Watergate School Curriculum
At Watergate School we believe that we are all on a life-long learning journey. We learn, change and develop through opportunity, experience, engagement and reflection.
As educators our role is to enable our pupils to develop the skills, confidence, resilience and motivation to be life-long learners – enabling them to become “the best possible me”.
An exciting period of review – building a dynamic curriculum
We are very excited to currently be in a period of curriculum review. In order to meet the needs of our diverse pupil community, Watergate is moving away from a previously subject based curriculum and building our own child centred curriculum which:
- Has the child at its centre;
- Recognises that each pupil has a unique learning profile;
- Is rich, broad, ambitious and meaningful for each pupil;
- Develops the core skills of communication, independence and thinking;
- Provides motivating, fun, creative, enriching learning opportunities;
- Utilises appropriate, effective and innovative tools and approaches to enable learning.
Our curriculum has a very clear intent for our pupils, stemming from our belief that it is our role to enable pupils to become life-long learners and to “be the best possible me”.
Our curriculum intent is for each child to be continually developing the skills to be:
- Motivated and confident communicators;
- Independent in learning and living;
- Self-aware and able to self-regulate;
- An active member of their community;
- Motivated, persistent and enquiring
Personalised Learning: each child’s learning journey will be individualised and different from that of their peers. This can be seen in the individual learning objectives teachers set in lesson plans. For example:
- ‘Blue Class are learning to write the letter b’ – this is a generic learning objective set for a whole class of pupils and does not reflect individual learning journeys
- Rather, lesson plans at Watergate reflect the individual learning journeys of each pupil in the class;
· Mohammed is learning to make marks in sand with maximum independence
· Brian is learning to make marks in shaving foam with adult support
· Aria is learning to use spoons and ladles to scoop sand (working towards the gross motor skills necessary to feed herself)
· Barry is learning to order the letters of his name with visual prompts
· Michael is developing control of his eye movements in order to request bubbles using his eye gaze.
Watergate’s child centred curriculum has six curriculum areas, closely linked to the areas of need as identified in the SEND Code of Practice:
No learning fits into discrete boxes, therefore all areas of the curriculum and the curriculum toolboxes (see below) are intertwined in order to ensure that pupils’ development is holistic and learning is embedded and generalised.
At Watergate, we believe there are three ‘golden threads’ which weave their way through the entire curriculum:
- My Communication and Interaction
- My Independence
- My Thinking and Problem Solving
Across the school day, we aim to exploit every possible opportunity to develop, extend and apply the knowledge, understanding and skills held within these three areas.
Curriculum Toolboxes are our ‘bags of tricks’, packed full of the teaching and learning strategies, resources and environments which best support pupils to learn and develop across all areas of the curriculum.
These Toolboxes are continually reviewed and developed by lead teachers, with specific areas of expertise, in order to ensure that our pupils are able to benefit from the most up-to-date and appropriate strategies and resources available.
Watergate’s 6 Curriculum Toolboxes:
Strategies, resources and learning spaces are selected as appropriate for each individual child’s needs, interests and learning styles.
Curriculum Toolbox lead teachers are also on-hand to provide ongoing professional development, training and support for all staff, families and colleagues working with pupils.
By revising the Watergate curriculum and our assessment systems, we are able to demonstrate the impact of our child centred curriculum through individual, ipsative progress – that is, to record and measure the progress each child has made against their own starting point, focused on the individual priority areas of development for them.
Watergate’s assessment system utilises a range of assessment tools, as appropriate to each child, including:
- Individual Education Plans
- Ongoing formative recording and review (interim recording)
- EYFS profile
- Move (Movement Opportunities via Education)
- Statutory assessments as required and applicable
But what about now?
Although we are very excited and working hard to build and implement our revised curriculum, it is vital that we ensure pupils continue to benefit from our current curriculum.
We continue to work from each child’s starting point, focusing on the priority areas of development in collaboration with families and the multidisciplinary teams.
The ‘golden threads’ of communication & interaction, thinking & problem solving skills and independence are already evident in lesson plans, learning objectives and in the individual education targets set for pupils. In this way, it can be seen that we are already embedding the key elements of our ethos and philosophy.
Our staff use their expertise and experience to deliver a sensory based curriculum via highly motivating, hands-on learning experiences.
The current subject based curriculum, is linked to a two-year cycle of themes:
Cycle Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term
Travel & Transport Food Caring for Our World
Light, Sound & Electricity Where We Live Myself and the Animal Kingdom