Hamford Primary Academy ensures that children get the very best opportunities to achieve the highest possible outcomes and that high quality learning is at the heart of everything we do. Our curriculum is built upon four pillars which are underpinned by our values of happy, helpful and honest.
At Hamford, we believe learning in life is not compartmentalised, therefore we endeavour to reflect this through the way we present our academic curriculum to the children.
In Reception, children begin learning through the integrated Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum with its three prime and four specific areas of learning and development:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
As they progress through Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 learning in English and Maths is based around the centrally created AET curriculums, whereas in all other areas we have devised our own skills overview. This consists of a set of core skills identified by both primary and secondary specialist teachers that children should develop through the learning stages of accuracy, fluency and mastery as they progress through Hamford.
Teachers plan creative and imaginative half-termly learning experiences which promote engaging opportunities and act as a vehicle for developing the academic skills. These experiences may take their inspirations from books, films, periods of history, geographical locations, works of arts, famous people, the children’s own interests or drama based simulations e.g. Mantle of the Expert.
Children strive to produce ‘Hamford Great’ learning; this is a level of excellence that they genuinely feel proud of as a result of putting in a high degree of effort. This relies on multiple drafting and receiving critique and feedback from peers, teachers and external experts.
Some of the greatest predictors of success in life are based on the development of certain characteristics or traits. In order to help the children at Hamford prepare for life in the 21st century, we instil such characteristics, habits of mind and learning attitudes. This includes building learning power, developing growth mindsets and promoting the 6 characters of Hamford:
These characteristics and attitudes are reinforced through our celebration assembly and by engaging parents using the MarvellousMe app and web portal, which teachers use to award children virtual badges for developing the six characteristics.
Further to developing character, we actively encourage children to develop their own passions within school hours in an attempt to unlock their ambitions and aspirations for the future world of work. This pillar has been inspired by Ken Robinson’s idea of ‘finding your element’ coupled with Sparky Teaching’s mantra of ‘finding your spark’: the passion or skill that everyone has and wants to spend time doing. As a result, at Hamford we have created Hamford University; a time children have dedicated to exploring, developing and presenting on their ‘element’ or ‘spark’.
Philosophy for Children
At Hamford we want our children to think for themselves by questioning and debating ideas and topics about which people can have different views. Children are given a stimulus, such as a picture, video, news item, object or opinion, upon which they create their own questions. The children use a democratic vote to decide which question will be explored further before the teacher facilitates a discussion where children have to reason and justify their views and opinions. This not only promotes higher levels of speaking and listening, but also an attitude of questioning and challenging others' opinions and ultimately the world in which we currently live and may live in the future.
Our curriculum has been inspired by the work of many different people and organisations, some of which are listed below:
Ron Berger; Guy Claxton; Pie Corbett; Clive Davies; Carol Dweck; Richard Gerver; John Hattie; KIPP Public Charter Schools, US; Chris Quigley; Ken Robinson; School21, Stratford, London, UK; Sparky Teaching; Stonefields School, Auckland, New Zealand and Paul Tough.