Teacher Directed Curriculum Information
At Armathwaite we have two interdependent parts to our curriculum that is the Teacher Directed Curriculum and Child Initiated Independent Learning. Time is planned each week for both. The Teacher Directed Curriculum is the National Curriculum. Whilst the areas covered at Armathwaite are similar to the curriculum taught in most schools, our approach is different. Decisions about the way our teachers teach and the formation of our staffing structure have been taken to meet the needs of our individual children and our community, maximising learning capacity and making the best use of expertise available. We have put a lot of time into planning our curriculum very carefully with a huge emphasis on learning. Learning is what we are passionate about. It is the driver within our school. (See Learning Curriculum)
Our Governors have agreed a staffing policy of employing subject specialist teachers.
We find this to be a very successful way of working. We have the proof that it is instrumental in raising standards. We had our Ofsted inspection in May 07 and this recognised that the deployment of teachers with specific knowledge and skills ensured that the curriculum is very strong in all areas.
All staff work to their strengths with highly qualified experienced teachers delivering all lessons.
Our model is very different to the secondary school model of specialist teaching because our whole staff team plan and evaluate the learning together. This provides the benefit of teachers with a high level of expertise collaborating within the context of a joined up curriculum. It has been grown from the good practice and independent curriculum in the Foundation stage right through Key Stages 1 and 2.
We shape our curriculum to reflect the ethos, aims and values of our school. We place high emphasis on developing creativity in all areas of a broad and rich curriculum. We prioritise independence in learning- the acquisition of life long learning skills. We respect and value each person?s individuality and the contribution they make to our school community
Within our team of teachers we have specialists in
~ Design and technology
~ Foundation Stage
We have a highly valued team of support staff who play an important role in school. Within the team we have specialists in
~ Skills for learning
~ Community development
~ Reading Intervention
~ Literacy and Numeracy support
~ Foundation Stage practice ~Smart Moves physicaldevelopment programme
~ Supporting children with specific special needs
We have a team of 6 regular local community volunteers; these people are in school for at least half a day each week. We don’t pay them they come because they say they enjoy it. The children gain immensely from their experience and expertise.
Our subject specialist teachers plan, evaluate and deliver their subject to all the children in school from Foundation stage, throughout Key Stage 1 and on into Key Stage 2. We all teach all the children each week.
The use of part time teachers gives us the flexibility to provide PPA time and supply cover without bringing in extra staff or asking staff to deliver plans that are not their own. It has reduced our planning. It?s great to be able to teach your favourite subject right through all the age groups especially when you know the children so well.
All our core teachers teach Literacy and Numeracy each week. Our teachers are well aware of the requirements of the Literacy and Numeracy strategies so they can ensure that children have the opportunity to transfer and apply their learning in different purposeful contexts throughout the curriculum.
Quality over Quantity
We have made a conscious decision as a staff to go for quality over quantity. We make sure children acquire subject specific skills as well as process learning skills and we keep working to improve. The reason it works is that children act on identified areas for improvement. The end result is that children feel really good about achievement and know what their next steps need to be. They see the whole process through.
We adapt the curriculum to follow the interests of our pupils. We take the objectives from the National Curriculum and we apply them in contexts that are meaningful and purposeful to the learner.
This is different because
– The context is initiated by our pupils giving them ownership of their learning resulting in highly motivated and engaged children
-Teachers are creative in adapting the context yet are still rigorous in ensuring that children are learning and applying the skills they need to be taught in each subject.
– This approach really helps children to see the purpose of learning and the need for them to acquire skills
Looking from the leadership perspective this model of working provides advantages in that
– The best teacher available, who has the highest level of expertise in their subject, teaches all our children.
– Staff have a clear view of the whole pathway of learning from Foundation stage right through key stage 1 and 2. This makes it easier to be able to differentiate to meet the individual needs of all children including special needs children and gifted and talented children.
– Team planning ensures that strong cross curricular links are developed and children have the opportunity to transfer and apply their learning across the whole curriculum.
– In terms of curriculum implementation because teachers are passionate about their specialist subject there aren’t any neglected areas. All our children have access to a rich, wide and balanced curriculum.
– All staff are secure and confident in their subject areas, this means we focus our CPD (Continual Professional Development) on continually improving our understanding of the processes of learning. The how children learn rather than what the children will learn.
– We have consistency of subject policy throughout the school and we don’t spend endless staff meetings trying to ensure that this happens.
Teacher Directed Curriculum Cycle
Within the Teacher Directed curriculum we work on the knowledge and skill cycle of acquire, apply and evaluate.
Earth Protector Mission Adventure written by a child in Year 2
Pupils acquire skills and knowledge in each subject and then they apply these in a context which they have ownership of and which is meaningful to them.
The next stage is to evaluate their learning against agreed success criteria and plan their next steps. This can take the form of peer to peer evaluation, self evaluation or pupil and teacher evaluation.
This process results in engaged and motivated learners achieving fantastic results!