How we craft our Curriculum at The Willows
Our creative, vibrant curriculum was praised by Ofsted in the last 2017 inspection, but we wanted to make it even more dynamic. In 2018 we decided to reignite our curriculum and invited parents to a visioning evening, discussing what type of curriculum we wanted for our children.
Every term Key Stages have a day out of school to plan the next exciting themes for the following term. The starting point is the objectives that need to be covered, and each theme has a geography or history overarching focus. Science (and in our school, computing) are seen as core subjects, and are taught outside of the main theme but we make links where possible and natural. Skills need to be taught effectively
As we plan for each subject there is a high emphasis on:
- High expectations through challenging and interesting outcomes. This is a strong focus for every termly planning meeting!
- A good representation of subject specialists during the planning meeting who are there not only to support discussion but also to push for better outcomes and standards for all learners
- Ideas cannot just be chosen to fit in with a theme. The emphasis is on teaching the skills and knowledge needed to progress throughout the year in each subject
- High quality stimuli and modelling e.g. which artists/composers are going to be chosen for the children to study and use as an inspiration for their work. Which skills will be modelled to work up to a final outcome? Using experts and making connections to the locality and the world around us
- An expectation for teacher to be clear about the knowledge and skills taught and to send out a summary of these each holiday for the children and parents to look at in preparation for their topic
- Regular moderation of books, with a specific focus on subject displays every term, where children of all different abilities and strengths show at least good progress
- Displays around the school show a clear progression of skills in core and foundation subjects from Reception to Year 6, and we find opportunities to represent the different children in our school
- Through looking at class teachers’ assessments, topic books, cross curricular work in core subjects and displays, subject leaders look for progression and identify weaknesses. They then act on their analysis by providing training and workshops for teachers by using this as a focus for the next cycle of displays, work trawls and learning walks. Governors are also part of this process, completing learning walks and subject leaders meetings with teachers, shadowing this process and asking challenging questions