Our motto is learning for life, aiming for excellence
As a school and network we work continually to develop and improve the Ark approach to primary teaching, learning and social and emotional development. Our Curriculum Vision ensures that all aspects of our curriculum provision have been devised with the National Curriculum (Introduced in September 2014) in mind. We have ensured that all the statutory requirements are fully adhered to and that all pupils are fully prepared to meet the requirements of the Early Learning Goals in the Early Years and Foundation Stage, the National Curriculum tests in English and mathematics at years 2 and 6 and Phonics Screen in year 1.
A strong command of English and mathematics is a vital foundation for the whole curriculum. We prioritise depth before breadth so that all pupils secure firm foundations in these core subjects as early as possible.
The curriculum at our school:
- is focused upon high standards in mathematics, reading and writing as well as being broad and balanced, providing plenty of opportunities for enrichment
- excites our pupils’ imaginations
- is progressive, ensuring continuity from Reception to Year 6
- provides a firm foundation for later learning and subject choices underpinned by outstanding teaching.
We have developed a specific Ark Early Years curriculum which combines the development of personal, social and emotional skills, opportunities for child initiated learning and a broad curriculum with daily mathematics and literacy sessions.
Key Stage 1 & 2
At Key Stage 1 and 2, pupils study a broad curriculum including History, Geography, Art, DT, RE, PE, PSHE and MFL. The subject content is based around topic areas. There is a significant focus on reading, writing and mathematics; children receive at least ten hours teaching a week in all the aspects of English and at least five hours teaching a week in all the aspects of Maths.
All year groups follow the + Mathematics Mastery+ programme. This curriculum is aligned with our school vision as it has high expectations for every child, spends more time on fewer topics and focuses teaching on using mathematics principles to problem-solve.
This approach uses concrete manipulatives (actual objects such as Dienes blocks, number lines and bead strings), pictorial (pictures representing mathematical concepts) and abstract (e.g. written equations) strategies to ensure that every child has a deep understanding of mathematics.
Pupils also take part in maths investigations, workshops, activities and events throughout the year.
At Ark Dickens we use the Read, Write, Inc. (RWI) Phonics programme, which is a synthetic phonics and literacy programme for all Reception and Year 1 children within the school. Children learn the 44 common phonetic sounds in order to be able to independently blend them to develop reading, writing and spelling skills. The RWI sessions take place each day for all reception and Year 1 (and some Year 2) pupils, as the pace and consistency of the programme is a key element to developing reading skills for all children which is integral for accessing the rest of the school curriculum.
From Year 2 onwards children have daily reading lessons. Children are introduced to challenging texts and are guided to develop their comprehension and inference skills. We believe that all pupils should be given access to high quality literature and these books are usually linked to the half-termly topic, with the aim of supporting the development of vocabulary and knowledge of the topic .
The spoken word is a starting point for high quality writing. Communication skills are practised in each lesson, where talking with peers is a constant feature. English lessons, for all year groups, typically feature writing and help to build pupil skills in grammar and spelling. Writing is frequently linked to topic work so that pupils can apply their writing skills in a variety of contexts.
At Ark Dickens Primary Academy we recognise the role that PE has to play in promoting a long term healthy lifestyle which is both enjoyable and fulfilling. We aim to provide a high-quality physical education curriculum that inspires all of our pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically demanding activities. Through our physical education culture we will enhance academic achievement, as well as the health and well-being of our pupils and by doing so, directly impact improved progress in reading, writing and maths.
We want to provide opportunities for our pupils to become confident and physically literate in a way which supports their wellbeing. In addition to this, we aim to provide opportunities for children to compete in sport and other activities in order to build resilience and embed values such as team work, fairness and respect.
Our PE and sport aspires to build self-esteem, teamwork and leadership skills enabling each child to be the best they can be by:
- Improving health and well-being
- Providing high quality opportunities and outcomes for all
- Encouraging community involvement
- Promoting active participation and competition
- Raising achievement and supporting excellence
As a result of our PE and School Sport audit we have identified areas for improvement and we intend to spend our Sport Premium money from the government on supporting the development of these areas:
- Improved partnership links with other local schools. This includes subject specific support and expertise from Ark Charter.
- CPD for our PE staff
- Encouraging the children to make healthy lifestyle choices which can be measured by attendance, punctuality, school meal take up and levels of club participation.
- To integrate the values and context of sport into the wider school ethos.