We are proud of the curriculum offer @DPS - a rich, broad, balanced, well-sequenced, relevant, engaging and inspiring curriculum that provides opportunities and creativity to develop the whole child. Whilst we use some schemes and subject curriculums, these have been very carefully selected, with training built in, to ensure that collectively they provide the expectations of the curriculum in a way that works for our students and staff, meets our needs and values and has the desired impact, both quantitatively and quantitatively.
We are very aware that whilst many children have made extensive progress since March 2020, the complex difficulties posed by the pandemic have left gaps for some children whilst also highlighting new needs in terms of social and emotional well-being. Our curriculum is still considered as being a 'recovery' one and is built to address complex and varied needs - it is very dependent on the cohort's specific needs (academic, social and emotional) and their abilities to retrieve previous learning.
In Reception, an interest-led curriculum is built based on the characteristics of effective learning. The Reception team meet the children’s needs through carefully planned continuous provision, which is enhanced with ‘provocations’ to inspire and challenge. Our intention when planning is to provide children with interest-led opportunities to become fully immersed and deeply engaged in their play. Our mantra is “watch, wait and wonder”, to ensure that we observe before intervening in children’s learning, to empower and enable them to resolve conflicts and issues, solve problems and develop imagination and creativity. This is built upon further in Year 1, where continuous provision continues to be in place but with a gentle move towards greater formality in Year 2.
The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) has been selected to provide engaging, cross curricula topics with a rich international outlook - something that is important to us based on our students and our school makeup ; it is used from Year 1 to Year 6. The IPC is used by over 1000 schools in over 90 countries worldwide and where possible we link with other schools to enrich learning further. The IPC is a comprehensive, thematic, creative curriculum, with a clear process of learning and specific learning goals for every subject. It also develops 'international mindedness' and encourages personal learning. The topics in Reception and beyond, fully cover the statutory expectations of the national curriculum and bring it fully to life, whist also taking learning forward beyond the national curriculum expectations. Our retrieval practices, support the children to retain the knowledge that they have gained.
Click here for our curriculum overview document demonstrating the IPC topics for each year group.
The IPC provides the basis for the majority of our English, Science, Technology, History, Geography, Music, Art and Society and some elements of the ICT & Computing curriculum. Maths, RE and PE (Physical Education) are largely discreet subjects with their own schemes of work and expectations, although links are made when they are authentic and meaningful. Planning is structured to build upon core skills, knowledge and understanding. Learning in all subject areas is supported by regular sessions in Forest School.
For maths across school, we use White Rose Maths carefully intertwined with Classroom Secrets. We carefully adapt the scheme to the needs of our cohort, using lots of manipulatives and a strong focus on problem-solving. In some year groups, we have set up ability groupings for maths, but this is always carefully considered and cohort-dependent with the benefits carefully considered.
Everything in our curriculum is supported and underpinned by our school values; these provide the individual qualities and dispositions that we believe children will need to thrive in the 21st century. There are eight IPC Personal Goals that we have adopted as our school values — enquiry, resilience, principled, communication, thoughtfulness, cooperation, respect and adaptability. Opportunities to experience and practice these are built into the learning tasks within each unit of work, in all ‘other’ subjects, assemblies and forest school. Power points and class dojos are used to celebrate the successful modelling of school values.
We ensure open access and inclusiveness, providing opportunities for all. It is important that there are no curriculum barriers — pupils will have access to all opportunities and, where there is a choice, they can select appropriately, and with guidance, according to their ambitions, interests, abilities, and needs.
We are keen to hear how curriculum learning is progressing from the children's viewpoint and have set up subject elevation groups to support this. In year group sessions, we explore children's learning in the chosen subject, their ability to recall key knowledge, use of subject-specific vocabulary, and their ability to apply skills and knowledge to an investigative-type activity. These groups contribute to our understanding of the impact of the curriculum.
Whilst class teachers deliver the majority of foundation subjects the school employs subject specialists to deliver some subjects - French, music, forest school and, additionally, training and support in some year groups for PE.
The use of trips and visits actively enriches the curriculum and are viewed by all as an integral part of the broader learning experience that children access. Residential trips are planned for Year 4 and Year 6. Opportunities are further enhanced by a wide offer of before, during and after school clubs and activities.
Assessment is a key tool in the development of the curriculum and children’s learning. Each term there is a pupil progress meeting to discuss progress and attainment in specific subjects. The SLT and teaching team, through their deep dives, continue to assess the knowledge that children have retained within their long-term memory and share this information with class teachers, to further inform planning. Ongoing assessment activity throughout the year enables teachers to assess how well knowledge covered through the year has been retained. This all feeds into the end-of-year reports and targets that are shared with parents/carers. For further information about assessment, please access the page on the 'Supporting Learning' tab of the website.
Whilst curriculum information is presented for each subject, the links between the subjects are carefully explored to provide a rich context to the learning.