3: Curriculum

3.01 Curriculum Policies.

Shell has a set of curriculum policy statements for its schools. The policy statements express general principles. They are usually short, concise documents that set minimum expectations which are binding on all schools. The policy statements build on the Shell mission statement that: Shell schools will, through excellent teaching and organisation, maximise children’s learning in a way which enables them to achieve high social, personal and academic standards, enjoy learning, adapt to other education systems and develop both a national and an international perspective The policy statements provide for a degree of consistency between schools. However, because they deal with general principles they also give schools as much freedom as possible as long as they stay within these general principles.

Each school is expected to have its own policy documents. Policy documents take the overall policy statements and make them more specific. Sometimes the central statements are sufficient and don’t need any addition. For other things the school will need its own more detailed explanations and interpretations. These policy documents should still be as short and as clear as possible although they might be supported by other materials.

It’s a good idea to have a simple standard format for policy documents. They might, for instance, be organised under such headings as general principles, what we do and date for review. Policies should be reviewed regularly, for example every two or three years to make sure they are still appropriate. A suggested list of policies and further guidance can be found in Appendix 11.

3.02 Curriculum Policy Statement.

General

All Shell schools use the International Primary Curriculum for all subjects except language and mathematics. ’ A guide to the amount of time children should spend on each subject is found in Appendix 12.

Language and Maths

All schools use an English based curriculum for English and mathematics. ‘International Schools’ Assessments (ISA) are used to monitor and evaluate achievement in these subjects.

Dutch mother tongue provisions (NTC) offer the language and Dutch culture curriculum based on the ‘kerndoelen’ or basic aims, as prescribed by the Dutch government. CITO tests are used to monitor achievement.

Integration

All schools create opportunities, through the curriculum and elsewhere, for activities involving integration between streams

Language and Culture Modules

All schools should make every language and culture modules available to children of all nationalities.

Schools should make time available in the school timetable to allow the children to follow these courses. This should be supported by study time outside school hours. Schools should be prepared to offer professional guidance to families working with language and culture modules at home.

School libraries should dedicate sections to books in languages other than English to reflect the different mother tongues of pupils. Sections could include history and geography books as well as literature and music.

3.03 The Early Years Curriculum.

All Shell and Shell affiliated schools should use the IPC Early Years or IEYC Programme in pre-school and Primary 1

Language and mathematical development is included in the IPC Early Years Programme - mostly in Strand 2 ‘Communicating’. For most children any additional ‘formal’ language and mathematics should not start until Term 3 of Primary 1.

The expectation is that schools should place considerable emphasis on learning through play in pre-school and Primary 1.

3.04 The International Primary Curriculum.

All Shell and Shell affiliated schools must use the International Primary Curriculum from Primary 2 to Primary 8 as the basis for children’s learning in:


  • Art



  • Geography



  • History



  • Information and Communication Technology



  • International development



  • Music



  • Personal Development



  • Physical Education



  • Science



  • Society



  • Technology


3.05 Language.

In schools:


  • Children’s abilities are developed within an integrated programme of speaking and listening, reading and writing.


  • Schools follow an English curriculum with the intention of improving children’s learning and raising levels of attainment.


  • Each school’s English policy document will set out how this is implemented.


  • Policy documents and schemes of work will include aspects of English such as speaking and listening and opportunities for sustained and extended writing.


  • Each school decides how to timetable English, bearing in mind such issues as mixed age classes and class sizes - but maintaining a balance of whole class, group and individual work, including regular and frequent plenary sessions, and maintaining a balance of text, sentence and word work.


  • As a guideline, children are taught English directly for at least 180 hours a year in lower primary and for at least 162 hours a year in upper primary. In addition there is identifiable developmental English teaching through the IPC units of work.


  • Children are taught English in a structured and planned way, daily.


  • There will be a reading record for all children. This will be used to record the occasions on which children read to the teacher, their progress and any diagnostic information.


  • Children are encouraged to read with their parents.


  • Children are given handwriting practice at least once a week.


In official NTC provisions:


  • Children’s abilities are developed within an integrated programme of speaking and listening, reading and writing.


  • The ultimate learning goal for language arts is to reach the ‘kerndoelen’ (core objectives) for primary education by the end of Primary 8.


  • Schools follow the minimal requirements giving out by NOB


  • Schools manage differences between children in learning time, educational levels and learning styles within the curriculum for language arts.


  • Schools make the effort to prevent learning difficulties in language and reading as far as possible.


  • Progress in language and reading are measured with observation and tests in learning materials and the achievement tests from Cito. All Shell schools stick to an agreed set of tests written down in the ‘Toetskalender’ which are added in Appendix 13


  • Schools are free to add more tests to this schedule, if needed.


  • Children are encouraged to read at home (preferably with a parent who is a native speaker in Dutch).


  • Each school formulates school policy and improvement policies on language arts in the ‘schoolplan’.

Annual targets for improvement on language arts, resulting from the school self-evaluation, the schoolplan and agreements within the Shell group, will be formulated in the school improvement plan and the ‘schoolgids’.

3.06 Mathematics.

In schools:


  • Schools follow an English language based curriculum for mathematics with the intention of improving children’s learning and raising levels of attainment.


  • At Key Stage 1, developing mathematical language, selecting and using materials, and developing reasoning, should be set in the context of the other areas of mathematics. Sorting, classifying, making comparisons and searching for patterns should apply to work on number, shape and space, and handling data. The use of number should permeate work on measures and handling data.


  • At Key Stage 2, developing mathematical language, reasoning and skills in applying mathematics should be set in the context of the other areas of mathematics. Measurement should be associated with handling data and shape and space. Calculating skills should be developed in number and through work on measures and handling data. Algebraic ideas of pattern and relationships should be developed in all areas of mathematics.


  • As a guideline, children are taught mathematics for at least 126 hours a year at both lower and upper primary.


  • Maths is taught daily to all children as a separate subject for at least four separate one hour sessions per week.


  • Maths lessons will normally include a 5-10 minute session of oral work and mental calculations with the intention of raising children’s attainment.


  • All children at Key Stage 1 must use structural apparatus on a regular basis. Children at Key Stage 2 should use structural apparatus where appropriate.


  • Children will carry out an extended mathematics investigation each term.


  • Children will be given regular opportunities to hold discussions with the teacher.


  • Each week children will be given the opportunity to practise fundamental mathematical skills and routines.


  • Each week children will be given the opportunity to practise and apply mathematical skills through their work in other subjects.



3.07 Additional Language.

In learning an additional language children learn to communicate in a language that is not their mother tongue.

They should be taught about:


  • How the language is used.


  • How to understand the additional language.


  • How to be understood in the additional language.


The knowledge, skills and understanding which children gain through their study of an additional language can be regarded in terms of:


  • Speaking and listening.


  • Reading.


  • Writing.


  • Grammatical conventions.

The additional language for many children is likely to be English. For others it will depend on the circumstances and location of the school.

One important factor in the teaching of an additional language is the language that the school uses for instruction. For many children the language of instruction will be an additional language. For these children there are likely to be needs, incentives and opportunities which go beyond those of children learning a language that they do not use in everyday situations.

Because of the differences between schools and languages there are no general subject goals in the IPC for additional languages. There is however an expectation that:


  • All children will learn an additional language from the age of 5.


  • Children learning the school’s language of instruction as an additional language will reach the necessary levels of competence from a very early age.

All other children will be fluent speakers of an additional language by the age of 12.


3.08 Language and Culture Modules.

All schools should make every effort to make Language and Culture modules available to children of all nationalities. Schools should, where possible, make time available in the school timetable to allow the children to follow their courses. This should be supported by study time outside school hours. Schools should be prepared to offer professional guidance to families working with Language and Culture modules at home. School libraries should dedicate sections to books in languages other than English to reflect the different mother tongues of pupils. Sections could include history and geography books as well as literature and music.

In the case of schools without a separate Dutch stream but registered through Stichting NOB as an official Dutch Mother Tongue provision (NTC), it is strongly advised that Dutch children should receive at least three hours a week of NTC (Dutch language and culture lessons). Preferably they should receive five hours a week. Three hours is the required minimum in order to be able to apply for the mentioned subsidy.

In Appendix 14 there is a list with websites and addresses, which can be useful in organising language and culture modules for various languages.

3.09 Integration of Subjects in Stand-alone Lessons.

Schools may choose to teach certain subjects (perhaps ICT, Art, Music and/or PE) partly as stand-alone lessons in addition to teaching them through the IPC units of work.

Some schools will have dedicated specialist teachers for these subjects. At other schools the subjects will be taught by specialist teachers. In either case, schools should ensure that the IPC learning goals are used for all subjects and that children achieve the age appropriate learning goals for each subject at the end of each Milepost. Schools should also ensure that any learning taking place in stand-alone lessons is linked as much as possible to learning taking place through the units of work.

The IPC programme provides support for non-specialist teachers in the teaching of Art, Music, ICT and PE. Using the specialist units allows non-specialist teachers to support children’s learning of key subject specific skills. For more information on the Specialist Units please contact the IPC or visit the IPC website: www.greatlearning.com/ipc

3.10 Extra-curricular Activities.

Shell and Shell affiliated schools should enhance the curriculum and a child’s learning through extra-curricular activities. These also have social and other benefits.

All teachers, including head teachers and deputy head teachers, are expected to organise and run at least one weekly after school activity. It is often possible to encourage parents to assist teachers or to organise activities themselves.

3.11 Educational Visits.

Educational visits are activities away from the school premises.

Schools are encouraged to use educational visits to enhance the learning of the children and to make good use of the environment of the host country. In many locations it is difficult to arrange such visits but it is almost always possible to arrange educational visits within the local Shell camp.

The purposes of educational visits, especially the intended learning outcomes, should always be made clear.

It is likely that each operating unit will have its own procedures for organising and authorising educational visits. We recommend that head teachers discuss these with their line managers and then make them clear to all teachers. All such procedures should emphasise the need for attention to be paid to the health and safety of children, teachers and other people.

The ratio of adults to children will vary according to the activity and local circumstances. However, the following numbers indicate minimum expectations:

Less than 20 children - at least two adults, including one teacher

20 - 30 children - at least three adults, including one teacher

30 - 40 children - at least four adults, including two teachers

40 - 50 children - at least five adults, including two teachers

3.12 Nederlandkunde.

For school that run or are linked to an official Dutch Mother Tongue provision (NTC) specific Dutch elements in the field of geography, history, nature and culture should be included in the curriculum, to meet the requirements of the Dutch government. Schools can provide this in special lessons, called ‘Nederlandkunde’ or integrate the learning content in other (IPC and Dutch language) lessons. In Appendix 15 an overview can be found of the learning targets that have to be met by the end of Primary 8, approved by the Dutch Inspectorate. Advice on lessons and learning materials for Nederlandkunde can be sought from NOB or ImED.

3.13 Assessment.

Assessment of children in Shell schools is compulsory. This applies to both assessment for learning and assessment of learning.

Assessment for learning:

Children should be assessed for learning in literacy, mathematics and through the IPC Assessment for Learning Programme.

Assessment for learning is about the change that children make. It should produce information about performance against standards, how well a child has learned something and indicates the future learning needs.

Assessment for learning should:


  • Be used to help inform future learning needs.


  • Where appropriate, use the IPC children’s and teachers’ rubrics.

Assessment of learning:

Assessment of learning is used as:


  • A tool for reporting.


  • A guide on the level of performance of individuals, groups and schools.

Each Shell and Shell affiliated school should have systems in place that allows:


  • Tracking of individual children’s learning through a common system.


  • Benchmarking individual and whole school’s learning.


  • Reporting on learning and the future learning needs of children.

Shell Education Services Department requires schools to:


  • Assess the children from Primary 5 through to Primary 8 using the International Schools’ Assessment (ISA).


  • Inform parents of their children’s ISA results.


  • Submit the ISA results to SESD.

Shell Education Services Department recommends that schools:


  • Use the old English National Curriculum levels and sublevels for tracking children’s progress in English and mathematics.

or


  • Use the new English National Curriculum and a robust tracking system for children’s progress in English and mathematics.

any changes in curriculum have to be put forward to SESD and ImEd.

NTC provisions are expected to use tests in learning materials and the achievement tests from Cito. All Shell and Shell affiliated schools should follow an agreed set of tests written down in the ‘Toetskalender’, which is sent to schools at the beginning of every school year. Schools are free to add more tests to this schedule, if needed.