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The Oakfield Primary Academy Curriculum
Below is the overview of our Thematic Curriculum at OPA. Each year group covers three key themes throughout the academic year. Do you know what your child is learning this term? Find out more detail on your individual Year Group pages.
Our Curriculum Intent:
To provide an education and environment where challenge and character development is intrinsically woven into the heart of every day.
The curriculum lies at the heart of education and at Oakfield Primary Academy, it is planned to not only determine what children will know and do, but to help them discover their talents and passions, to build character and to provide them with the skills and opportunities to become confident people, able to take their place in society as happy, responsible citizens who care for others and the world they live in.
There is evidence that teaching subject knowledge and skills as part of a wider topic based curriculum allows pupils to make useful links between areas of learning, and consolidate skills. Children are also likely to be more engaged in their learning if it has a context and theme that runs through it. We believe that children learn better when they can make connections between what they are learning. We have a rich, balanced and broad thematic curriculum at Oakfield.
The themes deliver the Programmes of Study for the National Curriculum 2014 and allows for children to learn from exciting, challenging and opportunity rich learning experiences that celebrates the differences and diversity in our school community. Our Theme-based curriculum is designed to take account of prior learning, provide first hand learning experiences and support children to develop interpersonal skills. We aim to build resilience and plan in opportunities for our pupils to become creative, critical thinkers. Our 11B411 offer is crucial to the richness of the Oakfield curriculum.
We are fervent about opportunity for pupils and as such have devised an extensive program of trips and activities for our children, regardless of disadvantage. Integrating the diverse subjects in the curriculum into themes brings out the inter-relationship of the different school programs, making learning more relevant. Thematic planning is aimed at helping students to contextualise what they learn and apply it in real life situations. It also provides an avenue for integration of content area in a realistic manner that helps children in applying their knowledge. We believe that thematic units are powerful tools for building and maintaining children’s interest during learning.
At Oakfield Primary Academy we believe that all of our children have the right to:
- Make sense of ourselves and our place in the world through our school values.
- Celebrate who I am as an individual, and who we are as a community.
- Have an active voice in school life and curriculum experiences.
- Work and learn alongside children who we would not usually meet.
- Take charge of our own learning by devising our own questions for exploration.
- Have opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them.
- Be a critical thinker.
- Learn without limits.
- Take part in visits that help us to understand other places, other people, other times in history and others faiths and beliefs.
- Flourish in their own talents.
- Read and enjoy a range of literature.
- Have the opportunity to be expressive through art, dance, music and drama.
- Take part in competitive and co-operative sports and physical activities.
HOW IS OUR CURRICULUM ORGANISED?
- Our Curriculum is a 'book led' curriculum where learning is based around three clear 'Themes' across each year group.
- A book-led curriculum is one where reading excites children to ask questions and learn new knowledge and skills.
- Influential people are also paramount to the curriculum, and feature throughout the three termly themes in each year group. They span different eras and link to the unit of work pupils are learning.
- By incorporating a range of people (e.g. historians, scientists, entrepreneurs), new learning is put into a real-world context.
- Developments within a subject are evident and pupils gain an insight into how their learning impacts on the world around them and inspires them for future careers. #
- Curriculum units are placed to give background knowledge for the reading strategy texts. This gives pupils another opportunity to show knowledge in a different context, build schema and reinforce retention of facts.
- Do It Now tasks are used in every lesson to allow children to revisit / master and remember key concepts whilst also giving children the opportunity to be productive and establish a self-managed habit of productive work- The activity should generally 1) preview the day’s lesson or 2) review a recent lesson to allow the children the opportunity to move learnt knowledge into their semantic memories.
- The book-led curriculum has reading for purpose at its very core. Each unit of work has a high-quality, age appropriate driving texts assigned.
- These texts engage, inspire and deepen understanding. Supplementary texts and knowledge organisers support pupils to enrich their knowledge, vocabulary and curriculum skills.
- Knowledge organisers are used to help children revisit and retain the key facts covered across the term.
- Focussed Reading is taught using cross curricular texts / extracts four times a week so that the children are reading for purpose, reading about things that have a context that link to the learning that term.
- Pupils are encouraged to discuss new knowledge, deepen their enquiry skills and form links in their learning, making use of their oracy skills in all lessons so that they can build a deep and broad knowledge of the theme being covered that term.
- RE, Music, DT and Art (creation of final piece) are taught in a BLOCK teach each term.
WHY IS IT ORGANISED THIS WAY?
- There is evidence that teaching subject knowledge and skills as part of a wider topic based curriculum allows pupils to make useful links between areas of learning, and consolidate skills.
- Children are also likely to be more engaged in their learning if it has a context and theme that runs through it.
- We believe that children learn better when they can make connections between what they are learning.
- Our Theme-based curriculum is designed to take account of prior learning, provide first-hand learning experiences and support children to develop interpersonal skills.
- We aim to build resilience and plan in opportunities for our pupils to become creative, critical thinkers.
- Thematic planning is aimed at helping students to contextualise what they learn and apply it in real life situations.
- It also provides an avenue for integration of content area in a realistic manner that helps children in applying their knowledge.
- We believe that thematic units are powerful tools for building and maintaining children’s interest during learning.
- Some subjects are block taught so that children are not pressurised to complete work rather than actively be a part of the learning process so that teachers can focus on subjects which lend themselves to block teaching (for example DT – if teaching sewing skills an individual lesson may be taken up threading needles.)
How does our curriculum meet the needs of our children?
Using a termly thematic approach, improves the quality of teaching and learning in many ways:
- It increases the children’s interest and ability to become absorbed in a subject matter.
- Helps the children to make connections with their work.
- Keeps children engaged.
- Draws on connections from the real world and life experiences.
- Children learn better when experiencing knowledge in a larger context. They begin to see relationships and connections across time, place, and disciplines.
- Learning about wider themes and related concepts and facts more closely resembles how life is experienced outside of school and the classroom.
- Theme-based learning helps learning become more relevant for students who may otherwise become disengaged.
- This type of learning helps children to associate new information holistically with across the entire curriculum and with their own lives, experiences, and communities.
- Themes allowing past to present connections which highlight persistent issues faced by society such as war, poverty, pollution, disease, or natural disasters are especially effective and as such these themes appear as threads throughout the curriculum at OPA.
- In KS2 Themes are planned where possible to be chronological to help children to make sense of timelines and timescales.
- Creates a community of learners - children are given time to be immersed and absorbed and the learning makes more sense to children who may take longer to understand concepts.
- Themed learning focuses the class on a deeper understanding of the content and therefore allows children to be able to write / explore / discuss / analyse the topics to a higher level.
Curriculum Subject Leaders