Abingdon Tailored Curriculum
“Please be assured that if you are bold and courageous to adapt your curriculum and do exciting things you will get credit for it.” – Peter Humphries OFSTED senior HMI for West Midlands
At Abingdon Primary School and Children’s Centre, we value each child as an individual with a unique potential for learning. Our aim is to enable each child to participate fully in current and future society as a responsible, self-confident citizen. We promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical qualities of all pupils. We believe that an effective curriculum offers knowledge, skills, understanding and progression. Our curriculum is designed with these principles in mind: it is personalised, reflecting the background and experience of our pupils; it is outward facing, setting learning in global contexts (Global Goals) wherever possible; it celebrates diversity to emphasise unity; it is rooted in authenticity and context so that learning is relevant.
We define curriculum as the totality of a child’s experience at Abingdon Primary School. This includes not only what but also how the child learns. All stakeholders are part of the development of the curriculum design. The curriculum is led by the Deputy Head Teacher and the two basic skills leaders who support the curriculum leaders for each subject.
At Abingdon Primary School, we are designing a curriculum which focuses on:
Academic, Physical & Mental Wellbeing of pupils
Basic skills taught through creative teaching
Improving pupils’ breadth of vocabulary of pupils through experiences and rich texts
New learning acquired through purposeful contexts (local) with an audience in mind
Gaining ‘life skills’ for the real and digital world and knowing how to keep safe
Deeper understanding & knowledge in all subject areas
Opportunities to develop oracy and dialogue through discussion, feedback, reflection and articulation of learning
Next door neighbour qualities and traits (tolerance, respect, equality etc)
Teaching and Learning:
The curriculum is rooted in both first hand experiences and quality children’s literature. Every topic is based around a text and we use the Power of Reading approach to ensure children are immersed in quality literature and develop a deep understanding of the text. Vocabulary words (both from the chosen text and also subject specific) are identified and explicitly taught to ensure children build a deep and broad understanding of language. Trips and visits linked to the topic are used regularly to broaden children’s experience and understanding. Each topic also has an event for parents to come into school to share their child’s learning.
Currently our regular programme of trips and visits has had to be suspended due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Teachers are instead working to find creative alternatives such as virtual tours or film clips linked to the topic. Similarly our parent events have moved online to weekly celebrations of learning posted via our online learning platform.
Our online learning platform is becoming an increasingly important element of our teaching strategies. In order to develop and refine our blended learning, teachers use a range of technology and online resources to teach children how to access their learning independently at home when necessary.
Knowledge underpins and enables the application of skill. We strive for children to learn skills alongside knowledge, ensuring that both explicitly are developed. At Abingdon Primary School we see knowledge and skills as intertwined. The curriculum is about how we can ensure that pupils can achieve both knowledge and skill. We do this by having an emphasis on cross-curricular teaching. We believe that this is important for making the curriculum relevant and meaningful to pupils and for putting knowledge into context. We want our children to be able to make links by applying this learning across the curriculum.
We believe it is our responsibility to develop the literacy and numeracy skills for all our pupils. Using the Early Years Foundation Stage Strategy and National Curriculum as a basis, age-appropriate progression in knowledge for each core and foundation subject has been identified. This is mapped out to ensure coverage of identified knowledge is secured across KS1 and KS2. We carefully select the sequence of when, what and how knowledge is taught and subject leaders work actively to review this aspect regularly.
We use an investigative, child-led learning approach centred around a real purpose and audience for learning. Our topic-based curriculum allows children to practise and embed subject specific knowledge and skills in order to transfer knowledge to their long-term memory. Topics are planned to lead towards an endpoint (showcase) event. Within every topic a deep body of knowledge for each subject is built up in order to present the knowledge gained. This repeated practising of key concepts helps children to embed their learning into their long-term memory and gives a realistic purpose for learning. Teachers use a range of strategies throughout lessons in order to address misconceptions and allow all children to achieve.