Our school curriculum is carefully designed to ensure coverage and progression through exciting, broad and balanced learning experiences. We believe it is vital to teach a range of subjects discretely whilst still allowing our teachers to creatively form links between subjects. The curriculum provides pupils with memorable experiences, in addition to diverse and rich opportunities from which children can learn and develop a range of transferable skills.
All planning builds upon prior learning to ensure that every child achieves and makes progress. Pupils know the purpose for their learning, how to refine their work, the links between the subjects or themes and the relevance of these to their everyday lives.
At West End Academy, our aim is to help children develop a love for the English language through the spoken and written word as well as drama and the speaking and listening activities. English is a one of the core subjects in the National Curriculum and a prerequisite for educational and social progress as it underpins the work undertaken in other areas of the curriculum. Confidence in basic language skills enables children to communicate creatively and imaginatively with the world at large in all situations. The acquisition of language skills is of the utmost importance therefore the teaching of all aspects English is given a high priority. We seek to ensure that all children achieve their full potential in all aspects of English.
In our Foundation Stage, we teach discrete phonics sessions daily based on Letters and Sounds. Children begin when they join Lower Foundation, when they are taught listening skills, oral segmenting and blending of familiar words and rhyme. In our Upper Foundation Stage, the children build on these skills and are taught to recognise letter sounds and names. They are taught how to blend and segment words into their individual sound patterns and are given daily opportunities to apply these to their reading and writing. They are also taught to recognise, read and spell some high frequency words. In Key Stage One, children have a systematic, discrete phonics lesson each day, following Letters and Sounds. Children are given daily opportunities to practice and apply their skills and are expected to use their phonic knowledge in their reading and writing across the curriculum.
In our Foundation Stage, reading skills are taught using a wide range of reading materials. In our Lower Foundation, our children learn how to handle books. They learn that all print carries meaning and they begin to develop an understanding of story structure and characters through daily sharing and discussing stories with adults. We develop their enjoyment of books and aim to ignite a love of reading. They are given opportunities to ‘play’ out the stories they enjoy through role-play, story sacks and small world in the continuous provision. In our Upper Foundation, children have the opportunity to read individually with an adult and are introduced to the Oxford Reading Tree scheme which continues throughout Key Stage One. Children further develop their enjoyment of reading through use of a reading area within each classroom as well as adult led story sessions and have opportunity to visit the school library and borrow a book to share with their family at home.
In Key Stage One, reading skills continue to be developed using a wide range of materials including shared reading, individual reading with an adult and access to our school library. In Key Stage One, children are taught to discuss and understand the texts they read. There is also a keen focus on improving the reading fluency of all our children. In Key Stage Two, children continue to develop their reading and comprehension skills through individual readers and class novels. All children have a reading record book and have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of new fiction and non-fiction titles to suit their individual reading level. To further promote reading for pleasure, each classroom has its own reading area, with a wide range of books including stories, non-fiction and topic related books, where children can freely enjoy.
Mathematics is taught through a daily lesson. We attach considerable importance to the children achieving and understanding mathematical processes, concepts and skills. There is a strong emphasis on the development of mental arithmetic and giving opportunities for pupils to use and apply mathematics in real life situations. Class teachers plan for opportunities to develop and apply key mathematical skills in other subjects throughout the year. Staff encourage a positive attitude by catering far different learning styles and by presenting work in an interesting and enjoyable way, allowing the children to actively participate in the learning process, so creating a sense of achievement and confidence.
Science stimulates and excites pupils’ curiosity about phenomena and events in the world around them. It also satisfies their curiosity with knowledge. Because science links direct practical experience with ideas, it can engage learners at many levels. Scientific method is about developing and evaluating explanations through experimental evidence and modelling. This is a spur to critical and creative thought. Through science, pupils understand how major scientific ideas contribute to technological change – impacting on industry, business and medicine and improving the quality of life. Pupils recognise the cultural significance of science and trace its worldwide development. They learn to question and discuss science-based issues that may affect their own lives, the direction of society and the future of the world.
At West End Academy, we believe it is important for children to understand their place in the world and to have an awareness of their past in order to shape their visions of the future. Through the study of history, children make sense of their world and enrich their understanding of it. We believe it is a tool of learning and communication and that skills developed through the study of history are applicable in everyday life. It fires curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. It connects Britain’s past with the present and the future, giving a deeper understanding of themselves and others and a sense of belonging.
We believe it is important for children to understand their place in the world and to have an awareness of their past in order to shape their visions of the future. Through the study of geography children learn about places, the human and physical processes which shape them and the people who live in them, from the local to the global. Skills developed through geography help pupils make sense of their surroundings and the wider world. They learn about the impact of human activity on the planet and understand the importance of developing a future that is sustainable. It can inspire them to think about their own place in the world, their values, their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment. It enables them to understand how today’s actions shape the future. We believe it is crucial that children complete investigations in order to develop their geographical minds.
West End Academy prides itself in providing high quality, rich, diverse and stimulating experiences in the specialist teaching of art and is committed to creativity – not just in the arts, but across the whole curriculum. Art is not a self-contained subject but draws on key skills and the use of knowledge, skills and understanding from other subjects. Other curriculum subjects often provide the context in which art takes place, so that pupils’ art experience supports and reinforces their development across the whole curriculum.
Design and technology is an area of study both in its own right and as a tool for learning in other areas. It has its own distinct objectives that are relevant to both school and life – it gives the opportunity for forward thinking and the planning of a practical task. It is about creating objects, systems and environments to solve problems. It involves designing, communicating, making, testing and evaluating, which encourages children to go beyond their first ideas and seek alternatives so they may begin to influence and control the environment in which they live.
Pupils have two hours of PE timetabled per week through which we develop the six areas of activity as set out in the National Curriculum – dance, games, gymnastics, athletics, outdoor and adventurous activities, and swimming. Children are given the opportunity to swim during KS2 and we aim for all pupils leaving the school to be able to swim at least 25m. Sports taught include football, tag rugby, netball, basketball, kwik cricket and short tennis, as well as athletics. Pupils take part in a range of tournaments and sports festivals both within school and with other schools.
Computing prepares pupils to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to varied and developing technology. Pupils use ICT tools to find, explore, analyse, program, exchange and present information responsibly, creatively and with discrimination. They learn how to employ ICT to enable rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures. Increased capability in the use of ICT promotes initiative and independent learning, with pupils being able to make informed judgements about when and where to use ICT to best effect, and to consider its implications for home and work both now and in the future. Our aim is to develop in each our pupils the skills necessary for them to be able to use all aspects of Information and Communication technology confidently, safely and effectively, equipping them to participate in a rapidly-changing world where work and leisure activities are increasingly transformed by the use of technology. We also aim to enrich their learning and improve their communicating skills; skills which are essential for the technological world they live in.
Music could be described as the most universal of all the arts. At West End Academy, we believe that it is a powerful, unique form of communication that can change the way our pupils think, feel and act. It brings together intellect and feeling, and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. Music is an integral part of culture, past and present, helping children to understand themselves, relate to others and forge important links between home, school and the wider world. We offer all the children in Year 3 the chance to learn how to play an instrument. We allow the children the chance to take up and learn how to play another instrument in Year 5 as we believe it is vitally important to give these opportunities to our children.
We believe that the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. It helps them to develop communication skills including key skills of speaking and listening, and extends their knowledge of how language works; skills that they will be able access in the future, to learn new languages or to improve their competence in an existing language. Learning another language gives children a new perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others. It prepares pupils to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are often carried out in languages other than English. The choice of which language to teach is secondary to the lifelong language learning skills that the pupils will be encouraged to develop. Increased capability in the use of French, taught at the academy from Year 1, promotes initiative, confidence and independent learning and encourages diversity within society.
Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops pupils‚ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other principal religions, other religious traditions and other world views that offer answers to questions such as these. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It enhances pupils‚ awareness and understanding of religions and beliefs, teachings, practices and forms of expression, as well as of the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures.
If you would like to find out more about the curriculum, please speak to your class teacher.