Our Creative Curriculum
Our school’s curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning, personal growth and development. We offer children broad, balanced, adapted and relevant curriculum which recognises individual developmental needs and takes account of National Curriculum subjects.
We aim to provide children with the ability to meet the unknown challenges of the twenty-first century. We focus on developing children’s learning capacity so that they can become positive, responsible citizens who can work and co-operate with others while at the same time developing their knowledge and skills, in order to be the best they can be.
The aim is for our curriculum to be the best for our children at Harpenden Academy. We want it to be exciting, interesting and engaging so that children are curious and want to learn. We want children to come home from school excited about what they are learning about. We also want our curriculum to be about raising standards.
Our curriculum is primarily skills based, with a focus on improving key subject skills as well as embedding knowledge into the long-term memory. This is so that children gain the subject knowledge, skills and understanding appropriate to their stage of development. Each subject is broken down into key concepts that are revisited throughout the primary curriculum. We do this by following three simple principles. The what, why and how of the curriculum planning:
As an Academy we are not required to teach the National Curriculum, so in its place we have created an effective school curriculum which is based upon our curriculum drivers of diversity, first-hand experiences and communication and our values, as well as reflecting the breadth of National Curriculum subjects. Teachers plan engaging experiences for the children to learn first-hand through trips, visitors, use of the local community and practical learning.
So that children learn and get better at using key subject skills and have transferrable knowledge that can be applied across the curriculum.
We aim to make learning real and relevant to the lives of our children. The curriculum is frequently reviewed to ensure that it meets the current needs of our children.
Our Curriculum has been organised so that there are meaningful cross-curricular links, which incorporate the key skills and subjects set out in the National Curriculum. We encourage writing across all curriculum areas and find real-life learning examples to enhance our curriculum. We also teach the skills and knowledge for subjects discretely:
We enhance the Maths scheme called ‘Maths No Problem’ which teaches the skills of reasoning, maths fluency and incorporates the use of resources, problem solving and group work. The maths scheme is child-centred and fun to teach and was assessed by the DfE’s expert panel, which judged that it met the core criteria for a high-quality textbook to support teaching for mastery.
We follow the Talk for Writing approach, developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong, this programme is based upon the principles of how children learn and is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language, they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version. Phonics (Bug Club), Spellings, Guided/Shared Reading and handwriting are taught as discrete subjects as they build up basic skills.
Since embarking on our journey with Empiribox our Science skills, knowledge and understanding have flown. Every week children are enthralled with practical, first hand investigations in which they develop and apply their scientifically thinking skills.
History and Geography expectations are set around the Chris Quigley Essentials “mile stones” approach. We use resources and expertise from the Historical Association and The Royal Geographical Society to ensure that subject-specific concepts are built upon year on year to support children in their discussions as they become Historians and Geographers.
As Computer Scientists the children will learn the key concepts of Computing through the ‘Switched On Computing’ scheme which prepares children to be technologists of the future. We enhance this scheme and embed eSafety teaching across the curriculum.
PSHE is at the heart of our curriculum at Harpenden Academy. Our Values, as well as the British Values complement the ‘Jigsaw’ scheme which we use in school. Our Mental Health lead champions pupil, staff and parent well-being continuously.
We follow the scheme ‘Charanga’ which is a complete scheme to teach the national curriculum for music. It incorporates a vast library of songs, topics, instrument courses and creative apps, in also provides in-depth support for assessment, SEND and personalised teaching and learning.
PE AND SWIMMING
PE in KS1 & KS2 is taught by the class teachers. Physical fitness and physical awareness are important in developing a healthy lifestyle. A range of dance, gym, sports and swimming will be covered.
Swimming is taught by specialist staff at the local swimming pool.
MFL - SPANISH
We follow the Twinkl scheme of work which allow us to cover the content of the National Curriculum programmes of study. Children are given a balance of speaking and listening opportunities as well as the chance to develop their reading and writing skills. Furthermore, children are provided with an introduction to the culture of Spanish-speaking countries and communities. It aims to foster children’s curiosity and help deepen their understanding of the world.
Religious Education (RE) is a necessary part of a broad and balanced curriculum. As RE is not nationally determined, we use the Discovery R.E curriculum to ensure that all children are learning about the five main religions throughout their journey at Harpenden and have the chance to explore these through an enquiry-based approach. Christianity is taught in every year group, with Christmas and Easter being taught each year developing children’s learning in a progressive way. The scheme also supports the SMSC curriculum and is underpinned with British Values.