Our Curriculum Principles
For effective learning to take place, we recognise that securing the social and emotional well-being of each child is key and thus at the heart of everything we do. We are a Thrive school, and from termly assessments, teachers are aware of the vulnerabilities within their cohort from the start of the academic year so that they can tailor more personalised learning journeys for each child in their class. From their experiences of Thrive our children are more able to manage their emotions effectively to cope with the demands of the curriculum, engage in learning and manage the wider aspects of school life more successfully. Our children know that there is a trusted adult to provide dedicated pastoral care that they can access for support at all times.
In 2016 Ofsted recognised our school as an ‘oasis of calm’. In support of our vision, we are widely regarded in the authority as a champion for the more vulnerable, taking in children permanently excluded with more complex needs. At Christ Church CE Academy, we go the extra mile to support these children and always take measures to avoid permanent exclusion by providing specialist provision for the most vulnerable. For example: sensory room, personalised timetables, 1:1 support, nurture and 1:1/small group Thrive. The further impact of this provision is evidence in the same report where pupils state that they feel safe.
At Christ Church CE Academy, our definition of ‘The Curriculum’ encompasses all learning activities that support our vision. These support our children to work hard to reach their full potential, foster high self-esteem and nurture high aspirations whilst enabling everyone to grow and blossom into responsible and successful citizens through the firm Christian foundations we provide with an appreciation and understanding of national and global communities, including British values.
Broadly based on the National Curriculum, our children use their right to: explore through play; access the outdoors (in particular our Forest School); and experience a healthy range of emotions through social interaction that build resilience to enable continued creativity with their peers and their potential. Experiences are carefully planned to ensure every child has the opportunity to develop a sense of belonging to our school, local and Church community.
We have curious, inquisitive children with enquiring minds, who ask insightful questions about the world around them and their connections and relationships to it. However, for the majority of our children, their vocabulary to articulate this is limited. Therefore, within school, opportunities are carefully planned to challenge our children’s thinking and allow discussion. For example, from research, study and implementation, we have chosen Talk for Writing as a vehicle for Literacy throughout school. We feel using these methods of talk enable our children to imitate and internalise grammatical patterns and structures that they do not inherently possess. It develops their ability to 'read as writers' and enables them to explore the thinking and creative processes involved in generating and planning ideas and incorporating techniques learned from other writers into their own work. Working within a ‘language-rich’ environment, created by our curriculum, aims to enable our children to aspire to more ambitious long-term goals, with new vocabulary as their tool to achieve them.
The National Curriculum ensures our content is coherently planned. We use it as a base to provide a sequence of stages to enable our children to build cumulatively on their knowledge and skills required to successfully achieve set end goals. These stages include:
- Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): Nursery (3-4 year olds) and Reception (4-5 year olds)
- Key Stage 1 – Years 1 and 2 (5-7 year olds)
- Key Stage 2 – Years 3 to 6 (7-11 year olds)
Teachers assess the children against the National Curriculum year objectives, assisted by our bespoke tracking system. This ensures rigorous, continuous diagnostic assessments and impacts teachers’ practice to enable them to monitor academic progress and attainment with early identification of those making less than expected progress followed by swift action of intervention. Our more vulnerable children make good and outstanding progress from starting points considered ‘well below’ nationally. Standardised assessments are also used for English and Maths.
To ensure pupils become more confident independent learners, we have adapted our Feedback and Guidance Policy. The purpose of feedback is to support learner’s progress enabling them to take ownership of their own work and know how to improve it further. Our policy empowers our children to become more skilled in independent drafting and editing, taking responsibility for improving their own work, spotting mistakes and thinking for themselves.