At Hamilton Academy, we pride ourselves on the breadth of our curriculum. We strive to provide a broad, balanced, creative and highly enjoyable curriculum which not only incorporates the National Curriculum but celebrates the ideas and experiences of every learner in our school.
The National Curriculum comprises of: English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Design and Technology, Art, Music, Physical Education (PE), Computing and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), plus Religious Education and PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education). Further details about the National Curriculum can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/national-curriculum/key-stage-The aim of our curriculum is to ensure that all pupils are motivated, engaged and enthused about their learning experiences, inspiring them to become lifelong learners.
At Hamilton, the curriculum we have developed is based on an annual cycle where each curriculum year is divided into three termly topics. Our teaching and learning takes place within a topic-based curriculum approach, meaning that wherever possible we group the knowledge, skills and understanding the children are required to learn around a topic or theme. This topic-based approach is effective in engaging staff and pupils due to the many creative, and meaningful, opportunities for links across subject areas.
We recognise the importance of English and Maths teaching in order to open up other areas of the curriculum and therefore a large emphasis is placed on these areas. In addition to regular maths and English sessions, teachers try to make as many cross curricular links as possible in order to utilise these skills in a range of contexts. Whilst the core subjects are taught on a regular basis, the foundation subjects may sometimes be taught as blocks of work over a matter of weeks.
We seek to create opportunities for children to experience and excel in a range of activities that enhance and extend the National Curriculum. Children have opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, through themed weeks, whole school activities, and opportunities within and outside school which enrich and develop the children’s learning. After school clubs and events extend these opportunities further. 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. 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.
Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Statement
At Hamilton Academy we view the foundation years (3-5 year olds) as a basis for all future learning. We seek to develop each child’s potential through a broad and balanced curriculum in a secure, caring and creative environment. In Nursery and Reception classes, our Early Years Curriculum is based on the revised Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and is planned to lead smoothly into the National Curriculum at KS1 in a way in which is relevant and meaningful to all children. All children learn through play with a combination of child-initiated and teacher-led learning opportunities both indoors and in our outdoor area. There are seven areas of learning:
Three Prime areas of learning:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Four Specific areas of learning:
Understanding the World
Expressive Art and Design
For each area of learning there is a set of developmental stages and early learning outcomes which describe what each child is expected to be learning at each stage. Children are observed during play in order to assess their stage of development and in order to plan for the next steps in their learning.
Phonics and Reading:
At Hamilton Academy children in Reception and KS1 follow a synthetic phonics programme entitled Teaching Letters and Sounds. It is an approach to teaching phonics, in which individual letter sounds are blended together to form groups of sounds, which can then be read as complete words. Daily phonics sessions, lasting no more than 25 minutes, in both Reception and KS1 are engaging and fun using the children’s active participation through speaking, listening and interactive games. They then learn to use and apply their phonic knowledge in their independent play, reading and writing activities.
At the end of Year 1 children are assessed using a national screening test, which requires each child to read aloud forty ‘nonsense’ words using their phonetic knowledge. The result of this test is reported to both parents and sent to central Government for comparison between schools nationally. Any child who does not meet the required standard in this assessment repeats the test again at the end of Year 2.
We understand that reading gives children access to the wider curriculum and the world around them. Therefore, we use a combination of reading programmes, including Oxford Reading Tree, to ensure that children become competent and confident readers across a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.