curriculum intent &
Dare to Dream
At Ashford Oaks we have a unique, exciting and aspirational curriculum which challenges, motivates and meets the needs of our context and learners. We are proud of our curriculum. It engages our children with its focus on exciting projects. In order to ensure coverage is broad and balanced and that skills are progressively taught throughout the primary phase in a robust and interconnected way, we have recently adopted the ‘Cornerstones Maestro’ framework. Ongoing review of the curriculum has confirmed that this will meet the needs of our context, with adaptions being made to develop a truly bespoke curriculum for our environment, and raise standards further.
Key features of our curriculum intent that run through all subjects and year groups are:
Opportunities for pupils to Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express
Challenging pupils of all abilities to achieve their very best
Active learning through real-life experiences and opportunities
Developing a love of reading and wide vocabulary with high quality texts and language provision
Fostering curiosity and enquiry
Providing a global perspective (particularly ‘Rights Respecting’)
We have put considerable thought into the key features of our curriculum to meet the needs of our context. Ashford Oaks serves a community of considerable deprivation. We have higher than average proportions of Special Needs, Pupil Premium, a sizeable minority of EAL children and a small number of GRT pupils. Many of our families have not had the opportunities, or funds, to enrich the learning experience of their children. Ashford Oaks is proud of its inclusive approach to SEN which includes a Specialist Resource Provision which supports autism. Many pupils enter the school with low levels of vocabulary and find it difficult to pay attention in lessons.
Organisation of the curriculum:
Our Dare to Dream curriculum uses Curriculum 22 as a framework. Teachers use their professional judgement to meet the needs of their specific cohorts by ensuring projects are bespoke. Whenever Cornerstones’ projects are adapted we ensure we remain faithful to the progression of skills and knowledge and the key threads provided by the Big Ideas. In this way we can be certain that the breadth of the National Curriculum is covered and children are well-prepared for their journey as lifelong learners when they leave AO.
Reading is central to our curriculum. Younger children benefit from the daily, systematic, synthetic phonics teaching of Little Wandle - Letters and Sounds Revised. Pupils progress onto Destination Reader which is delivered as a coherent reading scheme, from Year Two. The books that children read for pleasure are carefully matched to their reading level.
There are daily reading/phonics, writing and maths lessons with strong opportunities to develop fluency and for using and applying learning. History, geography and art, design and technology are delivered through the projects. Music, Computing, MfL, RE and PE are delivered discretely.
Ashford Oaks has a strong focus on continuous professional development to ensure the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is of the highest quality to deliver our curriculum effectively. Every subject has a member of staff who is responsible for it across the school. Subject leaders will work to develop all subject knowledge and classroom practice, aiming for all staff to be the standard of the ‘best’.
The National Curriculum is delivered fully. We have put thought into the mapping of skills in each subject so they progress and deepen as pupils move up the school. Our skills progression documentation ensures every teacher knows where children’s learning is when they enter the class and where they must be when they move up to the next year group in every subject. Significant thought has gone into the sequencing of the subject specific skills, with thought to the connectedness of the curriculum and how the children develop.
In order to move pupils of all levels of attainments, swiftly on into new learning, we recognise the need of committing learning to long term memory. At a whole school level, there is interleaving of skills ensuring learning is revisited and rapidly built upon through common themes as pupils get older. We make enrichment opportunities (for example trips, visits or speakers) to consolidate knowledge, helping children remember what they have learnt through real-life experiences. We are expressing this learning by using opportunities to confidently articulate it through an assembly, pupil presentation to parents or class activity. On a day to day basis teachers regularly check on prior learning to ensure pupils are moved on as soon as they are ready.
Catch-up and Keep-up:
At Ashford Oaks we like all children to keep-up with their learning. We believe that no child should fall behind and pre-teaching for targeted children has a high profile. However, we recognise that some children need to catch-up on learning missed during the pandemic, or in exceptional cases because of other reasons (especially for ‘late’ joiners). We identify gaps in learning, provide additional interventions, supplement teaching capacity with extra qualified staff and adapt our plans and approaches accordingly.
At Ashford Oaks teachers we have chosen teaching inclusive strategies that suit the needs and learning styles of our pupils. An AO lesson challenges, promotes excellent learning behaviours, uses formative assessment to inform planning and drives progress.