Welcome to 'Our Curriculum' area. In this area, you will find out what, when and how we teach the content of our curriculum. Every school has a different curriculum and so there will be some similarities and difference between our school and other local schools.
On the whole, most schools teach the national curriculum and locally agreed curriculum for Religious Education. However, each school carefully considers its vision and context to ensure that it makes the most significant impact on its children and the local community. This impacts the approach each school takes.
Project Based Learning
At Tyndale Community School we believe in making all learning purposeful and meaningful. We do this by teaching the national curriculum primarily through the project based learning.
Project based learning allow teachers to create lessons and activities around a single complex enquiry that leads to a high quality end product that is exhibited to an authentic audience. Projects are rigorously designed and planned to cover all aspects of the national curriculum whilst at the same time providing a rich, real life learning experience. This way of learning allows our students to develop their own self-confidence and creativity, as well as develop skills that prepare them for the twenty-first century.
The key features of project based learning at Tyndale Community School are below:
Each project is focused on teaching children key knowledge and understanding derived from the national curriculum, and soft skills including critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management.
The body of knowledge and understanding in our national curriculum is mainly taught through Project Based Learning. However, where there are no links or they are tenuous, they are left out of the project and taught discretely during one of the allocated weeks.
In some projects it is more appropriate to include the necessary body of knowledge at the beginning of the project. At other times, especially in younger year groups, the knowledge teaching threads through the project.
At the beginning of every project, pupils are given a Knowledge Organiser. This is a double-sided A4 page and includes key words and definitions, timelines, diagrams and labels, flowcharts. The process of creating a knowledge organiser ensures that teachers are clear on the material to be covered in their planning. Children use the ten learning techniques stated in Dunlosky et al (2013) to learn the material. This is taken home to be learnt and used at key times within the classroom. Please go to your child's year group page to see the most up-to-date knowledge organiser.
To ensure that learning is interleaved across the curriculum, at the start of each day children will complete a Do Now Activity . The DNA is on the board ready for children who come in for registration at the start of the day and half way through the day. It is in the same place every day. A DNA takes no longer than 3-5 minutes and does not require any explanation from the teacher. DNAs are used in the following ways:
- Practicing knowledge and skills learnt throughout the year
- Preparation for the task ahead. Activating thinking in a certain area.
- A quiz that assesses and elicits.
The driving question of a project is open-ended, engaging, and crafted so that the inquiry process is initiated. You can’t google the answer and it is thought provoking. Some examples are ‘What does it take to survive and thrive in the wild?’ ‘What makes a great plate?’ ‘Can maths be beautiful?’
Our projects involve an active, in-depth process over time, in which students generate questions, find and use resources, ask further questions, and develop their own answers. Each project is six weeks long and will be at least three afternoons a week. Professionals are invited into school and children attend field trips to support the progress of their project.
The project has a real-world context and makes a real impact to Oxford and beyond. Children’s product engages with an authentic audience. One example of this is Year Four's production of packs for the homeless in Oxford which were distributed by The Gateway Project.
Student Voice and Choice
The project allows students to make some choices about the products they create, how they work, and how they use their time, guided by the teacher and depending on their age and PBL experience.
Students mostly work in groups of three. They are given different professional roles at different points of the project. At the beginning of the project, children write a success criteria for their role, e.g. ‘What does it look like to be a successful researcher?’
The brief of the end-product is the same for all groups. However, student choice results in products and the process leading to them being different
Each project provides opportunities for students to reflect on what and how they are learning, and on the project’s design and implementation.
Each Friday provides reflection time for children. In Year 1 this is as a whole class and is more teacher-led. In Year 5 it is entirely child-led. Children’s reflection could be in prose or as a graphic organiser.
This process encourages meta-cognition of how children are learning and what techniques have been working for them.
Critique and Revision
Students give, receive and use feedback to improve their product or process.
This can be instant feedback about their product. It could also be about how well the child is carrying out their role and what they need to do.
This feedback can be written or oral. The feedback can be from peers, teachers, parents or professionals. See Austin’s butterfly (youtube) for the power of feedback and revision. This is an essential part to PBL but sometimes the most challenging. It is important to stretch all children in this area as it links heavily to resilience and prepares them well for the future.
Publicly Presented Product
Children publicise their end-product by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom. These are called public exhibitions and can be hosted outside of the school, such as in a museum or cinema.