King Offa Primary Academy teaches a blend of the National Curriculum for England and our own Paragon Curriculum. We hope that you find the information below useful. If you have any questions about our curriculum please speak to your child’s teacher or contact the School Office.
At King Offa Primary Academy we believe in four values that underpin everything that we do. These values belong to every pupil, parent and member of staff and to any visitor that joins us. We explore these values through our learning each day and in the interactions that we have with each other.
As an academy we have freedom to design and implement a curriculum that we feel is best suited to the children at our school. The teaching of English and Maths is our highest priority so that children leave King Offa with the skills they need to succeed in secondary school and beyond. We know, however, that children learn best when what they are learning about is fun, engaging and hands-on. That is why we make links between the subjects we teach whenever possible. For example, if children are learning about Ancient Egypt our curriculum planning makes sure that in English lessons children use what they have found out to write about Egypt across a range of different genres. Similarly, links are made between Science lessons and Maths, so that if children have carried out an experiment and recorded the results they may use these in a Maths lesson when learning about handling data.
We are proud that the curriculum at King Offa is broad, balanced and ambitious for all pupils. However, it’s always carefully reviewed so that it continues to develop so that it helps our pupils be well prepared for their transition to secondary school and life beyond.
Making sure that we get the teaching of English right has been a focus for King Offa in our school improvement plan every year since the school joined Aurora Academies Trust (AAT). We know how important learning to read and write is so we expect it to always be a focus for us!
Children have English lessons every day and a significant amount of time is given to ensuring that pupils’ phonics (the sounds letters make), reading and writing skills are as good as they can possibly be.
Children in Early Years are taught phonics right from the moment they start school and this continues until they are really secure in their knowledge and understanding. King Offa has its own phonics curriculum that is based on the Department for Education publication, Letters and Sounds and other resources that we find effective. Parents have plenty of opportunities to learn how we teach phonics through our termly workshops and information that we send home.
‘Daily Support Reader’ (DSR) is a teaching approach that is used mainly in Year 1 but also when appropriate in other year groups; it focuses on building on pupil’s phonics knowledge and developing their reading fluency. Every day, children work in small groups with an adult and are taught the knowledge and skills they need to become confident and fluent readers. All staff receive regular training that results in them being highly skilled in helping all children learn to read.
In Year 2, pupils make the transition from Daily Support Reader to reading independently and this is when they will first be able to choose books to read from the school library. They will receive a library card and be responsible for making sure that books they borrow are returned on time. We use ‘Accelerated Reader’ to help make sure that pupils are reading books that are not too easy but not too hard. It also provides children with incentives and rewards depending on how much they have read. These are individual and for classes.
In Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6) children take part in daily reading lessons based on the ‘Destination Reader’ (DR) approach. Children continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of reading by learning seven key strategies which enable them to think more deeply about texts and gain a better understanding of what they have read. These are clarifying, predicting, questioning, summarising, inferring, evaluating and making connections. During the lesson there is a focus on talk, talking to a partner and explaining your ideas as part of a class discussion. We feel this is important to ensure children begin to read for pleasure as well as understanding. Children read independently with a partner for 25 minutes a day enabling them to increase their reading mileage. Within the daily reading lessons, we explore new vocabulary enabling children to better understand what they are reading. Children also complete comprehension activities based on seen and unseen texts. We believe it is important for children to read a range of high quality texts, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Making sure that children learn to write is just as important to us and to make sure that we do this well all our teachers and teaching assistants are trained in ‘Talk for Writing’ and we use this approach to help make our English lessons really effective. More information about Talk for Writing is available here www.talk4writing.co.uk. Lessons are planned around a spine of texts that interest the children and provide strong examples of writing that they can use to build their knowledge around. Right from the start of school, children are immersed in poems, rhymes and stories that given them a really solid understanding of story text structures and help to develop their love of reading on.
Children are taught Maths every day. We want pupils to develop a love for mathematics and that playing with numbers can be fun. We use a ‘Challenge Model’ approach to the teaching of mathematics; teachers will introduce the learning concept and children will be encouraged and supported to choose learning activities which best meet their needs and help them to master new mathematical concepts. We believe that when children are choosing and owning their learning, their engagement and motivation in the subject is increased, developing pupils who really do love Maths!
During their time at King Offa, all pupils have a broad and balanced experience of mathematics so that, in addition to learning how to add up, take away, times and divide, pupils are proficient and develop secure knowledge and understanding of all of the six strands of mathematics. These are; place value, fractions, decimals and percentages; ratio and proportion; algebra; measurement; geometry (properties of shapes / position, direction, motion) and statistics. Once their knowledge of the mathematical concepts is secure, pupils will be taught to investigate and solve mathematical problems and puzzles.
The school has a systematic approach to the teaching of the four mathematical operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The school’s ‘Calculation Policy’ ensures that the complexities between each of the four operations are taught in a logical sequence. For example, pupils in Year 2 are taught how to add using a partitioning model and there is systematic progression so that by the time pupils reach Year 5, they are able to add numbers with decimals, using a compact method.
The teaching of Maths is carefully planned so that children’s knowledge is built upon over time. The six strands of mathematics are revisited each year, throughout a child’s journey through King Offa. Our curriculum is bespoke to our school and teachers will draw upon a range of resources to help them plan effective lessons. The value of concrete resources to support the learning of mathematical concepts is never underestimated, so that mathematical ideas do not become too abstract too early. For example, in the Early Years, pupils may use coloured bears to support them with their counting whilst pupils in Year 2 use ‘Cuisenaire’ rods and bars to support their understanding of the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Our teachers are well trained and skillful at teaching mathematics. We are proud that for a number of years the percentage of children achieving the expected level at the end of key stage two has exceeded the national average.
At King Offa Primary Academy, children receive a high-quality Science curriculum. We want our pupils to be knowledgeable, inquisitive and curious about natural ideas and phenomena. Pupils study three main disciplines of knowledge. These are; biology, chemistry and physics. These disciplines are then sub-divided in to smaller strands to help pupils acquire knowledge about the world around them. These are; ‘plants’, ‘living things and their habitats’ and ‘animals including humans’ (encompassing biology); ‘materials’, including rocks, properties of materials and states of matter (encompassing chemistry) and ‘forces’, ‘light and electricity’, ‘sound’, ‘Earth and space’ and ‘seasonal changes’ (encompassing physics). These are taught and learned in units across the year.
Scientific knowledge is an essential element of the Science curriculum – we want our pupils to learn more, know more and remember more about the world and its scientific origins. Our Science curriculum is bespoke, so that teachers can plan and teach lessons that support pupils on building upon previously learned concepts and ideas. This is illustrated in Year 5 for example, where pupils are taught to ‘describe the changes as humans develop to old age’, explaining changes to the skin, bones and hair and builds upon their knowledge in Year 3 where they learn about the skeletal system and helping bones to stay healthy. Links between Science and other curriculum areas are important; for example, in Year 5, in Paragon, pupils learn about civilisations and their great thinkers (ideas about the Earth being flat). An explicit link is made to the Science teaching of the ‘Earth and Space’ study.
Throughout their time at King Offa, pupils will be taught to ‘work scientifically’ – this is a key learning behaviour which is threaded through the entirety of our Science curriculum, so that our pupils are proficient in asking questions about the world in which they live; generating their own ideas and hypotheses; and challenging what they are told, what they read and what they see for themselves. This active approach helps to promote engagement. Pupils are taught how to set up their own investigations and experiments to help prove, or otherwise, their key questions and ideas. Through collaboration, pupils will learn how to predict how things will behave, test ideas appropriately, make careful observations, collect data and information and explain and summarise what they found out. Importantly, children learn that Scientific ideas need to be observed over time, and not in isolation, so that they can see changes and patterns. Pupils continue to work scientifically as they move onto Year 7 and the next steps of their education.
The power of vocabulary is never underestimated – pupils are immersed within the scientific, specific vocabulary. Words and phrases are not held back, assumptions about words are never made and teachers will always provide explanations to help pupils use the vocabulary appropriately in their own work.
At King Offa children learn about History and Geography (the humanities) through our Paragon curriculum. Our Paragon curriculum is something that is unique to schools within the Aurora Academies Trust (AAT). It is a humanities-based curriculum that takes children on a journey through time from ancient history up to the modern day. There are six units a year that build upon each other to give children a strong understanding of how ideas and discoveries throughout history have been formed. There is a strong moral and ethical focus within Paragon and it teaches children to be inquisitive, open minded and aware of the impact of great cultures throughout history. Because Paragon takes pupils on a journey around the globe, there are ample opportunities for pupils to develop their geographical understanding. They learn about their own local area whilst also exploring the jungles of Meso-America and beyond. They also discover how settlements, civilisations and empires are formed and the importance of culture to all humans.
Each Paragon unit is based around a key question that children develop the knowledge and understanding to be able to answer. In the very first unit of work in Early Years pupils consider the question ‘Who Am I?’ and the final question pupils answer in Year 6 is ‘Who Are We?’. These questions are challenging and rely on children being able to remember and build upon what they have learnt from previous units. For example, when pupils in Year 3 learn about how people survive in an icy environment they will build on the learning they have done in Year 2 when they investigated what humans need to survive. Over time, these key questions ensure that children build up a bank of knowledge about the world that prepares them well to continue their learning at secondary school.
We hold a ‘Paragon Event’ at the end of each unit when parents, carers, friends and wider family are invited in to school to see what the children have been learning about. This may be in the form of a show put on by the children or a more practical session where visitors get really involved in what the children have been doing. Opportunities for pupils to perform are embedded in the Paragon curriculum and our Paragon Events provide great opportunities for this. At the end of Year 6, pupils have the opportunity to take part in our ‘Paragon Spectacular’. At the Spectacular, all the schools in the Trust join together to put on a truly memorable show at a local theatre. Last year, the audience exceeded seven hundred and the children excelled themselves in showing off the learning they had done over their time at King Offa.
The majority of our Music lessons are taught by highly skilled professional musicians. The curriculum is designed so that pupils first develop their understanding of rhythm and melody, initially through using their voices and percussion. They then move on and every child in school learns to play a musical instrument as part of their normal music lessons. We encourage all pupils to take up additional music lessons if they would like to. These include guitar, keyboard, violin, flute and more. We know that this can be costly for parents so we’ve made strong links with local teachers and work hard to support pupils who are interested by keeping costs to an absolute minimum. As well as the opportunity to learn to play an instrument, we also have our very own rock band that includes pupils from across Key Stage 1 and 2.
Art and Design and Technology
We are really proud of our Art curriculum and the amazing pieces that our pupils produce. The Art curriculum is planned so that over time pupils learn a range of artistic techniques which become increasingly complex as they move through the school. We enjoy strong links with local arts groups, including the De La Warr Pavillion and are regularly involved in projects with artists from the local community.
The work completed in Art and Design Technology is often linked to the wider curriculum. For example, the pupils in Year 6 painted their own Lowry images linked to their work on Victorians and pupils in Year 2 created their own castles linked to their work in Paragon.
Pupils use computers regularly as part of the wider curriculum and in discrete computing lessons. We are lucky to have two class sets of laptops that are used by pupils in all year groups. Teachers use ‘Purple Mash’, an online platform to help teach the computing curriculum. Pupils are taught how to code, run algorithms and debug software when problems occur. It sounds complex because it is! We are ambitious in making sure that we provide pupils with the important knowledge and skills that will equip them well for secondary school and their future lives.
Children are taught Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEe), once a week. In Key Stage 1, this is a thirty minute lesson building up to a one hour lesson in Year 6. Our four values – Knowledge, Safety, Health and Equality – underpin our experiences through PSHEe lessons, as well as the wider curriculum, so that the four values are part of the vocabulary that are used throughout the school. All pupils, staff and visitors to the school are expected to know the four values and adhere to them.
We believe that PSHE is an integral part of our curriculum offer to pupils. PSHEe is delivered to pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe, prepared for life and work, to manage life’s challenges and make the most of life’s opportunities. We have designed our curriculum to have an impact on both academic and non-academic outcomes for pupils, particularly our most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
Our PSHEe curriculum is structured from Years 1 to 6. In each year group, pupils learn about new concepts which are organised into three key strands. These are; ‘Health and Well-being’, ‘Relationships’ and ‘Living in the Wider World’ (this explores economic well-being and aspirations for careers). The PSHEe curriculum is systematic so that pupils acquire knowledge through a well-planned, sequenced order. They make this progression by building on knowledge and understanding taught in previous year groups and the PSHEe Knowledge Progression document illustrates the knowledge that will be learned in each year group. For example, in Year 1, through the ‘Health and Well-being’ strand, pupils are taught ‘the importance of and how to maintain personal hygiene’. In Year 5, this concept is built on further as pupils learn ‘that bacteria and viruses can affect health and that following simple routines can reduce their spread’ all the way through to Year 6 where pupils learn ‘how their body will, and emotions may, change as they approach and move through puberty’.
Children are taught Religious Education (RE), once a week. In Key Stage 1, this is a thirty minute lesson building up to a one hour lesson in Year 6. During these lessons, pupils will take part in group and class discussions, learn facts about religions and complete art-work and written tasks.
Children are taught about six of the main religions. These are: Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism. The religion of Christianity is a theme that is revisited in each year.
At King Offa Primary Academy, we follow the East Sussex Agreed Religious Education syllabus. The purpose of the syllabus is to ‘affirm the important contribution that Religious Education makes to the education of all pupils growing up in contemporary British society’. It seeks to contribute to a curriculum in schools which is expected to be balanced, broadly based and:
– Promotes the spiritual, moral, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society.
– Prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
More information about the agreed syllabus can be found here: https://czone.eastsussex.gov.uk/media/2423/east-sussex-agreed-syllabus-june-2017.pdf
Each religion is explored through six key themes. These themes are:
- Beliefs, Teachings, and Sources
- Practices and Ways of Life
- Expressing Meaning
- Identity, Diversity and Belonging
- Meaning, Purpose and Truth
- Values and Commitments
The RE curriculum is designed so that pupils acquire knowledge through a well-planned, sequenced order. They make this progression by building on knowledge and understanding taught in previous year groups and the ‘Religious Education Knowledge Progression’ document illustrates the knowledge that will be learned in each year group. For example, in Year 1, pupils will learn that Christians believe in ’10 Commandments’ – a set of rules – this concept is revisited so that pupils learn that religions have a set of rules or principles to abide by. In Year 4, for example, pupils will learn about the ‘five pillars of Islam’ and the five ‘precepts’ of Buddhism in Year 5. The Religious Education curriculum makes links to the wider curriculum. For example, pupils in Year 2 will learn about Judaism so that in Year 5, when learning about the impact of WW2 on religions, such as The Holocaust, in History, pupils will come to this with some pre-learned knowledge.
Physical Education (PE)
At King Offa PE lessons are taught by teachers and professional coaches. Over the course of the year, pupils benefit from the equivalent of two hours a week of PE teaching. This includes all pupils having from the opportunity to learn to swim in our own pool.
The curriculum is organised so that pupils develop their skills and knowledge over time and stay fit and healthy. There are many opportunities for pupils to take part in competitions across a range of sports. These take place during the school day and after school. Over the last twelve months, pupils have joined in traditional spots such as football and athletics but have also had the opportunity to try out less well known sports such as fencing, curling and even lacrosse.
The links below take you to more information about the curriculum at King Offa Primary Academy.
These links will take you to the yearly overviews for the different year groups in the school
Follow these links to find out more about our Paragon Curriculum and the history and geography that it includes
Follow these links to find out more about individual subjects