Dolphin School Ofsted

Extracts from the Dolphin School Ofsted Report of March 2018

The school’s curriculum is an emerging strength. In September 2017, the school launched a new enquiry-based curriculum, which had been trialled in the previous academic year. It aims to build on pupils’ curiosity about their own community and locality in order to develop their interest in the wider world. Structured around a series of interconnecting enquiries, the curriculum develops pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills across a wide range of subjects. The emphasis is on being, say, an author, a mathematician or a historian, rather than doing English, mathematics or history. 

The new curriculum is very popular with pupils, parents and staff, all of whom speak enthusiastically about the impact it is having. Pupils are very keen to share their learning. For example, pupils in Year 3 talked proudly of the enquiries they have already made and how the one they are currently doing, ‘Why did people in the past travel?’, connects them with the history of Bristol. 

The curriculum is supported by a well-planned extra-curricular programme. Aspects of this programme, such as providing male role models for boys and targeting particular clubs at disadvantaged pupils, allow school leaders to reinforce features of the formal curriculum. Pupils who might not normally have the opportunity are enabled to experience a wide range of activities. Leaders use the physical education (PE) and sport premium well to support the extra-curricular programme as well as the formal PE curriculum during lesson time.