From September 2019, Caldecote Church of England Academy will be using a new curriculum that the staff and pupils have spent the majority of the 2018-2019 academic year designing and planning.
The school community was ready to embrace changes to its curriculum. There are many different examples of how curriculums can be designed and delivered and the staff in the school were keen to explore the opportunities for outdoor learning and providing exciting opportunities and experiences for our children.
Why are we making this change?
When making our decisions we considered the following questions:
- Is our curriculum relevant to our children in our context or do we simply repeat the same lessons because that is what has always been delivered?
- Are we delivering the deep, rich and diverse curriculum that our children deserve?
- Does our current curriculum give our teachers the freedom to explore opportunities as they arise and delve into other exciting knowledge when situations demand?
- Is there sufficient evidence of knowledge and skills progression in our curriculum over the time that our children will be at our school?
- Is there a clear rationale for our curriculum that considers all the potential variables of our school context?
- Does the curriculum meet the criteria within our school vision and aims?
The answers to these questions were discussed at length. Ultimately, the school community felt that our curriculum needed to be updated at the very least but ideally completely redesigned to ensure that the answers to all the above questions would be an unequivocal 'yes'.
The key question 'why do we do what we do?' is fundamental to our curriculum. All staff agree that our new curriculum meets the following criteria:
- it caters for the needs of all our children; not just their academic needs but their 'lifelong learning' needs as well;
- it inspires our children to have highest expectations of themselves;
- it promotes a love of learning in all our children;
- it promotes outdoor learning to develop our children's understanding of nature, respect for the environment and the impact of humanity on the world in which they live;
- it prepares children for the next stage of their educational journey;
- it provides our children with a variety of life experiences including sport, art, music and technology;
- it provides opportunities for positive parental engagement and collaboration.
In the past each year group or key stage has learnt a series of topics in isolation from other year groups or key stages. This has reduced opportunities for 'whole school' learning or collaboration across different year groups or key stages.
Topics were changed each half-term which often resulted in the teacher rushing to finish the topic before the end of the term and severely limiting opportunities for 'exploring with freedom' in the classroom. Teachers were not able to delve deeper into a topic or an event when opportunities arose because of time constraints. From September these issues will not exist.
The new curriculum will be implemented in the following way:
- Each topic will last for an entire term providing more opportunities for learning freedom allowing teachers to delve deeper into an interesting event of activity providing a depth of learning;
- The whole school will study the same topic but will learn different elements of that topic providing knowledge progression over time. For example a child in Reception will study the same topic potentially 3 times but will build on their previous knowledge and skills developed earlier;
- Each topic will start with a 'Stunning Start' and end with a 'Fantastic Finish' which will allow our children to share the work with their parents and the wider community;
- Each topic will be 'all encompassing' which means that reading texts, maths challenges, art work and technology tasks will be planned for that topic rather than be stand alone;
- Our Forest School will be a major feature of our curriculum. Children will take part in regular sessions that work on the skills and knowledge they have learnt or are learning in each topic.