Ash Grove Curriculum
A knowledge-rich Curriculum
At Ash Grove Academy, we have designed our curriculum in a way that we believe empowers our children with knowledge, therefore providing a foundation for achieving success, reaching deep understanding and being creative. The more children know, the more they can learn.
We recognise that a curriculum has to be broad, balanced and diverse. It must offer opportunities for children to develop a wealth of cultural capital which engages them with their world and enriches their life experience.
As a result, we have devised a curriculum that aims to ensure our pupils enjoy learning and feel prepared for life after primary school - one that is empowering and positively encourages self-improvement, reflecting our school motto of ‘Aspire’.
We deliver the curriculum through classroom-based and experiential learning. Thought has been given to making each unit of work meaningful to our children and the context in which they live, providing them with opportunities to learn about the world around them at a local, national and global level. We promote equal opportunities for all of our pupils throughout our practice in line with the Equality Act 2010.
Coherence in Knowledge Sequencing:
Our curriculum is mapped out in discrete subject areas, with each unit of work linked directly to the 2014 National Curriculum programmes of study. The careful sequencing of content both within each year group and progressively from EYFS to Year 6, is the essence of our spiral curriculum. This approach aims to ensure that knowledge acquisition is built upon secure foundations resulting in conceptual understanding and knowledge that is remembered.
Key elements of the curriculum are regularly revisited through a spiral approach including explicit practice and retrieval strategies. Although subjects are taught discretely so that children understand the key disciplinary concepts, authentic connections are planned in to mutually reinforce and enrich knowledge areas.
A mastery approach and a culture of high expectations underpins our classroom practice. Our lessons are structured carefully to allow small-step progression alongside opportunities for children to go deeper in the understanding of key concepts. Our children understand that learning from misconceptions and mistakes is as valuable as celebrating successes. Children's oral language skills and understanding are developed through a range of questioning and dialogic techniques alongside deliberate vocabulary development. When learning a new concept or skill, children are guided through a sequence of live modelling using visualisers, scaffolded practice, and finally onto independent practice. Teachers continually assess learning and provide feedback which enables children to address their next steps. As their confidence develops, they are encouraged to apply their knowledge in more challenging tasks. Meta-cognitive strategies are explicitly taught to build resilience and help children become life-long, independent learners.
Experiential and Enriched Learning:
We believe that experiential learning is an essential building block for children's knowledge acquisition and understanding, therefore concrete experiences are deliberately mapped into every topic across all curriculum areas. Hands-on experiences such as handling objects in history, carrying out investigations in science and observing environments in geography, both within the school and through trips, not only allow children to build secure schema when moving to more abstract knowledge but also provide intrinsic learning opportunities that are central to primary education.
We also provide an extensive range of extra-curricular opportunities in the form of after-school clubs (including Forest School); inter-school sports competitions; class presentations, including KS2 formal debates; music, art and drama experiences; residential trips for children from Year 1 - Year 6, including trips abroad; community engagement projects; and local, national and international fundraising events. These opportunities are designed to enhance pupils’ learning experiences, form personal connections between pupils, their peers and their community, and teach skills essential for life after school.