Excellence, Enjoyment & Enrichment
The NOPA Curriculum
All schools have a unique identity and at North Ormesby Academy we believe that we have created an outstanding friendly, caring and supportive environment that encourages our children to fully learn and develop into well-rounded pupils ready for the challenge of the 21st century.
Our children are very happy and feel safe in school. Our exceptionally talented staff team use all their expertise and experience to extend learning, creating challenges in a broad and balanced, experience-rich curriculum.
We try to abide by some fundamentals for our curriculum: Excellence, enjoyment and enrichment.
We want to develop children who are ready for the modern world – resilient problem solvers, able to communicate effectively and work as part of a team, managing themselves and others. These are the traits of ‘Tim’; our school ambassador, star pupil and the motivational target for all of our children.
Tim encourages pupils to have a positive attitude to develop resilience and determination in preparation for becoming a confident member of the local and wider community and achieve scholastic excellence.
Tim encourages pupils to achieve and gain the best possible outcomes through hard work, exemplary behaviour and a real love for challenge. He encourages pupils to become masters in everything they do and reminds them that 'practise makes permanent'!
We put ‘Tim’s Traits’ at the heart of our curriculum, ‘wrap’ them with the national curriculum and ‘coat’ with our topic theme, meaning when our children look at learning they see Jurassic Era, Florence Nightingale, The Land of Imagination etc.
Having a thematic approach helps teach all subject areas in a more cohesive way and helps with conceptual understanding for our children. Teachers can decide on any topic per phase. This means they can focus on current affairs, needs in the community, gaps in knowledge/experience or just those amazing things that children are interesting in!
Sometimes we have ‘whole school’ topics, where all year groups focus their learning around the same theme – recently, we’ve had whole school learning on The Romans, Dinosaurs, Space and WW1.
We like to start each topic in each phase with a ‘hook’ – we call this is a ‘remarkable event’. This could be a visit somewhere or a visitor to school. It could be something that happens on the school grounds or in the community. To start a range of topics recently, we had a mysterious landing at school – an old vintage treasure chest which has crash-landed on the school field, attached to a parachute!
On opening the chest together in assembly, we found a variety of strange items all linked to each phase’s topic theme – a great way to get a new topic started!
We want our school and curriculum to be as enthralling as possible, so to coincide with our school’s flexible seating approach, we try to make our classrooms as immersive as we can, bringing the topic to the children! We love turning our classrooms into mission control centres, having boats as seats and having igloos to do learn in! It’s not just the classrooms that get a makeover though; we have a wonderful ‘Magic Weaver’s Garden’ that the children can use for inspiration on any day!
We’ve looked at and embedded a range of curriculum teaching approaches like project-based learning, challenge-based learning, self-organised learning environments and R.E.A.L projects. We try to combine the best parts of research and theory, and apply them in a bespoke manner to our classes/children. We teach our Y5/6 pupils in our ‘ICE studio’, ‘ICE’ standing for independent, child-led, enquiry-based learning. Phase 3 also take part in an initiative we called #WorldAtWork, where our older children spend time with adults across different industries learning about employment and what’s possible for their futures. Recently, we took our team of ‘Digital Ambassadors’ to work alongside professional graphic designers at local e-commerce company Visualsoft – they spend the day designer a banner for Hugo Boss, with the best design going live on Psyche’s (clothing shop) website.
As an Apple Regional Training Centre, we work with 1:1 iPads from Y1 to Y6 – technology plays a huge part in our curriculum and allows our children to communicate, collaborative, create and evaluate very efficiently. Children spend much of their curriculum time design posters, producing videos, Keynote presentations, animations, games and more. This creativity and productivity means they are constantly synthesising the knowledge they are gaining, as well working on key skills.
We’re also avid users of VR – we now have around 50 headsets used daily across school. VR gives the children the opportunity to ‘experience the impossible’! They can walk alongside dinosaurs, experience first-hand what it is like to be an astronaut or see the depths of the darkest parts of the ocean!
A key aspect of our curriculum is celebrating the outcomes it brings. We hold ‘Inspire’ days in each class every half term so parents and carers can spend time in school, learning with their child(ren) and celebrating their success. We are also very active on Twitter and Facebook, and we produce ‘Excellence, enjoyment and enrichment’ videos for our school YouTube channel and website. Each class/phase also produced their own learning portfolio for each topic which showcases the excellent learning that has gone on. You’ll also find the children’s work on high quality displays throughout the school.