Curriculum Intent & Implementation
Our curriculum has been designed to ensure that every child has the opportunity to leave our school prepared to be lifelong learners. Through our curriculum we will develop essential knowledge, concepts and skills that can be used as building blocks for later life. The children in our schools will gain confidence to become inquisitive thinkers through developing resilience and independence. They will develop their own lines of enquiry, take risks, embrace challenge and understand that we learn from our mistakes in a nurturing environment. We will provide challenge to pupils in all lessons to facilitate that pupils strive to achieve their best. We have designed a curriculum that teaches children about their past, and encourages them to think about the future conditions of our planet. We teach them to celebrate, recognise and respect diversity and to be active citizens, engaging with and respecting their community. Our learning characteristics form the core of our teaching and all children are aware of the drivers (Personal development, creative development and community) and the skills that they will be developing to ensure personal improvement.
Key questions link the subjects each term, and where possible they are repeated across subjects to enable meaningful cross curricular learning.
Prior and future learning is made explicit and as time passes, children will be able to build on the foundations they have learnt from Early Years to year 6.
At Waveney Valley Partnership we see the Early Years Foundation Stage as crucial in securing solid foundations that children can continue to build on as each grows and develops their unique potential.
We recognise that children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
We use their own interests and the flexibility of the Early Years curriculum to follow each child’s individual learning path, keeping the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning at the heart of all we do. We also base their learning around the school’s six themes, teaching two a term. Children use the themes as a starting point for exploring their learning, providing a strong foundation for future knowledge and skills development.
Our Early years curriculum also incorporates the school’s three core drivers and children are encouraged to be independent, resilient and take risks from an early age.
Following considerable research by Senior Leader’s across the Trust, Waveney Valley Partnership introduced a new vision and curriculum plan in September 2021. This vision was shared with the school community and staff quickly began to enjoy the opportunity to research the theory underpinning the new leadership vision- initiated by the Trust PD day at Trinity Park.
Staff from Trust schools were given the opportunity to research and collaborate to create the new curriculum. They have a strong understanding of how the curriculum is developed, including how the concepts thread through each subject and how the questions support the core drivers. The three drivers, Personal development, Community engagement and creative development, sit at the heart of every subject and are incorporated into daily teaching.
Each subject has been carefully designed so that concepts are taught in each age range and built on, year on year, to develop a more sophisticated understanding. For example in KS1 music, children begin to explore how music creates emotion through exploring national anthems, in lower KS2 they revisit this concept when learning how sea shanties supported fishermen out at sea and then in upper KS2 when learning how music supported slaves they apply all prior learning to enable a deeper appreciation of the concept.
These concepts are colour coded in each subject’s medium term plan, so that teachers can clearly see the links to prior learning and future content.
Our long term plans show all the core questions which act as the hook for children to begin to engage in each curriculum area. Medium term plans separate out the core knowledge and the skills that children are expected to learn.
Key vocabulary is set out for each subject area and is taught and explained so that children are able to develop a broad and sophisticated vocabulary as they progress through the phases.
Core subjects are assessed termly using either NTS tests or teacher assessment. Foundation subjects are assessed in a variety of ways including observations of performances or live debates, use of IT such as videos, mini quizzes and double page spreads. All methods assess the acquisition of knowledge set out on the medium term plans and record whether children have acquired the knowledge or not. This assessment is collated by subject lead and reviewed to monitor quality of teaching and learning.
Waveney Valley Partnership has a reading spine which sets out the core reading offer for all of our children. This spine has been constructed to reflect a mixture of classic, contemporary, multicultural and increasingly challenging texts, written by both male and female authors and authors of a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Children will learn these texts through daily class teaching.
Maths teaching is predominantly linked to White Rose planning. However the maths leader has used gaps analysis to rewrite the school’s long term plan. In doing so we have made conscious decisions about which areas to revisit and which areas to teach at a later stage in the children’s development.
Waveney Valley share a curriculum with other Consortium schools. As a result, phase teachers collaborate termly to review the effectiveness of their teaching, plan ahead for the next term and collaborate to organise how the children can share the outcomes of their learning with peers across the Trust. There are future plans to arrange residential and other educational visits across the 6 schools in the future.
Waveney Valley’s curriculum has evolved over the last three years, with there being considerable developments in the last year. September 2021 saw the start of the two year cycle of the six themes, with refined content, concepts and knowledge taught. Children have not yet completed a full two year cycle and therefore measuring impact is not possible.
However the implementation of the learning characteristics has seen less change and monitoring via trustees, and senior leaders has identified a consistent approach to their teaching and noticeable impact in outcomes for the pupils. Pupils show positive learning behaviours, are beginning to make choices about how they learn best and can articulate their learning.