Our curriculum has always been broad and balanced at Peel Hall and we have always tried to make sure that our children are taught what they need to be taught through a motivating curriculum.
However, to ensure we are providing a broad and balanced curriculum for all our children, we have ensured through a thorough evaluation of our curriculum that what is prescribed Nationally, by the National Curriculum, is delivered at a local level that serves our children’s and communities needs, so that they are provided with the language, knowledge and skills that they need in order to thrive and excel, no matter where they decide to settle.
Our curriculum is aimed at reducing the degree to which barriers may inhibit our children’s learning by combatting some of the barriers they may experience.
The starting point for developing our curriculum even further was by using the National Programmes of Study for each subject to baseline where we were. We then audited each of the subjects we teach by talking to the children, using parental knowledge of their children through what parents said and what we observed. We then discussed as a staff and Governors, what barriers we felt the children experienced in regards to their learning.
Having gained an overview of different stakeholders views, we then set about carrying out a curriculum audit, which included the following four questions in relation to each curriculum area.
The questions were:
- What is currently good about this curriculum area?
- What are the barriers to learning in this curriculum area?
- How can we as a school, do to combat these barriers?
- How can we help our children make connections between the different areas of the curriculum, so that the children have knowledge consolidated and skills developed in a progressive and meaningful way?
By doing the aforementioned we then set about prioritising what needed to be done in each curriculum area, and which areas would form the basis as key areas to our “School Development Plan.”
Our curriculum at Peel Hall is based on our strong beliefs that children need to be taught knowledge, skills and language side by side, so that children experience a broad and balanced curriculum throughout their school life at Peel Hall.
By providing the children with a broad and balanced curriculum, we ensure the needs of each and every one of our children are met. We recognise that all children have strengths and areas for development and will be at different stages of learning.
In all areas of learning, on top of this we recognise that each child is unique and has their own talents and deficits. By deficit, we mean learning needs in a particular area of development, and all children at some time will have a deficit, which needs to be addressed so that they can reach their full potential.
Each child needs to have activities and experiences at all stages of learning that are matched to their current level of development, but which challenges them to develop their learning through a range of cognitive approaches, which are delivered through different experiences and activities.
Our Knowledge –engaged approach
With all experiences in all areas of learning, and subject areas, children regardless of their age are taught firstly, the language of the learning area or subject area. This is to ensure that your child’s understanding of what is being asked of them is clear. Language refers to the vocabulary of the aspect area or subject area, and allows the teacher and your child to communicate using the appropriate vocabulary. Language and communication underpin all aspects of teaching.
Children then move on to learn concepts (knowledge) and learn skills by doing. These are sometimes referred to as concrete experiences. Children then progress, no matter what their age to learning through use of visual aids and resources, these may be referred to as pictorial resources or experiences, before finally, they move on to abstract learning. This is where the children, because of the strong foundations that have been laid in each area, can apply their learning without the use of resources or prompts, to solving real life problems. Each new concept and skill is developed through this approach, so that your child can gain a full understanding of what it is they are learning and why, and then being presented with the necessary skills alongside this approach to develop the necessary skills, where they can apply their learning.
In order to deliver the above we use a cross curricular approach alongside discrete subject teaching, however, all of our teaching is embedded through our cross curricular working so that all children are able to demonstrate how they can apply their learning in different contexts. Therefore our curriculum, which is constantly under review, is tailored to our children’s needs so that they are equipped through a broad and balanced curriculum with the skills in all areas of learning, so that they can experience positive life experiences and are equipped to deal with the challenges that they may meet, through a curriculum that has developed their critical thinking and problem solving skills.
To ensure we facilitate and make the most of all curriculum time, we ensure that when children are doing socialisation activities (those activities which are not teacher led), we plan effectively so that group dynamics support the learning that has already been initiated through adult led activities, at a whole school, class, group or individual level. We are in the early stages of incorporating the Kagan approach within our teaching, so as to assist in maximizing learning time.