Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact
Our vision statement ‘Let your light shine’ and the Christian values of love, courage and respect, provide a steer to everything we do at East Cowton and Kirkby Fleetham Schools. Our curriculum has been designed to enable every child in our unique, small rural setting to shine in their own way and to reach their full potential.
The curriculum was developed in line with The Church of England Vision for Education which states that ‘our purpose in education is to enable the children, young people and communities we serve to flourish as they experience education for wisdom, hope, community and dignity and discover life in all its fullness which Jesus offers’.
Our curriculum is jointly owned by all staff and was developed in consultation with parents, pupils and governors. It takes into account the life experiences of pupils in our context; what they have already learned by the time they join us in Foundation Stage, and the knowledge and skills we want them to have by the time they leave year 6.
As priorities for the curriculum in our context we identified:
· Opening up horizons – multi cultural awareness and celebrating diversity
· Challenging ‘comfortable complacency’ with a focus on courageous advocacy and challenging injustice
· Living well together – developing the skills and language to agree and disagree, and to support each other
· Challenging things learned, and being challenged by these things, supported by intentional questioning.
· Developing the whole child, with a focus on resilience, perseverance, self-esteem and mental well-being
We are ambitious for all our children and expect them to achieve the highest standards. We have designed a curriculum that is exciting and challenging, which stimulates and enthuses, and which develops them as rounded individuals who can succeed in the modern world. Through our curriculum, pupils develop a rich web of knowledge, which provides capacity for further learning and application of skills, leading to deeper understanding.
Although we are two schools, we plan and work together as one. Subject leadership is shared over both schools and staff plan together as a team. Pupils often come together for enrichment and PE days. Each school has two mixed age classes; Class 1 consists of EYFS and KS1 combined, Class 2 contains the whole of KS2.
Due to very small cohorts, we aim to bring EYFS children from the two schools together at least once a week, this enhances their learning and provides a richer environment for role play and independent learning.
We have a shared four-year rolling curriculum plan, and although we teach foundation subjects discretely, we ensure that lessons are linked through a common theme where possible. The priorities of the curriculum intent run throughout the curriculum and opportunities to develop these are carefully woven in to lessons.
Because of mixed age classes and the rolling design of our curriculum, it is not possible for topics to run in sequence (eg history topics are not in chronological order), However each term’s topic is carefully planned to ensure that lessons flow through a sequence and skills are built upon each lesson to ensure progression.
We bring each topic alive through carefully chosen learning questions, to which children’s answers develop and change over the course of the topic (eg. KS1: Do all superheroes wear capes? KS2: Does the rest of the world do enough to help when disaster strikes?)
We use a mastery approach to learning and lessons are planned to provide depth and an opportunity for pupils to apply their skills and knowledge in a range of situations, making links across the curriculum. We understand that mastery takes time. Our maths subject leader is a maths mastery specialist for the Archimedes maths Hub and we are developing the mastery approach to maths across both schools. We use the ‘Power Maths’ pupil books to support learning.
New themes or topics are often introduced through a SOLE lesson (Self Organised Learning Environments), and teachers have received training in this approach.
We have a high percentage of SEN pupils in the schools and planning ensures that the needs of all pupils are met through evidence- based interventions as well as whole class approaches.
Reading is integral to the whole curriculum and high quality texts are chosen to challenge, engage and stimulate pupils learning. We ensure that these texts are linked to the term’s topic, that they provide variety, deepen learning and knowledge, and meet the needs of the curriculum intent.
Enrichment days and activities
We bring the curriculum alive for pupils through a range of visits and visitors. We have a link to a school in France and pupils skype each other once a term. We also have links to a school in The Gambia and staff have been on reciprocal visits between the schools.
Staff in both schools are trained to lead forest schools and this is a very important part of our curriculum. We have woodland areas to visit from each site and are currently working towards the John Muir award for outdoor learning.
Assessment is rigorous and thorough. Judgements are made following work scrutiny, discussions with pupils and observations of learning. We use target tracker to track pupils learning in all areas of the curriculum, but also conduct termly summative assessments in reading, writing, EGPS and maths. In PE we use a ‘PE passport’ which is a planning and assessment tool, and in RE we use tracking grids in conjunction with target tracker.
Children are expected to make good or better progress in all subjects and this individual progress is tracked and reported to parents and carers at parents evening and on the end of year report.
The impact of our curriculum is evident in the outcomes of all pupils and there is evidence of swift progress and deep learning. Some pupils demonstrate a greater depth of understanding across most curriculum areas.
Our children are enthusiastic learners; they love school and really enjoy their lessons. We believe this early love of learning stimulates them to become life-long learners, who leave our schools fully equipped for not only the next stage in their education, but to be fantastic role models in society, who let their light shine by being their very best version of themselves in the service of others.