Pupils and The Curriculum
'High thoughts must have high language' -Aristophanes
At Kippax Ash Tree, we believe that our curriculum should be child-centered, focusing on the needs and interests of children by teaching in a relevant, meaningful and purposeful way.
We teach we requirements of the National Curriculum for Reading, Writing, Maths, Science, PE and Computing.
We follow the Leeds Agreed syllabus for RE.
Foundation subjects are woven into the curriculum through half termly units and fortnightly whole school themes. These are based on the skills identified as essential for mastery and understanding in that subject. Each fortnightly theme is underpinned by a carefully chosen key text which is age appropriate for each year group.
More information about each subject can be found on the individual subject pages.
Curriculum Units and Themes
Our whole school long term plan sets out the half termly units and within these the fortnightly whole school themes. Weekly subject plans are then planned collaboratively in staff year group teams.
Our learning themes are memorable learning experiences based on developing individual subject skill development. They;
Include opportunities for children to learn outside of the normal classroom environment
Teach children a wide range of skills to develop their knowledge of the world in which they live and prepare them for their future.
Are reviewed regularly to ensure the needs the children we teach are being met. Year group staff keep a record of the knowledge and skills taught in each topic to ensure progression and coverage and to ensure the knowledge and skills are built upon and deepened year upon year.
All learning stems from high quality chosen texts, as books are at the heart of our very own Voices and Choices Curriculum. Key texts and all curriculum plans for 2020 can be found on the 'Our Voices and Choices Curriculum 2020' page.
Values and Ethos - 'Voices and Choices'
Our intention is to provide opportunities and experiences that will foster and inspire children to be independent learners who are able to proactively use their voice to make positive choices. Our curriculum is focused around the development of knowledge, skills and understanding of the National Curriculum, but our approaches intend to develop strong voices in our children.
Your voice represents you; people recognise you by your voice and tone, and the way you choose and pronounce words. The voice is a powerful instrument that can inspire, encourage and inform- but it can also destroy, belittle and intimidate. Empowering children to use their voice is a difficult business. What if we give children a voice and they say things that we don’t agree with? Does the adult voice have more value than the child’s voice? Does parent voice have more value than staff voice? Is the support staff voice less valid than the teaching staff voice? Does age make a difference? Experience? Is it all about how many other people say they agree with you?
All these questions and many more need to be examined as part of our journey to give ‘voices and choices’ to the children and adults for Kippax Ash Tree. This year, we will continue to develop voices and choices but what we have come to understand is that that a voice without the richness of language can only make limited choices.
Our school is made of parts to create the whole. One part is made of aspirant, engaged children bringing to school the love of learning fostered in the home. Another part is made up of families who have lived in Kippax for generations. These families have experienced being farmers to miners, to railways workers. They have adapted to the changing nature of Kippax and lived through challenges. Our developing transport links have also attracted new, commuter families to our school.
We strive for equality, but we cannot change the socio-economic or aspirational backgrounds our children come from. From the moment some children walk through the door, they face more challenges than others:
• Some of our children are not heard, whilst some children have every word considered.
• Some children come to school every day from a home where they are told that school is a waste of time. Other children know we are on their side- we have families who champion us and feel that we are in partnership.
• Some children live with medical and psychological conditions that affect every part of their life. Some children live with people with medical and psychological conditions that affect every part of their families.
Children come to school for 15% of their life. We endeavour to develop voices that all of our children can use for the remaining 85%.
Language and voice development needs to be done progressively, with children being immersed into rich and varied language. Children need to be shown how to use their voices and hear the voices of others, recognising any differences and similarities. Emulation and practice is needed, and then application and synthesis. Oration is a powerful skill and is not easily attained. Children will need different audiences and opportunities. Freedom of speech and expression is a challenging concept, but one that will empower children to make real informed choices.
Please find our Curriculum Design and Vision Statement below.