Curriculum

 

About our curriculum

Our curriculum weaves together the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum (2014) and the principles of our Aspirations philosophy: Self worth; Engagement and Sense of Purpose.

Our school provides a curriculum that is balanced and broadly based, it promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of all pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life in modern Britain. The National Curriculum forms only one part of our school curriculum, we capitalise on every opportunity to broaden children’s experiences out side of the classroom and the school day. We utilise classroom teaching, trips, visitors and assemblies in order to instil a clear understanding of the social values we abide by and knowledge of the cultural diversity of our Academy, the town, county and world we live in. Our close relationships with the local community ensure we can extend learning experiences and provide a context for learning.

British Values and Modern Britain
Central to our curriculum are the Citizenship and PSHE requirements, ensuring that we prepare our pupils for life in modern Britain.
Throughout our Aspirations Curriculum we promote the British values of:

·         democracy (starting with our Aspiration Heroes through to understanding Britain as a democratic country);

·         the rule of law (class and school rules, our place in the community, to British law);

·         individual liberty (promoting rights and responsibility in all we do, standing up to bullying);

·         mutual respect (learning to understand each others points of view);

·         tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs  (celebrating the diversity of our community, looking at modern Britain, our place in Europe and the wider world);

 

Through a carefully planned blend of discrete subject teaching and thematic study, the curriculum is taught through cross curricular themes based around the 8 Aspirations Conditions, these are carefully mapped out to ensure coverage of the National Curriculum.. The teaching of reading, writing, communication and mathematics  underpin our curriculum, initially skills are taught discretely, however our cohesively cross curricular  approach to planning  ensures we capitalise on all opportunities for pupils to apply these skills through the wider curriculum.

Each of our 6 termly units has a topic theme that is progressed through each year group, ensuring knowledge and skills are progressively taught and developed.

Term 1: Belonging:  focusing on the world in which we live and how we can contribute to our world, both now and in the future, promoting identity, diversity and equality.
Term 2: Heroes:  focusing on listening, respect: for others and self. We study people from the past who have made an impact on our life today, and lessons we can learn for the future.
Term 3: Spirit of Adventure: How to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle, learning how to manage risk including personal rights, responsibilities and consent.
Term 4: Curiosity and creativity: Linked to our Space Studio Schools,  promoting the key skills of problem solving, questioning and creative thinking.
Term 5: Leadership and responsibility: preparing our children for the future world of work, exploring enterprise and developing an understanding of money.
Term 6: Fun and excitement: promoting self motivation, participation and engagement.

Throughout every theme children are given the opportunity to set personal goals and to reflect on their learning, so developing critical reflection skills.

Our aim is to ensure that no pupil is allowed to fall behind, this is reflected in our high end of Key Stage results.  Regular on going assessments ensure we can provide learning experiences tailored to individual pupils’ needs. For some pupils, this requires extra support or additional challenge, this is provided on a regular basis by highly trained staff.  We also have opportunities for different groups of our pupils to take part in workshops with other pupils from other local and national Aspirations Academies and local partnership schools.  

As part of the Aspirations Academies Trust we believe that our curriculum should reflect pupils’ abilities, interests and needs. To reflect this, our pupils are involved in helping to shape the units of work that they are studying by setting out key questions for topics. We give them the opportunity to guide us with their interests and at the same time ensuring that they are offered a broad and balanced curriculum. This individualised approach enables all pupils to feel engaged and excited about their learning and encourages them to strive to be the best.

As part of their learning journey, pupils are expected to complete homework related to their classroom experiences. This is in the form of literacy and numeracy work but also includes a termly extended study related to the topic at the time or to upcoming topics. Pupils love having the responsibility that this entails, and encourages parents/carers to get involved in their learning. We provide meaningful contexts for learning and make time for pupils to share their learning with their families and each other. Each half term staff send out a Study Plan with detail of the content of the curriculum for the term and information on how they can support their child’s learning.

 

Assessment Procedures

As part of the Government’s reforms to the national curriculum, the current system of ‘levels’ used to report children’s attainment and progress has been removed. This has allowed teachers greater flexibility in the way that they plan and assess pupils’ learning, providing greater opportunities for formative assessments.  The programmes of study within the new National Curriculum set out expectations at the end of each key stage, we have further defined this to provide age related expectations for each year group. Our curriculum sets out what pupils are expected to know, understand and do within each school year, our assessments will be aligned to this curriculum.

Our expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the curriculum expectations at broadly the same pace.  Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly will be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material will be given opportunities to consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on. Pupils who are not on track to meet the National Standards will receive targeted interventions and, during the Summer term, an intensive programme will be put in place for identified pupils.

Teachers use a wide range of assessment strategies to inform future planning and set aspirational targets for individual pupils so ensuring they are on track to meet the expectations of the curriculum by the end of the year.

 

In the summer term of 2016, children in Year 2 and Year 6 will be the first to undertake the new assessments. These tests in English and maths will reflect the new national curriculum and be used to inform parents/carers of their child’s attainment against the national expectations, and where pupils compare to others nationally. The current statutory requirements are:

 

·         A short reception baseline on entry to school

·         A phonics check towards the end of Year 1;

·         A teacher assessment at the end of key stage 1 in mathematics; reading; and, writing, informed by pupils’ scores in externally-set but internally-marked tests (writing will be partly informed by the grammar, punctuation and spelling test); and teacher assessment of speaking and listening and science;

·         National tests at the end of key stage 2 in: mathematics; reading; grammar, punctuation and spelling; and a teacher assessment of mathematics, reading, writing, and science

 

Parents / carers are provided with regular opportunities to be informed about, and share in, their child’s learning. Three times a year a written report provides information about how their child is performing in relation to the curriculum, including identifying areas of strength and setting future targets.