Curriculum at Allhallows Primary Academy
Following a review of the curriculum at Allhallows Primary Academy, leaders took decisive action to investigate the potential implementation of the IB Primary Years Programme; to further enrich the learning opportunities currently provided for children and to ensure that children within a small village community had the chance to engage with the rest of the world. The aims of the PYP are to develop internationally minded people, who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. We feel this provides a suitable level of ambition to our curriculum and ensures that all pupils, despite their circumstances have the best possible chances of success, both at school and in their future career – with no barriers in their way.
The academy has just applied to become an IB candidate school for the PYP, a process which will take 3 years to complete.
Our curriculum intent:
Through trialling the PYP programme across the academy, we have been able to ensure that the lines of enquiry followed by the children provide rich opportunities for deeper thinking, questioning and knowledge acquisition. By asking the children to come up with the paths of learning they wish to follow, we are empowering them to make decisions, ask questions and feel confident to be successful.
The whole school follows the same transdisciplinary theme each term and this is also underpinned by SMSC and opportunities to celebrate British Values within assemblies.
Transdisciplinary themes covered across the year
Using the questions the children ask as the starting point for enquiry, teachers then use the national curriculum to ensure that learning throughout the year meets the coverage requirements for that particular year group. This is then mapped vertically across all year groups to ensure a suitable level of investigation and challenge within the same transdisciplinary theme.
Underpinning the learning throughout the year are seven key concepts: Form, Function, Causation, Change, Connection,Perspective and Responsibility. Within these concepts children are taught how to inquire, seek knowledge, think, communicate, be open-minded, take risks and be reflective of their learning. It is important for children to be able to talk about how they are learning throughout the learning journey.
An illustration of how the key parts of the PYP fit together to create rich learning opportunities
Pupils study a full curriculum that is organised as one learning journey. All subject areas, with the exception of Maths and sometimes Science are taught as part of this journey and enable pupils to deepen their knowledge through thorough research and application. Maths and Science are usually taught discretely, but where learning links can be made they will be. By changing the format of the timetable to accommodate this change, it has allowed for children to really follow their own lines of enquiry and teachers have enjoyed the opportunity to follow the interests of the children, without feeling like the lesson has ended. Feedback from the children is that they much prefer this way of learning.
Our curriculum implementation:
Teachers work collaboratively to ensure they are able to pitch subject knowledge at a level which is appropriate to the age of the children, and that any new knowledge is linked to knowledge the children already have; integrating new ideas to those already known. They use opportunities for children to discuss and share their ideas and seek to provide clear explanations when misconceptions are identified.
Reading and phonics remain an instrumental part of our curriculum and the use of texts underpin the majority of lessons. Acquisition of reading skills goes beyond that of phonetic decoding and has to ensure comprehension and inference are mastered by all children. Both of these skills are an essential part of the PYP structure.
A recent review of the marking policy, now means that the academy has adopted and implemented a feedback policy. This sets out to ensure that feedback is purposeful and delivered during learning time, when it is proven to have the most impact.
Our curriculum impact:
We are at the start of the implementation of the IB PYP and therefore any significant impact on outcomes and children is yet to be seen. What has been seen already is the increased confidence and renewed drive from the children to lead their own learning and find out answers to questions they want to ask to deepen their own knowledge.