At Castle Academy we offer a curriculum which is broad and balanced and which builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all children, whatever their starting points, as they progress through each Key Stage. Our curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 and other experiences and opportunities which best meet the learning and developmental needs of the pupils in our school. We are currently working upon designing a new curriculum for September 2019. We aim for our new curriculum to be rooted in the local area, ensuring that children are proud of their rich heritage.
Castle Curriculum Aims and intent.
Our aims are for pupils to have the knowledge and skills to be successful, independent and motivated learners who aspire to achieve their very best. We particularly encourage our children to develop respect for themselves and others and to independently manage their own feelings and behaviour.
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 French. 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.
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.
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. The link below will give you further information.
Writing at Castle Academy.
We use the Talk 4 Writing strategy across our school as we believe it really supports the children to develop into confident writers. If you would like to find out more about this strategy please follow the link to learn more.
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
Our daily mathematics lessons incorporate a broad range of activities designed to develop children’s ability to problem solve and apply their knowledge. This involves the children developing confident mental recall of number facts. We use bronze, silver and gold challenges to encourage children to stretch their mathematical understanding. We also challenge the children to go on “Timetable Rockstars” in order to boost their knowledge. This can be accessed from home as well.
Please click below to view each Key Stage’s arithmetic progression map.