Our Curriculum Design
If Sparken Hill Academy's Curriculum were a road sign...
Every child at Sparken Hill is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate and welcome differences within our school community.
The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of skills, knowledge, concepts and values. We constantly provide enhancement opportunities to engage learning and believe that childhood should be a happy, investigative and enquiring time in our lives where there are no limits to curiosity and there is a thirst for new experiences and knowledge.
Community involvement is an essential part of our curriculum as we celebrate local traditions, learning new skills to enable the children to take an active role in events throughout the year.
Children leave the academy with a sense of belonging to a tightly knit community where they have the confidence and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners. We aspire for our pupils to become HEROs - based on our four key concepts:
H - Healthy Mind Healthy Body
E - Explorers
R - Responsible
O - Opportunity
As pupils progress through the Academy they will experience explicit direct teaching and wider curricular experiences which aim to foster these values. Achieving and reinforcing these values will result in pupils obtaining "Hero" status.
Healthy Mind - Healthy Body
Through a world-class PE curriculum, we encourage at least two hours of physical activity a week. In addition, we encourage our pupils to take full advantage of a range of extracurricular clubs included for free, across the year. Older students are invited to also become sports or play leaders - not only sharing their love of PE but acting as role models. In addition to fostering a Healthy Body, we also foster a Healthy Mind. Sparken Hill is one of the two inaugural "Take 5" schools which aims to practice mindfulness. In addition, we have a comprehensive PSHE curriculum which includes external specialist teaching where appropriate.
We believe wholeheartedly that children should be inquisitive, should never stop asking questions and should discover new knowledge and skills through first-hand experience. Fostering exploration:
- Helps pupils understand the world better- No matter how much you tell someone about something, to experience something makes all the difference. Feeling the wind in your hair, or tracing the undulating bark of a tree with your fingers, or the thrill of riding a bike, are all best experienced.
- Helps pupils build perspective and opinions- Children must develop their own views from a young age.
- Helps them be who they are - As children grow older, their opinions grow and change, morph and solidify, it helps them be who they are meant to be. We find ourselves through exploration.
- Teaches them to value experiences over things - When you can provide the tools of exploration, they will appreciate the experience. It is not the ball that is important in football, but the energizing experience of playing as a team, finding new ways to defend the goal, passing the ball, and being a better player that is important.
Pupils are taught to be responsible citizens in every aspect of life. From learning to "respect everyone and everything" (as one of our four golden rules) to undertaking a variety of leadership roles in the Academy including learning to care for our menagerie of animals! This value permeates life outside the Academy also.
We actively encourage all of our pupils to 'Sieze The Day" and take all opportunities afforded to them. We strive to produce confident individuals who aren't afraid to face new experiences - including failure!
As a 2.5 form entry (which makes the teaching of discrete Year Groups somewhat of a challenge!) we always have a mixed ability 'split year group' class per planning team and we plan on a two-year cycle.
When planning and designing the curriculum, the leadership team have worked closely with staff to consider the following main areas:
- What knowledge and skills do our pupils need to take advantage of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life?
- What end points should our curriculum build towards and what do our pupils need to know to be able to reach those endpoints?
- What are the main features of the academy's local context which we need to address to narrow gaps in our pupils' knowledge and skills?
- As a staff, what else can we offer, alongside daily classroom practice, to ensure our pupils are fully prepared for secondary education; have knowledge of the wider world and aspire to fulfil their ambitions?
The curriculum is organised to provide students with the skills and knowledge to achieve success in life. Our curriculum aims to:
- Inspire and challenge all learners to aspire to high achievement;
- Provide a broad and balanced education for all students;
- Ensure pupils' knowledge is fully developed to support their social, moral, spiritual and cultural awareness to promote diversity and key values;
- Develop students who are tolerant, respectful and understanding;
- Provide equal opportunities for all students, with high expectations for every learner ensuring appropriate levels of challenge and support;
- Develop key skills such as teamwork; independence, resilience; responsibility; and communication;
- Ensure pupils have a wide knowledge of career opportunities in a local and wider national context;
- Provide pupils with leadership opportunities to develop strength of character and self-confidence;
- Ensure pupils' have wider opportunities to develop an interest and fascination in subjects and topics that interest them or that might interest them;
- Consider barriers to learning, linked to the local context and the circumstances faced by individual students;
- Promote awareness of key issues such as healthy living; democracy and national and international events.
Our curriculum covers a broad range of subject areas, designed to develop a wide range of knowledge and skills. The subjects covered are:
- Design & Technology
- MFL (Ks2 only)
- Religious Education
- Physical Education
English and Mathematics are taught as individual subjects, though literacy and numeracy links are made through wider curriculum subjects. Other subjects are taught through a thematic approach, topics are chosen to offer opportunities to ensure aspects of our Intent are met throughout individual lessons and across the year.
When preparing medium-term plans, staff consider the following areas:
- What prior knowledge/skills have pupils gained that can 'frame' the new area of learning?
- What wider skills do we want the children to have developed by the end of each theme, supporting future learning and life skills?
- What factual/topical areas will be covered, enhancing the development of knowledge and cultural capital?
- What opportunities will there be to develop literacy and numeracy skills?
- Which curriculum areas will be covered during each theme, developing cross-curriculum knowledge and skills?
- What opportunities will be provided to assess the development of knowledge and skills?
- What specific areas of knowledge/skills will be developed during this theme, which will be assessed at different times by the teacher and by the pupil?
- What specific wider skills will be developed during this theme, which will be assessed at different times by the teacher and by the pupil?
What else will be put in place to support our curriculum intent?
- A range of leadership opportunities across the academy, including a sports leadership programme; school council; house captains; and employed (paid) roles;
- A full enrichment programme;
- After school clubs;
- Extra-curricular visits;
- External speakers and visitors;
- A strong emphasis on sport, including developing after school clubs and a programme of participation in local and regional events and competitions;
- A greater emphasis on promoting participation and success through the website, newsletters and assemblies, developing aspirations and develop self-confidence;
- Wider links with local industries, employers and providers;
- Greater opportunities to showcase students' work and achievements through exhibitions; open days and the website.
What else will be put in place to develop knowledge and skills and generally support our students?
- Whole school provision mapping to ensure barriers to learning are addressed.
- A full programme of interventions to support and address gaps in learning and support students with emotional or any additional needs.
- A full plan of action to support children, for whom the academy receives additional funding.
- Outcomes will improve at the end of each key stage and every student will makes progress across the curriculum.
- Pupils will have developed a wide range of skills and knowledge to support everything outlined in our curriculum intent.
- Every thematic unit will have a clearly defined end goal and assessment opportunities throughout the unit will indicate the development of knowledge and skills.
- The wider enrichment and extra-curricular programme will have supported the development of every individual, giving them the cultural capital to be successful in the next stage of their education, whilst looking beyond to later career development.
- Links with local industries and businesses will have supported students in giving them knowledge of opportunities, both local and national.
- Barriers to learning will have been considered and addressed, particularly in relation to combating any issues raised by the local context of the academy, and particularly in relation to any students with additional needs and/or for whom the academy receives additional funding.
- Aspirations have clearly been raised so every student leaves Sparken Hill Academy, knowing that they can be successful in whatever they want to achieve in life.
- Students are tolerant, caring, understanding, and active local, national and global citizens.
The Principal, senior leadership team, and all staff will continuously strive to develop and improve the curriculum. Our curriculum intent has been developed together and will be reviewed together at different stages throughout this academic year. In addition, views will be invited and considered from students and parents to ensure we constantly strive to offer the absolute best for our students.
You can click on the link to each key stage to see what the children are learning about each half term.