2017/18 Curriculum

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 Policy 2017-18  ensures that all aspects of our curricula provision have been devised with the National Curriculum 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 academy:

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.


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.


We follow the Mathematics Mastery programme in Year R, 1 and 2.  This is a mathematics curriculum which ensures all pupils gain mastery of mathematical concepts ensuring they become competent and confident mathematicians. (This is being rolled out year by year – next year we will include Y3 Maths Mastery and so on). KS2 teachers are currently using the ABACUS programme to plan Mathematics lessons, whilst implementing some of the principals of Maths Mastery. 



At Ark Dickens we encourage children to develop a passion for reading. We teach both word reading and comprehension skills and encourage children to develop a love of reading through exposing them to high quality literature.

Word reading

Pupils are taught word reading through the systematic and rigorous RWInc phonic programme. Phonics is an essential part of the early teaching of reading and helps pupils recognise and decode words.


Comprehension Skills are developed through reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts throughout the curriculum. Through high quality discussions with teachers, pupils are exposed to a wide and rich vocabulary and are encouraged to ask and answer questions about what they read and have read to them.


Pupils at Ark Dickens are taught the skills of both transcription and compositions to become confident and skilled writers.

Spelling and handwriting are taught daily through the RWInc spelling programme and the Nelson handwriting scheme to ensure pupils develop their transcription skills.

In Literacy, good quality literature is used as bases for their writing. Pupils are encouraged to write daily to develop both their composition and their use of grammar. Skills are taught and modelled and pupils are given opportunities to write across all areas of the curriculum.  

Spoken Language

Pupils are given daily opportunities to develop their spoken language skills. Children are taught the importance of grammar and vocabulary in spoken language. They are encouraged to explain and reason and ask and answer questions. They are given the opportunity to make formal presentations and participate in debates. They are taught the importance of being an active listener and to consider other viewpoints.  



As a school we provide a range of tailored intervention programmes to support the communication development of children, including those with speech, language and communication difficulties. We have a comprehensive programme to assess and support language acquisition and development from a very early age.


Pupils learn to play musical instruments as part of the KS2 curriculum.  We also engage in several collaborative music making events in the local area across the school year.


Science is taught through practical science lessons which focus upon developing scientific enquiry and thinking skills, alongside the acquisition of knowledge.


We draw on a range of published schemes of work for our PE curriculum and make use of secondary level experts from a local sports specialist school. We also engage in collaborative and competitive games/events with other schools within the Ark network and local area.


We follow the Switched on Computing programme in Years 1 – 6, which develops computational thinking, programming skills and embeds e-Safety to ensure responsible use of technology.


Pupils learn French within the KS2 programme of study.


Creative Arts are taught through relevant contexts with links to great artists to develop techniques, including imagination, self expression and decision making.


Homework Club

Football/rugby/cricket coaching

Multisports activities

Gardening club

Choir/Music Club

Code Club

Craft Club

Breakfast Club

Ark Dickens operates a breakfast club from 8.00-8.30am.


Curricululum Overview by Year group for 2017-18

Download our Curriculum overview for 17/18 here