Colnbrook Meadow Curriculum
The Intent of our Curriculum
At Colnbrook School, we believe that every child should have the opportunity to reach their full potential no matter what their starting point is. We have a high proportion of children with ASD along with SLD, SEMH and LD and so we have designed our curriculum to reflect these complex needs. Using the children’s EHCP outcomes, our Learning guides and our Learning Journey assessment cycle we are able to focus on the strengths of our children and give them opportunities to develop a love for learning that prepares them for their next steps in their educational and personal journey. As can be seen in the diagram above, there are a number of features of our curriculum which we believe work together to enable all the flowers (pupils) in our meadow (the school) to flourish.
By the time children leave Colnbrook School, we want them to be:
- Effective and functional communicators, verbal or pre-verbal, capable of expressing their wants and needs and gaining pleasure from interacting with others at whatever developmental stage.
- Able to build meaningful relationships with family, friends and other who are important to them in their lives.
- Able to keep themselves safe in a variety of contexts.
- Able to manage their own emotions so they are sufficiently resilient to cope with the challenges of life.
- Able to make choices to allow them to be fit, physically and mentally healthy.
- Competent at daily living skills and problem solving in order to be as independent and manage their own self-care as much as possible.
- Able to use their literacy and numeracy skills to access information that is important to them.
- Confident enough to explore the world around them with interest and enthusiasm and want to learn new things.
- An active participant in the communities of which they are a part of and know how to be respectful of others.
In order to achieve these aims, children must experience success on a regular basis, to build their self-worth and self-belief and know that they are valued.
The Implementation of our Curriculum
In order for this to happen and given each children’s individual needs, we are required to create a bespoke curriculum for each child that takes into account the following:
- The needs and provision identified in their EHCP
- The style of learner they are
- The stage at which they are currently at in their learning
- The wishes of their family/carer
To achieve our aims above:
- We have created six learning areas which we believe are the most important for our children, identifying many of the small steps that are needed in order to develop knowledge, skills and understanding at each stage of learning.
- We have three learning phases (Planning Group 1, 2 and 3), in line with their chronological age. While children remain at very different cognitive levels, we think it is important to ensure age-appropriate learning in order to support their transition from primary to secondary school.
- We have devised three learning pathways which set out the approaches staff need to take in order to maximise access to learning for different cohorts of children.
- We have created ‘My Learning Journey’ in which goals are set twice a year that break down outcomes identified on their EHC plans into smaller steps.
- We create an ethos of being ‘Ready, Safe, Kind’ in all we do at Colnbrook.
- We work with families on an ongoing basis as to their priorities for their child’s learning, through a variety of planned events and informal conversations.
Teaching and Learning
- Throughout our curriculum areas, we ensure that children experience exciting, relevant and motivating teaching activities through a multi-sensory approach to learning that will engage learners with a range of interests.
- By ensuring our children’s EHCP’s are incorporated into our teaching and assessment cycle, we are able to ensure that the identified needs of every child is met through day-to-day teaching.
- Staff adopt a playful approach to learning, creating opportunities for children to take the lead with their learning and to follow and build upon their interests.
- Teachers plan sequences of lessons over an appropriate time period, which enable children to build on their learning and use a topic themed approach that stimulates the teachers and children’s creativity, whilst allowing for a range of learners’ abilities. A two year overview of planning is used within each planning group to ensure that there is progression throughout a child’s time at school and that each phase builds on the previous one, whilst providing sufficient repetition to build depth of understanding.
- Children are provided with clear structures and routines and the necessary resources to ensure they understand their day and the expectations of them at each point. Staff draw upon a range of strategies such as TEACCH, Attention Autism and SCERTS alongside liaising with other professionals (including SaLT, OT and EP) to deliver specialist provision to meet the individual needs of each child.
- Technology is used to support learning and engage children throughout all six learning areas including Rising Stars Online reading scheme, Purple Mash learning platform and Education City.
- Children are provided with regular opportunities to come together to celebrate achievements within school and build links with other school and community group. Through assemblies and curriculum areas the school regularly celebrates our diverse population and other communities around the world.
- With consistent behaviour strategies (Herts Steps and Zones of Regulation) along with whole school learning strategies, children are able to access their learning positively and with as little confusion as possible as they transition between classes throughout their time at school.
- By utilising our Friday afternoon CPD sessions we are able to ensure that all staff have updated skills and learn new approaches in a consistent manner that they can embed into learning opportunities for the children they work with.
- Regular reviews and audits are undertaken on an ongoing basis by the Senior Leadership Team, Planning Group Co-ordinators and Curriculum Teams, to ensure our whole school provision is dynamic, responsive and reflective of the changing needs of our school cohort, utilising fresh ideas to excite both staff and children!
The Impact of our Curriculum
We know that our curriculum is effective if we see:
- In classroom observations and learning walks, children who are actively engaged in their learning in a way that is most appropriate to their individual needs.
- Teachers who are able to demonstrate the progress that children in their classes have made through discussion, formal reporting and progress meetings.
- Evidence of appropriate interventions and approaches to support individual children to access the curriculum.
- All staff being confident talking about what children are learning and able to engage children with enthusiasm and creativity.
- Visitors commenting on the learning ‘buzz’ around the school when they visit – noticing the joy in learning.
- Parents reporting that their children are happy to come to school and noticing (and have been informed about) the steps of progress their children are making, big or small.
- Children who are generally settled and behavioural challenges not being a result of inappropriate learning opportunities.
- Theory and practice matching – what is on paper being evident in classroom practice.
- Children remembering and demonstrating what they have learnt over time and in some cases being able to explain this to others.
- Children achieving aspirational goals and being keen to take the next steps in their learning journey.