Our ambition for our students; how we achieve the best in everyone
At Castle View Academy, our curriculum is inclusive, academic and challenging. This statement explains the principles that inform our curriculum and should be read alongside our curriculum overview. This shares the outline of what our students will study during their 5 years at Castle View Academy.
Our aim is to provide a curriculum that is knowledge based, well sequenced and cohesive. At CVA, we aim to provide an excellent education for all our students; an education which brings out the best in all of them and prepares them for success in life.
Our curriculum is designed to provide children with the core knowledge they need for success in education and later life, to maximise their cognitive development, to develop the whole person and the talents of the individual.
We want our students to become engaged, happy and economically self-sufficient citizens when they leave Castle View Academy. We want to cultivate a love learning, and to bring out ‘the best in everyone’, whatever their background or starting point. For our most disadvantaged students we focus on removing barriers to enable access to the full curriculum and secure good progress. We want every child to be able to see themselves in the curriculum as well as showing our students beyond their immediate experiences.
Castle View Academy is part of United Learning Trust, one of the largest trusts in the country. At the foundation of the Castle View Curriculum is the United Learning Core Curriculum, developed with the support of hundreds of teachers across our group of schools. The United Learning curriculum is founded on four key principles:
- Entitlement – All students have the right to learn what is in the United Learning Curriculum and all students at Castle View Academy are taught all of it.
- Coherence – Taking the National Curriculum as our starting point, our curriculum is carefully sequenced so that powerful knowledge builds term by term and year by year. At Castle View Academy, we make meaningful connections within and between subjects.
- Mastery – We want all students to achieve a full understanding of the knowledge specified in the Curriculum for each year, and teaching should not move on until this is achieved.
- Adaptibility – Our core content is brought to life through our own local context in Portsmouth. Our lessons are adapted and delivered by teachers to meet the needs of our students.
- Representation – We appreciate it is important that all students can see themselves in our curriculum, as well as being taken beyond their immediate experiences.
- Education with Character – Our curriculum is intended to spark curiosity and to nourish both the head and the heart.
How we expose our students to powerful knowledge and provide education with character
The curriculum in each subject can be accessed here. Subject specialism is at the heart of our curriculum and you will see differences in the way that the curriculum is constructed and assessed in different subjects. Standardised written assessments, for example, play less of a role in performance subjects such as music, drama and physical education. The stability of our curriculum allows subject expertise to develop over time, and we are careful to provide sufficient time for teachers of the same subject to plan together and collaborate.
Further subject specialism is provided by United Learning’s subject advisors. These advisors are subject experts who help teachers link the subject discipline to our pupils’ daily experience in the classroom. Subject advisors meet regularly with Heads of Department across United Learning and provide curriculum resources to support the implementation of the subject curriculum.
As a mastery curriculum our students study fewer topics in greater depth. A 3-year Key Stage 3 provides pupils with the time and space to gain a secure understanding that builds up over time in each subject. In our lessons we expect to see all students grappling with the same challenging content, with teachers providing additional support for students who need it. Rather than moving on to new content, our higher attainers produce work of greater depth and flair.
Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum by ensuring that lessons build on prior learning and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. We use Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction to develop our teaching practice. At the heart of Rosenshine’s principles is a simple instructional core:
- Explanation of new material in small steps - I
- Guided practice with prompts and scaffolds (we)
- Independent practice with monitoring and feedback from teacher (you)
At each point in this instructional core, teachers check understanding of all students by asking lots of questions and providing feedback.
The Rosenshine principles support the implementation of the curriculum by ensuring that students regularly recall prior learning. You will often see this at the start of our lessons. When prior learning is committed to long term memory it becomes fluent or ‘automatic’, freeing space in our working memory which can then be used for comprehension, application, and problem solving.
In order to allow the mastery approach to be effective (i.e. children learn what they are expected to in the year they are expected to), early catch-up is essential: we aim to promptly identify and support pupils who start secondary school without a secure grasp of reading, writing and mathematics so that they can access the full curriculum.
Everything from which children learn in school – the taught subject timetable, the approach to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, the co-curricular provision and the ethos and ‘hidden curriculum’ of the school – are to be seen as part of the school curriculum. Our principle of ‘Education with Character’ is delivered through the curriculum in this broadest sense.
How we measure and secure continuous improvement for all
With thousands of pupils across United Learning following the same curriculum, we have been able to develop common assessments in most subjects. These are summative assessments which allow students to demonstrate their growing understanding of their subjects and enable teachers to assess the impact of their teaching. These summative assessments are typically taken once or twice a year, allowing teachers to focus on formative assessment from lesson to lesson.
We are particularly conscious of the role that literacy and vocabulary plays in unlocking the whole curriculum. Our teachers explicitly teach the meaning of subject-specific language, and we expect lessons to contain challenging reading and writing. Knowledge organisers provide students with key information that they are expected to learn and recall with fluency, enabling them to develop their understanding of key concepts outside of their lessons.
The culmination of our curriculum is that students leave our school with the confidence and intelligence to thrive. We know our students as individuals which enables us to provide curriculum guidance and careers guidance throughout their time with us. We expect all students to leave our school with the grades required to progress to their desired destination, and the character required to flourish once they get there.
By teaching our curriculum well, and delivering education with character, we bring out the best in everyone.
To find out more about our curriculum and Teaching and Learning at the Academy, please contact the following people:
Matt Gill: Vice Principal - Curriculum (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kelly Storey: Assistant Principal – Teaching and Learning (email@example.com)