Our curriculum framework ensures that all children access a broad, balanced, challenging and progressive knowledge rich curriculum based around the requirements of all subjects of the National Curriculum in Key Stage 1 and all of the prime and specific areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage. The curriculum framework ensures that contextual barriers to learning are overcome, ensuring that all children are able to fulfil their potential, regardless of background or ability. The curriculum framework at Albany is specific to our context and has specific components which achieve this by ensuring that:
- All children have enriched lives through access to high quality life experiences which equip pupils with the cultural capital they need e.g. visiting the theatre; going climbing; visiting a synagogue (see Albany All Star guide);
- All children have a love of reading through exposure to high quality texts, stories and rhymes (see curriculum map);
- All children are able to articulate and reason about the world around them through a highly developed vocabulary (see curriculum map);
- All children are challenged to acquire a broad and balanced range of skills and knowledge through exposure to carefully planned and progressive subject content (see curriculum map);
- All children have opportunities to develop socially, morally, spiritually and culturally and demonstrate fundamental British values through the Albany All Star ethos (see Albany All Star guide).
Ultimately, our curriculum is one the primary ways in which we aim to fulfil our school vision – to make learning irresistible.
Our curriculum is primarily delivered through half termly topics which are designed to excite, interest and engage children in their learning. Most of our curriculum is taught in a thematic way but also discretely where appropriate. Key features of our curriculum implementation include:
- All topics are underpinned by high quality texts to ensure that children have a wide range of reading experiences and a sound knowledge of books and stories. For example, pupils studying materials in Key Stage 1 will spend a lot of time reading Beegu by Alexis Deacon, using the context of the story as a way to explore scientific ideas while developing their reading and writing skills. Texts are also used to explore vocabulary and help to develop children’s use of language both in everyday speech and in their writing.
- Teachers have a high focus on the use of questioning. All topics are planned using the learning challenge approach where an overarching big question is used to focus the children’s topic based learning with weekly questions used to break down learning into smaller pieces. For example, children in Key Stage 1 may ask ‘Why is Australia the most deadly country in the world?’ as their overarching big question, with one of their weekly questions being ‘Which animals would you find in the oceans off Australia?’ Teachers use questioning to ensure that pupils thinking is challenged and that learning is deepened.
- All children receive focused bursts of basic skills throughout the day. These sessions focus on spelling and grammar, maths skills, phonics and wider reading.
- In the Early Years, adults use the Development Matters age band statements to assist with planning and to ensure that children are taught at a level appropriate for their age and ability. In Key Stage 1, all subject areas are underpinned by key knowledge or skills to be acquired in each year group. This ensures a progressive and suitably challenging curriculum within all areas of learning and subjects.
- Lesson content is taught through a challenge based system. Children are presented with three challenges which are designed to deepen learning as children progress through them. These are known as our star challenges with a three star challenge requiring a deeper understanding than a one star challenge. Challenges are set using the principles of Bloom’s Taxonomy and children are encouraged to choose their own starting points and aim for the highest level challenge that they can.
- All topics have an accompanying knowledge organiser. These documents set out the core knowledge to be acquired by the end of the topic and also the key vocabulary to be acquired. These are sent home and shared with parents to assist with home learning.
- Our Albany All Star ethos is developed through our PSHE scheme of work and our assemblies. Each half term, children think about a particular aspect of being an Albany All Star and learning will be based around this. We have clear expectations of what constitutes each aspect of being an Albany All Star and these are differentiated across the school. For example, a ‘kind’ Albany All Star in our nursery will be learning to share a game or toy with a friend whereas in Year 2, children will be encouraged to think about how they can reach a resolution following a disagreement with others.
- Real life and cultural experiences, such as visiting a place of worship or visiting the theatre, are mapped out across the curriculum. These are linked our Albany All Star ethos and we aim for children to take part in an experience each term. For example, children are learning to be respectful when visiting a place of worship and proud when tackling a high ropes course at Go Ape!
The intended impact of our curriculum framework is that by the end of each year group, and ultimately by the end of Key Stage 1, children are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for the next stage of their education. We will talk to children and look at their work, look at teaching and learning in lessons and consider what performance data is telling us with regards to measuring the extent to which all children have fulfilled their potential, regardless of ability or background.