In school staff plan our curriculum so that it is organised into subject-led themes for half-term blocks, with maths and English sessions running alongside this. This means children are able to explore knowledge and skills in more depth 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 small, mixed-year group classes, 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 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.
Since 2016-17 we have been 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.
For RE (Religious Education) we follow the Diocese of York Syllabus. This is supplemented by resources and approaches from the 'Understanding Christianity' programme.
In Hope schools, high quality RE is provided for all pupils, which is inclusive and broad minded.
Parents/guardians do have the right to withdraw pupils from RE lessons, or any part of the RE curriculum: if you wish to do this, please make an appointment with the RE leader in school. Hope does not support selective withdrawal from RE. Our schools have a duty to supervise pupils withdrawn from RE, though not to provide additional teaching or to incur extra cost. Where the pupil has been withdrawn, alternative arrangements will be made for RE of the kind the parents/guardians want the pupil to receive. These arrangements will be made by the parents/guardians; the school is not expected to make these arrangements. This RE could be provided at the school in question, or by another school in the locality. If neither approach is practicable, the pupil may receive external RE teaching as long as the withdrawal does not significantly impact on the child’s attendance.
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 to 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.
In this academic year we are continuing to develop a more enquiry-based approach based around key concepts, giving children opportunities to follow their questions and interests, and to present their key knowledge and understanding 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.