At Connor Downs Academy, it is to our intent to deliver a curriculum which is broad and evolving, which inspires enthusiasm for learning, ensures progress and attainment and supports childrens’ health and well-being.
We firmly believe that there is more to an outstanding curriculum than just 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 diversity and is planned and adjusted to meet the needs of individual children in our academy. It is our intention to challenge children, whilst providing support when necessary, ensuring there is equal opportunity for all.
We ensure that all children have the same entitlement to the full range of the academy’s 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/carers should feel confident that their child's progress is being carefully monitored.
As an academy, we embraced the freedom to design our own curriculum to meet the needs of our children. Our curriculum is adapted to provide opportunities for local study and community enrichment. It is also supplemented with enhanced global study through 'World Aims' weeks. It develops children's religious understanding through the 'Understanding Christianity' project.
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, through sampling of work in books, as well as talking to the children and gathering their views.
Parents/carers receive a termly curriculum update providing information on themes and areas of study ensuring that this crucial parent/carer/teacher partnership, impacts positively on the development of their child.
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.
Our English statement of intent is;
‘To deliver an exciting, immersive English curriculum, which inspires a love of reading and enables and empowers children’s written and oral creativity.’
Our motto for English teaching is;
Immerse Understand Imagine Create
Our Maths statement of intent is;
‘For every child to develop a sound understanding of Maths, equipping them with the skills of calculation, reasoning and problem solving that they need in life. ‘
Our Motto for maths teaching is:
Teach Learn Challenge Understand
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
· Effective Participation
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 into classes and talk to the children about their job and what skills, they need to fulfil their role.
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.
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 a strong understanding of fundamental British values and social/cultural/spiritual diversity.
At Connor Downs Academy, we aim that:
- Our children will be kind, respectful and honest, demonstrate inclusive attitudes and have a sense of their role in our wider society.
- They will take pride in all that they do, always striving to do their best.
- They will demonstrate emotional resilience and the ability to persevere when they encounter challenge.
- They will develop a sense of self-awareness and become confident in their own abilities.
- Our children will acquire strong communication skills, both written and verbal and will listen respectfully and with tolerance to the views of others.
- All children, from their unique starting points, will make good progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially and physically.
- Our children leave our academy, ready for their next steps in their learning journeys.