At AJK we have a highly academic curriculum, founded on the belief that powerful knowledge will open up the world to our pupils, building cultural capital and giving them genuine choices in life.
Every adult who works at AJK believes in the limitless potential of all children: as such, we give every child access to the full breadth of the curriculum, including those with SEND. Our curriculum is accessible and ambitious for all students from start to finish, with extensive support in place to help children rise to our ambitious expectations of them.
We have three overarching curriculum priorities:
1. Powerful knowledge
We know that our children deserve and can handle a rigorous academic curriculum, regardless of their background and any difficulties they may face.
Reading broadens horizons and fosters aspiration, and we know that academic success is predicated on wide reading in all subjects. We have a rigorous reading strategy across the school, and all lesson plans have significant amounts of reading built into them.
We want our curriculum to celebrate and reflect the diverse groups of people who have contributed to each subject discipline, so that students can in turn feel inspired to change the world around them.
Our curriculum design is guided by the following principles:
- The curriculum is never finished. We must constantly review and revisit. The best teachers and the best schools practice curriculum planning regularly and review their plans systematically.
- Our curriculum is rich with powerful knowledge, and teachers have absolutely clarity on what students need to know both in the long term and at each stage of their education. The curriculum is sequenced to build pupil memory and cultural capital.
- In all lessons pupils are tasked to work hard and practice applying key knowledge deliberately.
- We believe in the power of the network and align our curriculum with Ark schools. We value and demonstrate the best of network thinking in our AJK curriculum and influence the network with our expertise and insight.
- Our curriculum is tailored to the needs of our pupils. We are intentional about closing gaps through responsive teaching and planning.
Impact & Assessment
Our teachers regularly assess what students know and can do so that we can measure progress against our curriculum aims and plan to close gaps. We are incredibly proud of our
pupils’ ongoing progress and resulting attainment in external examinations.
Our assessment framework follows these guiding principles:
- Formative assessment is the most important tool to check what students know.
- Curriculum drives assessment, not the other way around.
- Assessments can only ever test a sample of the domain.
- Assessment is a mechanism to test knowledge as well as to reinforce long term memory.
- The nature of assessment emphasizes the cumulative importance of the curriculum and the importance of long-term memory.
- Retrieval practice supports the development of cultural capital.
Our teachers regularly check for understanding during lessons. Every lesson at AJK starts with a 'Do Now' recap, where students recall key knowledge from the previous lesson as well as previous units. This supports retention as well as informs next steps in teaching and planning. Teachers also use 'intentional monitoring' in their lessons, where they strategically monitor students during independent practice to assess the extent to which they have mastered the most crucial concepts and skills of the lesson. Teachers also use a range of other techniques to check for understanding such as low stakes self-assessed quizzing, show call, cold call, and call and response.