At Dove Holes Primary School we strive to provide a tailor made, thematic creative curriculum that engages and inspires our children whilst ensuring National Curriculum coverage. Each year, our curriculum is divided into themes through which a selection of National Curriculum subjects will be taught. Research tells us that from the earliest age, learners should be involved in decisions about how they learn best. Principles of inquiry; children leading the direction their learning tasks, asking and seeking the answers to their questions are integral practices to support this aim. In addition we have carefully considered the overarching curriculum drivers; Diversity, Possibilities, Enquiry ,and Community which enable us to create a curriculum that is unique and relevant to our learners. We are deeply aware that children only get one chance at their primary education and our Ethos and Values reflect our commitment to ensuring that all children reach for the highest levels of personal achievement and development.
Knowledge and Skills
At Dove Holes we are focused on ensuring that children acquire and retain key knowledge in subject areas. In view of this, our robust planning process involves the construction of knowledge organiser documents. These focus teacher and learner attention on the key non-negotiables for the unit of work/theme including key concepts, vocabulary and where appropriate facts and figure, dates and timelines. Knowledge organisers are shared half termly with parents along with an idea of how we will assess the extent to which knowledge has been learnt. Underpinning the entire curriculum are the basic skills of Literacy, Mathematics and ICT. The children at our school are given every opportunity to use and apply their skills in these areas when studying a theme.
For our children, learning beyond the village is essential. As such global learning goals help our young children begin the move towards an increasingly sophisticated national, international and intercultural perspective. Each thematic unit includes an international aspect to help develop a sense of ‘international mindedness’.
How the curriculum is sequenced to enable children to make connections and build on prior knowledge.
Shape the curriculum, bring about the aims and values of the school. They provide a common language and framework for success and are woven into each subject
Bottom up approach
Learning pathways are sequenced starting from the children's experience in the EYFS. This supports children as they progress through school and prepares learners for success when studying the schools curriculum and the National curriculum.
Within our knowledge and skill progression documents we are always engaging with a process of refinement with regard to clearly identifying key threshold concepts for each subject area. A threshold concept can be considered as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something. It represents a transformed way of understanding, or interpreting, or viewing something without which the learner cannot progress. As a consequence of comprehending a threshold concept there may thus be a transformed internal view of subject matter, subject landscape, or even world view. This transformation may be sudden or it may be protracted over a considerable period of time, with the transition to understanding proving troublesome. Such a transformed view or landscape may represent how people ‘think’ in a particular discipline, or how they perceive, apprehend, or experience particular phenomena within that discipline (or more generally)
-- Meyer and Land, Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines, 2005
From our intended curriculum or the ‘what?’, the implemented curriculum can be seen as the ‘now what? ’ The Dove Holes curriculum implementation is how our intentions manifest themselves in the classroom. Implementation centres around;
- how subjects are taught
- how knowledge is assessed and how the curriculum intent is evaluated
- how teachers ensure that biological principles of human cognitive architecture and their implications on subject/curriculum design are acknowledged and planned for
Knowledge organisers are excellent tools to ensure that parents are fully engaged as active members of learning community. Furthermore, for our pupils they enable spaced practice . For instance, ahead of a summative assessment at the end of a topic, pupils practice some of the questions that will refer to previous learning; pupils can then refer to the knowledge organiser to access and practice those topics.
Low stakes/no stakes quizzing
Quizzing can be beneficial as a tool for learning and practice instead of its traditional use as an assessment. Specifically, the use of low stakes quizzing (LSQ) can aid in;
- subsequent learning
- corrective feedback
- improved metacognition and study habits
Best practices for utilising quizzes are discussed, including introducing forgetting and rehearsal strategies.
The continual processing and reprocessing of information is known as rehearsal and is a critical technique to transfer learning to long term storage (Sousa, 2017). Using both low stakes quizzing and retrieval practice grids is an effective way to help students engage with rehearsal. Brain scans of learners have shown the frontal lobe is actively involved in both rehearsal practices as well as long term memory formation (Roediger III & Butler; 2011, Sousa).
Across the curriculum, as we assess the knowledge that has been identified both on the knowledge and skill progression documents as well as knowledge organisers, retrieval practice grids and low stakes quizzing, we gain a clear picture of the progress that our children have made. Through deep reflection, teachers complete end of unit reflections that capture the degree to which knowledge has been remembered and the implications for for future planning.
These key documents also enable teachers to reflect on other key learning intentions. For example, personal development , behaviour and attitudes. The teacher will also provide feedback to the subject leader who will then also reflect upon how much impact they had on their subject across the school. From this point, subject leaders are able to develop subject leader action plans