We follow the National Curriculum programmes of study for Key Stages 1 and 2. We have developed over several years (and continuously work to refine), our curriculum using six areas of learning which build upon those nurtured in the Early Years Foundation Stage and are used across the full age range of the school:
Worstead is a small school with four mixed-age classes. Because of the uneven numbers of children in each cohort (a single year group of children) and the different ways that we organise our classes and spaces from year to year, we do not operate a traditional ‘rolling programme’ that many larger schools do. Instead, we carefully track each cohort and ensure that they have fully covered every aspect of the National Curriculum programmes of study without any unnecessary repetition. Our long term plans give suggested topics which we know 'work' with our school, and extend beyond the current academic year, but they are subject to change, and reviewed by staff annually. As a result of this built-in flexibility, varying pupil numbers and class structures do not have an adverse impact on curriculum delivery and structure in subsequent years.
Our system ensures that during their seven years at Worstead, all our children study every topic. This is important, because progression in learning from year to year can be both built in, and built upon, with no areas of the curriculum missed. For example, before learning about (and visiting) London, children must know what the city of Norwich and be able to explain how it is different from Worstead. They cannot understand the Anglo-Saxons until they know that they were many people that came to Britain through the ages, and who settled in different ways. You can't hope to teach about the solar system until children recognise the patterns of the seasons, and night and day. Curriculum leaders regularly monitor and advise on their subject areas, and are clear about the expectations for each cohort. During their time in each class, children are taught appropriate to their capacity for learning so as to maximise what they achieve, and curricular objectives are altered several ways to fit the range of ages and abilities within the class. This process of differentiation is standard practice in all schools, because the children in every classroom are individuals.
Learning from start to finish
A record of learning achieved for each cohort is constantly updated, then passed on at the end of the year from one teacher to the next, through the three or four classes each child may be part of. This ensures that as far as possible gaps in learning do not arise. One of the strengths of our small school is that every child is known to every staff member, because all our teachers and teaching assistants get together to discuss every child’s progress, every half term. Generally children at Worstead stay with their class teacher for two years, except early on in their school career where they either spend two years in Robins and one year in Swifts or vice versa. Robins and Swifts’ are a combined teaching team who currently work closely together in a three-year cycle to make sure every child gets the best possible learning experience.