The Curriculum at Upton Junior School
At Upton we both admire and follow the aims of the National Curriculum. It clearly sets out the framework through which pupils are introduced to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said, aiming to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement. At Upton we supplement the national curriculum with additional knowledge and skills we feel are important for the children of Upton. We are driven in this by our desire for a curriculum that is engaging and enriching, that involves collaboration and communication, and that values diversity and community. Above all, One Childhood One Chance inspires us to have high expectations for every one of our pupils here at the school.
Our curriculum is based on elements of proven successful curricula from high achieving schools and research pertaining to what makes a successful school. We regularly update and remodel our curriculum based on these premises, never accepting that what suits learners of previous years will always continue to be the most effective form of teaching and learning.Our curriculum is continually evolving so that it best suits the needs of ever changing cohorts of learners. We regularly evaluate and monitor for areas of success and weakness and measure the impact upon pupils. Each key area of the curriculum revolves around our vision of what we want a successful school to include and what the government advocate to be effective curriculum. Our aim is always to provide a stimulating, engaging and effective curriculum that enables all children to achieve their potential.
Our teaching of the National Curriculum at Upton Junior School stems from the needs and abilities of the children we teach. We believe every member of our school community is a life-long learner and that our role is to provide them with stimulus and skills, developing a thirst for knowledge, so that our pupils are empowered to fulfil their individual potential.
We agree whole-heartedly with the DFE's aim to improve social mobility through education. Their pledge of 'No Community Left Behind' (Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential: A plan for improving social mobility through education DfE 2017) is strikingly similar to our own long-standing school motto. At Upton ‘One Childhood One Chance’ means providing the best possible Teaching and Learning opportunity for every child, utilising every opportunity at our disposal. We aim to provide an outstanding curriculum, a curriculum of innovation and inspiration, which is continually evolving in the best interests of our pupils. Unemployment levels in Thanet are nearly twice those of the South East of England as a whole, and this has the potential to generate a cycle of disadvantage. Wherever they are growing up, children will have multiple, overlapping needs. What we must never accept is that where a child starts determines where they will finish in education or in life.
We echo the government’s desire for children to become ‘educated citizens’ and so advocate a curriculum rich in literacy, containing a range of differing and stimulating experiences. It aims to be enjoyable, inclusive, engaging and link to the Core Values of our school. Importantly, we aim to ensure we tackle issues that will affect our pupils within society. This applies not just to national issues but to those local to us. Our PSHE lessons and assemblies in particular are linked to tolerance and acceptance of others, regardless of race, religion or gender.
During our last Ofsted inspection Ofsted recognised that the school ‘runs a broad and exciting curriculum which engages and encourages a love of learning and thirst for knowledge in pupils.’
Our Curriculum is regularly reviewed to ensure it is it fit for purpose using the latest research to inform our judgements and actions and shares the following strengths with those recently identified by Ofsted in ‘A Broad and Balanced Curriculum: key findings from Ofsted’:
Senior and middle leaders review the curriculum regularly, checking impact and remodelling to help all pupils perform well:
Examples of this recently include changes to the mathematics curriculum where the implementation of Singapore Maths strategies and techniques has been accompanied by staff training and inset to improve areas identified by gap analysis across the school to ensure standards are high. The impact of this has been increased maths achievement and maths progress at KS2 outcomes and internally. The school are currently in the processes of remodelling the English curriculum also to prioritise reading and further raise reading achievement and progress.
The school also rises to the challenges of assessment reform:
Pupil progress within the school is tracked in exactly the same way as the KS2 progress calculation. The school use the technical information published by Ofsted to run our own assessment to ensure that pupil progress targets are as accurate as they can possibly be. In addition, new assessment tracking and reporting systems have recently been put in place to ensure accurate teacher assessment so that the school can combine both formative and summative measures to arrive at the most accurate picture possible. Staff throughout the school also have regular internal and external inset regarding new writing assessment and requirements following the revision of the interim framework
Challenge is available for all pupils –not just the most able. Children are challenged at realistic and differentiated levels that best scaffold their own progress and development, whatever their ability.
Extensive additional support is also put in place for those requiring it
Pupil engagement is monitored through involvement and our staff have been trained in this. The school has a strong focus on B4L and pupils have specific B4L targets to improve their learning behaviours. The school reports back to parents to share areas of success and improvement.
The curriculum subjects are divided into 4 areas at Upton and run by Curriculum Hubs of teachers who work together to drive their areas forward under the guidance of senior leaders. These hubs ensure all curriculum areas are covered in a way that not only meets statutory requirements but engages the children and enthuses a love of learning. Parents are regular visitors into the school to take part in a topic's ‘Fabulous Finish’ and children regularly go on trips or have inspiring theme days.
To gauge children’s opinions of the curriculum, regular pupil conferencing is run by the curriculum hubs and by the governing body. The positive responses from these prove that children enjoy engaging with the curriculum.
Across the entire curriculum literacy skills are intertwined within subjects. The school have high expectations upon children demonstrate their skills in all subjects and use all subjects as further opportunity to develop both English and Maths skills.
In line with promoted Ofsted outcomes, pupils achieve and exceed standards nationally.
A broad and balanced curriculum is also one of opportunity outside of school hours. The school run a plethora of extra-curricular opportunities in sport, music, drama, art and ecology that engage a huge proportion of students across a year.