Driving Principles of our Curriculum
Driving Principles/ Philosophy/ Ethos: A curriculum that is; E.P.I.C – (Enquiry-led, Purposeful, Innovative, Challenging)
Enquiry-led Learning; is exploratory and child-directed; promotes high engagement and autonomy; develops problem-solving and facilitates the development of Learning skills (curiosity, perseverance, resilience, reasoning etc – ref: the School Value of Learn), enables children to develop own knowledge, skills and understanding.
Purposeful Learning; is inspiring, relevant and meaningful; makes links between subjects; is driven by a tangible/ measureable outcome.
Innovative Learning; is focused on accomplishing educational goals; tailors and adapts learning to meet individual needs; is skills-based, not activity-based; uses teaching strategies and interventions to enhance/ accelerate learning; makes effective use of resources, including the environment.
Challenging Learning; sets high expectations; plans for appropriate pitch and pace for each individual child; creates opportunities for children to fall into the learning pit, using Learning Skills [see Enquiry-led] to climb out); facilitates children’s high achievement.
Operational organisation/ drivers
- Children learn skills/ knowledge in three (four maximum) NC subjects that are directly and explicitly linked together into Projects.
- An initial hook sets the scene for the learning in each Project and creates a purpose/ poses a problem that the children need to solve. The outcome is the resolution.
- Writing: always at the heart of each Project and forms the main aspect of the outcome, though the context of learning is driven by non-core subjects (e.g. History, D&T or PE).
- Basic Skills: promoted at every opportunity, and are in as many activities as possible. High levels of literacy and oracy are promoted at every opportunity, in all subjects, and are practised by children.
- Reading: woven throughout each Project and children learn reading skills across the range of subjects.
- Speaking and Listening: opportunities will be developed throughout…. MORE HERE
- Maths: Morning Maths Meetings – see below.
- Children will develop and use ‘Learning Apps’ (tools) that will improve their ability to learn.
- Applied subjects – up to two other subjects can be used to support learning/ outcome though the intention is that no new skills will be taught in these subjects: knowledge and skills will be applied from previous learning. Children have opportunities to practise/ apply skills at a level that challenges, and that makes connections to other subjects/ areas/ contexts
Organisation of learning
- Children learn during ‘sessions’, as opposed to ‘lessons’. (Lessons suggest that learning travels just one way: the teacher imparts their knowledge to a passive learner).
- There is set formal timetable – literacy underpins all learning, and so may occur throughout the day.
- All learning will take a ‘next-step’ approach: always pushing children’s understanding; always looking for them to reach the ‘top’
Each individual child’s ‘next-step’ is determined through a combination of assessment of their written responses from previous work, and through observation of children’s responses, during a learning session, to 1) teacher questioning and 2) pupil tasks.
- The use of tests and testing will be minimal and will be used in a diagnostic way, to identify gaps in responding to questions. Note: an effective teacher does not require the outcomes of tests or testing to determine the support that children need.
- Children will have opportunities to lead the direction of their own learning (see Lines of Enquiry). They will have a clear understanding of the outcome and what they need to do to achieve this. Though there are whole-class inputs, these will be to share new skills. Much of the learning will be conducted within small-group guided learning.
Small Group Guided Learning
These sessions will occur at various points throughout the day (to be developed more here)
Organisation of curriculum
- Key literacy skills are taught/ learnt;
- during the ‘skills sessions’ but applied in other curriculum areas.
- To the needs of children and at any part of the day (AfL – intervening)
- Stories and other narrative texts are used to underpin the topic, not necessarily drive it.
- Every topic commences with a ‘hook’, which sets the purpose, the intrigue/ mystery and motivation that drives the Project towards its conclusion.
- The audience for the outcome is clearly identified in the Hook, e.g. another class/ year group (infants/ juniors)/ school, Headteacher, parents, local residents, business etc.
- The hook may determine what will have to be produced in the outcome e.g. a book for the library/ a year group, an exhibition for parents/ year group, leaflets for New Forest tourist office, a video for a year group/ parents/ BBC (!) etc. NOTE: However, children may also be given freedom to choose how they present their findings/ work in the Outcome (see Lines of Enquiry for further explanation).
- Is the culmination of the learning and celebrates children’s achievements.
- Can take many forms e.g. presentation, performance, exhibition, book, etc. (children should be given choice as to how they want to present their findings – ref: Learning passport).
- It should be possible for a visitor to explicitly identify the skills/ knowledge the children have learnt in each of the different subjects of that Project.
- Should be as exciting as possible, e.g. games, challenges, quizzes – anything that allows them to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have learnt in each Project.
Writing genre/ text-type
Teachers must be totally conversant/ be familiar with/ have deep knowledge of the information of each text type.
This knowledge will be unpicked with the children (not disseminated!)
At the start of each Project;
- Ask children to write, unaided, a short piece in the text-type they are studying (a “cold write”).
- Teachers share a quality piece of writing, in the genre of study e.g. one that is slightly above the expected level for that year group.
- In groups, children de-construct the writing, identifying the different elements that make it a ‘good’ piece of writing. Note: These may not necessarily relate to the specific key features of the genre. They can be general literacy features, e.g. VCOP/ ispace.
- Teachers stick the writing in the centre of a large piece of paper – children carefully annotate around the outside.
- When complete, display these around the class – children circulate and read the comments of other groups. Class discussion follows, where definite agreement is drawn together by teacher. DISPLAY THIS ANNOTATED PIECE
- Techers now repeat the activity (2) and 3) above) for a piece of writing that is a very high standard + DISPLAY.
- Children now compare their own piece of writing with that of the high quality and identify their writing targets.
- Teacher assesses these initial pieces of writing and identifies whole-class weaknesses. Teacher designs sequences of literacy lessons to address the different needs of children.
- As children will be independently and collaboratively driving their own learning towards the final outcome, it will be possible for teacher to target teach smaller groups of children.
- Whole class inputs will not be necessary as children will be at different stages of their learning journey.
- The teacher may give 3-4 different inputs during the literacy session (quality guided sessions), each one targeted specifically at developing/ filling gaps in different writing skills of different groups of children.
- Each half-term, children will review learning, assessing their own writing against the ‘model’ text (shown at the start of the Project)
- Reflection/ evaluation of learning - At end of Project, children compare their final written piece with the initial and evaluate aspects/ features they have improved. Children write an evaluation (QUESTION: how to record this? – specific format? – could they be written on to small A5 (or smaller) feedback forms and used to create a display?)