Our curriculum at Cherry Orchard Primary Academy (COPA) has been to ensure all children develop the basic skills in reading, writing and number as quickly as possible, so that they are able to become independent inquirers, taking full advantage of an engaging wider curriculum based around and delivered through the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB)*
Through the IB curriculum, we challenge children to think for themselves as they begin to consider local and global issues, and acquire the knowledge and skills they will require to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities, and experiences later on in life.
The curriculum is underpinned by the IB learner profile (linked to the Academy values) that identify the characteristics of a COPA student by the end of their time with us. We intend for our children to leave us as caring, active participants continuing a lifelong journey of learning, equipped with the skills they require to continue to thrive as they move on to secondary education; and beyond as global citizens.
Our curriculum can be best described through the areas of English, Maths, EYFS, and the IB Curriculum.
Our curriculum can be best described as Transdisciplinary, an approach that connects learning through concepts that overarch disciplines. Our curriculum refers to the subject disciplines in the National Curriculum that are delivered through the framework of the Primary Years Programme. The curriculum at COPA seeks to ensure both excellence in subject discipline (knowledge and skills) whilst at the same time being delivered through the lens of Transdisciplinary Themes, making the curriculum significant, relevant and engaging for our pupils. Where possible, these subjects will be taught in relation to the term’s Transdisciplinary Theme. However, the design of the curriculum allows for subject disciplines to be taught discretely to guarantee the coverage and progression of disciplines take place.
The leaders of each of these curriculum areas work closely with teachers to ensure that their subjects are planned coherently: that there is progress across year groups, and that children meet age-related expectations at the appropriate times.
Our curriculum is mapped against the National Curriculum (as minimum benchmark) to ensure learners are exposed to a rigorous curriculum that progresses coherently both vertically and horizontally.
CLT and retrieval practice
Our curriculum is designed and delivered in a way that allows pupils to transfer key knowledge to long-term memory. Through careful planning of curriculum content in each year group (using the National Curriculum as a minimum benchmark) we ensure that new learning builds on knowledge and skills that have been taught before.
In lessons retrieval practice happens through a variety of strategies:
- At the beginning of Maths and English lessons children are required to recap on prior learning that week (using the working walls as an aid) to set the context for any new learning.
- In IB lessons children will recap on prior learning that term, referring back to the learning journey display, so they understand where their inquiry began and where it is going next.
- Teachers will set questions or challenges during early morning work that require children to recall learning from the previous day, previous week, previous term or year. Where appropriate the recall activity will set the scene for new learning taking place that day, e.g. in maths …..
- Learning review sessions are planned for Friday afternoons and are used to tell the ‘story of the week’ when children recall their learning. This session will also be used for children to check off achievements against their writing expectations checklist.
Alongside the academic curriculum pupils will be taught Personal Development Curriculum (including relationships and sex education) which is mapped out to be age appropriate and sequential meeting the needs of our learners.
As the school continues to grow in pupil numbers we will continue to have a greater than average number of children joining COPA at various points throughout the academic year. Where these children join us at lower than expected starting points, or with additional needs, processes ensure that these children are provided with targeted interventions (both educational and pastoral) to aid them in acquiring the basic skills of reading, writing, and maths whilst still being given the opportunity to access our wider curriculum through additional support or adaptations made. In this way, we intend for all children to achieve their full potential regardless of their background or their additional needs. Please refer to the Academy’s SEN Policy for further details.
Teaching & Learning practices at COPA are constantly evolving to ensure that our curriculum is delivered efficiently, using a fine balance between traditional, and progressive practices. Knowledge is, on occasions, imparted through lecturing, e.g. Dictogloss and phonics knowledge in RWI, but also constructed through experience and practical inquiry. Both teacher-centred and student-centred approaches are employed depending on what best suits the learning activity and the children’s needs.
Specialist teachers are employed to deliver PE and Music lessons across COPA alongside the class teachers. Through this, we ensure that class teachers are supported in delivering these specialised areas of the curriculum which are outside of their main areas of expertise. We intend to develop this further, with the employment of additional specialist teachers, potentially in languages and art/design. This will be funded through income raised from after school provisions.
In light of recent research and practices on meaningful and effective marking and teacher workload, changes to feedback in writing have been developed. Feedback will be written and verbal, and will focus on the next steps. Children are expected to respond to feedback and this is done in ‘purple pen’ so it is clear.
Through the implementation of the Primary Years Programme, there is a strong emphasis on inquiry-based learning in which the children are actively involved, and take responsibility for their learning over time. Through lines of inquiry, they make connections across disciplines and integrate subjects. Appendix 1 (written by our IB Curriculum Lead) gives a more detailed description of the IB curriculum.
Our English lessons for Early Years and KS1 children follow the Read, Write Inc (RWI) programme, which focuses on phonics knowledge reading skills, improving fluency of reading, and early writing skills. Towards the middle/end of year 2, children are expected to move away from the RWI programme and join English lessons following the National Curriculum objectives for their year group. Appendix 2 (written by our English Lead Teacher) gives a more detailed description of our English curriculum and its implementation (including the RWI programme).
In Maths, teachers plan lessons which develop children’s fluency, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. Children work through ‘phases’ in each lesson, which take them through direct teaching of maths skills/knowledge, application and reasoning at their own pace so that they are secure in their understanding but suitably challenged. Appendix 3 (written by our Maths Lead Teachers) gives a more detailed description of our Maths curriculum and its implementation.
Our Early Years team takes a consistent approach, focusing on the individual child and their development, and on learning through play. Appendix 4 (written by our EYFS Lead) gives a detailed rationale of our approach.
These are the minimum requirements we agree to achieve in all phases of education at COPA during 2020/21. These are rigorously monitored by leaders and Trust staff through: (i) book monitoring; (ii) self-assessment; (iii) lesson observations; and (iv) learning walks. Teaching staff receive timely feedback via ‘Clear Review’, our online performance management system.
- All classrooms will be welcoming and engaging, scaffolding and celebrating learning and independence; they will be clutter free and tidy.
- All classrooms will display our behaviour policy/traffic light and a visual timetable using consistent symbols across the school in line with the Specialist Resource Provision.
- All classrooms will have:
- working walls for maths and literacy reflecting recent learning
- PYP Learner Profile posters
- PYP Key Concepts
- PYP Transdisciplinary Theme, Central Idea and Lines of Inquiry (Learning Journey display)
- Examples of each child’s writing each term in a ‘Writing Journey’ display.
- Assessment for learning will be evident in all lessons and books through the use of:
- self and peer assessment
- adult feed-back
- pupil response to feedback from peers and adults.
Lengthy comments in books are not expected as part of feedback to pupils. The pupils’ own response to either verbal or written feedback (in purple pen) is more important to evidence their reflection and progress.
(Please refer to the Academy’s Marking and Feedback policy)
- Teacher assessments each term will be supported by specific tests for different year groups (where appropriate) according to the Assessment Schedule.
- ‘Low stakes testing’ will be used as part of classroom practice (e.g spellings, arithmetic, reading) to help pupils embed and use knowledge with increasing fluency and to inform teacher’s planning.
- Each new IB theme will have lines of inquiry planned by the class teacher and explored in collaboration with the children. We strive to ensure that learning is engaging, has real life context and leads to action on the part of the learner.
- At the end of each IB theme, children will take part in a ‘Milestone Task’ to assess their understanding of the wider curriculum that has been taught that term. The teachers will use assessment of the Milestone Task to plan a feedback/review lesson to address common misconceptions or knowledge/skills that have not been consistently embedded across the class. (These tasks are planned for in the design/planning stage to ensure both planning and assessments are meaningful).
- Reading and writing will be woven through all lessons using collaborative and modelled reading and writing activities to scaffold learning.
- Outdoor Learning, trips and additional learning opportunities are planned for, to further enhance the curriculum and link to classes ‘Transdisciplinary Theme’ each term.
- Consistent and appropriate use of a variety of methods including talking partners, targeted questioning, open questioning, use of mini whiteboards and group choral responses ensure all children are engaged in learning.
- Encouragement of resilience and a growth mindset, helping children to stay positive and learn from their mistakes. This is modelled by adults across the academy and taught specifically through the Personal Development curriculum.
At COPA we aim for children to achieve in line with their age-related expectations, through the development of knowledge and skills across the curriculum we provide. This will be reflected in results at the end of Key Stage and statutory assessments, which will be at least in line with national figures and government expectations.
- Children will leave COPA with the required skills they need to access a secondary curriculum as they enter Key Stage 3, particularly in relation to Maths and English.
- Maths and English is assessed in terms 1,3 and 5 for years 1-5. In years 2 and above this will be through a summative assessment procedure, in year 1 this will be a combination of assessed activities and observed work in class.
- Where children have special education needs they make good progress and achieve the best possible outcomes given their starting points.
- Children’s work demonstrates learning across a broad curriculum and evidences progress made in skills and knowledge over time according to our curriculum map. Milestone Tasks are set at the end of each IB theme to assess learning in years 1 – 5.
- Reading is prioritised, particularly in EYFS and KS1, as it gives children the foundations for future learning. Children are assessed regularly to ensure their fluency and comprehension skills are progressing and are appropriate for their age.
Throughout the year, teachers, adults and pupils within the school practise formative assessment and are regularly assessing where children are in their learning. This allows for an authentic daily form of assessment that leads into better learning opportunities for all children.