Pupils and The Curriculum
Our Curriculum; Values and Ethos - 'Voices and Choices'
High thoughts must have high language (Aristophanes)
Your voice represents you, people recognise you by your voice and the tone of your voice, the way you pronounce words and words you choose to use. The voice is a powerful instrument that can inspire, encourage and inform - but it can also destroy, belittle and intimidate. The empowering of 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 over the last 2 years 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 a richness of language can only make limited choices.
Our school is a school of 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 the challenges of not being needed and having to adapt. Our developing transport links have brought new, commuter families to our school. Our school is in Kippax, part of Leeds, part of Castleford, near to Wakefield and on the edge of North Yorkshire. We all need a voice and to make active choices.
We cannot change the socio-economic or aspirational backgrounds our children come from. From the moment some children walk through the door they have the odds stacked against them whereas some children are the focus and treasured by their entire family. Life is not fair:
• Some of our children are not heard, some children have every utterance considered.
• Some children come to school every day from a home where they are told and repeatedly hear that school is a waste of time, we don’t know what we are talking about, we are doing everything wrong, we are worthless. Other children know we are on their side, we have families who champion us and feel that we are in partnership with families, both groups or children are told this by the people they love, whom love them. This is their truth.
• 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. It is difficult for use to change the 85% of time they are not with us for.
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, hear, see, feel, language, hear other voices and use the voices of others, recognising difference 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 is a challenging concept but one that we will empower children. We need to give the words, language and voice, in order for real choices to be made.
Our curriculum is focused around the development of knowledge, skills and understanding of the National Curriculum but the approaches intend to teach and develop the use of a voice to allow our children to make choices that make a difference to their lives.
Our goal is to have the development of British Values within all we do.
• We follow the new National Curriculum for Reading, Writing, Maths, Science, PE and Computing.
• We follow the Leeds Agreed syllabus for RE
• Other non-core subjects are woven into the curriculum through topics based upon the skills identified as essential for mastery and understanding in that subject. Each half term a book or author underpinning the half term of learning.
• Science, PE, RE, Computing and MFL are taught as stand-alone subjects
• Art, DT, Music, English and some PSHE and Maths are woven into topics
More information about each subject can be found on the individual subject pages.
These are planned collaboratively in Year Group teams:
- Our topics are memorable learning experiences based on developing individual subject skill development
- Include opportunities for children to learn outside of the normal classroom environment
- Are reviewed regularly to ensure the needs the children we teach are being met
- Year group staff keep a record of the skills taught in each topic to ensure progression and coverage
- Teach children a wide range of skills to develop their knowledge of the world in which they live and prepare them for their future as a valuable member of society.
- Every topic has a book, story or author linked to the main topic theme
Each year group's Curriculum Plans for 2019 / 2020 can be found on each of the year group pages.