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. From the end of KS2, we break down key knowledge and skills and reinforce these in a layered format across the four years pupils are with us. In addition, we supplement the add learning specific to the needs of our school and our cohorts.
Our Curriculum Intent is centred around these drivers:
Engaging: We aim for children to build connections within their learning and believe that by effectively engaging pupils in this way we increase the likelihood of them remembering learning and avoiding cognitive overload. ‘If nothing in the long-term memory has been altered, nothing has been learned’. It is important that we use approaches that help pupils to integrate new knowledge into the long-term memory by making enduring connections and linking to their prior learning. This is best achieved through thoughtful sequencing of learning and we regularly review our curriculum with this in mind. We also believe that creative experiences are more memorable for pupils and aim to include creativity throughout learning.
Enriching: We believe in our school Motto of ‘One Childhood One Chance’ and how this relates to providing opportunity for our children while they are with us. We want them to aspire, and this is one of our Core Values. Our curriculum is regularly enriched through trips, speakers, events and opportunities. Our extra-curricular programme of activities gives pupils opportunities outside the school day that they may not be able to access otherwise and through these experiences we aim to reduce social disadvantage. This is particularly important in our post-COVID world.
Diversity: We recognise that our immediate locality is not hugely diverse and take steps to ensure pupils learn about differing parts of the world and their culture. These are things that are, for many, outside of their daily experience. We believe this is an essential part of cultural capital. Understanding that we have differing beliefs, values and ways of life from others helps generate Mutual Respect and Tolerance. Our text-based curriculum features texts intentionally chosen for this purpose.
Community: As a large school, taking from over 15 local providers, building an effective community is essential. We have intentionally set out to build a community and our community spirit, be this through initial transition work or the ethos we promote. We also want children to extend this community into our locality. We feel it is important for pupils to learn about their local area and where they live and believe that this builds Respect, which is one of our Core Values.
Communication: The world is changing and we are aware that the development of technology can both improve and hinder communication. Online gaming, social media, tablet and phone apps are decreasing the amount of time children communicate orally at home. We consider communication skills be to crucial to life and intentionally focus on them here at Upton. Communication builds and maintains relationships, it facilitates learning and innovation and it builds an effective team. Across the curriculum, pupils are regularly given the opportunity to develop oracy skills as they communicate with each other, in groups or through presentations. social media stopping this.
Collaboration: We value the opportunity to work together. As educators in a large school, shared planning and ideas are constant. For our pupils, collaboration leads to improved social and interpersonal skills, has the capacity to take learning to a higher level than alone and is key to our Core values of Friendship and Respect .
.Above all, One Childhood One Chance inspires us to have high expectations for every one of our pupils here at the 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. Our aim is always to provide a stimulating, engaging and effective curriculum that enables all children to achieve their potential.
We agree whole-heartedly with the DFE's aim to improve social mobility through education. Their pledge of 'No Community Left Behind'. 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 and engaging.
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.’
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.