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Developmental Skills


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Hi

 

Is there anyone from Bexley out there?

 

I read about your developmental skills continuum project to extend the principles of the FS stage into KS1 and 2 and develop a more creative curriculum.

 

It sounds exciting stuff - does it work?? :o

 

 

acb

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My schhol has adopted a 'Creative Curriculum' starting in YR and continuing all the way up into Y6. It has been lots of work doing it but definitely worth it - it was recently praised by Ofsted. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about it. Otherwise there was a discussion along these lines back in April which you might find useful: here

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Thank you,Moose, for your reply.

 

I've read the previous link you've indicated and I am still curious about how it actually works? Is your HT still selling the packs or can you share a bit more?

 

acb :o

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He is still selling the packs!

 

We decided to set up a list of development skills because some of us didn't like the QCA schemes of work (too dull and boring) but liked the way that the learning intentions in them were progressive. We are a 1 form intake village school and, until 4 years ago, the school had had staff who had been there for a long time and things had got a bit stale: staff may have done the same topic for years and taken it with them when they moved to a different year group. This meant that the skills children were being taught did not always build upon those they learnt in previous years. By creating the skills for the foundation subjects for each year group it has ceased to matter HOW the subject is taught as long as the key skills are covered.

 

The focus is now on excellence, enjoyment and first-hand, in depth experience: as it should be and as the Foundation Stage has long been, I think (big 'yay' for all of us who work in the Foundation Stage! :o ).

 

Themes are at the heart of planning now: KS1 tend to have 6 themes a year whilst KS2 have 3. Teachers pick a theme for a term (or 2) and, drawing on the key skills and what children say they are interested in finding out, plan in as cross-curricular a way as possible. This has led to children having a holistic understanding of a theme rather than discrete pockets of knowledge about unconnected subjects and topics. It's important to stress that the key-skills are, well, key! It's very much not just a rehash of topic webs.

 

Wherever possible literacy is taught in a cross-curricular way although things like phonics etc are often taught discretely. If there are key-skills that really don't fit into any theme (some of the science further up the school has been a bit of a problem) then this is taught, discretely, in a block.

 

Each theme begins with a 'WOW' and ends with a celebration. A 'WOW' is something right at the beginning of a theme that is designed to fire children's enthusiasm for the topic ahead. This might take the form of a visit or a visitor or something strange left in the classroom to be discovered. For example we've had a rocket (www.starchaser.co.uk), a doorway covered in a giant spider web and a classroom that had been transformed into Sherwood Forest. A celebration is a means of drawing all the work together and sharing what you've achieved - either as a class, in front of the school or with parents. Some of the celebrations we've had have been a (Y5) space dance in front of the school and parents, a (Y2) Chinese meal for parents and a Chinese dragon procession in a dragon made by the children, and a (Y3) party in a dinosaur cave.

 

Children are informed how well they have performed against the key objectives for a theme in the form of 'You can...' assessments. Comments are made about what the children have done well and what they need to do to improve next time. The children also fill in what they have liked about the theme and what they didn't enjoy so much.

 

Themed books are produced for each child so that they have a record of what they have done. These books are like a posh scrapbook (sorry, I can't think of a better description!) into which choice samples of their work from that theme are placed. The work in these books is nicely presented by double mounting etc. The assessment sheet would be stuck on the inside front cover.

 

Um, can't think of anything else off the top of my head at the moment. I know that some inner-city schools in Gloucestershire have worked in this way and we drew on what they have done.

 

If you think of anything else you want to know just ask and I'll see what I can do to help.

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Thank you very much, Moose, for your willingness to set it all out for me. I will be in touch, if you don't mind , if I can find a like-minded colleague to share this with.

 

acb

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