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Curriculum

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Lark Hall, we believe that children’s early learning experiences deeply affect their future physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. We are fully committed to taking the time to understand and follow children’s interests and provide a rich curriculum that supports learning, consolidates and deepens knowledge and ensures that children achieve their next steps. Both our indoor and outdoor provision is carefully planned and demonstrates a thorough knowledge and understanding of the way in which our children learn.

We understand that building secure relationships with children and their families is key to understanding how we can maximise learning opportunities for every child in our setting. Regular parent’s meetings, stay and play sessions and workshops ensure that parents are kept up to date with their children’s development and progress and are aware of how they can continue to support their children’s learning outside of school.

At Lark Hall we follow the EYFS curriculum and ensure that the learning opportunities and experiences we provide are clearly linked to both the Prime (Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development) and Specific (Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts) areas of learning. We begin each year by assessing our children’s starting points and with this information in mind, we are then able to plan a range of broad and balanced learning experiences. We place huge importance on the development of children’s vocabulary and ensure that staff are skilled in assessing early speech and language development and have the expertise to support children in being able to communicate their thoughts and ideas and explore the meaning of new words. Staff are able to support children’s communication through a range of strategies including Makaton, PECS and visual resources.  Our emphasis on the importance of early reading skills also supports our children’s speech and language skills by introducing our children to high quality language in a fun and engaging way.

Staff use their knowledge of the Characteristics of Effective Learning to ensure that they plan appropriate activities and organise their provision in a way that demonstrates a clear understanding of the way in which our children are motivated to learn. We know that all children are unique, with their own individual fascinations and it is for this reason that we believe a balance of child and teacher led activities is crucial in order for our children to become fully engaged and excited by their learning. We want our children to be independent in accessing quality play-based experiences that encourage them to notice, question and wonder. We use learning journals to celebrate children’s achievements, record observations, assess and track children’s progress and to identify their next steps.

We aim to prepare our children to achieve the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception and ensure that all children have made good or better progress from their individual starting points. We understand that when assessing children against Development Matters, there will be many children who are awarded the same level but may be working at differing levels within this range. Effective communication between staff is therefore crucial to achieve an effective transition for children and to plan accordingly for the next stage of their learning journey. As a team, we carry out regular internal moderation sessions and also ensure that staff attend external meetings and training to ensure that we feel confident with our judgements and that these judgements are consistent with a range of other settings. Our ultimate goal is to prepare our children with the knowledge and skills needed for the next stage of their learning journey in KS1 and that optimising children’s early education is the best investment we can make in ensuring their future success.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Lark Hall Infant and Nursery Academy, we believe that Speaking, Reading and Writing are crucial as a means to understanding and communicating the full breadth of human emotions and intent. Without them, young people will struggle to assemble the words and sentences that will help their own story take shape.

The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

“The way of words, of knowing and loving words, is a way to the essence of things, and to the essence of knowing.” John Donne.

Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

The language of mathematics is international. The basic skills of mathematics are vital for the life opportunities of our children. Our aim is for all children to think mathematically, enabling them to reason, solve problems and assess risk in a range of contexts.

At Lark Hall Infant and Nursery Academy, we aim to:

  • Implement the current legal requirements of the Foundation Stage (FS) and the National Curriculum (NC).
  • Foster positive attitudes, fascination and excitement of discovery through the teaching and learning of mathematical concepts.
  • Ensure pupils become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, developing conceptual knowledge and an ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • Ensure that pupils can reason mathematically and solve problems.
  • Assist our children to develop a ‘can do’ attitude and perceive themselves as mathematicians.
  • Broaden children’s knowledge and understanding of how mathematics is used in the wider world.
  • Demonstrate to our children how to use and understand mathematical language and recognise its importance as a language for communication and thinking.

Teaching and Learning

We use a variety of teaching and learning styles to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in mathematics. We do this through lessons that have a high proportion of whole-class and group teaching. During these lessons we encourage children to ask as well as answer mathematical questions and give explanations. They have the opportunity to use a wide range of resources such as number lines, number squares, number cards and small apparatus to support their work. Children use ICT in mathematics lessons where it will enhance their learning, as in modelling ideas and methods. Wherever possible, we encourage the children to use and apply their learning in everyday situations.

Assessment

Mathematics assessment is continuous. From the beginning of every lesson, teachers and teaching assistants will be assessing what their pupils can or cannot understand and use this to scaffold each segment of the lesson. Meaning that misconceptions are dealt with immediately and high attaining pupils are challenged appropriately. Pre and post teaching also ensure that all children can achieve and are prepared for the following lesson.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

Undoubtedly, Science has changed our lives and will continue to do so in many different ways. At Lark Hall Infant Academy, we strive to offer a high-quality Science education which provides the foundations for the world around us. In EYFS, children will have the opportunity to explore and ask questions following their interests through Understanding the World; a specific area of learning in the EYFS curriculum. In Key Stage One, our children will have the opportunity to be taught essential aspects of knowledge, methods, processes and skills and develop these as they progress through the school. Where possible, we endeavour to use our school grounds and surrounding local area to explore living things, habitats and uses of materials, making the learning as relevant and as real as we can.

Developing a sense of excitement, curiosity and intrigue about Science is one of our main priorities when planning our units of work. This is implemented through a wide variety of tasks, including: group work, field work and carrying out practical investigations. These hands-on experiences allow our children to develop their understanding through the five different types of scientific enquiry (research using secondary sources; observation over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; and comparative and fair testing). The accurate use of scientific vocabulary is also modelled and encouraged, as this allows children to encompass their role as a scientist when articulating their findings.

Whilst we plan exciting and engaging lessons to cover the content set out in the National Curriculum, we also offer enriching opportunities for the children to explore their curiosity in a wider context. Key Stage One will partake in a STEM project during the Summer Term, which will emphasise the role of Science in the wider world and the many career options that this can lead to - thus developing their Science Capital. At Lark Hall, our intention is to provide an inclusive, stimulating and inspiring Science curriculum, which provides our children with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding needed for junior school and beyond.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Lark Hall Infant and Nursery Academy, our ever-changing R.E. curriculum has been designed to allow our children to gain an insight into different religions within our close community in Tamworth and the surrounding areas. We take great pride in our feeder school having been awarded the Bronze R.E. Quality Mark - the only school in Tamworth to have achieved this status. 

From EYFS to Year 2, our children are enriched with the differences and diversity of cultures with the intent of our children becoming accepting and appreciative of others’ beliefs. In EYFS, the pupils are taught to understand the world, which is a specific area of learning. Our eclectic teaching practices aim to inspire creative learning in our Early Years and Key Stage One classes. Children learn about a variety of celebrations and festivals where they make symbolic pieces and dress up to participate in imaginative role play.

Our bespoke R.E. curriculum comes together as a progression of skills built upon year after year. Our aim is for children to embrace surrounding communities, promote equality and understanding of British Values, prepare our children for life in modern Britain and leave Lark Hall as well-rounded individuals.  

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Lark Hall Nursery and Infant Academy, we will deliver a Geography curriculum that inspires curiosity about the world and its people, in addition to equipping children with an understanding of diverse places, people, resources and surrounding environments. In EYFS, our lifelong learners will commence their learning journey on understanding the world around them. Then, we will build on prior learning (using intelligent repetition) about physical and human processes, as well as the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Our models for learning will develop our children’s understanding of the Earth’s features and encourage pupils to explore their local natural world. Using the local area and our community, we will develop geographical skills and knowledge, transforming our children into little geographers with valuable cultural capital.

Our lifelong learners will begin their learning journey by using simple fieldwork and observational skills to study their school and local area. They will begin identifying and understanding features of our country and its weather patterns. Pupils will then identify human and physical features in the United Kingdom, explore characteristics of a Kenyan safari, and start to look at maps and compass directions. Their journey as little geographers begins here.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Lark Infant and Nursery Academy, we believe that History is an exciting, engaging and immersive subject that has the power to bring the past to life. In EYFS, we begin with ‘understanding the world’ which is a specific area of learning. Throughout Key Stage One, we aim to take the children on a journey through key events in History. From this, we hope to provide the children with a context to how the world they live in has been shaped by those before.

There are four main areas which we focus on in Years 1 and 2: changes in living memory, events beyond living memory, significant individuals from the past who have contributed to national and international achievements and significant historical events, people and places in their own locality. In Year 1, we look at the impact of the Great Fire of London and how entertainment has changed throughout the years focusing on the recent inventions that have happened in their lifetime. In Year 2, we look at Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot and how transport has changed the way that we live locally, nationally and internationally.

We study many different significant individuals throughout the phase and some of these include: Queen Elizabeth I, Florence Nightingale and Neil Armstrong. We also include learning about those who have shaped our own locality such as: Sir Robert Peel and Ethlefleda. This learning does not just take place during History lessons but we also explore History during assemblies, school visits and through experts coming into school.

Throughout all our History lessons, we encourage the children to be analytical, inquisitive and to take these skills to junior school and beyond. We aim for the children to develop an interest about History that spans well beyond the classroom and try to provide them with the skills to make their own enquiries and hypothesise well- informed answers. Our intention is to encourage the children to acquire a lifelong interest in History.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Lark Hall Infant and Nursery Academy, we have designed an exciting curriculum for Art with the intent that our children will develop a sense of creativity, self-expression and confidence by exploring and revisiting skills using a wide variety of mediums.

Within our Art lessons, we give every child a chance to explore, experience and participate in a range of creative activities. It allows the children to experiment in a creative and expressive environment where there are no right or wrong results enhancing both their self-expression and self-esteem. We encourage children to develop their knowledge and skills within a variety of activities whilst exploring a wide range of mediums, some of which they will not have been exposed to before. We believe art enables children to creatively express their own interpretation of personal experiences.

All children will experience a broad, balanced Art curriculum following a programme of progressive skills during their time at Lark Hall, often revisiting skills learnt in previous years to develop and extend their ability. Recording work in a sketchbook shows the children how much they have progressed over the years, boosting their self-esteem.

Art activities taught in school are accessible and appropriately challenging to all pupils. Children are exposed to a variety of artists and given a chance to explore their work and have a chance to recreate in the style of the artist. They will explore mediums such as: paint, charcoal, chalk, wax crayons and clay - creating Art work individual to them and interpreting in their own way. Children will also have the opportunity to have first-hand experiences to stimulate Art activities. For example, using natural materials found in our school grounds to create nature pictures.

The pupils will be given a wide range of opportunities to express themselves creatively, as well as having the opportunity to develop awareness of the emotional impact Art has on themselves and those around them. By having an opportunity to share and evaluate their own work and that of their peers, they are able to celebrate success.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

From the moment children enter Lark Hall Infant and Nursery Academy, technology and computing play an important part in their education. From watching teachers use a range of devices, to creating their own work on a computer, children have the opportunity to experience a wide range of technology. Our aim is to begin a lifelong relationship with technology and develop children’s digital confidence.

In EYFS, technology is part of ‘Understanding the World’, which is a specific area of learning. Children are provided with a range of materials and objects to play with that work in different ways for different purposes. For example, egg whisks, torches, other household implements, pulleys, construction kits and tape recorders. They look and discuss the technology around them and begin to make connections. As their confidence grows, they will begin to programme toys as well.

In KS1, children will begin to learn skills like using a mouse and they will use computers to create art, write and begin to learn simple coding. As a school, we have chosen the Purple Mash Computing Scheme of work to teach our children. The scheme supports our teachers in delivering fun and engaging lessons across a range of topics. Each child has their own unique log in and their own area where they can save and access their projects. This gives children ownership of their own work and allows teachers to review and assess their learning.

Online safety is at the heart of our computing curriculum. We believe that it is essential for children to have the knowledge and confidence to use technology safely and know what to do if they do not feel safe online. Every year, each child will complete an e-safety module to ensure their knowledge is up to date.

Throughout their learning, children are encouraged to be curious and try new things. Computing allows children to use trial and error and it helps to develop their resilience when they face problems. Through fun lessons and experiences, children will grow as technology users and develop the skills that will help them throughout their schooling and beyond.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Lark Hall Infant and Nursery Academy, our Design and Technology curriculum is an enthusing and engaging subject area which provides children with an understanding of the developing world around them. The children will develop practical skills and become imaginative and resilient thinkers through a variety of creative and motivating projects that cover a range of contexts. We aim to give children an insight into how physical products are created and encourage them to work collaboratively to design, make and adapt products.

In Early Year Foundation Stage, children will enhance their ‘Expressive Arts and Design’ skills. The children will be given a range of creative making and designing activities within their daily learning opportunities and environment.

During Key Stage One, children will be working within a range of relevant contexts, such as: domestic, local and industrial. The children will look at developing skills and knowledge in design of structures, mechanisms, textile and food. The children will have opportunities to explore and design products with wheels and axels, sliders and leavers and free-standing structures. Within our food sessions, we look at understanding and applying the principles of a healthy diet, understanding where food comes from and the pupils prepare their very own dish. Each project is based on six essentials of good practice in Design and Technology: user, purpose, functionality, design decisions, innovation and authenticity.

We ensure that Design and Technology makes a high-quality contribution to our broad and balanced curriculum. Our intention is to create fun, enjoyable and memorable learning experiences within Design and Technology that provides children with a secure foundation of subject knowledge and skills that they will take into Key Stage Two and beyond.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

Physical Education develops a child’s knowledge, skill and understanding, enabling them to perform with increasing competence and confidence in a range of physical activities. Our intent at Lark Hall Infant and Nursery Academy is to provide children with a positive attitude towards a healthy lifestyle, so that they can make informed choices about physical activities throughout their lives.  We strive to provide children with a vast range of sporting opportunities through: lessons, after school clubs and intra and inter-school competitions.  At Lark Hall, we endeavour to find sports inclusive to all and create a love of physical education for life.

At Lark Hall, we have a range of sporting opportunities for children to take part in. Sports day, Mini-Olympics and other school events encourage children to be active. A range of competitive events and non-competitive events are also available for children. These opportunities begin in EYFS where physical development is a prime area of learning. Giving children a range of activities at such a young age fosters not only their love of sport but also allows them to develop crucial fine motor skills. Finding a sport or activity children love is our aspiration at Lark Hall. By doing this, it will make children ready for a physically active lifestyle when they come to leave whilst encouraging and teaching respect for others within in a safe environment.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Lark Hall Infant and Nursery Academy, we believe that music is a vital part of a broad and balanced curriculum for our children, which is why we employ a qualified music specialist to teach music to our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children. Music is so engaging for young children, and making music helps them to develop their concentration, coordination, memory, and awareness of rhythm and rhyme.

Singing is one of the most important parts of music-making at Lark Hall and we encourage all children to begin to find their voice through fun pitch games, vocal warm ups and action songs, which form a central part of every music lesson. Singing is taught collectively and inclusively, so children feel comfortable. Rhythm is taught through games and the use of puppets to engage the younger children; when they are ready, they will have the chance to explore the sounds of different percussion instruments. In Year 2, the children will learn to play the recorder as part of their weekly class music lessons. To support their instrumental learning, pupils will begin to learn how to read basic rhythm and pitch notation. 

Music lessons at Lark Hall also give the children the chance to be composers by creating their own sound combinations using their bodies and voices, and percussion instruments. Listening also forms an important part of the way music is taught, and we aim to expose the children to a rich variety of live and recorded music, so they can start to develop good concentration and understanding when listening to music. 

We believe that early participation in music-making and exposure to music is really important for our children and we have seen that it can have a positive impact on them as learners.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Lark Hall Infant and Nursery Academy, the intent of our PSHE curriculum is to recognise that children and young people are growing up in an increasingly complex world and living their lives seamlessly on and offline. In a world where there are more challenges and risks, our children will be taught how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way.

In EYFS, we immediately begin focusing on personal, social and emotional development as it is a prime area of learning. At Lark Hall, PSHE is taught in a sensitive and inclusive way, with respect to the backgrounds and beliefs of our pupils and parents, and with the aim of providing pupils with the knowledge they need of the law. All our PSHE curriculum supports the wider work of our school in helping to foster pupil wellbeing and develop resilience and character that we know are fundamental to pupils being happy, successful and productive members of society. Central to this is our children’s ability to believe that they can achieve goals, both academic and personal; to stick to tasks that will help them achieve those goals, even when the reward may be distant or uncertain; and to recover from knocks and challenging periods in their lives.  This is complemented at our school, by the development of personal attributes including kindness, integrity, generosity and honesty. Our PSHE curriculum is part of, and runs in conjunction with, policies on safeguarding / child protection, extremism, equality and diversity, relationships (including bullying and behaviour), online safety and confidentiality. A commitment to equality or diversity runs through the life of our school rather than being viewed as a ‘topic’ to be covered in PSHE alone.

The structure of our PHSE curriculum identifies learning opportunities based on three core themes: Health and Wellbeing; Relationships; and Living in the Wider World.

SATs

Your child’s learning and development are closely monitored by a range of teaching and support staff throughout their life at the Academy. We do this to ensure they’re working at the expected level for their age and that their understanding and attainment of the curriculum is constantly improving.

As your child progresses through their primary education they will be required to take 2 SATs (Standard Attainment Tests), once at the end of Year 2 and once at the end of Year 6. These aren’t pass or fail examinations, instead, their aim is to test the current attainment level your child is working to along with the effectiveness of the teaching your child receives.

Information Leaflet for Parents - KS1 and KS2