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Puncheston School – Sharing of good practice for Dolen

Information about the school

Puncheston C.P. School is situated in the small rural village of Puncheston in Pembrokeshire. It is a Welsh Medium (WM) primary school catering for 63 pupils from four to eleven years old. There are currently 3 Welsh medium classes. All the classes have mixed age groups. A small number of the pupils come from Welsh speaking homes (10%), most come from English speaking homes.

Context and background of sector leading practice.

Throughout the school there are very strong working relationships between staff and pupils, allowing pupils to influence the life of the school purposefully and effectively.   Collaborative decision‑making discussions are the starting point of all planning, provision and evaluation.

Description of the activity

The school recognises the need to support curriculum change, for example, allowing teachers to begin their topics with stimulating ‘immersion days’ to engage pupils and seek their ideas on lessons and activities.  Staff have engaged in professional development, taken part in research visits and worked closely with the Network Leader of Learning to ensure that they are fully informed about the journey towards the new curriculum.

Staff and pupils work collaboratively to plan immersion days based on the term’s theme. Pupil immersion days are effective in providing a variety of creative, stimulating and engaging activities for pupils.  Whilst immersed in these multi-sensory activities, pupils are given time to reflect and think about the experiences their new topic could provide.  They decide what they would like to learn more about and what skills they would like to develop during the theme.

At the beginning of the new school year all pupils are asked to mind map their interests and topics for future learning.  Staff and pupils then decide on an overarching theme based on their interests, such as “Come and Celebrate” and “Fantastic Journeys”.  Teachers then provide a whole school immersion day created around the six areas of learning to engage and motivate pupils with specific activities, e.g space food tasting, green screen activities, role play, treasure hunts, identifying alien soil. Areas of the school are decorated as a stimulus for the day’s activities and pupils are encouraged to dress accordingly, this all helps to maximise their learning experiences.

Staff work collaboratively to develop medium term planning for their bespoke “Cwricwlwm FfLACH”.  These plans include the national curriculum skills to be taught, pupils’ ideas, the LNF and DCF frameworks and the four purposes.  Staff are encouraged to take risks and be innovative when trialling new ideas.  The school uses the expertise of all staff, pupils and informed practice to implement change.  As a result, all staff actively engage in joint planning for change.

What is the impact on provision and engagement.

Teachers share the planned curriculum skills with pupils and pupils decide on the context for the skills they will be developing.  This gives pupils a sense of empowerment and helps them to engage with the learning experiences.  Each term the school targets one of the four purposes, encouraging pupils to develop their own interpretation of that particular purpose. During the term, activities are planned across the curriculum to provide opportunities for pupils to develop the qualities and attributes outlined in the purpose. At the end of the term pupils reflect on their deepened understanding of that purpose.

Pupil voice is a focus at every stage of planning and evaluation. The use of electronic questionnaires provides staff with feedback to help shape future curriculum developments. There is greater independence and an improved language of learning across the school.

Thematic work relating to “Cwricwlwm Fflach” is recorded in an exciting learning journal, each pupil has ownership and takes great pride in displaying each piece of work with creativity and care. The journals contain a wealth of rich tasks, focusing on the development of literacy, numeracy and digital skills in a holistic and meaningful context.

Pupils are able to discuss the curriculum journey, the increased emphasis on pupil voice, and how they use a variety of skills to engage in the challenges displayed in the FFLACH journals.

Parents are part of the planning process, the governors have also taken part in book scrutiny.

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