Pupil voice shapes the curriculum

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Glan Usk Primary School have led curriculum innovation, professional learning and reflective practice. This has resulted in confident pupils who lead their own learning effectively. Classrooms include a Learning Wall for each pupil, highlighting the children’s planning, skills and lesson ideas. Each pupil has a significant voice in shaping the curriculum and their contributions are valued.

Number of pupils: 683
Age range: 3-11
Date of inspection: March 2018

Context and background to the effective or innovative practice

The school has sustained a culture and ethos that places pupil voice at the heart of school improvement.  This is firmly embedded and has a significant impact on pupil wellbeing, and standards of teaching and learning.

In line with the school’s mission to ‘Excite, Challenge and Empower’, the pupils and teachers collaborate very effectively to drive school improvement processes at every level.  The school’s culture is built upon empowering pupils to be leaders of their own learning.  The fundamental objective is to engage and enthuse pupil involvement through curriculum innovation.

Description of nature of strategy or activity

Launched in September 2015, ‘Skills learnt Holistically to Inspire, Nurture and Empower’ (SHINE), is an inclusive, learner-led curriculum which excites, challenges and empowers all learners.  This has evolved through research-driven professional learning and engagement with the Successful Futures curriculum to reflect Glan Usk’s role as a Pioneer School to take forward developments relating to the curriculum.

To launch a new pupil-led theme, teachers facilitate a day of immersion for pupils, including rich learning activities.  Whilst immersed in highly creative activities, pupils are given time to reflect and to plan the direction of future learning.  Teachers ensure that the curriculum builds systematically on pupils’ prior knowledge and understanding through a progressive and comprehensive framework of skills.  The pupils decide the theme and, using skills, build the context for learning.  On a daily basis, the pupils are empowered through direct and meaningful input into their learning experiences.  The four purposes of the new curriculum for Wales are an integral part of the planning process and pupils’ learning.  Each classroom includes a pupils’ Learning Wall, which includes the children’s planning, skills and lesson ideas.  Pupils’ planned lessons are highlighted daily and displayed clearly for everyone to see.

Pupil knowledge and understanding of the Successful Futures curriculum (the new curriculum for Wales) are exceptional.  Regular ‘curriculum assemblies’ and pupil voice days enable all learners to plan, and reflect on, innovative ideas.  The Pupil Leadership Team gives feedback from such events to the school leadership team and ideas are further integrated into the curriculum.

All learning experiences are enhanced through metacognitive strategies and bespoke personalised learning approaches.  Pupils are involved in creating resources and delivering lessons across the school to embed strategies. 

In leading curriculum innovation, school culture is focused on continual professional learning, professional dialogue and reflective practice.

What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

The SHINE Curriculum empowers learners to lead their own learning.  Understanding and planning for skill development are outstanding.  Learners have an excellent understanding of Successful Futures curriculum and the four purposes within it.  Every child has a significant voice in shaping the curriculum and they are active citizens who know that their contributions are valued.  A wellbeing survey provides useful evidence of the positive impact of learner voice, metacognitive strategies and personalised learning approaches on learners’ attitudes to school and involvement in their learning.  The SHINE Curriculum celebrates pupil achievement and progress from each starting point as well as their attainment.  The school’s analysis of lesson observations shows a trend of year-on-year improvement in the quality of teaching and learning since 2016.

How have you shared your good practice?

Glan Usk is an EAS regional consortium training provider and has, over the years, provided an array of workshops with a focus on curriculum and metacognition.  The school has hosted events to share the curriculum to a significant number of professionals across the consortim and Wales.

Links: www.glanuskprimary.co.uk