Our curriculum is driven by the need to prepare our children for lifelong learning, we want our children to be able to explore and master skills to help them achieve their dreams. At Mansfield Primary Academy, we offer a rich and vibrant curriculum which is ambitious for all learners. Through our curriculum, we develop the essential knowledge, skills and understanding what the building blocks for later life are. Our curriculum encompasses not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum but goes beyond the experiences of the classroom to ensure that our children are exposed to the richest and most varied opportunities that we can provide. Our aim is to enrich every child's school experience by creating an environment where they are encouraged to succeed and be the best they can be.
We use a combination of blocked and blended learning approaches. This allows children the time to focus on subjects in chunks of time (blocked), this knowledge can then be applied to other areas of the curriculum to enhance and embed the skills learnt (blended learning).
A blended and blocked approach is based on evidence-based research and is based on understanding how children learn. Our minds need to be balanced this means that our brains are using all the parts of our memory, both the long and the short term. This gives our brains the space to process new learning. It allows us to delve into subject, and then sue this knowledge to support other areas of the curriculum, sequencing these carefully creates a web of knowledge – enhancing the long term memory and keeping the short term free for curious, inquisitive learners!
So, at Mansfield Primary Academy we consider the following when designing learning opportunities:
- The difficulty of the new material being learnt.
- Is the appropriate prior knowledge in place to build new skills?
- Do we need to pause, recap to move forwards?
- How we present the new material.
- Many concepts learnt at primary school are often for the first time and as a result they can be incredibly abstract. Children can also have a limited prior knowledge base to draw upon – not due to their academic ability but the time they’ve had to explore the world. This means we must consider a progressive way of presenting information. The CPA model is one method used that allows children to explore concepts and progress to a more abstract representation or explanation of the learning. Other support mechanisms such as tailored knowledge organisers help children to retain to their knowledge – the information they have to hand is specific to the learning and not unconnected or general information.
A combination of the above considerations enables children to allow their brains to work on the new learning (processing) in appropriately sized chunks by drawing on what they already know. Our ability to process new learning typically remains the same so it is important we maximise that space in our minds by using our long-term memory to support.
The aims of our school curriculum are:
- to foster the children’s understanding of ‘belonging and being’ and how they connect to the past, live in the present and look to the future; encouraging curiosity and a passion to learn
- to promote a ‘can-do’ attitude towards learning, so that all children enjoy coming to school and embrace new challenges and possibilities; pushing their own boundaries
- to enable children to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills; being ‘determined to succeed’ and becoming independent thinkers and questioners; acquiring a solid basis for lifelong learning