DSP CURRICULUM INTENT
Our curriculum is child centred, holistic, individualised and designed to instil a love of learning and curiosity in our children. Our aim is to prepare our children with relevant communication and functional life skills and a confidence and understanding in who they are so that they can make an effective transition at each stage of their education and become happy and confident members of the world with a toolbox of functional skills to support them.
Our Curriculum responds to the needs and context of the wider community of Knowsley that the DSP serves. It is therefore a unique plan of what we want our pupils to know and to be able to do, at different stages and by the time they move on to high school. As part of cultural capital, it will define key experiences that we believe facilitate knowledge and skill acquisition.
Our Curriculum is immersed in our VISION to prepare our children emotionally, socially and academically to thrive and demonstrate our school values in the wider world.
Our core VALUES…
…guide our decisions about the Curriculum we have in place.
We will have the highest expectations of all learners.
There will be no ceiling set for the performance of any pupil. Using EHCP outcomes to incorporate bespoke learning outcomes, and relevant statutory frameworks/progression steps, we will set ambitious, aspirational targets for the continual improvement of all learners. We will always look for suitable and appropriate opportunities to stretch and challenge every pupil.
We understand children have to be regulated to learn and will prioritise sensory support, self-regulation skills, the building of positive relationships and communication skills.
We understand that the additional needs of our DSP children are broad and varied, but a common theme amongst them is to be able to regulate their emotional wellbeing, build effective relationships, be able to communicate their own needs and wishes and be able to communicate with each other and the wider world around them.
We believe in assisting pupils to develop deep, secure understanding.
We will therefore allow pupils to work at a pace that enables the formulation of a robust understanding of central ideas; key concepts; key bodies of knowledge and fundamental skills. We spend time deepening children's knowledge and understanding as opposed to skimming through content. We will abide by the maxim ‘less is more’ and may cover fewer items, but we will do so in much greater depth. We will use adaptive teaching methods to ensure accessibility for all children in the DSP, for example through using various scaffolds, PECS, objects of reference, Makaton, intensive interaction techniques, and a range of other adaptations.
Pupils will be supported to master fundamental concepts in subjects. The curriculum will not be delivered at an undue pace, with teachers moving on to the ‘next thing’ too quickly. There will be opportunities for children to revisit, reflect and apply, which is particularly important for children in the DSP.
Our curriculum will be broad and balanced.
We will not allow English and mathematics to dominate the school timetable and the learning time that is available. We will continually look for meaningful opportunities for pupils to apply the skills and knowledge they have learnt in English and mathematics in other subject areas.
Teachers will show flexibility when planning the next learning activities or units. They will not follow a progression or sequence slavishly, but instead choose what to teach next based on pupils’ interests and accurate assessments of what pupils can do.
We will fully develop life skills and social interaction for DSP pupils. Pupils will be given plenty of chances to visit places of interest as part of their learning experience and to function in the wider world effectively.
All staff will seek out relevant and meaningful opportunities to develop pupils’ social, moral, cultural and spiritual understanding when teaching all subjects.
Our IT-based approach ensures that we develop digital fluency and IT-literate pupils to enable safe and informed decision-making and enriching and engaging curriculum content.
We promote a means of acquiring knowledge & skills through collaboration and a strong framework for developing social skills through mixed-ability, homogeneous groupings, where possible in the DSP. Where possible, teaching will incorporate KAGAN Collaborative Learning Strategies to maximise social interactions, engagement and optimise outcomes.
We develop fluent, articulate and confident language learners, especially early Communication & Language and Speech & Language (Special Provision & SEND - Makaton, PECS, Objects of Reference, Adaptive Assistive Technology, Intensive Interaction). Speech & Language Therapist (SALT) work / Talk4Writing / ELKLAN work / Power of Pictures (PoP) & PoR approaches.
We increase the range of vocabulary the children are exposed to and expected to use. Forensic exploration of language in all subjects through PoR texts (also RWI, PoP & T4W) as appropriate for DSP children. Children who are pre-verbal will be exposed to appropriate vocabulary through a range of mediums (marathon, PECS, visuals, widgets, real world experiences etc.)
We nurture fluent and skillful Readers who learn to read through a highly effective and systematic approach.
In the DSP we use Read Write Inc (RWI) for early readers and continue to develop reading through PoR texts. We also support pupils’ reading skills through explicit teaching of reading using the VIPERS domains. We adapt phonic teaching too support the learning of pre-verbal children and re-visit previous learning consistently to embed skills and knowledge.
We foster Writers who love the art of writing and its ability to influence and change the world.
For our pre-writers and early writers, we use gross and fine motor activities to support muscle movement and memory. We support children to write for purpose, to support maximum motivation and where appropriate, using our themes, we aim to write for real audiences and purposes whenever possible.
We instill problem solving skills, including reasoning & number fluency.
In the DSP we follow the Number Sense / Maths NoProblem approach to Mastery teaching in Maths.
We prepare pupils to develop confidence, skills and knowledge in financial matters to fully take part in society through making future choices that promote aspirations and lifestyle. In the DSP we plan shopping trips, purchase resources when out on enrichment visits and plan to create and sell products on our school Enterprise Day. We are a Centre of Excellence for Financial Education (PFeG)
We engender an experiential appreciation of culture and the arts.
Through employing a Music specialist, we link our themes through Music and offer a wide variety of opportunities for children to experience live music and local/international culture & performance. Some children in the DSP will benefit from a Music Therapy approach.
We believe that physical and mental wellbeing is an essential part of our pupil’s success.
All children complete structured physical activities every day of the week. We also offer Forest School learning and rebound therapy, sensory circuits/diets and small and large outdoor sensory playgrounds to support DSP learners.
Through our PSHEE Curriculum, P4C lessons and themed weeks we develop resilience and positive attitudes to more complex issues, where it is appropriate for learners. All adults will model these characteristics to children in the DSP.
We ensure that our Curriculum is responsive and reflects the main issues of the day and supports the children in their understanding and response. Teachers plan in current affairs, environmental issues, refugee crisis and local needs topics, where it is appropriate in the DSP.
We will take heed of research findings on homework for primary school pupils.
In the main, homework tasks will involve reinforcing or practising what has been learnt in the classroom.