Based on DCC Model Policies – Update due shortly to reflect the new statutory guidance for schools ‘Keeping Children safe in Education’ April 2014”
The curriculum is the sum of all the experiences we offer pupils when they become part of our school community. The curriculum extends beyond the classroom; it encompasses a holistic approach to education and the ethos of the school itself. Every aspect of our curriculum addresses elements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and is committed to supporting every pupil to be “…the best person they can be”.
All pupils at Westfield have either Statements of Special Education Need (SEN) or Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans – which reflect their individual needs. A personalised curriculum is developed for each pupil, in partnership with parents and carers, which aims to provide the best preparation for the next stage of their education and into adulthood.
The curriculum focuses on 4 key areas:
- The core curriculum (National Curriculum 2014)
- The experiential curriculum – including spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development
- The therapeutic curriculum
- The development of Independent Living Skills (ILS)
Aims: To enable pupils to
- Develop into confident, independent young people who are able to live happy, fulfilled lives.
- Develop into informed young people, able to make successful life choices.
- Develop to their full potential – and make a valuable contribution to society.
- The school community works together to develop an ethos which guarantees that every pupil will be accepted, supported, given stability and security and kept safe. Pupils are also taught about their rights and corresponding responsibilities in line with the “Rights Respecting Schools” agenda.
- The school works in partnership with all other parties relevant to each pupil’s wellbeing and education – parents, the multi-disciplinary team of support agencies, the educational community and the wider community.
- Each pupil has a personalised learning plan supported by an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and where relevant, an Intervention Plan. Each pupil’s Statement of SEN or ECH Plan is reviewed at least annually during a Person-Centred Review. In Years 9-11, the Review includes a Transition Plan which plans specifically for the transition to adult life.
- Pupils are taught in class groups that can provide the best possible learning environment and curriculum for their needs (eg: an ASD specific group, a KS4 group working towards accreditation or a group with an emphasis on providing a therapeutic or nurturing curriculum).
- A wide variety of age-appropriate teaching and learning styles are used to deliver the curriculum best matched to each individual pupil and class group.
- Pupils will all have access when appropriate to the excellent facilities that Westfield has to offer in a wide range of curriculum areas. These include – radio station, purpose-built sports hall, climbing wall, gym, caving simulator, sensory room, allotment and specialist resourced rooms (eg: art room, science laboratory, music room, design and technology room and two kitchens for cookery).
- The use of technology to enhance learning is given high priority at Westfield and the school aims to ensure each pupil has regular access to a suitable device in all lessons (eg: laptop, desk-top or tablet). This enables pupils to use and develop their IT skills across the curriculum.
The Core Curriculum (National Curriculum 2014)
- Pupils at Westfield are taught the full National Curriculum, but this is modified as appropriate. Pupils usually work on developing skills from a Key Stage lower than their chronological age, but every effort is made to teach these in an age-appropriate way and to ensure that the skills learnt can be generalised across contexts. All learning experiences offered are carefully selected and adapted to take account of each pupil’s developmental, emotional and social stage and ability.
- Cross-curricular learning is vital to developing skills in generalization and flexibility of thought. A key aim for all teaching at Westfield is that pupils will be able to apply what they learn in the classroom in the outside world. The basic skills of literacy, numeracy and IT are consolidated and applied across all subjects and as part of many school routines.
- From Key Stage 1 to lower Key Stage 3 pupils are taught a topic-based curriculum which ensures coverage of all areas over the 3-year topic plan (See Appendix 1). There is additional discrete teaching in English (particularly phonics and basic skills), Mathematics, Computing and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL).
- There are three levels of planning for all curriculum areas – Long-Term Planning (to ensure coverage of all National Curriculum content), Medium Term Planning (termly overviews) and Short Term Planning (weekly and/or daily planning by subject/class teachers)
- From upper Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 5 pupils will have discrete subject teaching and work towards a range of accreditations (including GCSE, Entry Level Awards and Vocational Courses).
- Continuous teacher assessment records are kept on each pupil’s academic progress and achievements and assessment for learning is central to classroom dialogue and feedback (See Assessment and Recording and Marking Policies).
The experiential curriculum
- The provision of engaging activities which give pupils the opportunity to succeed, to develop spiritually, morally, socially and culturally and to enjoy learning.
- Learning which is extended beyond the classroom with a planned programme of community visits, residential trips, clubs, field work, competitions, Sports and Arts Enrichment days, links with the wider community, work experience and college link courses.
- Adults other than teachers regularly invited into college to work with pupils. These include artists, storytellers, craftspeople, engineers, parents, professionals, employers, groups from the community, volunteers and trainee teachers who enhance the experience of the pupils and school community with fresh ideas, expertise and enthusiasm.
- Assemblies and daily collective worship in class groups (“Thought for the Week”) which encourages pupils to look at the world beyond the school community, consider moral issues, explore their own beliefs, and develop understanding and compassion for those less fortunate than themselves.
- Lunch times and play times are time-tabled as integral parts of the school day and staffed accordingly. These times are seen as central to the teaching of independent living skills and in supporting the development of play and social skills.
- Broadening Horizons Curriculum (Appendix 2) (Starting October 2014) Underlying Westfield’s commitment to the experiential curriculum outlined in “Broadening Horizons: Opportunities and Challenge” is a belief in the importance of providing a broad, balanced and engaging education for each pupil that develops and generalizes their learning across contexts and develops their self-confidence and well-being.
- The Broadening Horizons curriculum describes both the opportunities that the school offers to pupils at different stages of their education and also presents challenges for pupils to achieve (eg: performing to an audience or the Jubilee Challenge). The three different levels of challenge are described in terms of Bronze, Silver and Gold so that each pupil will be provided with the opportunities most relevant to them – regardless of their age. However some of the opportunities are age-related in that they are part of the curriculum for certain age-groups (eg: Duke of Edinburgh award or a residential away from the UK mainland).
The Therapeutic Curriculum
This entitles pupils to:
- Have their individual needs met – including their sensory, social and emotional needs. These needs may be identified on an IEP (eg: sensory targets are on all IEPs for pupils with an ASD diagnosis and other pupils may have targets derived from their assessment on the Boxall Profile).
- A range of therapies as appropriate. These may delivered as part of a programme in class, by an external therapist or by the Westfield Interventions Team.
- Access to the full range of support agencies as appropriate.
Independent Living Skills (ILS)
- All pupils work towards achieving as many steps as possible on the 10 ILS ladders which are prominently displayed across the school. This is a central part of the curriculum since it is vital to pupils’ future success in living as independent a life as possible.
- Pupils’ achievements on the ILS ladders are tracked throughout the school and included in the annual reports to parents.
- All curriculum Subject Polices and Statements
- Assessment, Recording and Reporting Policy
- Marking Policy
- Single Equality Policy
- Personal and Social Education and Citizenship Policy
- The National Curriculum 2014
- United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
UNCRC Article 29: All children have a right to an education which helps to develop their individual potential