Curriculum Implementation: How will we achieve it?
Our curriculum is ambitious and accessible for all pupils, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with SEND.
At Beechwood, all children are valued regardless of their abilities and behaviours and there is a firm belief that all children are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum that is matched to their individual needs. Staff at Beechwood have very high expectations for every child and each lesson starts from the premise that every child will make progress. Class teachers are responsible for the progress of all the children in their class and the aim is that every child will spend most of their time in class being taught by their teacher or as a part of a targeted and tracked intervention programme designed to support each child with their learning, social or emotional needs. Progress is regularly monitored across the school using a variety of approaches and an ethos that everyone is responsible for being a part of the children’s learning journey and supporting them with making progress.
Assessment for learning is used to identify children who need additional time and practice in order to master the skills and concepts they are being taught. These children may be put into small groups within the class and supported by either the class teachers or by Learning Support Assistants as appropriate. When needed, children might be withdrawn from the class to take part in a particular intervention strategy in order to help them close the gap between themselves and their peers or to address their social and emotional needs. The effectiveness of any intervention strategy is regularly monitored by the SENCO to ensure that it is working.
Differentiation and support strategies are routinely used as part of daily classroom practice to ensure that barriers are removed and all children are able to access the learning at their level and make progress. These strategies might include pre-teaching content and vocabulary, simplifying questioning, the use of visual supports and frames and using alternative methods of recording.
Children with SEND in school may also be supported by external agencies. An Educational Psychologist and a Speech Therapist are contracted by the school to provide additional support. They are able to assist the teachers in identifying the particular areas of need that a child may have and to set appropriate targets to help to move the child on. They are also on hand to train individual members of staff to deliver effective intervention programs. If a child has been identified as having a Special Educational Need, they will be placed on the school’s SEN register. They will have a Pupil Passport which will be reviewed half-termly as part of a Plan, Do, Review cycle in accordance with the SEND code of practice.
Our curriculum provides a broad foundation of knowledge and skills across a wide range of subjects
Our curriculum has been developed and organised using the knowledge and skills outlined in the National Curriculum (2014). This is supported by addition skills and experiences that are relevant for our children including our school HEART Values, Philosophy for Children (P4C), and Growth Mindset skills.
Subjects including English, maths, science, R.E, P.E, PSHE, French, technology (computing), Philosophy for Children, Growth Mindset, and music are taught throughout the year, linked wherever appropriately with other curriculum subjects and wider learning experiences. Other subjects such as history, geography, art, engineering, and food technology are taught for three half terms spread across the academic year. This allows for more continuous learning over intensified time periods and increased space for pupils to engage in high-quality enquiries and creative outcomes. The curriculum for each subject has been developed using the National Curriculum as its foundation and has a subject progression that equally balances substantive and disciplinary knowledge. The curriculum is focused on building on prior knowledge and skills that are part of the ‘sticky knowledge’ approach. We aim to give children the opportunity to explore, be creative and enquire as part of their learning and to use the knowledge and skills they develop in a variety of contexts and concepts making links where they can.
Alongside the formalised curriculum, our Collective Worship curriculum and HEART value assemblies are used to explore and reinforce Safeguarding, Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) themes throughout the year. It is also an opportunity to learn and celebrate key dates and festivals from around the world.
Our curriculum is progressively sequenced to deepen pupils understanding ready for the next stage of learning
Our school leaders have developed a curriculum that is ambitious, coherently planned and carefully sequenced to ensure pupils progressively build on their skills and knowledge for each subject, integrating new knowledge into prior learning, to fully prepare them for the future. The curriculum subject progressions are constantly being evaluated and reviewed to ensure they remain relevant to our pupils’ needs and are achievable within the wider demands of the school curriculum.
Lessons are well planned and accurately pitched for the learners, the subject matter is presented clearly and misconceptions are identified and addressed through effective feedback to ensure children achieve the age-related expectations identified for each subject.
For each subject, the learning is sequenced to ensure that, once learned, skills and knowledge are revisited to ensure pupils consolidate and remember their learning over the longer term. Across the key stage, teachers introduce each new element by integrating it with the children’s prior learning.
Our curriculum ignites pupils’ passions and cultivates their individual talents and interests
We believe that learning is most effective when pupils are able to participate in engaging and memorable experiences. These experiences are those that spark either their own curiosity or collective passions.
Many of our pupils come from disadvantaged backgrounds and lack the essential life experiences required for them to make sense of their learning and its relevance to them. Our curriculum aims to provide all pupils with these essential experiences. They add purpose, depth and quality to learning at all levels. They also link the learning with the wider community and pupils’ personal experiences and interests, including topical events. For this reason, the school is committed to providing our pupils with out-of-school visits including annual residential opportunities.
We believe that curiosity leads to learning – pupils will be more motivated to learn when they want to find out the answer to an intriguing question, solve a problem or work out how to achieve something that they value. For this reason, throughout our curriculum children are encouraged to use the skills they have learned in P4C to enquire and ask questions about their learning.
For some subjects, such as history, geography, science, engineering and P4C, this approach is quite formal, where the process of enquiry forms part of the learning itself whereby pupils learn how to ask key questions and formulate their own answers. For other subjects, the process of enquiry helps to raise engagement and provides a purpose to their learning.
Throughout the curriculum in all subjects, teachers also seek opportunities to provide pupils with questions and problems that stretch the pupils’ understanding.
Alongside the essential experiences and the enquiry-led approach, we believe that pupils should be given opportunities to apply their learning creatively. For most subjects, teachers and pupils will work together to develop inspirational and purposeful outcomes that allow the pupils to creatively apply their learning as well as to share and explore their individual talents and passions.
Our curriculum equips pupils with the personal and social skills they will need to flourish.
Alongside the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills, our curriculum aims to develop the whole child, enrich their lives, and ignite within them an irresistible desire to learn. It is also committed to nurturing our pupils as well-rounded citizens ready for the next phase of their lives.
As well as our commitment to nurturing and supporting each child, our curriculum provides explicit guidance and opportunities for pupils to develop their personal and social skills, particularly through our school HEART values and through our growth mindsets, Philosophy for Children (P4C) and Outdoor Learning Zone (OLZ) programmes. Further guidance and opportunities are provided through our PSHE and RE curriculum.
Our HEART values are ever-present throughout every aspect of daily school life. There is a whole-school expectation that everyone will follow and model the five agreed values (honesty, effort, achievement, respect and teamwork) and these are continually discussed and reinforced throughout our behaviour policy, assemblies, lessons and all school activities.
We encourage children to actively participate in everyday school life. Roles such as School Council, House Captains and Sports Captains are designed to provide a voice for the children and allow them to not only have their views expressed but to also encourage leadership and active participation in the school community. All children are regularly consulted, through the School Council, regarding areas of school life that they would like to improve and suggestions they have for how to do so.
The school’s growth mindset curriculum aims to support children to develop a positive mindset to everything they do, encouraging and supporting pupils to develop themselves in six key areas: enquiry, perseverance, creativity, courage, reflection and participation. This is implemented through a coherently planned schedule of assemblies and is reinforced, developed and celebrated throughout lessons and all other school activities.
P4C is integrated throughout the school curriculum as an approach to help children learn by developing their skills for actively listening to others, respectfully disagreeing, independently forming and articulating ideas and opinions and questioning and challenging ideas and information. These essential life skills are taught in discrete lessons and practised through a range of enquiries; pupils are then expected to use and apply these skills throughout the curriculum.
Our children’s holistic development is further cultivated through their participation in the Outdoor Learning Zone. This aims to provide them with opportunities to use play in order to learn and equips them with life-long benefits including an appreciation and love of the environment, an awareness of their own capabilities and strengths, as well as understanding that there are consequences to their actions and an ability to independently identify and manage risks. This is still a new approach for Beechwood and has been implemented in response to being an inner-city school with limited green space. As a result of this, we are currently exploring its possibilities and impact with a one-year group. This will be reviewed during the academic year.
We have a comprehensive range of Social Skills interventions that run across the school and are led by trained support staff and aim to support social and emotional development where needed. These reinforce our vision that we support and progress the whole child and equip them with what they need to be successful in the classroom and in the future.
Finally, everyone at Beechwood is part of a house team: Mayflower, Riverside, Itchen, Victoria, Hinkler, or Hoglands. Children earn house points for their team and work in their house teams at various points in the academic year including events such as World Book Day and Sports Day. Working in teams and being part of a community is one of our HEART values but also a set of skills necessary for life which we are incredibly keen to promote and develop with our children.