Curriculum Intent

At Sibertswold, our intent is to help children become independent learners right from when they begin school. Our ethos is aimed at broadening the children’s horizons by teaching the skills needed for lifelong learning. Not just so they can complete school learning more easily and effectively, but also so they can develop a general purpose and set of habits and attitudes which will serve them well throughout their lives. By encouraging the children to think about their learning preferences and act accordingly, we hope to promote that life-long love of learning.

We teach children the 4Rs of learning: To be resilient, resourceful, reflective and reciprocal. We believe in the importance of constructing new knowledge on the basis of what is already known and understood so pay close attention to the prior knowledge of our learners.

Curriculum Implementation

We implement our intent through the following ways:

Building Learning Power

Teachers talk about learning habits, not ‘ability’ and the process of learning where talk is based around the ups and downs of learning: becoming stuck and unstuck. We teach split-screen lessons where children learn subject content alongside key learning behaviours. Teachers commentate, orchestrate, explain and model, nudging children along the way on their learning journey. A learning culture is created where children and teachers alike approach difficulties in learning without fear of failure and are encouraged to become better learners. A common language for learning is developed across the school that helps everyone talk about understanding learning to learn.

Infusing a Rich Vocabulary

 Research shows us that if children have a rich and varied vocabulary they have better reasoning and pragmatic skills; enjoy greater academic success and future employment and experience better mental health and well-being. Research also tells us that there is a pressing need to address the vocabulary gap between the lowest and highest socio-economic groups in the UK, known as the 30-Million-Word Gap.  At Sibertswold, we have developed a ‘Vocabulary Spine’ that runs throughout the school from early years to Y6 that details 400 words per year that will be taught to each child in every year group. The words take into account Cultural Capital and are planned for in a tiered manner with a large emphasis being on topic or concept words and academic words.

We have also created a ‘Reading Spine’ to ensure that our children are exposed to a wide range of texts and text complexities to ensure that they are ‘well read’ and have high levels of comprehension.

Sequence of Learning – Schema Building

At Sibertswold, much emphasis is placed on helping the learning process by organising knowledge in a meaningful way – appreciating how facts are connected and the ways in which they are connected. It is the difference between information and knowledge. Research shows us that schema building helps strengthen and retain knowledge that can then be drawn upon at a later date as it goes into long-term memory.

We plan for opportunities to visit and re-visit key knowledge as it is this repetition that ensures long-term retention. Strong semantic understanding leads to deep learning where children can understand and apply their knowledge beyond the obvious and develop creativity.

Sequences of learning are planned for that allow children to move from basic, through advancing and into deep understanding.

Specialist Teachers and Teaching Expertise

Expert teachers and specialist teachers with high levels of pedagogical content knowledge are utilised to ensure the very best teaching is offered to our children in order for them to secure deep understanding within a curriculum area. Music, art, PE and RE are taught using specialist teachers. This also helps with sequenced planning across year groups and across lessons.

Experiences to Ignite Curiosity

We are naturally curious creatures. At Sibertswold we believe that there are many advantages to building curiosity within the classroom such as: capturing imagination, triggering motivation, encouraging children to ask questions, maximising interest, being better prepared for other aspects of their lives. From Curiosity Cubes in science to trips and visitors in history and RE, Forest School to special focus days and weeks -  we actively plan for experiences that enable our children to become immersed in what they are learning.

Impactful Feedback

The feedback process is central to learning – understanding what our patterns of errors are, what are strengths are and so on.  Effective feedback fits within the ‘learning culture’ of classrooms and enables our pupils to develop a greater independent awareness of tendencies and strategies for improving.  Dylan William says that “to be effective, feedback should cause thinking to take place”.

At Sibertswold, we believe that getting children to engage fully in the feedback and do most of the ‘legwork’ will have the greatest impact on progress. We do this, in maths for example, by colour coding a simple dot next to an error in KS1 that children have to correct; and from Y3 onwards, by simply placing a dot on the page where an error is and asking the children to find it themselves to correct it in a ‘seek and destroy’ style mission.

Sometimes, particularly in writing sessions, whole class feedback is given where areas of strength and improvement are shared. Pupils are then asked to reflect upon which points apply to them and may work with a partner to act upon the feedback. Teachers may use pupil generated Success Criterion or Marking Ladders to assist partners in this process.

During a lesson, teachers are always engaged in feedback that is ‘in the moment’. They are always on the move, often with pen in hand, offering advice, identifying and clearing up misconceptions or errors as they go.

This sort of over-the-shoulder ‘live’ feedback is part and parcel of the formative assessment woven into our daily teaching practice.

As we know from countless studies, including work done by Shirley Clarke in her framework: ‘The Power of Formative Assessment’, is more effective when it is given at the time since it can be acted on and implemented immediately.

Informative Assessments

All of our assessments are to identify gaps and inform future planning and learning opportunities. At Sibertswold, we use A4L assessments in our everyday practice, assessing children’s starting points and prior knowledge with quizzes, KWL grids, mind maps, mini-plenaries, marking in the moment etc., but we also see the need and value in more formal assessments at strategic intervals within the academic year.

At the end of Terms 1, 3 and 5 formal assessment papers are sat in maths and reading comprehension by children from Y2 – Y6. Detailed gap analyses are then conducted in order to inform planning for the next term including any individual, group or whole-class interventions that may to take place to ensure children ‘keep up’ and do not fall behind.

Writing moderation also takes place at the ends of these terms where children’s standards are assessed against national standards in writing using a portfolio of examples across a range of genres. Teachers will rank their children and, alongside colleagues, look specifically at children at threshold cusps in order to accurately assess their standard. The English leads will oversee and quality check this process.

In maths, 3-times per year, Key Stage moderation also takes place during staff meetings in order to help teachers come to accurate assessments. They will ‘paint a picture of a child’, using their recorded work in books to back up any formal assessments that have taken place.

Curriculum Impact

Our intent and how we implement it across the school will have the impact of creating life-long learners who are courageous adventurers as they take their next steps in education and life. They will be thirsty for new knowledge; making links, taking risks and making errors but seeing them, instead, as things they just don’t know yet and further opportunities to learn as appose to failures.

Our children will be ‘Wellbeing Warriors’ that have high levels of emotional literacy; articulating their thoughts, feelings, anxieties and behaviours and having self-confidence and self-motivation to reach their potential.

Our children will have excellent academic outcomes which will give them the very best opportunities for future academic and workplace success.

They will be articulate with a rich vocabulary to express themselves fully with good reasoning and pragmatic skills; giving them the best chance of future employability.