Curriculum Rationale

 

At Connor Downs Academy we are exceptionally proud of our broad, rich, deep  and evolving curriculum. We firmly  believe that there is more to an outstanding  curriculum than preparing children to take SATs tests. We  aim to  provide a learning environment which is positive, rich and challenging to stimulate all children.  

Our school curriculum is not ‘off the shelf’ it is very much a considered syllabus.  It is inclusive, promotes equality and is planned/adjusted to meet the needs of individual children in our academy.  It challenges children whilst providing support when necessary ensuring there is equal opportunity for all.   

As a new  academy, in July 2015, we embraced the freedom to design our own curriculum to meet the needs of our children.  Our  curriculum is based on the 'Inspire' model but it is  adapted to provide more  opportunities for  local study and is  also supplemented with enhanced  global study through 'World Aims' weeks.  It also  develops children's religious  understanding through the 'Understanding Christianity' project.  

A specialist French teacher from a local secondary  academy provides the teaching of foreign language across all of KS2 because our evaluations confirm that children access a higher quality learning experience. It also supports effective transition to their next stage of education as they move to secondary school.   

Should you require further information on our school curriculum please contact Miss Adele Pellow, school secretary and she will arrange a meeting or phone conversation with the appropriate Key Stage Leader.

Wider Curriculum Review 

We review the effectiveness of our curriculum and the children’s enjoyment of it annually.  Following any adaptations, senior leaders ensure that it  still meets the requirements of the National Curriculum (2014). Our curriculum was most recently audited by parents, staff and children in September 2017. We engaged these key stakeholders in their views of the whole curriculum and have made minor adaptations, because of this consultation, to the content and delivery of some subjects.  

As an academy, in 2017 we led our own curriculum review inspired by HMCI's refreshing views on the importance of a rich, broad and balanced curriculum. We sought a wide variety of opinions from staff, children and parents from July to October 2017. We assimilated all of this information and thinking to improve and personalise our curriculum from September 2017. Our curriculum is continually evolving as a result of feedback from children, parents and staff. 

Please follow the links below to read Her Majesty's Child Inspector's (HMCI's) commentary, which we wholeheartedly welcome and support.

English and Mathematics  

English and mathematics skills  are taught  discretely  each morning and are  rehearsed  during afternoons using  other subjects  organised in 'themes' to increase pupils' motivation and enjoyment.  For example, the class  teacher may use the morning English lesson to teach a new skill, for  example why we use apostrophes and  how to use them correctly. The teacher may use a series of engaging methods to 'teach' this such as games and quizzes, plus direct teaching and demonstration.  The same afternoon in a  history  lesson on the Tudors, the children will practise applying  their new apostrophe  knowledge to their writing, for example in a  diary entry from  Henry VIII. The teacher will then  assess the child's progress during the  afternoon  activities based on the national curriculum objectives for history but also English. This is what we refer to as a 'cross-curricular' approach to learning English and mathematics.  

 

There are further details on core subjects within the Curriculum web section.

How pupils learn - not just ‘what’ they learn 

We encourage creative thinking across the curriculum using a ‘growth mind-set model. We focus not just on what children learn but crucially on how they learn, not least in the developing knowledge of how our brain works. We understand the varied preferred learning styles of our children and ensure that themes are planned with the children and delivered in a way to engage all learners.

Our teachers ensure that creative, challenging work is planned and that skills, concepts and knowledge are transferred between different areas of the curriculum. The themes selected for study are balanced both across the year and key stage. Links are made to ensure that children develop the self-confidence to move from the familiar to the unknown and challenge themselves in a secure and supportive learning context. We develop a range of personal learning and thinking skills (PLT’s). 

The six personal learning and thinking skills are: 

  • Independent Enquiry

  • Creative Thinking

  • Reflective Learning

  • Teamwork

  • Effective Participation

  • Self-Management

Developing inspirational ‘Citizens of the future’ 

We create a culture of aspiration for our pupils from Reception class throughout their time with us.  We believe it is never too early to foster a sense of self-motivation and to think about the future. We provide many opportunities for ‘real life’ experiences through day visits, professional partnerships and workshops. 

We hold annual career assemblies and workshops where professionals from a diverse range of industries and professions come in to classes and talk to the children about their job and what skills, qualifications and interests you need to succeed. Examples of career visitors include, pharmacists, police officers, teachers, electricians and translators.

 

We also arrange visits to Falmouth University for Yeat 5 and Year 6 children with an aim of educating them about potential careers/study and inspiring them to ‘raise any imaginary ceiling’ of what they believe they can achieve and to open their eyes to the fascinating range of degrees they can study locally.  

Curriculum Leadership 

All National Curriculum subjects are coordinated and managed by an allocated teacher; each teacher plans development, monitors coverage and standards, offers support and advice and initiates experience rich opportunities to celebrate learning.  They also monitor standards termly using assessment information and through sampling of work in books. 

Parents receive a termly curriculum update providing information on themes and areas of study ensuring that this crucial parent/teacher partnership impacts positively on the development of their child. In addition to the National Curriculum subjects taught in school, we offer a large selection of extra-curricular activities. These activities are important to the culture and ethos of the school, as they provide opportunities of all ages to experience and enjoy a wide range of pursuits. Offered throughout the year, these activities include: art, performing arts, bikeability, French, netball, nature detectives, football, cricket, rugby, multi-sports, gymnastics, athletics, book club and choir.

There are a wide range of additional sports opportunities available to schools within our local area hosted at Camborne Science and International Academy and Hayle Community School. In a wide variety of sports our school is involved in a programme of festivals, competitions and galas. Fixtures are arranged on a regular basis and these provide opportunities for our children to meet and compete against children from other schools.  

If you wish to find out more about out exciting curriculum please take a look at the latest curriculum newsletter available on this website or contact Mrs Eddy, through the academy office, who will be happy to meet you.  If you have any comments, questions or feedback, please contact Mrs Gallagher in the school office and she will arrange for a meeting or phone call.  

Inclusion

We ensure that all children have the same entitlement to the full range of the school curriculum; we are inclusive in our practice and appropriate accessibility is assured through differentiation and by adopting a range of teaching and learning strategies to cater for individual learning styles. All parents should feel confident that their child's progress is being carefully monitored. If staff feel additional support would be helpful for a pupil - either because they are exceptionally able, experiencing a plateau in their learning, or because they are facing difficulties in a particular area - we will consult you at an early stage.

We strongly believe in early intervention to address the needs of individual children and our Inclusion Manager is available via appointment each week. Our school building is fully accessible for pupils with a physical disability, with easy access for wheelchairs and disabled toilet facilities. 

The 'Special Educational Needs Code of Practice' is central to our policy of support for children with SEND. If appropriate, and after a full consultation with parents, we will seek advice and support from the LA and other outside agencies.

Community Engagement 

We believe our academy has a key part to play in promoting excellence and partnerships in our community through our approach to:  

  • Equity and Excellence: removing barriers to access and participation, offering equal opportunities to all our pupils to succeed at the highest level possible. 
  • Engagement and Ethos: providing opportunities for children, young people and our families to interact with others from different backgrounds 
  • Equality and Diversity: It is our intention to ensure that every member of our community, child or adult, is given their opportunity to shine regardless of age, gender, culture or background. 
  • Teaching and Learning: Teaching pupils to listen and understand others, promoting discussion and debate about common or differing values thereby developing an strong understanding of fundamental British values and social/cultural/spiritual diversity.