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Curriculum and Assessment

Paper copies of information on the website are available on request, for free, from our school office.

Our vision is to develop inclusive schools that promote and achieve excellence and that nurture the values, confidence and skills of pupils, staff and the community to meet the emerging opportunities of the 21st century.

At South Essex Academy Trust, all pupils are treated as individuals.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.  Personalised learning is our aim, giving the children the education they need and want.

  • Learning is active, hands on, engaging and fun.
  • We aim to inspire children to take a risk, challenge themselves, ask critical questions and develop life-long skills through first hand learning experiences.
  • We facilitate children to take control of their own learning, adapt their own challenges and develop into active, critical learners, in readiness for their onward journey.

Every learner is provided with the opportunity to access a rich, varied and challenging curriculum that inspires and enables every pupil to fulfil their potential and contribute positively to shape their own destiny and contribute to a better world. We teach all leaners what it means to be a British citizen and the values that this entails.

  • Tolerance of other faiths;
  • Rule of the Law;
  • Respecting Institutions;
  • Combatting discrimination;
  • Individual Liberty;
  • Democracy.

These British Values are central to the learning experience we offer.  We also aim to include our trust values across the curriculum, giving our pupils the opportunity to develop the skills we attach such great value to:

  • Collaboration;
  • Challenge;
  • Perseverance;
  • Innovation.

The SEAT Approach

The guidance issued by DfE with the updated National Curriculum, which came into force in September 2014 has emphasized the opportunities for schools to develop their own approaches to the school curriculum, and how it is organised and taught.

We are developing a thematic approach which focuses not only on foundational knowledge but also on five other significant learning taxonomies, inspired by the Significant Learning model (L. Dee Fink, PhD).  There is evidence that teaching subject knowledge and skills as part of a wider curriculum allows pupils to make useful links between areas of learning, and consolidate subject specific skills.

Through this approach we strive for our children to develop life-long skills across 5 significant learning taxonomies:

  • Learning to learn.

What children learn about how to learn, how to be good students, how to become a self-directed learner.

  • The Human Dimension.

What students learn about themselves and others.

  • Application.

Critical, Creative, Practical Thinking.

  • Integration.

The connections, similarities and interactions that children recognise and make.

  • Caring.

The changes/ values that children will adopt e.g. feelings, interests.

We encourage all pupils to have a positive ‘Growth Mindset’ which ensures that they have a willingness to learn from mistakes and are willing to have a go, and they will be able to elaborate this positive attitude to learning. Through this, we encourage them to achieve a mastery of subject specific skills by;

  • Perseverance, particularly when they find a concept challenging;
  • Embracing challenges and innovating ways to problem solve;
  • Asking good questions so that they can become critical learners who problem solve and demonstrate deeper levels of understanding;
  • Showing resilience;
  • Evaluating and critiquing;
  • Taking learning risks, challenging themselves and others to be better learners;
  • Believe in themselves to achieve success;
  • Learn from others and the world around them;
  • Encourage their own independence;
  • Show determination to succeed;
  • Be enterprising and willing to take responsibility.

We try to enrich learning through trips and visits, along with theme days throughout the year linked to either British Values or to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. These trips, visits and themes underpin the topics and set the children’s learning into real life contexts, helping them to make sense of it.

Please see the Curriculum Policy and Map for details of how the national curriculum is implemented at Parkwood Academy.

If you would like any more information on our school curriculum please do not hesitate to contact a member of the school senior leadership team who will be happy to answer your questions.

Parkwood Academy Curriculum Policy

Parkwood Academy Assessment Policy



English lessons are taught on a daily basis with the skills learnt reinforced throughout their theme work in other subjects. This gives the children practical experiences of using the skills in real-life situations and enables them to understand the purpose behind their learning. Children use a mixture of scheme and real life books to develop their reading skills and they take home books on a daily basis in order to further practice their reading skills with a parent / adult. This is really important as it enables the children to make sustained progress and involves the adult in their progression.

Guided reading takes place throughout the week and reading skills are developed through additional reading comprehension activities and games. The children will develop independent reading strategies as well as working with an adult during guided reading sessions. Children in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 develop their phonic skills through daily sessions following the Letters and Sounds Scheme. Writing is taught in Literacy lessons and supplemented through work in guided groups where key skills are emphasised. Once fortnightly children take part in the ‘Big Write’, where they have the opportunity to write independently for a sustained amount of time. They are taught key skills to edit and improve this work using self and peer assessment techniques in the following sessions. We follow the Nelson handwriting scheme and a joined script is introduced once the children’s letter formation has been fluent.

Every opportunity is used to encourage children’s speaking and listening skills through group discussions, assemblies, story time and productions. The children will sometimes be given homework tasks that involve talking with their families about issues.


We aim to encourage each child to achieve their full potential in mathematics through an enjoyable, balanced, stimulating and creative approach. Mathematics lessons take place daily. Direct teaching using a variety of styles, such as the interactive whiteboard, is used to introduce and further develop skills and concepts, and the children are encouraged to learn number facts mentally, and use mathematical vocabulary.

They learn how to problem solve in a range of contexts and do mathematical investigations. The children are encouraged to share ideas and strategies with their peers.


We aim to help children understand that Science is a special way of investigating themselves and the ways in which the physical world around them works. In order that we may succeed in our aims, children are taught skills such as fair testing and observation. The teaching of Science in the National Curriculum is organised under Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Children will develop working scientifically whilst finding out about scientific concepts of key areas including plants, animals, materials, living things and their habitats, light, sound, etc.

The Foundation Subjects – Computing

There has been an explosion in the use of ICT in everyone’s lives and primary education is no exception. We have a large suite of computers to enable children to be taught as a whole class and this is proving to be an effective way of children learning the basic skills and using these across the curriculum. The children follow the National Curriculum for Computing and are able to access a filtered internet on a regular basis. Every classroom is connected to the internet to enable children to access it from the classroom and use ICT as a tool in every subject area. We have a bank of tables which are used within the classroom to support learning in other areas of the curriculum.

History and Geography

Children cover all aspects of History and Geography as demanded by the National Curriculum. This is often done through a thematic approach which allows a variety of stimulus, such as historical artefacts and school visits to be used. This is designed to engage the children in their learning. We are always looking for artefacts and interesting items and your donations to our resources would be very much appreciated.

Art and Design and Technology

We like to display our art work around the schools. Many of the drawing, painting and printing skills are developed through the work in other subjects, making it extremely relevant to the children’s learning in this way. Children are encouraged to evaluate and describe their artistic compositions as well as the compositions of others. Children are given opportunities to use a range of artistic media during their studies and they develop a wide knowledge of different artistic techniques.


Children are encouraged to compose, perform and listen to different kinds of music. All children also participate in weekly singing sessions. Throughout the year, they are given opportunities to work towards a large scale performance. We have a newly established Choir. Children study the work of various modern and classical composers during their music lessons.


We must emphasise that it is our policy for children to take part in games in all weathers apart from very extreme conditions. It is very important that your child comes to school on games days, prepared for outside activity in weather which may be wet, cold, windy or muddy!

Children develop their physical skills through indoor and outdoor games, gymnastics and movement and dance. Some PE lessons are taken in the hall where there is a wide range of gymnastic apparatus for the children to work with. The school’s scheme of work allows for progression and continuity. Games are taken outside on the playground or the field. Great emphasis is placed on team work, sportsmanship and an understanding of the competition. We take part in inter school competitions including District Sports and the Netball and Football leagues.

Religious Education

Religious Education is part of the basic curriculum of the school, as set out in the Education Act 1996 and the Schools Standards and Framework Act 198, and is recognised as part of the core entitlement. It must be taught to all pupils enrolled in statutory education from age five. However, parents have the right to withdraw their child(ren) wholly or partially from the teaching of Religious Education but will need to discuss this with the Headteacher. The time allocation expected for each key stage should be:

·         Key Stage 1 – 36 hours per annum

·         Key Stage 2 – 45 hours per annum

In the Foundation Stage, Religious Education is not taught discreetly but is planned and incorporated into the six main areas of learning in the curriculum. Positive images in books and displays help to challenge children’s thinking and help them to embrace differences in ethnicity and religion. Children also learn to form positive relationships in a setting that supports mutual respect, celebrates and acknowledges differences.

Key Stage One and Two pupils are taught following a scheme of work (RE Matter for Every Child 2009) developed by Essex Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE). In Key Stage One children learn about, and from, religion with the main emphasis being on personal development, stories, festival and celebrations.

Key Stage Two children develop their knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs and practices with particular reference to all six of the main world religions as well as Humanism in Year Six. Religious occasions are also celebrated during assembly times and special days such as Chinese New Year.

Personal, Social and Health Education

Under the umbrella of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), we develop pupil knowledge and understanding of themselves and the world around them. We provide them with opportunities to learn about and discuss issues relating to friendships and relationships, healthy lifestyles, growing up, drug educations, safety and citizenship and Sex and Religious Education (SRE).

“Sex and Relationship Education SRE is lifelong learning about sex, sexuality, emotions, relationships and sexual health. It involves acquiring information, developing skills and forming positive beliefs, values and attitudes. Sex Education Forum

SRE begins with Relationships in Reception and progresses, appropriately, with each year to Year 6. SRE should empower young people, build self- esteem, offer a positive and open view of sex and support sexual self-acceptance and mutual respect.

Planning for SRE also requires an understanding of young people’s needs. Knowing about aspects of SRE does not, on its own, ensure a young person’s personal safety and sexual health. Good SRE should help pupils to develop the personal skills they will need if they are to establish and maintain relationship s and make informed choices and decisions about their health and wellbeing.

Parents have the right to withdraw their child from part or all of sex education that does not form part of the statutory National Curriculum. Please contact the Headteacher if you would like to discuss this.


Children in Years 3 – 6 are taught French as part of the school curriculum. Weekly sessions are provided for the whole class which cover topics around numbers, colour, food, the home and weather.