Curriculum Intent and Implementation
Southfields children belong to a unique locality in the heart of the city centre. Our curriculum celebrates the individual experiences and cultures children bring to our school, engaging and inspiring them to develop their natural curiosity and a thirst for learning. Collaboration is encouraged throughout the curriculum giving all children opportunities to become reflective learners, who explore and analyse real and relevant problems with their peers. Through positive discussion, all children learn to express and present their knowledge and skills confidently and to respect and appreciate the diverse community they live in.
Everyone at Southfields is encouraged to take risks, regardless of their starting points, through creative and challenging experiences, which develop their imaginative and reflective skills. These rich experiences encourage a culture of growth mind-set that focuses on developing resilience, self-confidence and independence. A high priority is placed upon enabling pupils to develop as responsible, caring and open-minded individuals who are very well placed to make a positive contribution to society.
Our GARK values (Good learning, Acceptance, Respect and Kindness) underpin the positive environment in school, which complements the high expectations we hold for each individual child at Southfields.
We have the National Curriculum, which we use as a starting point, and embellish and deepen further as a school but at the heart of this is children being exposed to quality, bespoke experiences, opportunities and lessons with a need for independent thinking and relevant to the personal developmental needs of the children in our school. Learning opportunities are used to enrich our teaching to enable children to become immersed in their own learning. Visits and enrichment clubs allow all children even greater opportunities to find and develop their individual interests and personal talents. Our teachers plan a wide variety of offsite educational visits, including residentials. Visitors are also invited into school as a way of enhancing subject knowledge and providing the children with real life experiences.
Each day, our school community models, teaches, promotes and upholds a range of values (GARK and British Values) that we need to demonstrate in order to become good citizens of the world. We think carefully about the values, explore them in learning and demonstrate them at every opportunity.
Our teachers ask children to undertake positions of responsibility around the school, as we believe that children understand values by seeing them in action in others. These include: School council; Sports Ambassadors; Sports Leaders; Playground Pals; Peer Mediators.
Teachers design learning opportunities that look for ways to develop good learning behaviours. In our curriculum, we encourage children to look for ways to develop concentration, perseverance, imagination, co-operation, the enjoyment of learning, self-improvement and curiosity.
Southfields staff notice and praise when learners are showing great learning behaviours. We award certificates for this in our regular celebration assembly. When we work as a team, we collect points that earn a prize.
When planning the curriculum teachers think how they can bring in an understanding of morality and the wider world. They do this through:
SMSC is planned across the curriculum. The children learn about new beginnings in life, going for goals, aspirations, getting on and falling out, changes and relationships. Teachers identify positive role models that challenge stereotypes for children to learn about.
The children visit local groups such as the local Sikh Gurdwara, a mosque, the local church and the Coventry Cathedral to tell us about their faith and share learning. We work with local religious groups to get a good understanding of the beliefs of others.
The school works with local community groups such as collecting and raising money for charities local and national and annually collect food for the local food bank. Southfields aims to increase children’s engagement with activities that benefit other members of the community and beyond.
National Curriculum Expectations
As many parents are aware the 2014 National Curriculum saw many changes to classroom practice. A new set of objectives were introduced for Key Stages One and Two in all subjects and alongside this saw the removal of levels as a form of assessment.
This change resulted in schools assessment procedures assessing pupils against the objectives set for their year group. For example a Year 2 pupil would no longer be expected to reach a Level 2B at the end of the Key Stage but instead be working to securely reach end of year expectations (Year 2 Secure). This meant that a child could no longer progress to a stage that was outside of their year group.
So what is greater depth?
In addition to the term end of year expectations, the term greater depth is now used to measure a pupil’s level of understanding. Achievement is now focussed on the depth of understanding of the areas taught. Alongside this, the ability to apply this understanding in a variety of contexts rather than moving on to something new.
Therefore more able pupils are no longer encouraged to move up to the learning being taught in the year above, but to now spend time ensuring that they have fully grasped the learning in their own year group and are able to explore this in variety of ways.
One analogy is that of exploring a house, you could quickly explore a large house by moving up floor to floor, however the house can be explored and experienced in far greater detail if you stop to explore the rooms on each level!
This means that pupils working at greater depth are expected to be able to:
- Apply their learning to different contexts, including other areas of the curriculum.
- Work independently.
- Apply their skills and knowledge consistently, confidently and fluently.
- Organise their ideas to make connections with other areas of learning.
- Use their ideas to help them work with new areas of learning.
- Clearly explain what they have been doing and why they know they are correct to others.
- Teach others what they have learned to enable them to learn too.
Therefore greater depth is not . . .
- … working on content from the next year group.
- … practising the same concept with bigger numbers.
- … reading a more challenging text.
How is greater depth taught?
- Those more able pupils working at greater depth are provided with the opportunity to work at greater depth through carefully planned lessons and activities. Teachers will provide pupils with the time and opportunity to explore the learning objectives taught and will allow pupils the independence to apply their learning at a deeper level.
In summary, pupils need to be secure the national curriculum requirements for their year group. If these are secured quickly, the children will be given activities that will enable them to secure these requirements at greater depth.