The Abbot Alphege Curriculum
The core intention of our curriculum is for our children to develop a deep body of knowledge through engaging and memorable learning experiences. Children learn through a thematic approach that still maintains the integrity of subject disciplines. Our children will develop a rich vocabulary through their curriculum, with clear, planned progression, that underpins the concepts studied.
Our curriculum prepares our children to live in their world and be able to contribute as knowledgeable and responsible citizens. Our curriculum contributes to the legacy that we give to the world through the generations of children that move through our school.
We feel a strong moral imperative towards our disadvantaged children; knowledge is empowering and our disadvantaged children are entitled to an education that builds cultural capital and gives them access to the knowledge that they need to succeed.
Learning in our school is underpinned by our distinctively Christian nature and our school values; those of kindness, trust, respect and love for each other and the world around them. We strive to reflect this in everything we do, as well as in our curriculum development.
In our academy, we teach the National Curriculum through our 21 learning themes over seven years. These are planned on a rolling programme to take account of our mixed age classes and ensure that full curriculum coverage is in place. We also make sure that our RE curriculum coverage is also planned in this way.
Phonics teaching follows Little Wandle Letters and Sounds (revised), focusing on ‘keep up’ not ‘catch up’ so that all children are fluent readers as early as possible. We have complete fidelity to this one phonics scheme and our reading scheme closely follows the progression through the phonics that children are learning.
Reading is focused around VIPERS (Literacy Shed) for reading across Key Stage 2, with an emphasis on high quality, engaging and challenging whole texts as much as possible.
Reading and vocabulary development is a priority in our school, and a key driver of our curriculum, and our curriculum includes many opportunities to develop reading skills and to also read for pleasure. Our school library is a key resource that supports our reading curriculum.
For writing we follow a clear progression in developing children’s skills and support this with high quality, embedded grammar teaching. Children develop their handwriting skills following Letter Join: printing in Reception, then developing pre-cursive and then cursive joined writing as they move through the school. The intent is to remove handwriting as a barrier to becoming excellent writers, for all children.
For more information about our English curriculum, click here.
In mathematics we follow the White Rose scheme of learning, supplemented by Number Sense and Times Tables Rock Stars to develop mathematical fluency. We plan our maths to include opportunities to reason and problem solve for all children and use the ‘TAD’ approach (Try it, Apply it, Deepen it).
For more information about our mathematics curriculum, click here.
As a Church of England academy, we ensure that there is a focus on high quality RE teaching, using our agreed syllabus, Awareness Mystery Value to support our planning and teaching. We use Understanding Christianity to support this aspect of our work and allow us to dig deeper into key concepts of Christianity. We have key weeks through the year to develop this knowledge and understanding further: Incarnation Week, Salvation Week and Creation Week.
Our foundation subjects are taught partly through our learning themes and partly through explicit teaching, using a wide variety of supportive resources to ensure high quality planning and teaching.
To see our full curriculum overview, please click here:
To see your child’s current learning, please visit their class page for our ‘parent friendly’ overviews of learning.
How we implement our curriculum:
Our curriculum is taught through high quality, inclusive lessons that meet the needs of all of our learners. Teachers use a wide range of strategies to engage learners, inspire and motivate them, and ensure that learning ‘sticks’. We all participate in a coaching approach to developing our teaching, using key principles of pedagogy to guide our work. We complement this with professional development and training regularly, that is focused on always improving the quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms.
We embed assessment into our lessons, so that misconceptions can be quickly dealt with and so that teachers know where each child is on their learning journey at all times, and so know the next steps that they need to take. We consider our curriculum to be a model of progression and so, as children learn the curriculum, they make progress in the knowledge that they are gaining and through this, develop their skills.
Some subjects are taught explicitly, and some are embedded through our themes – teachers use their professional judgement to make key decisions about the best way to teach subjects and aspects of themes.
All teachers are subject Leaders and they support the ongoing development of our curriculum and also the continual development of our staff. They do this through supporting them with the quality of their teaching, their subject knowledge, and with training in specific aspects and concepts related to their subjects.
We have a Curriculum Leader who oversees the development of our curriculum as a whole.
Of course, the best way to check that the implementation of our curriculum is excellent is to talk to the children about their learning and what they can remember, and look at the learning in their books. We do this continually, and this guides our ongoing decision making about our curriculum and how we teach it.
How we assess the impact of our curriculum:
Of course, teachers continually assess the learning of every child in their class every day through a wide range of ongoing assessment activities, including distance marking, live marking, peer assessment, self-assessment, short, informal tests and quizzes, and so on.
In order to be sure that our curriculum is having the impact that we expect, we also have three dedicated assessment weeks during the year. During these weeks, our teachers spend time assessing the learning that has happened during the year so far in a range of ways, including assessment tasks and more formal tests and assessments (PIRA for reading and PUMA for mathematics). This enables us to check the progress of each child across and within our curriculum, and plan for next steps. Every assessment week is followed by a ‘closing the gaps’ week, where teachers use their assessment information to ‘close the gaps’ in learning from the term, and pick up any unaddressed misconceptions. Pupil Progress meetings then follow, which enable senior leaders to discuss the progress of every individual child with their teacher and plan for any additional support or challenge that may be needed.
In addition, other activities take place across the school year by teachers, subject leaders and senior leaders. These activities include conferences with children, where their learning is discussed with them and they are able to share evidence of their learning in their written work. We call these ‘Learning Talks’. We moderate work across the school and in partnership with other schools to make sure that our expectations are high at all times. Teacher coaching is another way that we make sure that the delivery of our curriculum is having maximum impact, and every teacher is observed and coached at regular intervals. This is supported by a carefully planned programme of professional learning and development, making sure that all professionals in school are the best that they can be.
End of Key Stage assessments and tests also give us information about the impact of our reading, writing and mathematics curriculum. This information is analysed carefully for ongoing trends in the impact of our work and to identify strengths and weaknesses in how our curriculum is impacted in these areas.
All of our learning from assessing the impact of our curriculum feeds into development planning for the future.