Curriculum - Intent, Implementation and the Impact
Our Curriculum is the beating heart of our school day. When taking on this school, I wanted children to fall back in love with learning and be totally immersed in different worlds and times; to be excited with learning.
Our curriculum has a clear purpose, an intent.
Intent - What are we trying to achieve here with, and through, the curriculum?
We, staff and students, are trying to foster life-long learning behaviours at Honiton Primary School through: independence, choice, collaboration and personal discovery.
Implementation - So, how are we going to deliver this? The system of choice here is S.O.L.E - Self Organised Learning Environment. We have the National Curriculum, which we use as a starting point, and embellish and deepen further as a school but at the heart of this is children being exposed to quality experiences and lessons with a large element of choice and need for independent thinking. Pre-learning homework sets this up, often weeks ahead, and children are immersed into experiences with visits or off timetable days of discovery. Parents coming into school to help at regular opportunities bolsters our offer and deepens the experiences further. Children, deliberately, have only one large book in which to record their curriculum journey and each one is individualised to each child in our school. Having a single book for the wider curriculum strengthens the message that our curriculum is 'built in' and not 'bolted on'. It is not a weaker relation to core subjects that only happen in the afternoons. We are Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, explorers and scientists, morning, noon and night. We really do 'dive right in!'
Additionally, within their curriculum, they present in a manner which represents their personality, flair and shows their choice in learning with a personal path. This is a new system to the school and the children are taking to it well. Do come and talk to them about their SOLE books, their reflections and some of the tremendous experiences they have already undertaken.
Impact - What difference is this curriculum making to our children? The SOLE mindset places the learner back at the centre of curriculum and makes teachers think "What will the experience be for the children and how can we make the absolute most of each element?". The SOLE aspect promotes learners making both group and personal connections with the content due to having genuine freedom of expression and choice. It is beginning to produce children who must and can, think for themselves, be resilient and face challenges with strategies to overcome and progress. It is where we can blend both practical skills and worldy knowledge in a meaningful structure.
‘SOLE’ a Self Organised Learning Environment is the brainchild of Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University. Through SOLE, children direct the learning process and follow pathways that many of the traditional educational approaches do not make room for. SOLE relies on the use of technology, collaboration and encouragement as the basis for encouraging learning. Through the use of the internet, SOLE can be used as the way of learning in class.
Sugata Mitra’s vision: “My wish is to help design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and work together. Help me build the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online. I also invite you, wherever you are, to create your own miniature child-driven learning environments and share your discoveries”.
The SOLE curriculum uses minimally invasive teaching, allows children to learn for themselves, provides encouragement but not direction and creates an environment to promote curiosity. The children negotiate with others for evidence of their learning, observe and record and apply their knowledge.
Within Honiton Primary, the guiding principles are evident and becoming deeply embedded. Our teaching staff are comitted to teaching children vital skills and necessary knowledge from the National Curriculum but allowing them to express and evidence their learning in formats and means that suit their individuality – playing to their individual strengths.
The culture of learning together is a promoted and exemplified by staff and we are proud to be growing children who are remembering how to question learning, to self organise and to take calculated risks within safe boundaries – to take themselves and their learning to new and exciting places.
Do have a look in our latest news section at how our curriculum comes to life or follow us on Facebook.