they gain new knowledge and insight through the crafting process. 

Curriculum Intent

At the heart of curriculum design is a thoughtfully designed curriculum map, which shows what knowledge will be taught, which subjects will be linked and the theme which will provide the context for the learning. Whilst we recognise that some subjects may be taught in isolation, we primarily want children to work on thematic based projects that bring the curriculum together with an intentional outcome. Projects need to be planned carefully and collaboratively, taking into account the diagram above, to ensure engagement, motivation, deep learning and progression.

See Curriculum Map attached below.

Learning can and does happen in a range of ways and in a variety of contexts. Learning is not always predictable – sometimes we learn in unexpected ways or learn things we did not set out to learn. Teachers cannot totally control learning (nor would they wish to do so) but they can do much to help children develop as learners. To do this, we carefully design the curriculum, taking into account:

• the content it offers;

• how it is experienced, taught and assessed;

• how it is adapted and amended to engage all children and personalised to meet their needs and abilities.

In our school, teachers and practitioners create learning environments and learning experiences with the aim of helping children develop into confident, enthusiastic and successful learners who understand how they learn and can cooperate with others. In order to help all children achieve their full potential, teachers ensure that the learning experiences children encounter are not random, but carefully planned. Planning allows teachers to design learning at both macro and micro levels. Good planning is an important aspect of effective teaching and assessment for learning. It is one of the ways that we translate our ethos, vision and values into a coherent, purposeful curriculum for all children. By planning, teachers can think and talk about how they can build on what children already do, know and understand, and identify what they want children to learn and the teaching that will support and develop that learning.

Planning should:

• ensure inclusion, curriculum coverage, relevance, continuity and progression;

• offer opportunities to personalise a shared curriculum so that it meets the needs and interests of learners; • support high standards for all.

Our curriculum map sets out the broad themes for the whole school over a year, for example, each year group may have a history focus over the Autumn term, or a Geography theme in the Summer term. We provide our children with a literacy rich curriculum through an age related high quality text for each half term, usually linked to the overall theme. Children need to experience writing in a range of genres over the year so that they can apply their skills in different contexts. Throughout the year, there will be planned opportunities for the whole school to work together on shared project outcomes, which can be celebrated with parents and the local community. Examples of this could be a school museum where each year group displays the work produced over the term on their period in history or an anthology of stories written by the children linked to a key author studied. A theme will begin with a ‘scintillating starter’, progress through ‘motivating middles’ and end with a ‘fabulous finish’.

Knowledge organisers will be used to extend teachers and pupils’ subject knowledge and communicate what will be learnt within a unit with children and parents. Planning will build on children’s prior learning and provide challenge through the use of progression documents to ensure children are learning and knowing more.

See attached the Progression Documents below.

All learning within our curriculum will aim for excellence through the emphasis on the crafting of ‘beautiful’ work – asking children to develop work and expertise through multiple drafts or revisions until it is ‘beautiful’ and has meaning beyond the classroom, representing the very best that the child is capable of producing. Teachers will make use of all the ‘Make it stick’ strategies to support children to remember what they have learnt and to retrieve this knowledge when needed. We will equip learners with a menu of learning strategies which they can deploy according to the context of the learning, explicitly ensuring learners see the analysis of and reflection on their mistakes is a sign of strength and not weakness.

For maths, we follow the White Rose curriculum which sets out the coverage of each area for each year group over the year. Subject leaders have developed progression documents to support teachers with planning outcomes for foundation subjects that will challenge the children and build on previous learning. These are all reviewed annually and available online to reference. 

Reading, Writing and Mathematics

The following documents give further detail around our approaches to teaching reading, writing and maths and are all attached below.

Reading expectations

Writing expectations

Maths expectations

 

 


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