Curriculum Intent Statement
- To provide a happy, caring and secure learning environment in which each child and member of staff may develop their full potential
- To encourage all children to believe in and value the characteristics of R.E.S.P.E.C.T and to become confident and resilient
- To ensure all children are ambitious, have a Growth Mindset and a determination to succeed
- To enable the children to be good citizens, who make positive contributions to their communities
- To develop cultural capital to give our children the vital background knowledge required to learn about and understand the world they live in, so they can flourish and reach their full potential
- To ensure children are healthy, safe and have positive wellbeing
- To foster, nurture and develop all talents
- To ensure children are engaged, inquisitive and inspired to learn
- To ensure our curriculum is broad, balanced, progressive and ambitious for all learners
- To have a curriculum that is designed with an understanding of the working memory, making links to learning and building and deepening knowledge and skills through inclusive practices for all learners
- To put reading at the heart of our curriculum
- To close the vocabulary gap
- To encourage parental engagement.
The following areas drive and shape the breadth of our curriculum. They are derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our students, our beliefs surrounding high quality education and our values. As a result of our Curriculum the children will be:
- Responsible young adults
At Alfred Lord Tennyson School, our curriculum is designed to inspire children and create excitement and curiosity for learning. We aim to ensure high achievement for all and to support pupil wellbeing and character development. We aim to play a valuable role in helping to shape rounded, determined young people who can face the challenges of the modern world with confidence. We achieve this by providing opportunities and encouraging pupils to develop a wider set of skills and qualities such as resilience, leadership, communication, empathy and perseverance, which are vital for each pupil's successful learning. We acknowledge successes for all children, in all aspects of their development and recognise, encourage and celebrate all types of talents, cultures and individual differences.
We aim to provide a curriculum that can be personalised to the needs of children, whatever their background or circumstance - encouraging our children to think critically and develop a mindset that thrives on looking at themselves and others from different perspectives.
Teamwork and responsibility are an essential part of our curriculum and we enable children to take on key roles such as School Councillors and Student Leadership, as well as becoming involved in the community through celebrating local traditions, by learning new skills and enabling them to take an active part in events throughout the year.
The school’s curriculum follows the National Curriculum 2014 but has been designed to fit our local context and school identity, its history, tradition, links with the local community and vision for the future. It is designed to teach knowledge, vocabulary, basic skills, concepts, values and to equip the children with the skills to keep safe in society and maintain positive wellbeing. As they progress through the school, we aim to apply the principles of mastery, creating breadth and depth in their learning and backfilling any gaps or misconceptions. We recognise that for our children to become creative thinkers or to have a greater depth of understanding, they first must master the basics which provide the foundation and knowledge for application and problem solving.
We aim to create rich and memorable thematic learning where possible, by providing first hand learning experiences, trips, visits and visitors in school, to enhance this approach. Our thematic strategy builds on prior learning and enables links in learning to be made, so that the knowledge and skills transfer to the children’s long-term memory. We also hope to inspire the children to carry on their research and learning at home through the ‘Takeaway’ homework option.
We place a balanced emphasis across the curriculum, valuing all subjects, and we are a school that enjoys its music, sports and arts along with its core subjects. We also aim to inspire the children to identify with the subjects and develop their strengths and interests, preparing them for their future occupations and interests. We are developing a rich and varied menu of enhancement opportunities to recognise and encourage talents. This is achieved through holding themed events such as Art days, where we celebrate an artist, science week, making available a variety of clubs and sports at a low cost to the children, and inviting musicians and theatre groups into school. In addition, we also hold our own concerts and clubs. Through our charity events, awareness days, diversity events and cultural experiences, we also celebrate diversity, differences and the wider community.
We know how vital working in partnership with parents really is in order for children to find school a positive and rewarding experience, and we strongly believe achievement and enjoyment go hand in hand to ensure each child’s excellent progress. Each half term we share with parents the topics and breadth of learning that will be taking place so that they can encourage and explore further at home. Furthermore, we hold curriculum and information evenings where we can share information. There are also many opportunities for parents to come into school. Throughout the year we update parents on the progress that their children are making in our parents’ evenings and provide opportunities for children to share their work in our ‘Come and See’ events. We also invite parents to take part in some of our curriculum enrichment and diversity events. We showcase our children’s talents to our parents through our website and Facebook page and by performing to them in events such as sports day, dance day, Christmas Medley’s and through our musical and dramatised productions.
The relationship between the school, the children and their parents is fundamental to achieving the best possible educational achievements and to ensure the happiness of each individual child. We always place our focus on strengthening this inextricable link, and encourage parents to engage at every possible opportunity.
Our curriculum distinguishes between subject ‘breadth’ - the specific substantive knowledge of the subjects that are studied, and ‘concepts’. Students are taught the substantive knowledge for each subject and develop the concepts associated with each subject so that they become skilled artists, designers, scientists, theologists, geographers, historians, musicians, linguists. For each of the ‘concepts’ developed, there are progressive milestones, and these ‘concepts’ are developed in a wide breadth of topics.
Within each ‘milestone’ students gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. The goal for students is to display sustained mastery at the ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the end of each milestone, and for the most able to have a greater depth of understanding at the ‘deep’ stage. This is based on the Chris Quigley model.
Progression Mapping visual
Values Based Learning:
We use values based learning. These values are explored in assemblies, form part of our learner model, are discussed in class and promoted through activities and actions. Our values form the acronym R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
Our COJO Curriculum, which we develop through our termly ‘Missions’ week and regular mission tasks, also teaches the children about our values and provides them with opportunities to put them into practice.
We strive to ensure that our children make good progress and that by the end of Key Stage 2, their attainment in core and foundation subjects is in line with or exceeding their age related expectation. We measure this carefully using a range of assessment materials to support teacher assessment. The majority of the assessment we carry out at ALTS is ‘formative assessment’. This is the ongoing assessment of how children are learning, undertaken by the teacher and supporting adults during the course of the learning process in each lesson and unit of work. This is an assessment for learning approach. We also carry out a ‘Cold Writing’ task in English and a ‘Check-in’ in Maths early on in the unit, to ascertain prior knowledge and where to pitch our teaching. At the end of a unit, children complete a ‘Hot Writing’ task in English and a ‘Check-out’ in Maths, to show their new learning and enable the teacher to identify any current gaps or misconceptions that may need addressing. In our curriculum, we use quizzes and retrieval activities in order to enable children to demonstrate what they have learnt at the end of a unit.
As learning is a change to the long term memory, it can be difficult to see impact in the short term, but we do however use probabilistic assessment based on deliberate practice. This means that we look at the practices taking place to determine whether they are appropriate, related to our goals and likely to produce results in the long term. We use comparative judgement in two ways: in the tasks we set and in comparing a student’s work over time. We use monitoring to see if the pedagogical style matches our depth expectations. In addition, we carry out summative assessments, that take place less frequently and measure how effective the learning has been. This is an assessment of our learning approach. We currently use Pixl Assessments to assess knowledge in Reading, Maths and Spag. We also assess times tables knowledge, phonological awareness and reading ages throughout the course of the year. Teacher Assessment information for English and Maths is collated three times a year.
Our children will also leave Alfred Lord Tennyson as rounded individuals with a sense of belonging and will have developed the confidence, knowledge and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections, be resilient and become lifelong learners. We measure this not just by the work that our children produce, but in the behaviours we see each and every day within school and in their daily lives.
The definition of British Values was set out by the government in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and determined that “schools should promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
At Alfred Lord Tennyson School, we believe it to be an essential part of our duty to prepare our children for life in modern Britain. Children are taught about British Values through PSHE and RE and these are examined and discussed through our delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum, allowing children to develop a secure understanding of these through application to their own lives and those of others. shows which values are covered in each year group, during each topic.
British Values are also promoted through assemblies, our whole school values system and structures such as our School Council. We recognise that promoting British Values also carries with it a responsibility to challenge pupils, staff or parents who express opinions or behaviours in school that are contrary to fundamental British values. We look to provide children with opportunities to gain experience beyond their local community, welcoming a range of visitors into school as well as class visits to promote children’s understanding of British Values outside of their own experience.
See our curriculum map below which outlines how British Values are promoted.
As part of our push to instil British Values in our pupils, we also aim to increase tolerance and understanding of those with different faiths, beliefs and ways of thinking.
In order to do this, assemblies and diversity days will be held throughout the school year. This will give the children the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understand their place in today’s culturally diverse society. As well as delivering the teaching ourselves, we will also invite visitors from different cultures and faiths to lead assemblies or to participate in class lessons. Children may also have the opportunity to visit or experience a range of religious centres of worship.
Our Diversity Map is under development
As a school we are using aspects of the Commando Joe (COJO) Character Curriculum alongside our Themed Curriculum. The programme focuses upon developing 7 key character traits of Resilience, Empathy, Self-awareness, Passion, Excellence, Communication, and Teamwork, which link to the central character traits of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
The design of the Character Curriculum embeds these behaviour traits within a number of exciting topics based on amazing characters and aspects of their life stories. Significant heroes/heroines, explorers and adventurers such as Ed Stafford, Tim Peake, Ranulph Fiennes and Nancy Wake, have been identified to support children’s understanding of the character traits needed to be successful, as well as create opportunity and integration into classroom cross curricular work.
Each term we hold a Mission Week where we introduce the key character topic through a series of cross curricular lessons. Each topic is kick started with a hook into learning, to engage learners from the start. Throughout the term the children then take part in a ‘Mission’ lesson linked to the character and topic they studied during Mission Week. The 7 core character traits are tried and tested throughout the missions, giving opportunities to practice and understand them, whilst providing strategies for children to self-regulate their own behaviours.
Central to the success of the COJO Character Curriculum is the effective use of relevant military ethos and values – where commitment, honesty, adaptability and courage are a prerequisite for the quality and success of all teams and people within them. The programme will contribute to cultural, physical, spiritual, moral and social wellbeing and play a part in extending each child’s understanding of British values.
In order to provide children with first hand experiences and engage them further in their learning we provide a range of memorable enrichment activities such as experience days, trips and visitors to the school, linked to their Connected Curriculum. In addition, to develop cultural capital, we aim to ensure that our children experience the arts and cultural traditions. Throughout their time at Alfred Lord Tennyson we intend for them to visit a museum, a range of religious buildings, a gallery, a zoo and a theatre.
In order to foster all talents we also have special subject specific days, such as Art, DT and Science days, where children can explore the subjects more fully. Throughout the course of the year we also provide a range of affordable clubs that consist of sports, dance, choir, journalism, crafts, knitting, art and cooking, so that a range of interests are developed. We hold in-school sporting competitions at lunch times and take part in a wide range of sporting events within our local cluster and at a District level. Throughout the course of the year the children also have the opportunity to showcase their acting, singing and performing talents in our Harvest, Christmas, choir concerts and end of year productions.
Furthermore we often come off-timetable and hold special days/events to raise awareness of diversity through supporting charities and taking part in activities to raise awareness of different cultures - such as celebrating Diwali and Chinese New Year.
At Alfred Lord Tennyson School we are a Visible Learning school. Visible Teaching and Learning occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of the pupils and help them to become their own teachers. We believe that it is vital that our pupils can confidently talk about themselves as assessment capable learners and are armed with a ‘toolbox’ of strategies to help them learn.
At Alfred Lord Tennyson, Visible Learners can:
- Articulate what they are learning and why
- Talk about how they are learning and strategies they are using
- Identify their next learning steps
- Understand assessments tools used and what the results mean
- Ask questions and clarify
- See errors as learning opportunities
- Actively seek feedback
- Set learning goals
- Have a growth mindset
My Learning Tool Box
These are the learning tools we use at Alfred Lord Tennyson school to help us become successful learners.
Learning Intentions (What am I learning?)
Learning intentions are clear statements that explain to the pupils what concept, skill, strategy or approach they will be learning. Learning intentions allow the pupils to know what to focus on. By concentrating on a specific goal they understand that this enables them to become successful learners.
In order for the pupils to be successful learners, they also need to know what they have to achieve to be successful with the learning intention. The success criteria explains the pathway in simple terms for the pupils to gain new concepts, skills or attitudes. Understanding what it takes to be successful in a learning task enables pupils to develop their confidence as learners and set themselves higher expectations. This encourages confident, motivated pupils.
Knowledge Organisers and Working Walls
At school, we use our Knowledge Organisers and Working Walls to help us know what we are learning and what we will learn next.
Scaffolds and Prompts
Scaffolds and prompts are used to support our pupils to access and succeed in their learning. They are evident in questioning used by staff, resources on tables/walls or through how understanding is recorded in books.
Feedback informs where we are going in learning, how we are doing and where to focus our attentions. We tailor our feedback to support children individually. Staff support children to respond to their achievements in learning. These verbal or written prompts demonstrate awareness of how to support our pupils to progress in their responses. We recognise these stages as ‘task level’; ‘process level’; 'self regulation level' and adapt our comments accordingly.
Learner qualities are ‘life skills’. These are the same qualities that are essential for success at school and in everyday life. By learning these behaviours now, students will be preparing for a successful future throughout the school and beyond. These are the critical skills/attributes our learners will need in the future to be able to utilise the technologies that don’t exist yet, be employable for jobs that are yet to be created and to help solve the problems of the world that arise. We want our learners to know how to take charge of their own learning and to ‘know what to do when they don’t know what to do’. To support this process we have identified eight dispositions that can be further developed to help our learners be the best they can be. These dispositions are explicitly taught at Alfred Lord Tennyson School and learners are supported to use and grow them. At ALTS we focus on the learner qualities of R.E.S.P.E.C.T - resilience, empathy, self-awareness, passion, excellence, good communication skills and teamwork all under the overarching quality of respect.
At Alfred Lord Tennyson we have developed a Growth Mindset Culture where we focus on changing our words to change our mindset. ‘I can’t do this’ becomes ‘I can’t do this yet’. With a growth mindset, pupils understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, persistence and learning from our mistakes. We believe that challenge, struggles and learning from our mistakes are necessary parts of the learning journey. Breakthrough moments and growth come after pupils tackle The Learning Pit!
We encourage the children to regularly hold conversations about their learning and prompts are visible in the classroom:
- I wondered about …
- When I don’t know how to I …
- Today I learnt …
- Something tricky for me was …
- A great strategy I used was …
- I thought about what I already know and …
- I find it helpful to …
- A question that helped my learning was …
- I was able to persist with …
- I tried a new strategy of …