West Dean C.E. Primary Curriculum Policy Statement
This curriculum policy statement is under review following the disruption of the pandemic and the current headteacher’s impending retirement.
Throughout the partial school closure, the school and national curriculums were used as guidelines to secure the best learning possible in the circumstances. Children in school followed the same learning plans as those pupils who were being home educated. Despite best efforts of staff, pupils and their parents, the learning has been fragmented and we perceive a need to reunite classes and the whole school in learning.
Thus, the curriculum for the return to school in Autumn 2020 was planned separately as a whole school topic on trees, and growth. The whole school visited the arboretum in West Dean gardens and celebrated nature, learning and our school community. Each class used this ‘topic’ as a stimulus for the learning journey, adapting and interpreting it to act as a vehicle and purpose for reading, writing, maths and other curricular areas. Coverage previously planned for each year group was adapted as we assessed children’s needs and began to plan a return to our curriculum.
Through the second partial closure in Spring 2021, the learning moved from our website class pages to the Google Classrooms, which enabled staff to develop home learning further. Staff are quite rightly proud of the quality of leanring and the bespoke approach, which benefited so many children. Upon our return to full opening on March 8th 2021, we saw some fragmentation and disparity in learning experiences, despite the school’s best endeavours to support the vulnerable and stretch pupils in their learning.
The initial four weeks before Easter were a vital time to reunite the school community and rebuild our learning behaviours (please refer to the parents’ section of the website for more information on this). As the school does not use a ‘bought in’ curriculum, staff were able to adapt and design outstanding learning, where the whole school focused on:
Week 1 – Book Week – including World Book Day activities – a huge focus on reading for pleasure and meaning, whilst refreshing our writing skills.
Week 2 – Let’s Count – The National Census – this was used as a vehicle for a focus on counting, the number system and reviewing calculations.
Week 3 – Science and Technology Week – the outdoors were used widely for work on pulleys, and children designed and made windmills to irrigate African crops or learnt about DNA and growing.
Week 4 – Throughout Easter week, children learnt about Christianity and applied their learning in other subject areas.
Throughout this return to full opening, children were enabled to access learning through open ended learning with short burst activities to build stamina and support children in developing their independence and resilience once again. Our focus on mental health, and appropriate support and challenge, as staff assessed progress, gaps and needs, has resulted in a very positive return to learning. The creative nature of our school’s curriculum enables staff to respond to local and national opportunities, cater for children’s needs and interests and respond to the external impact of a pandemic.
The school will now devote itself to identifying gaps in coverage for individuals and groups, and to reviewing the curriculum to fulfil the needs as the nation recovers from the year’s disruption.
The following document is up to date (March 2021) but will be reviewed alongside the Teaching for Learning Policy in 2021/2.