The Yorkmead Curriculum Intent – A Top Level View

As we serve a diverse community, the majority of our children do not have English as their first language at home. Consequently, when children join us in Reception, their knowledge and understanding of the English language is assessed using the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI: https://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/project/nuffield-early-language-intervention). These assessments show us that early English language development for the majority of our new children is below average with a mean score that places the children joining us in Reception, in the lowest 30% of children nationally.

Our broad and balanced curriculum at Yorkmead School, meets the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum and aims to close the language development gap evident in our pupils by the time they leave us. It promotes and sustains the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, including the development of the English skills necessary to articulate this understanding, to develop the cultural capital our children are entitled to and need in order to succeed in life.

It is coherently planned and sequenced in order to cumulatively build knowledge, vocabulary and skills throughout the school, providing opportunities for academic, artistic and technical progress for all of our children, including adaptations for children with Special Education Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND). Our curriculum is being carefully structured to promote remembering and long-term learning, making links between subjects and within subjects over time, reinforcing key concepts and vocabulary to support children’s development, particularly as readers and writers.

Where possible, we have integrated the work of subject experts within our curriculum design to enable non-specialist teachers to focus on the implementation of our curriculum intent, for example:

  • In Mathematics, we use the ‘Maths — No Problem!’ syllabus which is based on the model developed in Singapore, which has been tested and refined over the last 30 years, founded on the learning theories of Piaget, Dienes, Bruner, Skemp and Vygotsky. The syllabus, co-authored by Dr Yeap Ban Har, a world-recognised expert in Singapore maths teaching, is fully aligned with the National Curriculum for maths and is one of only two schemes to have met the Department for Educations (DFE) ‘Teaching for Mastery of Mathematics -Textbook Assessment Criteria’. [1]
  • To teach early reading, the school has adopted the ‘Read Write Inc.’ phonics programme, which provides a cohesive and creative approach to teaching children to read and write. The scheme, created by Ruth Miskin, a recipient of an OBE for services to Education (2011) and a CBE for services to reading (2019), is a DFE validated systematic synthetic phonics programme. [2]
  • In History and Geography, the school has introduced the ‘The Opening Worlds’ Humanities curriculum [3], written by Christine Counsell, who is part of Ofsted’s curriculum advisory panel, and Steve Mastin. The Opening Worlds curriculum is a knowledge-rich humanities programme delivered with a highly inclusive approach that has literacy at its heart.
  • To ensure our P.E. curriculum is fully inclusive, not disadvantaging children who have not had the opportunity to experience wider sporting experiences, the school has implemented ‘The Real P.E.’ programme [4], which is fully aligned with the National Curriculum. This is a scheme of work with inbuilt progression through the continuous development of agility, balance and coordination, healthy competition and cooperative learning at its core. Additionally, from Year Three, pupils experience swimming lessons, led by qualified swimming instructors, at Fox Hollies Leisure Centre.
  • In Design and Technology (D&T), the school has adopted the ‘Projects on a Page’ scheme of work which was written by the Design and Technology Association and is based upon the principles of effective teaching and learning in D&T to implement the National Curriculum for D&T. [5]
  • In order to support non-specialist teachers in the delivery of Computing, the school uses the Purple Mash Computing scheme of work, which additionally provides pupils with remote access to a large suite of software to explore at home.
  • Our Music curriculum is based upon the ‘Kapow’ scheme of work, which is a digital primary music curriculum resource, written by a group of music subject specialists and professional musicians. This is supplemented by the provision of specialist music teachers from the award winning Birmingham Education Music Partnership [6] who provide every child in Year Four with weekly instruction to learn to play a specific musical instrument, currently clarinet or brass.

 

The table below shows a summary of our school’s breadth of curriculum provision:

Subject

Schemes of Work

Approximate Weekly Provision

Year 1

Year 2

KS2

English inc. Reading

Read, Write Inc. Phonics

6 ¾ Hrs.

7 ½ Hrs.

7 Hrs.

Mathematics

Maths No Problem

5 ½ Hrs.

5 Hrs.

6 Hrs.

Science

N/A*

1 Hr.

1 ½ Hrs.

Computing

Purple Mash

1 Hr.

History

Opening Worlds (KS2 only)

1 Hr.

Geography

Opening Worlds (KS2 only)

1 Hr.

R.E.

Opening Worlds / S.A.C.R.E.

½ Hr.

1 Hr.

P.S.H.E.

N/A*

¼ Hr.

Art & Design

N/A*

1 Hr. for 3 of 6 half terms.

Design & Technology

Projects on a Page

1 Hr. for 3 of 6 half terms.

Modern Foreign Language - French

Salut

None

½ Hr.

Music

Music Express

1 Hr.

Physical Education

Real P.E.

1 Hr.

Relationship Education and Health Education

Birmingham City Council Agreed Syllabus plus

Third Part First Aid Training (Year Six only)

Delivered as a single block of lessons in the summer term

* For these subjects the school uses internally produced schemes of work aligned with the National Curriculum.

In addition to our core curriculum content, the school, with the support of a number of stakeholders, has developed a set of values that, like SEND provision, form a thread throughout our curriculum. These values are:

‘All Together’: Children learn the importance of teamwork and collaboration and understand that we all have a role to play to listen to, support and encourage each other to achieve our goals.

‘Being Open Minded’: Children are encouraged to be open to new ideas and recognise and be tolerant of different perspectives to their own.

‘Curiosity’:  Children learn that being curious makes them better learners [7] and improves remembering [8]. Consequently, our children are encouraged to ask questions and wonder about the world around them and understand that there is always more to learn.

‘Determination’: Children are encouraged to be resilient and understand that sometimes learning is difficult. Children are encouraged to embrace mistakes and learn from them.

‘Empathy’: Children are encouraged to understand the feelings of others, to show kindness and to help and support one another emotionally.

Fairness’: Children are encouraged to treat others as they want to be treated themselves with honesty and respect and understand that all children at Yorkmead have the right to be successful. Children understand that other children may have different needs to their own and that fairness does not always mean everyone is supported in the same way and that success looks different for different individuals.

These values have a positive impact on all pupils’ behaviour and safety, developing their resilience, confidence and independence. We aim for our children to leave our school with high aspirations and equipped to be responsible, respectful, tolerant, active adults who contribute positively to their community and have a clear understanding of fundamental British values.

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[1] https://www.ncetm.org.uk/teaching-for-mastery/mastery-explained/textbooks/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/choosing-a-phonics-teaching-programme/list-of-phonics-teaching-programmes

[3] https://openingworlds.uk/what-is-opening-worlds/

[4] https://jasmineactive.com/solutions/real-pe

[5] https://www.data.org.uk/

[6] https://www.sfebmep.co.uk/

[7] The wick in the candle of learning: epistemic curiosity activates reward circuitry and enhances memory (Kang et al, 2009)

[8] States of curiosity modulate hippocampus-dependent learning via the dopaminergic circuit (Gruber et al, 2014)

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