Ethos and Values
At Sandringham the curriculum is designed to: recognise children’s prior learning, provide first hand learning experiences, allow the children to develop interpersonal skills, build resilience and become creative, critical thinkers. Every child is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate and welcome differences within our academy. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. We constantly provide enhancement opportunities to engage learning and believe that childhood should be a happy, investigative and enquiring time in our lives where there are no limits to curiosity and there is a thirst for new experiences and knowledge. We use Learning Pedagogy to promote positive attitudes to learning which reflect the values and skills needed to promote responsibility for learning and future success. Community involvement is an essential part of our curriculum as we celebrate local traditions, learning new skills to enable the children to take an active role in events throughout the year. Children leave our academy with a sense of belonging to a tightly knit community where they have the confidence and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners. At Sandringham we recognise the unique challenges which our learners are facing, and that employers are calling for education to expand its focus beyond the traditional cognitive domain. By one popular estimate 65% of children entering primary schools today will ultimately work in new job types and functions that currently don’t yet exist. Social skills— such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others—will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control. In essence, technical skills will need to be supplemented with strong social and collaboration skills. We see our curriculum as a vehicle for connecting with the bigger cause. This means we enable our pupils to form meaningful relationships with their learning, see patterns and apply skills into a context where learning can make a difference. This will ensure that our pupils see that their learning has human significance. They will understand that their global learning is relevant to future decisions and the active contribution they can make to the world. At the heart of our design for learning, is the need to ensure that our pupils understand themselves as citizens of world and want to contribute to both local, national and global issues which may impact on their lives.
Curriculum Design Principles
When designing sequences of learning across the curriculum, we use a teaching backwards approach. At the heart of teaching backwards is a thinking process that enables our teachers to plan and teach from a clear and well-defined destination. We believe that teaching backwards is a journey that starts with the end very clearly in mind. With this knowledge, our staff design learning that focuses on small steps progression. The schemes of learning have been designed to identify the on-going assessment of knowledge (concepts) and skills. This will support teachers to design learning to ensure that pupils retain this and build upon their prior knowledge in order to apply independently to a range of context. Our design principles have been created to enable pupils to make deep connections between learning and understanding the world they live in, leading to pupils connecting taught knowledge and skills with agency and purpose. We therefore ensure that learning is ‘deep’ rather than shallow. Deep learning requires planning for and modelling behaviours and actions associated with: Deeper thinking, Deeper purpose, Active and collaborative engagement so that pupils meet the world but are not the centre of it.
Metacognition plays a pivotal role within our teaching sequences through explaining and reasoning, thinking about evidence, evaluating and making judgements or decisions. Through deeper thinking and reflection our pupils are able to make links between subject knowledge so that they are learning systematically. Teaching our pupils to reflect, explain, justify and question is key to lesson design. Feedback is integrated into our curriculum design principles and a range of feedback types are provided throughout the sequences. We are developing the use of prompts to deepen connections with the learning and encourage pupils to respond to these to explain or reason their learning at a deeper level.
Skills for ’Empowering Learning’, are broken up into seven areas which need to be taught and nurtured across all areas and ages. These can be viewed in our academy as the ‘Learn to Learn’ skills. At Sandringham, we recognise that these need to be seen alongside basic expectations for oracy because these are, in many ways, both the key to unlocking access to many of these areas of learning, and also central to developing the ability of learners to assimilate, enjoy, voice and reflect on their learning. The essence of these oracy expectations needs to pervade the climate of the classroom, teachers’ modelling and all areas of the curriculum and academy life.