Our curriculum starts with our pupils - their well-being, knowing and understanding themselves and their impact on their society. Our approach develops every pupil socially, emotionally and academically, preparing them for success in whatever they do.
Everything that we do is anchored by our Learning for Life Values:
How we approach Learning
The curriculum provides access to a common body of essential content, taken from the National Curriculum. It is a coherent and progressive curriculum, with links and threads running through it, so that teachers know how it fits together. Across subject domains and over time, concepts are sequenced for maximum success. Driver questions lead children on a path of discovery- building knowledge, curiosity and igniting and excitement for learning.
Beginning with the basics
High quality implementation of the basics – 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. The 5 pillars of reading, including phonics, are given high priority and pupils gain a love of reading whilst at the school – starting in nursery. Our children are given opportunities to learn to read and read to learn throughout all aspects of the curriculum.
Building Moral Character – Personal Development
Learning for Life Values - Eloquence, Grit, Responsibility, Confidence, Kindness and Curiosity.
Ark Castledown have a set of Learning for Life values which are explicitly taught to pupils throughout their time at the school. The values permeate the school at all levels, they are understood and modelled by all staff and pupils. There is clarity around the expected behaviours linked to each value.
For our children to succeed they need to be equipped with the skills that will give them the confidence and resilience to successfully shape their own path through life. In 2020 we are trialling our enterprise project in Year 6, with a focus on teaching our children financial literacy skills, product design, marketing, team-work and customer service.
PSHE & RE
Taught through carefully selected programmes of study: Jigsaw and ACP to ensure progression. Our curriculum supports every child to grow as human beings, intellectually, in maturity and character. We believe that if a child feels well inside themselves, they achieve more. Assemblies build upon the RE and PSHE learnt in lessons as well as give children opportunities to develop philosophical discussions and debates.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and cultural development is interwoven through our whole curriculum. The opportunities we provide through RE and our ARK experiences give our children the chance to participate in events and give them live chances to go on and achieve.
The Cultural Capital component of our curriculum aims to combine knowledge with experience and judgement on what they see. The three elements that the Oxford Dictionary uses to define wisdom. Pupils participate in a wealth of trips, visits and experiences, supported by the Ark experience enrichment programme. A wide range of extra-curricular clubs are provided free of charge to ensure that all pupils can take part.
Growing our Teachers
Intellectual Preparation and Development plays a major part in the continued professional development the teachers receive at Ark Castledown. Curriculum content will be rendered useless if the delivery is weak. Therefore, we invest heavily in supporting our teachers with curriculum delivery, to develop a pedagogy of repertoire, evidence and principle, as: Good teaching makes a difference. Excellent teaching transforms lives.
- Annual Intellectual Preparation
- Unit Intellectual Preparation
- Lesson Intellectual Preparation
- Weekly CPD
- Coaching and co-planning support
- Coaching and support for Subject Leads, developing their skills to robustly monitor their subject area
Learning works best when children, teachers and parents work together as one. We provide parents with absolute clarity about what is being taught prior to the beginning of every unit through our half termly curriculum newsletters. These provide an array of exciting activities and fun facts to prepare children for their next unit of study, including: knowledge organisers, fun facts and information, craft activities, puzzles and games, useful websites for further exploration, suggestions for visits and days out.
Assessment of the Curriculum
Ongoing Formative Assessment Resources
At the end of each unit of ‘focused humanities learning’ pupils answer the ‘driver question’, to demonstrate their learning throughout the unit. Low stakes, diagnostic pupil quizzes are provided each lesson, to quickly assess the misconceptions, understanding and to assess how well knowledge has been learnt, retained and where to take the learning further