Our Curriculum Intent October 2021
A loving family of learners
At Ashford Oaks we have a unique, exciting and aspirational curriculum which challenges, motivates and meets the needs of our context and learners. Following an extensive curriculum review in 2019, we based our curriculum on the Monkey-Proof Box by Jonathan Lear. Ongoing review of the curriculum has confirmed that this meets 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 Discover, Explore and Create
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
Foster curiosity and enquiry
Provide 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:
Reading is central to our curriculum. Younger children benefit from the daily, systematic, synthetic phonics teaching of Ruth Miskin’s Read Write Inc. programme. 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.
Our curriculum is organised into projects lasting approximately six weeks divided into equal units of Discover (History focused), Explore (Geography focused), Create (Arts focused). Synoptic concepts, such as choice, adversity, democracy and freedom, will be linked to each project which enhances the links between the subjects and the connectedness of our curriculum.
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 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 as pupils get older. We make enrichment opportunities (for example trips, visits or speakers) to consolidate learning, helping children remember what they have learnt through real-life experiences. We are also introducing end of project activities to bring together learning in the medium term. This could be 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.