Normanton Altofts Junior School

Altofts Curriculum


At Altofts Junior School, we want pupils to be independent life-long learners, who are accepting and understanding citizens.  Our school is inclusive and child-centred; pupils take responsibility and show commitment and resilience in their learning.  We set high expectations, inspiring every pupil to excel across the breadth of our knowledge-rich curriculum and deepen their understanding.  Pupils are equipped with the tools to keep themselves mentally and physically healthy and self-regulating whenever they need it.  They understand the importance of being inquisitive and how this curiosity can broaden their understanding of the wider world.  This will lead them to an awareness of their future possibilities and prepare them exceptionally well for life beyond our school.


Our curriculum is designed taking into account the needs of our pupils; their prior learning and experience; the National curriculum; and the findings of educational research. It is built on the following six key drivers:

  1. Numeracy and literacy
  2. Oracy, Communication and vocabulary
  3. Independence & resilience: Understanding what it means to be a learner
  4. High aspirations
  5. Physical & Mental health and self-regulation
  6. Accepting and understanding of individuality and the wider world


Curriculum Intent


Having strong Numeracy & Literacy skills

Our core subjects provide pupils with the opportunity to secure the numeracy and literacy skills.  We place high importance on building on the early reading and phonics skills secured in the infant schools.  We expose children to rich, high quality texts throughout school to nurture a love of reading.  Small steps, regularly practised and built upon, together with time spent securing fluency and automaticity are designed to release cognitive load, allowing pupils to access the more complex concepts of the curriculum we offer.  Ultimately, this allows pupils to know more, remember more, understand more and attain more.


Being able to communicate effectively with confidence using precise vocabulary

Oracy is taught progressively across the curriculum providing pupils with the tools to express themselves effectively. We plan for pupils to explain, collaborate, present and debate within the curriculum and ensure everyone is valued and knows that their opinion is important. Specific vocabulary is chosen and explicitly taught across the curriculum to help understanding and communication of both substantive and disciplinary curriculum knowledge.


Foster a sense of resilience and independence

Our curriculum is delivered through our Teaching and Learning principles at the heart of which are metacognitive strategies. Pupils learn how to become self-regulated learners aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and able to motivate themselves to engage in, and improve, their learning. We want pupils to take responsibility for their learning and understand that they can learn from their mistakes which builds resilience. Pupils see the importance of re-drafting and critiquing their work in order to create the best outcome that they can possibly achieve: we strive to help pupils understand that with practice and determination, they can achieve amazing things, instilling a good work ethic for life.


Having high aspirations and an awareness of future options

Through our curriculum, pupils will become confident in their own potential and have high aspirations leading to high outcomes in attainment and progress.  This is delivered in a variety of ways: every child should campaign focusing on key life skills children should acquire and be exposed to; a range of educational visits and visitors to school with wider curriculum links allowing for real experiences and immersive learning; and links to future careers embedded into the curriculum along with explicitly themed events.  Exposure to these things provides pupils with ambition and aspiration to be life-long learners.  They have a readiness for the next stage of their education and beyond into adulthood.


Being physically & mentally healthy with the ability to self-regulate

In order to meet the needs of our diverse school community and the wider world, we teach our pupils how to recognise and respond to a range of emotions in ways that best support them through our PSHE curriculum. Having an understanding of themselves and the way their body may react in differing circumstances, ultimately increases self-esteem and self-awareness, as well as promoting empathy for others. This is supported through the work of our Learning Mentors. Our OPAL programme promotes well-being through play as well as self-regulation. Our PE curriculum and variety of after school sports clubs that run throughout the year promote physical health.


Being accepting and understanding of individuality and the wider world

We want our pupils to learn to understand and empathise with people who are both different and similar to themselves. We will teach children to learn to discuss their ideas and speak appropriately for themselves, advocate for others, challenge stereotypes and become resilient individuals. Pupils will learn about a range of cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds and that everyone should have equality of opportunity.  We teach our pupils to have empathy, respect and acceptance for the diverse range of people that they may encounter in the wider world.



Curriculum Implementation


Our curriculum is planned using the National curriculum as a basis, built on prior learning and sequentially structured to become the foundation upon which excellent learning and development is built. Our curriculum is implemented through our Teaching and Learning principles which are heavily based on the findings of educational research. This ensures that lessons are engaging and suitably scaffolded, enabling all pupils to access the curriculum content and able to spend the large majority of time in lessons striving to achieve the ambitious outcomes intended.

Our Teaching and Learning principles include:


  1. Flashback (Retrieval) –‘revisit and recall’ in each lesson to reactivate prior learning


  1. Big Picture – understanding the context and purpose of the learning and why it is important


  1. Sequential small steps – new material is presented in carefully sequenced small chunks to allow learning to be processed in the working memory and transferred to the long term memory.


  1. Adaptive strategies & Scaffolding – targeted support and challenge to ensure all children succeed


  1. Oracy – providing skills to communicate learning across the curriculum with clarity and confidence


  1. Modelling – high quality modelling is employed to enable children to create their own thinking and become independent learners


  1. Questioning – planned precise questioning is used to diagnose misconceptions, check understanding and prompt children to reflect on their learning


  1. Active Practice and Application – use of the I do, We do, You do principle with opportunities for both Guided and Independent practice in each lesson


  1. Assessment for Learning – Misconceptions and gaps are identified and addressed quickly


  1. Feedback – provided to ensure that children know what they need to improve and how to get there


The above principles are applied through the Altofts Lesson Framework which provides a clear lesson sequence, linked to educational research, which helps teachers to deliver all the elements of an effective lesson that maximises opportunities for learning.


  • Additional time is given to English and Mathematics to ensure that children have the essential skills needed for life and to access the full curriculum, especially harnessing Reading as a tool for independent learning across the curriculum.
  • Phonics is taught as a specific programme to those children identified as needing additional support following their move from KS1 feeder schools to help them access the KS2 curriculum.
  • Learning may take place in blocks of time to allow children to spend a focused block of time immersed in a depth of knowledge linked to particular subject area.
  • The curriculum is further enriched and boosted through the wide variety of extra-curricular activities that are available including music classes where they learn to play an instrument, Young Voices, sports coaching, craft and creative clubs.
  • We are committed to providing inspirational, real-world educational experiences through educational visits and visitors to school which enrich and enhance their learning experiences, deepen knowledge and understanding, increase skills and confidence and develop cultural capital.


Further detailed information in the form of Long and Medium Term Planning and Knowledge Organisers is available for each subject. (See individual subject areas). 


Curriculum Impact


Having strong Numeracy & Literacy skills

Our pupils will know more, remember more, understand more and achieve more and attain more.

Our pupils will make at least expected progress from their statutory assessment point with a growing number making better than expected progress to achieve excellence.

Our pupils will leave our school ‘secondary ready’.

Our pupils demonstrate automaticity in key skills, ensuring that they are able to focus on mastering the knowledge they are taught across the curriculum.


Being able to communicate effectively with confidence using precise vocabulary

Our pupils can confidently and appropriately use technical vocabulary, which is specific to each subject, to demonstrate their understanding of the curriculum knowledge.

Our pupils have an awareness of their audience and can adjust their presentation skills to meet this need.

Our pupils can confidently give reasoned opinions with evidence, justifying their point of view and explaining precisely.


Foster a sense of resilience and independence

Our pupils are resilient to the struggle that comes with learning something challenging and are prepared to help each other to achieve the ambitious outcomes set.

Our pupils know that with practise and perseverance, they can achieve amazing things, encouraging them to strive for this after they leave us.


Having high aspirations and an awareness of future options

Our pupils understand that often in life, to really create amazing outcomes, this takes time and revisiting – and this prepares them effectively for the world of work and a range of job opportunities.

Our pupils are motivated by the inspirational visitors they meet and read about, reminding them that their dreams are possible.


Being accepting and understanding of individuality and the wider world

Our pupils know that all people are unique and can explain what is special about themselves that they should celebrate.

Our pupils have respect, tolerance and empathy for everyone. They treat all equally and support each other to feel safe, valued and considered. This will influence their value in the community in later life.


Being physically & mentally healthy with the ability to self-regulate

Our pupils recognise the triggers which can make them feel dysregulated and can respond to this in an effective way to help manage their feelings at important times.

Our pupils can independently choose strategies that help them feel physically and mentally positive and healthy and happy when they need this.

Our pupils have empathy for others when it is clear they are finding something hard. They are able to help, or give them space, when it is needed.