Our School Curriculum

We believe that all children should be inspired to learn through a rich, meaningful curriculum. We therefore use three approaches that not only motivate and engage children in their learning but also develops their ability to apply, reason, question and problem solve at a very high level.

These approaches are:Pic8

➢   Mantle of the Expert

➢   Project based learning

➢   Rich text immersion

Mantle of the Expert

The Mantle of the Expert is a dramatic-inquiry based approach to teaching and learning invented and developed by Professor Dorothy Heathcote at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1980’s. The big idea is that the class do all their curriculum work as if they are an imagined group of experts.

They might be scientists in a laboratory or palaeontologists excavating dinosaurs, or a extreme explorers on an expedition to Antarctica. They might be running a removal company, or a factory, or a shop, or a space station or a care home for the elderly.

Because they behave ‘as if they are experts’, the children are working from a specific point of view as they explore their learning and this brings special responsibilities, language needs and social behaviours.

The children are not putting on a play or running a business. They are simply being asked to agree, for a time, to imagine themselves as a group of scientists, archaeologists or librarians with jobs and responsibilities.

Through activities and tasks, the children gradually take on some of the same kinds of responsibilities, problems and challenges that real archaeologists, scientists and librarians might do in the real world. Our children have taken part in the following Mantle of the Expert teams:

The Chefs: The children set up and ran their own restaurants, even dealing with health and safety issues along the way.
Extreme Explorers: Year 2 rose to the challenge of assisting a Scientist in gathering data about Antarctica.
The Palaeontologists: The discovery of a mystery fossil led to the employment of a responsible team of Palaeontologists …
The Animal Sanctuary: The animal sanctuary had been running for some time when they were approached by the residents of an Indian village who had captured a tiger that had been attacking the village.
The Problem Solvers: Year R have been a well-known team of Problem Solvers and have responded to many problems including a bear in need of friends, the mystery of the missing jam tarts, a sad and lonely giant.

These are just some of our ‘Mantles’ and each year we use different responsible teams to teach and embed the national curriculum through meaningful and engaging contexts. You can find out about some of the Mantles our children have been involved within the class pages and topic information section for parents.

At Oakwood we have had the opportunity to work with leading experts in Mantle of the Expert and this has enabled our teachers and teaching assistants to become highly skilled in using this innovative and inspiring approach to learning. If you would like to find out more about Mantle of the Expert click here.

Project Based Learning

Pic12At Oakwood we believe that there should be a clear context for learning and that children should understand the purpose for learning new skills and knowledge. We therefore provide opportunities for real-life project based learning for all children at least once a year. This may involve contributing to local plans for the village, researching and understanding local wildlife or projects that are relevant to the school or community.

Rich Text Immersion

All of the children’s work is supported by the opportunity to engage with rich children’s literature. Each year the children have the opportunity to study a rich text in depth and immerse themselves in the language, composition and structure of the book. This is supported by the opportunity to express the story through the creative arts such as art and design, music and dance.