‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited’ - Plutarch
Here at Northdown, our curriculum is designed to take the children on an exciting journey of discovery; exploring new horizons in all corners of the world, learning how the events of the past have shaped the present, and uncover how today we are contributing to the lives of tomorrow.
Through a thematic approach, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum that nurtures curiosity and enthusiasm to take on new challenges and experiences which immerse the children in new worlds, cultures, beliefs, and influential moments of history; to enable them to develop an appreciation of the world around them.
By equipping the children with the skills and knowledge needed to be responsible and respectful citizens, we believe that our teaching and learning experience allows the children opportunities to remember, revisit and transfer skills and knowledge to other contexts.
The fibers of each subject are intrinsically woven into the fabric of our unique curriculum where reading, writing, and maths skills are utilised to develop a secure knowledge and understanding of the world around us.
We believe that our curriculum should be broad and balanced. Our children’s backgrounds, our culture, and our climate for learning provide the following drivers that underpin all areas of our curriculum:
- Provide a safe, stimulating learning environment for all children and teachers;
- Enable children to achieve their full potential by learning in a variety of ways and through challenging learning experiences;
- Provide a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum that will motivate, engage and challenge children whilst also
- Equipping them with the skills required on leaving school;
- Develop inquisitive minds, a spirit of curiosity, and a passion for learning;
- Physical well-being and mental well-being are both valued and prioritised by our careful consideration of curriculum design;
- SMSC development, along with a well planned and structured program of personal development underpins all our work;
- Set high expectations for all children to raise their aspirations; and
raise standards of both teaching and learning.
We want children to love to learn and through their engagement in learning they develop their confidence, resilience, and independence. We do this through an evolving, engaging curriculum. At the heart of our thematic curriculum is an emphasis on English and drama, independent enquiry, reflective thinking, and collaboration. The thematic curriculum provides accessible opportunities for personal enrichment through a very wide range of visits and visitors; special days and themed weeks.
In order to ensure that learning in every subject is accurately sequenced, with both skills and knowledge revisited, we have developed both skills and knowledge progression documents for all areas of learning. This ensures that learning is staged and builds upon prior knowledge. By providing the children with the opportunity to revisit and apply vital skills and knowledge regularly, we allow the children to become masters of the subject and demonstrate expertise in a range of areas.
The thematic curriculum allows the children to transfer both knowledge and skills between subjects and fully demonstrate their growing expertise intrinsically across all subjects. The key knowledge and skills are assessed through the ‘Big question’ which is provided to the children at the start of every theme and draws upon a number of subjects where the children must demonstrate recall of ‘sticky knowledge’ and respond to the ‘Big Question’ utilising the skills learned along their learning pathway.
To ensure we capitalize on good teaching and learning behaviours, we use the ‘8 Steps to Success’ as a guide to building the foundations for a successful lesson for all learners. All Northdown staff understand that these 8 steps are vital in ensuring that all children have the opportunity to succeed and that they provide the bedrock for the Northdown Pedagogy, providing Quality First Teaching in all classrooms. This ensures that all adults in school take a consistent approach that is inclusive of all learners and gives the children the very best opportunity to make progress in both the short and long term.