The curriculum at Watcombe is underpinned by the national curriculum expectations through which a broad and balanced learning experience, both cohesive and progressive, is achieved.
This is guided by the following documents:
- EYFS – focusing upon the 4 key themes and characteristics of effective learning.
- English and Maths are planned using the National Curriculum expectations for specific year groups
- Other subjects are based upon the National Curriculum – this is based on a two-year rolling programme for KS1, Lower KS2 and Upper KS2. The Foundation curriculum is planned in response to children’s interests and their next steps (Development Matters).
- For each subject a knowledge and skill based progression operates which leads
planning in terms of the skills and levels children aspire to achieve in line with their developmental stage.
- RE – follows the Torbay RE Syllabus
- PSHE & RSE are planned using the PSHE Association Planning Toolkit which incorporates citizenship
The curriculum is delivered through inspiring ‘learning journeys’ which are carefully crafted to capture the pupils’ interests and thus motivate them in their learning. Each learning journey is initiated with a ‘hook’ experience which will enthuse pupils. The learning journey is then carefully sequenced, towards achieving a pre-defined outcome, which is shared with the children, giving the learning real purpose. Pupils will then demonstrate their attainment through the application of skills and knowledge.
Learning is aligned towards achieving the learning journey outcome such as becoming a local Torquay Tourist Guide, Graduating from ‘Wartcombe School of Magic’, producing a cook book or being a guide in the School Zoo.
Some areas/subjects of learning are taught discretely but still have a purposeful outcome.
Learning pedagogy promotes the pupils to be active in their learning and to think deeply about what they are learning. Opportunities are regularly created for learners to reflect upon how the knowledge and skills already acquired can assist in tackling new challenges as well as reviewing progress made.
Questioning is a key element within the implementation of the curriculum. Adults will use questions to engage pupils in the learning, set challenges, encourage deeper thinking and to evaluate learning. Adults enable pupils to understand key concepts through timely and focused discussion. In tandem with growth mindset pupils are encouraged to see mistakes as opportunities for learning, grapple with concepts and have thinking time to order and make sense of their thoughts. Questioning and discussion will support teachers to check pupil understanding and respond appropriately.
The curriculum focuses upon the development of long term memory and the need to ensure that knowledge and skills are embedded within memory. Regular opportunities for revisiting and retrieval are embedded within the curriculum as a ‘learning tool’ in order for children to develop a fluency in recall (unconsciously) and thus allow the working memory to be fully operational and creative. Learning is planned in small steps, that develop into larger ‘chunks’ in a progressive manner building on prior knowledge.
Reading is prevalent throughout the curriculum and there is also a specific drive to ensure that pupils are able to read to the appropriate level in line with their development. The skills of reading are specifically taught with a clear focus upon early phonics developing towards high level skills such as: retrieval, inference and vocabulary. Pupils are encouraged to regularly read both in and out of school to practice the skills they have learned.
Children also share a class story on a daily basis through which understanding about the world is promoted. These opportunities are to explore experiences beyond their own and to develop a richness of vocabulary, which in turn supports them to articulate their thoughts and ideas.
Teacher knowledge is paramount to ensuring high quality teaching alongside clear progressive school knowledge and skills ladders.
Timely intervention to support pupil learning both academically and pastorally is particularly evident within the curriculum. Through careful and accurate assessment (both diagnostic and summative) pupils may be referred to speedy interventions or programmes of support to enable them to make expected progress. Progress is monitored and evaluated in order to ensure needs are being met.