Castle Hill Academy Castle Hill Academy

A Platanos Trust School

Curriculum intent, implementation and impact

Aims and Principles

At Castle Hill Academy, we are dedicated to developing achievement whatever the starting point, we are committed to supporting all pupils and learners and ensuring that they reach their potential. We have an unshakeable belief that we can make a difference. We are changing lives. We firmly believe that one's attitude is the key ingredient in achieving success regardless of background or ability. We believe in our motto, that “Attitude Determines Altitude” in all human endeavour. 

Through our bespoke curriculum, we aim to instil curiosity and passion for learning, as well as academic excellence, high expectations, with a golden thread of “kindness” in all that we do, in line with our motto.

The use of spoken language is a key focus throughout our curriculum and is threaded throughout to ensure opportunities are provided to develop speech and language. This adaption to the curriculum supports all pupils but particularly those pupils who have specific needs and where gaps in learning has been identified.                                  

To ascertain what pupils know, what they can do and remember, we plan key milestones within the learning sequence to allow pupils to reflect on their learning and consider the new knowledge they have gained, what they already knew and how this will prepare them for future learning.

Through on-going assessment, we identify where there may be gaps in learning and when required provide “catch-up” programmes and additional interventions.

We aim to develop a love of language throughout our curriculum and through a rigorously planned English curriculum, high quality texts and a well-resourced library, where pupils are developing a real passion for reading.

Our curriculum design, which is inspired by rigorous research with a deep understanding of effective pedagogy, is tailored to foster learning and strive to build highly aspirational individuals. Pupils will be equipped and prepared for their future.

Through our curriculum our pupils are nurtured and are educated holistically to ensure that each pupil finds their own identity, meaning and purpose in life, through a curriculum connecting communities.

Our curriculum promotes inclusion, independence, resilience, communication and critical thinking skills through every learning experience. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding, is skillfully weaved into our solid literacy, mathematics and science foundation. The curriculum promotes creative, physical and mental wellbeing through our values as part of the Platanos Trust.

We prepare pupils to take advantage of learning opportunities throughout their lives and to rise to the demands of academic rigour, high standards of scholarship, further and higher education, as well as opportunities to consider future careers.

We believe that every learner can succeed and we challenge and support them to reach their full potential whatever their starting points. We offer all learners a rounded education to meet the challenges of an ever-changing society. We raise the aspiration of learners to ensure that they achieve beyond their expectations and play a valuable role in the world. We celebrate success and encourage pupils and learners to take part in and enjoy learning and life by stretching the abilities of all. All areas of the Platanos Trust work together with shared and consistent values.

We are proud of the cultural diversity in our school and encourage tolerance and respect for each individual. We link our school to other cultures and communities throughout the world. Castle Hill Academy exists and works for all pupils and learners. We have high expectations of all in our community and believe that every learner can achieve beyond their expectations regardless of their background, starting point or needs.

At Castle Hill Academy our curriculum is ambitious, coherently planned and sequenced. It is broad and balanced. Long term plans for each academic subject maps out all knowledge and skills to be taught in each academic year. Teachers review the sequence of knowledge across year groups and key stages to plan lessons that deepen and secure subject knowledge for every pupil. Through assessment, planning and appropriate scaffolding and challenges, we ensure that all our learners access and engage with our curriculum.

Curriculum intent: What is our curriculum trying to achieve?

At Castle Hill Academy, our curriculum has 16 key intentions:

  1. To develop spoken language and link through all aspects of the curriculum so the learners become successful, confident individuals who are able to express themselves both orally and through writing confidently, creatively and to a high standard
  2. To promote the importance of being kind to each other and understand what kindness looks like and feels like to support the development of mutual respect within the community
  3. To lay the foundations and secure basic literacy and maths skills to act as a gateway in being able to access and acquire core knowledge and skills across a range of subjects
  4. To ensure long-term memory is developed and that all of our learners have the strategies and opportunities to be able to” know more and remember more” through a knowledge rich curriculum where links can be made with other subjects
  5. To ensure all children can read fluently and experience high quality texts that promote and develop a love of reading
  6. To ensure all pupils understand the interdependence and interdependence of all subjects with planned opportunities to apply the knowledge and transferable skills across the curriculum
  7. To embed mathematical concepts through a range of mathematical approaches which encourage and engage quality thinking and reasoning as well as providing opportunities for self-reflection
  8. To promote home-learning enabling all pupils to expand their leaning, ignite independence and enquiry skills through a range of experiences
  9. To develop healthy minds through physical activities and promote an element of competition
  10. To ensure that whatever a child’s starting point they achieve to the best of their ability, develop their academic skills, personal skills and knowledge in order to thrive both now and in the future.
  11. To develop an inquisitive mind through enquires and actively encouraging creativity, innovation and curiosity
  12. To raise the aspiration of our school community and support them in developing their self-belief and realisation of the role that they can play in society through our moto of CHABOP (Classwork, Homework, Attendance, Behaviour, organisation and Punctuality)
  13. To plan for a smooth transition for all pupils entering the next stage of their learning (Early Years – KS1, KS1-KS2 and KS2 - KS3) and ensure smooth transitions when pupils join the school
  14. To equip all children with the knowledge and cultural capital that they need to succeed in life creating a sense of awe and wonder
  15. To fulfill all of the requirements of the National Curriculum and the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework
  16. To ensure all children understand British values whilst at the same time develop an international awareness and diversity in which they live and will work in the future. 

Curriculum implementation: What do we do to deliver our intent?

Spoken Language

The use of spoken language is a key focus throughout our curriculum and is threaded throughout to ensure opportunities are provided to develop speech and language. This adaption to the curriculum supports all pupils but particularly those pupils who have specific needs and where gaps in learning has been identified.

Medium Term plans highlights key learning points within a lesson to provide opportunities for pupils to talk about their learning and develop their spoken language within a subject, for example:

  • Verbal evaluations are completed in DT when evaluating products against a set design criteria
  • Scientific hypotheses are discussed with Learning Partners
  • Different points of view are discussed through the Year 5 English curriculum where pupils compare speeches given by world leaders and comparisons are made
  • Through home learning projects opportunities are given for pupils to learn poems and songs to support key concepts.

In addition to this, weekly plans include “Paired Talk” to reinforce the use of spoken language within each lesson.

Key Vocabulary is identified in all subjects with a focus not only on the word but also the meaning and how to use the word in the correct context.

Helicopter stories is an approach to communication and literacy skills based on Storytelling and Story Acting. This approach is introduced in Early Years and continued throughout key stage 1.   In its simplest form, Helicopter Stories lets children dictate their stories which are written down verbatim, exactly as they are told. The children then gather around a taped-out stage and the stories are acted out.

Children regularly have the opportunity to participate in Drama and role play. Pupils are able to participate in drama games and are able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. This gives the children the opportunity to express themselves in different ways and helps to extend their vocabulary.

Knowing More, Remembering More

Through a culture of knowing more, remembering more teachers provide opportunities for pupils to link learning to prior learning and time is built into lessons to allow pupils to reflect on what they know.

Through the model below pupils are encouraged to discuss and to link what they have learnt in previous years to what they are learning now and how that will support them with their future learning.

BEFORE > NOW > AFTER

Castle Hill Academy has an all-inclusive curriculum which equipoises the national expectations enriched with a wealth of valuable experiences, allowing our pupils to flourish.

The curriculum is designed to be a dynamic structure, through which pupils relish, develop, and excel.   Our curriculum has high expectations, which combine deep knowledge and understanding with transferable life skills. It is delivered with the intent, of allowing pupils to develop an extensive vocabulary and language and the opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills across the curriculum. This is buoyed by engaging and welcoming learning environments, which encourage and engage high quality thinking and reasoning.  Teaching and learning is collaborative and reactive to the needs of all our learners; teachers displaying a deep understanding of operative education to champion pupils’ learning across all areas of the curriculum.

We celebrate success and recognise the achievements made by all our learners. We are proud of the cultural diversity within our school community and encourage tolerance and respect for each individual.

Reading and Phonics

In EYFS and KS1 phonics is taught through the Read Write Inc programme and pupils are set into ability groups. Phonics is taught daily for 30 minutes to ensure progression.

In Year 3, the children are set into 2 groups: those who need continued phonics teaching and those who are ready to develop their reading skills. Phonics is taught using the Read Write Inc programme.

The other group, like the rest of the academy, take part in Active Reading, Active Reading teaches daily reading skills in a set pattern.

Each day,  a specific skill will be taught and the children will have an opportunity to apply the skills. In Year 3, Active Reading is linked to developing children’s decoding and comprehension skills.

The set pattern of skills taught daily is as follows:

Monday

Vocabulary Day (new words)

Tuesday

Reading Detectives (retrieval skills)

Wednesday

Thinking Caps (inference skills)

Thursday 

Build It Thursday (Grammar and Structure)

Friday Reading test. All the skills used throughout the week are tested using test style questions linked to the text.

The pupils are exposed to different types of texts. These can be linked to the current project if the teacher considers that an enhancement to the week or completely stand alone.

As part of the Active Reading development, teachers have been asked to make the texts accessible to a range of reading abilities and ensure that the reading skills are not only taught but practised throughout the day. As reading skills strengthen, so can texts become more challenging. The drive is to promote the skills which enable children to access reading material across the curriculum which in turn is aimed at developing a love of reading and a love of learning.

To promote a love for reading every class has a 15-minute timetables session called ‘Drop Everything and Read’ where the children either read for pleasure of the class teacher reads a high-quality text to the class at least three times a week for 15 minutes.

Writing

The English lessons are structured so that as grammar is taught to pupils to ensure they develop their skills in this area. The writing journey begins with pupils recording what they know about the genre they are starting. We teach writing through high-quality texts and creative approaches (such as art and drama) to enhance the writing process. This approach motivates and engages our learners. Throughout the week the writing journey builds and skills are developed which are then incorporated into an independent piece of writing which is published. The pupils are immersed in the text and teachers model the writing throughout the whole journey to support pupils with their writing.  Handwriting is taught explicitly three times a week in all year groups using the handwriting scheme Letter Joins to ensure consistency throughout the academy.

Mathematics

To ensure our learners are secure, fluent and confident mathematicians we use a mastery approach. We ensure key concepts are embedded to support understanding before new concepts are introduced. Fluency, recap of knowledge as well as the progression of skills and understanding is clearly planned for to support the process. Reasoning is an integral part and allows our pupils to use knowledge in different contexts and problem-solving situations.

Science

We teach science through not only acquiring knowledge and developing skills but through practical and engaging investigations. We aim to develop a real thirst for science and through an active approach our pupils learn about the world around them.

Key skills for pupils to work scientifically are identified and mapped out progressively to support pupils to work scientifically and complete enquiries.

Physical Education

PE is taught by a subject specialist and builds upon skills as well as promoting a competitive attitude.

Our Foundation Curriculum has been developed to deliver knowledge, skills and understanding whilst also threading a golden thread of spoken language and kindness. Key personal skill are continually being developed within the learning. Within each subject, knowledge is clearly identified and planned for logically and sequentially. Pupils complete Knowledge Harvests at the start and end of each topic and are encouraged to articulate what they know and remember as well as linking it to prior learning. The Curriculum is delivered so the learners are able to make connections through independent and interdependent subjects.   Knowledge Harvests (KWL- What I know, what I want to know and what I have learnt) are also used to support the planning and identify child lead questions as well as gaps in their learning and related vocabulary.  Each topic ends with the “L” part of the KWL to assess and celebrate the learning as well as reinforcing key concepts to support long term memory (Knowing More Remembering More).

Assessment is used during each lesson to ensure misconceptions are addressed and scaffolding and challenge are provided. We use a balance of formative and summative assessment to identify gaps in learning and ensure all learners can access the learning and make rapid progress. As part of our monitoring we focus on pupil voice, books, data and outcomes with a particular focus on how well the pupils can remember what they have learnt through their long-term memory.

Through the school’s approach to home learning, pupils are provided with opportunities to expand their learning further, igniting their independence and enquiry skills and the wide range of experiences stemming from home and society. Our pupils are expected to produce home learning pieces on a regular basis as well frequent practice of basic literacy and maths skills. Well- being, leadership and tenacity is thoroughly embedded through our sports, performing arts and expertise teaching.

Curriculum impact: How do we ensure that children are learning the curriculum?

To ensure that pupils are learning, at the start of each session pupils are asked to recall what they have learned from the previous session. Teachers also question pupils to ensure that they are embedding the skills that need to be taught.

At the beginning of each unit, pupils complete a Knowledge Harvest to see what they already know and what they would like to find out. A Knowledge Harvest is also completed at the end of a unit to see what pupils have learned.

The use of ‘Knowing more remembering more’ supports pupils with remembering what they have learnt. Pupils will also refer to learning from previous years. This is mentioned at the start of units to illicit what pupils can remember from previous years.

Throughout the academy we encourage “live marking” to capture misconceptions, identify where pupils may require further support as well as challenge. Assessment feeds into the planning to ensure work is pitched at the right level and that all the learners can access the curriculum.

To assess pupils, we use Rising Stars Assessments. The pupils are assessed once per term using an online assessment in the core subject areas of reading, maths and grammar. Each half term, pupils are teacher assessed in writing using a range of writing genres. Individual targets are set for pupils to support them with reaching targets that have been set and are shared with parents during parent consultations and end of year reports.

Progress is monitored by class teachers daily and through half termly Pupil Progress Review meetings. For pupils who are not making the expected progress or have gaps in their learning interventions are put in place which are monitored and discussed during half termly Pupil Progress Review meetings.