Icklesham is a small primary school with four mixed-aged classes. The school achieves highly but the staff realised that there were large gaps in the learning of the high achievers and the middle and low achievers.
The school wanted an opportunity to develop outstanding practice and identified the Spirals of Enquiry framework as an approach which may help them to deepen their understanding of the differences between the advantaged and disadvantaged groups of learners.
What did Iklesham learn from scanning?
The staff asked the scanning questions to pupils from the disadvantaged group who were not engaged with their learning. From their responses the staff learned that
- children believed that some pupils are ‘good’ and ‘good at’ and others are not.
- the group had no clear pathway to achieve their aspirations but believed that ‘good’ pupils would achieve.
Through an analysis of these results, the staff could construct an archetypal ‘advantaged’ child. This child usually committed to their work with greater depth and had parents who were highly engaged with their child’s learning.
The ‘advantaged’ child archetype:
- Made connections in learning
- Demonstrated high level vocabulary
- Engaged in their learning.
- Showed high levels of curiosity
Moving towards action
The phrase ‘deeper learning that sticks’ was adopted as the school’s vision for their new curriculum design.
Placing curiosity and deepening learning at the centre, the school built their curious curriculum to improve parents’ engagement and develop pupils’ communication skills. Some important features of the new curriculum include:
- Whole school themes to engage families and the wider school community
- ‘I wonder’ questions as a means of developing pupils’ curiosity
- Pupil curiosity woven across all subjects leading to greater depth
What has been the impact of the Curious Curriculum at Icklesham?
Through monitoring, the leadership team identified improvement for all pupils in the following areas:
- Engagement in learning through curiosity
- Outcomes in writing
- Attitudes to homework
- Parental and community engagement
While there were improvements for all children, the greatest improvement was seen amongst disadvantaged learners
- 100% of parents agree that the curious curriculum has had a positive impact on their child
- 100% of pupil premium students made expected progress in writing with 17% making more than expected compared to 8% non-pupil premium
- Attendance improved for all, with the greatest impact for pupil premium students