Love Learning, Love Life!
The Milstead Curriculum
‘Let all that you do be done in Love’. 1 Corinthians 16:14
Rooted in God’s love, our nurturing ethos enables all members of our school community to thrive and flourish. We tend to the academic, social, moral, physical and spiritual needs of our school family so that we grow into confident, respectful, aspirational and active citizens of our ever-changing modern world.
Our school vision is deeply rooted in our Christian ethos with ‘love learning, love life!’ at its heart. Derived from this commitment and designed for our children, our curriculum encompasses the four key areas of The Church of England’s Vision for Education (2016) and is reflective of our shared commitment to the common good of the whole community:
Educating for wisdom, knowledge and skills: enabling discipline, confidence and delight in seeking wisdom and knowledge, and developing talents in all areas of life.
Educating for hope and aspiration: enabling healing, repair and renewal, coping wisely when things go wrong, opening horizons and guiding people into ways of fulfilling them.
Educating for community and living well together: a core focus on relationships, participation in communities and the qualities of character that enable people to flourish together.
Educating for dignity and respect: the basic principle of respect for the value and preciousness of each person, treating each person as a unique individual of inherent worth.
(The Church of England Vision for Education, 2016)
As an academy we have the freedom to develop our own curriculum which is bespoke to the needs of our pupils whilst still meeting the breadth and depth of the National Curriculum. The aim of our curriculum is for pupils to have the requisite skills to be successful, independent and motivated learners in readiness for the next stage of their education and beyond and to inspire all members of our school community to be agents of change for good in the world.
At Milstead we offer a curriculum which is broad and balanced and which builds on the skills, knowledge and understanding of all children, whatever their starting point. Our curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 and the EYFS Framework 2021 in addition to other opportunities which best meet the learning and developmental needs of the pupils in our school.
Our curriculum is thematic and allows our children to explore different subject areas via enquiry-based questions. These themes are relevant and engaging and offer opportunities for our children to pursue their own ideas, make progress and develop a broad set of transferable skills. The themes are responsive to current global issues, representative of the diversity of our country and the locality of the school and are reviewed regularly.
Our curriculum is motivating, engaging and taught through a series of themes with an emphasis on creative and critical thinking, oracy, questioning, research and reasoning. Wherever possible, we use visits and visitors to help deliver the curriculum in a stimulating and exciting way.
Our curriculum celebrates diversity and utilises the skills, knowledge and cultural wealth of our community along with supporting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all pupils. It is our aim that all children in our school are able to feel represented in our curriculum through the people that they study, the books that they read and the stories that they hear. Units of learning have been carefully chosen to provide our children with opportunity to enquire, challenge and gain a deeper understanding of what is right and just in our world today.
At Milstead, our PAN of 15 pupils means that pupils within our four classes are
organised as below:
Catkin Class: Year R and 1
Acorn Class: Year 2
Aspen Class: Years 3 and 4
Oak Class: Years 5 and 6
As a consequence of mixed age classes, our thematic curriculum is organised into a two-year cycle which is also reflected in our stand-alone subjects including RE and Science. Where areas of learning do not fit within our themes, we teach them as high-quality, stand-alone units.
The Curriculum Progression documents sit below the long-term plan and details when and where key learning will be covered and what this will look like within each phase. Teachers are able to use this to adapt their planning to meet the needs of all pupils and plan individualised programmes for pupils with specific needs.
Units of learning across our curriculum are carefully mapped across each year and phase to ensure that children build on prior knowledge and are able to find opportunities to make connections between different areas of learning as well as developing a range of enquiry and critical thinking skills.
For English and Mathematics, teachers follow the programmes of study in the 2014 National Curriculum specific to each year group. We use White Rose to support maths planning and Little Wandle Letters and Sounds for phonics. We use high quality and engaging texts as a starting point for our English learning.
Throughout each unit of learning, we aim to enrich the cultural capital of all pupils, particularly those from less advantaged backgrounds, through our choices of text and other resources, visits and visitors, vocabulary development, opportunities within the Our Community Multi-Academy Trust (such as Our Lives News) and use of technology. We actively seek to engage less advantaged families in all aspects of school life, including attending trips, other school events and pupil and parent voice.
We currently direct a significant proportion of our Sports Premium funding into providing specialist coach to lead PE and upskill teachers. The coaches work in partnership with the teachers to deliver high quality PE provision across the school. Pupils in Year 3 and 4 all learn a tuned instrument through the Music Plus programme in addition to the music skills introduced through our thematic curriculum.
Our curriculum also includes Wisdom and Wellbeing lessons through Jigsaw. Within this area are specific themes through which children learn about keeping safe, both physically and emotionally, under the following headings:
• Physical safety
• Personal safety
• Online safety
• British Values
• Getting along
• Mental Health
• Understanding others
• Global issues
Wisdom and Wellbeing is taught each week on a two-year cycle in order to increase the opportunities for pupils to share and discuss each issue as they mature. This curriculum area also allows us to be immediately responsive to events happening in the wider world.
Our wider curriculum also offers opportunities for enrichment. There is dedicated curriculum time each week for children to be involved in enrichment activities under the following headings across the school year:
• Social Action – Local
• Social Action – Global
• Community Cohesion
• Health and Wellbeing
• Forest Fun
Through this programme, our children are encouraged to identify and follow projects and experiences that are of interest to the class, have a positive impact on their own health and personal development and make a difference in our school, local, national and global communities. This addresses anti-bullying, anti-racism and anti-homophobia at an age appropriate level, contributing to our school vision of love and nurture and in celebrating everyone as a unique child of God.
To support our model of Instructional Coaching for teacher development, we have researched and created a Teaching and Learning Strategy Handbook which supports teachers and support staff to use evidence-based practices to provide the very best experiences for our children. We are constantly developing our pedagogy so that it remains pupil focussed and with high expectations of all children, including disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND.
At Milstead we assess pupils across all curriculum subjects. For English and Maths, we capture assessment information three times each year using the Kent assessment steps in line with other schools in our Academy Trust. We carry out regular moderation sessions in-school, across the Trust and beyond to quality assure our assessment judgements.
For RE, we capture assessment information weekly and for all other foundation subjects, we assess pupil outcomes at the end of each curriculum unit. This assessment framework is specific to the stages detailed within the Curriculum Progression document.
Assessment information is utilised during pupil focus meetings to inform future planning, to identify pupils requiring additional intervention and to ensure that pupils are making expected or above expected progress from their own starting point. Senior and middle leaders, including our SENCo, also use assessment data to identify gaps in teaching and skills across the school and to inform school development priorities and actions. This information is also used to assess the impact of provision on disadvantaged pupils with those with additional needs and to plan effective and timely intervention. Class teachers also use assessment information to adapt planning to ensure that it meets the needs of all pupils.
Formative assessment is used effectively in lessons to provide class teachers with point-of-learning assessment information, through which to adapt teaching, address misconceptions and provide children with knowledge of what they have achieved and what they need to do next.