Children leaving Ark Castledown will be able to read fluently, write for a range of purposes and have the mathematical skills to succeed in their secondary education. Our curriculum is broad and ambitious with children receiving a high-quality education across a wide range of subjects. Our curriculum is driven through our humanities topics building strong webs of knowledge across subjects and years groups. Enrichment is a key element of our curriculum and our pupil’s benefit from regular trips, visits and experiences, supporting their social and cultural development, building cultural capital.
Our Learning for Life Values are embedded throughout all aspects of school life promoting a growth mindset and developing a love for learning.
Ark Castledown’s Learning for Life Values:
Our children will be secure in the knowledge of who they are, where they come from and confident in looking to where they go next.
High quality implementation of the essentials – reading, writing and maths lies at the heart of the Ark Castledown curriculum, as we believe that this unlocks doors to all other areas of study.
We have a ‘knowledge-engaged’ curriculum embedded across the school driven by our humanities topics. While maintaining the knowledge-rich, in-depth understanding of subjects seen in a knowledge-led curriculum we believe that our children deserve a curriculum that is relevant and meaningful to them as individuals. Our pupils deep dive into the skills, driving concepts and knowledge by making links across subjects and year groups to build connections and make learning memorable. Children receive high quality teaching of vocabulary across the curriculum to support them in their understanding and making links.
Ark Castledown is committed to putting reading at the centre of the curriculum. Our children are given opportunities to learn to read and read to learn throughout our whole curriculum. Reading is taught daily across the school alongside building a love for reading. Daily RWI phonics is taught from EYFS, this ensures all children leaving KS1 can read fluently at their chronological age. Children will read and discuss books in all year groups, creating a social experience and building the love that can come with sharing reading experiences. From Year 2 onwards, pupils receive daily Read to Succeed lessons that develop deeper reading skills. The use of the Simple View of Reading, Reading Pillars and the Ark Reading Signature Strategies (align and deepen the 2 strands of the National Curriculum) supports and deepens pupils’ ability to unpick a complexity of texts. Our progressive reading spine ensures challenge and stretch to pupils as well as giving children the opportunity to read a wide range and variety of genres. Our passion for ALL children to leave us with a reading age equivalent or exceeding their chronological age, is even greater now with the impact of Covid-19.
Castledown’s curriculum fulfils and exceeds the National Curriculum displaying a broad, knowledge rich, engaging and exciting architecture that meets and stimulates the curiosity of our pupils. The school promotes a collaborative learning model, where children teach and learn from each other, promoting a deeper understanding of the knowledge they acquire.
We have invested significantly in the professional development of our teaching team. The development of our curriculum over the last year has been a collaborative undertaking, with teachers proactively engaged in the shaping of the curriculum they will be teaching. Subject leaders have been proactive in planning their curriculum areas and sharing these with staff through CPD sessions.
Coaching and co-planning are fundamental to the development of our teaching team. The school has 5 dedicated coaches who regularly work with colleagues to develop and cement excellent practice. Co-planning training given to our subject leads, ensures they can support and further develop their own subject delivery.
Teachers use a range of assessment tools to ensure that pupils progress successfully through the curriculum. This is a primarily formative assessment approach that informs teaching and learning, address misconcpetion and supports children in closing gaps. For example: knowledge quizzes, live marking, retrieval practice and end of unit assessments allow teachers to monitor pupils’ strengths and areas for development and plan next learning appropriately. Formative Assessment has played a major role in the return of pupils after each lockdown, teachers are skilled in planning for error, addressing misconceptions and adaption in the moment.
Enrichment is another key element of our curriculum and our pupil’s benefit from regular trips, visits and experiences, supporting their cultural development. Pupils participate in a wide range of extra-curricular clubs and activities, building cultral capital and providing memorable experiences.