At Whitemoor Academy, we pride ourselves on our broad and vibrant curriculum that gives children the knowledge, skills and understanding to achieve their full potential academically, socially and emotionally. This takes place in the context of a safe and nurturing environment where everyone is valued.
Through a rich, relevant and exciting curriculum, we aim to give the children the necessary skills to prepare them for life as a well-rounded individual in modern British society. Our curriculum reflects both the context of the school and community as well as the experiences of the children and is designed to support all children in developing a lifelong love of learning.
Our approach to delivering the curriculum ensures that we fully implement the National Curriculum. We follow a knowledge-based approach to learning driven by key questions that tap into the children’s naturally curious minds. We interleave the teaching of knowledge with life skills through real life outcomes, exciting trips and visits that bring learning to life.
The children at Whitemoor are taught in 3 key stages in mixed aged classes – the Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. In the Foundation Stage the children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 the children follow the National Curriculum.
We see our mixed-aged setting as a great strength which enables us to enhance the following:
Delivery of the curriculum is highly personalised: Children spend two years with the same teacher. This allows the teacher to develop a deeper understanding of a child’s strengths and needs and is therefore in a better position to support the child’s learning.
Opportunities for leadership: Older children model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving which the younger children observe. This dynamic increases the older child’s level of independence and leadership.
Pre-teaching of curriculum: Pupils are in an environment when they are exposed to learning and language not only for their age grouping but also above it. Younger children are exposed to far more complex activities than they would be in a single aged class. This often leads to early adoption of language and a keenness to attain. This also provides additional opportunities for revisiting learning from previous years aiding the transfer of knowledge to a child’s long term memory.
Learning is highly cyclical and revisits key concepts: This aids retention and embedding in long term memory.
Children thrive socially: Mixed aged classrooms are socially healthy because they promote friendship and provide extended contact with peers of varying ages. We believe that this supports children’s self-esteem and is line with our whole school values.
In response to the mixed aged setting, the curriculum in KS1 and KS2 is based on a two-year rolling programme. Maths is delivered in a yearly cycle. Phonics is taught daily in KS1 (and to older children who require it) using the Read Write Inc scheme.
Reception follow the EYFS framework with discrete sessions for mathematical learning and daily phonics. The environment is set up to encourage exploration and, through continuous provision, pupils experience the early learning goals. The pupils can listen to and participate in the class activities with older pupils if they wish. Development of spoken language is a key feature to the reception year experience. STEM is promoted through active learning in the outdoor environment.
All learning is planned using the rolling programmes and these form the skeleton onto which the flesh of the learning is hung. The rolling programmes are responsive and can be altered to account for special events, progression in curriculum aims and pupils’ interests.
We believe that strength of character is as important as academic achievement. We plan our curriculum around our core values that run through each of the three terms.
Aspiration – Passion - Resilience
Our fourth core value – respect – runs through all aspects of our curriculum and school life.
Each unit of work is planned in outline on the mid-term plan which informs the curriculum overview. We understand that sequencing of learning is highly important. This sequence is clearly mapped out on the mid-term planning where teachers are also mindful of our intended end points, key events to stimulate learning and depth of knowledge to be imparted. Each unit starts with a ‘hook’; contains a relevant class trip or visit; and has a clear end goal. We believe that learning is best when it is an active collaboration between home and school. We set regular homework and teachers plan opportunities each term for parental/community involvement.
Weekly and Daily planning have a clear format but can be adapted by staff to meet the needs of the learning. All subjects are different and modelling will vary depending on what is being taught. Teachers’ subject knowledge is developed continuously to ensure that they are able to provide the highest quality explanations and modelling to the children. Staff are reflective of the pupils’ attainment and engagement in each lesson and use assessments to inform future learning. They seek to incorporate pupils’ own reflections and interests to adapt planning accordingly. We ensure that retrieval time and spaced practice are key elements of each unit of work in order to support children in transferring the knowledge to their long-term memory. Teachers plan to interleave concrete and abstract examples into their teaching to deepen children’s knowledge. Our aim is for all subjects to have high quality materials and resources that can be used to support the learning.
Links to the community
We recognise that it is our responsibility to develop each child as a global citizen whilst still celebrating our Cornish heritage and strong community ties. We believe that being part of the community is vital and expertise in the locality is utilised to support the curriculum whenever possible. Each term, opportunities are provided by each class for parents to work alongside their children or to join us in celebrations of successes.