At Dundonald we aim to develop the children’s social, emotional and academic skills through a rich and exciting curriculum that focuses on a different theme each half term.
Each topic is planned and evolves in discussion with the children to encourage ownership and motivation; this is reviewed constantly to ensure the topics remain relevant and inspiring.
We believe in equipping children with the life skills as well as academic abilities they need to succeed in changing world. We recognise that many of the jobs that exist today might change beyond recognition in the next generation; and at the same time, new jobs, technologies and ways of working will emerge that we cannot yet imagine.
We see our job as educators as being one of preparing children for an uncertain, challenging and exciting future in which life skills are at least as important as knowledge. We celebrate and encourage children in developing these transferable skills. These are known as the 7Cs, and they are listed below, along with some of the ways children might demonstrate them:
|Collaboration||working well in a team, supporting each other, showing leadership skills|
|Commitment||persevering, not giving up, learning from mistakes, seeing a task or project through to completion|
|Communication||sharing ideas, expressing yourself, listening well, explaining to the class|
|Confidence||having a go, trying something new, going outside your comfort zone|
|Craftmanship||rewriting and improving a piece of writing, taking pride in your work, spending time|
|Creativity||having an original point of view, seeing things in new ways, making connections, having ideas|
|Curiosity||being engaged in your learning, asking questions, finding out more|
These values were inspired by the book Educating Ruby http://www.educatingruby.org by Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas. They underpin everything from our medium term planning to our day-to-day lessons and the verbal feedback we give to children.
The certificates awarded at weekly celebration assemblies are given to children for demonstrating these qualities in their work or behaviour, and those children's photos take pride of place in the 7Cs display in the school hall. In class we constantly refer to them and give regular opportunities for children to develop these skills. For example, curiosity can be fostered by asking questions at the start of a topic planning or when quizzing another pupil during hot-seating in role as a book character or expert. Opportunities for collaboration are plentiful, whether through peer mediation (the Year 6 children are peer mediators who help resolve problems in the playground) and music or digital leaders (who support and develop those areas of the curriculum) to the regular opportunities for paired work such as talk partners, peer tutors or reading buddies (where children from different classes read with each other).
These values go hand in hand with our ethos as Growth Mindset school, where children are encouraged to take risks and make mistakes in order to move their learning on.
There is a great deal of evidence – much of it developed by the renowned educational psychologist Carol Dweck https://mindsetonline.com - to show that children who are encouraged to have a growth mindset (that is, to believe that their abilities are not fixed) are more likely to take on challenging work, to believe that they can improve their abilities and to be less afraid of failure.
Her research supports the idea that praising children for their efforts, resilience and the process of learning - rather than their outcomes or intelligence - encourages more independent, resilient learners, who are better able to cope with setbacks, take more responsibility for their learning and have a positive attitude to learning new things.
Our staff have been trained in Growth Mindset techniques and will use language and concepts in their lessons regularly to support this way of thinking. For example, you may hear your child referring to the 'learning pit' - a metaphor for the difficult and confusing place we find ourselves in when encountering a new concept - or the 'power of yet' to encourage children to believe they are on the way to mastering a skill or concept.
We use the National Curriculum 2014 to inform the content and skills that are taught. Please click here for a Parent's Guide for the New National Curriculum.
Our Teaching and Learning Policy describes the management and organisation of our curriculum in more detail.