Our whole school and curriculum vision is ‘Successful Students, Collaborative Community’. To achieve this vision, we provide access to a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum which places high quality teaching and learning and community at the heart of what we do.
We want every child to contribute positively to our school and wider community through demonstrating the ‘Ecco Values’ of work hard, aim high, be kind and show GRIT (great attitude, resilience, be intrepid and tenacious).
Our principles underpin our curriculum planning: we strive to provide a curriculum which enables all students to become independent, respectful and informed citizens who exceed their personal and academic potential. Every student, regardless of their starting point, background or circumstance, experiences an inclusive curriculum that will enable them to gain the knowledge, skills, qualities and qualifications they need to successfully contribute to modern society.
Our curriculum is designed so that all students can be successful students, and are entitled to a curriculum which is:
Aspirational, Challenging, Engaging and Supportive.
We want every child to have the broadest possible life chances and choices as they make their way into the world.
Our Departments have been working incredibly hard since January 2019 to develop a new curriculum for 2020: We have used research, best-practice and the science of learning in our curriculum planning. This supports students to know and remember more and means that over time, students’ knowledge will be recalled through low-stakes testing in class and through applying prior learning new tasks. Knowledge will also be layered, building on what has been learnt, so that students can begin to understand topics in greater depth and learning can become more complex over time. This means that students are confident and ready to work at a higher level. Layering also ensures a scaffold to support those who need it.
In the classroom, highly skilled, subject specialist teachers explain and model new learning. They check for understanding and provide feedback, giving students time to practice new skills and then check again.
In general, gaps in learning will be addressed in the classroom in this way. Teachers will be responsive: this might mean adapting plans for the whole class or for individuals. Where gaps persist, students will receive additional support which might mean more prompts, additional time, home learning to practice class work or in some cases, intervention outside of the classroom.
We want students to be knowledgeable and confident so that they will go on to lead happy, successful and fulfilling lives. Learning doesn’t stop at the end of GCESs. Our curriculum seeks to provide diverse experiences for students and where possible, provide enrichment, experience and examples from beyond the classroom. We have planned links to careers throughout the curriculum, for instance. We also feel passionately about the importance of a literacy-rich curriculum, where students develop their reading, understanding, writing and speaking skills.
In response to the disruption to face to teaching during lockdown, we have adapted our curriculum further. As we prepared for all students to return to school in September, our thoughts shifted towards what our students might need both within and beyond the classroom to ensure their wellbeing and learning are ‘On Track’. We considered what an ON TRACK curriculum might look like in order to address three key questions:
1. What social and emotional support might be required in order to build a firm foundation for learning following what may have been, for some, a very difficult experience during lockdown?
2. What gaps might be present in students’ learning and how do we get students on track?
3. What additional support might need to be put in place beyond the classroom?
Our ‘On Track’ adapted curriculum approach for 2020-21 is divided into three distinct phases:
Connect, consolidate and catch up.
Connect: Connect places a focus upon ensuring that strong personal, physical, social and emotional foundations are in place for leaners before address issues of curriculum and learning. This is a universal offer provided for all students. This started on day one with our extended tutor sessions and will continue through Tutor time, Pastoral channels, S.O.D.A and SMSC lessons. Staff have received special training to support students’ wellbeing and to signpost them to support as required.
Consolidate: Consolidate places an acute focus on curriculum- by that we mean. what we teach and how we teach it. Its success is predicated upon development of a well-planned and sequenced curriculum which is delivered through precise teaching, using up to date, research-based methods. This is a universal offer provided for all students and is the cornerstone of our plan. Our strong curriculum and high-quality teaching and learning are the vehicles by which the majority of students will be on track.
In order to consolidate learning during the absence of face to face delivery, we have asked curriculum leaders to adapt their curriculum yet again - taking time to help students to re-connect with the intensity of learning, consolidate content and consider how best to ensure the key knowledge, content and skills are covered in the right amount of depth in each subject.
We have had to carefully consider questions such as:
1. What was taught remotely during lockdown? Does this need to be revisited to ensure students have the foundations to move on to the next steps in learning?
2. What skills and knowledge will be covered in later units of work and don’t need to be taught this year?
3. Which essential knowledge, skills and concepts must remain in the curriculum and what can we afford to remove to ensure the essential content is covered in depth?
4. If we can’t cover essential content in the depth required, what can we remove whilst still covering the national curriculum and lay the foundations for next steps in learning
Departments have had to be creative and very clever with their planning, but we have not compromised on the curriculum ambition, breadth and depth that we set out to achieve. We will continue to be responsive to any further absence and have plans in place for remote learning, should we need them.
Catch-up: This is the third phase of our ON TRACK plan and will provide for those students who may need more bespoke pastoral and academic support. This will be delivered through targeted small group support and/or one to one provision, through a blend of internal pastoral care and external multi-agency support.
All of these phases fit with our curriculum vision of successful students and collaborative community: working together to be the best we can be and ensuring the best possible life chances and choices for all our children.