At Marchbank School we introduce children to the skills necessary for life-long learning through a developmentally appropriate wide and varied curriculum. We therefore will
- Focus on developing literacy skills – an ability to listen, read, write and spell are priorities for all children and once acquired help to unlock the curriculum.
- Prioritise a close home/school partnership – encouraging parents and carers to be partners in their child’s progress by offering access to a variety of parent/carer activities. A dedicated home/school liaison officer is available to support all parents and carers.
- Ensure class sizes are small with a teacher and teaching assistant with each group.
- Provide access to learning in an outdoor environment – this includes a forest school curriculum, outdoor activities and a curriculum that helps the children to understand the natural aspects of their world.
- Provide a stage not age approach – allowing children to learn at their own pace and revisit areas of development that may have been missed or not previously secured.
- Ensure an early assessment of needs is carried out to allow targeted intervention to address those areas that formed barriers to learning in the mainstream environment
- Maintain a wholly nurturing approach aimed at developing the whole child; emotionally, socially, behaviourally and academically.
The curriculum is designed to offer discrete teaching in literacy, numeracy and science with other subjects largely being integrated into a topic based approach using carefully planned development which is based on the National Curriculum and is called the Main Lesson.
A discrete lesson of Literacy is delivered each day. This incorporates reading, writing and speaking and listening with a dedicated phonics and spelling element. The National Curriculum provides a framework and staff largely use the CLPE (Centre for literacy and primary education) approach to deliver interesting and motivational lessons based on high quality texts. Additional
literacy opportunities are identified and developed throughout the school day when children are afforded opportunities to engage in various speaking and listening activities and daily story time which includes familiar stories, traditional tales, poetry, rhyme and drama. Read-Write Inc Phonics scheme and the Read-Write Fresh Start are used according to children’s abilities. Handwriting is taught using a multi-sensory approach in the early years and then Nelson handwriting as children make progress.
A dedicated numeracy lesson is delivered every morning. The national Curriculum provides the framework and teaching staff identify opportunities in their planning of other areas where they can extend children’s skills by using every day maths. Children are placed in groups that are differentiated according to ability which means that progress can be maximised.
Teaching staff use the National Curriculum and have incorporated the revised approach to teaching the key skills and knowledge through investigations. A science workstation was purchased at the beginning of the year and provides the resources necessary to maximise the learning. Some staff deliver lessons each week and others will deliver the whole programme of study during one time period – maximising the learning as children are able to consolidate knowledge learnt.
All other National Curriculum subjects are incorporated into a topic based approach and delivered through two hour main lessons during the afternoons. Each main lesson topic continues for an extended period of time with most lasting for a full half term. This approach allows the children to gain unhurried and in-depth experiences to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the topic area whilst developing key skills. The topics follow a carefully planned developmental order and incorporate history, geography, religious education, design technology, art, crafts, music, PSHE and computing.
The use of computing is delivered as a subject in its own right and in both the teaching of the topic in the main lesson and in the opportunities for children’s independent learning. Each child has their own chrome book and skills are taught and developed according to the computing curriculum.
PE is taught discreetly and follows the National Curriculum. Additional sports and PE funding is used to compliment the teaching by using specialist teachers who deliver lessons each week. Children all get the opportunity to access the Education Village for swimming lessons.
Modern Foreign Languages is delivered discreetly as French lessons.
Children access regular Forest School sessions in the wooded area within our school grounds. They follow a developmental curriculum which involves learning how to use full size tools, how to build fires safely and how to build shelters. It also includes knowledge based and experiential learning of the flora and fauna and allows children to observe the changing seasons at first hand. Once groups are established in the woodland and routines are set up the projects develop through a child led approach with opportunities for projects being taken back into the indoor setting.
Marchbank’s curriculum is carefully organised to promote learning, personal growth and maximise the development of every child. It includes not only the formal requirements of the NC, but also the various extra-curricular activities that the school organises in order to enrich the children’s experience. It also includes a ‘well-being curriculum’ which includes the extensive coverage of SMSC (please see separate statement) and also forest school, daily ring-times, relaxation and visualisation, mindfulness, peer massage and restorative justice. This combination helps children to recognise and identify their own emotions which will help them to modify their responses to situations in a measured and successful way.
A number of interventions and therapies ensure children’s individual needs are met; fine and gross motor skills sessions, comprehensive assessment and individual sessions address speech and language difficulties, drawing and talking therapy helps children to unlock some of their emotions and reflect on difficult experiences and regular access to a highly qualified and experienced counsellor delivers therapy to children with more complex emotional needs.
A significant percentage of our children have diagnosis of SPD which affects every aspect of their lives. We access the services of Future Steps Consultancy to arrange assessments for children where concerns have been raised by parents/carers, school staff and/or other professionals regarding a child’s sensory processing difficulties. Advice from the assessments is considered and
if necessary therapy sessions with qualified therapists commence. These sessions take place weekly and have minimal impact on the child’s education due to the close proximity of the therapy services. These therapies help the individual child enormously, reducing the stresses that their difficulties cause them by the environment and providing them (and their families) with strategies which minimise their difficulties. Following a 12 week course children are able to manage themselves in the classroom much better, they have increased concentration levels, and their fine and gross motor skills are improved meaning they are more able to take part in the full curriculum and therefore maximise their progress.
On Friday afternoon’s children have the opportunity to choose from a number of creative activities which include art, sculpture, movement, dance, drama, singing, cookery and handcrafts. These all enhance the curriculum and help the children to develop rhythm, repetition, reverence and very importantly enjoyment.
Teaching staff are encouraged to capture children’s interest and broaden their experiences by using our magnificent mature gardens and wooded area where possible.
The combination of all aspects of the curriculum offered at Marchbank helps children re-engage with their learning, begin to feel they have valuable contributions to make in school, begin to trust adults in school are there to help them and develop a love of learning that is lifelong with the skills necessary to maximise their progress academically, emotionally and socially.