The Sibertswold  Experience  …   Our Curriculum

At Sibertswold  we consider our curriculum to be the engine room of the learning journey on which we take our pupils. It enables our children to access a wide range of experiences which built on past foundations, provide a dynamic present and give clear vision for the future. Our school archives dating back to 1854 include references to children being surrounded in love and this is the key value which remains at the heart of everything we try to achieve. Records of more recent school history continue to show joy and celebration in all our children’s experiences and achievements.

We began designing “ the Sibertswold experience “ in April 2018.” It was inspired by Education Specialist Chris Quigley and built on the best of our previous work. We carried out wide ranging discussions that involved governors, parents, staff and most importantly the children. We agreed our aim was for each child to receive a broad and balanced learning experience that was tailored to their specific needs. In October 2018 OFSTED recognised  our outstanding achievement and high aspiration for the future

Our Curriculum’s “Learning Intent”

We have carefully considered the needs of our community and have chosen to emphasise Diversity, Reflection and Initiative as qualities to drive the children’s learning in all subjects through ensuring that the key knowledge and skills from each subject are learned, applied and retained. We believe our children should understand the bigger picture and know what they are working towards. Through Reflection they have an opportunity to show what they have learnt and can apply their knowledge in different ways, resulting in   children who  are motivated by their learning as they know why it matters.

 As a consequence our pupils become enquiring, resilient and independent individuals who develop high aspirations and are fully prepared for secondary school. As we take forward such learning the highest regard is given to the Christian values of Love, Joy, Justice and Wisdom. These stem from our vision, based on John 10 1-18 which endeavours to ensure that all pupils become thoughtful, empathetic, proactive and ambitious citizens.

We try to ensure our curriculum is relevant to each child, regardless of age, gender, circumstances or ability. We intend our curriculum to enable a child to learn skills that they can develop as they mature whilst at the same time understanding the key age appropriate knowledge from every subject within the national curriculum.

Each subject has a leader who is responsible for establishing and overseeing this. They always try to ensure that the content of their subject is progressive and sequential, building on prior learning to ensure that children have a secure understanding based on sound foundations. At the same time we intend to implement this with fluidity so that children with special educational needs may access the curriculum in different and often very practical ways whilst children with a high level of understanding are challenged and inspired to take their learning to greater depths through individualised questioning and activities.

Reading is identified as a vital key skill and an integral part that runs right across our curriculum; it is valued greatly as it broadens children’s vocabulary, deepens their understanding and allows them to engage creatively with their imaginations.  We facilitate many reading experiences for children throughout the curriculum and encourage children to see reading as a source of enjoyment and information.  Our children are initially taught phonics which is built on by each year group as fluency and comprehension skills develop.  Each class uses a variety of rich and carefully chose texts to inspire enquiring minds and enhance other reading skills, such as, inference and deduction.

High academic standards for all is a key school objective that we endeavour to implement through a dynamic and creative delivery of our curriculum.

Our Curriculum’s “ Implementation “

Our beautiful village and local area provide a fantastic resource from which to carry out the teaching of our curriculum to a high standard. By the time our children leave us their core learning will have been enhanced, by building dens in our forest school, visiting a local farm and taking part in community activities, visiting the theatre and Canterbury Cathedral as well as experiencing a residential visit to France. Our diversity driver ensures that children have a good understanding of history culture and geography beyond our locality; a good example of this is our support for the Kodeni project in Burkina Faso.

High quality teaching and learning, linked to very positive general interactions between adults and children (that are based on a respectful and mutually supportive, open and  collaborative culture) is the key to the successful implementation of all our intentions as outlined in the previous section. We ensure the delivery and implementation of our key intentions:-

  • Subject Leaders have created skills progression documents with end points linked to the national curriculum which covers Y1 to Y6. Teachers link learning to real life situations. Barriers to learning for individual pupils have been identified and plans have been set up to address them. Curriculum coverage sheets are completed each term so that any skills or knowledge that have been missed can be identified and rectified
  • Maths and English teaching happens in the mornings, Science and RE are taught on a weekly basis along with Music, Art, PE, PSHCE and MFL however, being creative with the timetable ensures that all Foundation subjects are properly covered.   History and Geography teaching is blocked into the last 2 weeks of terms 2, 4 and 5, being taught in the mornings. DT is taught in a block of 2 days at the end of terms 2, 4 and 6 in order that children can fully immerse themselves and develop and   consolidate the knowledge and skills being taught. Links are made between subjects to identify opportunity for the mastery of cross subject skills. High quality all -round teaching ensures the particular needs of SEN pupils are addressed and where more is needed appropriate additional support is made available.
  • At the end of terms 1, 3 and 6 we have a Focus week which is always centred around either a Foundation Subject or our Drivers, our School values or a Multi-Cultural theme.
  • Outdoor learning is of great importance to our curriculum. We have a well-developed Forest School with a fully-trained Forest School teacher . The children’s time spent in the Forest School is blocked on a termly basis in order that they can develop the knowledge and skills and begin to embed them.
  • Annual reading tests identify the child’s current level. Children read from books which match their reading age and provide a range of genres eg fiction, non- fiction poetry etc. Younger children read from books matched to their phonic knowledge. Daily phonics lessons also take place for these children, appropriate guided reading also takes place daily throughout the school.
  • Teachers’ subject knowledge has been audited and any gaps are covered by training. Lesson monitoring ensures high standards of teaching and learning. Presentations and discussions by and between children are used to monitor understanding. Teachers recognise that skilled questioning and in the moment marking allows them to identify and correct misunderstandings. This is regarded as a key factor in identifying high quality teaching. Senior leaders, including the EHT,
  • Senior Leaders, including the EHT regularly hold meetings with teachers to discuss individual children’s progress and to ensure their learning needs are being fully met.

 We also work closely with the Kent Advisory service and other local schools All members of these organisations and schools are invited to join a sample of our implementation activities and they invite us to join theirs so that we can all share best practice and moderate outcomes thus ensuring the best possible standards.

Impact

As a result of our intent and implementation, from 2018 Subject Leaders were able to take real ownership of their areas of the curriculum, ensuring complete subject and aspect coverage and that learning was accessible for all. Consequently our teaching  concentrated on the  knowledge and skills that children needed to be familiar with and the children  enjoyed the opportunities to experience ” Mastery “ within their daily learning. .October 2018 OFSTED commented:   ‘Middle Leaders are passionate about their subjects and have contributed well to the new curriculum approach. They focus well on ensuring pupils develop secure knowledge and the confidence to apply this across the curriculum. Pupils show a strong depth of knowledge and understanding across a range of subjects. Leaders and governors are evaluating and refining the changes made to the curriculum to ensure they support pupils’ sustained progress.’

We continue as a staff, to develop our curriculum, responding to feedback from children and governors.

The direct impact of our curriculum on the children can be assessed in a variety of ways and in particular we look for the impact we have achieved in two specific areas:-

1 The development of the children both as well rounded responsible individuals who understand the importance of community and knowing right from wrong.

 2 Academic progress.

With regard to the former the following extracts from our very recent SIAMs inspection illustrate our achievements very effectively.’ Spiritual development supports pupils well in their personal and academic flourishing. Pupils have a strong sense of courageous advocacy with an ability to speak out confidently for justice for others locally, nationally and globally.

The following report prepared for senior managers and governors illustrates the academic achievement of our children very clearly:- Over the last three years, progress and attainment across all age groups within the school has been strong.  All children are achieving well, with  Pupil Premium* children making very good progress.  Across the curriculum, a high level of greater depth is being achieved; therefore, reflecting the learning taking place through our curriculum “drivers.”  In addition to this, Subject leaders set clear exit goals for their area of the curriculum and teachers have high expectations of all children.’

Through careful planning of interventions and quality first teaching, both Pupil Premium and children with special needs make good or better progress throughout the curriculum.  Provision is made for these pupils to acquire knowledge and access the same curriculum as other children by pre-learning key vocabulary related to a theme and then using a bank of key facts.  As well as their academic achievements, Pupil Premium and children with special needs also get opportunities to improve other areas of their lives, including social skills, mental well-being and physical well-being. 

In all areas, children take care over their learning and value what they produce.  Senior managers and the headteacher regularly look through samples of the children’s work and this clearly illustrates the children’s presentation skills and the content of their learning.  The children clearly enjoy presenting their knowledge in imaginative and varied ways, with children working at greater depth showing more control and awareness of their reader.   This is again reflected during Triangulation of learning**, which shows that children are proud of the work that they do.

 Children at Sibertswold leave the school, having made good or better progress, they have the key skills that they need to achieve well at the secondary school that they go on to.  Through a rich and varied curriculum with clearly defined objectives, pupils are enthusiastic and confident learners who are excited by the knowledge they acquire and the skills they are able to use in all learning situations.We aim for each child to shape their own unique Sibertswold experience and develop into well-rounded, responsible and caring citizens prepared to stand up for justice in our world.

In addition to this, pupils with special needs are supported as they progress through school, between year groups and finally onto secondary education, with detailed provision maps,*** shared with all stakeholders in the child’s education.  The impact of these interventions ensures that special needs children continue to make considerable progress.

Through discrete phonic lessons and daily guided reading across the whole school, children are given skills and knowledge needed to develop into confident fluent readers.   Phonic skills are taught well in KS1 through daily phonics lessons in groups, with targeted interventions used for those who need extra support.  In Year 3, children identified as needing extra support will receive precision phonics teaching to bridge any gaps; beyond this in KS2, children have extra interventions through the Soundswrite teaching programme.  This has enabled many children to reach the expected level within their year group.

To support children’s development in reading, our younger children are given assistance in choosing books to read, so that they are challenged at an appropriate level and their book reflects their phonic knowledge.  Texts specific to the child’s reading ability but at a higher interest are used to engage those children who require extra support; these have been invaluable at giving such learners confidence.  Throughout phonics and other reading sessions, key vocabulary is shared with the class and children are given specific work to support this learning.  Through this provision, children are able to keep up with their peers, develop a love of reading and access the full curriculum. 

The progress that pupils are making in terms of knowing more, remembering more and being able to do more is significant.

Pupils display brilliant behaviour for learning through engagement in lessons; their ability to contribute to discussions and taking their learning further by making links between curriculum areas. 

Curriculum coverage documents, completed termly, allow  subject leaders and class teachers to analyse gaps in children’s knowledge and evaluate progress in children’s skills.  Over time, these produce an accurate picture of a child’s unique Sibertswold Experience and can highlight areas of the curriculum in which the child needs more support.  

Our Sibertswold Experience books reflect the rich, broad curriculum experiences children have, which often extend beyond the classroom making use of our cultural capital.  During triangulation, discussions with pupils show excellent recall about the content they have studied and can share the knowledge they have gained, thus evidencing good engagement by all. 

There is therefore clear evidence that our curriculum enables the children at Sibertswold both to achieve well and develop as caring responsible  young people. The structure and organisation of the curriculum provides a framework for objective self analysis which in turn will lead to ongoing improvement .

Key to some of the terms used

*Pupil Premium: These are children  who are more likely to experience barriers to learning and for whom the school receives, from the national government, extra funding to ensure the curriculum is meeting their needs

**Triangulation of Learning:

 Monitoring teaching and learning through observing in class, scruting of work and discussions with children.

*** Provision Map:  A document that outlines the specific work covered by a child with special or specific needs that requires significant adaption from the learning experiences provided to all children

To find out more about our curriculum click here 

Foundation Stage Curriculum

We aim to provide a high quality environment that allows all children to reach their full potential, giving them a secure foundation to their learning and development, whilst building good relationships with parents and equality of opportunity for all children.

The curriculum provided for children is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, and provides opportunities and experiences in 3 prime areas

Communication and Language
Physical development
Personal, social and emotional development

And 4 specific areas

Literacy
Mathematics
Understanding of the world
Expressive arts and design

Planned and purposeful play is at the heart of the Foundation Stage curriculum and children engage in both adult led and child initiated activities.

In the Foundation Stage, play forms a large part of each session, however as the children grow and develop the balance shifts to more adult led activities in preparation for more formal learning in year 1.

A high focus is put on the key characteristics of learning,

Playing and exploring
Active learning
Creating and thinking critically

The adult led sessions in Mars class will also have a high focus on beginning to develop the key skills in reading, writing and Maths.