As primary schools and academies across the country have taken measures to implement the new National Curriculum from September 2014, at Hamford we have relished the opportunity to develop ours by basing it on four pillars:
1. Academic curriculum divided into Learning Areas (as opposed to more discreet subjects)
2. Developing growth mindsets and building Learning Power
3. Vocational experiences
4. Philosophy for Children (P4C)
Embracing the focus on developing mastery in key skills across Learning Areas, we invited specialist, subject specific teachers from our local secondary school, Tendring Technology College (TTC) to collaborate with us in developing a skills progression/toolkit which would help children become ‘secondary ready’ – this would form the basis of our academic curriculum.
The sessions began with the subject specialists outlining the skills set they would expect children arriving in Year 7 to have developed. Next, our primary and secondary colleagues worked backwards to identify some key skills that the children would need to master at primary level in order to be prepared for secondary school. Upon reviewing the skills, we identified two issues. Firstly, there were too many (similar to the National Curriculum that we were trying to improve on). Secondly, many skills were more generic than subject specific. As a result, we are currently trying to simplify them further in order for children to be given plenty of opportunities to develop fluency and mastery. Furthermore, we are investigating how to incorporate Bloom’s taxonomy into the skills so that they are progressive and challenging.
After the final draft of the skills toolkit has been disseminated to the staff at Hamford, we plan to invite the subject specialists from TTC into Hamford to evaluate the effectiveness of the learning of the skills and whether they are the core skills that the secondary teachers believe will make them secondary ready.