How to Secure Curriculum Progression Right from the Start
For many years schools have sought ways to create a more linked learning journey for their children as they move between different phases of education; reviewing transition processes, reflecting on what their children really need and adapting practice accordingly.
However, with the key message from Ofsted that schools need to fully recognise that their curriculum begins when children first join the school, it is the ideal opportunity for school leaders to examine strategically how they have addressed this and identify development priorities. This raises a number of key challenges as well as opportunities which at Early Excellence, we are keen to help schools explore.
1/ Understanding Learning
The first challenge is how to ensure that all Subject Leaders, many of whom have never taught in the Early Years or had any prior training on how young children learn, gain a shared understanding of the key principles of the EYFS. Being responsible for planning and monitoring a curriculum that starts at 2, 3 or 4 years of age, requires subject leaders to fully understand the holistic nature of learning in the early years and how their curriculum area interlinks with other areas as well as the significance of the prime areas of learning in building a secure foundation for all learning.
2/ Connecting the Curriculum
Many schools have worked tirelessly over the last few years to develop a more connected curriculum and an essential part of this process has been to involve the early years team. This ensures that the curriculum journey makes sense with what we know about how young children learn, as well as fulfilling what we are statutorily required to do – always being mindful that the Early Learning Goals are not to be used to shape a curriculum and being wary of ‘shoe-horning’ one phase of the curriculum into another.
3/ Understanding the Environment
Key to a successful strategy of curriculum connection that fully embraces the early years, is the recognition of how vital the learning environment is in the early years, both indoors and outside. The curriculum needs to accurately capture this, with Subject Leaders understanding how the curriculum is brought to life, not just through adult-led activities but through a broad range of carefully planned, vibrant and meaningful experiences in multiple contexts.
4/ Evaluating Impact
The revised EYFS has required schools to re-examine their current assessment procedures and evidence gathering processes with a shift away from data towards conversations. Subject Leaders will need support to fully engaged with the early years team in order to discuss children’s progress and confidently evaluate the impact of the curriculum and the appropriateness of the next steps.
The impact of the pandemic has been profound for schools and it is essential that as we move away from this difficult time, that we do not lose sight of the unique learning needs of the youngest children and how best to support them.
This year, to meet new Ofsted expectations, schools have an exciting opportunity to develop their curriculum and their teams right from the start – strengthening Subject Leaders knowledge of early years in order to make a whole school community feel truly connected.
To support you in doing just this, at Early Excellence we have developed a unique online programme to upskill Subject Leaders in their knowledge and understanding of early years and how their area of the curriculum can be designed to truly start at the beginning of a child’s the learning journey.
Some things to consider:
Do your Subject Leaders understand Early Years?
Has each curriculum area been designed to build sequentially from Early Years?
How does your learning environment align with your curriculum?
How is progress and attainment in each subject measured in Early Years?
Gain Curriculum Progression Support from Early Excellence
Explore this newly developed whole school programme designed to upskill all Subject Leaders responsible for curriculum design, monitoring of curriculum implementation and the evaluation of the impact on children’s outcomes.
Once purchased for your school, you gain access to a series of subject specific webinars for six months, allowing plenty of time for all Subject Leaders to access the webinars and discuss how this new knowledge will help to strengthen the impact of their role.