The summer break is a good time for reflection about key aspects of school as well as planning next steps. I am taking this opportunity to blog as I reflect on our school curriculum, after all it is central to the day to day experience of our pupils in school so worthy of high regard and consideration.
I am writing this from the starting point of our school having been inspected by Ofsted in January 18 and am pleased that our curriculum was praised in terms of offering “a high-quality curriculum to pupils. It is both motivating and exciting. In addition to English and mathematics, you offer a rich, imaginative and varied, learning experience that significantly contributes to developing pupils’ self-belief,confidence, personal development and life skills”. Ofsted Jan 18
I embrace some of the increased freedom which is being offered to us around curriculum and assessment – the autonomy of being able to respond to the specific needs of the children in the school and establish a bespoke curriculum which meets their needs and an assessment system which effectively demonstrates progress and achievement. Understandingly however, with increased autonomy comes enhanced accountability and in addition to whether our assessment systems have the rigour and accuracy required, we are now finding our curriculum increasingly under the spotlight. Curriculum is likely to become an increased area of focus in Ofsted inspections
The school’s curriculum is organic. The position we are in today follows many years of review, changes and adaptations in relation to our school population first and foremost as well as local and national requirements. It is also not the work of one person. The curriculum is a whole school endeavour. Our senior leadership team are supported by forward thinking subject leaders and value staff meeting discussion giving input to the whole school team on aspects of curriculum development and how this is experienced by the pupils each day . This includes meetings of curriculum teams which include groups of teachers and teaching assistants planning and working together on curriculum areas including STEM, K+U, Health and emotional well being, communication and language, Expressive arts and design and EYFS.
Our curriculum is relevant to the group of pupils and the context we are working in as well as underpinning the ethos and philosophy of our school in terms of what we believe is important for our pupils to learn and therefore I would not expect it to be automatically transferable to other schools, however I find it useful considering how others approach aspects of school improvement as a stimulus for review and discussion and I hope that maybe reading this might give others a similar opportunity to reflect on their own curriculum in a helpful way.
Where we are now
Core curriculum: We believe our children have an entitlement to a core curriculum of National Curriculum subject areas. In addition to Maths, English and Science, Foundation subjects are delivered in a topic based way through our spiral curriculum
Enhanced curriculum: The school enhances and enriches the core curriculum offered to the pupils in a range of ways including Open Futures, Rights Respecting Schools, ECO Schools, Forest Schools, Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural, British Values, Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning, peer massage, yoga, pupil voice, school council, and Friday Fun Clubs.
All children attending Camberwell Park School have an Education, Health and Care Plan. These outline their individual educational, health and social care needs, the provision they need to meet these and outcomes expected across the next stage of their life. We see the EHCP as an integral part of the children’s curriculum planning and use the outcomes to identify the children MLT’s (my learning targets). The areas of personalisation include: Mobility, Behaviour, Characteristics of Learning, Communication, Life skills, Personal and social development and sensory skills. Our highly skilled staff then use the MLT’s and their own knowledge of the children to plan a personalised curriculum offer for each child. This can include but not exclusively ; support plans from our multi-agency partners; pediatrician, school nurse, SaLT, Physio, OT, specific subject intervention groups, opportunities for social development or opportunities for emotional development. This was also acknowledge as a positive aspect of our work in our January inspection as in relation to our pupils’ EHCPs it states : “These goals are then broken down into small achievable steps, and a personalised curriculum is developed to enable the pupil to work towards achieving the goals”. Ofsted Jan 18
As the needs of the pupils vary across the school and in different classes, teachers have autonomy over the structure of their timetables and the weighting they give to different areas of the curriculum in their timetables however they must be able to evidence how their timetable meets the individual needs of each of the pupils in their class.
Our next steps
The needs of our pupils are changing and it is essential that we continue to respond to this in terms of our school organisation and curriculum and therefore our ongoing programme of curriculum review will support subject leaders and curriculum teams to work with the leadership team in ensuring that the Intent of each area of the curriculum is clear, we implement the curriculum in a way that is meaningful to the pupils right across school and that we are able to measure the impact – the important ‘so what’ question to make sure what we offered our pupils has made a difference in a way that is relevant to them.
Thank you for reading