Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Policy

Legal Status

This is a Statutory Policy that complies with the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2014, enforced January 2015, Part 1: Quality of Education

Policy Applies to:-

  • The whole school, including EYFS, along with all activities provided by the school including those outside the normal school hours
  • All staff (teaching and non-teaching) and volunteers working within the school

Related Documents:-

  • Assessment, Marking and Reporting Policy
  • Educational Visits and Off-Site Activities Policy
  • Positive Behaviour Policy
  • Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education Policy
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Non-Discrimination Policy
  • Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education Policy
  • EYFS Curriculum
  • e- safety Policy
  • This Policy should also be read with the School Prospectus, either on-line (www.thecedarsschool.co.uk) or a paper copy

Availability

This Policy is made available to staff, parents and pupils via the school website and, on request, a paper copy may be obtained from the School Office.

Monitoring and Review

This Policy is subject to continuous monitoring, refinement and audit by the Head Teacher.

Policy Statement
We aim to provide a broad based academic Curriculum enhanced by educational visits and extra curricula activities which will be delivered within the context of the schools aims and ethos.

The Curriculum must be seen as the major component of a child’s education and together with pastoral care and the co-curricular activities offered, helps children to develop a wide range of key and transferable skills.

We aim to provide a challenging and stimulating curriculum, which encourages an enthusiasm and love for learning and develops intellectual curiosity, creativity and personal growth.

Our Curriculum is well planned for each age group and Key Stage and ensures that children of all abilities, including those with special education needs and/or disabilities are able to acquire knowledge and understanding, develop and practise new skills and make progress in a range of areas of learning.

Where a child has a statement of special educational needs, (EHC Plan) we make provision to meet the requirements set out in the statement.

Aims

The Cedars School aims to produce children who are happy and well balanced, and:-

  • who are curious and have a thirst for knowledge.
  • who know how to learn and work independently.
  • who understand their own ability
  • who strive to produce their best results at all times.
  • who are kind, compassionate and tolerant.
  • who live healthy lifestyles.
  • who are prepared for the next stage in their lives.
  • Who know how to behave appropriately and are well mannered

We do this by:-

  • providing a fun, stimulating and challenging learning environment.
  • reflecting our high expectations through encouraging independent learning and self discipline.
  • establishing a mutually supportive partnership, in which parents and staff share responsibility for the education of the children.
  • promoting an awareness of, and respect for, a diversity of cultures, values and beliefs and abilities.
  • Working together to create a caring community of learners, where every child feels safe and valued.
  • Ensuring that all children have appropriate and equal access to the Curriculum.

Our curriculum – Essential Skills

The Cedars School is committed to providing a curriculum which ensures that all of the children acquire and develop skills appropriate to their age and aptitude in the following areas:-

  • Linguistic: This area is concerned with developing communication skills and increasing a child’s command of language through listening, speaking, reading and writing. These skills are most overtly brought into focus in lessons in English. The teaching of literacy and literacy skills is not, however, confined to these subjects and the policy of the school is that teachers will encourage good linguistic and literary standards in all the children’s work. (Modern Foreign Languages and Latin are taught in school.)
  • Mathematical: This area helps The Cedars’ children to make calculations, to understand and appreciate relationships and patterns in number and space, and to develop their capacity to think logically and express themselves clearly. Their knowledge and understanding of mathematics is developed in a variety of ways including practical activity, exploration and discussion.
  • Scientific: This area, at The Cedars, is concerned with increasing the children’s knowledge and understanding of nature, materials and forces, and with developing the skills associated with science as a process of enquiry, ie: observing hypotheses, conducting experiments and recording their findings.
  • Technological: Technological skills for the children can include information and communication technology, coding, developing, planning and communicating ideas, working with equipment, materials and components to produce products that the children are proud of, and evaluating processes and products.
  • Human and Social: This area is concerned with people and their environment and how human action, now and in the past, has influenced events and conditions. At The Cedars History, Geography and Religious Education make a strong contribution to this area.
  • Physical: The aim in this area is to develop the physical control and co-ordination of the children, as well as their tactical skills and imaginative responses to help them evaluate and improve their performance. Children also acquire knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of fitness and health.
  • Aesthetic and Creative: This area is concerned with the process of making, composing and inventing. There are aesthetic and creative aspects to all subjects, but some make a particularly strong contribution; including computing and the study of literature, music, art and drama, as they call for personal, imaginative and often practical responses.

Curriculum, Teaching and learning

The curriculum is based on the National curriculum. It has been developed to increase each child’s knowledge and skills across a broad range of subjects such that they make good progress according to their ability. The curriculum is constantly under review, taking account of the changes in the needs of our children and of those of our society.

We aim to do this in a fun and exciting environment such that our children become self motivated, able to think and learn for themselves, therefore enabling them to apply their intellectual, physical and creative skills.

Our staff are enthusiastic and have good knowledge of the subject matter being taught. They adopt teaching methods applicable to the children in the group and subject dependent.

Children are taught in mixed age classes and work according to their ability. This ensures that children only progress to the next level when their knowledge and understanding of a subject is sound enabling individual needs to be met.

We ensure that no child is discriminated against by ensuring that we take account of the needs of each child and ensuring that all are treated fairly and equally. We make reasonable adjustments to account for the needs of our children.

Those with Special Educational Needs are assessed by the class teacher and the school’s SENCO.

We believe that good role models, encouragement, a positive reward system will lead to good behaviour. The Positive Behaviour Policy outlines how best we encourage good behaviour through a series of effective strategies that encourage all the children to behave responsibly both in and out of school.

Lessons are planned and the following are the types of activity in which the children take part: investigations and problem solving, research, computing, practical activities, outdoor activities and visits, debates, role play and drama and oral presentations. Children may undertake work independently, in pairs or in groups. We encourage children to take responsibility for their own learning.

We understand that children learn in different ways and respond to different types of input (visual, auditory or kinaesthetic) therefore our teachers will deliver teaching in differnet ways to address the needs of each child.

We monitor curriculum, teaching and learning by:

  • reviewing each subject area of the curriculum regularly and at least annually
  • ensuring that all year groups are taught the requirements of our curriculum and that lessons have appropriate learning objectives and outcomes
  • monitoring and reviewing school practices which impact upon teaching and learning.
  • Monitoring and reviewing the way in which subjects are taught
  • Monitoring the support that class teachers require
  • |Using and assessing well – judged and effective teaching methods and managing class time
  • providing Teaching Assistants in class
  • providing differentiated teaching to take account of the most able and those with special educational needs.
  • Setting appropriate homework.
  • providing good quality accommodation and good quality, appropriate resources
  • setting up Individual Learning Plans (ILP) for those children with SEND
  • Maintaining regular communication with the parents/ guardians and the child regarding the ILP
  • Making reasonable adjustments for children with SEND.
  • The School’s Positive behaviour policy

See also the Inclusion Policy, Special Education Policy and Anti Bullying Policy

Planning

Planning is vital to the educational process. Looking at the curriculum lessons are planned to take account of the each subject area and the skills and knowledge that we hope our children will acquire. This planning takes account of the range of the aptitudes, needs, skills and prior knowledge within the class. Our staff use prior knowledge of the subjects to ensure that the lesson is taught in an appropriate room with the appropriate materials available.

We do this by establishing:

  • Long Term plans for each Key Stage, indicating what topics are taught in each term and to which group of children. This takes account of the mixed age teaching groups within the school.
  • Medium Term Plans which clear guidance on the objectives that are set for each topic.
  • Short Term plans that are prepared weekly/daily to set out the objectives for each session and to identify resource and activities for the lessons.

Progress and assessment

The school has a high ratio of teaching staff to pupils and we also have a close working relationship with parents/ guardians; both of these factors enables us to know the children well, be able assess their needs and to plan lessons to take account of each child.

Assessment is on – going and in variety of formats, formal, National Standardised tests are undertaken, the children complete in house tests and staff make ‘teacher’ based assessments. The assessment process enables teachers to be able to accurately plan and then deliver appropriate work and also allows us to see each child’s progress.

Progress, assessed through a variety of means, is measured on a regular basis, targets set and lesson plans put in place.

Teachers mark homework in line with our policy.

Informative assessment takes place continuously in the classroom and comprises of:-

  • well understood learning objectives, which are shared with the children.
  • plenaries being used as assessment opportunities.
  • effective teacher questioning.
  • observations of learning.
  • analysing and interpreting evidence of learning to inform future planning.
  • sensitive and positive feedback to the children.

See also Assessment, Marking and Reporting Policy

We do this by:

  • Weekly in – house spelling and multiplication tables tests
  • Half terminally ‘teacher’ based assessments
  • Annual Cognitive Ability tests for years 4 – 6
  • Annual National standardised tests
  • Recording test scores and analysing the data.

Staff training and resources

To provide the very best teaching staff are expected to have good knowledge of the subject they are teaching. Lessons are observed and have to meet agreed criteria. All staff take part in annual reviews.

Staff take part in regular training and development both in and out of school and share good practice between themselves.

New members of staff follow a training programme.

EAL

Children who have English as an Additional Language (EAL) are assessed on entry to the school and lessons are planned to take account of their needs. If the child needs additional support, small group work may be provided or 1: 1 work to enable them to fully access the curriculum.

See also EAL policy

Children with Special Educational needs and Disabilities (SEND)

We understand that all children have a variety of needs and our policies and practices ensure that each child’s needs are quickly identified so that an Individual Learning Plan can be put in place. The ILP is designed to provide the additional assistance that a child might need. They are monitored by the class teacher and by the school’s SENCO. Parents and their child are always involved in the planning, learning stages and reviewing stages. The reviews take place termly.

See also the SEND policy

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

We actively promote personal, social, health and economic education for each child; we understand the value of PHSEE is a n important part of a child’s development and it is an integral part of our currciulum, reflecting the school’s aim s and ethos.

Through good role models, children receive a comprehensive, age appropriate programme which infoms all aspects of the school day.

We provide positive experiences through planned activities so that our children:

  • understand the need for, and take part in activities to establish a healthy lifetsyle
  • are aware of the needs of themselves and those around them
  • engender mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
  • understand that certain characteristics are protected by law
  • understand and have regard for the fundamental British Values of Democracy, the rule of law and individual liberty
  • have economic education to prepare them for the next stage in their life
  • have age appropriate sex and relationship education

See also the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Policy

Early Years Education

There is a separate curriculum for the children in the Early Years in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. This takes account of the three prime areas of learning – Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. These are applied and strengthened through the four specific areas – Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding The World and Expressive Arts and Design.

Timetable

The Timetable is constantly under review. When allocating lesson times, we are mindful of Government Guidance.

Effective Classroom and Learning Environment

Each of our Teachers maintains good relationships with all the children in their class, and treats them with kindness and respect. We recognise that they are all individuals, with different needs and we treat them fairly, giving them equal opportunities to take part in class activities.

We praise children for their efforts and, by doing so, we help them to build positive attitudes towards the school and learning in general. We insist on good order and behaviour at all times and when children misbehave we follow the guidelines for sanctions, as outlined in our School Positive Behaviour Policy.

We aim to provide a learning environment which:-

  • is challenging and stimulating.
  • is peaceful and calm.
  • is happy and caring.
  • is organised and well-resourced.
  • makes learning accessible.
  • is encouraging and appreciative.
  • is welcoming.
  • provides equal access and inclusion.
  • provides a professional working atmosphere.

 

English As An Additional Language (EAL)

The Cedars School is committed to providing children with the necessary support and teaching when they have English as a second language. To this end, there is a policy in place, which should be referred to, and established practices are implemented throughout the school

Learning Outside the Classroom – Educational Visits/Off-Site Activities

Integral to our Curriculum is a wide range of educational experiences which extend beyond the classroom door and enrich the Curriculum. Visits may be linked to a topic or are designed to extend a child’s knowledge of the world in which they live. Years 5/6 take part in an annual residential outing where they will take part in outward bound activities designed to help with team building and provide challenges that the children would not otherwise meet in the school environment.

Subjects Offered

Years/Key Stages Subjects
Years 1 – 6

Key Stages 1 & 2

Mathematics, English, Science, French, Geography, History, RE, Computing, Art & Design, Technology, Music, Drama, PHSEE, Physical Education and Games

Homework

Homework is set as appropriate throughout the school. Parents, of children in all ages groups, are encouraged to read with their children. The school expects the children to spend the following time on their homework:-
Communication With Parents/Carers

We believe that parents and carers have a fundamental role to play in helping children to learn; to this end we do all we can to inform them about how their children are learning and achieving by:-

  • Holding Parent/Carer evenings to explain our school strategies.
  • Sending information to parents/carers at the start of each term, in which we outline the topics that the pupils will be studying during that term.
  • Uploading Curriculum Policies and Overviews to the School Website (www.thecedarsschool.co.uk).
  • Sending reports to parents/carers, in which we explain the progress made by each child and indicate how the child can progress or improve further.
  • Explaining to parents/carers how they can support the children with their homework.
  • Operating an “open door policy”.
  • Maintaining strong lines of communications with all parents/carers.

We believe that parents/carers have a responsibility to support their children and the school in implementing School Policies. We would like parents to:-

  • Ensure that their child has the best attendance and punctuality possible.
  • Do their best to keep their child healthy and fit to attend school.
  • Inform the school if there are matters outside of school, which are likely to affect a child’ performance or behaviour at school.
  • Promote a positive attitude towards the school, staff and learning in general.

Concerns and Complaints

Parents/Carers who have concerns or complaints about any aspect of the Curriculum should, in the first instance, discuss these with the child’s Teacher. If the issue is not resolved, parents should contact the Head Teacher or her Deputy. The school has a separate Complaints Procedure in place, which may be found on the website (www.thecedarsschool.co.uk) or a paper copy may be obtained from the School Office.

 

Reviewed January 2020

Review Due 2021

 

Appendix to Curriculum Policy

Differentiation

 

At The Cedars School, differentiation takes place in all lessons in order to ensure that each and every one of our pupils is able to access the curriculum to their full potential and to feel confident in their success as a learner. Effective differentiation helps pupils to realise excellence through perseverance. Rather than operating the more typical ‘Gifted and Talented’ provision delivered in many other schools to target higher attaining and/or highly engaged pupils, we believe that all pupils should be stretched and encouraged to learn both in and beyond the classroom. Where pupils show a particular aptitude and/or interest in an area of learning, the teacher will identify and monitor this and, where possible, plan opportunities within the school. Parents will also be provided with information about opportunities beyond school; out of school achievements in any area are shared and celebrated in school assemblies.

For this reason, our ultimate aim is that differentiation should be personalised, such that each child is able to work to secure maximum learning and engagement. Our Differentiation policy and procedures take into consideration the needs of both the More Able pupils and our SEND pupils.

Differentiation at The Cedars takes five distinct forms:

By task – where pupils of differing abilities and/or learning styles are given tailored activities to enable them to achieve the Learning Objective to the best of their abilities.

By outcome – where all pupils are given the same, open-ended tasks to complete allowing for pupil response at different levels. This can be demonstrated through the use of ‘All, Most, Some’ structure for Learning Outcomes, within an all- encompassing Objective. This should not be relied on regularly as the sole means of differentiation, however, since it can inhibit the attainment of pupils at the lower-performing end of the class.

By support – where more support is given to some pupils than others. It should not be assumed that more support will necessarily be given to one particular pupil demographic, since it will vary by task – in some situations, for example, those pupils with SEND may need personalised support, whilst in others More Able pupils may need help to reach the next level of understanding.

By choice – Where more than one method or strategy may be deployed in order to achieve the same Learning Outcome, pupils are allowed to select the style/method that will work for them, and that they enjoy. This is most effectively used when accompanied by time for pupils to reflect upon whether they feel their choice was the right one and the way in which they learn best.

By resource – Where a different array of resources may be provided based on attainment and understanding, since some resources may be more or less suitable dependent upon literacy, speed of working, need for stretch and challenge, etc.

 

A truly effective lesson makes use of multiple types of differentiation. At The Cedars differentiation and personalisation are central to teaching and learning and ensure that all learners can access the learning provided. Our pupils have a wide ability and age range and for some pupils English may be their second language.

 

A curriculum that is differentiated for every pupil will:

  • build on past achievements;
  • present challenges to allow for more achievements;
  • provide opportunities for success; remove barriers to participation.

Pupils learn at different rates, have different areas of interest and different levels of motivation. It is unlikely that all pupils in the same class will be at the same level in particular attainment targets. Similarly, it is unlikely that any one pupil will be at the same level in all parts of a programme of study. All classes will require an element of differentiation if the pupils are to meet all the learning outcomes.

The aim is to create a learning environment that encourages children to engage their abilities to the greatest extent possible, including taking risks and building knowledge and skills in what they perceive as a safe environment.

It should focus on:

  • encouraging independence – tolerating and encouraging child initiative;
  • accepting – encouraging acceptance of others’ ideas and opinions before evaluating them;
  • variety – including a rich variety of resources, media, ideas, methods and tasks.
  • higher levels of thinking: setting tasks involving logical problems, critical thinking and problem solving;

Tasks across all subjects should be varied and include

  • open-endedness: encouraging risk-taking and the response that is right for the pupil by stressing there is no one right answer;
  • group interaction: with highly able and motivated pupils sparking each other in the task, with this sometimes being on a competitive and sometimes on a cooperative basis (depending on the task and its objectives);
  • variable pacing: allowing pupils to move through lower order thinking more rapidly but allowing more time for children to respond fully on higher order thinking tasks;
  • variety of learning processes: accommodating different pupil’s ‘learning styles’;
  • debriefing: encouraging pupils to be aware of and able to articulate their reasoning or conclusion to a problem or question;
  • varied grouping strategies: facilitating pupils to work with “like minds”, in some situations, or deliberately using ‘mixed-ability’ grouping where interaction and differentiated roles may benefit all participants.

 

Language Considerations It can be misleading to assume that the language used by a teacher will be understood by all the class. Some pupils have very weak linguistic abilities with both receptive and expressive language problems. They may miscomprehend simple commands and appear to be lazy or stubborn, when in reality they just do not understand the instructions. Bearing this in mind, the teacher needs to differentiate the language used, keeping it simple, again highlighting key words, and asking pupils to repeat the instructions of a given task in their own words.

Good Teaching Practices Teachers should get to know the pupils well, becoming aware of any factors which may affect their learning, e.g. minor hearing problems. Moving around the class will let pupils feel they have had the teacher’s individual attention. An ethos should be established whereby a contribution from pupils is valued, with all achievements being celebrated and pupils being encouraged to become involved and to take risks with the articulation of ideas and suggestions. Constructive feedback should be given to pupils orally and in the marking of their work (see Assessment, Marking and Recording Policy). Records of assessment, which indicate what each pupil has already achieved and their individual levels of understanding, are also kept. Adjusting Questions: during large group discussion activities, teachers direct the higher- level questions to pupils who can handle them and adjust questions accordingly for pupils with greater needs. All pupils are answering important questions that require them to think but the questions are targeted towards the pupil’s ability or readiness level. Teachers need to know what the Learning Outcomes are and assess whether these have been reached.