The Atlas Federation Curriculum Statement
(Why we teach what we teach)
At the Atlas Federation, we want our children to become confident learners who are not afraid of making mistakes and instead, embrace these opportunities to extend their learning. The curriculum is focused around our curriculum drivers and can be found within every aspect of our curriculum development and implementation. Future possibilities are at the heart of what we teach to ensure that children have the knowledge of what they can achieve later in life and have the necessary tools to help achieve this. The curriculum is planned and progressive to ensure the children develop their inquisitive minds and further develop their cultural capital.
Curriculum drivers shape our curriculum breadth. The main curriculum driver is the development of cultural capital to ensure that all of our pupils are given the best of opportunities to develop and succeed in life. Cultural capital gives our students the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British values. Our curriculum is created with these drivers in mind. The drivers are used to ensure we give our students appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities. Our aims are to ensure that our pupils experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, developed their long-term memory and built upon previous knowledge leading to greater progress in their learning.
(How we teach what we teach)
Our curriculum has been designed with our children at the centre of the approach with cognitive science at the forefront of the development. Cognitive science tells us that learning is a change to long-term memory therefore the curriculum has been planned and developed to help support pupils to discriminate between themes to help support long-term memory and retention.
We aim for previous learning to be revisited regularly and frequently through retrieval activities. This approach increases retrieval abilities and the ability for the children to store the knowledge in their longer term memory.
(The result of what we teach)
Through the planned implementation of our curriculum and drivers, our children will develop a balanced bank of knowledge to give them the highest possible opportunities to succeed in life. Each subject uses milestones to assess the progression of subject knowledge combined with their topic knowledge. This method of repeating subject knowledge will aid retention within their learning and ensure children are fluent within each subject.
The milestones used break subject knowledge down into 2 year group statements. These milestones develop over a child’s journey at school whilst repeating the key concepts of each subject.
1. Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum drivers & subject topics.
2. Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and ‘threshold concepts’. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied (topic knowledge).
3. Threshold concepts (subject knowledge) are the key threads that run through each subject. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this, students return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build understanding of them.
4. Each threshold concept provides progression through milestones building upon previous knowledge.
5. Cognitive science also tells us that in order for pupils to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding, they must first master the basics, which takes time.
6. To achieve the threshold concepts, pupils must move through the three milestones. This will result in a deeper understanding of each specific concept.
7. Curriculum drivers are the main areas we believe that our children require that shape our curriculum choices.
What does your child learn at school each day? Find information about our curriculum subjects by selecting your child's year group here:
The DfE have reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated by the Prime Minister this year.
The rule of law
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
At St James, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is an integral part of our school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Pupil Council and Pupil questionnaires. The elections of councillors and Junior Health & Safety representatives are based solely on the democratic process, with children writing personal profiles, giving speeches and elections then occurring. During election years, children in Y6 carry out a ‘mock election’, with prospective candidates writing manifestos, campaigning and KS2 voting for their chosen candidate. Our school behaviour policy involves rewards which the pupils vote on as a class. The majority of policies are debated widely and incorporate pupil voice as children, parents, governors and staff work together to put policy into practice.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school lessons, as well as when discussing behaviour and through whole school assemblies. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and the Fire Service; are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message. Pupils are involved in deciding class rules and play an active role in the formulation e.g positive behaviour policy and SMSC outcomes. The school actively promotes the UN Charter of the Child.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safety, through of provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices and to respect the decisions and choices of others. Upper Key Stage 2 pupils also undertake Sex Education lessons – discussing issues such as puberty, emotional and hormonal changes and keeping ourselves clean.
Our whole school ethos is firmly rooted in respectful relationships – child to child, adult to child, child to adult and adult to adult. We vigorously challenge those, including parents/carers and members of the wider community, who fail to demonstrate respect. We undertake regular assemblies and discussions relating to what this means and how it is shown. Posters around the school promote respect and positive behaviour for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy. Pupils will challenge each other when not showing respect and encourage each other to be respectful. They will work particularly hard to support new members of the school to understand and follow our expectation.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Children and family members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. This has also included family members coming in to talk to children. Through our RE curriculum, which teachers the main faiths and focuses upon learning about religion and learning from religion, we promote tolerance of the beliefs of others. The Chair of Governors is also the local Vicar and holds monthly whole-school assemblies.
At St James Primary School we will actively challenge children, staff or parents who express opinions that are contrary to fundamental British values including extremists views.
Children are all individuals and learn at different rates, therefore teachers plan their teaching and organise the learning environment to ensure that all children are working at the right level. During the day children may be found working by themselves, in small groups or larger groups or as a class.
Parents are often asked to support the school in special programmes of work for their child. This often proves to be successful in helping a child overcome a specific difficulty. Parents who show a keen interest in their child’s work show their children that school and learning is important.
The reading scheme currently used at St James to support our pupils is Read, Write Inc.
If you would like any more information relating to our curriculum, please ask your child’s teacher.