In September 2019, Caldecote Church of England Academy implemented a new curriculum that the staff and pupils 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.
When making our decisions we considered the following questions:
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:
Our curriculum is designed to ensure that all of our children meet their full potential spiritually, morally, emotionally, socially, culturally and physically and not just academically. Our curriculum is designed to promote a love of learning, collaborative learning and most importantly, develop the foundations for our children to become resilient, confident and creative adults.
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.
The new curriculum will be implemented in the following way:
The new curriculum consist of 6 topics which will revolve on a two-year cycle which means that children will revisit each topic and build on their prior knowledge:
Whilst pupil outcomes will always be a quantifiable measure of accountability in schools and a method by which school curriculums are assessed, the fact remains that education is about more than a set of figures or a spreadsheet full of data. The impact of a curriculum and its methodology should be more focused on other factors which in our view are as equally important to test scores and teacher assessments. In fact, our curriculum has been designed to ensure that its impact is seen in other ways rather than just through data.
The curriculum’s impact will be measured by considering the following questions:
These questions are used to measure the impact of our curriculum because these are the fundamental aims of our curriculum. Whilst we recognise that children should gain knowledge, the attitudes to learning and their values and abilities to use that knowledge well are also essential areas within our curriculum.
Whilst these questions can be answered by the staff in school, the role of parents, other children and the children themselves should not be ignored. Therefore, self-reflection and self-awareness are key ingredients to the success of this curriculum.
Each child builds a portfolio during their time in school that provides a working ‘journey of learning’. Periodically, children are set tasks and observed to measure their progress and to better understand their strengths and areas for development. This is accomplished in much the same way as children are observed in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Children also reflect on their own performance and the views of parents are also sought. The school is currently developing its own Personal Learning and Development Programme for measuring skill progression from Early Years to (eventually) Year 6.
During their time at the school, the children will work towards their Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Personal Development Awards. Children will be expected to complete challenges, demonstrate confidence in a number of skills and tasks, demonstrate the school's values and show evidence of a commitment to their learning in order to meet the criteria for each level.