. Leaders have designed a high-quality curriculum, built around interesting and well-planned sequences of learning. Subject leaders help teachers to deliver interesting and engaging lessons - Ofsted November 2022
Our curriculum has been developed over the past couple of years and whilst it has been delayed due to challenges thrown up by the pandemic, we have continued the journey with some diversions and additional stops along the way.
Our 2021 curriculum can be viewed here:
A link to the National Curriculum: National Curriculum
Why change was needed
Through our monitoring and discussions with children, staff and governors, we identified that our focus had somewhat shifted from subject specific skills and knowledge to the experiences that the children were learning about – there were many topic based learning opportunities where the children were enthused and eager but the children were not always able to recall the specific learning that we had intended. This impacted on the progress of learning across the whole curriculum leading to a decision to redesign our curriculum. We needed to ensure that we could keep the awe and wonder within the curriculum whilst ensuring progression in all subjects.
We had previously developed our curriculum in 2014 and had chosen to have a two year rolling-programme between each team (KS1, LKS2, UKS2). This worked well, particularly when we had mixed classes to ensure coverage across all subjects. However, this did not work so well to demonstrate the progression of skills and knowledge – the learning was often task-based and the tasks across the two year groups could look very similar. Whilst having a two year rolling programme can have its benefits – team teaching, sharing of ideas, joint inspiration days etc. – these benefits had to be weighed against the impact on learning. Through our discussions, we came to the decision that as we now had single year groups, it would be more beneficial for the children’s learning to move away from the previous rolling programme of topics.
- A Twilight INSET evening was held for all staff and governors to look at what we wanted our children to get from our curriculum. We looked at each area and listed what we wanted the children to learn by the end of Year 6 – what was really important in each subject area to prepare the children for their next phase of education. We looked at knowledge and skills needed
- Mixed groups of governors, teacher and support staff focused on a specific subject and brainstormed ideas
- Each group rotated around the different subjects and added to the lists
- Each group identified the most important areas and fed back to the other groups
- The SLT summarised the information gathered and cross referenced against the National Curriculum to ensure that there was complete coverage of the expectations. It was decided to initially focus on the skills as these could be applied to different areas of learning.
- The staff spent several staff meetings looking at each subject individually and mapping out the skills needed to reach the desired outcomes by the end of KS2
- Another Twilight training session was held for all staff and governors to look at the progression of skills from EYFS to Year 6.
- Discussions were held regarding how skills were applied, children who mastered these skills and opportunities for learning in more creative ways.
- The draft Skills ladders were too detailed and would need looking at again as it was felt that there were too many skills not allowing time for these new skills to be practised and improved.
- Further staff meetings were held where it was discussed what would be taught and how the topics would be arranged to fulfil the expectations through the children’s time in Primary Education.
- Staff met together to discuss vocabulary progression across the year groups in all subjects. SLT carried out research regarding vocabulary progression and implementation.
- Coordinator were given time to look at progression within their subject and how this could be demonstrated through children’s work.
- Due to upcoming staffing changes many key coordinator roles needed to change. The focus moved away from further developing the curriculum to succession planning.
- Plans were put into place for new teachers who were due to start to be able to shadow more experienced staff coordinating roles for a year prior to taking on the coordination of subjects. Less experienced staff had the opportunity to take on more key areas and spent the summer term liaising with outgoing staff to allow a smooth transition.
- The new Senior Leadership Team (SLT), including two new Assistant Heads and new KS2 Coordinator, all agreed that vocabulary and reading are key areas for development alongside the curriculum development. Staff development was also an area of immediate need due to having good but largely inexperienced staff in school.
- The History and PHSE coordinator attended training to support with the development of the subjects across the school. Learning was shared with teaching staff to increase their understanding of subject progression and also fed into the Skills Progression documents that were still being improved.
- A teacher early in their career attended Curriculum Development training with one of the Assistant HTs, this was shared with SLT and teaching staff and ideas were used to build upon the work already started. Discussions were held regarding Subject Organisers and research carried out regarding published schemes used in the CPD.
- Plans were put in place for cover in the Spring Term to allow staff to work together to complete the work carried out with Curriculum Development so that it was ready to launch in the Summer 2020.
- Topics were decided upon and preparations were in place to purchase additional resources at the start of the new budgets
- The PHSE Coordinator worked alongside the AHT to draft the RSE policy so that it fit alongside the PHSE programme. Training was delivered to all teaching staff.
- The new English Coordinator and Headteacher attended a Reading Comprehension training programme to develop reading and vocabulary across the school, with an initial focus on KS2. The teaching of reading was improved across the whole school and this impacted on our curriculum development.
- New teachers were supported by more experienced members of staff so that they are clearer about subject coordination roles.
- New coordinators were able to work alongside the new teachers and teachers early in their career to revisit the Skills Ladders. Meetings were held and time was given to further develop the progression of skills.
- The RSE policy was circulated to staff, parents and governors to receive feedback
- Feedback was received by a parent regarding the content of the lesson and the teacher spoke to her directly to answer questions. Parent was happy.
- One parent requested that her children are removed from the lessons when these take place. It was agreed that the lesson plans will be shared ahead of the lessons prior to the lesson taking place (through discussion). The parent was happy with the policy but wanted to teach her own children about this at the right time.
- The global pandemic led to a National Lockdown!
- PurpleMash was used for the children to access learning. All children had logins (as it was already used within school) and all areas of the curriculum could be accessed. The teachers could set 2Dos for the children to complete.
- It was decided that work would focus on children’s well-being. From feedback from parents/carers the children missed seeing staff and having the interaction with others. We decided to introduce ClassDojo where the staff/children could send short videos to each other. The activities were focused on well-being – this was particularly essential as we had tragically lost a member of staff during the lockdown. Activities such as family quiz nights, staff weekly TikToks, birthday messages etc. were happening weekly and received very positive feedback from families.
- For the initial few weeks, the whole school completed work around the book, ‘Here We Are’ by Oliver Jeffers. This formed part of a transition curriculum to support the children’s return to school.
- In Maths the children focused on place value, with lots of practical activities in the first few weeks. We then followed the White Rose programme
- The children had additional ‘Active Minutes’ during the day and PE once a week by a sports coach
- Assistant Heads attended Word Aware training to develop whole school vocabulary
- Once the children had settled, work focused on addressing gaps in learning and teachers teaching the previous year key skills and knowledge leading into the current year.
- Children in Year 1 were following EYFS making links to Year 1 learning where possible and relevant.
- Due to the promotion of one of the Assistant Heads, the KS2 coordinator stepped up and the other Assistant Head took over the coordination of Maths and EYFS/KS1
- The Y1 teacher moved into EYFS and our Emotional Literacy Support Assistant began a teaching apprenticeship in Y1 supported by Assistant Head.
- The global pandemic led to another National Lockdown and partial school closure!
- All lessons were uploaded onto ClassDojo.
- Daily welcome uploaded at 8.45am followed by a lesson at 9am.
- All other lessons were uploaded by 11am to allow for flexibility.
- A suggested timetable was shared.
- Children were asked to upload work by 4pm so that the teacher could respond to their work that day. Any work uploaded after 4pm was still marked, but not until the next school day.
- Wellbeing focused assemblies were also shared onto the School Story on ClassDojo.
- What’s Next? The following plans are in place to continue to develop our curriculum in preparation for the Autumn Term.
- The positive feedback from staff working together to coordinate subjects led to the decision to have Coordinator Teams. Members of teaching staff will work together to coordinate the subjects – this will lead to more subjects needing to be coordinated by each teacher, but it was felt that the benefits from partnership working outweighs this. It was discussed having a lead coordinator and a support, however teamwork is a key part of our ethos and the clear subject leadership guidance will support this.
- The governors are developing a more efficient and effective way to monitor the School Development Plan. This is expected to mirror the monitoring completed by coordinators so that there’s a consistent approach at all levels.
- The Headteacher will be attending subject coordination training and will cascade this to all teaching staff.
- The developed curriculum will be ready to be delivered from September 2021.
- The vocabulary work will be started ready to be implemented in September 2021, however this will be developed as the year progresses and will be continually evaluated and developed
- When it is safe to do so, parents and carers will be invited in to support our curriculum