Our Curriculum -
The Westgate School’s curriculum reflects two principles: firstly, acquisition – where pupils are taught to acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills in each subject domain in order to apply this learning to new situations; and secondly, participation – that pupils need to develop the skills to engage positively in different situations. In doing so, pupils further their learning and sense of belonging. In some subjects, such as Science, the emphasis lies more heavily on the acquisition of knowledge whereas in a subject such as Drama, the skills of participation pre-dominate. In every lesson we expect adults to consider how best to facilitate pupils’ active participation in their learning – including “thinking hard” – and, to use the School’s core approach to teaching and learning so that pupils experience a coherent learning journey.
In every subject, leaders are designing and evolving their curriculums based on the golden threads of learning from Year R to Year 11 in their particular domain. Planning is based on clear objectives, using misconceptions as opportunities for rich learning and, facilitating greater depth in pupils’ knowledge rather than greater curriculum coverage. The specified curriculum is based on the National Curriculum and KS4 syllabi however, the School believes strongly in ensuring that the ‘hidden curriculum’ – how pupils learn about themselves and society in the way that we organise ourselves as a school – has a positive impact on the individual child. We strongly believe that access to cultural capital is an entitlement of every pupil, and we are regularly reviewing our curriculum to increase opportunities to access learning about different cultures and diversity. We also have a specified ‘Wellbeing Curriculum’, which sets out the universal provision for all pupils, and we are developing our practice to facilitate even greater inclusion in extra-curricular provision in school. Moreover, as part of our ongoing learning, we involve pupils proactively in curriculum development through our received curriculum reviews and, our pupil leadership groups.
At The Westgate School our curriculum is not intended to lead learners to fulfil their potential: our intention is to unlock the individual’s potential and to equip them with the knowledge and skills to be able to learn in different situations throughout their lives.
Our teaching is inclusive using a whole class approach. Teachers use fluid, peel away groups: “Master Classes” for support and extension as needed.
A Community of Learning...
Being a high achieving, successful learning community only happens as a result of genuine collaboration. Every young person is unique and so we seek to provide a range of different learning opportunities in which every individual can excel. The Early Years Foundation Stage is framed around the characteristics of effective learning:
Playing | Exploring active learning | Creating | Thinking critically
These provide a foundation for learning upon which our curriculum in the Lower and Upper Schools are built. Our central purpose is for children to develop into young people who are happy and effective learners. We achieve this by being a community of learning where adults and pupils alike are committed to this central aim and work in strong partnership with parents to inspire success for all.
Adults working with children and young people in our school community use a process of observation, assessment and planning to identify the learning and developmental needs of each child. Alongside knowledge of children’s interests, we plan opportunities for learning that are stimulating and engaging, leading to strong progress right from the Early Years Foundation Stage through to Year 11. In addition to the specified curriculum, pupils in The Westgate will have the opportunity to experience a wide range of activities that enhance and enrich the curriculum. The all-through setting provides a unique opportunity for young people to learn from their peers and through the teaching of younger pupils. This powerful model for learning is one that permeates our culture and further enriches the community of learning.
Based on the principles of a growth mindset, the practice of teaching and learning at The Westgate encourages children and young people to be led by their curiosity and to be prepared to use mistakes as the best opportunities for learning. This begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage where pupils are encouraged to make decisions about how to do things, to explain their thinking and to be resilient in their efforts. This theme continues through our practice in the Lower and Upper Schools where teaching colleagues will encourage pupils to verbalise their decision making process, explaining how they reached a particular conclusion or why they chose a specific method for doing something in order that they gain even better control over their learning and can apply skills to new situations.
A golden thread throughout learning in all subjects and stages at The Westgate is the development of Literacy and Mathematical skills which are a foundation for learning in all disciplines and lead to strong outcomes at examination level and for post-16 learning. At The Westgate, we believe that through our exemplary partnerships with parents and young people, we can inspire a love of learning - something that is intrinsically linked to the development of individual self-esteem and motivation. In our school, there is no separation between our commitment to academic success and the wellbeing of the children and young people in our community.
Compliance with regulatory acts
Our curriculum complies within the duties of the the statutory Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice (2015) and the following legislation:
Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014, which sets out schools’ responsibilities for pupils with SEN and disabilities and
The Equality Act 2010, with particular reference to Part 6 “Education”
We strive for High Quality Inclusive Teaching within our classes and for all pupils to access a broad and balanced curriculum. When deciding whether special educational provision is required, we will start with the desired outcomes, including a variety of assessments of the pupil’s progress and attainment, the views and wishes of the pupil and their parents and information from other agencies.