Hello and welcome to the Headteacher’s update.
Despite Brexit taking up the lion’s share of the news lately, there are some planned changes to the focus on schools.
Due for release in September 2019, the new OFSTED framework, promises to shift the spotlight from pupil outcomes (exam results, end of EYFS data, Ks1 and KS2 SATS, Phonics Screening tests etc) to the real substance of education- a school’s curriculum - with a new ‘quality of education’ judgement.
This is something to be very much applauded. Here at Irthington the whole focus of our curriculum planning is to plan and deliver a rich and rounded curriculum that actually means something, and is relevant to, the children we teach. We pack the activities with hands on and practical approaches, plan in visits to bring learning alive. For your reference I have included our rationale for the curriculum we implemented in September 2018.
Following the introduction of the 2014 national curriculum we devised a new 3 year whole school curriculum plan which met the statutory requirements, ensured coverage of all subjects whilst maintaining the thematic, creative and joined up learning. We were mindful that our school is rural and pupils sometimes have limited experiences of the wider world. Wherever possible we included hands on meaningful experiences in school and through extensive visits. We felt that this curriculum met the needs of our learners at that time, providing continuity and progression and varied learning experiences.
As you would expect, after 4 years we carried out a review of our curriculum provision. The review confirmed that the curriculum was broad, varied and inspiring and engaged pupils but perhaps lacked sufficient opportunities for greater depth and advancement of skills and understanding.
In order to achieve this greater progression and depth of learning, we decided to move from a whole school approach to a class by class curriculum plan. In order for the curriculum to meet the needs of our unique learners we have:
- Identified and addressed issues relating to rural isolation, aspiration, social mobility, disadvantaged and pupil premium children, barriers to learning and gaps between groups;
- Planned for the progression and understanding of skills; the furthering of understanding and skills; the advancement of understanding and skills, the forwarding of understanding and skills;
- Planned time for children to think, discuss, practise, explore and embed through the ‘Teach, teach, practise, repeat’ model;
- Planned for engagement by making the curriculum real and meaningful through a thematic approach which allows children to build and maintain interest;
- Planned for purposeful assessment, tracking and differentiation of the foundation subjects;
- Maintained our thematic approach but will in future make specific reference to the subject areas being taught and every subject will have equal importance;
- Planned explicitly for the repeated teaching of good citizenship and British Values;
- Planned a more rigorous approach to SMSC including Sex and Relationships Education relevant to the changing world we live in;
- Designed a curriculum which incorporates questioning, differentiation, opportunities for independent learning and assessment for learning and which strives for high standards and academic excellence at all times.
All staff at Irthington School are determined to provide a broad, rich and deep education and provide learning experiences which excite, hook, inspire and engage to build on prior understanding. The ethos of our school is to balance the core subjects and PSHE in order to allow pupils become socially mobile. We are committed to helping children to realise their individual potential and through the breadth of the curriculum and aspects of PSHE encourage them to achieve giving them the best possible start in life.
As always if anyone has any questions about the curriculum at Irthington, please do not hesitate to pop in and speak to myself or any member of staff.