It is our aim for pupils at Ash Green to have their passion for learning ignited whilst nurturing their self-belief and well-being. Through our diverse, broad and balanced curriculum, which is ambitious for all, every child will have the opportunity to shine academically and flourish socially, morally, spiritually and culturally.
Ash Green’s curriculum is a clear, sequential and structured programme of learning, which has been carefully and coherently planned, in order to meet the needs of all pupils. We aim for all learners to enjoy their education and make very good progress in all areas of learning. Our curriculum is ambitious for all through high quality teaching and learning to enable all pupils the opportunity to achieve their full potential, both academically and pastorally. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through appropriate extension activities by deepening their understanding through a mastery approach and a broad depth of learning, whilst SEND pupils are supported accordingly within an inclusive and supportive environment, thus giving the pupils the knowledge and cultural capital, they need to succeed in life. Through the curriculum, assemblies and wider opportunities, British values are promoted, along with an understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped the pupils’ heritage and that of others.
Our curriculum has been carefully designed to ensure coverage and progression right from when our Just Three pupils join us to when the Year Six pupils leave us. In Early Years, we have formulated skills based Long Term Plans in line with Development Matters which are taught through exciting topics and themes, and in Key Stage 1 and 2, we deliver Mathematics, English, Science, PSHE, RE and the National Curriculum Foundation subjects in line with the expectations of the National Curriculum. Skills are taught progressively through the year groups for all subjects and content is taught through discrete units of work for each subject. The school’s curriculum is planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and towards clearly defined, agreed end points.
In order to powerfully address social disadvantage, as the school serves a community where there is a high percentage of disadvantaged pupils, we provide knowledge and skills that pupils need in order to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences in later life. We provide activities that pupils may not otherwise experience in order to spark curiosity and develop a thirst to learn new things, whilst making links with prior learning. We have therefore designed a learning experience to include formal learning opportunities, memorable experiences, visits, visitors, events and enrichment activities that take place both inside and outside of the classroom through both tangible and virtual means, as well as diverse and rich opportunities from which pupils can learn and develop a range of transferable skills from within a broadening bank of knowledge.
We recognise that the pupils need both a sense of valuing themselves, and developing aspirations for their future, therefore a primary focus of our curriculum is to raise ambitions and dreams, engender a sense of personal and collective pride in achievement, and provide a purpose and relevance for learning. As with all subjects at Ash Green, activities will promote esteem and self-value; this is key to our pupils and the school community. Our curriculum has also been designed in order to ensure that pupils will learn about their own cultural heritage and develop a secure understanding of other cultures and religions.
The curriculum ensures coverage and progression, and ‘sticky’ knowledge and skills have been identified. In Key Stage 1 and 2, these are presented in the form of Knowledge Organisers for each unit of work taught in the Foundation subjects to help pupils retain key knowledge and skills. Half termly Knowledge Organisers have also been written for each topic in Early Years. These Knowledge Organisers are shared with all stakeholders, including on the SeeSaw and EEXAT online learning platforms and school website to maximise home-school learning opportunities, in order to encourage parents and carers to take an active role in their child’s learning.
English is a vital way of communicating in school, in public life and internationally. Literature in English is rich and influential, reflecting the experience of people from many countries and times. Our English Curriculum enables pupils to develop skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. It enables them to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others effectively. Pupils learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction, visual and media texts. The study of English helps pupils understand how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Using this knowledge, pupils can choose and adapt what they say and write in different situations.
A rigorous approach to the teaching of reading develops learners’ confidence and enjoyment in reading. At the early stages of learning to read, home and school reading materials are closely matched to learners’ phonics knowledge. We have recently bought into ‘Twinkl Phonics’ which is a DfE validated full systematic, synthetic phonics programme that contains everything we need to deliver phonics teaching to children from the very beginning of learning to read and write to full fluency. It delivers GPCs (grapheme phoneme correspondences) in a clear and rigorous way so that skills are built progressively over time, ensuring that children have a secure base from which to develop. On top of that, all learning is embedded in the exciting adventures of Kit and Sam and their family and friends so you can be sure that children will be excited by, and looking forward to, their daily phonics lessons!
Twinkl Phonics is a scheme based on Letters and Sounds. It follows the same sounds order throughout Nursery and Reception and through to Year 1. Teaching of Phase 5 and 6 GPCs and suffixes have been spread out in ‘Twinkl Phonics’ to give more even coverage throughout Year 1 and 2. This is to ensure that children have ample time to secure new learning before moving on to the next sound. All the sounds covered in Phase 5 and 6 of Letters and Sounds are taught during Levels 5 and 6 in ‘Twinkl Phonics’ so you can be assured that your children will reach the same endpoint by the end of Year 2.
At Ash Green, a lot of our pupils are below ARE and we do our upmost to provide them with the opportunity to make accelerate progress. Reading is the key to all learning, and we try out best to ensure that all pupils enter KS2 with a good foundation in this area.
We believe Mathematics equips pupils with a uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world. These tools include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think in abstract ways. We have developed a whole school mastery approach to teaching and learning which supports the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals. To support us with our mastery curriculum we utilise the Schemes of Learning/overviews outlined by Power Maths - for Early Years - and White Rose Maths - for Key Stage 1 and 2. These overviews have number at the heart, and a large proportion of time is spent reinforcing number to build competency. They ensure teachers stay in the required Key Stage and support the ideal of depth before breadth. Pupils are provided with many opportunities to build reasoning and problem-solving elements into the curriculum.
Subject leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review, both directly and through remote means. They each collate evidence in subject leaders’ files and regularly hold pupil interviews in order to check on knowledge and skill acquisition. The curriculum design ensures that the needs of individual and small groups of pupils can be met within the environment of high quality ‘first wave’ teaching, supported by targeted, proven interventions where appropriate. Clearly this will continue to develop as Covid restrictions are lifted.
All staff have ambitious ‘exit points’ for all pupils’ learning with a clear view of how this learning is preparing them to enter the next stage of their learning – either within their current year group, next year group at Ash Green, or life after Ash Green. The curriculum not only provides opportunities for pupils to develop as independent, confident, successful learners with high aspirations who know how to make a positive contribution to their community and the wider society, but also promotes the development of pupils' resilience and relationship skills, ensuring that they are emotionally ready to learn and can work in different settings with confidence, having the social skills to prepare them for their next steps.
We place high expectations on teaching and learning across the whole curriculum. We deliver effective teaching and learning, making links across subjects and teach knowledge and skills in a way that allows pupils to transfer key knowledge and skills to long term memory. We also promote resilience in learning and social contexts.
Teachers use assessment to check learners’ understanding systematically, identify misconceptions accurately and provide clear, direct feedback. In doing so, they respond and adapt their teaching as necessary to help pupils embed and use knowledge fluently and develop their understanding, not simply memorising disconnected facts. Over the course of a child’s learning journey at Ash Green, teaching is designed to help learners to remember in the long term the content they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts. Leaders understand the limitations of assessment and do not use it in a way that creates unnecessary burdens for staff or learners.
Our curriculum is delivered through exciting and engaging learning opportunities for our pupils both in school and out: lessons, assemblies, visits, visitors, workshops, residentials, extra-curricular activities, sport opportunities and fundraising.
What is the impact of our curriculum and how do we know?
School leaders, including Governors, and teachers regularly measure the impact of our curriculum through the monitoring of teaching and learning, behaviour, assessment and on-going self-review. We survey staff, pupils and parents, undertake learning walks, carry out both formal and informal monitoring in order to sample typicality, and also scrutinise samples of work produced in school, as well as remotely. We have an established system of Governor review with a Standards and Effectiveness Committee who oversee our curriculum. Governors on this committee receive regular reports, and discussions are held at this committee meeting on successes and upcoming priorities, with governors keen to challenge and support in equal measure. There is a timetable of Deep Dives where subject managers and senior leaders can monitor subjects throughout school utilising a range of monitoring strategies as outlined above. Based on these Deep Dives, reports are written with clear next step priorities for each subject as part of a subject action plan. These reports and action plans are shared with all relevant stakeholders, outlining priorities within the individual curriculum areas, as well as making links across the wider curriculum, where necessary, to identify whole school priorities which are subsequently fed back to all stake holders and reviewed as part of the cycle.
The impact will be that our pupils will be academically prepared for the next phase of their education, are motivated to succeed and achieve, and are equipped with all the personal skills to do this. The curriculum will lead pupils to learning more, remembering more and able to do more, and so achieving good results
Our curriculum will be rooted in excellence and enjoyment which will promote achievement, collaboration, individual and collective pride, confidence and high standards of behaviour for learning.