Using the National Curriculum as our starting point, we have designed a broad and exciting creative curriculum that is real, immersive and purposeful. Foundation subjects are taught through a cross-curricular ‘learning challenge’ approach, each unit culminating in an exciting, purposeful outcome.
Using an inquiring, challenge-based approach to learning, children build on prior knowledge across the range of foundation subjects. New knowledge is outlined for each learning challenge in Knowledge Organisers. These provide children with a rich sequence of learning which supports their ability to pursue the outcomes by making considered choices. There is a high level of collaboration involved, which supports our whole-school approach to developing language and oracy.
Each term we have a purposeful ‘Hook day’ where the topic is launched and pupils are ‘hooked in’ to the learning.
The children document the learning journey both in a special book and on a board outside their classroom to support retrieval. The Learning Challenge wall in classrooms supports pupils to retrieve new knowledge and make links. Teachers use the TASC wheel approach (thinking actively in a social context) to guide the children’s thinking through a systematic process towards to the outcome.
Knowledge is key, and pre-planned Knowledge Organisers guide the teaching, building on prior learning across all subjects. The use of ‘killer questions’ assesses the learning outlined in the knowledge organisers, giving opportunities for them to make links with prior learning and show a deeper understanding. The curriculum is planned to be inclusive of children with SEND, and teachers ensure they are planned for appropriately, based on accurate assessment of their ability and needs.
We regularly review the learning challenges to ensure they promote equality, diversity and consider our local context.
At DJA, we believe that every child is entitled to a ‘curriculum plus’. As well as learning outlined in the challenge and knowledge organisers, we strive to support independent and critical thinking by developing a range of independent metacognitive skills. Using Professor Guy Claxton’s Learning Power Approach, children develop skills of reasoning, resilience, resourcefulness and reciprocity using our ‘learning power tools’. Each tool represents a different metacognitive skill, such as perseverance, making links, absorption or noticing.
We have a commitment to providing opportunities for children to build on their cultural capital. Our commitment to the performing arts is enhanced by our participation in the Artsmark Award and our status as a Music Mark UK school.
We are fortunate to work with a number of partnerships that support the wider curriculum. Professional sports coaches provide one lesson a week of PE, and peripatetic music teachers provide whole class music and instrumental teaching in every year group. Currently, all children learn to play both the recorder and ukulele, whilst others also take part in small group or 1:1 lessons with a range of brass and string instruments. We have built a wide range of partnerships which have provided us with performance experience, such as the Symphony Hall Birmingham, City of Birmingham String Orchestra , Sandwell Cultural Education Partnership, and Albion Foundation
Extra-curricular clubs include Sports, Arts and Dance, Debate, Science, as well as opportunities to complete and have support with homework.
We have a full RHE/PSHE provision which can be viewed in our PSHE policy
For any more information about our curriculum, please contact the class teachers, you can also see Victoria Academies Trust Approach to Student Learning.