The Curriculum at Woodwater
Key statutory curriculum requirements for academies:
Academies are required to have a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
For pupils in the Foundation Stage, academies are required to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
While academies are not required to follow the National Curriculum they are required to ensure their curriculum:
- includes English, maths and science;
- includes Religious Education, although the nature of this will depend on whether the school has a faith designation;
- includes sex and relationship education
In light of the curriculum freedoms we receive as an academy, we have been developing a more creative approach to teaching and learning. We teach through topics and work with the children to take account of their interests, making links between subjects, developing knowledge, skills and positive attitudes to learning in a range of contexts. We have chosen not to follow the 2014 National Curriculum.
A TOPIC-BASED APPROACH
Last year we have started to offer the children choices about what they learn, and because of this we do not have a “Curriculum Map”. We use the skills identified within the National Curriculum (pre 2014) as the basis of our teaching, as we recognise them as key skills for life-long learning, and we apply them through topics that will interest and engage the children learning more widely. We are currently working with Professor Mick Waters as part of an exciting project to develop a “product-based curriculum”.
We have reinstated termly school trips and visits to act as the stimuli for new topics. These trips and visits underpin the topics and set the children’s learning into real life contexts, helping them to make sense of it. As the topics develop children are given opportunities to make choices about what they learn, based on their own interests and experiences.
We recognise that learning is not just about subjects and knowledge, but also about developing a child’s personal and social qualities: consideration for others, empathy, compassion, resilience, honesty, respect, etc. These qualities are encouraged and modelled by staff, volunteers and visitors throughout the school day and beyond.
Children take part in a range of sporting activities, including festivals and competitions across our family of schools and within our learning community. Currently, we use a proportion of our sports funding to buy in the specialist services of Arsenal Soccer Schools and Premier Sports. We have a variety of sports clubs running within, before and after the school day.
LEARNING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
Outdoor learning is important to the children at Woodwater, and they are given lots of opportunities to tend the allotments and engage in the cycle of planting, nurturing and harvesting their own crops. We have a highly productive Green Team who are central to this aspect of school life. We also offer after school and lunchtime clubs which approximately 60% of our children have attended.
ENGLISH, MATHS & SCIENCE
All children receive daily maths and English lessons. We use the Babcock teaching and learning sequences to scaffold the planning of our English lessons; teaching is delivered through high quality texts offering rich opportunities to explore and develop oral and written language. The phonic scheme that we use in KS1 is letters and sounds. We use Rising Stars as the core planning tool for maths lessons; these are adapted to meet the needs of the children in each class.
Since September 2014, we have started to map our planning of science to the new areas of study identified in the 2014 National Curriculum.