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.
The end result of a good, well-taught curriculum is that pupils know more and are able to do more. We also want them to remember more. These are the premises on which we build our curriculum. Knowledge is key to everything. We aim for children to build on prior knowledge and make learning connections to help them retain their learning. Within this, we think carefully about how to sequence learning, be that across key stage, within Year Group, inside each topic progression and within every lesson.
In addition, we supplement the curriculum with additional 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 .