The curriculum in each of our schools promotes a lifelong thirst for knowledge and a love for learning. It includes a wide range of subjects aimed at providing our students with the cultural capital that they need to help them as they progress through life. It has sufficient breadth to cover a wide range of subjects in order to deliver creative, technical, sporting and academic excellence. It has a positive impact upon our children’s mental and physical well-being, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and behaviour and safety.
To embrace the community focus upon sustainability and the Healthy New Town programme along with our MAT-wide forest school ethos, we will ensure that these core values run through the curriculum that we deliver.
Children will be encouraged to exercise responsibility appropriate for their age to enable them to be properly prepared to be citizens in modern Britain. We will establish student voice, environmental groups for pupils (including making full use of the local community allotments) and other responsibilities in classes and key stages to develop student leadership.
Being part of an all through Multi Academy Trust means that we have been able to map the skills and knowledge that we teach from nursery to Post 16 and beyond. Staff from all phases come together to ensure effective progression through all key stages and our work with local and national employers ensure that our children are fully prepared for life beyond school.
The starting point for curriculum development are the skills and concepts underpinning the national curriculum. From this themes are developed and their underpinning vocabulary identified. These are then mapped into a programme for each year group
For a school of this size, our curriculum will be planned in themes on a yearly rolling programme. Best practice balances the need to deliver discrete subjects with emphasis upon their underpinning vocabulary, within a thematic approach and this is how we structure our curricula. For example, Science within an umbrella theme of Great Britain focuses upon the people who were key to our understanding of the heart and circulatory systems and lead onto how they work. We ensure that our schemes of work sequence knowledge to support the understanding of each key concept rather than delivering knowledge alone.
Where classes are smaller than 1 form entry, we will adapt the programme accordingly, as we do in our existing schools of differing sizes. Research shows that children who regularly read make significant progress so all our themes include a high quality text from a range of genres that “hook” the children into the programme of learning.
Each theme is introduced with an immersive day in which we introduce key vocabulary and deliver some of the cultural capital needed for children to access the content effectively, and ends with a celebration of all that our children have achieved. Where possible, to further develop cultural capital, we have a least one trip / visit linked to each topic. Because we believe it is better to do less but well, each theme runs for a long term.
We map subjects such as Art, DT, ICT, Music, Geography, History, MFL and Science to each skills / knowledge based theme. This allows children to build secure links in their learning. PE and RE are usually taught as discrete subjects.
Examples of themes
To reflect the relatively newly formed community, we would begin with the following themes:
Our community – children would learn about people who live and work in their community with visits to / from local community groups / services such as local police, fire service, library, vets etc. They would also learn about the unique ethos underpinning their community with emphasis upon sustainability and healthy living.
Around our world – children would look further afield within Oxfordshire at key local landmarks, local history / geography etc. to develop pride in our wider community.
Fit and healthy – children would learn about what makes them healthy, the importance of exercise (with emphasis upon our green travel policy), how the body works, food and nutrition, famous people both contemporary and from history such as athletes, scientists, medics etc.
Global citizens - children would look at the positive and negative impact of global transportation, the impact of food miles, the distribution of resources such as water, Children will understand their role in protecting our environment, alternative energy sources, plan global, national and local sustainability projects.