A great curriculum responds to the needs of individuals and enables them to flourish academically, spiritually, morally socially and culturally.
We aim to provide a broad and balanced education that empowers and challenges children. It defines what children will learn at each stage of their education, preparing them for future success, hungry to learn more with an aspiration to achieve at the highest level across all aspects of their life. We have shaped our curriculum to be purposeful, engaging and with clear intentions. The ambitious intent of the curriculum ensures that all children have an entitlement to a high-quality inclusive education, which is underpinned by the teaching of essential skills, knowledge, concepts and values, which are embedded and developed over time. This is based on the requirements of the National Curriculum.
At Milton Abbot every child is recognised as a unique individual and is provided with opportunities and experiences to enable them to have the confidence and skills to make decisions, make connections and become aspirational lifelong learners. We have made conscious decisions to stretch our children and offer a range of unique experiences. We seek to build resilience, confidence and independence, providing challenges and a range of experiences to complement our structured curriculum.
As a small school we are fortunate to have access to a wonderful outdoor space which extends opportunities for children to learn through ‘first-hand ‘experience in our special village. Our curriculum design responds to the particular needs of our community and unique locality; Milton Abbot is a small village, located on the borders of Devon and Cornwall, affording easy access to Dartmoor, the sea, as well the historic city of Plymouth. We make use of the rich local resources available to enhance the curriculum. We also recognise the need to ensure children have an overt awareness of our rich diverse culture across the British Isles, integrating it into our main curriculum. Implementation The key to the successful implementation of our curriculum is the belief that all members of our community are committed to lifelong learning and improvement. High expectations of children permeate every aspect of school life. We expect them to sustain concentration, becoming progressively independent, resilient learners who know what it means to enjoy their learning. During the past term, there has been a great deal of change, resulting in the implementation of as subject specific base curriculum aligned with other small schools in Dartmoor Academy Trust. Teachers are beginning to access carefully targeted CPD to improve subject knowledge and pedagogy. As a small school we have the luxury of being able to offer a diet of personalised learning for all our staff to ensure that provision is of the highest quality. We are a smaller school with mixed age classes, as such we need to have a mapped-out curriculum strategy that ensures that all pupils build on prior knowledge and skills despite sometimes remaining in the same class or key stage year on year. Although we have designated subject leads who monitor, evaluate and provide support to staff in their subject. Implementation The successful, coherent, implementation of our curriculum is based around a shared, detailed understanding of the progression and knowledge in each subject, enabling the delivery to be of the highest quality, achieving aspirational outcomes for all children. All staff are clear about the knowledge and skills the children have acquired before they reach them and the learning that will take place in the future. This academic year has been challenging, as many children have missed at least a term of school. Although we are determined to close the gaps in the core skills, we are committed to continue to provide a broad and balanced curriculum.
Early Years Our early phase consists of Nursery and Foundation . Across these two years the principles of excellence in early years’ education hold sway. Preference is given to short whole class targeted carpet teaching sessions followed by group work in ability- based groups with continuous learning available for all children. Both year groups have access to outdoor learning environments which mirror the indoor environment in terms of curriculum coverage. Emphasis is given to early phonic skill acquisition, and on the direct teaching of reading by teachers with small groups or individuals has proved very beneficial; 'Read, Write Ink' is our adopted scheme. At Milton Abbot our approach recognises the best practise in Early Years ensuring a safe, happy and secure environment for children to develop and grow. We aim to provide children with a wealth of experiences that ignite their natural curiosities. Through a variety of wel- planned learning opportunities, both inside and outside we tailor the learning to meet the needs and individual interests of each individual child. We ensure rich opportunities to experience our natural world and have a trained Forest School Teacher within the unit. We believe that all children deserve a holistic approach to education where the individual is celebrated, Their talents and potential are nurtured and all children are supported to become a valued member of our school community.
Key Stage 1 Our carefully planned curriculum ensures children are well prepared for the challenges of Year 1/2. At the root of all our teaching is a relentless approach to the teaching of reading. We ensure the teaching of phonics is of the highest quality and carefully targeted catch up groups are implemented if children are in danger of falling behind. The newly designed subject specific curriculum has been carefully sttructured to ensure there is continuity and progression across the school. The knowledge children need to learn and has been identified, alongside the disciplinary skills. Emphasis is given to the basic skills and concepts from the core curriculum to ensure children are ready for the challenges of Key Stage 2
Lower Key Stage 2 We recognise the pupils of this age range are more than just the middle of the school, acknowledging their maturity from the early years by providing a range of visits and exciting experience to enhance their knowledge of the curriculum. The curriculum design for this age group is based on two over-riding principles: a concentration on embedding and mastery of basic skills coupled with subject led acquisition of knowledge. The curriculum is focussed on English and Maths, with an emphasis still on first-hand experience and story ownership preceding writing tasks and on the use of manipulative materials in maths to ensure concrete understanding precedes conceptual understanding. The curriculum is broad and balanced and begins to allow pupils to develop interests in specific subject areas.
Upper Key Stage 2 It is in this phase that we recognise that the child is emerging into a young person who can take responsibility for their own actions as an individual and a learner. We expect our learners to become self-critical, equipped to edit their own work accepting direction and debate as a means to further improvement. Growing independence and of how to keep oneself safe is a common element of this phase and a crucial characteristic needed for secondary school. The school uses residential and musical opportunities in Y6 to foster confidence and self-belief. Many ‘grow’ interests beyond the 5+ such as music and sport and become confident enough to take lead roles in productions and school council roles. In Year 5 and 6 the demands upon the children for both stamina in the amount and quantity of work produced increases and is matched only by an expectation of accuracy in all the skills taught in years before. We do spend time in Year Six preparing children for statutory assessment but the phase is rich in experiences providing pupils a plethora of childhood memories. Impact: The impact of our curriculum is that the vast majority of pupils leave with skills and knowledge in line with, or above national curriculum expectations, not only in the core subjects but across a range of subjects. Whatever their attainment we want all children to know they have succeeded in their learning .Many if not all will be able to sing in pitch, play a musical instrument, swim at least 25m, ride a bike and have the rudimentary beginnings of learning an ambitious foreign language; they will have had experiences of woodlands, mountains and caves and paddled in the sea. For all their differences the pupils know that they are loved, they are familiar with our values, and as such show appreciation of others and have an understanding of how they can contribute to the wide community.