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Being Creative with our Curriculum!

At Darley Community Primary School we follow the statutory guidelines as set out in the National Curriculum 2015. We also follow the North Yorkshire Syllabus for Teaching RE across the school.    Please click on 'New Curriculum' for further information.  

Class teachers ensure that the statutory elements of the curriculum are taught but then develop their teaching and the children's learning by ensuring that the content of lessons is stimulating, exciting, relevant and enjoyable.  For more specific details concerning what individual classes are learning, please visit the class home pages - Ribble or Swale via the Learning Zone.

 

(The following excerpt is taken from an appreciative enquiry carried out by a TDA Consultant and former Ofsted Inspector)

Darley school has developed its approach to  learning through the use of a curricular framework that has five core features (excitement, friendship, happiness, cooperation and determination) at its heart.The curriculum is organically developed – along the lines of 6 genericand related themes - with reference to the National Curriculum and constructed with direct contribution from children who raise key questions that they would like to enquire into at the start of each half term. The details of the programme of study are then designed by staff in response to children’s interest and curiosity.

                                             The learning environment

Darley is a stimulating place to learn and staff have worked collectively to create physical and emotional surroundings that enhance learning and invite engagement. Space is used well and all areas are well kept and cared for by all members of the school community. The classroom displays are thoughtfully designed to support learning; children are expected to contribute their thinking and the displays help to make this visible. Especially powerful are those elements of display that are provisional and organic in nature: they contain children’s words questions and reflections and there is a very real sense that the intention is to support contemporary learning as well as celebrate achievement. The displayed work is of a good standard and illustrates expectations and potential and most are rendered interactive by the quality of questions that are visible. The displays challenge children to think and to respond.  It is interesting to note that the displayed work in the public and shared spaces are qualitatively different in design and purpose from those that more directly support ongoing learning. Throughout the display offers a means by which children and their achievements are celebrated and there is a strong relational bias in the items that staff have chosen to exhibit. The school’s commitment to the global community is also strongly reflected in classrooms and shared spaces.

The children benefit from a well designed outdoor area that adds value to learning and provides scope for different approaches to learning to be accommodated. Children and staff demonstrate pride in their environment and contribute to its care.

Learner engagement

Children are highly engaged in their learning. One child was overheard commenting to her class, “Oh good it’s raining! This means we can stay in and ask some more questions. They initiate the design of the curriculum they follow and help educators to co-construct their experiences. In this way children’s voice has an authentic bearing upon their experience of school and a sense of direct ownership is developed. Children’s questions are displayed through the school and teachers planning is closely connected to what themes emerge. The school has developed a view of learning that is fundamentally centred around the needs of each child and stresses the requirement for children to be involved and happy in their work. The staff’s work to implement SEAL and offer valued rewards to children supports this aspect of school life.

Children are confident and capable learners and the outputs they generate are of good quality. They ask and respond to questions with similar levels of enthusiasm and their spoken contributions are treasured by staff.

Pedagogy

At Darley Primary School children are seen as individual learners and it is apparent that staff know them well. Assessment for learning provides the bedrock upon which children are supported and challenged to achieve their very best. Relationships are highly valued and large amounts of time and energy are committed to nurture them. For example, children who move into or away from the school are recorded on special display board that makes their presence – and absence – visible.

Teaching is interactive dialogic and facilitative. Talk is important and the school invests much in ensuring that conversations are rich and learningful, including focusing on pedagogical strategies such as the Talk project.

Professional development supports this work and enables staff to share and refine their practice. The recent innovations in the school’s curriculum have prompted a great deal of professional reflection and conversation that helps the school to generate common approaches to learning. The scale of the school allows staff to model pedagogy and learn from one another in an informal and organic way. The school has a significant number of part time colleagues who operate job shares. This adds to the number of colleagues working in this very small establishment and enriches the professional gene pool.  On a practical level, in a situation where children are to a great degree steering the direction of their learning the additional staff that job sharing brings means that the expertise that children require is more likely to be present especially where teachers and other adults are encouraged to play to their strength and enthusiasms. Colleagues reflect together and provide one another with feedback. Staffroom conversations are dominated by ideas on teaching, learning and – most crucially – learners.

There is a real sense of a community of professionals and learners who have pride in their school and the environment they have created. They each model learning well and place children at the heart of their efforts.