Quality of Education:
The Senior Leadership Team has a very clear vision for the future of Co op Academy Delius’ new Curriculum. For approximately 5 years the school has used a creative curriculum approach, which has provided the pupils with a broad and enriching learning pathway. However, the SLT are now very clear that moving forward, the programme of education (it’s intent) must focus upon developing our learners’ functional, communication and independence skills. “We want our children to work hard, show resilience and be ready and skilled to manage whatever the world throws at them”. (Trust Strategic Plan, September 2019: the Curriculum we offer” (1). We want our pupils to have a voice, be part of the community and be at the heart of the community, so they will need these skills as they prepare for each and every stage.
This vision ensures that we are celebrating the Co op Value of ‘What Matters Most’ to our pupils and crucially, their families too. We too “see the curriculum as something that embraces almost everything that a child does at an academy. “ (1) .The development of our new curriculum is about to move into the next stage. It was essential that in the Autumn term we paced both ourselves and teachers with the major changes that we faced. SLT made our expectations to Leaders of Learning very, clear, and we slowly introduced new layers to the curriculum. Each big change has been brought about after CPD sessions and has also been reviewed. SLT curriculum leads are very explicit that they want to take the time to embed and get the curriculum ‘right’ and to do this, everyone needs to be on board. This has been crucial to support wellbeing as some of the changes in our ways of working have been so drastic. Some teachers felt a reduction in their confidence, however, towards the end of Autumn term these teachers felt that they were more positive and could now see the direction they felt the curriculum should go.
Prior to September 2019, a huge amount of research was completed by the SLT curriculum leads. This involved visiting other schools, attending conferences and reading credible literature. To make a purposeful curriculum to meet the diverse needs of the Co op Academy pupils, a whole staff CPD session was dedicated to this topic. The agenda for this day was to develop our Delius Curriculum Aims. As an SLT we were very clear that the whole school were clear about the intentions of our curriculum, and also that all staff could contribute.
These aims are now used as our ‘objectives’. The aims which have been created are appropriate for all pupils and it is Leaders of Learning responsibility to differentiate thus ensuring that they are wholly purposeful for each individual. An example of this is one of our maths aims, which is ‘Our Maths Curriculum helps us to learn functional skills to be independent’. For our pupils with Profound and Multiple learning Disabilities, the learning activities may involve reaching for a range of objects of differing properties which are placed in different positions around a work tray. For our pupils with Severe Learning Disabilities, the learning activities could be to find the correct money to complete a transaction, such as buying a bus ticket.
Co op Academy Delius organises classes by their ability and needs. This means that the class groups can access the most appropriate, bespoke sessions. It is crucial that the intentions for the pupils’ is in the forefront of all practitioners’ minds. For this reason, we have developed a ‘class vision’ which is a changeable set of values for the class team to use, to ensure that each session and activity continues to have purpose and can be implemented, within these class visions. For example, a value may be ‘we will move around the school and classroom with as little help as possible’. With this in mind, the implementation of a session may have emphasis upon pupils accessing their own resources, or using their individual timetables to move from one area of the school to another.
The SLT are very clear that the individual pupils are at the heart of the curriculum. Where possible, the pupils’ outcomes and ‘what their learning may look like’ will come from their EHCPs. The hope and aspirations of children and families are also important to us and these come from the EHCP, broken down into termly individual targets : bringing the golden thread of the EHCP objectives right down into a child’s ‘classroom’ ( or wherever ) personalised learning : this a very important part of implementing the curriculum. Close monitoring of teaching and learning, via planning scrutinies, ILWs and timetable reviews have been completed. Whilst it has been clear that staff are embracing the new curriculum, it is evident that the next phase of the curriculum development is to provide staff at all levels, the tools to be able to further challenge the pupils. The SLT have identified a series of learning Pathways, which they would like to introduce in Spring 2, 2020. These pathways should provide teachers with a further layer of scaffolding to support pupils’ challenge as “Achieving high standards is important” (1) for the most vulnerable pupils and is part of our inclusive ethos.
The topics and themes for the half term are going to evolve to suit the interests and needs of the ever-changing school population. SLT will monitor this to ensure that there is a balance of personalised learning, but also ensuring that pupils continue to have access to new and enriching subject matters thus not restricting their interests or skillsets. The new statutory guidance for PSHCE is supported by a standalone plan to ensure that all topics including Relationships Education and Health education are delivered within developmentally appropriate sessions. Subject leadership groups have been established and the beginnings of their action plan is to ensure that they understand themselves, ‘what their subject looks like at Delius’. Time and review cycles for the curriculum and assessment has been allocated, and shared with staff in the Autumn, for all staff to review the curriculum process and in particular in Spring and Summer term for Key Staff to have focused work, looking at timetabling, reviewing sessions and also participating in an ILW. The work that we are doing towards preparing staff for a Deep Dive, is to be purposeful, thorough and have an impact upon the curriculum, identifying any gaps in training and CPD.
The current tracking and performance of cohorts within the academy; Governors to challenge strategies aimed at tackling underperformance
Our July 2019 performance data tracked the performance of cohorts for the last academic year: recorded on our ‘score cards’, as previously shared with Governor, collected 4 or 5 times per year. Those cohorts and or subjects showing any gaps (such as reading across all cohorts were incorporated into subject lead Performance Management targets. This is also supported by the leads being supported by their NPQML tasks.
A principle focus for the academy development plan is our ‘Co op Academy Delius Expectations’. As part of our performance management schedule, SLT and some middle leaders will undertake timetable, and planning scrutinies and will evaluate the impact that this new programme of education is having on each class group and individual child.
Our tracking and assessment systems are also under review and improvement, given the demise of the P scales. This will be now collected termly, and now we are also measuring the progress and impact of EHCP targets, by trialling a bespoke process. We are now using Evidence for Learning to track all learning and a big development is tracking ‘incidental ‘learning through ‘incidental observations’, which ironically can be the most important, personalised learning , and really focus the intent of our curriculum offer on learners’ functional, communication and independence skills. “We know that some of our children face significant challenges but this won’t stop us giving them a top class education leading to top class outcomes, (1) “
See Assessment Discussion paper for more detail.
The evaluation of this new curriculum and its impact is crucial to its success. Whole school CPD time has been allocated half termly to revisit and amend our curriculum policy. Time has been allocated in the Spring and Summer term for Key Staff to have focused work, looking at timetabling, reviewing sessions and also participating in an ILW. The work that we are doing towards preparing staff for a Deep Dive, is to be purposeful, thorough and have an impact upon the curriculum, identifying any gaps in training and CPD.
We use the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ process for all the 3 parts of this process, as described above.