Our Curriculum Intent
We strive to prepare all pupils to become confident and responsible individuals, who aspire to achieve their full potential through the acquisition of knowledge and skills, critical thinking, creativity and self-motivation in order to succeed in the future. We will do this by providing a stimulating, happy, safe and inclusive learning environment where curiosity is fostered, and all pupils are valued and respected.
We have three key strands to our curriculum:
We strive for excellence through a broad and balanced curriculum which encourages critical thinking, development of skills, acquisition of knowledge and prepares our children for their next stage in their education and life beyond. Our curriculum is ambitious, captivating and stimulating to allow our pupils to develop an appetite for more learning. Our Academic curriculum encourages children to see making a mistake as an opportunity for learning to occur. Children will revisit and build on their prior learning to ensure knowledge is transferred to their long-term memory. Reading, particularly early reading, is high priority and permeates all aspects of the curriculum. We recognise that language development and the acquisition of new vocabulary is significant to the success of our pupils and therefore we encourage the explicit teaching of key vocabulary across all aspects of the curriculum.
Our children will be taught to develop persistence, self-control, curiosity, compassion, and determination in order to build the qualities and traits needed to become resilient, self-motivated and confident learners. Our Character curriculum is explicit and implicit and is underpinned by our six core values which are at the heart of our school ethos and ensure positive learning behaviours are nurtured:
- Play fairly and thoughtfully
- Use your talents to achieve your best
- Listen to the views of others
- Respect the environment around us
- Respect all relationships
- Show resilience of body and mind
At Nottingham Academy, we recognise the importance of diversity and celebrate the differences amongst us, this is also seen through the texts we share.
Opportunities and Entitlement
Our inclusive approach ensures that all children experience high quality education and exciting experiences which will support and enrich their learning, enhance self-fulfilment and encourage them to become active and responsible citizens in the community. This promotes success in a wide range of extra-curricular activities and enables children to discover life-long interests and talents. The Opportunities and Entitlement curriculum ensures teachers are planning for meaningful experiences which not only captivate and excite pupils in their learning but allow them to get involved with something new to them, contribute to a team or the community and discover something new about themselves.
Curriculum maps are produced for each year group ensuring clarity of coverage with a strong emphasis on progression of knowledge and skills. Our coherently planned curriculum and timetables allow pupils to revisit knowledge and skills to ensure new knowledge is retained. Some of our curriculum content is subject specific, whilst other aspects combine a cross curricular approach enabling our children to put knowledge into context. At Nottingham Academy we have decided on the ‘invaluable knowledge’ that we want our pupils to know as the content of our curriculum, we call this our 'Sticky Knowledge'. Topics begin and end with a quiz based on the sticky knowledge for that particular topic, so that progression of learning can be seen and then gaps in knowledge used to inform future learning. Teaching and learning is designed to ensure the experience of all learners is engaging and creates a passion for the subjects being taught. Teachers assess children’s understanding throughout lessons and give children effective feedback that leads all pupils to feel supported and challenged to meet their potential. Teachers identify misconceptions and plan for pupils next steps in learning.
Our pupils are taught to develop positive learning behaviours to ensure that the most effective education can occur. Our experienced and supportive pastoral team offer additional help and provision to pupils, where necessary to ensure every child at Nottingham Academy meets their potential.
Reading is prioritised at Nottingham Academy. This is evident in the curriculum time dedicated to it. The school’s reading curriculum encompasses phonics, developing fluency, comprehension, as well as reading for pleasure. In practice, this can be seen in daily phonics lessons (using the validated Little Wandle Phonics scheme) guided reading sessions, English lessons and in class story time. A range of texts are used which have been specifically chosen to ensure quality (vocabulary, structure, composition and effect), breadth of study and which align to the school’s context. Reading has also been mapped out to be incorporated into other curriculum areas to ensure the maximum time is used to practice this vital skill. Our KS2 Reading Ambassadors act as role models for younger pupils, listening to them read regularly. A whole-school reading incentives scheme has also been introduced which rewards pupils for displaying positive reading behaviours both in school and at home.
The school has introduced The Write Stuff, as an approach, to scaffold, structure and provide consistency to English lessons across the school. This aims to promote improvements in writing and in the acquisition of vocabulary.
Learning is supported by the classroom environment which provides models, scaffolds and resources which pupils can access independently so that they can achieve success. Materials used within the teaching and learning sequence are carefully chosen to support and stretch pupils, providing challenge and opportunities to deepen and extend their knowledge and understanding.
A consistent pedagogical approach underpins the implementation of our curriculum. This approach is evidence-informed and can be seen across the school through our 8 principles of teaching and learning. This ensures that all pupils receive high quality learning experiences throughout school.
A key principle is retrieval practice, which takes place at the beginning of every lesson as a useful revision and effective learning technique that helps in memory retention of key knowledge. In practice, teachers will plan for children to recap their Sticky Knowledge in a variety of fun and active ways. We know that everybody forgets things unless they revisit that information, so by using retrieval practice we are interrupting the process of forgetting. This supports children in ensuring that 'Sticky Knowledge' can stay with them forever. Examples of types of retrieval practice strategies we use in school can be found using the link below.