Our Curriculum Statement
Intent – what are we trying to achieve?
Our school’s bilingual practice in British Sign Language (BSL) and English is central to our curriculum and is the defining characteristic in our philosophy and policy on teaching and learning. The curriculum is designed to enable to enable all our pupils to learn in a fun, meaningful and engaging way and make progress to achieve their full potential.
We value BSL and English equally, recognising that for the majority of our children BSL is their preferred and dominant language, which enables them to access the curriculum to maximise their academic, social, emotional, and physical development. We recognise the need to be flexible in our language approaches for pupils with emerging and developing English as a second language, as well as those pupils with additional needs. We aim for all our pupils to become bilingual and achieve fluency in both BSL and English to become successful, lifelong, independent learners in an increasingly global society.
Our curriculum is broad, balanced, cross-curricular and relevant to the pupils’ needs and experiences, with coverage, content, progression and structure that is fit for purpose. Using the National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage Development Guidance, different themes each half term are taught to help pupils make meaningful links between subjects and ensure that they are able to consolidate and apply their learning. Through careful and flexible planning, teachers meet the needs of individual pupils and address gaps in knowledge and understanding. Individual, personalised learning programmes are designed for specific pupils with complex needs using a life-skills based curriculum to develop language, communication, thinking, self-awareness, knowledge of the world, play, social and creative skills.
Our vision for all children to Learn, Grow and Flourish is underpinned by five key values:
- Bilingualism – developing fluency in BSL and English with full access to the curriculum
- Pupil Progress – ensuring EVERY child makes progress regardless of need.
- Sense of belonging – being part of the Deaf community and a positive Deaf identity.
- Partnership – working closely with a wide range of stakeholders to support pupils’ learning.
- Sharing good practice – developing knowledge and skills to ensure raised outcomes.
We pride ourselves on providing a learning environment that is safe, caring, supportive and stimulating so that pupils feel challenged, motivated and have high aspirations for the future. The curriculum and learning environment is designed to build positive self-esteem in our children. We use a wide range of resources to suit different learning styles and foster active learning through whole class teaching, small group work, and one-to-one teaching, collaborative work and independent learning activities.
Staff have high expectations of pupils’ achievements, and are always challenged to do better. Learning objectives and outcomes from the curriculum and expectations are matched to individual pupils’ needs to ensure they make progress that is commensurate with their own learning and development potential.
Implementation – how do we deliver our curriculum?
We recognise that our children learn in different ways, and we therefore plan and deliver the curriculum in a multi-sensory, differentiated approach to engage all learners using a range of visual, kinaesthetic and auditory (where appropriate) resources and stimuli to maximise their learning.
The curriculum is delivered in BSL by staff who are fluent in both BSL and English and this is unique to the school. All pupils have full access to information in BSL as their first language and use this to develop their knowledge and understanding of English as a second language. Teachers use a very structured approach to teaching English using the Literacy Toolkit, which helps them to bridge between BSL and English using colour-coding and visual systems for word classes and scaffolding sheets for writing. Visual Phonics by Hand is used to support pupils’ phonological awareness to develop reading, writing and spelling skills, and make links between lip-patterns/sounds (phonemes) and letter names/spellings (graphemes). Pupils have daily guided reading with staff to ensure they have opportunities to constantly develop their reading skills, and develop their skills in translating from English to BSL.
In Maths, we follow a CPA (concrete, pictorial, abstract) approach to teach concepts and this has worked well for pupils to ensure progress in Maths, and we use a wide range of resources to teach concepts.
Use of technology is a strength in supporting our curriculum delivery and enhancing learning opportunities. All pupils have their own iPad which they use in class, and at home, using a range of learning apps and Seesaw, which is our online platform for uploading and sharing work, photographs, videos linked to class topics. We expand children’s general knowledge of the world through our bi-weekly FB News bulletins delivered in BSL and uploaded to Seesaw for children watch in their own time at home.
- Teachers have secure subject knowledge and understanding of the varying learning needs of pupils evidenced through termly lesson observations, planning and book scrutiny.
- Teachers devise personalised learning programmes for some pupils with additional/complex SEN in close collaboration with supporting professionals to ensure their specific learning needs are met.
- Termly lesson observations and constructive feedback is provided to teachers to improve on their performance to ensure maximum impact on pupils’ learning.
- Support staff are deployed effectively to ensure pupils maximise their learning potential, and are skilled in supporting teachers around the classroom.
- We have a robust Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for all staff to ensure everyone is trained in a wide range of subjects across the school to build on and develop knowledge and skills to improve performance and raise standards.
- We recognise the diverse range of needs and backgrounds of our pupils and ensure that the curriculum reflects this so that they are engaged, motivated and included in lessons.
- Pupils are exposed to native BSL users and Deaf role models to develop their language skills in BSL which is key to our curriculum delivery and supports their learning and language development.
- We follow the National Deaf Studies Curriculum, which is taught by our Deaf Instructors to teach pupils about Deaf History, Communication, Technology, Culture and Community in order to develop positive Deaf identities.
- We use a wide range of resources to support and supplement teaching, which may be adapted or modified to suit the learning needs of our pupils, e.g. Clicker software.
- We collaborate with professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists to provide specialised programmes to support individual pupils’ needs outlined in their EHCPs.
Impact – how do we know if it is working?
Pupils make good or outstanding progress. We constantly monitor and assess pupils’ learning and progress in different ways – both formatively and summatively. We use a range of assessment tools to determine whether the delivery of our curriculum and teaching is having an impact on pupils’ learning. Below is list of the ways we are able to measure the impact of all the work we do in providing a high quality education for our pupils:
- Each child has an EHCP Annual Review with parents, the child, teacher and other professionals to discuss and review progress and attainment and agree short and long term outcomes. Teachers write detailed progress reports for the reviews.
- Termly Pupil Progress Meetings to discuss pupils’ achievements and how to further stretch and challenge them, identify any barriers to learning and agree interventions to support them.
- Teachers use Classroom Monitor to assess pupils’ learning through the year and track progress against National Curriculum attainment statements and identify gaps in learning to inform planning and next steps.
- Termly Reading assessments are carried out using PM Benchmarks as a standardised assessment tool to measure progress and validate teacher judgements on pupils’ reading levels.
- Maths assessments are carried out using White Rose test booklets – these are visual and suitable for the needs of our learners, and enable teachers to identify gaps in maths knowledge and understanding.
- Annual BSL Receptive and Productive Assessments are carried out on all pupils to assess their BSL skills, and are used to create individual and whole school targets for BSL development.
- Baseline assessments measure pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills when they are in Reception year or when they are admitted to the school.
- End of key stage assessments are completed at the end of EYFS against the Early Learning Goals, and at the end of KS1 and KS2 against the expected standards, or pre-key stage standards. These may be Teacher Assessments or the Standardised Attainment Tests (SATS) in KS1 and 2.
- We use Arbor (Management Information System) to register pupil attendance and log behaviour incidents and track/analyse patterns, and MyConcern to log and track safeguarding incidents, outcomes and records, to inform practice and identify support or gaps that can be included in the curriculum delivery, e.g. PSHE, Emotions Curriculum, Deaf Studies, etc.
- Teachers work closely with support staff and professionals to discuss and review pupils’ learning, development and progress in lessons both daily and weekly as part of ongoing formative assessments.
Children learn best when they are inspired, motivated and challenged; when they are active learners in an ethos and environment that encourages them to be independent and confident, to question and to explore. Our curriculum is designed to enable every child to learn, develop his or her individual skills and to be an active partner in achieving their goals.
The key areas of our curriculum are:
- Early Years/Foundation Stage
- Key Stages 1 & 2
- Deaf Studies
- PE/Sports & Swimming
- Religious Education
- Collective Worship
- Relationships and Sex Education