At Dothill we aim for all our children to leave school equipped with key skills, which enable them to be resilient, confident, respectful, safe, ambitious and positive individuals, who are reflective, able to make good choices and have a thirst for life and all it has to offer.
Cognitive Science tells us that nothing has been learned until it is in your long-term memory. Our curriculum is built on this principle. Learning is a change to long-term memory and our aims are to ensure that our pupils experience a breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge.
We have worked hard to develop a high quality, ambitious, bespoke curriculum that gives our unique pupils the opportunities to excel.
Our curriculum is a knowledge led progression model. Through our curriculum we intend to teach the key concepts within a specific subject progressively upon secure previous knowledge within a broadly context-based framework. This will enable children to revisit and build upon the key concepts at an increasingly deeper level as they move through the school. In this way, children will have the opportunity to make increasingly complex connections in their learning across a range of contexts. This will result in rich, deep, transferrable learning.
We place emphasis on a curriculum that develops the whole child. Through our core values – happiness, respect, responsibility, creativity, honesty, enthusiasm, confidence, kindness, cooperation and fairness – we ensure that the wellbeing of all members of the community is at the centre of our life in school and the key to raising academic success. Our children gain a sound knowledge of their own value and purpose, with the ability to make choices and decisions in life that show their understanding of right and wrong.
Our context rich curriculum, which has high expectations for all, is mapped to include full coverage of the National and EYFS curriculum. It provides a broad range of learning experiences for our children, which deepen their understanding of the Local, British and Global Community. Our curriculum offer is designed and adapted, in order to challenge, engage and motivate our learners to take responsibility for themselves and others. It is built upon a strong emotionally literate and morally responsible foundation. This will equip our pupils with the knowledge, skills, understanding, behaviours and attitudes necessary for success in their next stage of education, their future employment and for their adult life in an ever-changing world.
Our drivers are elements that are central to our school vision and ethos. They help to drive and shape the curriculum and are incorporated across all subjects and themes.
For all year groups, we have overviews that map out the knowledge and skills progression of the curriculum offer; these include all the subjects in the National Curriculum so that our children access a broad and balanced curriculum offer.
The curriculum offer is implemented in a consistent manner by ensuring that excellence in teaching and enjoyment in learning go hand in hand and lay the foundations for success in later life.
Using our curriculum overviews as a starting point, we develop our medium-term and short-term planning to ensure coherent coverage of key knowledge, skills and concepts and clear progression routes over a sequence of lessons. This allows for prior learning to be systematically built upon and key knowledge to be revisited.
Planning is supported by subject progression documents so that lessons give children the opportunity to use and apply the skills they are developing so that they know more and understand more.
Across the curriculum, children are given regular opportunities to explore, question, investigate, evaluate, and reflect on their learning. These crucial experiences strengthen children’s subject knowledge and embed life-long skills.
A range of visits or visitors into school are linked to each theme – these are organised by teachers, in order to offer a range of experiences that help to broaden understanding of curriculum content, enrich the curriculum delivery with real-life experiences and most importantly help the children embed and retrieve their learning.
Assessment is woven throughout the curriculum. Summative and formative assessments are used well by staff to check pupil’s understanding of key concepts. This supports in identifying gaps in knowledge and understanding enabling teachers to respond appropriately. We also recognise the value of assessment as an important learning tool which provides opportunities for pupils to strengthen their memories through concerted effort. Assessment tasks are used daily (recall starters, rapid recall of knowledge, fluent in four) in strengthening memory by providing children with the opportunities to ‘struggle’ and make a sustained effort in trying to retrieve information, the process of which strengthens their memory. It is through this effort within tasks that strengthens memory recall and creates the strongest connections in their learning.
The role of the subject leader is pivotal in the successful implementation of our curriculum. We aim for all subject leaders to have the knowledge, expertise and practical skill to be able to lead their area effectively. Each curriculum subject has a dedicated subject leader with clear roles and responsibilities. They are responsible for the curriculum design, delivery and impact in their own curriculum area. Subject leaders and leaders at all levels, including Governors, regularly review and quality assure the subject areas to ensure that they are being implemented as intended and that coverage, curriculum, breadth and balance is adequate.
To ensure we implement our curriculum intent well, we ensure that our children are invested in their learning and making a positive contribution to the planning and design of our curriculum. We regularly encourage pupils to articulate their learning journey and understanding of the curriculum. This ensures that our children are actively involved in their learning, enabling them to deepen their understanding and develop retrieval strategies.
As a result of our curriculum, most children who leave our school:
- have a strong web of knowledge across the curriculum subjects that is deep, durable and transferable from one context to another
- can retrieve knowledge and make connections between contexts
- can apply their skills across a range of subjects
- can think deeply about important concepts
- can apply their knowledge and use it to solve problems and generate creative solutions
- are creative, innovative and can think critically
- are sympathetically aware of other people's feelings; they include all pupils and celebrate differences
- are able to make deeper connections in their learning as a result of their access to experiences through our school that they would not otherwise have had
- are able to think critically about the knowledge they have gained and make emotionally literate and morally responsible decisions/choices
- have a good understanding of the importance of physical activity and use this knowledge to develop a life-long habit of being active
- have the knowledge and resilience that they need to resist potential risks in order to keep themselves and others safe
Our children grow up being able to make a positive contribution to the world in which they live.