Ark Byron aims to equip every pupil with the knowledge, learning power and character necessary to give real choices in future life.
We believe in the potential of every child who joins Ark Byron Academy. Our school values of Courage, Exploration, Endeavour and Excellence are central to our mission to support our pupils to develop positive attitudes and become life-long learners, in the broadest sense. We believe that pupils leaving Ark Byron, embodying these values, will have real life choices and be well equipped to pursue future success. These fundamental principles underpin the design and implementation of our curriculum.
Ark Byron's curriculum:
- has at its core the pursuit of excellence: the highest standards possible in education. We believe in high aspirations, high motivation and high achievement for all.
- focuses on a secure grounding in core subjects of English, Maths and Science
- is designed to be broad; it is relevant to all pupils whilst deepening their knowledge of the wider world beyond their own experiences and locality, providing rich cultural capital – including learning modern foreign languages
- aims to excite our pupils’ love for learning and imaginations, making learning irresistible through enriching experiences, including regular trips out of the academy, learning outdoors, inspiring visits and Skillsbuilder projects.
- is progressive, ensuring knowledge and skills are developed consistently from Reception upwards
- uses a humanities, science or British values-linked theme each half term, to provide a motivating frame for units of study and develop the cultural capital of all children
- integrates Reading and other subjects within each topic, resulting in a holistic, cross curricular approach that is relevant and meaningful
- builds pupils' character and citizenship
Our curriculum is designed around Humanities themes, with the aim of making all learning relevant and motivating. Subjects are linked wherever possible (for example, most Humanities themes are complemented by relevant high quality literary texts in English) in order to help pupils make connections and to better transfer learning to long-term memory.
In our pursuit of providing Ark Byron pupils with a balanced and rich education, we have developed a curriculum based on:
A rich base of factual knowledge helps pupils to make connections, leading to further learning and supporting the transfer of knowledge to long-term memory. This frees pupils' working memory to explore, apply and extend what they have learned. For each year group, we have a framework which sets out the key knowledge to learn. Knowledge builds over each year with a careful progression of teaching, drawing on the national curriculum.
Once pupils have a secure knowledge base, the curriculum allows them to explore, practise and master skills which allow them to apply their knowledge in a meaningful way. As part of this we use 'Philosophy for Children' ('P4C') to build critical thinking and debating skills through the curriculum. It is important to us that our pupils are clear on how curriculum content relates to real life; to achieve this, we use “SkillsBuilder” projects to support the building of character and the development of life skills in real life scenarios.
Pupils’ experiences are of paramount importance in the delivery of the Ark Byron curriculum, providing a meaningful context to learning. They inspire, motivate and make classroom learning ‘sticky.’ The curriculum sets out experiences to enrich and complement each unit. These are usually trips out of the academy but can also be workshops and visits from external speakers. Experiences allow our pupils, who come from differing backgrounds, equal opportunity to experience people and places that they may not have access to otherwise. Through these experiences, they also develop key life skills that others may take for granted – how to use transport systems, how to interact with others and how to conduct themselves in public – providing essential development both as pupils and as active citizens in our society.
The Ark Byron Curriculum is a framework of content that we are continuing to develop, in particular codifying progression within each subject to ensure every pupil can make measured steps in their learning. The curriculum can be moulded and shaped by teachers and pupils alike because, whilst the knowledge content is specified, how this knowledge is explored and extended should reflect the interests and needs of individual cohorts. We will continue to review and refine our curriculum each year so that our pupils are offered an outstanding education that is motivating and meets our local needs.
Impact & Assessment
We see the impact of the curriculum through the way in which our pupils conduct themselves, their interest in learning and through the knowledge they retain and apply.
Attainment and progress through the curriculum is monitored through pupil conferencing and tracking against the National Curriculum as well as the outcomes in school books, writing pieces and tailor-made assessment quizzes. We collect qualitative data from pupils, teachers and parents in order to continually review and refine the curriculum.