Curriculum

Introduction

Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which: promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. The national curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum.

All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage.

Maintained schools in England are legally required to follow the statutory national curriculum which sets out in programmes of study, on the basis of key stages, subject content for those subjects that should be taught to all pupils. All schools must publish their school curriculum by subject and academic year online.

All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.

The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.

 

Building Learning Power (BLP)

Building Learning Power is an approach to helping young people to become better learners, both in school and out. This means helping them build up the mental, emotional, and social resources to enjoy challenge and cope well with uncertainty and complexity. Of course, this has to be done in a way that also develops literacy and numeracy, and gets young people the best test results possible.

The Building Learning Power approach involves helping young people discover the things that they’d really love to be great at, and to strengthen the will and the skill to pursue them.

At Dobwalls we aim to enable children to be confident in a changing world and this is particularly relevant in societies, like ours, that are full of change, complexity, risk, opportunity, and individual responsibility for making your own way in life. We believe that all children are capable of developing this confidence, capability, and passion. We think that our society’s notion of ‘ability’ has been too closely tied to academic achievement, and to the assumption that some children have got a lot of that sort of ability, and some not very much. We think that real-world intelligence is broader than that, and that it is not fixed at birth, but something that people can be helped to build up.

At Dobwalls School we focus on 14 Learning Habits:

  • Help myself when I am stuck
  • Seek and value feedback
  • Concentrate despite distractions
  • Work well in different groups
  • Check and improve my own work
  • Be bold and try new things
  • Harness my imagination
  • Listen and watch attentively
  • Design my own learning
  • Check what I am told
  • Ask interesting questions
  • Think on my feet
  • Make good use of resources
  • Unearth new problems.

 

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The Early Years Foundation Stage at Dobwalls, follows the EYFS curriculum for all children aged from birth to five years. The provision is a continuation of the good work of our on-site Nursery and other local Nurseries.  There are three prime areas of learning along with four specific areas of learning.  The prime areas begin to develop quickly in response to relationships and experiences, and run through and support learning in all other areas. The prime areas continue to be fundamental throughout the EYFS. The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge. They grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning.

Prime Areas:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development.

Specific Areas of Learning:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design.

These areas are all underpinned by the values held through the characteristics of effective learning, which move through all areas of learning.  These link closely with our whole school focus on Building Learning Power.  The characteristics of effective learning are:

  • Playing and exploring
  • Active learning
  • Creating and thinking critically.

The children enjoy a wide range of well-planned adult-led activities as well as child-led activities in our exciting classroom and free-flow outdoor area.  Topics are planned but also take account of children's needs and interests.

 

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PHSE)

PHSE is taught in each class through the TIS. TIS draws on the latest research - from current neuroscience, recent attachment research, current studies of effective learning and current models of child development – in order to help adults understand children’s behaviour as communication. It is an integrated approach; its strength is that it pulls together work from different disciplines to provide one model that is systematic, dynamic and relevant and helps adults respond to a child's emotional situation in a way that supports their emotional and social development.

The school employs two TIS practitioners who carry out a class screening each half-term against a set of age-related criteria. This screening process highlights key developmental areas for each class so that they receive a tailored TIS session each week led by a TIS practitioner.

The TIS approach also identifies those children who may need additional support. At this point, with parental consent, an individual action plan will be created by a TIS practitioner. If children have been emotionally thrown off track, either temporarily or over longer periods, TIS helps us  understand the needs being signalled by their behaviour and gives us targeted strategies and activities to help them re-engage.

 

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC)

SMSC is taught through a combination of dedicated lessons and assemblies as well as relevant opportunities across the curriculum.

One assembly each week is dedicated to SMSC education. On alternate weeks KS2 children and KS1 and EYFS children will receive a SMSC assembly. This splitting of Key Stages is to allow for the content of the assemblies to be more age appropriate. An SMSC assembly plan for the academic year is set in place to ensure a breadth of coverage. When not attending a Key Stage SMSC assembly each class will carry out a dedicated SMSC lesson within their class which is related to the SMSC theme for the half-term.

For additional information please refer to SMSC policy.

 

Religious Education (RE)

Dobwalls School follows the Cornwall Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 2014. The syllabus is a statutory instrument for maintained community, voluntary controlled, Trust and Foundation schools (without a religious foundation) and as such Religious Education should take up 5% of curriculum time in any one academic year and across the key stage. The time for RE is not included in the time required for collective worship. Collective worship is part of the school day but not curriculum time; whereas RE is part of the curriculum time of a school’s day.

For additional information please refer to the whole school curriculum map and individual class curriculum maps.

 

Daily Structure

In both Key Stage One and Key Stage Two the majority of morning lessons will be dedicated to Mathematics and English, based upon the National Curriculum objectives for each Year group. Afternoons will be focused upon Foundation subjects.

 

Foundation subjects taught in week blocks

In response to action research by McGuinness (2008) foundation subjects are taught in week blocks in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. In most cases one afternoon a week will be dedicated to Physical Education and the remaining four afternoons will be based around the National Curriculum objectives for a foundation subject.

McGuinness (2008) summary of findings through teacher, parent and pupil feedback about the new cross-curricular ‘block’ approach suggested:

• The curriculum had become more creative and exciting

• Pupils were more motivated and interested in learning, and remembered what they had learned

• Pupils were more involved in their learning and took ownership of it

• Enhanced parental involvement in their children’s learning.

 

Cross-curricular Approach

Each class in Key Stage One and Key Stage Two will have an 'Umbrella' topic for each half-term. Where appropriate the learning in class will be related to this umbrella topic. These topics have been planned in order to allow progression for the children as they move through KS1 and KS2.  Our curriculum ensures children develop an understanding of our local cultures, issues and history.  We also plan whole school days to allow children to become immersed into their learning.  This includes Building Learning Power Days, team sports and a focus on transition at the end of each school year.

 

Communication with parents/carers

National Curriculum objectives for each Year group can be found by following this link https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/425601/PRIMARY_national_curriculum.pdf .

A more detailed curriculum map will be circulated to parents/carers at the start of each half-term and can be found by visiting the relevant class page on the school website.