Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact
At Hillcrest Early Years Academy, our curriculum is designed to be creative, inspiring, challenging, memorable and to provide all children with rich learning opportunities where doors are opened to dream for the future. Our Curriculum is underpinned by our Gem Project which focuses on promoting positive learning behaviours such as independence, resilience and perseverance. Encompassed within our vision, is the need for pupils to be exposed to a range of experiences and enrichment that broadens their understanding and equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful, confident, life-long learners who reach their full potential.
The ethos is evident through the Academy's five core values which are the heartbeat of the Academy and promote the very ‘magic’ of the earliest stages of education:
M – Memories
A – Ambitious Aspirations
G – Growth
I – Independence
C – Courage
At Hillcrest Early Years Academy, we aim to provide a curriculum which:
- Is rich, inspiring and broad to allow all of children to widen their horizons in each subject.
- Provides a depth of learning that enables children to master the key depth of knowledge and skills essential for each subject.
- Engenders high expectations and challenge in order to build students’ self-belief and positive learning behaviours which raise aspirations to ensure that children reach their full potential.
- Provides children with a wide range of rich, first hand learning experiences to take the curriculum beyond the classroom and develop their love of learning, independence and creative thinking.
- Offers children a wide range of opportunities to personalise their curriculum in order to develop existing talents and interests, discover new ones and promote the highest levels of inclusion for all.
- Fosters the development of children’s character, personal development, health and mental wellbeing preparing them to make a valuable contribution to society and exhibit spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding.
- Promotes speech, language and communication opportunities to strengthen children’s ability to learn and articulate their learning at a deeper level whilst empowering children to have a rich vocabulary.
- Prepares children for life in modern Britain and promotes an awareness of how they can contribute to and understand their local community.
The National Curriculum sets the expectation of what children should be taught as part of their academic learning. However, we want more for our children. They deserve to experience and learn about all that life has to offer. We have high expectations for our pupils' learning journey and, as a staff, we agreed on four main drivers that underpin our curriculum to ensure it is enriched, personalised and aspirational.
- – We want our children to develop a sense of pride in themselves and respect for others. We believe they need to have a highly developed emotional literacy and excellent manners in order to experience positive relationships. We believe in the power of the school community to change and enhance lives.
- – We want our children to become eloquent orators, speaking with confidence, fluency and clarity in a variety of situations. We believe that helping our children find their voice is as important as them becoming avid readers or great writers and will work to broaden vocabulary and encourage talk in all areas of learning.
- – We are passionate about the health of our children. We want our children to lift their eyes from the screen to be excited by the real world, engaging in rich experiences to develop imagination. We will use competition to develop confidence and allow them to manage real risks by having fun.
- We want our pupils and staff to have high expectations of learning. Children are encouraged to aim high and to be open to possibilities both at school and beyond.
- – Children cannot aspire to things they have never encountered. We will work to broaden our children’s horizons, expanding their knowledge of the world by nurturing their interests as well as encouraging fearlessness of what is new or unknown.
The curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 and other experiences and opportunities which best meet the learning and developmental needs of the children in our school, allowing them to flourish. The curriculum provides children with memorable experiences, in addition to diverse and rich opportunities from which they can learn and develop a range of transferable skills
Age-related expectations combine the acquisition of knowledge and development of skills to create a purposeful and exciting learning journey for every child. The curriculum has high expectations to combine transferable skills, demonstrate a breadth of vocabulary and develop strong, meaningful cross-curricular links. Inviting classroom environments stimulate learners and engage them in quality thinking and reasoning. Explicit weekly and medium-term planning is responsive to children’s needs; incorporating holistic approaches to teaching and learning.
Pupils work towards the Early Learning Goals of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in Nursery and Reception. The majority of children move onto the National curriculum Programmes of Study at the start of year 1. Throughout this period and beyond, all children are still developing their phonic knowledge through the use of Little Wandle and developing their fluency in reading through the school’s structured approach to the daily teaching of reading.
The National Curriculum is delivered through discrete teaching of subjects. All subjects are assessed against key objectives and progression of skills for each subject. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth and those who present with a barrier to learning are encouraged, given scaffolding and targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs which ensures inclusion is promoted for all pupils.
Throughout the year, we celebrate many different events across the Academy to raise awareness for our children and immerse them in a range of different learning experiences.
Middle leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review and the celebration of good practice contributes to the ongoing commitment to evolve and improve further. Subject leaders are given the opportunity to develop their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding, so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school.
The outdoor environment and the local community are considered an opportunity for active learning for all our pupils. The school grounds have been developed so they can enrich different curriculum areas, and outdoor learning is actively promoted and planned for.
Pupils have opportunities to share their learning with each other, their parents and carers and other learners through school-based and external exhibitions, performances, competitions and events involving other schools. Developing their independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future citizens is at the heart of all our teaching and learning.
An integral aspect of the curriculum is that children are prepared for their future – during their time in the school, they become fantastic role models and the very best version of themselves they can possibly be. Their individual identity is valued and our children are kind and caring whilst also promoting high levels of respect for others. We believe that every child is unique – they all have the potential to achieve; and our broad, varied curriculum allows every child to excel now and in the future based upon their own personal strengths, interests and core values.
From their different starting points, all children will make good progress academically, emotionally, creatively, socially and physically. Knowledge, understanding and skills will be secured and embedded so that children attain highly and are fully prepared for junior school.
- They will have strong communication skills, both written and verbal, and will listen respectfully and with tolerance to the views of others.
- They will take pride in all that they do, always striving to do their best.
- They will demonstrate emotional resilience and the ability to persevere when they encounter challenge – being fully aware of their own mental health and wellbeing.
- They will develop a sense of self-awareness and become confident in their own abilities.
- They will be kind, respectful and honest, demonstrate inclusive attitudes and have a sense of their role in our wider society
Measuring and monitoring the impact of our curriculum at Hillcrest Early Years Academy takes on many strands. Initially, teachers evaluate each lesson and plan the children’s next steps. Assessment for Learning underpins all of the learning at Hillcrest to ensure all children reach their full potential. We use an on-line tool to track pupil progress and to identify any specific needs. This information is used in regular pupil progress meetings which can be used to support intervention programmes. Senior Leaders monitor the impact of the curriculum, celebrating the children’s achievements in all subjects and working together to plan activities and events to support the children’s learning and hold staff to account to ensure the best possible outcomes for all children.
Middle Leaders monitor their subject throughout the year using the Academy annual middle leader planner to reflect the current demands of the curriculum and to inform future planning. Our School Development Plan is what drives areas for development. It is drawn up and agreed in an annual meeting with all staff and trustees when the year’s achievements are celebrated, and next steps are planned.