Northampton Primary Academy Trust Curriculum - Aims and Principles
A broad, rich, and rigorous curriculum is at the heart of Northampton Primary Academy Trust’s vision: to achieve educational excellence: creating opportunities and enriching lives. It forms an essential part of our trust’s mission: to develop a multi-academy trust of highly effective and sustainable schools.
Our Trust’s aspiration and ambition is for every child to achieve highly, for every school to be a great school and for every individual to continually improve. Access to a well-sequenced and well-planned curriculum, taught by competent, knowledgeable teachers, is the route to educational excellence and an entitlement of every child who attends an NPAT school.
Our NPAT education strategy is to continually improve educational provision and raise the academic attainment of all children across our trust. Our strategy aims to reduce the inequality for disadvantaged children across our trust.
The curriculum will provide children with the essential knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said. This is woven through the whole curriculum, supporting children to build schema, to develop an appreciation of human achievement and creativity and to equip children to become successful citizens.
What is our curriculum?
NPAT schools subscribe to a broad and comprehensive definition of ‘curriculum’ as ‘all the learning which is planned and guided by the school’ (Kerr quoted in Kelly 1983). This requires planning and decision making to be intentional across all areas of school life. Cultural capital is defined as “the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens” (DfE, 2014).
NPAT schools recognise the following 2019 definition of curriculum by Ofsted.
“The curriculum is a framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and skills to be gained at each stage (intent); for translating that framework over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional context (implementation) and for evaluating what knowledge and skills pupils have gained against expectations (impact/achievement).” (Ofsted 2019)
Our NPAT curriculum model is robust, aspirational, wide-ranging and varied, with substantial coverage across all National Curriculum subjects including additional areas of study and enrichment.
Our NPAT Curriculum is embedded in research evidence. Curriculum and teaching approaches are built around the most effective strategies for long-term learning. Our curriculum is rooted in Cognitive Science research including sequencing, coherence, and intentional development of pupils’ schema. High quality professional development opportunities for staff, to develop subject knowledge, will augment the implemented curriculum materials.
Our curriculum begins in Early Years Foundation Stage, as stated in our NPAT EYFS Curriculum Frameworks.
Values within our curriculum
NPAT schools share our trust’s values of aspiration, collaboration, integrity, community and a genuine commitment to sport and the arts. These values permeate school life and are a central part of the planned and enacted curriculum.
Throughout the curriculum, children meet and learn about the 'British values' of democracy, the rule of law, liberty, respect and tolerance both explicitly and implicitly.
Core and wider curriculum subjects
In NPAT schools our children have access to the full range of subjects specified in the National Curriculum. In English our leaders and teachers deliver a reading and writing curriculum that meets our trust aims and principles. Schools’ maths’ curricula also meet our trust aims and principle for maths.
The aims and principles for wider curriculum are specified in the remainder of this document.
Key principles of our wider curriculum
The importance of knowledge
Our NPAT Curriculum has a clear focus on the acquisition of both substantive and disciplinary knowledge. Substantive knowledge being the specific, factual content for subjects, which is connected in a careful sequence and disciplinary knowledge being described as the action taken within a particular subject to gain knowledge. For example, in history this might mean using evidence to construct a claim, meanwhile, in science it might mean testing a hypothesis. The intentionally planned curriculum will enable children to build their knowledge and understanding of the world with clear end points mapped from EYFS to Year Six.
Every child, regardless of their background, is entitled to the best version of curriculum that exists in any one of our NPAT schools.
NPAT teachers engage critically with our curriculum, thinking hard about how they tailor any plans or resources to suit their classroom contexts and the individual needs of children. Teachers plan to develop pupils’ mental models by identifying and ensuring they understand and retain critical subject content. Increasingly complex mental models support children to access and apply their subject knowledge flexibly.
Teachers will adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of all learners, identifying barriers and providing additional scaffolds to modify the curriculum to overcome these.
This includes ensuring that children have the required prior knowledge and experiences to access the curriculum. In addition, individual schools’ Pupil Premium strategies will also consider this.
As outlined in the National Curriculum teachers should set suitable challenges, respond to pupils’ needs and overcome potential barriers for individuals and groups of pupils. Teachers should:
- Set high expectations for every pupil
- Plan challenging work for pupils whose attainment is significantly above the expected standard
- Ensure children with low levels of prior attainment or who come from disadvantaged backgrounds can access the curriculum
- Take account of their duties under equal opportunities legislation that covers race, disability, sex, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment
- Ensure children with SEND have access to our curriculum including specialist equipment and different approaches where appropriate
- Take account of the needs of pupils whose first language is not English
- Plan and provide suitable enrichment opportunities that reflect the school community, supporting children to develop their cultural capital
- Reflect on the diverse nature of society and the unique context of each of our individual schools
Each schools’ curriculum will reflect their locality, considering the geographical location, broad cultural heritage and significant past and present events of the school’s local area.
Where schools have a Specialist Unit (SU), their curriculum is designed to meet the specific needs of the children accessing the provision. This may vary from school to school to meet the diverse needs of the children in each unit.
NPAT recognise the importance of subject integrity with clearly defined subject timetabling. Each subject discipline provides a unique lens through which to develop a greater understanding of the world. Our NPAT curriculum will ensure that the tradition and integrity of subjects is preserved whilst allowing for meaningful diagonal links to be made with other subjects.
Each school has a curriculum lead who oversees the curriculum in their school. These leaders work together with the trust lead for curriculum to develop their expertise so that they can support wider curriculum subject leaders in school. Our trust also work with teacher educator leads to develop professional opportunities for staff around specific curriculum content.
Subject leaders meet to develop their own subject knowledge as well as considering how to support staff in their own schools to improve. They attend network meetings which provide the opportunity for collaboration, access to a suite of documentation via Teams as well as subject specific resources. Expert subject leaders in the trust work with the Trust Curriculum Lead to advance subject development.
Teachers are equipped with the necessary curriculum knowledge and expertise with suggested pre- reading in NPAT written subjects.
Our trust recognises the benefit of working with national partners including the Denbeigh Computing hub and the National STEM Learning Centre, as well as local partnerships such as the University of Northampton.
The NPAT written subject materials have been designed to reduce the number of hours teachers spend planning and resourcing the curriculum and allow them to focus on the core business of teaching. Professional Development is planned to develop teacher’s subject knowledge. Leaders are developed so that that they can support teachers in their own schools which supports well-being.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
Alongside the academic curriculum, NPAT takes an intentional curricular approach to children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
- Spiritual: Children will explore beliefs and experience; respect faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; be given time to reflect.
- Moral: Children will be taught to recognise right and wrong; respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views.
- Social: Children will learn to use a range of social skills; participate in the local community; appreciate diverse viewpoints; participate, volunteer and cooperate; resolve conflict.
- Cultural: Children will celebrate cultural influences; appreciate the role of Britain's parliamentary system; participate in cultural opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.
NPAT have produced subject documentation for art, geography, history, RE and science. These subjects are referred to as NPAT written subjects. Resources have been developed, taught, evaluated and edited over a number of years, having been launched to staff in October 2019.
Computing is based on the Teach Computing curriculum and has a long-term map and narrative. Planning and resources are either taken directly from or adapted from the Teach Computing curriculum in the form of trust written embedded units.
Each NPAT written subject is constructed as a narrative over time with clearly planned vertical, horizontal, and diagonal links. Children learn about carefully chosen high-dividend concepts, which are built upon throughout the curriculum e.g., legacy in history and energy in science. Our NPAT curriculum is based broadly on National Curriculum content. RE is based on Religious Education in English Schools: Non-statutory guidance 2010.
NPAT subject documentation is rooted in research about cognitive science, substantive and disciplinary knowledge, basing careful consideration on the vertical, horizontal and diagonal links made between children’s learning. Documentation and resources have been developed as part of an ongoing programme of writing, editing and evaluation. Planning for our NPAT Curriculum is provided from years one to six, however children’s curriculum journey starts in EYFS as part of the NPAT EYFS Frameworks which are based on the EYFS Curriculum.
DT is a focus for development in 2023 – 2025 working with STEM Learning as part of ENTHUSE partnerships.
Schools have selected how they implement the MFL, music and PE curricula in their schools.
The NPAT written subject planning and resources have been developed using the following curriculum principles:
- Subject Narrative which provides detailed information around the intent for each subject.
- Principles of Cognitive Science have been applied when sequencing the curriculum and retrieval techniques, including multiple choice quizzes, provided to be used by teachers as they revisit content including vertical, horizontal and diagonal links.
- Long Term Map which set out the high-level coverage, sequence of curriculum concepts from the National Curriculum.
- High Dividend Concepts have been intentionally chosen, which are built upon throughout the curriculum e.g., legacy in history and energy in science. These are clearly defined, and their progression mapped from EYFS to upper key stage 2.
- Substantive and Disciplinary knowledge are clearly identified and progress from EYFS to upper key stage 2.
- Vocabulary (both tier two and three) has been identified for teaching. Vocabulary is cumulative and builds through the years whilst other vocabulary is unit specific.
- Oracy is an important part of curriculum development with opportunities for children to talk about the curriculum in a structured way.
- Reading rich challenging texts that have been identified to ensure that, where appropriate, lessons contain a reading load with an appropriate level of challenge.
- Writing Opportunities that have been identified as an opportunity for children to demonstrate their knowledge in a written form.
- Assessment opportunities are provided to check children’s progress through the curriculum. Subject leaders have worked together to create exemplar material for formative and summative assessment in each subject area.
- Enrichment Opportunities are suggested to ensure that experiences such as trips and visitors give well-planned to consolidate and further learning.
- Meaningful links to other subjects are exemplified on the Wider Curriculum plans.
NPAT Wider Curriculum Resources include:
Medium Term Plans which provide an overview of the sequence and content of lessons, an indication of time allocation and outline of lesson delivery.
Knowledge Organisers which specify the explicitly planned knowledge and vocabulary that will be learned during each unit of work.
PowerPoints which will be used as a visual aid to support classroom delivery that may include images, video content and links to support the unit of work.
Supplementary Resources which are provided for some units e.g., science investigation planning grid.
Use of Teams
All key documentation for the NPAT written subjects is stored in the NPAT Curriculum Planning and Resources team. Subject Leaders have a Wider Curriculum Subject Leader Team as a space to communicate and house key documentation.