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Curriculum

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Flax Hill Junior Academy, we believe that Speaking, Reading and Writing are crucial as a means to understanding and communicating the full breadth of human emotions and intent. Without them, young people will struggle to assemble the words and sentences that will help their own story take shape.

The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

“The way of words, of knowing and loving words, is a way to the essence of things, and to the essence of knowing.” John Donne.

Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

The language of mathematics is international. The basic skills of mathematics are vital for the life opportunities of our children. Our aim is for all children to think mathematically, enabling them to reason, solve problems and assess risk in a range of contexts.

At Flax Hill Junior Academy, we aim to:

  • Implement the current legal requirements of the National Curriculum (NC).
  • Foster positive attitudes, fascination and excitement of discovery through the teaching and learning of mathematical concepts.
  • Ensure pupils become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, developing conceptual knowledge and an ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • Ensure that pupils can reason mathematically and solve problems.
  • Assist our children to develop a ‘can do’ attitude and perceive themselves as mathematicians.
  • Broaden children’s knowledge and understanding of how mathematics is used in the wider world.
  • Demonstrate to our children how to use and understand mathematical language and recognise its importance as a language for communication and thinking.

Teaching and Learning

We use a variety of teaching and learning styles to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in mathematics. We do this through lessons that have a high proportion of whole-class and group teaching. During these lessons we encourage children to ask as well as answer mathematical questions and give explanations. They have the opportunity to use a wide range of resources such as number lines, number squares, number cards and small apparatus to support their work. Children use ICT in mathematics lessons where it will enhance their learning, as in modelling ideas and methods. Wherever possible, we encourage the children to use and apply their learning in everyday situations.

Assessment

Mathematics assessment is continuous. From the beginning of every lesson, teachers and teaching assistants will be assessing what their pupils can or cannot understand and use this to scaffold each segment of the lesson. Meaning that misconceptions are dealt with immediately and high attaining pupils are challenged appropriately. Pre and post teaching also ensure that all children can achieve and are prepared for the following lesson.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

Undoubtedly, Science has changed our lives and will continue to do so in many different ways. At Flax Hill Junior Academy, we strive to offer a high-quality Science education which provides the foundations for understanding the world. Throughout Key Stage Two, our children will have the opportunity to be taught essential aspects of knowledge, methods, processes and skills and develop these as they progress through the school. Several topics will be revisited throughout Key Stage Two, allowing the children to deepen their subject knowledge and demonstrate their understanding using prior knowledge to assist them. Where possible, we endeavour to use our school grounds and surrounding local area to explore living things, habitats and environmental changes, making the learning as relevant and as real as we can.

Developing a sense of excitement, curiosity and intrigue about Science is one of our main priorities when planning our units of work. This is implemented through a wide variety of tasks, including: group work, field work and carrying out practical investigations. These hands-on experiences allow our children to develop their understanding through the five different types of scientific enquiry (research using secondary sources; observation over time; pattern seeking; identifying, classifying and grouping; and comparative and fair testing). The accurate use of scientific vocabulary is also modelled and encouraged, as this allows children to encompass their role as a scientist when articulating their findings.

Whilst we plan exciting and engaging lessons to cover the content set out in the National Curriculum, we also offer enriching opportunities for the children to explore their curiosity in a wider context. We have taken part in whole school investigation days, whilst some year groups have had the fantastic opportunity to work alongside a local University. In addition, each year group will partake in a STEM project during the Summer Term, which will emphasise the role of Science in the wider world and the many career options that this can lead to - thus developing their Science Capital. At Flax Hill, our intention is to provide an inclusive, stimulating and inspiring Science curriculum, which provides our children with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding needed for secondary school and beyond.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Flax Hill Junior Academy, our ever changing R.E. curriculum has been designed to allow our children to gain an insight into different religions within our close community in Tamworth and the surrounding areas, such as: Birmingham and Derby. We take great pride in having been awarded the Bronze R.E. Quality Mark - the only school in Tamworth to have achieved this status. 

From Year 3 to Year 6, our children are enriched with the differences and diversity of cultures with the intent of our children becoming accepting and appreciative of others’ beliefs – thus building on their prior experiences at infant school.

Key Stage Two sees the children visiting Derby, a multi-cultural area, where they complete the ‘Faith Trail’. Children visit a Gudwara, Hindu Temple and Mosque all in one day. This trip allows the children to see first-hand the places of worship they have learnt about in school. We have also tailored our curriculum so our children can visit the local Churches to explore more about Christianity and to compare and contrast with their prior learning of different faiths. As well as this, we have the local vicar delivering hands-on lessons to our Year 3 children. 

Our bespoke R.E. curriculum comes together as a progression of skills built upon year after year.  Our aim is for children to embrace surrounding communities, promote equality and understanding of British Values, prepare our children for life in modern Britain and leave Flax Hill as well-rounded individuals.  

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Flax Hill Junior Academy, we will deliver a Geography curriculum that inspires curiosity about the world and its people, in addition to equipping children with an understanding of diverse places, people, resources and surrounding environments. We will build on prior learning (using intelligent repetition) about physical and human processes as well as the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Our models for learning will develop our children’s understanding of the Earth’s features (volcanoes for example) and encourage pupils to explore their local natural world. Using the local area and our community, we will develop geographical skills and knowledge, transforming our children into little geographers with valuable cultural capital.

Hopwas Woods will be a local study in Year 3. Key aspects of rainforests, our extreme Earth and the UK will be further understood. In Year 4, children will be taught about early British settlers and compare land use in different settlements – this knowledge along with previously learnt skills will then be used to identify and understand local land use in Tamworth. Our pupils will learn about the water cycle, the Equator, the Northern and Southern Hemispheres as well as countries around the world. Their map skills will then be further developed. In Year 5, children will acquire knowledge about energy, the environment and global trade. Their physical geography knowledge will be further enhanced along with their ability to use map skills. Mountains, earthquakes and volcanoes will be a topic. Finally, in Year 6, our children’s learning will be deepened. They will learn about the rivers of the world (using place and location knowledge and applying their water knowledge from Year 4), the Americas (North and South), Australia (as a world study) and finally, they will explore the changing world in regard to how physical and human geography has changed over time. Our quality teaching practice and passion for geography will ready our children for secondary school geography.

Geography Learning Journey 

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Flax Hill Junior Academy, we believe that History is an exciting, engaging and immersive subject that has the power to bring the past to life. Throughout Key Stage Two, we aim to take the children on a journey through key events in History. From this, we hope to provide the children with a context to how the world they live in has been shaped by those before. We look at how Britain has been settled during the Stone to Iron Age; how the Romans conquered Britain; and how the Anglo Saxons and Vikings shaped the counties we have today. Through all of these topics, we examine how Tamworth played a pivotal role in History and how key members of our heritage such as: Ethlefleda, Sir Robert Peel and Colin Grazier, had an impact on our National History.

While we study our national and local history, we also investigate other civilisations from around the world. We learn about Ancient Greeks, Ancient Egyptians and the Ancient Maya and we link this contextual to what Britain looked like at a similar time. The varied topics that we study allow us to make links between subjects: in Geography we link the Anglo-Saxon place names to our counties; in English we examine some of the Greek myths; and in Art we look at how the Ancient Egyptians made Canopic jars and even make our own!

Throughout all our History lessons, we encourage the children to be analytical, inquisitive and to take these skills to secondary school and beyond. We aim for the children to develop an interest about History that spans well beyond the classroom and try to provide them with the skills to make their own enquiries and hypothesise well-informed answers. Our intention is to encourage the children to acquire a lifelong interest in History.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

Bonjour! At Flax Hill Junior Academy, we choose to study French as our Foreign Language as it is such a lovely language to learn and also helps prepare our children for high school (Rawlett and QEMS both teach French in Year 7).  Evidence shows that primary aged children are very receptive to learning a new language and are less likely to be as self-conscious about saying new words than older children, and we find this to be the case. At Flax Hill, every child is encouraged to ‘have a go’ without worrying about being right or wrong and so we can all learn in a safe and supportive way.

Over the four years of Key Stage Two, our children will have the opportunity to learn about France, its culture and traditions and other countries where French is spoken. We will also learn vocabulary linked to key areas that children are familiar with, such as: family, school life, food, town and shopping, hobbies, pets, holidays and so on. We will read some familiar and traditional stories in French and make comparisons between the English and French versions.  We love to sing our French songs (‘Je suis un pizza!’ and ‘tête, épaules, genoux, orteils’ are school favourites!) and to play French games such as ‘Simon dit!’.  We also do lots of role play activities linked to real life situations (for instance, we have a French shop which we use to practise our French speaking and work out the cost of items in Euros) and craft activities to practise and develop our language.

By making the learning of a new language relevant and fun, we know that our children will really engage with the subject and make good progress whilst working at their own pace. À bientôt!

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Flax Hill Junior Academy, we have designed an exciting curriculum for Art with the intent that our children will develop a sense of creativity, self-expression and confidence by exploring and revisiting skills using a wide variety of mediums.

Within our Art lessons, we give every child a chance to explore, experience and participate in a range of creative activities. It allows the children to experiment in a creative and expressive environment where there are no right or wrong results enhancing both their self-expression and self-esteem. We encourage children to develop their knowledge and skills within a variety of activities whilst exploring a wide range of mediums, some of which they will not have been exposed to before. We believe Art enables children to creatively express their own interpretation of personal experiences.

All children will experience a broad, balanced Art curriculum following a programme of progressive skills during their time at Flax Hill, often revisiting skills learnt in previous years to develop and extend their ability. Recording work in a sketchbook shows the children how much they have progressed over the years, boosting their self-esteem.

Art activities taught in school are accessible and appropriately challenging to all pupils. Children are exposed to traditional and contemporary artists and given a chance to understand the artist, explore their work and have a chance to recreate in the style of the artist. They will explore mediums such as: clay, ink, watercolour and acrylic paints, chalk, charcoal, oil pastels and fabrics - creating Art work individual to them and interpreting in their own way. Children will also have the opportunity to have first-hand experiences to stimulate Art activities. For example, using natural materials found in our school grounds to create nature sculptures.

The pupils will be given a wide range of opportunities to express themselves creatively, as well as having the opportunity to develop awareness of the emotional impact Art has on themselves and those around them. By having an opportunity to evaluate their own work, they are able to celebrate success and identify areas for improvement. This, in turn, enables them to guide their own creative learning.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Flax Hill Junior Academy, we believe that computing skills and an understanding of technology play a key part in helping our children to fulfil their potential and achieve their goals. We provide children with a variety of computing and technological experiences across of a range of media. Our aim is to equip children with the knowledge and confidence to succeed in a busy multimedia society.

As a school, we have chosen the Purple Mash Computing Scheme of Work to teach our children. The scheme supports our teachers in delivering fun and engaging lessons across a range of topics, including: coding, animation and blogging.  Each child has their own unique log in and their own area where they can save and access their projects. This gives children ownership of their own work and allows teachers to review and assess their learning.

Online safety is at the heart of our computing curriculum. We believe that it is essential for children to have the knowledge and confidence to use technology safely and know what to do if they do not feel safe online. Working with the local street wardens, we have frequent safety talks in school and every year each child will complete an e-safety module to ensure their knowledge is up to date.

Throughout all of computing lessons, we encourage problem solving, resilience and risk taking. Lessons allow children to use the tools independently and come up with their own solutions to problems and glitches. Computing also promotes creativity, lateral thinking and gives children a chance to use trial and error to improve their work. Our vision is to create a positive life-long relationship between the children and the technology around them, which will go with them in to secondary school and beyond.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Flax Hill Junior Academy, our Design and Technology curriculum is an enthusing and engaging subject area which provides children with an understanding of the developing world around them. The children will develop practical skills and become imaginative and resilient thinkers through a variety of creative and motivating projects that cover a range of contexts. We aim to give children an insight into how physical products are created and encourage them to work collaboratively to design, make and adapt products.

During Key Stage Two, children will be working within a range of relevant contexts, such as: domestic, local and industrial. The children will develop skills and knowledge in design, structures, mechanisms, electrical systems, textiles and food. The children will have opportunities to explore and design products with shell structures, including: computer aided design, levers and linkage, circuits and switches, frame structures and pulleys or gears. Within our food sessions, we look at gaining a deeper understanding and application of the principles of a healthy diet, understanding seasonality and where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed. Key Stage Two children will also have the opportunity to prepare and cook their own dishes using a range of ingredients and a heat source where appropriate. Each project is based on six essentials of good practice in Design and Technology: user, purpose, functionality, design decisions, innovation and authenticity - which will encourage the children to take a leading role in the innovative designing of products. Within these projects, children will also get to learn about key events and individuals within Design and Technology.

We ensure that Design and Technology makes a high-quality contribution to our broad and balanced curriculum. Our intention is to create fun, enjoyable and memorable learning experiences within Design and Technology that provides children with confidence in designing and adapting products and a secure foundation of subject knowledge and skills that they will take into Key Stage Three and beyond.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

Physical Education develops a child’s knowledge, skill and understanding, enabling them to perform with increasing competence and confidence in a range of physical activities. Our intent at Flax Hill Junior Academy is to provide children with a positive attitude towards a healthy lifestyle, so that they can make informed choices about physical activities throughout their lives.  We strive to provide children with a vast range of sporting opportunities through: lessons, after school clubs and intra and inter-school competitions.  At Flax Hill, we endeavour to find sports inclusive to all and create a love of physical education for life.

At Flax Hill, we are proud of our successes in sport. Entering a range of events across Tamworth and Staffordshire, gives children opportunities to reach their full potential. Since 2015, each year, Flax Hill has represented Tamworth at the Staffordshire School Games in a variety of sports. As well as this, through providing swimming lessons to Year 4 and Year 6, we compete in the Tamworth Swimming Gala annually. We are committed to providing competitive events for children to take part in; however, we fully understand that this is not what all children desire. At Flax Hill, we participate in and run a range of non-competitive events with rewards for all. Finding a sport or activity children love is our aspiration at Flax Hill. By doing this, it will make children ready for a physically active lifestyle when they come to leave whilst encouraging and teaching respect for others within in a safe environment.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Flax Hill Junior Academy, we believe that music is a vital part of a broad and balanced curriculum for our children, which is why we employ a qualified music specialist to teach music to all our children. Music is so engaging and can have such a positive effect on children by helping them to develop their concentration, coordination, memory and perseverance, as well as their confidence and their ability to express themselves. 

Singing is one of the most important parts of music-making at Flax Hill and we encourage all children in all year groups to find their voice through fun pitch games, vocal warm ups and songs, which form a central part of every music lesson. Singing is taught collectively and inclusively, so children feel comfortable and part of a team. We also know how important it is to give children the opportunity to learn to play musical instruments. The children will be taught to play the recorder in Year 3 and the Ukulele in Year 4, as well as having the chance to play various percussion instruments and to re-visit the Ukulele in Years 5 and 6. Year 5 and 6 pupils will also be given the opportunity to learn a brass instrument in small groups. To support their instrumental learning, pupils will be taught to read basic rhythm and pitch notation.

Music lessons at Flax Hill also give the children the chance to be creative, starting with simple rhythmic improvisations and compositions, and then progressing to more complex musically creative tasks as the children grow in confidence. Listening also forms an important part of the way music is taught, and we aim to expose the children to a rich variety of live and recorded music throughout their time at school, so they can start to develop an understanding of the history of music.  They will learn about the instruments of the orchestra, about how famous composers told stories through music, about music from other cultures and parts of the world, and about the music that is relevant to them and where it comes from.

We value music at Flax Hill and keep music at the heart of our school community and all children are welcome to join the school choir, who enjoy performing at lots of different occasions throughout the school year. We also aim for each year group to do a performance for parents at various points in the school year to showcase what they have been learning in their music lessons.

At Mercia Primary Academy Trust, everyone is valued and takes responsibility for the challenging learning that takes place.

At Flax Hill Junior Academy, the intent of our PSHE curriculum is to recognise that children and young people are growing up in an increasingly complex world and living their lives seamlessly on and offline. In a world where there are more challenges and risks, our children will be taught how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way.  PSHE is taught in a sensitive and inclusive way, with respect to the backgrounds and beliefs of our pupils and parents, and with the aim of providing pupils with the knowledge they need of the law. All our PSHE curriculum supports the wider work of our school in helping to foster pupil wellbeing and develop resilience and character that we know are fundamental to pupils being happy, successful and productive members of society. Central to this is our children’s ability to believe that they can achieve goals, both academic and personal; to stick to tasks that will help them achieve those goals, even when the reward may be distant or uncertain; and to recover from knocks and challenging periods in their lives.  This is complemented at our school, by the development of personal attributes including kindness, integrity, generosity, and honesty. Our PSHE curriculum is part of, and runs in conjunction with, policies on safeguarding / child protection, extremism, equality and diversity, relationships (including bullying and behaviour), online safety and confidentiality. A commitment to equality or diversity runs through the life of our school rather than being viewed as a ‘topic’ to be covered in PSHE alone.

The structure of our PHSE curriculum identifies learning opportunities based on three core themes: Health and Wellbeing; Relationships; and Living in the Wider World.

Forest School is the name for an approach to educating children in the outdoors on a regular basis. This work will support the main curriculum and will have a strong emphasis on raising all children’s self-esteem, independence and mental wellbeing. During these sessions, children experience all sorts of woodland activities that help them to build an understanding and appreciation of the woodland as well as learn together in a totally unique way. The activities are always hands-on and may require the use of a range of tools and will include team building skills, fire lighting, den building and using tools, as well as lots of discovery and explore.

SATs

Your child’s learning and development are closely monitored by a range of teaching and support staff throughout their life at the Academy. We do this to ensure they’re working at the expected level for their age and that their understanding and attainment of the curriculum is constantly improving.

As your child progresses through their primary education they will be required to take 2 SATs (Standard Attainment Tests), once at the end of Year 2 and once at the end of Year 6. These aren’t pass or fail examinations, instead, their aim is to test the current attainment level your child is working to along with the effectiveness of the teaching your child receives.

Year 6 SATs

The next official testing your child will complete is the SAT in May at the end of Year 6. This test is more formal and your child will have 45 minutes to complete the test which will include questions on core subject areas including English, Mathematics and Science. The Year 6 SATs papers are marked externally and you’ll learn the results of the test before your child leaves the Academy in July.

Information Leaflet for Parents - KS1 and KS2