Our curriculum policy has developed over time. As a Trust, we work closely across the three primary academies to review, re-visit and update, constantly considering new approaches and making changes, where appropriate. Our self-evaluation documents, Development Plans and Performance Management targets are all linked together and reflect the main principles of the latest government framework to produce an outstanding quality of education for all children:
- The Academy’s curriculum intent and implementation are embedded securely and consistently across the Academy. It is evident from what teachers do that they have a firm and common understanding of the Academy’s curriculum intent and what it means for their practice. Across all parts of the Academy, series of lessons contribute well to delivering the curriculum intent.
- The work given enables pupils, over time and across the Academy, to consistently achieve the aims of the curriculum, which is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
- Pupils’ work across the curriculum is consistently of a high quality.
- Pupils consistently achieve highly, particularly the most disadvantaged. Pupils with SEND achieve exceptionally well.
- Leaders adopt or construct a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils (including pupils with SEND), the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. This is either the national curriculum or a curriculum of comparable breadth and ambition.
- The EYFS curriculum provides no limits or barriers to the children’s achievements, regardless of their backgrounds, circumstances or needs. The high ambition it embodies is shared by all staff.
- The impact of the EYFS curriculum on what children know, can remember and do is strong. Children demonstrate this through being deeply engaged and sustaining high levels of concentration. Children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, do well. Children with SEND achieve the best possible outcomes.
Summary of general aims:
- We aim for curriculum content to be remembered in the long term.
- We intend for students to make progress by remembering more and knowing more.
When planning and designing the curriculum, we have considered the following main areas:
- How will our curriculum design provide students with opportunities for knowing and remembering deep knowledge?
- How can we provide breadth of knowledge within subjects, sequencing topics to develop deep knowledge over time, across key stages from Early Years to KS2?
- Does our curriculum design provide opportunities for all pupils, including those with SEND, to access a broad, balanced and engaging curriculum?
- What knowledge and skills do our pupils need to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life, giving them the cultural capital to be successful?
- What end points should our curriculum build towards and what do our pupils need to know to be able to reach those end points?
- What are the main features of the academy’s local context which we need to address to narrow gaps in our pupils’ knowledge and skills?
- What else can we offer, alongside daily classroom practice, to ensure our pupils are fully prepared for secondary education; have knowledge of the wider world and aspire to fulfil their ambitions?
Intended depth of knowledge:
We use the model set out through the Chris Quigley curriculum, as a basis and guide, to help plan and sequence some aspects of our curriculum in order to provide students with different types of deep knowledge. It is based on the following:
Learning is a change to long-term memory, and everything in long-term memory is Knowledge. Types of Knowledge can be categorised in several ways. The most common categorisation involves three types:
Procedural Knowledge: for example, decoding using phonics. The goal of procedural Knowledge is procedural fluency.
Semantic Knowledge involves learning facts and how they relate to other facts. For example, five plus five is ten is a fact, but what makes it semantic Knowledge is when it is associated with the quantity of five and the meaning of the word plus. The goal of semantic Knowledge is effectively grouping facts into a schema. Schema theory states that information becomes Knowledge when grouped into meaningful and usable clusters.
Episodic Knowledge: episodes are the events and activities in which we learn procedural and semantic Knowledge. The goal of episodic Knowledge is to provide appropriate activities to learn procedural and semantic Knowledge.
Most of our learning revolves around the following:
Substantive Knowledge: established facts, e.g., the earth is the planet on which we live.
Disciplinary Knowledge: the methods that establish the substantive facts, e.g., observation of the sun, moon and stars, satellite photographs.
What are our ultimate goals?
The curriculum is organised to provide students with deep knowledge and skills to achieve cultural capital and success in life. Our curriculum aims to:
- Provide pupils with the ability to develop a deep learning of knowledge and the mechanisms for retrieving and applying knowledge.
- Inspire and challenge all learners to aspire to high achievement;
- Ensure pupils’ knowledge is fully developed to support their social, moral, spiritual and cultural awareness to promote diversity and key values;
- Develop pupils who are tolerant, respectful and understanding;
- Provide equal opportunities for all pupils, with high expectations for every learner ensuring appropriate levels of challenge and support;
- Develop key skills such as teamwork; independence, resilience; responsibility; and communication;
- Ensure pupils have a wide knowledge of career opportunities in a local and wider national context;
- Provide pupils with leadership opportunities to develop strength of character and self-confidence;
- Ensure pupils’ have wider opportunities to develop an interest and fascination in subjects and topics that interest them or that might interest them;
- Consider barriers to learning, linked to the local context and the circumstances faced by individual students;
- Promote an awareness of key issues such as healthy living; democracy and national and international events.
How does our curriculum intent reflect our whole school values?
At Theddlethorpe Academy, alongside the acquisition of deep knowledge, a key focus is to ensure that every child has the confidence and self-belief to know that there are no limits to what they can achieve. Our whole school values; Pride, Achievement, Confidence and Effort are to help our children LEARN through:
- Local Community
- Excellent Teaching
PRIDE - We feel the children feel more positive and connected to their school, see themselves as learners, better understand their learning and growth. They take pride in their work and being part of the Academy.
ACHIEVEMENT - As a core value, achievement requires that everyone works to achieve their goal. It is important to recognise and support the achievements of all our children and young people. This can help to develop their confidence and motivation for learning. It can also help them to reflect on their own learning and plan appropriate next steps.
CONFIDENCE - We believe that every child should be confident in their ability to succeed in school and the wider world. If our children are confident, they believe in their abilities and can strive to achieve their goals. They are also more willing to try new things, which aids their learning.
EFFORT - Every new success that the children reach through their efforts boosts their confidence in themselves and their abilities. Effort keeps the children focused on success. As their effort brings their goals closer, their motivation and willpower increase as they achieve success.
Our curriculum has been organised to inspire and challenge all learners to be part of an ambitious, broad and balanced curriculum. It is our aim that all children will be provided with wider opportunities to develop life-long learning skills and develop their own interests to succeed in the future.
What subjects do we teach?
We teach a full range of subjects to all pupils and ensure sufficient coverage is given to each area to ensure the pupils receive a broad and balanced curriculum. The subjects covered are:
- Art & Design
- Design & Technology
- French for KS2
- Religious Education
- Physical Education
Where relevant, curriculum leaders have good knowledge of where these topics link to the EYFS curriculum.
How is the timetable structured?
Having tried various models, including teaching through a thematic approach, we found that all methods had their strengths but often some restrictions. In September 2022, we moved to an intra-curricular approach and a timetable which allows sufficient and appropriate coverage to the wider curriculum subjects.
Each subject is timetabled for each pupil in KS1 and KS2. For example, pupils will have a science lesson; History lesson; Music lesson etc.
This design has been chosen to ensure pupils can access and be successful in areas where they might have a particular talent or where they can achieve more successfully than in traditional subjects. For example, where a child may struggle with reading, they may be a very talented musician or have a passion for History. In addition, this timetable structure enables all pupils to be fully prepared for transition to secondary education.
Do we follow any particular schemes?
We use a number of resources to support the delivery of our curriculum subject areas. In September 2019, we started using elements of the Chris Quigley Essentials curriculum, where we used milestones to help teach and assess knowledge and skills taught across year groups. In September 2022, we started using a greater range of the Chris Quigley resources to help us enhance the teaching of detailed and deep knowledge and to further enhance our sequencing across certain subjects and across year groups, with an emphasis on remembering and knowing.
In addition, we use a wide range of resources across subjects. For example, we adapt the White Rose programme in Mathematics; we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds to deliver Phonics; Kapow to support our teaching of Music, and Language Angels to support the teaching of French.
How do we teach and assess knowledge, providing students with the ability to know and remember deep knowledge?
Some of our wider curriculum subjects follow the methods outlined through the Chris Quigley Essentials curriculum, which we have adapted for Theddlethorpe Academy. The main principles largely run through other subjects too.
Our long-term and medium-term plans and whole academy mapping, are designed to provide breadth of knowledge and focus on key topics, each with key knowledge categories.
We work on a two-year cycle, which allows for the re-visiting of topic areas, though with a different focus within each cycle. This allows for excellent retrieval opportunities and good opportunities to firmly embed deep knowledge over time.
For example, in History, in Years 3 and 4, we teach a unit on The Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age, over a two-year period (the Autumn Term in both years). When the pupils go on to study the Romans and they focus on the building of such structures as the Colosseum, pupils will be able to make comparison with the work they will have completed in the Stone Age topic, which focuses on the changing nature of dwellings and settlements. Similarly, when the pupils focus on the development of bronze and iron to create new weapons for hunting and fighting, there will be scope for making comparisons with the nature of conflict used in the Crimean War (Milestone 1) and later, when they are looking at weapons used in battle, when studying the Romans (Milestone 2) and the Greeks and World War II (Milestone 3). In addition, a series of lessons focuses on the development of beliefs and religion, which again will help compare and contrast when studying later modules on the Romans and Egyptians (Milestone 2) and the Greeks (Milestone 3).
In addition, subjects have Threshold Concepts, which again, run across the subjects across year groups. These are the big ideas that underpin each subject area. For example, in Geography, the threshold concepts are: Investigate Places; Investigate Patterns and Communicate Geographically.
Throughout the teaching of individual topics, assessment opportunities are built in throughout. These are called POP tasks (Portrayal of Progress). For example, in Design & Technology, on the topic of ‘Pneumatics,’ pupils might be asked to:
- Describe the type of movement of a piston.
- Define the word compressed.
In June 2023, we began developing and using new planning documents in Art & Design, History and Geography which have greatly helped in sequencing within topics and across the two-year cycle. In the example below, you can see how there is focus on developing substantive and disciplinary knowledge over a two-year period.
How do we ensure knowledge is secure?
Assessment opportunities are built in throughout each topic. This will mainly be in the form of on-going assessments in lessons and throughout topics, though may also end of topic tests to assess knowledge. Lessons are structured to give students range of activities. There is a focus on constant re-visiting of knowledge both from recent and less recent lessons, to help constantly retrieve and build a bank of deep knowledge that can be recalled.
Using the intra-curricular approach through topics and schemas, the intention is to build up this knowledge across year groups. For example, in Year 1, students will look at knowledge categories of location, physical features and human features when studying The United Kingdom in Geography – those same knowledge categories will be taught through the topic of Continents and Oceans – thereby, giving the students the opportunity to make links and remember/retrieve knowledge from previous work.
Topics are mapped and sequenced across each subject and each year group so as to build on prior knowledge.
We use milestones at the end of each phase, which inform what knowledge and skills should be taught across each milestone. These are linked to national curriculum requirements and link to our on-going assessment. In some subjects, we have started preparing exemplar responses to support staff with expectations and to help children aspire to high quality outcomes. Using the same example as outlined above, below is an example of such exemplar responses:
- ‘Do you agree that the invention of the steam engine was the most important innovation of the Industrial Revolution period? Give reasons for your answer.‘Though there were many key inventions and innovations that led to the Industrial Revolution, it is clear that the invention of the steam engine was the most significant. Firstly, as coal was needed to heat water to make steam, factories were opened near to supplies of water and coal which led to the growth of large, important towns in areas such as the Midlands and the North West of England…’
- Describe what life was like in factories in Britain during the early period of the Industrial Revolution.‘In the 1800s, it became common place to employ women and children to work in factories. Conditions in many factories were challenging and often dangerous. For example, children often had to work 12–14 hour shifts, 6 days a week. In addition, there was little safety equipment, so children would often get injured or killed by fast-moving machinery…’
Other subjects who do not follow the Chris Quigley pattern use the same methodology to assess. Teachers and curriculum leaders then use this knowledge and data to inform future planning.
Do we use knowledge organisers?
Teachers use detailed knowledge organisers for some of our wider curriculum subjects which link directly to the assessment tasks for each topic. An amended ‘pupil-friendly’ version is provided for the pupils as a basis for topics but not as a full-proof guide.
Included is key vocabulary which focuses on everyday words; academic and elaborative words and subject-specific words. Key vocabulary is also built in the newly designed planning documents.
What roles do curriculum leaders play in supporting staff and ensuring individual curriculum intents are achieved?
Each curriculum leader is responsible for the intent, implementation and impact of their subject areas. Each individual has produced our, ‘Subject on a Page’ documents which is a summary of the plan for each subject.
Leaders are given opportunities to train staff through weekly staff meetings and senior leaders provide opportunities for curriculum leaders to receive and attend CPD.
Curriculum leaders will monitor the teaching of their subject through means such as learning walks; lesson observations; book looks; discussions with pupils and data analysis. This includes linking to the EYFS curriculum.
Senior leaders will work with less experienced leaders to support their development and knowledge and understanding.
How do we ensure the curriculum meets the needs of all pupils?
Our curriculum has been designed to be accessible for all pupils. Each topic and individual lessons are adapted to cater for individual needs and there are assessment challenges aimed at a basic, enhanced and deeper knowledge.
Part of the rationale for this approach is that it provides a range of different opportunities for all abilities, while still accessing the same topics. Across topics, assessment opportunities are based on the following:
- Basic (remembering)
- Advanced (knowing)
- Deep (reasoning)
This ensures that teachers can provide assessment opportunities for a range of abilities, adapting work to ensure that all pupils, including those with SEND, can access topic areas and achieve at their own pace.
Part of our motivation for giving adequate coverage to all curriculum areas is to ensure that there are opportunities for pupils to express themselves; achieve; enhance talents, in areas where they might shine e.g., art, science, history, PE.
Teachers will use a range of resources, including interactive displays and working walls, alongside individual resources and scaffolding techniques to help all pupils access the curriculum.
Interventions are in place to support pupils, where necessary.
In September 2023, we have recently invested in a new monitoring programme, SISRA, which will greatly enhance our monitoring procedures to support staff with identifying gaps to inform planning, interventions and training needs.
What role does enrichment play to deliver key aspects of our curriculum intent?
Enrichment is a key part of the implementation of our overall curriculum.
We offer a wide range of after school clubs which are available to all pupils at no additional financial charge. Recent examples include cheerleading; sports; craft and archery.
External visitors help to inspire and develop cultural capital. For example, we have held workshops hosted by an Olympic athlete; an author and a chef.
Opportunities for parental engagement are key. For example, we have organised phonics and reading workshops, handwriting workshops, and we have organised for grandparents/grandfriends to attend the school on National poetry day.
Outdoor learning is also a key focus, supported by our field; wildlife areas; outdoor classroom and OPAL. It is also our long-term plan to achieve OPAL Platinum status. Assemblies also play a key role in the implementation of our curriculum. Alongside special mentions assembly, celebrating success, we also hold weekly singing assemblies and a weekly assembly which focuses on a local or national event, using resources supplied by Picture News.
We also build time in to our curriculum for whole class story time to help promote a love of reading.
How do we ensure SMSC is a key focus for our pupils?
SMSC flows though enrichment; leadership schemes; links with the local community etc. Children are encouraged to be leaders and learn key British values such as democracy and the rule of law; children are taught to respect and appreciate different religions, cultures and British Values within their learning.
Leadership opportunities include Academy ambassadors; class ambassadors; whole school council; playground monitors and reading buddies.
What steps do we take to support our pupils with an understanding of career opportunities, helping them to aspire to achieve whatever they want to achieve?
Linked to the above, we strive to make links with our local community, including businesses and employers.
For example, all pupils recently visited the local church, as part of our online career programme Positive Footprints programme, we have been engaging with various businesses such as a gamer and an illustrator. Our Reception and Nursery children visited Skegness Aquarium, as part of their topic of looking at ‘Spilsh, Splash, Splosh.’
How do we celebrate our pupils’ successes, helping to develop confidence and build self-esteem?
We use a variety of methods to celebrate and reward success. These include weekly Special Mentions assemblies, attended by parents; daily social media posts; regular news items on our website; use of our on-line Carrot Reward system, amongst many daily systems employed by staff.
- Outcomes, for all pupils, will improve at the end of each key stage, including EYFS, and every student will make progress across the curriculum;
- Pupils will have developed a deep understanding of different types of knowledge to support everything outlined in our curriculum intent;
- Every subject and topic area will have a clearly defined end goal and assessment opportunities throughout the unit will indicate the development of substantive and disciplinary knowledge;
- The wider enrichment and extra-curricular programme will have supported the development of every individual, giving them the cultural capital to be successful in the next stage of their education, whilst looking beyond to later career development;
- Links with local industries and businesses will have supported students in giving them knowledge of opportunities, both local and national;
- Barriers to learning will have been considered and addressed, particularly in relation to combating any issues raised by the local context of the academy, and particularly in relation to any students with additional needs and/or for whom the academy receives additional funding;
- Aspirations have clearly been raised so every pupil leaves Theddlethorpe Academy knowing that they can be successful in whatever they want to achieve in life;
- Students are tolerant, caring, understanding and active local, national and global citizens.
The Executive Principal, Principal, senior leadership team and all staff will continuously strive to review and further develop our curriculum. Our curriculum intent has been developed together and will be reviewed together. In addition, views will continue to be invited and considered from pupils and parents to ensure we constantly strive to offer the absolute best for our pupils.