The Curriculum

Vision

We aim  to provide a dynamic, personalised and innovative curriculum for all students designed to meet all individual needs and to maximise academic progress. Furthermore, the curriculum is constructed to ensure all students are equipped with both the skills, knowledge and learning dispositions required to be successful learners both during their school career and in their future lives. Our aims are to ensure;

  • all students are given the best opportunity to make excellent academic progress.
  • all students have the access to the highest quality teaching and learning and have the opportunity to be successful and happy learners.
  • that our curriculum provides appropriate progression pathways for all our students across all key stages and raises aspirations for all learners.
  • that we promote the intellectual, moral and spiritual development of all students across our school
  • that a diverse variety of rich extra-curricular opportunities are firmly embedded into the wider curriculum provision across the our school

The National Context

As of September 2014, a revised National Curriculum for England and Wales came into being, which also included the withdrawal of National Curriculum levels. This meant that schools had the autonomy and responsibility to develop and devise an assessment and reporting system which best fits the needs of their students. Chantry Middle along with Newminster Middle, Dr Thomlinson Middle and The King Edward VI High School worked closely together to plan, write and deliver a new creative and innovative curriculum for our students.  In addition to this, we liaised closely with our feeder first schools

Considerable research went into the design of the new curriculum. We have drawn on expert educational advice and practice to ensure that the curriculum we have developed has the breadth and depth required to enable students to make the best progress that they can, whilst being fully engaged with the learning opportunities provided.

An underpinning principle of the new curriculum has been the recognition that depth of understanding is as crucial as breadth in supporting a child’s learning.  It is vital that the foundations are there in order for subsequent learning to be made sense of.

A summary overview of the content of the new curriculum can be found on our website under ‘students’ and ‘curriculum’.

In devising the new curriculum for each subject, a complete set of curriculum objectives, against which each child’s progress will be assessed, have been devised.  A common approach to this process has been used across all subjects, with age expected (referred to as learning thresholds) objectives being written for different learning strands within each subject.  These objectives now form the basis of our internal assessment system.

In each year group students will follow the following curriculum;

KS2 KS3
English 6 4
Maths 6 4
Science 3 3
Humanities (History & Geography) 2 3
RE 1 1
PE 2 2
French 1 2
Spanish 1
Art 1 1
Music 1 1
Computing 1 1
Personal Development 1 1
Technology 1 2
26 26

Please note that each lesson is 60 minutes long on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and a Friday. Each lesson is 50 minutes long on a Wednesday.

Assessment Framework

Each subject area now has a personalised assessment framework, detailing the key learning objectives for that subject.  A sample extract of the Geography assessment framework can be accessed by clicking here.

Each curriculum area has then organised the delivery of the key learning objectives through planned units of work which allow students to develop a depth of understanding in relation to these.

Learning Threshold: This refers to the age expected learning objectives for a child by the end of that academic year.  e.g. typically we would expect a child in Year 8 to be working at the ‘higher’ learning threshold.  However, in some subjects or in some strands of a subject, it is possible that a child might be working at the threshold above or below this.  

Learning Strand: This refers to the different elements of learning that thread through the entire curriculum for that subject.  The number of strands will vary for each subject, but will be between 3 and 8 strands of learning.

Depth of Learning: For any assessment focus (learning strand) within any given learning threshold, children will be demonstrating different depths of understanding. The assessment framework allows for this.  As a child progresses through the curriculum, they will be assessed (in a range of formats) as to the depth of understanding that they are demonstrating. The varying depths of understanding will be identified as follows:

  • Developing
  • Expected
  • Mastering

The assessment framework allows the different strengths and areas for development to be more easily identified for each child.

Assessment Methodology

At Chantry, we understand that learning is a complex process that cannot be observed directly. Assessment is the process by which we infer where pupils are on their learning journey, as shown in curriculum maps, and any gaps or misconceptions they may hold;  it is the beginning of further learning, not an end point.

We use a range of different approaches to assessment which are dependent upon the purpose of the assessment. For example, multiple choice questions might be used as an assessment of prior knowledge before a topic is begun, an extended piece of writing might be used to assess a pupils’ depth of understanding of a particular topic or a summative test might be used at the end of a term including a mixture of question types that provides comparison of a pupils’ performance against their peers. Each assessment provides teachers with feedback on pupils’ strengths and areas of improvement so that they can adapt future learning appropriately.

During lessons, checks for understanding are used throughout to check pupils’ understanding against learning intentions. These approaches include question and answer sessions, the use of mini whiteboards or a brief task. This informal assessment provides the teacher with feedback on the next steps in learning.

Each department has its own approach to marking and feedback based upon the Education Endowment Foundations’ guide to effective feedback. We understand that feedback can have a huge impact on pupils’ attainment therefore we believe that the purpose and use of feedback is more important than the method of feedback.  Marking may be done by the teacher, a peer or the pupil themselves; feedback will be provided by the teacher either verbally or in writing in relation to the learning intention of a given task.

In English and Maths, summative assessments are carried out at the end of the autumn term and the end of the summer term. These tests allow us to compare the performance of individual pupils and groups of pupils against national expectations as well as identifying individual strengths and areas for improvement.

Reporting to Parents / Carers

As we have done previously, we will continue to formally report to parents / carers three times each year.  These reporting points will be in November, March and July. After the reports in November & March there will be the opportunity to attend a parents evening to discuss the report and any aspect of your child’s progress further.

We have developed the reporting process to allow you, as parents / carers, to have a greater understanding of the depth of understanding that a pupil holds for a particular subject.  The varying depths of understanding will be identified as: 

  • Developing: a pupil has experienced the key components of learning within that curriculum area and is beginning to understand some of those components
  • Expected: a pupil has understood the key components of that subject area and is beginning to use and apply them across other areas of learning
  • Mastering: a pupil has a good understanding of key components and is able to make links to other areas of learning

We would typically expect a pupil to be working at the expected depth of learning by the end of the academic year that they are in.  However, variation will exist and end of year expectations will be altered on the basis of the progress a pupil is making through the year.  

Attitude to Learning

These are both important measures of a pupil’s approach to their own learning.  In the pupil planners and on the walls around school, we constantly reinforce the characteristics required to be a successful learner. These characteristics form the basis of our assessment of a pupil’s attitude to learning, as set out in the table. Please click here to access it.

Our expectation is that all pupils are typically demonstrating an attitude to their own learning which is at least good.