School Curriculum- Aims, Approaches & Assessment

What is the curriculum?

The curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning and personal growth, development and independence. It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum taught in classrooms, but also any other activity organised by school, for example, educational visits and any other activities designed to enrich the experience of the children.

What is our vision for how our outstanding curriculum will develop even further in the coming years?

  • Our curriculum will provide a strong element of ‘personalisation’, with a range of different pathways developed to enable each pupil over the long term to reach her/his own potential, whatever that might be.
  • The curriculum will have even stronger relevance for our pupils’ current and future lives.
  • The curriculum will continue to inspire a life-long love for learning.
  • Our broad and balanced curriculum will be highly effective in helping prepare children and young people for life in modern Britain.
  • The curriculum will be significantly enriched and brought vividly to life through a wide range of first-hand learning experiences beyond the classroom.
  • Pupils, where appropriate, will regularly express their needs and wishes in relation to the curricular pathway they follow.

What do we strive to achieve for our pupils to become, as a result of our outstanding curriculum?

  • Successful learners who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve exceptionally well
  • Confident individuals who are able to get on well with each other and live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives
  • Respectful and responsible adults who are well prepared to play their part as law-abiding citizens in modern Britain, valuing equally different faiths and beliefs

Which are the most important aspects of children’s learning that underpin the content of our curriculum?

We prioritise:

  • Communication skills
  • Numeracy
  • Personal, Social and Health Education, including healthy lifestyles
  • Physical skills
  • Independence

We provide a balanced, broadly based and relevant curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils, preparing them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

What is our overall approach to the organisation, planning and teaching of our curriculum?

Our partnership with you

Before your child starts school, you will be invited to come and see the classroom, meet the teacher and senior members of staff in order to set up a partnership with you that will last throughout your child’s time at school. We place a high value on dialogue and exchange of information with parents/carers because knowing your expectations and priorities for your child is vital for us if we are to plan the best provision.

The ‘Big Picture’ for our curriculum

Specialist provision

  • a specialist (local) curriculum is provided in the classes for sensory learners
  • physiotherapy
  • nursing
  • thematic approach
  • accreditation and inclusion
  • priority areas

 Sensory Learners

In room 10 the pupils follow a curriculum written by staff at Victoria School MSI Unit in Birmingham. There are four phases and eight Curriculum domains:

  • Social relationships and emotional development;
  • Communication;
  • Conceptual development;
  • Sensory responses;
  • Understanding of time and place;
  • Orientation, movement and mobility;
  • Ownership of learning;
  • Responses to routines and changes

The class follows a termly theme with a focus on whole class, small group and individual work. On the timetable subjects may be identified but also activities such as Intensive Interaction, sensory stories, Rebound Therapy and individual programmes will also be evident.

Room 10 Example of 2 Year Curriculum

In this class there is an emphasis on multidisciplinary working with staff from Health and the Sensory Service supporting the pupil’s progress and wellbeing. Pupils are assessed using B Squared but also Routes for Learning or the MSI Profiles.

Key Stage 3

At The Russett School we are following a thematic approach to teaching the National Curriculum as this enables pupils to link skills and knowledge taught across the theme. Pupils follow a three-year thematic rolling programme.

We continue to emphasise communication skills because they lie at the heart of teaching and learning. We adopt a ‘total communication approach’, drawing, for instance, on signing, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs) and objects of reference. This model enables a shared understanding between adult and learner, without which no true learning can take place.

Learning activities are organised through schemes of work which are derived from the National Curriculum but adapted to suit the learning needs of the individual. Students are set challenging targets but there is a commitment to fun and enjoyment whilst learning. There are also increasing opportunities to participate in educational visits and extra-curricular activities, for examples in Key Stage 3, pupils may work towards environmental awards which allow more time for learning beyond the classroom.

How do we approach and what do pupils learn from different subjects in the curriculum?

  • English: Pupils access a wide range of texts from schemes such as Project X, Oxford Reading tree and Badger Learning Books. This gives a variety of fiction and non–fiction books helping to develop reading range. PM Benchmark is used as a reading assessment tool. Developing pupils’ ability to respond, to listen and to understand, lies at the heart of our curriculum. Reading Pro is used as a tool to assess and develop pupils’ comprehension skills.
  • Mathematics: The teaching of mathematics enables pupils to use their awareness and developing understanding of pattern, space, shape and number, to develop problem-solving skills that contribute to making choices, taking decisions and gaining control over their immediate environment.
  • Science: The teaching of Science gives all pupils the opportunity to think and learn, and develop an interest in and curiosity about, the world around them. In particular, science offers pupils the opportunities to use their senses to explore and investigate, to develop an awareness of, and interest in, themselves and their immediate surroundings and environment. We also encourage pupils to participate in practical activities and develop an understanding of cause and effect.
  • Personal, Social and Health Education, including Citizenship and Careers Education: Learning PSHE and citizenship helps all pupils develop as individuals in a wider society. Pupils learn to understand themselves physically, emotionally, socially and sexually and understand their relationships with others. In particular, PSHE and citizenship offer pupils opportunities to make choices and decisions, develop personal autonomy by having a degree of responsibility and control over their lives.                                                                                                                           Careers is a vital part of the curriculum. From KS3 students are encouraged to think about the world of work and related skills, the curriculum is designed to develop knowledge, skills and learning useful in lifelong learning and work. Presentations from older students who have participated in work experience and talks from visitors give students the opportunity to consider options available. From Year 9 a member of staff from the Young People’s Service attends the annual person centred review meetings to help the student plan for the future and make the most of their life and career opportunities.
  • Religious Education (RE): Religion is the experience and expression of faith. Learning about religion and learning from religion are important for all pupils, as RE helps pupils develop an understanding of themselves and others. RE promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of individuals and of groups and communities. In particular, RE offers pupils opportunities to develop their self- awareness, understand the world they live in as individuals and as members of groups, develop positive attitudes towards others, respecting their beliefs and experience, reflect on and consider their own values and those of others and deal with issues that form the basis for personal choices and behaviour.

We are very proud to have been awarded the RE Quality Mark twice- Gold standard.

  • Physical Education (PE): PE gives all pupils opportunities to develop their physical skills and to apply those skills in different situations. It also enables personal and group achievements to be acknowledged. In particular, PE offers pupils opportunities to develop their skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement, promote a healthy lifestyle and contribute towards their physical development. PE also develops the personal qualities of commitment, fairness and enthusiasm.
  • Computing/Information Communication Technology (ICT): Developing capability in ICT helps all pupils become part of the rapidly changing world in which technology is an essential part. ICT helps pupils take greater responsibility for their own learning, plan and organise their ideas, and produce and present work of a high standard. It can also encourage creativity.
  • Humanities (Geography and History): Learning geography helps pupils develop curiosity in, and an understanding of, themselves, other people and places, and the relationships between them.                                                                                                                                                     Learning history helps pupils develop curiosity in, and an understanding of, the past and how their local community has changed. In particular, studying history offers pupils opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of the sequences, routines and chronological patterns that make up their world.
  • Design and Technology (D&T): D&T provides practical learning experiences which make it accessible to all pupils. Pupils use knowledge and understanding from across the curriculum and apply and consolidate them in practical activities. Pupils carry out practical tasks in which they all can make a contribution to the development of individual or group projects.
  • Art and Design: Art and design stimulates creativity and imagination. It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences, and is a unique way to understand and respond to the world, and to communicate with others. Pupils learn about the place and role of art, craft and design in life today, as well as in different times and cultures.
  • Music: Music is a powerful, unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. It brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of culture, past and present, it helps pupils understand themselves and relate to others and improves listening, concentration and attention skills.

14-19, including Sixth Form

Accredited courses, starting in Year 10, boost learning opportunities and raise achievements in a caring ethos which nurtures positive relationships and fosters the growth of responsible behaviour. All students will have the opportunity to:

  • achieve nationally recognised accreditation through ASDAN by gaining a diploma in ‘Life Skills’ and either an award, certificate or diploma in  ‘Personal Progress’;
  • experience the workplace, receive impartial careers guidance and advice, voice their aspirations and work with staff, including our job coach, to achieve them;
  • receive travel training;
  • experience life in the community, e.g. visits to the local post office, library, shops and colleges
  • prepare for adulthood and independent living;
  • develop skills towards economic and personal and social well-being.

In the Sixth Form, we continue to deliver a curriculum linked to nationally accredited courses (ASDAN) which is tailored to students’ individual needs, interests and priorities. Our curriculum offers opportunities for our older students to develop their learning, functional and personal skills in real-life settings in school, the workplace and college placements, for instance. Students take responsibility for planning and making lunches, for running the school café and for acting as positive role models for younger students through our “Buddying” scheme.

Our personalised progression pathways include college links, enabling students to gain real experience of, and be well-prepared for, life after school and make well-informed decisions about their future.

Our Job Coach works with individuals and small groups to help students to identify and pursue their own career aspirations, offering real life experiences of the work place, an understanding of lifelong learning, and developing skills to enable students to contribute to society.

Hyperlinks to rolling programmes:

We use different methods and procedures to check that the curriculum is well-matched to pupils’ needs and achieving what it is designed to do. These include:

  • observations of teaching made by senior staff to see how well the curriculum is being taught and assess the impact that it is making on pupils’ learning and personal development;
  • work done by subject or curriculum leaders on reviews and audits, in order to identify future priorities for curriculum development;
  • analysis of pupil achievement data to check that the curriculum is promoting the best possible progress for learners;
  • questions asked by governors about the effectiveness of the curriculum and about the evidence that school leaders have of its impact on pupils’ learning and development;
  • feedback from parents/carers, so we can take account of their views on how well the curriculum is working.

  How can I find out more about the The Russett’s curriculum?

Other ways you might wish to use to find out more include:

  • Making an appointment to come into school to look at relevant documents, such as schemes of work
  • Making an appointment to come into school to talk to a senior member of staff.