Castle Curriculum Aims and intent.
We are proud to be a primary academy which has firm roots in the local community. Many of our children’s parents and grandparents attended Castle Academy and there is a rich history surrounding the school.
We believe that our curriculum should educate children about their role within the community and the positive impact they can have on their own lives and those around them. Therefore our curriculum is built upon a foundation which aims to develop a strong sense of self, of the local and wider history.
We believe that our children should have access to as many opportunities as possible so that they develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the world and what is possible. We tell our children to aim high- they are the future and they can make a difference.
We believe that our children should be exposed to activities and situations where they develop a broad range of skills, an understanding of diversity and tolerance. Team working is a vital skill as is the confidence to stand proud – our curriculum aims to develop both of these aspects.
Our curriculum is underpinned by Astrea’s Core Values (Responsibility and Leadership, Enjoyment and Innovation, Aspiration and Development, Collaboration and Inclusion and Honesty and Integrity) and these are taught on their own and through other areas of the curriculum, including assemblies. The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our pupils and their understanding of the core values of our society are woven throughout the curriculum. Each week at our celebration assembly we highlight children who have demonstrated their understanding of these values.
Specialist teachers and instructors support music, physical education and the teaching of Spanish.
All subject leaders are given training and opportunities to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school.
Theme weeks, whole school activities and opportunities within and outside school all enrich and develop the children’s learning. After school clubs and events extend these opportunities further. Additional whole school programmes and approaches support quality teaching and learning.
Our Curriculum Implementation.
- The curriculum at Castle Academy is built upon the primary National Curriculum 2014.
- The school is also developing areas of the curriculum which aim to extend pupils learning further for example the Astrea Promise, the Forest School ethos, Spanish, Commander Joe and Enterprise.
- An annual plan is written with 3 themes per year allowing for staff and children to look at the theme in depth. Subjects are taught through other subjects when it is appropriate to do so for example reading skills as part of a history theme.
- In order to ensure effective progression of subjects across the primary phase our Curriculum Teams are developing skill/knowledge progression maps for all subjects over the year.
- Termly plans are created and used as leaflets for parents. These highlight key skills, knowledge and vocabulary which the children will learn as part of the theme. These are placed on our website.
- Each theme has a “launch” for example in the autumn term as part of our “We are Conisbrough” theme we are creating a whole school map.
- Each theme has a “landing” for example in the autumn term at the end of our “We are Conisbrough” theme we are inviting parents into our Art gallery.
- As part of our aim to develop pride in our curriculum each child will have a Curriculum Portfolio.
- We also invite parents to share in the curriculum by attending key events and activities such as an Art gallery or a performance.
Current curriculum planning.
Click on a link below to find out what each class is learning on our rolling curriculum programme:
Each class website has a copy of the letter that we send each term to parents explaining more about the learning in each class.
The Astrea Promise.
Through the Promise, every Astrea primary school is formally committing to an education that reaches out beyond the classroom. The Promise means that during their time with us, every child will have the opportunity to experience 30 difference memorable activities and challenges that have been specifically designed to help develop character.
Working their way through bronze, silver and gold activities, pupils will have the opportunity to get involved in a whole range of exciting projects, from growing and eating their own food and climbing a mountain, through to sleeping under the stars and visiting a university. The Promise also includes at least one visit to London and one visit to a foreign country. At Castle Academy our Year 5 and 6 have recently returned from a visit to Normandy in France and we plan to visit again in September 2020.
Safeguarding Curriculum map.
Outdoor Learning at Castle Academy
Over the course of this academic year the staff and children at Castle Academy will be taking teaching and learning outside.
At Castle Academy, we value learning experiences in the outdoors as a fundamental aspect of the quality learning experiences that we provide at school. Through our commitment to learning both inside and outside the classroom, we are able to teach children that learning occurs everywhere, and at all times.
Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL children regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
Children participate in motivating and achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in almost all weathers, with the appropriate footwear and clothing. Children will work with tools, play, learn and begin to understand the boundaries of behavior, both physical and social.
Outdoor Learning and the Forest School approach provides children with the opportunities to:
- develop reflective and inquisitive thinking along with problem-solving approaches in ‘real’ situations
- encourage holistic development of children
- develop resilience and adaptability in occasionally adverse circumstances
- allow children to become more able to identify hazards and risks
- develop a love, appreciation and respect for nature and all that is living
- develop an understanding of how we can look after our environment
- develop self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem
- develop collaborative-working and communication skills
- provide positive health benefits – both physically and mentally – and assist gross and fine-motor development
- develop a lifelong love of the outdoors
Through regular Outdoor Learning and Forest School sessions, children have time to play outdoors, reflect, repeat and talk to peers and adults. It provides children with the opportunity to take supported risk appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
We have worked with the Woodland Trust to plant our very own woodland trees and with the help of the Learning Through Landscapes organisation we are developing our Forest School area.
Reading at Castle Academy
We use a range of reading strategies to support your child on their journey to becoming a fluent reader. We use the Oxford Reading Scheme as our core reading scheme but we also encourage the children to choose from our library as well as read books from home. We want our children to practise reading so that they develop this important skill. Every child who reads 4 times each week adds a sticker to their reading journey card. At each milestone the children choose a reward from the School Council shop and have their photo added to our Reading Champions board.
We encourage parents to become involved in their child’s reading. We hold a parent reading morning each Tuesday starting at 8.40 am. Please come along to the school hall to join in with this. The school library is also open each morning from 8.30 am. Year 6 librarians will be pleased to help children sign their books in and out.
Phonics teaching at Castle Academy
We use the Letters and Sounds programme to support our phonics teaching.
FS2, Year 1 and Year 2 have a daily phonic session, Spelling is taught consistently across KS 2.
The link below will give you further information.
Writing at Castle Academy.
We use the Literary Curriculum across our school as we believe that placing high quality children’s literature at the core of teaching and learning really supports the children to develop into confident writers.
We are also working hard to encourage the children to develop a fluent. legible handwriting style. All children in Years 3, 4 and 5 are currently working towards achieving their handwriting pen licence.
In order to earn a pen licence in Key Stage Two at Castle Academy, the following skills must be demonstrated consistently in all areas of the curriculum.
- Using a correct pencil grip
- Writing on the lines
- Joining letters correctly
- Starting each letter/digit in the correct place
- Keeping letters/digits the same size
- Forming letter/digits with the correct shape
- Leaving appropriate gaps between words
- Ensuring that ascending and descending strokes are the right length.
Please click here to see a copy of standard letter formation at Castle Academy.
Mathematics at Castle Academy
We follow the Maths Hub White Rose schemes of learning. Our units are taught in blocks to ensure the children have a deeper understanding of the mathematical concepts.
Our daily mathematics lessons incorporate a broad range of activities designed to develop children’s ability to problem solve and apply their knowledge. Starting in FS2 provision based learning is key and this continues into Y1 for the first term to ensure a secure transition for the children.
From the spring term with Y1 and throughout the rest of school we use bronze, silver and gold challenges to encourage children to stretch their mathematical understanding. We also challenge the children to develop their fluency of the times tables by using “Timetable Rockstars” in order to boost their knowledge. This can be accessed from home.
Please click below to view each Key Stage’s arithmetic progression map.