Learning at the Academy
Our nurturing vision helps to prepare children for the modern world by making them highly successful life-long learners.
The Academy has developed a curriculum that incorporates all the subjects, wherever possible, into learning projects. The learning projects are organised into a series of open ended questions based around the themes of people, places, change and food. They utilise the many opportunities available in the King’s Cross area to enrich the learning.
The projects enable us to offer a broad and balanced curriculum that values the learning skills and disciplines across the spectrum of subjects and enables all children to progress and succeed. They also give the learning a clear, real life purpose, which allow the children to both connect emotionally with what they are learning and internalise what they have learned.
Not all subjects can always be easily taught within the learning projects, for example, some aspects of Mathematics, Literacy Science and PE. There are times when these subjects are taught discretely and, like the learning projects, have a clear focus on the real life purpose of the learning.
Organisation of the learning
At the heart of our broad and balanced curriculum, which gives children the opportunity to work across all areas of learning, the teachers plan daily mathematics and literacy lessons using the National Curriculum. This ensures our children are learning the basic skills they need to succeed in other areas of learning and in life. Wherever possible we make sure that the content of these lessons links to the learning projects children are engaged in that term.
Each week, teachers also plan for:
- daily guided reading session of half an hour
- hour long sessions of PE (twice a week)
- two science lessons
- daily mental maths sessions (as part of the mathematics planning)
- handwriting lessons, twice a week
- 3 sessions of spelling a week in KS 1 and 2 and a daily phonics session in the early years
- weekly swimming lessons for half a term for each year group
- home learning every week (see home learning policy for further details)
- British Sign Language, level 1 session in the deaf awareness room, once a week with incidental opportunities throughout the day
- foreign language lessons, once a week with incidental opportunities throughout the school day
- promotion of fundamental British values throughout the curriculum (democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs)
Each half term we identify a quality text for the focus of our English lessons and a non-fiction writing focus within the learning projects.
The combination of the learning projects and discrete subject teaching help us make sure that our children are developing the “essential skills” they need to be successful lifelong learners. An indicative timetable to give an idea of what the learning could look like across the week can be accessed here.
Planning the learning
Each year group has a curriculum map for each half term which shows how we develop learning in all the elements of the national curriculum and how those elements can be incorporated into the learning project. The maps give a framework for the teachers to plan learning and are adapted after the children have had the opportunity to give their input at the start of each project – a unique feature of the Academy’s learning philosophy.
Each teacher knows the strengths and interests of the children and the outcomes of assessments based on national performance descriptors for their class and plan learning accordingly. They also make sure that the objectives and activities are age-appropriate and suitably challenging to motivate and sustain engagement. Teachers use their assessments to ensure that we are always building on and extending the children’s learning.
Using the curriculum maps, children’s ideas and assessment outcomes, teachers produce detailed weekly/fortnightly plans that include the learning objectives (in the form of learning questions), activities, support and intended outcomes for the children. The senior management team, phase leaders and curriculum team leaders monitor this planning on a weekly basis to ensure high quality learning and progression is planned within year groups and throughout the school.
At the end of each term we review our curriculum maps to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our children and continuing to offer a broad and balanced curriculum.
The Academy Learning Toolbox
To support children to think about, articulate, plan and assess what they learn, we use the ‘Academy Learning Toolbox’. The toolbox helps children to understand and use key learning skills and approaches suitable for high quality learning across the curriculum. The teachers and children use the toolbox to make links between the different areas of learning. The learning skills within the toolbox have been organised into 6 different ‘learning tool sets’ – communication, thinking, physical, creative, social and emotional and learning about learning.
The extended school service (Breakfast Club and the after-school service) adopts the same ethos as the Academy. We make sure that our children have plenty of opportunities to develop and practice other skills by offering a variety of physical and creative activities which build on the interests of our children and skills of our staff and volunteers. Find out more about extended school and the co-curriculum.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 9.00 –9.05 Registration Registration Registration Registration Registration 9.05 – 9.35 Group Reading / Phonics Group Reading / Phonics British Sign Language Group Reading / Phonics GroupReading / Phonics 9.35 – 10.35 Literacy Literacy Group Reading / PhonicsLiteracy Literacy PE 10.35 – 11.00 Assembly /Playtime Assembly /Playtime Assembly /Playtime Assembly /Playtime Assembly /Playtime 11.00 – 12.00 Mathematics Mathematics Mathematics Science Mathematics 12.00 – 1.00 Lunchtime Lunchtime Lunchtime Lunchtime Lunchtime 1.00 – 2.00 Project / Foundation Subject* IT(project based) PE Mathematics Literacy 2.00 – 2.15(KS 1 only) Playtime Playtime Playtime Playtime Playtime 2.15 – 3.15 RE / Music Science Project / Foundation Subject* Project / Foundation Subject* Project / Foundation Subject* 3.15 – 3.30 PSE French Citizenship Class Meeting
Learning at the Academy has allowed me to become me!Jacob Year 6 Pupil