We have recently created a brand new curriculum at Fortuna that centres around reading. At Fortuna we believe that by exposing children and immersing them in stories, they will not only improve their reading outcome but also improve in all other areas of the curriculum.
The new curriculum will run over a 2-year cycle and include successful elements of our previous curriculums including immersive areas and real life contexts. However, instead of foundation subjects driving the curriculum, a specific text will become central to the topic with the foundation subjects linking in where possible.
We have chosen the books that will be used each term carefully and have also consulted with Dr. Jeannie Bulman an Education Consultant and KS2 Moderation Manager for Lincolnshire. This has enabled us to ensure children are exposed to age appropriate texts that are progressive throughout the key stages and ensure that children have access to books that would further enrich the children’s learning and love of reading.
We believe that by exposing children and immersing them in stories, they will not only improve their reading outcomes but will also develop in all other areas of the curriculum, as stated in 'The Reading Framework, Teaching the foundations of Literacy', published by OFSTED in July 2021. The framework states:
"..those pupils who struggle to read, struggle in all subjects and the wonders of knowledge rich curriculum passes them by unread. Fluency of reading is also a key indicator for future success in further education, higher education and employment."
We believe that this new, bespoke, curriculum structure will provide opportunities to create shared experiences that help connect different elements of the curriculum and help children to form developmental skills that are pre-requisite to academic progress.
If you have any questions concerning the curriculum please contact Miss Rollins or Miss Mulligan through the school office.
Rationale for change
Intent, Implement and Impact statements
Fortuna school is a primary special school for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs. The school currently has 80 pupils on roll, ranging from 6 years to 11 years. Many of the pupils at Fortuna school have not had positive experience of school and can therefore arrive quite switched off to learning and need reengaging in the teaching and learning process.
21 of the pupils currently on roll have been permanently excluded from one or more mainstream settings
44 of the pupils currently on roll have received one or more fixed term exclusions from their previous mainstream setting.
All of the pupils prior to starting at Fortuna were struggling to access the broader national curriculum, as a result of the additional support that they required in mainstream school to maintain their behaviour. For many of the pupils, this meant working on a 1:1 basis outside of the classroom and following a bespoke, off curriculum timetable.
Over the years Fortuna school has explored a range of different teaching, learning styles
and strategies to engage and motivate the pupils, giving them a love for learning again.
This has previously been recognised by pupils, parents and carers.
Parent questionnaires from 2021 show that 49% of parents and carers agree that their child enjoys school with a further 51% of parents and carers strongly agreeing.
“M is no longer stressed in lessons or being forced out of his classes or trying to abscond school, he now looks forward to attending”
The 2021 parent questionnaires also shows 76% of parents strongly agree and 17% agree that their child has made academic progress whilst attending Fortuna and 72% strongly agree and 28% agree that attending Fortuna has had a positive impact on how their child feels about learning.
Rationale for change
Over the last 10 years we have explored visual literacy, immersive learning and real life projects to enhance and engage pupils in their learning.
Our current curriculum was born through an amalgamation of these approaches recognising and implementing the components that have made the most impact on teaching and learning. A key element of designing the curriculum was to be able to provide our pupils with real life experiences that they may not have had. This broadens their view of the wider world and encourages them to have aspirations in their life.
This curriculum was launched in 2014 and has been successfully embedded in the school, with OFSTED recognising it as a strength in June 2018:
‘The curriculum is now a key strength of the school. It is highly engaging and enriched through the provision of a stimulating learning environment.
The current curriculum has been in place now for 7 years. Although there are many strengths, as identified in the 2019 SWOT, such as the immersive areas, opportunities for creative teaching styles and developing children’s vocabulary and understanding, senior leaders felt there were possible areas for consideration and development within it.
The school use the Boxall Profile to assess and support children with their needs. The Boxall profile assesses children’s developmental vulnerabilities so that they can be supported from the earliest vulnerabilities. Due to the nature of the pupil’s needs and the way admissions work, a significant number of pupils across the school need support with vulnerabilities in the earliest developmental strands
Sharing texts and related enrichment activities, engaging in conversation and participating in partner/group work will help children to further develop the purposeful attention and constrictive participation skills practiced through play in a more formal way.
Process for change
Making sure our pupils become engaged with reading from there start at Fortuna is one of the most important ways we can make a difference to their life chances, what ever their background, therefore we took the decision to trial a literacy led curriculum in the summer term of 2021 in order that we could assess if this would meet the needs of our children.
In preparation for the launch of our new curriculum the following steps have been taken to ensure that all staff felt confident in delivering literacy led curriculum
Our vision is to create a curriculum that centres around reading. We believe that by exposing children and immersing them in stories, they will not only improve their reading outcomes but will also develop in all other areas of the curriculum, as stated in ‘The Reading Framework, Teaching the foundations of Literacy’, published by OFSTED in July 2021. The framework states
“those pupils who struggle to read, struggle in all subjects and the wonders of knowledge-rich curriculum passes them by unread. Fluency of reading is also a key indicator for future success in further education, higher education and employment.”
‘Even more significantly, being a highly engaged reader has the potential to allow a child to overcome their background.’ This is particular significance to our pupils due to their early life disadvantages and vulnerabilities. The 2000, results from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) showed that:
“while the degree of engagement in reading varies considerably from country
to country, 15-year-olds whose parents have the lowest occupational status
but who are highly engaged in reading obtain higher average reading scores
in PISA than students whose parents have high or medium occupational
status but who report to be poorly engaged in reading. This suggests that
finding ways to engage students in reading may be one of the most effective
ways to leverage social change.”
The new curriculum will continue to have the successful elements of the previous curriculum, for example, immersive areas and real life contexts. However, there will be a move away from foundation subjects driving the curriculum to book and authors becoming central to the topic, with the foundation subjects linking in where possible. In having a book led curriculum, children from a diverse range of backgrounds, can form shared and common experiences around texts that provide a safe yet stimulating context for learning that allows them to become experts on the subject matter. Adding awe and wonder ‘sprinkles’ throughout the curriculum is a key component of the strategy to engage pupils with texts in order to achieve this.
The new curriculum structure will facilitate teaching staff in creating shared experiences that help connect different elements of the curriculum and help children to form the developmental skills that are pre-requisite to academic progress.
The redesign of the school’s curriculum was done so with significant mindfulness of the children’s needs in these areas.
In order for the curriculum to be successful the SMT felt that it should be a priority on the School Development Plan and that it would be the focus for the Autumn term. The actions taken to implement the curriculum across the key stages involve school and home.
Moving beyond the Autumn term
In order for us to assess the impact of the introduction of a new curriculum we will need to give sufficient time for it to be embedded. We will gather data across the next two years to see the impact
Please see Appendix 1 for the Literacy curriculum overviews and Appendix 2 for the Topic curriculum overviews.