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Gladstone Primary Academy

Curriculum

At Gladstone Primary Academy we follow Development Matters in Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum for Key Stage One and Key Stage Two.

The Development Matters early years curriculum can be found here. The academy is an early adopter for the new Development Matters document (2021).

Click here for the National Curriculum document, outlining the aims and programmes of study for pupils of primary age in Years 1 to 6. 

In Reception classes, we follow the Early Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. There are seven areas of learning and development that shape learning. The three prime areas are; 

  • communication and language, 
  • physical development and
  • personal, social and emotional development. 

The curriculum is delivered through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity, including synthetic phonics, early reading and writing. Children have short lessons using the same style of learning as children in Year 1 and 2, so they are ready for Year 1 by the end of their time in Reception. 

From Year 1 we use an approach in English and maths that uses a stage, not age approach called Mckie Mastery. This means that children may be in English and maths classes with children from other year groups. The range of ability is narrower in these 'Power Groups,' so that the teaching can be pitched at a level that challenges all children in the group. Teaching is planned from documents that set out the progression in concepts. An example of a progression document from maths, on block and bar charts, can be found at the bottom of this page.

Each Mckie Mastery lesson is structured to promote children's engagement, leading to independence and better recall.

  1. Children will watch and listen to the teacher model and 'think aloud' the concept the children are learning.
  2. Children then will be guided through the learning by the teacher, with support from their class partner using carefully planned success steps to help them.
  3. Children then practise with their partner, teaching each other the concept and checking each other's work.
  4. Children then apply the new concept independently, without any support from a teacher or success steps. 

Cooperative learning in the guided and partner practice ensures greater engagement with concepts being taught and these are embedded through;

  • Talking with others helps pupils understand and remember concepts.
  • Cognitive processing helps transfer information from short to long term memory.
  • Interaction among children around appropriate tasks increases their mastery and retention of critical concepts.
  •  Children learn from one another because in their discussions of content cognitive conflicts will arise. Inadequate reasoning will also be exposed, and higher quality understanding will emerge

This approach is based on research by William Glasser, that found that we recall 95% of what we teach to someone else.

The pace of lessons is quick and children produce more work than in a standard class. We see children make rapid progress in Power Groups. 

Other Curriculum Areas

We have redesigned the rest of our curriculum, moving away from topics to individual subjects, so the knowledge and progression in learning for each subject is clear. Each subject has a knowledge framework that sets out the knowledge, skills, vocabulary and understanding.  An example of a Year 4 science knowledge framework is available to download at the bottom of this page. Each set of lessons is supported by a visual knowledge organiser that explains the key knowledge and vocabulary in each subject topic.

Example science knowledge organiser from Year 4

We have specialist teachers for music, art and PE (and Spanish in KS2). Children have the opportunity to learn from teachers who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subjects. Specialist teachers ensure that children receive high-quality tuition in their subject. An example of this can be found in Spanish, where we are currently the National Spanish Bee Champions.

At Gladstone, we use a locally agreed syllabus to teach R.E. (Religious Education).

We follow the Cambridgeshire P.S.H.E. (Personal, Social, Health, Education) Scheme.

Enrichment Weeks

Every 8 weeks the Academy has an Enrichment Week. These are weeks when children have the entitlement to take part in different activities, projects and educational visits to support their learning in the classroom. These help build a range of memorable experiences for children linked with their learning and to build cultural capital.