Statement of Intent:

 

Toner Avenue’s Curriculum is designed to provide a broad and balanced experience to all children, accessible to all,  which widens their lived experiences, enhances their feeling of self-worth and power and promotes a life-long curiosity and love of learning. We want to motivate and support pupils to take responsibility and ownership of their learning, making links and considering their role within the wider world. Through the use of carefully chosen, philosophical ‘Big Questions’, we aim to link topics of knowledge, build upon and develop existing skills through coherent planning and sequencing of lessons, and support pupils in using these skills and knowledge to make a positive difference to the world around them. We want to enable our pupils to live as responsible, aspirational young people who see themselves as ‘able to’ make a difference. 

 

Breath, Depth and Coverage:

 

English:

We base our lessons on the National Curriculum objectives and expectations. Staff use quality texts as start points and link these to the ‘Big Question’ or the knowledge contained within these topics wherever possible. Opportunities to write meaningful texts which demonstrate application of skills and technical knowledge are also provided through ‘topic work’. 

Maths:

Our daily maths lessons are based on the National Curriculum objectives and expectations. In addition to this, opportunities to apply mathematical concepts in real life situations are planned for within the wider curriculum and as part of Welly Week.

Curriculum:

Toner Avenue’s curriculum as detailed above. In addition, we also follow the Local Authority agreed syllabus for Religious Education and use South Tyneside’s French scheme, which we start teaching in Year 1.

PE is taught using the REAL PE scheme and we also have focus on fitness to support pupils in recapturing their lost stamina..

We compliment our music curriculum with ‘experts’, for example Samba Drumming which is provided by the Local Authority Music Hub.

5 sessions per week 5 sessions per week 4 afternoons per week. 
Enrichment:

Now that Covid restrictions have lifted, we aim to ensure that each year group has at least one visit or visitor to help them make tangible sense of their big question. Whether this is a trip to Newcastle to see the places the Great Fire took place, or a visit from an Ancient Egyptian thanks to “That History Bloke” we plan for purposeful visits in or out of school to support and further their understanding.

Bespoke Curriculum:

We have a number of children who access a bespoke curriculum which is tailored to their individual needs. Where possible, adjustments are made to allow children to take part in ‘topic’ lessons at their level and basic skills are promoted across the curriculum.

Welly Week:

This is one week per half term where each class visits a local area to observe seasonal change and cover the non-statutory parts of the science curriculum. All other lessons that week use the data collected in the environment as a stimulus. For example, real life maths. Opportunities for applying writing techniques in real-life contexts are also planned.

Termly As required 5 weeks per year

 

Background:

 

Our curriculum is an evolving, team effort. Throughout the academic year of 2018 – 2019, we moved away from teaching topics which were narrow, and compartmentalised into single subjects or which made tenuous links between them. Parent surveys carried out in July 2018 , together with consultation with staff found that overwhelmingly, homework was not being used effectively to promote learning. 

We moved towards topics which had an overarching, philosophical big question – the idea being that these questions could not be answered with a yes or no and could not be ‘googled’. We looked at our existing curriculum, and subject leaders identified what was going well, and what was not. Staff then began rearranging their current curriculum content to make more meaningful links and tie in with their ‘Big Question’. We addressed the homework issue by asking parents and children to work together to produce a response to the Big Question at home. We celebrated this work each half term by inviting all parents in to view the ‘projects’ and all children got to see everyone’s work. This proved to be very successful. We saw a big increase in the number of children returning projects – children who had never returned a homework sheet had clearly spent a lot of time making their pieces and it was also clear that parents and children had worked collaboratively to produce these items, promoting greater use of local libraries, museums and allowing children and parents to discuss the learning that had taken place. During Covid, this aspect of our curriculum was unable to be carried out, however, in Summer Term 2021, we did reinstate it. Children brought in their projects and they were just as creative and varied as they had been prior to lockdown. We are thrilled to be able to invite parents in on 19th and 20th October to view the projects with a cup of tea!

During the academic year 2019 2020, the main focus was on the response having an impact in the local community. For example, in Year 2, one of the Big Questions was “Do Animals Need Protecting?” As part of this topic, children  explored how consequences of man-made issues affect animals and also look at how local charities support animals. Children were to  decide whether to and how to support these charities and make a difference to how animals are treated. 

During the academic year 2021 – 2022, our aim is to widen this response to the global community and also to allow the children greater independence and ownership of the end choices they make.

 

In addition to this, we also recognised that some of our children were not gaining the basic ‘general knowledge’ that we would have expected them to have. This inspired us to implement ‘Welly Week’ which is one week per half term (excluding Autumn 2) where children come off their regular timetable. All children have a designated outdoor space in the local community which is their location for the full year. During Welly Week, they visit, make scientific observations and predictions and look closely at the world in which they live. Work throughout the rest of the week is based on their findings (e.g. maths – they may measure the width of leaves collected etc) and also provides meaningful opportunities for children to apply their knowledge and skills from other areas (e.g write a letter to the council complaining about the litter they have seen. 

Children are assessed against ‘benchmarks’ which show what they should be able to do as Geographers or Scientists at each year group. These are progressive and build on previous year’s skills and knowledge. Details of the knowledge and skills expected at each year group can be found on the subject specific overviews.