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Curriculum Policy

  1. Introduction

1.1 The curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning and personal growth and development. It includes not only the formal requirements of the new National Curriculum (2014), but also the range of extra-curricular activities that the school organises in order to enrich the experience of the children. This includes the use of the outdoor environment (LOtC) as a way in which to enhance teaching and learning opportunities, in both the immediate environment and wider afield. It also includes the ‘hidden curriculum’, or what the children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave. We aim to teach children how to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and co-operate with others while developing knowledge and skills, so that they achieve their true potential.  
  1. Values

2.1 Our school curriculum is underpinned by the values that we hold dear at our school. The curriculum is the means by which the school achieves its objective of educating children in the knowledge, skills and understanding that they need in order to lead fulfilling lives.  
  1. Aims and objectives

3.1 The aims of our school curriculum are:  
  1. Organisation and planning

4.1 We plan our curriculum in three phases. We agree a long-term plan for each key stage using the ‘Cornerstones’ curriculum programme. This indicates what topics/themes are to be taught in each half term or term, and to which groups of children. We review our long-term plan on an annual basis. 4.2 With our medium-term plans, we give clear guidance on the objectives and teaching strategies that we use when teaching each topic/theme. We follow the new National Curriculum (2014) for both English and Maths and map our medium-term planning using the guidance documents as well as our own school policies and procedures. 4.3 Children are taught through themes that have a distinct subject leading the learning and clear curriculum links to other subjects allowing for greater development of skills within a strong and meaningful context for the children. At Easterside Academy, we use the ‘Cornerstones’ curriculum model, with 4 stages of learning: This curriculum model provides exciting experiences which inspire the children, encourage independence and resilience in their learning and offer the opportunities to apply their skills in a range of contexts.  

Engage

At this initial stage of the learning we provide ‘memorable’ and ‘real life’ experiences such as educational visits or visitors. This ‘hooks’ the pupils into the learning and encourages curiosity and inspiring enquiry.  

Develop

During the ‘Develop’ stage of the curriculum, the children will acquire further knowledge, skills and understanding.  

Innovate

The ‘Innovate’ phase allows children to use and apply their KSU through a negotiated process facilitated via a provocation. They are able to self-direct, investigate and explore an aspect of their learning in greater depth. This style of learning promotes independence and builds resilience, as the pupils face challenges and seek ways to overcome them.  

Express

The final stage is ‘Express’, which gives the children an opportunity to share and disseminate their learning with others. This may take the form of a carnival procession, a school assembly or a musical performance. The collaborative and celebratory nature of this learning is highly inclusive and is frequently shared with parents. 4.4 Our short-term plans are those that our teachers write on a weekly or daily basis. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each session, and plan in detail how the needs of all the children will be met through the planning of activities and support within the lesson.  
  1. Children with special needs

5.1 The curriculum in our school is designed to provide access and opportunity for all children who attend the school. If we think it necessary to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of individual children, then we do so only after the parents of the child have been consulted. 5.2 If a child has a special need, our school does all it can to meet these individual needs. We comply with the requirements set out in the new SEND Code of Practice (2014) in providing for children with special needs. If a child displays signs of having special needs, his/her teacher makes an assessment of this need. In most instances the teacher is able to provide resources and educational opportunities which meet the child’s needs within the normal class organisation. If a child’s need is more severe, we if necessary, use the support provided by Learning Support Assistants, and we involve the appropriate external agencies. 5.3 The school provides an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) for each of the children who are on the special needs register (previously School Action+ children). This sets out the nature of the special need, and outlines how the schools will aim to address the need. It also sets out targets for improvement, so that we can review and monitor the progress of each child at regular intervals throughout the year. Parents/carers are involved in review meetings.  
  1. The Foundation Stage

6.1 The curriculum that we teach in the reception class meets the requirements set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. Our curriculum planning focuses on Development Matters and the progression to towards the Early Learning Goals at the end of the Reception year. 6.2 The Early Years curriculum encompasses 7 distinct areas of learning.  These areas are divided into 3 prime areas and 4 specific areas.  

The prime areas are:

Personal and Social Development

This area is about how children become confident, manage their feelings, make friends and work with others.  

Physical Development

This area is about how children move safely, use gross and fine motor skills, learn about how to be healthy and how to manage their own basic needs.

Communication and Language

This area is about how children learn to listen and pay attention, communicate with others and develop vocabulary and speaking skills.  

The specific areas are:

Literacy

This area is about how children enjoy sharing books, making marks and giving them meaning, exploring letter sounds and developing early reading and writing skills.  

Mathematics

This area is about how children learn to recognise numbers, count accurately, investigate shapes and measures and begin to understand time.

Understanding of the World

This area is about how children learn to use computer equipment, find out about the world around them and investigate nature.  

Art and Design

This area is about how children learn to sing, dance, make music, play imaginatively, explore colour and create pictures and models.   6.3 Our school fully supports the principle that young children learn through play, and by engaging in well-planned structured activities. Teaching in the reception class builds on the experiences of the children in their pre-school learning. At Easterside Academy this is usually within our nursery setting. We do all we can to build positive partnerships with the variety of nurseries and other pre-school providers in the area. 6.4 During the children’s first term in the reception class, their teacher begins to record the skills of each child on entry to the school. This assessment forms an important part of the future curriculum planning for each child. Development Matters and our school assessment tracker ‘Target Tracker’ are used to assess and record children’s progress during the year. 6.5 We are well aware that all children need the support of parents and teachers to make good progress in school. We strive to build positive links with the parents of each child by keeping them informed about the way in which the children are being taught and how well each child is progressing. At Easterside Academy some of the ways we do this are through ‘Consultation Time’ with parents and pupils as well as having ‘Open Mornings’.  
  1. Key skills

7.1 In our curriculum planning we plan to help children develop a range of skills, so that the children’s progress can be identified and monitored. All subject areas contribute to a child’s progress in these skills. Our school believes that all children need to make good progress in these skill areas in order to develop to their true potential.  
  1. The role of the subject leader

8.1 The role of the subject leader is to: 8.2 The school gives subject leaders non-contact time each year, so that they can carry out the necessary duties involved with their role including monitoring. This time is planned for at the end of each year and in conjunction with the writing of the School Improvement Plan. It is the role of each subject leader to keep up to date with developments in their subject, at both national and local level. They review the way the subject is taught in the school and plan for improvement. This development planning links to whole-school objectives. Each subject leader reviews the curriculum plans for their subject, ensures that there is full coverage of the National Curriculum and that progression is planned into schemes of work. The subject leader may also keep a portfolio of children’s work, which s/he uses to show the achievements of children at each key stage and to give examples of expectations of attainment.  
  1. Monitoring and review

9.1 Designated governor’s to the area ‘Teaching and Learning’ are responsible for monitoring the way the school curriculum is implemented. These governors review each subject area according to the policy review timetable. 9.2 The Head Teacher is responsible for the day to day organisation of the curriculum. The Head Teacher and senior staff monitor the planning, teaching and learning of Maths and English throughout the school for all teachers, ensuring that all classes are taught the full requirements of the National Curriculum. 9.3 Subject leaders monitor the way their subject is taught throughout the school. They examine planning, carry out ‘Learning Walks and Trails,’ observe lessons and talk to pupils to ensure that appropriate teaching strategies are used. Subject leaders also have responsibility for monitoring the way in which resources are stored and managed. Subject Leader’s compile a budget resource request for their subject area for the start of each academic year. These go to the Head Teacher and School Business Manager and are authorised by the Head Teacher.

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