All primary schools in the Pontefract Academies Trust follow the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2, and the Early Years Framework in Reception. Just like the pupils in our schools our curriculum is unique. We aim to focus on the individual and bespoke needs of every child and provide opportunities for all of our pupils to be the best version of themselves.
Our curriculum intent is rooted in the long term development of the individual, regardless of their personal or social circumstances. The children in our care will be literate, numerate and acquire the capacity to be resilient. Every pupil has the right to learn and our ambition for their holistic development will be unwavering. Through our thematic approach to learning, pupils will question the world around them, seek out truth and happiness, and be prepared for a future where they thrive and succeed. In short we are keen that our children are prepared for life in modern Britain.
The Trust has developed a sequential thematic curriculum. The themes are below and the sequential part is important. By giving a lot of thought to the order and sequence in which we teach our subjects, teachers can prepare lessons that simply allow our children to know and remember more. All pupils follow a curriculum that is broad, balanced and meets the National Curriculum objectives. Topic themes alternate every term in Key Stage 2 and every half-term in Key Stage 1.
The Pontefract Academies Trust Curriculum Themes
- Healthy Bodies Healthy Minds
- The World Around Us
- The World Beyond Us
- Modern Britain
- Technology in Action
These themes reflect both the local and national context and are used to ensure that every pupil thinks reflectively about the welfare of themselves and others. It is important that pupils enjoy learning whilst they are on their journey to becoming responsible and safe citizens. We will ensure that the curriculum builds upon prior learning and over time mastery will be developed around these themes so that pupils gain a deep knowledge of all subjects across all year groups in school. All subject topics are underpinned by quality literature that has been specifically chosen to reflect real life learning and application.
Pupils in Pontefract Academies Trust primary schools will be taught the following subjects:
- Religious Education
- Modern Foreign Language (in Key Stage 2)
- Design and Technology
- PSHE/SMSC and British Values (spiritual, moral, social and cultural values)
Reading opens and closes doors to pretty much everything. It is the cornerstone.
The reality is that in the country 1 in 4 pupils leave primary school unable to read well. Put simply good readers do well at school and weak readers do not – it is therefore, understandable that reading is a key priority for schools in the Trust. Pupils have to be taught how to read – it is not developmental. There is no cognitive reason or science that shows the brain how to tell us or show us to read. Just placing books in an early year's class will not work!
Reading has become an issue in many primary schools across the country, however, the most successful schools have the following things in common:
- They get it right early on
- They place early years as a priority
- They place a strong focus on reading and place high importance on training staff
- They systematically teach synthetic phonics well
- They have high expectations with no excuses
- They develop a love of reading and it takes place right across the curriculum
- They provide extra support for the weakest 20% of readers
All pupils have extensive opportunities to develop their reading skills, both within and outside of the classroom, and will be provided with texts that inspire and challenge their thinking. The Trust has developed a non-negotiable ‘literary canon’ that will ensure that every pupil is being taught using books that reflect not only our local context, but the evolving world in which we live. The same texts are used in every school to facilitate standardisation, moderation and the sharing of best practice.
Pupils will also be encouraged to take books home with them every day to support their access to a diverse range of vocabulary and writing styles. As their confidence grows, through improved word recognition and language comprehension, they will thrive as independent readers. Phonics is taught daily in a systematic manner in Early Years and Key Stage 1 so that pupils quickly develop the decoding skills necessary to access a wider variety of books.
Every pupil will be offered the opportunity to participate in a plethora of extracurricular activities that will enrich their learning, develop their natural talents and fine-tune their independent and team working skills. The Trust’s primary schools offer a range of sporting activities, including swimming, football, gymnastics and rugby as well as trips and visits to local and national places of interests to support pupils’ holistic development. Many of the clubs that we offer are run by external providers and take place after school. In addition, pupils will be offered an extensive opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument or participate in a solo or group production. The timetables change regularly in accordance with the time of year. Further information can be found on individual school’s websites.
The 10 non-negotiables of our primary school curriculum:
- 1. Meet the intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of the pupils by understanding their local context and individual needs.
- 2. Provide opportunities to develop expertise through rich and meaningful learning experiences; both inside and outside of the classroom.
- 3. Ensure pupils know how to cope with life in a multi-cultural country and be safe in all their endeavours.
- 4. Develop additional creativity by exposure to the arts, sport and music.
- 5. Promote reflection, resilience and collaboration with others to positively impact self-value and esteem.
- 6. Keep the development of English and Mathematical skills at the heart of our raison d’etre. Reading and writing will be the gateway skills to success.
- 7. Ensure progression and continuity in pupils’ thinking and learning.
- 8. Develop self-awareness and an understanding of fundamental British values.
- 9. Be ambitious and responsive to changes in the world around us.
- 10. Make school a happy place to be!