CURRICULUM

Swift Academies provide a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum that ignites pupils’ love of learning and successfully unlocks the true potential of each individual.

Our Curriculum Offer

Our curriculum is carefully constructed to capitalise upon the experiences and backgrounds of our pupils whilst simultaneously providing relevant, new experiences to build their knowledge and understanding of the wider world around them. Underpinned by the National Curriculum (2014), our provision has been coherently planned and sequenced by our subject leaders and year group teachers to ensure that, alongside breadth and variation, we prioritise children’s depth of learning.

To support this progressive process, our end points are clearly defined, and we return to intended learning in different contexts, multiple times within and across year groups. Each of our subjects are taught through separate, discreet lessons across each week. Where there are strong cross-curricular links, these are utilised effectively to deepen children’s understanding. We ensure that our children develop an increasingly insightful understanding within each subject and are able to apply their knowledge and skills within and across subjects fluently.

Classes across the school are made up of three parallel, mixed-ability groups within a cohort. Setting is only used for specialist subject areas (e.g. phonics). Pupils access all their sessions with their class teacher. Teachers adjust their timetables flexibly to fit around pupils’ learning needs and lesson design. Pupils who require further support or extension may access further adult support in the class or be withdrawn for intervention activities.

Our curriculum aims for pupils to accelerate their progress from their starting points to ensure that they reach or exceed national expectations in each of their subjects. Within our curriculum, the development of reading is prioritised for all children to ensure that they can confidently and successfully access all areas of the curriculum from the earliest opportunity. As well as developing children’s knowledge and skills, our wider curriculum aim is to provide a full spectrum of enriching experiences whilst developing happy and healthy individuals.

In short, we equip our pupils with the core skills, knowledge and cultural capital that they need to succeed in life whilst also ensuring that children are socially and emotionally prepared for their future. 

Our Extended Curriculum

Here you can see all of the enrichment activities, trips and workshops that are built into our curriculum each year, plus our extensive range of free extra-curricular clubs on offer every week

Our extra-curricular timetables are published on the school website annually. All activities are free and are run by school staff. Clubs are accessible to pupils from Reception to Year 6, depending on the activity, and cover all areas of the curriculum and all sports the children can compete in locally.

A daily Breakfast Club and a daily Youth Club, which are also free of charge, extend the school’s wraparound offer from 7:30am until 6pm for Reception to Year 6 at no cost to parents/carers.

Home Learning

Pupils are encouraged to extend their curriculum learning through the use of several online platforms including Mathletics, Developing Experts (science), Reading Eggs/Eggspress as well as the daily reading of their phonics or Accelerated Reading book. For our younger children, we also have ‘Read to me’ books which are high quality texts for parents/carers to read to children to promote talk about the story or information within the book.

Each of our dedicated subject pages on the website contain more information about additional learning activities that are encouraged at home. We also have workbooks, phonics packs, talk boxes, SATs companion (Y6) and language and listening packs all available on request.

 

Remote Education – Supporting children who are learning from home

We recognise that there may be a period of time where children cannot attend school due to the requirement to self-isolate. We want to make sure that children continue to access the same high-quality curriculum that they would in the classroom. To support this, class teachers have created weekly home learning plans so that you know how much work we expect children to do, how long they should spend on each task, and how their work can be submitted.

Further details about how to use these weekly home learning plans can be found on the plans themselves and also on this additional guidance document – (Click HERE for the document). 

Should your child need to self-isolate, or if the school is required to close to some pupils,  your child’s class teacher will be in touch with you via email and will send the relevant home learning plan to you. Your child’s class teacher will also be available to answer any further questions that you may have about how to support your child’s learning at home. 

Remote Education for SEND

It is important that your child/ren continue to engage with their education and that you are able to support them to the best of your ability.   It is our intention that they should be able to access reading, writing and maths daily with foundation subjects across the week.  We do, however, acknowledge that it may not always be possible for your child/ren to access the same level of work as others in their class and class teachers will provide advice and adapted resources to support you while working remotely. Examples of actions we are taking include, but are not exclusive to:

  • If your child is working below age-related standards in core subjects, differentiated activities will be provided. If needed, children may work with the plans from different year group.
  • Pupils with EHCP’s and One Plans  invited to attend school.  
  • Pupils who access the school’s ELMS provision and have an EHCP or a One Plan in place, will be provided with work pitched to their individual level alongside tasks and activities to complete taken directly from their support plans.  
  • Weekly contact will be made with parents/carers and pupils, for pupils who have an EHCP or One Plan, by a named member of staff to support engagement and check on well-being.
  • If pupils have specific equipment in school that supports their learning, this can be sent home to support remote education. For example, this can include: reading rulers, enlarged texts, writing slopes etc. Laptops have been provided to support a number of SEND pupils.  
  • Outside agencies and professionals, where risk assessments permit, continue to be allowed into school. Therapeutic interventions offered by the personal well-being worker (PWP) are taking place remotely. Scheduled SEND meetings and review meetings previously scheduled are also taking place remotely.
  • We recognise that  some pupils, for example those with complex educational learning needs may not be able to access remote education without additional support or input. As well as offering our most vulnerable pupils a place in school where they can continue to access appropriate levels of support, we also have a range of staff available to answer any support queries.
  • Levels of engagement are monitored closely with pupils at risk contacted directly by their class teacher. If problems are identified with the level, type or volume of work, teachers are able to discuss suitable changes.   
  • Information received in school relating to special educational needs is shared with parents/carers via various platforms including Facebook directly by email or through school communication systems ‘Marvellous Me’ and ‘Tapestry’.  
  • If, and when, we discover websites that we think would be useful to support learning, engage children further or support specific needs, links to websites are shared by teachers – for example: https://classroom.thenational.academy/specialist

Curriculum Overview

Below you can find specific curriculum information for each of the subjects that we teach in school.

Please see the individual website pages for each of our subjects to find out lots more about the exciting learning opportunities in store for our children and to discover more home learning opportunities.

Reading

Subject Leaders: Mrs Mellard and Miss Cockerill

We know that confident reading supports children’s learning throughout all subjects and so the teaching of reading is highly prioritised within our curriculum.

Whole class reading is taught daily from Monday to Friday for approximately 30−40 minutes per day (Y1−Y6). Core texts are carefully selected by reading leaders to ensure that there is progression in the difficulty of texts children encounter. Whole class reading is structured to ensure that, once per week, all children: read aloud and explore the context of a text, investigate relevant vocabulary, analyse an element of spelling, punctuation and grammar within a text and complete and discuss carefully selected comprehension questions designed by the teacher based on the text. All children also have regular opportunities to listen to their teacher reading planned, class texts; this promotes reading for pleasure and further class discussions. Reading skills are also developed throughout children’s English lessons and actively put into practice across our full curriculum e.g. reading and evaluating sources of evidence in history lessons.

Once children are fluent in their reading, we use Accelerated Reader as our independent reading scheme from Y1—Y6. Prior to Accelerated Reader, children use carefully matched phonics books as their home readers (see phonics section below for more information). Accelerated Reader is championed weekly within the classroom and assemblies through a reward system aimed at individuals improving their own previous achievements.

Reading enrichment opportunities:

  • All Reception to Y6 children have access to Reading Eggs/Eggspress for further independent reading practice focused at their current ability.
  • ‘Read to me’ books are provided to Nursery – Y2 children to take home on a weekly basis. Parents and carers are asked to read these books to children and to talk about the story/content. This is so that children have regular access to a new high-quality text each week and to promote discussion.
  • Reading club is held after school every day. Teachers actively encourage any children finding it difficult to read at home to attend at least one of these sessions each week.
  • All children visit the local library annually on a school trip and/or the librarian visits their classroom. We encourage as many families as possible to sign up to the library during this process.
  • World Book day is celebrated each year and reading for pleasure is highlighted through the activities undertaken on the day and through ongoing assemblies and competitions across the year.


Phonics

Subject Leader: Miss Staples-Clough

Phonics is taught daily in ability groups from Nursery to Y2. In Reception, Y1 and Y2 these sessions are in addition to our reading and writing sessions.

We use Letters and Sounds guidance to plan a well organised system for phonics sessions across the school. Teachers are ambitious in their expectations of the sounds and words that children should be able to read by the end of each term. For more detailed information, please see our school’s dedicated phonics page. As well as information and guidance, you will also find further learning opportunities for children to practise their phonics at home through our phonics home learning packs.

Children’s progress in phonics is tracked very carefully throughout the year and this information is used to plan appropriately for progression. To supplement children’s learning in school, Reception–Y2 children access carefully matched, fully decodable texts to read at home. In 2020, we worked with our local English Hub to secure a bid which allowed us to purchase £5000 of new phonics reading books and resources for our children.

Writing
Subject Leaders: Miss Blackburn, Mrs Wells and Mr Platten

Writing lessons are taught daily from Monday to Friday for approximately 60 minutes per day in Year 1–Year 6 and approximately 30 minutes per day for Reception.

The majority of units build towards children creating a longer piece of writing over a fortnight. Each unit is inspired by a relevant, age appropriate novel and/or uses learning in children’s other subjects (e.g. science, history, geography etc) as the stimulus. Through a range of practical, discussion-based and written tasks, children build towards producing a longer piece of independent writing in the second week of the unit and publish it for a specific audience in their purple publishing book.

All texts studied have been carefully selected by our writing leaders to ensure that they build in difficultly and provide children with opportunities to read a wide variety of novels and non-fiction. Children receive ongoing verbal feedback from their teacher and peers to develop their writing within their lessons. Teachers continually assess the areas for the class and individuals to work on and adapt their lesson focus as appropriate.

Spelling, grammar and handwriting are taught in specific, separate lessons as well as throughout English lessons. Children in Y2–Y6 are sent specific spellings to learn at home each week based on the spelling rule being taught in school that week. Children’s understanding of the focus spelling rule is then tested each Friday.

Calculations and mathematics
Subject Leaders: Mrs Whinfield, Mrs Chambers and Miss Denham

Our mathematics curriculum is taught through two types of lessons each week. These lessons consist of a calculations-based lesson and a shape, space and measurement-based lesson. Across each the week, we blend both types of lessons to teach the equivalent time of seven 40-45-minute mathematical lessons per week in Y1–Y6 and five 30-minute lessons per week in Nursery and Reception. Units build and develop in difficulty over a two-week basis, allowing time for children to progressively deepen their knowledge, skills and understanding.

Our mathematics curriculum runs in a cycle; allowing our pupils to experience and further their understanding of each area of the mathematics curriculum, at least three times a year. Teaching our mathematics curriculum this way allows more opportunity for children to develop deeper understanding through revisiting each area in different contexts. We build on children’s prior knowledge each time they re-encounter each objective. This embeds fluency, reasoning and problem-solving knowledge and skills across the year.

Mathletics, a specialist maths program, is utilised both at home and at school to further extend children’s understanding and passion for the subject. All children can log on using their own password – https://login.mathletics.com and access tasks set by their teacher.

Science
Subject Leaders: Mr Morris and Mrs Campbell

Children have a dedicated science lesson every week. We promote awe and wonder of the world around us as well as developing children’s knowledge and skills in a specific scientific unit. Lessons include a wide range of practical, discussion-based and written tasks. Most scientific units are studied across a half term or full term depending on their content and complexity. Children’s prior science learning is expertly built upon as they progress throughout the school. Our dedicated science curriculum page gives more information about each of the units studied in each year group and a range of useful activities that can be completed at home.

Our Reception – Year 6 children also have access to an online programme called ‘Developing Experts’ – https://www.developingexperts.com/. This online programme enables children to consolidate their scientific learning at school through additional lessons and quizzes which can be accessed at home.

Computing
Subject Leader: Miss Waller

Children have three computing lessons each fortnight and study a different unit each half term. These units are specifically planned to ensure children gain the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in a digital world. Children continually revisit and build on their previous learning as well as encountering new and exciting challenges within each unit. Units include coding and programming their own games, websites, and apps as well as progressive opportunities to develop and refine other computer life skills such as typing, word processing, data handling, and creating and editing pictures.

Central to the computing curriculum is how to use the Internet in an effective way; including how to keep safe, protect our information, prevent cyber-bullying and how to access support. We are proud to have been awarded the National Online Safety School Community Award for our dedication to keeping children safe online.

Geography
Subject Leader: Mr Ellis

Children have a dedicated geography lesson every week. They study focused units across a half term or term depending on the learning within the unit. Where relevant, links are made to children’s learning in their science and history lessons.

Through our geography curriculum, children develop their understanding of the world and the diverse places, people, resources and features within it. They explore and discover natural and human environments and develop their knowledge of how these are formed and used by people.

Additionally, children become increasingly confident with using maps, atlases and globes to identify places around the world and in the UK and leave our school with a breadth of knowledge about the world and its physical and human processes.

History
Subject Leader: Mrs Senior

History is also taught as one lesson per week and units are half termly or termly. Our carefully sequenced units enable children to explore different eras and to build a deep knowledge and understanding of civilisations and cultures over time. We ensure that our pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.
As well as the pursuit of knowledge, our history units are designed to ignite children’s enthusiasm and curiosity and stimulate questions as well as answers. The structure of lessons supports children in developing their enquiry skills including asking perceptive questions, thinking critically, weighing evidence, sifting arguments, and developing perspective and judgement.

Art & Design
Subject Leaders:  Miss Edgar

Our Art & Design curriculum is structured in a mixture of half termly and termly units. We teach the equivalent of one lesson per week but the length of the lessons vary based on the learning activities children are undertaking e.g. double sessions are often preferred when children are creating a piece of artwork as it gives them more time to utilise resources and develop their ideas.

Children learn and develop a wide range of knowledge, skills and techniques within their Art and Design lessons. They learn about great artists, architects and designers in history and compare and evaluate different elements of their work. Using their knowledge and skills, children are encouraged to make their own artistic decisions fuelled by their ever-growing imaginations. You can see children’s developing ideas and pieces of artwork in the sketch books that they keep throughout the school.


Design & Technology
Subject Leaders: Miss Yeomans

Our Design & Technology curriculum is taught weekly and split into three units each year. The first half of each term focuses on children developing their understanding of the unit project and the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully complete the project. The second half of the term is designing, making and evaluating the project.
Children learn about a wide range of materials, manufacturing processes and creative design-based activities with a focus on working increasingly independently to develop their own ideas effectively both individually and within groups. The various projects, which are completed throughout the children’s schooling career, build on the work completed in previous years, ensuring children are constantly developing their knowledge, skills and understanding as they review and evaluate their design proposals and project outcomes.

Children develop their own portfolio of work in Design & Technology as they progress throughout Primary School and transition into Secondary School.

Physical Education
Subject Leader: Mr Park

Every half term, through twice weekly sessions, children are taught the relevant knowledge and skills to progress their learning in two different sports. Our PE curriculum ensures that children progress within sixteen different sports throughout their time at school: athletics, basketball, cricket, dance, dodgeball, football, gymnastics, hockey, netball, new age kurling, orienteering, parachute games, racket sports, rounders, rugby and swimming.

To support children’s progression and development within physical education, every unit ensures that children retrieve prior learning as well as having a new, specific skill(s) focus that lessons will be centred around.

Every year we enter all school sports competitions available to us in the local area. We have been awarded and retained the School Games Gold Award for fiveyears running due to our commitment to the development of competition across our school and into the community.

Personal, Social, Health and Relationships Education (PSHRE)
Subject Leader: Miss Chapman

Our PSHRE curriculum develops children’s depth of understanding through individual and group work, discussion, role play and practical activities. We return to areas of learning in different contexts within and across year groups in order to support children in gaining a deeper and more insightful understanding of the knowledge, skills and processes within PSHRE.

As well as our weekly lessons, the PSHRE curriculum is complemented through related assemblies and visits from outside agencies such as the school nurse, NSPCC and dentist.

Our PSHRE curriculum is structured as follows: Autumn 1: Friends, Autumn 2: Ourselves, Spring 1: Online safety, Spring 2: The wider world, Summer 1: Mental wellbeing and Summer 2: Families.


Religious Education

Subject Leader: Mrs Wright

We follow the guidelines in the ‘Darlington agreed RE syllabus’ and tailor our RE units to best fit our children’s needs. Through weekly lessons, we ensure a balanced curriculum promoting the spiritual, moral, cultural, social, mental and physical development of all pupils.

Along with Christianity, our teaching of RE takes into account the teachings and practices of other principle religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam Judaism and Sikhism. Exploring the concepts of religion and beliefs supports the celebration of diversity and plays an important role in preparing pupils for adult life, employment and lifelong learning.

Music
Subject Leaders: Mrs Salt

Children have a discreet music lesson every week. We use the Charanga Musical School scheme supplemented by our own detailed planning. Our music curriculum enables children to understand musical concepts through a repetition-based approach to learning as we know that learning about the same musical concept through different musical activities enables more secure, deeper learning and mastery of musical skills.

From Reception to Year 6, our music curriculum consists of six half-termly units of work. The final unit in each year – Reflect, Rewind and Replay – allows for revision and more extension activities. Each unit of work comprises the strands of musical learning which correspond with the national curriculum for music: Listen and Appraise, Musical Activities (including Games, Singing, Playing, Improvising and Composing) and Perform/Share.

Languages
Subject Leader: Mrs Fox

Our languages lessons are taught weekly from Y3–Y6. We focus on children learning French as we know that this is the language that most secondary schools in the town focus on as children move to Year 7. We promote a passion for learning a new language alongside building children’s knowledge and skills. We utilise resources made by specialist French teachers and use technology to ensure that children regularly hear native French speakers.