Curriculum Content

As a school we are always looking for ways in which we can improve our provision for the children. Recently, we have been looking carefully at the structure of our curriculum. 

When considering the skills we want children to have when they leave Bledlow Ridge we immediately think of children who have a love of learning, a natural curiosity and an ability to use what they have learned to solve problems and tackle challenges that may not have an obvious solution. This links to our characteristics of Active Learning, namely that:

Active Learners at Bledlow Ridge school…

…are positive. 

…work well by themselves and with others.

…are curious and ask questions.

…know how to help themselves.

…look after themselves.

…persevere.

…do their best.

…are organised and ready to learn.

…learn from their experiences.

…get involved.

 

http://www.bledlowridge.bucks.sch.uk/website/active_learning

These are the drivers behind our new thoughts on delivering the curriculum. We want every child to take an active part and interest in what they are learning and to for it to mean something to them. We want to help them take responsibility for their own learning and give them the skills to transfer their knowledge and understanding and apply it different situations rather than it being purely knowledge they have acquired. 

With this in mind, We have decided to adopt Project Based Learning. This model focusses on the foundation subjects. Teaching in Maths, English and, to an extent, Science will remain largely as it is now. However, we are now looking to make more links between subjects and to give the children a more active role in what they learn and how they learn it. 

Each class will now be working on a series of projects across the next academic year (approximately 6). These may differ in length and focus, but what they all have in common is the fact that they will end with a presentation or performance of the learning. For example, a project may be called ‘Man on the Moon’. The end product of this project may be that the children have to create a video documentary of the moon landings. Each project will have a title, and an end result in mind. There are many options for this – it may be a video, a performance of some kind, a publication or a living exhibition with the children as tour guides. This gives the children a real purpose for their work – they will be the ones having to give the performance, so they need to make sure they know their stuff!

Each project is based around the T.A.S.C wheel. The children start each project by being given direct input into the gather, identify and deciding stages. In reality, this means they will be asked what they need to find out in order to effectively produce the end result. At the gather stage, no idea is off the table or deemed as being too far-fetched. Facilitated by the teacher, these ideas are discussed as a class and all of them are logged in a mind map. The teacher will guide the discussion to ensure all ideas are heard and may also add a few suggestions. Initial topics may be given (eg The Stone Age or Healthy Eating) to give the children some starters to hang their suggestions on. After this, the class will move onto the deciding stage. As a class, they decide which ideas are needed most to give the knowledge and skills to produce the end result. They vote on which ideas to take forward, and these are then put into a plan by the class teacher. A recent discussion in assembly using ‘Man on the Moon’ as an example. Within 5 minutes, the children had made the following suggestions of things they would need to find out in order to produce a video documentary:

  •       Who was first on the moon?
  •       Why did they want to go?
  •       How did they get there?
  •       When did they go?
  •       How long did it take?
  •       What were the measurements of the rocket?
  •       What was it like on the moon?
  •       Why did people bounce on the moon?
  •       How fast could the rocket go?
  •       What were people back at home say about it?
  •       Did they really land on the moon?
  •       Was it worth the money they spent on it?
  •       How powerful was the rocket?
  •       Can we go to the moon to find out what it was like?

Already the children have made huge links to History, Geography, Maths and Science. Coupled with this there are opportunities to engage with English through debate and research skills. While they can’t go to the moon, they children could use ICT to find a virtual tour of the moon, and then use their Art skills to create an image of what it would be like on the moon. This could then be accompanied by diary writing to show what it was like. They could use Design Technology to gain an understanding of how the rockets were built and the strength they would need. In 5 minutes discussion we have accumulated enough ideas to facilitate a wealth of learning across a range of subjects. The children also feel as if they are in control of their own learning and they have a vested interest in the outcome – they will want it to be a success as much as anyone. 

Teachers can also ‘block’ teach subject more, meaning they may focus on History for a week as this is what is needed for the project. The next week may have an Art focus. This lends itself to flexible and adaptable working, based on the needs of the project – a skill that is invaluable as they move through their education and beyond. 

Once a project has been completed the children will take stock and evaluate what they have done. This is a vital part of the process as it will inform them for their next project. How could it have been improved? What worked well? What is not worth doing next time? At this point they begin the planning stage of the next project. Each project is logged lesson by lesson using something like a working wall or PowerPoint presentation, so the children have the journey of their project as a record of their work. 

This is an exciting way of working. As a staff we are excited to be starting this way of working and feel it could have a real impact on how the children work and the way their see their learning in the big picture.

If you would like further information about the school curriculum, please contact the school office.