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The Willow Dene Curriculum

The intent of the curriculum at Willow Dene is to enable all children to be active learners, moving towards independence, autonomy, control and choice, and that they learn to effectively communicate needs, wants, and opinions. The Curriculum Offer outlines how the school provides teaching and learning opportunities that are essential for the learning and development of all children at Willow Dene.

Our curriculum is based on National Curriculum Programmes of study for KS1-KS4 and includes all statutory curriculum requirements. It is carefully designed to meet the needs of all children and reflects Willow Dene’s key values. Our curriculum complies with the duties of the Equality Act 2010 and the SEND Code Practice 2014. It maximises cross curricular links, opportunities to practice and generalise key skills and a text-led approach to learning.

We have a carefully considered and sequenced approach to early reading.

This enables children working at early development level to build essential pre-reading knowledge, understanding and skills. These include early visual, auditory and motor skills; focus and attention skills; early communication skills; and memory and sequencing skills.

For children working at emergent concept level, foundations for reading are established through a clear focus on developing language comprehension and word recognition skills. This includes a focus on developing vocabulary, language conventions and background knowledge alongside phonological awareness. This is achieved through sharing high-quality stories and poems; learning a range of rhymes and simple poems; and activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending.

Children working at basic concept and applying knowledge level who have established these pre-reading and foundations for reading skills are supported to become effective early readers. There is a continued focus on developing language comprehension skills alongside more formal decoding and automatic word recognition skills. We use the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds' systematic synthetic phonics programme to ensure children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. Alongside our phonics programme, we use carefully matched ‘Big Cat’ decodable reading books in order for children to apply their phonics knowledge and be able to access high quality texts and read for pleasure later on.