We have an extraordinary family here at Broadwater Down Primary School. Our community of children, staff, parents and governors is unique to us.
Our learners deserve a supportive, forward thinking, curriculum of recovery that enables them to feel safe and happy. We want our children to feel ready for their learning and for life beyond primary school and we will ensure that we work together so that they understand and enjoy being a respectful global citizen.
Our curriculum is driven by these underlying principles:
- Happiness and wellbeing;
- Understanding the healing process involving the loss of routine, friendships, structure, opportunity and freedom post pandemic;
- Instilling and nurturing positive character traits;
- Social and cultural capital;
- Addressing and closing the gaps in learning, especially for our most vulnerable learners;
- Progression of knowledge and skills through the National Curriculum.
This document will explain, in detail, our intent behind the curriculum which we have devised and the reasons behind our decision making. It should be read and understood in conjunction with:
- Skills and progression document for all subjects
- Template for project planning
- Teaching and Learning policy (this is currently under review)
School Vision and Values
The curriculum implementation will only be successful and outcomes for our children will only be improved through a shared understanding of who we are and what we stand for as a group. Recently, we developed our school vision and values:
“Every child is happy and excited about their learning because they have a strong community committed to supporting and celebrating their individual characters and achievements.”
The key values of COMMUNITY, DIVERSITY and EXCELLENCE underpin this vision and every person in our community understands these core beliefs as they have had a say in their development.
As a school we aim to make sure that, our vision is explicit and visible in all aspects of our curriculum, whether in our planning, delivery or impact. It is embedded throughout the school.
Recovering and Healing
We have all experienced an event that none of us could have predicted, planned for or understood the consequences of. As a school community, we do not underestimate the inner strength and natural resilience which our children possess to deal with this. However, we would be naïve to think that the pandemic has not had an impact.
Barry Carpenter (Professor of Mental Health in Education) wrote in his Thinkpiece, ‘A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for our Children and Schools Post Pandemic’:
“For children, their daily goal in going to school is not just to learn but to see their friends and to feel a sense of self worth that only a peer group can offer.”
Carpenter describes a loss of contact with friends and the importance behind relationships and connections. Our school does not sit on a base of results and data; it grows from the happiness, wellbeing and human interactions which enable that achievement and those outcomes.
With this in mind, our curriculum will take note of the five losses which Carpenter describes as:
ROUTINE STRUCTURE FRIENDSHIP OPPORTUNITY FREEDOM
We will strategically plan whole school interventions to address these losses. Carpenter continues to say:
“Now is the time to return to more humane approaches concerned with the fundamental well being and secure a positive development of the child.”
We will focus on what really triggers social and academic success: happiness, good mental health, relationships, community and a character based approach to our curriculum.
Adding a spoonful of Character
At our school we celebrate and nurture positive character traits. Our behaviour policy is a good example of how principles are based on mutual respect and kindness. In our curriculum, we carefully plan for specific traits to be developed, for example: agreeableness, bravery, resilience and honesty.
A recent study by the Education Endowment Foundation found that good character traits such as motivation, perseverance and self control under pin future success and increase employability. We aim to develop these ‘non cognitive’ factors to help close the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils.
We want our children to be strong, resilient, confident and independent learners ready for secondary school.
Ofsted’s, ‘Character Education Framework’ (November 2013) states:
“Character development opportunities can lead pupils who take part to be highly motivated, report fewer absences and have lower levels of emotional distress.”
We have used this guidance to explore practical strategies to use in school, such as:
- Outdoor learning
- Leadership opportunities
- Social and emotional programmes
- Key life experiences.
As we go forward we intend to embed these through the curriculum and from Years R to Year 6.
Social capital occurs when groups are together, interacting. As a result, there is a positive consequence and friendships are formed. Good will, friendship, sympathy and social interaction all need to be nurtured now, more than ever.
Strategic planning needs to ensure that our whole school approaches to break times and other unstructured times, for example, are reviewed and adapted to foster positive relationships and give children time and space to do this.
Research has shown the effect on stress levels; those who are socially more interactive have better mental health.
Our curriculum will reflect these ideas and strategies such as an increase in extra curricula opportunities will be considered in our planning.
Pierre Bordien (French sociologist in the 1970s) described cultural capital in the following way:
“Cultural capital is the accumulation of skills, experiences and possessions that one naturally acquires simply through belonging to a particular social class.”
Through our knowledge of the children at school we will identify where these gaps in cultural capital might lie. For example, experiences such as the theatre, cinema, museums, classical music, may be areas that should be added to the curriculum to add to their life experiences. This will empower our pupils and enable them to form their own opinion on particular life experiences.
In addition to this though, we also have to consider the basic life experiences, which some of our children may not have had the chance to experience, for example, riding a bike, flying a kite, going for a hike, learning to swim or visiting a restaurant.
Our curriculum aims to balance these experiences, so that our children leave Broadwater Down equipped with the cultural capital they need to instil confidence when interacting with different groups of people from different cultural backgrounds.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
Drivers of our Curriculum
Using the research and ideas above, we have the following set of drivers for our curriculum:
- Being safe and happy;
- Being ready for learning and life; and
- Being a respectful global citizen.
Being safe and happy
This aspect will include the following:
- PE curriculum – specialist teacher input and training for teachers; increased PE time, daily mile
- Basic skills such as crossing the road, riding a bike
- Moving around safely – gross motor skills, including schemes such as BEAM, balancibility, climbing
- Engaging children in alternative physical activities such as boxing
- Use of the SCARF Life Education scheme
- Well being policy for adults and children
- WoW (Wheel of Well Being) lessons – specifically targeted sessions on laughter and happiness
- Well Being team has been created involving a key group of adults including teachers, TAs, therapist and a governor.
- Zones of regulation used as a tool to increase emotional awareness and regulation.
- In school therapist
- ELSA trained TA
- Specialist training delivered by the specialist teaching service on emotional well being
- Development of mental health champion (child and adult)
- Robust policies in place, including child friendly version
- Systems and key roles (DSL, FSA) in place to work with vulnerable families
- Clear reporting system – CPOMS to record and track intervention and communication with these families
- Online safety
- Digital leaders in school
- Addressing the digital ‘gap’ with vulnerable families
- Antibullying policy and planned activities to raise awareness
- Diet – promoting healthy eating
- Importance of sleep
Being ready for learning and life
This aspect will include the following:
Emotional resilience and growth mindset
- Character traits developed, e.g. long term goals through perseverance
- Growth mindset action research project being led by KS2 teacher
Communication and perception
- Building on our social capital
- Verbal and non verbal communication
- Junior Leadership Team
- Pupil Council
- Digital leaders
- Building on cultural capital
- Ensuring basic life experiences are in place
Being a respectful global citizen
This aspect will include the following:
- Service to others (generosity of spirit, volunteering, support)
-Year 6 buddies to new Year Rs
-Houses and house captains
-Volunteering in the community
-Identifying charities which have a personal meaning to a class/ year group/ school/ local community and raising awareness and funds
- Team work
- British values
- Celebrating diversity and difference; accepting people for who they are and positively contributing to our community.
Knowledge and Skills
Ofsted’s ‘Character Education Framework’ states that:
“..there should be no tension between a rigorous and stretching academic education on the one hand and an outstanding wider personal development on the other.”
We aim to ensure that children gain the knowledge and skills they need and these are progressed throughout the school. Our curriculum clearly lays out the progression of these for each subject area. These will be monitored closely to ensure that there is:
- High quality of teaching and learning
- Coverage of the subject
- Embedding the key facts
-For one child across the year;
-A class across the year;
-A subject across the school.
This is essentially everything that a teacher does to enable learning. We do not believe in a fixed approach to every session, but a flexible, evidence based approach to learning.
We use this to inform and improve practice, e.g. behaviour management. All our approaches are aiming towards the same goal: improved outcomes for all learners.
Please see subject specific polices for more details.
The Broadwater Curriculum is at its infancy. We have thought carefully about our intent, as we believe, if this is not strong and clearly defined, then implementation will be difficult. The next part of our journey will be trialling this, when our children return in September.