IMPLEMENTING OUR CURRICULUM
In order to maximise the potential of pupils as readers, writers, artists, geographers, historians, scientists, linguists, technologists, mathematicians, musicians, global citizens, philosophers and sportspeople, we have subject leaders in position, responsible for quality and standards in that subject across the school. At STJTG, we operate a shadow subject leader approach so staff have the opportunity to work collaboratively, and build leadership capacity within one another. Having leaders appointed for each subject area, enables us as a school to ensure that when these areas are taught, that there is strong subject specific pedagogy underpinning the teaching of each subject e.g. concrete>pictorial>abstract approach to maths implementation, underpinned by the understanding that the national curriculum is a mastery curriculum. For example, recognising the importance of reading, the implementation of our reading curriculum and the pedagogy underpinning this, is as follows:
We teach reading through a whole class guided reading approach where the same high quality text is shared. This is to enable mastery based on a social constructivist and Vygotskian approach to learning.
We start our guided reading set text each Monday through whole class reading using the I, we, you approach (ensuring strong modelling). The teacher introduces the text and models oracy, intonation and responds to the punctuation prompts. The whole class then read the text together and work as a team to deconstruct vocabulary.
At times, and as age appropriate, our first lesson may need to be teaching new vocabulary or themes if our cohort has limited experience of the topic. This is so that children become engaged, and it's a first- hand concrete experience of the new text.
For the next three consecutive days we work on the principal of Whole Class Follow up, where the teacher will work with a guided group in the class against set AFL questions and concepts which will be drawn from our Reading Standards Policy. These are broken down into specific learning skills and questions to deepen the children's inference and deduction of various elements of the text.
During this time, the TA works with 2 guided groups from each class which is alternated. This will ensure every child is heard to read aloud at least once per week. This is not to replace KS1 and EYFS having 1:1 reading but is in addition to this program.
The teachers and TA's fill in the reading comprehension record for their focus group to show how the children's responses have echoed their understanding and mastery of specified skill.
The weekly guided reading is celebrated at the end of each week with our Love of Reading Friday where children in all year groups are given this time to read quality text of their own choice and are given the opportunity to discuss these with one another and the staff. (Massive % of objectives from the national curriculum for reading are attitudinal and enjoyment based).
Teachers ensure that each group is engaged with an independent task, which builds on the skills taught that week. Children are given the opportunity to practice skills in order to develop mastery in that area. In some year groups, it will be appropriate to have children writing their own responses to text and what they have read in order to ascertain their own deeper comprehension.
The whole school is also fortunate to have access to the Bug club scheme. This full scheme was purchased to allow each year group quality texts in full guided reading sets to further implement comprehension exercises. This also allows every child in our school access to online reading resources which cover the full range of genre. These books are organised against the banding which is then set by the class teacher for each child to access at their own level, which allows freedom to set for challenging texts to move our children on who we aspire to reach greater depth. Each text takes the children through a variety of reading skills and has set questions which deepen their understanding of the text and expose them to assessment questions against age related standards.
Lexia is a program that is also used as a form of catching pupils up with their comprehension and reading. This is something that the parents have to sign into also as a collaborative approach to ensuring the children work on their reading progress in the home too. Pupils who are accessing the Lexia approach are tracked and monitored by our librarian, whom the school also commissions to run a before and after school lexia club; targeting the lowest 20% of readers across the school.
Fresh Start is being used throughout KS2 as a means of catching up with phonetic decoding and understanding skills. These children have been identified as needing this approach in order to help their reading process further.
The EYFS and KS1 use the Read, Write Inc approach to their reading and learning pf phonics. There is a fluidity of groups based on continuous formative assessment with half-termly summative assessment.
In addition to securing strong subject specific pedagogy as underpinning the teaching of each subject, our subject leaders and shadow leaders, ensure resourcing, staff cpd, monitoring of quality and standards informing development planning, and consulting with pupils and parents take place regularly. Our subject leaders then present to the governing body via a presentation day, at the end of each academic year - where governors receive reports from each curriculum leader on the aforementioned points. This day is key as it gives all governors a good discrete and holistic understanding of our curriculum, whilst also planning for succession; giving all leaders similar opportunities to senior leaders.
To compliment this, and further enhance leadership capacity and as a result quality of teaching, our Deputy Head/ Curriculum Leader has overseen the design and implementation of the STJTG coaching process as part of his NPQH. This process is separate to performance management processes (though is a part of performance management to engage with coaching), where a senior leader (or other member of the team who is knowledgeable/ skilled with specific expertise) is paired with each member of the team, and work on professional goals together. The STJTG coaching process is an investment in teachers as professionals (pedagogy/ leadership goals) and as individuals (confidential wellbeing focus - similar to supervision within other professions). Our coaching process also ensures that professional expertise is shared across the team e.g. an action towards achieving a goal, may be to observe a peer/ have a learning conversation with a colleague etc. As a result, each staff member receives tailored and bespoke CPD as part of a self-sustaining system i.e. not outsourcing/ externally commissioning professional growth for our staff - this would be the exception rather than the rule. The STJTG coaching process is a key ingredient in ensuring that curriculum leaders have strong capacity to lead, and that teachers have the knowledge and skills necessary to implement the curriculum to best effect.