At Whitemoor Academy, we pride ourselves on our broad and vibrant curriculum that aims to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding to achieve to their full potential academically, socially and emotionally. This takes place in the context of a safe and nurturing environment where each individual child is valued, and their learning journey is unique.
Through a rich, relevant and exciting curriculum, we aim to give the children the necessary skills to prepare them for life 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 a creative curriculum ensures that we fully implement the National Curriculum. We follow a topic-based approach to learning driven by key questions that tap into the children’s naturally curious minds. Real life outcomes alongside exciting trips and visits bring learning to life. We plan topics collaboratively as a staff to ensure that all staff expertise is utilised and encourage all children to take ownership of their learning, fostering independence and developing resilience. This is developed through activities such as independent research and project-work, personal target setting and easy access to resources. We also collaborate with our partner schools within The Aspire Academy Trust to further broaden opportunities for our children.
At Whitemoor Academy, we believe that learning is best when it is an active collaboration between home and school. We set regular homework such as reading, spelling and multiplication but we also encourage parents to become involved in project work and topics where possible.
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.
Learning is highly cyclical and revisits key concepts: This aids retention and embedding in longer 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.
In response to the mixed aged setting, our rolling programmes reflect the time spent in each classroom. The Key Stage 2 curriculum is based on a two-year rolling programme whereas the Key Stage 1 curriculum is a three-year rolling programme. Maths and English are delivered in a yearly cycle.
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 and use of the NELI resources are a key feature to the reception year experience. STEM is promoted through active learning in the outdoor environment.
All the rolling programmes are responsive and can be altered to account for special events, progression in curriculum aims and pupils’ interests.
The topics are planned using the rolling programmes and these form the skeleton onto which the flesh of the learning is hung. Each topic is planned in outline on the mid-term plan which informs the curriculum overview. In the mid-term planning we are mindful of our intended end points, sequencing of lessons, key events to stimulate learning and depth of knowledge to be imparted. Each topic starts with a ‘topic launch’; contains a relevant class trip or visit; and has a clear end goal. Teachers plan opportunities within each topic for parental/community involvement and design their classroom environment to enhance the learning for the term.
Planning at Whitemoor is a collaborative experience. Each class teacher begins their topic planning with ‘Blue Sky thinking’ time alongside all other adults (usually Teaching Assistants) who work in their class team. This is followed with a whole staff meeting where all members of staff can contribute to the planning, explore cross-class links and utilise staff expertise.
Weekly and Daily planning have a clear format but can be adapted by staff to meet the needs of the learning. Staff are reflective of the pupils’ attainment and engagement in each lesson. They seek to incorporate pupils’ own reflections and interests to adapt planning accordingly.
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.