Curriculum implementation refers to how the planned curriculum is delivered to the children - the method and practices used to facilitate learning. It is about the teaching that takes place every day to enable children to make progress, the interactions between people, the learning environment and the learning tasks themselves; the resources made available; and the opportunities provided. The teaching method and practices (pedagogy) at Hillcross are explained below.
What it means to be an accredited Thinking School
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What it means to be a child-centred school
Children and staff at Hillcross understand and model excellent behaviours that enable outstanding teaching and learning. By nurturing positive attachments, we meet the varied social and educational needs of each child, celebrating their individuality whilst cultivating their ability to work collaboratively as part of a team. Everyone has high expectations of each other (both in work and behaviour) and this is reinforced by calm and effective classroom management and positive relationships.
- Adults and children value the importance of fairness and consistency. They show trust in each other’s decisions, even where disagreements arise. Time is taken to explain and listen to the reasoning behind decisions made.
- Children’s self-esteem is high, with all children feeling valued and secure irrespective of their ability.
- Children feel secure and confident to speak and act freely; they enjoy freedom from bullying and harassment that may include prejudice based bullying, which may relate to special educational needs, sexual orientation, sex, race, religion and belief, gender reassignment or disability. Where incidents do occur, children will know how to deal with them positively and effectively.
- Children have equal access and entitlement in all areas of learning. Methods and practices will be differentiated in order to meet the needs of the children, including those who may be working below age-related expectations, those children working beyond age related expectations; gifted and talented pupils; children with a disability; and those with social, emotional or behavioural difficulties.
How learning is organised
The learning environment
- Children at Hillcross genuinely influence the organisation of classrooms so that the environment is conducive to learning for them.
- The classroom learning environment is a learning resource which promotes independent learning by enabling children to refer back to prior learning via the use of ‘working walls’, specific resources and equipment, visual stimulus, learning prompts etc.
- Equipment and resources are easily accessible to children.
- Classrooms reflect the current learning themes within subject areas and the topic.
- Communal areas around the school promote the curriculum and celebrate children’s learning.
- Learning takes place in a variety of different areas/settings around the school (e.g. designated subject rooms, learning hubs, library, copse, allotment, playground, field, gym, local community etc.).
Organisation of learning
- Class teachers are given flexibility to manage their own weekly timetable in order to maximise opportunities for learning.
- Early morning work gives children the opportunity to respond to feedback given in books, staff to address children’s misconceptions from the previous day and to have focus learning tasks set.
- Groupings and seating arrangements are fluid (children will not be sat in the same seat for the same lesson for a whole year) and will be influenced by learning partners, the focus of the lesson and the teacher’s knowledge of the children.
- Adult focus groups are flexible and are informed by on-going assessment for learning in order to immediately address misconceptions.
- Each class teacher ensures planned lessons are suitably pitched and organised in line with the needs of the children in their class.
- Children at Hillcross have an understanding of the factors that affect and impact on their own learning.
The main principles of Curriculum Implementation at Hillcross
- Setting, sharing and owning high expectations for learning
- Start from the children’s existing understanding.
- Involving the children actively in the learning process.
- Children being clear about what they are learning, how they are learning and where their learning fits in the learning journey.
- Children successfully applying what they have learnt to the learning task.
- Using continuous assessment for learning to carefully scaffold and sequence learning and to provide feedback guidance in order to close the gap between current and desired learning.
- All children are challenged without limits with a considered balance between support and challenge.
- All members of staff are considered facilitators of learning, regardless of their role, and therefore INSET and CPD pertaining to teaching and learning is offered to all.
Hillcross learning beyond the classroom:
- Class celebration events provide unique opportunities for children to showcase their learning in the classroom to parents and grandparents.
- Year group performances provide opportunities for children to showcase their learning outside the classroom.
- Educational visits (including residential visits and visitors to the school) are carefully selected to provide children with a wealth of learning experiences and knowledge which they are then able to draw upon in their learning. These are also great opportunities to ignite children’s passion in areas that they may not have previously had an interest.
- Child Leadership Teams give children a voice in the wider strategic running of the school and enable them to develop life-long leadership skills.
- Specialist Teachers, such as computing, French and sports, educate the children to a high level of expertise in their chosen field and their expertise often spans far and wide of the primary curriculum.
- Before and after school clubs provide opportunities for children to develop a range of talents.
- Parent Workshops are delivered by experienced classroom practitioners and equip parents with the tools they need to support their child’s learning.
- Home learning and Google Classroom extends learning beyond the classroom by supporting the children to delve deeper and re-visit prior learning in a different context. Please see Home Learning Policy
At Hillcross, there is a Teaching and Learning Commitment that all staff uphold. This outlines the key elements of teaching and learning expected to be evident in all learning opportunities and also provides a platform from which teaching and learning can develop.
We recognise all support staff as partners in providing all children with the best possible learning opportunities. There are numerous ways in which support staff can be deployed in our school and, through collective and on-going dialogue and good practice, we have collated a ‘menu’ of suggested ways in which teachers and support staff can work together to enhance the progress made by our children.
Assessment Policy and Feedback Policy
A range of feedback opportunities, including self-marking, peer marking, written feedback and verbal feedback, provide children with opportunities to engage in learning dialogues with adults and peers so that they are aware of their strengths and areas for development. All staff refer to the Feedback Policy when deciding the best way to provide feedback to children (or for children to provide feedback to them) in order to close the gap between current and desired learning. These strategies should be carefully selected taking into account the child and the context – we do not advocate a one size fits all approach.
In order that judgments about learning and progress can be made, a range of evidence is collected, including ‘catch as you can’ observations.
Performance information is analysed by class teachers to identify target children and groups. It is also used as part of our whole-school assessment cycle in order to monitor progress and attainment of all groups and adapt provision accordingly.
On-going Assessment for Learning (AfL) strategies, effective marking and feedback and performance information ensures learning is appropriately differentiated to meet the needs of individual children. Adults adapt teaching strategies and approaches (such as the pace of learning) throughout lessons in light in response to on-going AfL, which supports progress and ensures high quality outcomes. At Hillcross, mistakes are always utilised and misconceptions never ignored. Children are not afraid to take risks and the process of understanding mistakes is shared by everyone to enhance learning.
Resources such as knowledge organisers are the ‘foot soldiers’ of our curriculum. They are tools to help children gain, retain and build the knowledge and skills as set out in our Curriculum Intent. At Hillcross, knowledge organisers are utilised as an assessment tool by class teachers to track attainment and progress across science and the wider curriculum.