Our Exciting Curriculum
At Matford Brook Academy, have the highest of aspirations for our pupils. We want every child to have the opportunity to proceed to university or another aspirational equivalent. Our curriculum is the foundation for this, one which is unashamedly academic, broad and balanced and introduces them to the very best that has been thought, said, crafted, played and debated.
The principles that underpin our curriculum design are:
All-through, backwards-planned sequencing
Sequenced from the end-point of the school at Year 11 and planned backwards to the early years, our curriculum ensures that learning builds on what has come before. We ensure that all children have a pathway to study the subject at post-16 and higher education.
Our staff operate as an all-through team, knowing the ambitious end-point for all children and how what is being taught builds on what came previously.
Ambitious and scholarly
Academic, rigorous and challenging, our curriculum ensures that complex threshold concepts and tier 2 and 3 vocabulary are taught from all entry points (Reception and Year 7). We know that, in our classrooms, are future experts in each subject area; we also believe that children have the right to develop a lifelong love, passion and curiosity for learning. We believe that children have the right to a first class curriculum.
We consider our pupils’ career pathways and embed this throughout their studies. Our curriculum is planned ‘to the top’ with teachers, through their enactment, adaptively working to scaffold for all learners to succeed.
In providing the foundation for our aspirations for every child – to progress to university or another aspirational equivalent –our curriculum ensures pupils have the substantive, disciplinary and procedural knowledge carefully mapped and sequenced in each subject area, building the schema they need to thrive at school and beyond.
The threshold concepts, those required to be fully understood in order to progress, reinforce and build upon as pupils progress, are embedded throughout the curriculum. We believe that children are entitled the powerful knowledge required to be highly successful in national assessments and to foster children’s curiosity in their learning – it is exciting to know!
Beyond known experience
Rooted in a rich foundation of local, national and global context, our curriculum ensures that children recognise the communities which they belong to. With consideration of our rich local community, as well as deliberate choices to introduce concepts beyond known experience, our curriculum connects each subject as a discipline, with our pupils beginning their journey of exploring and, eventually, being able to contribute to the field.
Our pupils develop a sense of their own identity, as well as developing a profound respect for the nationalities and cultures of others, especially in Modern Britain.
Our curriculum design is informed by the cognitive science work of Daniel T. Willingham. Our staff engage with CPD which ensures a strong understanding of how our curriculum can create long-term memory of core knowledge, cemented by planned, systematic revisiting. We expect our curriculum to have context, linking to and building on prior learning and connecting
We are proactive in planning opportunities for children to have an enriched experience of each subject that they study. Whether this is through purposeful, planned trips & excursions, through our commitment to careers education from primary, all-through, or through our developing extra-curricular programme, enrichment is available and encouraged for all children with a particular focus on strategies to support key sub-groups (such as pupils with SEND or in receipt of PP).
Curriculum by phase
Early Years (Nursery, Preschool & Reception)
The EYFS are crucially important, forming as they do the foundation for children’s future in all areas of their development. This is the heart of our vision as a school: their experience as two, three and four year olds in our Nursery, Preschool and Reception shapes their ongoing educational experience.
We describe Early Years at Matford Brook Academy as Chapter One of our all-through school, the beginning of 'writing our story'.
We are committed to an exceptional, high quality experience with the most highly qualified people working with our youngest children. We will invest in ongoing professional development that ensures that our provision at Matford Brook Academy supports every child to have the strongest foundation for progressing within school.
We are committed to the following in Chapter One:
- A broad and balanced curriculum to give children a range of knowledge and skills needed for great progress through school and life;
- Quality and consistency in teaching and learning so that no child gets left behind;
- Close, proactive relationships between staff and with parents/carers, including home visits before they start in Nursery/Preschool or Reception;
- Every child supported and included.
Our children in EYFS have a purpose-built, state of the art space with bespoke classrooms for Nursery, Preschool and Reception.
Children in these classes follow our EYFS curriculum, which gives children a broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundations for good future progress through school and life. Our curriculum is language rich and each of our topics uses inspiring stories and nursery rhymes to underpin the learning that will take place. Children learn and hone new skills and knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through seven areas of learning and development.
We place particular emphasis on reading and oracy: we want every child to be enthusiastic, confident and expressive readers and speakers to continue through their school career.
Our phonics is taught using the Little Wandle Letters & Sounds programme.
In Primary, we invest in:
- A broad, balanced and enriched curriculum offer throughout with subjects taught both discretely (i.e. History, Geography) and with carefully interwoven sequencing so that our subjects connect wherever possible
- Significant time in reading, writing and mathematics to ensure every child attains the level required to progress with strength across the curriculum
- Significant allocation for learning Spanish so that every child has the opportunity to learn another language
- Significant, sustained allocation for RE and PSHE – our ‘MBAcc’ or Matford Brook Baccalaureate – reflecting our dedication to SMSC, British Values and children’s personal development
As children progress through the primary phase, they will receive teaching from subject specialists and in specialist classroom settings. This is one of the unique and exciting elements of joining an all-through school! For example, Science from Year 5 upwards will take place in fully equipped Science laboratories, Spanish will be taught by a subject expert and annual performances will be held in our state-of-the-art theatre space.
Our curriculum overviews for each subject will be published closer to our opening date and in summer 2024.
At Secondary, we invest in:
- A broad, balanced and enriched curriculum offer throughout KS3
- Significant English, Maths & Science allocations to secure core knowledge at the entry point
- Significant allocation for Spanish as every child’s right to learn a language
- Empowered choice in Year 9 through an option to study French as a second language, alongside Spanish, and through our Electives programme (a selection of different enrichment opportunities built into the main curriculum)
- Significant, sustained allocation for RE and PSHE – our ‘MBAcc’ or Matford Brook Baccalaureate– reflecting our dedication to SMSC, British Values and children’s personal development
When our inaugural cohort reaches Year 9 and their GCSE Options, we will work with our pupils to ensure that their Options choices are reflective of the ambitious and academic curriculum we aspire to for every child.
Our longer school day, from 8.30am to 4pm (Monday to Thursday; 8.30am to 2pm on Friday) is deliberately designed to provide the opportunity for breadth and depth to explore each subject area.
Our school day is designed to include specific sessions for reading for pleasure and refection, called Prologue and Epilogue, which are the book-ends for the day. We believe in providing this dedicated time so that all children can reflect on their successes across the day and plan for their next day ahead.