Delivering a Curriculum for Excellence HAMPDEN SCHOOL AND NURSERY October 2010 ‘One day it will not matter how much I have in the bank, the car I drive or the house I live in, but that once I was important in the life of a child’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer Vision, Aims and Values The statement above best exemplifies our absolute commitment to making a difference to the life of every child educated at Hampden school. Although our pupils have complex learning needs, we aspire that every one of them will be enabled to reach their fullest potential and become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens. All of our learning and teaching approaches will begin in response to the needs of the individual child. We continually self-evaluate our practice at every level as a learning community, building our capacity for improvement and we aim to put in place opportunities for the children themselves to exercise personalisation and choice in their individual learning in terms of their aptitudes and enjoyment. In all we do, we aim to provide an educational experience which is relevant, broad and coherent and tailored to the needs of each child. It is our hope that this will bring them challenge and enjoyment as they progress and deepen their understanding. As part of our self-evaluation process, we have audited our present progress towards ACE, using Glasgow TACLE materials and referring to Glasgow’s Learning and Teaching Strategy (2009). (See also Vision, Values and Aims document written by Staff, December 2010). THEME 1 The Rationale and Design of the Curriculum Our pupils have complex learning needs and all require an ASP and, in some cases, a CSP. In the first instance our learning targets will be drawn from these identified individual needs. Our Curriculum Design Over a two year period, we have successfully piloted, adapted and embedded a programme of major and minor learning contexts, corresponding to the 8 curriculum areas. These are – Mathematics and Numeracy Health and Wellbeing Sciences Expressive Arts Literacy and English Social Studies Religious and Moral Education Technologies During the coming session, ‘Curriculum Champions’ will be appointed for each of the 8 curricular areas. They will have responsibilities for resource organisation and leading learning. In keeping with the recommendations of a Curriculum for Excellence, we have ensured that opportunities for learning in Mathematics, Literacy and Health and Wellbeing permeate all our learning contexts. The 7 Principles of Design are – Challenge and Enjoyment Coherence Breadth Progression Depth Personalisation and Choice Relevance We aim to deliver an education which makes the best possible use of ICT to engage and support pupils. We expect our curriculum to be delivered in exciting, innovative and interactive ways. We want our pupils to be actively experiencing a wide variety of environments in the wider community, learning through play and enjoying learning experiences outdoors as well as within a conventional classroom setting. We plan to offer opportunities for pupils of different ages and developmental stages to come together and share learning, eg enterprise. In our new school, we aim to offer increased opportunities for the whole school to come together to enjoy celebrations, achievements and religious observances. Whilst Literacy, Numeracy and Health and Wellbeing flow across all our learning, our learning blocks are planned across cross-curricular themes where there is specific focus on selected outcomes and experience. These learning contexts are used to deepen learning as the child makes planned progress through the school. All our pupils have Additional Support Plans and some have Co-ordinated Support Plans. When staff are working within the class team and consulting with their mentor, they will regularly revisit their long and short term targets to ensure that these needs are addressed within the plan. All appropriate partners and parents are regularly consulted too. Application of the Principles The environment for learning in our complex needs setting promotes a high degree of challenge and enjoyment and personalisation and choice through planned opportunities to explore different activities, materials and contexts and imaginative, creative use of both indoor and outdoor learning environments. Learning within any particular activity will prompt different aspects of learning in individual ways for children. Approaches which involve children in planning mats and respond flexibly to their interests and needs, eg Talking Mats also contribute to personalisation and choice. Learning activities provide rich opportunities for progression and depth of learning. The learning activities and environment should be planned and organised to offer opportunities to extend skills (for example language skills) and deepen understanding. Active learning will promote the development of logical and creative thinking and encourage a problem-solving approach, where possible. The adult role in supporting progression is very important. It will vary, sometimes observing and supporting, other times facilitating and skilfully intervening in, or extending, the activities and experiences to promote progression and learning in depth. Direct teaching and focused work with groups or individual children will help to develop specific skills and knowledge in particular areas of learning or will take account of additional support needs. We are mindful that the balance between self-directed and adultinitiated learning opportunities needs to be carefully considered and monitored. Learning through a wide range of well-designed activities will also offer relevance, coherence and breadth. Activities will often build directly on what is familiar to the child and the local environment and events can be used to provide interesting, real-life contexts for learning. Learning in a variety of contexts supports and reinforces the development of numeracy, literacy and health and wellbeing across the curriculum. The experiences and outcomes at the early level can be used in suitable combinations to plan motivating and challenging activities. Taken together, as appropriate to the stage of development of each child, these activities should provide breadth of learning across the curriculum areas. Activities planned in this way and which build on what is familiar should enable children to make connections, give coherence to their learning and enable them to understand the relevance of what they are learning. We are committed to broadening every child’s experience of local, national and global contexts eg, the local allotment project ,St Andrew’s Day and the World Cup. To this end there is a busy schedule of visits and excursions planned every term. Our annual MILAP party aims to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to connect with their cultural heritage. To ensure relevance for learners with complex additional needs, many of our learning contexts remain ‘close to home’ in order to ensure that the child can see relevance and engage in the learning. We regularly share our curriculum content ideas with parents and carers, through our specially designed Standards and Quality Report and parents’ evenings. There is a year plan provided in the home-school diary which details the topic titles and curricular focus of each learning block. Teachers use this to make suggestions of how parents can become more involved in their children’s learning. Senior Managers will regularly work alongside class teachers, looking closely at one of the seven principles of design and providing feedback on curriculum delivery. THEME 2 The Development of the Curriculum ‘How we teach is as important as what we teach’ Glasgow ‘Learning and Teaching Strategy’ May 2009 All of our pupils experience some difficulties in communication. We must therefore engage them in active and experiential styles of learning that are not overly reliant on verbal and written learning alone. We make considerable use of ICT to enhance communication. Value Adding our Curriculum – Wider Achievements At school assemblies and in classes, we embrace every opportunity to celebrate the achievements of individuals. Through eco and charity related activities, we prepare our children to participate as citizens eg Water Aid. We have a long established and highly successful tradition of enterprise education where our pupils can see and experience the world of work eg Dog’s Trust. We have devised an annual programme for religious observances to ensure that we celebrate several cultural and religious events. The curriculum, then, is not an inflexible fixed list. It is a carefully constructed framework of experiences in context where outcomes are planned from Early and First stages material and tailored to meet the evolving needs of our very individual learners. CURRICULUM CHAMPIONS In line with the recommendations in ‘Building the Curriculum 5’, we hope to identify staff members who will build and share curricular expertise in the discrete curricular areas. They will take on responsibilities for resource management and organisation when the school refurbishment is complete. They will also make additional suggestions for the best possible methods of collecting evidence to support our judgements regarding assessment. THEME 3 Planned Learning, Including Programmes and Courses The Planning process Cross curricular topic plans are written and saved electronically in a shared area, eight times per year, (See school calendar for dates for this session).Teachers write only a group plan for the four ‘minor’ topics. They write individualised topic plans for each child for the remaining ‘major’ topic plans. The curricular focus for major and minor topics alternates annually. For children under three, individualised learning is described using the Learning Steps from The Birth To Three Curriculum. Topic plans will be read by a member of the SMT who is the teacher’s appointed mentor for the session. Mentors provide timely written feedback and also offer verbal guidance and support at the mentor meetings which are also scheduled throughout the school year. The mentors will have a particular focus on the self evaluation comments from the previous topic and discussion will seek to ensure that the next steps, where they are identified for each child, are the most appropriate. These discussions will also ensure a focus on appropriate levels of differentiation. Mentors also encourage teachers to reflect on and self evaluate learning and teaching in their classrooms. Teacher and mentor comments are recorded electronically in a shared area. Mentor meetings, written feedback and guidance are also further complemented by Mentor Monitor visits which are scheduled four times a year. Here, the mentor will work alongside the teacher and offer further observations or guidance. These visits will have a pre agreed focus such as one of the 7 principles of curriculum design. In keeping with the AiFL approach, all new planning should be based on a clear picture of what the child has accomplished so far, based on careful evaluations of learning and teaching, leading to appropriate next steps. Class teachers refer to the long term targets established for each child at review meetings, as recorded in their PEP-r, ASP or CSP documents. These are referred to throughout the session as necessary. In addition, all children have a programme of individualised educational activities which may be informed by, for example the ASP. PEPr assessment or teacher observation. These activities provide opportunities for individualised teaching of new skills .They also allow the child to consolidate existing skills with the help of a Pupil Support Assistant. At the class team meeting, teachers work alongside support staff when finalising the learning plans. The observations of support staff are important in the identification of next steps for learning. Teachers will consult with the other professionals who support the child eg Nurse, Physio, SLT. There will also be an ongoing dialogue with parents who can deepen our knowledge and understanding of the child. Parents/carers are encouraged to seek the advice of the mentor or Headteacher during the course of the planning block as required. On some occasions, it may be necessary to change or augment plans in response to children’s needs or the issues the parent has identified. At Hampden School and Nursery, all staff are expected to be fully familiar with the pedagogical approaches referred to in the toolkit for teaching within Glasgow’s Learning and Teaching Strategy. We will, of course, adapt these approaches if required to make them relevant to the needs of our pupils. Assessment and Reporting At the time of writing, we are continuing to assimilate ‘Building the Curriculum 5’ and will continue to look for the best possible methods to assess, and record our pupil’s progress towards their learning targets. The PEPr assessment is appropriate for some of our pupils. This tool measures children’s developmental level across a range of domains. It produces a Developmental Age as baseline information. It also indicates the child’s Emerging Developmental age. Teachers use these emerging scores to create Teaching and Learning programmes. After approximately two years, children are re tested using PEPr to demonstrate progression. Since many of the pupils cannot be assessed using standardised tests, we continue to make considerable use of photography and video recording to ‘capture’ the sometimes small steps towards this progress. Each term, short term targets, drawn from agreed long term targets, are updated and sent home for Parent’s information. Staff offer opportunities for daily contact with parents in our Home/School Diaries. We schedule regular reviews to include all the agencies who support a child where we share progress and concerns with each other and the child’s parents. Formal reports are sent to parents, with a page inviting their comment, at the end of every school year. These again utilise ICT wherever possible to help the documents come alive for the reader. These documents are intended to be celebrations of achievement. As previously stated, our class teams identify next steps in learning, each block based on the formative assessment evidence we have collected. (See Assessment Policy) THEME 4 Transitions It is recognised that whilst all children are vulnerable at times of change, our pupils may need even more support at these times. Therefore, time is allocated in every school year to ensure that for Class to class transitions all our receiving teachers have the best possible assessment information on each child. It is a process and not an event! A published timetable ensures that the child is prepared for the move and given every opportunity to become accustomed to their new learning environment and personnel. We offer an induction procedure for children who join us from other establishments and work closely with parents to ensure a successful start with us. When a child leaves our school, we prepare a transition passport document which includes all the personal and assessment information to support a smooth move. All who have supported the child are involved in drawing up this document. The Role of Parents Parents are acknowledged to be the main educators of their children in many ways. We regard them as vital partners in securing the best educational outcomes for our pupils. We believe that effective two way communication is essential when planning relevant learning experiences. Our home school diaries are used by all parents and teachers to exchange important information on a daily basis. Parents are invited to reviews to seek their views on next steps in learning. Parents are invited to Special Information Evenings as well as Progress Evenings and Open Afternoons in order to share information about the work of the school as a whole and how it impacts on their child. They are also made aware of our open door policy, are welcome to phone the school and parents themselves welcome members of teaching and therapy staff into their homes for highly valuable home visits. Throughout the session we also offer one to one surgeries where parents can discuss any concerns or issues they have surrounding the wider provision for and support of their child. We seek feedback on our formal reports from parents and are always available throughout the year to informally discuss concerns should they arise. We are delighted to involve parents in the delivery of the curriculum, whether through sharing their knowledge or expertise with us or acting as helpers or fundraisers. We will continue to seek their views as we set up the learning areas in our new accommodation. We make every attempt to inform all parents regarding the life of the school, through regular newsletters and soon hope to set up a website to offer additional information. Our new accommodation will offer a Parents’ Room where they can meet on an informal basis to chat with each other. This may be used to host parent events and guest presentations or to talk to staff and advisers from school or other support agencies. Conclusion As previously stated, all our learning and teaching approaches start with the child at the centre. We aim therefore to design and deliver a curriculum that is constantly re- evaluated and refreshed in response to those needs. Our children need and deserve nothing less than a curriculum for excellence.