Curriculum Overview

The Curriculum

The main aim of our curriculum is to offer a range of experiences that will develop your child and his/her potential in every sphere of growth and learning. We believe very strongly in a broad and balanced curriculum and value creativity as an essential part of children’s learning but we also have a strong emphasis on every child’s achievement in English and Mathematics.

Organisation of the curriculum

The school is organised in the following way:

Early Years Foundation Stage – Reception.

Key Stage 1 – Infants (Years 1 and 2).

Key Stage 2 – Juniors (Years 3 to 6)

Reception children follow the revised Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum which covers education from birth through to 5 years. This lays a secure foundation for future learning that involves planning around the individual needs and interests of the child. They learn through playing, exploring, being active and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outdoors. The curriculum is a balance of free exploration, play and adult-directed tasks.

There is an emphasis on the specific areas of Literacy and Mathematics as the children progress through their time in Reception. Children are not functioning within the National Curriculum at this stage but will have gained valuable experiences in readiness for National Curriculum requirements in Year 1.

Maths makes a considerable contribution to the overall school curriculum and is key to our pupils making sense of the world around them. We use a structured curriculum, based on Focus Maths (link), to develop pupils' number sense, mental arithmetic and problem solving skills. Pupils, teachers and parents share a Calculation Policy that maps out the progression of key skills from Early Years through to Year 6. This informs our lesson content, homework and assessment; building a series of steps in understanding and application. Each half term we assess our ability to choose and use processes from the calculation policy to solve arithmetic questions. The results of this process then informs the maths interventions for the following half term. Each term we also assess problem solving skills. These are questions based on the previous term's topics, to give an accurate picture of how pupils have progressed. In class, teachers use a range of concrete, pictorial and abstract representations of topics to ensure pupils are able to develop a deep understanding of each topic they study. Teachers also timetable a number of Mental Maths sessions each week to ensure pupils have time to practice efficient and elegant applications of the subject. Through our work in Maths, pupils will gain the knowledge and understanding to use confidently the skills needed to thrive within our world today. 

At Essa Primary Academy we use Focus Learning Challenges as our main scheme of work for Science. Pupils are taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of Science. Through developing strong foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They are encouraged to understand how Science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave and analyse causes.

Religious Education (RE) is not part of the core curriculum but is regarded as a main subject to be taught. We follow the Bolton syllabus for RE which aims to provide children with knowledge and understanding of the nature of religions, their beliefs and practices. Parents retain the right to request withdrawal of their children from RE lessons and from assemblies, which under the 1988 Education Act are required to be broadly Christian in character.

Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education is also a focus at Essa Primary Academy in our curriculum as it makes a valuable contribution to children’s development. We follow the Jigsaw PSHE scheme.

What is Jigsaw PSHE?

Jigsaw PSHE is a comprehensive and completely original Scheme of Work for the whole Primary School from EYFS through to Year 6. It brings together PSHE Education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development in a comprehensive scheme of learning.

SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) development opportunities are mapped throughout. All of these pieces of learning are brought together to form a cohesive picture, helping children to know and value who they are and understand how they relate to other people in the world.

British Values

Jigsaw contributes, as a good PSHE programme should, to the British Values agenda very significantly, both through the direct teaching of information and through the experiential learning children will enjoy.  The 5 strands of the British Values agenda have been mapped across every Puzzle and every Piece (lesson).

We plan half termly assemblies linked with the Jigsaw theme to further embed the principles of the PHSE curriculum. We are proud of the way we promote emotional wellbeing for all our pupils through our Jigsaw programme which underpins the whole of our curriculum.

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