We see our curriculum as everything we say and do in our school so it is far more than the subjects we teach or the projects we design. It enables us to support our children to flourish and for them to help others’ to do so.
Our school curriculum is drawn from the National Curriculum for England, which sets out the content and programmes of study for maintained primary schools. We view the national curriculum as an entitlement for children in our school to access all subjects, thus providing them with a broad and balanced education that acknowledges the significance of English, Mathematics and Science but equally the importance of the Arts, History, Music, Languages, Geography, Technology, Computing, Religious Education and British Values in a modern world.
Our school curriculum is organised in a thematic way, into projects. This is to enable children and teachers to make connections across subjects and disciplines and support language use across subjects through ‘big ideas’. We infuse our school curriculum with first hand experiences and activities that engage them in our local community and service to others. Each project will also have a ‘Presentation of Understanding’ which will require the children to plan a large exhibition, event, play, resources, publications etc. that requires them to share their learning with others. In this way, we are able to develop both academic learning as well as character traits such as collaboration, communication, planning skills, courage and entrepreneurship.
Our school curriculum projects are also based on big ideas or concepts that help drive understanding for children such as change, adaptation, cause and effect, difference, courage. This enables us to make many connections across the whole curriculum as these big ideas appear across subjects, year groups and are timeless.
The core principles of teaching and learning which drive our curriculum:
- We aim to design and deliver a bespoke, carefully-sequenced curriculum that is fit for purpose for the community and the pupils we serve.
- We ensure that all pupils know what they are learning about and why (including which subject – “Today we will be historians, artists, designers, geographers”.
- We see oracy, and the explicit teaching of vocabulary, as vital components of our curriculum as we believe they have a profound impact on learning and on the personal growth of an individual.
- We aim high and value excellence. We take time to recognise and celebrate success, praise, effort and nurture perseverance.
- We ensure the curriculum celebrates inclusion and diversity and provides opportunities for pupils to reason, justify and debate.
- We guide learning through an instructional framework which demonstrates excellence.
- We use questions to deepen understanding and we see mistakes as central to the learning process, so we encourage resilience and a love of learning.
- We ensure that all pupils retain and remember knowledge through a coherent, carefully sequenced, whole school curriculum that works in tandem with a progression in skills.
- We provide pupils with an “enriched” curriculum that goes beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum – ensuring that there is enrichment beyond the curriculum (extra opportunities) as well as within it. This includes an emphasis on music, art, theatre (cultural capital) and outdoor experiences.
The delivery of our curriculum
At Uphill Village Academy we plan learning in a thematic approach to the curriculum that is underpinned by the National Curriculum as the basis for content and expectations. Each theme is structured so that each year group has:
- A clear plan of what must be covered for each project (project map) supported by knowledge organisers.
- The concepts pupils should understand by the end of each project
- Subject-specific progression documents that detail how knowledge and skills are developed through the child’s journey through the school.
Project maps for each year group ensure teachers have complete clarity on what to cover and include e.g. National curriculum objectives, subject- specific knowledge, vocabulary and skills.
We move students beyond the learning of facts and skills to uncover concepts—transferable ideas that transcend time, place, and situation.
Finally, subject-specific progression documents show how the knowledge, skills and concepts are linked and demonstrate depth within the curriculum. As the school continues its journey, we hope to supplement these documents with exemplars of pupil’s work that demonstrate excellence within the curriculum.
A thematic approach allows us to interleave knowledge across different contexts to maximise the retrieval and transferability of previously learned content. Whilst most content is subject-specific, there are regular opportunities for cross-curricular approaches often underpinned by oracy related outcomes.
We view the local community and outdoor environment as fundamental elements to our school vision and so we thread these links into the curriculum for each year group.