In 2021 - 2022, we spent some time looking at our curriculum with all our stakeholders and have constructed a curriculum that is ambitions and designed to give all our pupils the knowledge, skills and cultural capital that they will need as they progress through their next steps in education and for later in life. Every year, we review this curriculum and all new documents have been uploaded for 2023-2024.
What we believe (Intent)?:
Through embedding the school’s vision of ‘Be the best you can be,’ children develop a love of learning. They extend their knowledge, understanding and skills as they progress through the school to achieve ambitious outcomes. Our inclusive curriculum is broad and balanced, ensuring equality of experience so that all children flourish academically and socially. We aim to prepare them for a happy, successful life in a dynamic, diverse and multi-cultural world. When children reach the next stage in their education, they are confident, independent and resilient individuals. They are ready to learn more and are determined to make a positive contribution to their community and society.
How is our curriculum designed?:
The school offers a bespoke curriculum, designed carefully with our children in mind and also with our vision of what education should be. All of our stakeholders were very clear on the knowledge, attributes and values that we wanted our children to acquire by the time they left our school. The Gosbecks Golden Goals, (Be Kind, Show Respect, Make Good Choices) were already very established in our school, so we used these as a starting point to develop further values (Caring, Cooperative, Resilient, Responsible, Courage and Aspirational) that would support their academic learning and also their social and emotional development as they progress through the school. These are themes that run throughout our curriculum across all the year groups. They allow us to make links in their learning within topics but also across subjects such as RSE and when teaching British Values. This year we are using 'No Outsiders' to support our teaching of 'British Values' and the Equality Act (2010).
Long term plans are designed as a two year rolling programme that ensure coverage and progression across curriculum areas where we have mixed age classes. Learning is mostly implemented through topics to inspire, encourage curiosity and interest. Each individual topic plan informs the areas of learning, knowledge and vocabulary to be acquired. Half termly or termly topics are planned to help the children to achieve depth of knowledge and have been chosen to create a balanced and broad curriculum e.g. most year groups will have history, geography and a science topic as the lead subject. When planning the topics, we thought carefully about the knowledge and skills that our children need to know (National Curriculum 2014, EYFS Framework 2021), knowledge that is particular to them (such as local geography and history) and also knowledge that we felt would help them to flourish academically and socially e.g. cultural capital. Where ever possible rich experiences are used such as: trips, forest school and visitors to motivate and engage.
From September 2022, we introduced knowledge planners for each topic area. These are created by the curriculum phase team and outline the specific knowledge and vocabulary in humanities and science that the children will be expected to learn and know. Knowledge planners will support teachers to maximise opportunities for children to make links across topics and subjects as well as learn and revisit key knowledge.
Skills and Knowledge Progression Documents
Skills and knowledge progression documents support assessment, progression and consistency throughout the school. These are the outcomes that children will be expected to meet at the end of each year. These documents are used to:
- support teachers' planning, choice of topic and knowledge areas,
- plan activities and tasks that allow the children to learn, practise and achieve these outcomes
- and assessments to ensure that the knowledge is being remembered.
Medium Term Planning
Our curriculum objectives are broken down into termly chunks to sequence their learning in a way that helps the children to learn. This allows us to ensure coverage and supports teacher assessment in each subject.
How is our curriculum delivered?
Well planned sequences of lessons allow pupils to explore, question, embed knowledge and skills and make links across the curriculum. Teachers use and revisit the pupils’ prior learning to aid progression in learning and build memory by revisiting particular themes throughout the term, year and phase. Weekly plans are adapted because of systematic assessment of the children’s knowledge as well as reflection and evaluation of teaching strategies to support rapid progress. Termly standards meetings take place and this helps teachers to plan the following sequence of lessons or to revisit concepts to address gaps in learning and misconceptions.
Opportunities for pupil voice are planned at the beginning of each new topic and this is used to inform the learning for each topic to ensure relevance and starting points. The curriculum provides children with memorable experiences, in addition to diverse and rich opportunities from which children can learn and develop a range of transferable skills. Where possible, we use our local community to enrich their learning e.g. walks, visiting speakers and trips to local areas of interest e.g. Colchester castle, Colchester Zoo.
Music and performance is integrated into the topics and curriculum cycle so that all children develop their skills and have an opportunity to perform during the school year. During their time at Gosbecks School, the school uses a specialist music teacher so that all children have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Specialist teaching staff are also used to support and enrich the curriculum in PE and Spanish.
The outdoor environment is considered an opportunity for active learning for all our children. The school grounds are being developed so that the children can participate in Forest School sessions, science outside the classroom and playtimes that encourage rich experiences and social development.
Extra-curricular activities are offered by the school, with clubs that support the core curriculum offer and children’s physical development, as well as those which extend the range of their experiences and develop interests such as gardening.
Does the curriculum remain as broad as possible for as long as possible?
The full curriculum is taught throughout the school. Subjects have been carefully timetabled to ensure coverage and progression. Each year group has a simple, standardised class timetable to maximise the use of learning time. All subjects have quality space in the timetable, although this time may be taught in larger or smaller chunks depending on the topic, if this is deemed to support the children's progress e.g. DT day.
How do leaders know if pupils ‘learn the curriculum’ and how do they track achievements?
A range of assessment measures are used throughout the school to allow teachers and subject leaders to track attainment. Teachers use a range of assessment tools on a daily basis such as questioning and quizzes. At the end of topics in core subjects there are summative assessments. Teacher assessments are recorded termly on a whole school assessment tracking system and reviewed by leaders across the school.
Subject and curriculum leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading a programme of monitoring, evaluation and review to improve their subject further as well as promoting their subject across the school.
How does your curriculum meet the needs of all the children in your school?
The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where most learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and make good progress in all subjects and areas of learning. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported daily in the classroom and are also given extra opportunities that extend their depth of knowledge and skills. Those who have special educational needs are encouraged with individual targets, adaptations to teaching and learning, bespoke curriculums, scaffolding and targeted support to embed or learn new areas of the curriculum. All children will receive intervention when gaps in learning are identified to help them catch up quickly.
How do we support teaching staff to deliver the curriculum?
Each teacher, where appropriate, is responsible for a subject in the curriculum. They are responsible for ensuring good progression across the school and for supporting other teachers in the school to teach their subject. They work alongside the Curriculum Leaders to ensure consistency, coverage and monitoring of standards within the phase.
All subject leaders are given training and the opportunity to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding, so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school. Other CPD is provided through training meetings between subject leads and teachers to help to build subject knowledge or review curriculum areas. Sometimes external trainers come in to lead sessions or staff attend external events to improve practice and subject knowledge. The teaching of subjects is monitored and feedback from lesson observations, learning walks, work scrutinies and pupil voice feedback informs future planning refinements and developments.
How do you use research to support teaching?
We are always reflecting and using research to help us innovate and improve our practice. We have referred to key messages from EEF toolkit in devising our curriculum and will continue to reflect on the metacognition research as we develop this further in our curriculum this year. Several of our teaching staff are undertaking NPQs in different areas and we will also be working with the local Maths Hub.
Where possible we use research based interventions e.g. Zones of Regulation for emotional well being or Improving Working Memory in maths and baseline and track our children's progress.
We are also proud to be part of the Colchester Consortium. Working collaboratively with these schools allows us to develop our approaches and helps us to learn from one another.
Whole school CPD is closely aligned to SDP priorities and impact in practice is monitored.
What is it like to be a pupil at our school?
When children leave our school, we ask them how the school has helped them 'To be the Best they can Be'? Here are some of their comments:
Yes by pushing me to write at greater depth and giving me extra problem solving challenges in maths. Also, by making me think more, not just agree or disagree but look further into the situation.
The school has enabled me to be the best I can be by giving me good opportunities and pushing me to be the best.
There is always help if I need it from adults
By challenging me in my work.
By giving me lots of opportunities and helping me when I’m stuck
By working on the things that I struggle with.
It has enabled me to be the best I can be by pushing me to work harder and be an independent learner.
By helping and encouraging me.
By being supportive on the playground with all the equipment.
The teaching has helped me, so I know more.
The students have taken me in and made me feel happy. This has made me feel welcome. Gosbecks School has given me many opportunities to prove myself.
They have helped me make friends and taught me lots of lessons to educate me so I know what to do if there was a maths problem or another problem. I have enjoyed meeting new people, friends and teachers because it improves my social skills.
The school has helped me feel more confident.
By teaching us life skills.
By teaching me what’s right and wrong from my first day.
Gosbecks has helped me step out of my comfort zone.
By making me more polite and well behaved.
The trips and experiences help us to know about the world around us.