In school staff plan our curriculum so that it is organised into themes for half a term or a term. This means children are able to make links between different subject areas and helps us to make sure our curriculum is broad, rich and balanced. We enjoy lots of visits and visitors over the year to help support the children's learning. Our classes are organised into single year groups (such as Year 1), and learning opportunities are planned to ensure we are meeting the needs of all children.
We work hard to plan a curriculum that generates a high level of interest and enthusiasm for learning. All classes use a variety of teaching methods such as whole class, small group and individual teaching. To ensure progress and continuity teachers and support staff work as a team to plan, and to record regular formal and informal assessments of learning in order to identify the next steps in the children’s learning.
We generally follow the National Curriculum 2014, which sets down the minimum expectations for content in each subject area for each age group. As we are an academy, within in our curriculum there is an element of flexibility. For example, we can respond to exciting and significant events as and when they occur such as visitors in school, National and global events. Children in the Foundation Stage class follow the Early Years Foundation Stage.
In 2016-17 we started using the Maths No Problem approach to support our children in developing a secure, deep understanding of maths and to ensure a common language around maths across school. At the same time we worked on embedding a 'Growth Mindset' approach to help develop resilience and confidence in all children.
In addition to National Curriculum subjects the school is committed to the equality of opportunity and the importance of providing access to the curriculum for all children. We aim to work within our school’s 5 Commitments and the wider fundamental British values around respect and tolerance towards others. By supporting children’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development we aim to prepare children for their future life in modern Britain, with a secure understanding of democracy and law and their own responsibilities within this. Opportunities in school such as the School Council give children the chance to experience planning and decision-making at school level; our well-established residential visits provide opportunities for team work and supporting each other in a different, more challenging setting.
Phonics and reading
Children in the Foundation Stage begin to develop their understanding of phonics using the ‘Jolly Phonics’ scheme alongside other directed and child-initiated activities. All staff use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ guidance to inform their planning around phonics and spelling. We use a range of resources to support children’s reading: books from a number of different published schemes are organised into ‘book bands’ which guide children’s progression and offer a wider range of texts than any single scheme. Staff also have access to additional resources and intervention programmes such as ‘Rapid Read’ and 'Read Write Inc' to support children who may need additional help with their reading skills.
2017-18: next steps
In this academic year we are working on developing a more enquiry-based approach, giving children opportunities to follow their questions and interests, and to present their findings in different ways as their skills and knowledge increase. We are giving a high importance to reasoning and thinking so our children can be inquisitive learners who understand how they learn and are able to work both collaboratively and independently, including acting as critical friends to others. This is very much a work in progress!