Our Curriculum Principles
At The Ferrars Academy we follow the core aims outlined in the National curriculum and Early Years Development Matters. But in addition we feel it is imperative that
Children should leave the academy being able to SMILE!
S Socially aware
L Language Rich
E Excited to learn
These five key principles are what we believe our tailored curriculum will provide and ensure children leave the school with these principles embedded within themselves. Alongside these run our school values which flow thought subjects and the wider school day.
We aim for children to leave the academy as well rounded individuals who are prepared and able to succeed and survive in the world around us.
Our Curriculum design
We feel strongly that Children’s literacy skills are key to them accessing all aspects of learning. Many of our children have EAL and many children come from family backgrounds where parents have very poor literacy skills or are illiterate. Taking this into account along with our children’s love of reading we chose to use a ‘Book Based’ approach towards learning. Throughout the school, year groups focus their learning around one (or more) high quality texts each half term. This ensures that all children regardless of ability or background are exposed to a very rich plentiful array of language and new high quality vocabulary. The timetable is still structured into discreet subject teaching time for both core and foundation subjects but cross curricular links are more apparent and learning is more fluid. The quality texts ensure children are exposed to an abundance of words and phrases in the hope of enriching their exposure to language and vocabulary they otherwise wouldn’t have. Staff are encouraged to plan for opportunities to develop the spoken word and to act as role models in scaffolding conventions of speech.
Our bespoke curriculum is designed to meet the specific needs of our pupils and recognises the very diverse backgrounds they come from and the many different cultures and languages in our school community. Mobility is an issue in the school but it also brings with it positives. Children and families have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with others. We want to develop children who are socially aware and are well rounded members of society knowing how to behave in a range of situations. Opportunities are provided to instill manners, kindness and co-operation as well as turn taking and collaborative tasks.
We also recognise that many of our pupils live in flats and temporary accommodation and have very limited access to and experience of the outdoors. Parents report that many children seem lethargic and want to spend their time on devices. Indeed many of our children are already considered obese by health professionals and the school nurse. This was one of our key factors when thinking about moving the curriculum forwards. As a provider for children’s early education, we know how vital learning outdoors can be. Children need to experience things first hand and benefit enormously from sensory discovery. This was already well planned for in Nursery and Reception but we wanted much of our learning in KS1 to also be through exploration and discovery which generate a natural excitement and curiosity to learn.
Many of the learning tasks in all subjects have now been designed to exploit opportunities for practical hands on learning in an active way and where possible making use of the outdoors. Our curriculum lends itself to Wow starts and Fantastic finishes which stimulate interest in learning. These make use of trips, workshops and visitors which in turn enrich the experiences the children have and broaden their cultural capital opportunities.
Our curriculum aims to develop independence, character and resilience in all of our pupils. We aim for each child to have the confidence to know they can achieve amazing things and cope with the challenges that life brings. We want them to develop strategies for how to support themselves.
Our motto ‘Believe you can’ is embedded in all elements of the school curriculum and wider school life. Children are clear that if they want something enough and put in the required practise they will achieve a degree of success. Developing that intrinsic motivation is key in our curriculum.
The Autumn term in Year 1 adopts the continuous provision approach to enable the transition between key stages to be seamless and meet the needs of our children.