Darrick Wood Junior School

Curriculum Implementation

We want all children to enjoy their time in school, deepening their knowledge and understanding across a wide range of subject areas and topics, taking pleasure from their learning journey and experiencing success along the way.

We support this through the provision of well-planned, suitably challenging learning opportunities that encourage our children to gradually step outside their comfort zone and take risks that further their learning.  We encourage independent thought and support our children as they build transferable skills that prepare them for their future lives beyond DWJS.  Our curriculum reflects the full breadth of the National Curriculum (2014) which is adapted and enhanced to ensure that the learning is relevant to our children, their lives and, where possible, their interests – we believe that learning should be exciting and meaningful for the children.  Where it will enrich the overall learning experience, subjects are linked and lessons are taught using a cross-curricular approach.  Where this is not achievable subjects are taught discretely. Further information on provision in each subject area can be accessed via the Curriculum Subjects menu.

As a Rights Respecting School, we want to develop a strong sense of moral purpose in all our pupils so that they understand their responsibilities within DWJS and the wider community as a whole. Additionally, we aim to build positive attitudes towards learning and encourage pupils to think with a growth mindset as we build life skills in relation to our 4 Rs: resilience, resourcefulness, reflection and relationships.

Cognitive Science: Theories of the Mind and Instruction

Increasingly in education we are appreciating the importance of findings from Cognitive Science which are very relevant in building a better understanding of how children learn. In particular, theories of the mind such as Cognitive Load Theory and Generative Learning, and practice based research such as Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction have clear implications for the way that schools not only design and structure their curriculum, but the ways in which learning is planned for and lessons are delivered by teachers.

At DWJS it is our aim that both our curricular provision and day-to-day practice are shaped by recommendations in respect of these aspects of Cognitive Science. In taking account of the most important current and recent research, we ensure that the provision for learning at our schools has solid foundations upon which we aim to build lessons which evidence the key principles of high quality explicit instruction.

Curriculum Drivers

School and Trust staff have identified a set of curriculum drivers which are intended to support the children’s wider development over time. It is our hope that by weaving these drivers into the school’s provision in a way that transcends subject boundaries, we can support our children as they grow into rounded young people whose sense of agency and positive view of themselves, their learning and the world around them will enable them to make a positive difference to their own lives and the lives of others.

DWJS Driver: Active Learning

At DWJS we believe that learning is an active process that children should be positively engaged in. Cognitive Load Theory identifies active focus (i.e. paying attention to something) as the starting point for something entering our working memory. School and education should not be a passive experience, something that happens or is done to children every day. Rather, it should be something that children actively participate in. We aim to make the learning experiences at DWJS both enjoyable and meaningful, to make them relevant to all of our children both in terms of their lives now and what their lives may be like in the future. By building an awareness among the pupils of the transformative power of education and learning we aim to enthuse and empower the young people in our care to be the best that they can be in whatever they choose to do.

DWJS Driver: Expanding Horizons

At DWJS we encourage children to explore their potential in every aspect of their growth and development. By building strong relationships with all of our pupils and getting to know them as individuals, we aim to ensure that every child is effectively supported as they navigate the range of opportunities and experiences, both curricular and extra-curricular, that school life has to offer. Expanding horizons is not just about aspiring and aiming high for every pupil, it is about helping every pupil to push the boundaries of who they are and who they have the power and potential to be. As well as providing that variety of opportunities of opportunities and experiences, we aim to support children building metacognitive strategies that help them to plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning and wider experiences in school. It is out hope that this improved knowledge of themselves will help children in their lives beyond DWJS as they start to take important decisions that will shape their futures.

DWJS Driver: Global Citizens

In their time at DWJS, the children will have the opportunity to explore the positive roles that they can play as citizens of the school community, of the school’s local community and of the wider global community. As a Rights Respecting School, we help children to build an understanding of the unconditional rights that all young people are born with and benefit from regardless of gender, identification, race, ethnicity, religious belief or any other protected characteristic; it is our aim to not only teach children about the importance of these rights, but also to ensure that they are reflected in children’s daily experiences at the school. Through our wider curriculum offer and also our pupil-voice groups, the school also aims to improve pupil awareness in respect of a wide range of global issues and to promote awareness, understanding and action in respect of these.

SOLA Driver: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds

At DWJS and across SOLA schools we recognise that the physical and mental health and wellbeing of each of our children is of paramount importance. Through our provision for relationships and health education, we ensure that our children all develop an awareness and understanding of how to keep themselves safe and healthy, including how to stay safe online and in an increasingly digital world. A strong focus on pastoral education and building strong relationships with children and their families enables us, where appropriate, to tailor our provision to meet individual needs. In this way, we aspire for every DWJS child to be happy and healthy.

SOLA Driver: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

When planning and delivering our curriculum we will ensure that all pupils feel valued and visible, and are able to thrive. We will purposefully seek opportunities to promote a better understanding of diversity, adopt an anti-racist approach and challenge discrimination in all its forms. All children will be treated as equals and we will address disadvantages that might cause inequity as we seek to both celebrate and normalise diversity across our school community.