At Castle Academy we believe that our curriculum should offer children not only the National Curriculum but life skills and experiences beyond this. With this in mind; we have worked to prioritise the things we want our children to experience during their time with us. We use these ‘drivers’ to underpin all the work we undertake in all areas of school life and to ensure our curriculum offer is enriched and personalised to our children and their families. We have 5 drivers that underpin every decision we make regarding our children’s learning and experiences in school, these drivers are personal to our school and reflect the social and educational needs of our local area.
Our drivers are: Resilience, Empathy, Aspiration, Contribution and Happiness.
Resilience means having the skills and resources to deal with challenges and barriers. At Castle Academy we aim to develop the emotional and physical security needed for our children to become resilient individuals who can take risks and deal with different challenges across the curriculum and in the wider world by thinking positively and having the confidence to ‘have a go’. We encourage this through our teaching and in our every day interactions with the children.
Empathy means the ability to share another person’s feelings or experiences by imagining how it would feel to be in their situation. We aim to develop children’s empathy by encouraging them to talk about and express their emotions in a positive manner. Throughout the curriculum we aim to shine a light on other people’s feelings and situations.
Aspiration is the hope or ambition to achieve something. We believe that the development of aspirations encourages children to take pride in themselves and be the very best they can be. It is essential that our children are made aware of the range of possibilities that are available to them during their time with us, and beyond. We therefore seek to understand, recognise and promote the skills, qualities and capabilities of each child.
Contribution means something that you contribute or do to help produce or achieve something together with other people. Teamwork is very important at Castle Academy and we find many ways for children to experience this. We believe that children should develop an understanding of their role in society as well as the confidence that they can make a positive contribution.
Happiness is to feel content with yourself and your life. This is a very important emotion for children to explore, feel and develop if they are to grow and develop into emotionally stable adults. We aim to create a happy and secure learning environment for all of our children so that they can feel safe, cared for and supported.
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.
Recent learning celebrations
Best of Britain Autumn 2020
Year 1 have been learning how to mix the colour peach and all about the Beatles.
Year 2 have been researching the life of Florence Nightingale.
Year 1 have also been identifying the countries in the United Kingdom.
Year 2 have been looking at the differences between the present and the past.
Pumas have been creating a timeline of the Victorian period in history.
They have also been writing diaries as if they were a character in the past.
Some children wrote odes.
Jaguars class have been experimenting with illuminated lettering.
A snapshot of our learning celebration- “We are Conisbrough.”
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. Due to the summer term lockdown we have adapted our year plan to enable children to catch up on missed learning.
Each class website has a copy of the letter that we send each term to parents explaining more about the learning in each class. We are also in the process of adding key questions to each class page.
Please click here to read our current Remote Learning Policy.
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.
Astrea Promise Awards 2021
We are working hard to ensure that we continue to evidence how we are meeting the different elements of the Astrea Promise so that pupils are able to continue to achieve their awards.
Class teachers are including activities for pupils to complete towards the Award they are aiming to achieve. It is essential that you share evidence of your completion of the activity in order for the element to be signed off. You can share evidence on our Facebook page or by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org
For our current Year 6’s you are still working towards your Gold Award and you will be included in the celebration event – whenever this takes place – in whatever format is appropriate – so please do keep up your efforts!
Some of the elements will require a more creative approach in order to achieve them – class teachers will provide details of these on their plans.
We can do this! #AstreaPromise2020
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 behaviour, 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.
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 Tree 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.