The Quality of Education Statement 2020 - 2021
The Curriculum at Kings Priory School (KPS) endeavours to provide an education for life that spans all five key stages. Therefore, careful and age-appropriate consideration is regularly taken to ensure that our curriculum matches and serves, the current local, national and international needs. Being an all-through school provides us with an excellent opportunity to completely and truly embed our curriculum within our pupils. Bearing this in mind we apply our overarching curriculum intent carefully to each age range, whilst always considering the impact of that curriculum on our pupils.
Our Curriculum Intent is for Kings Priory School pupils to be respectful, tolerant and friendly young people, who are able to communicate their ideas confidently, using reading as a gateway to all areas of life and be a problem-solver. Our curriculum supports this intent.
Why we follow the curriculum we follow – what is the KPS curriculum ‘diet’?
Kings Priory School has a curriculum which reflects the context of the school. Established in 2013 the school has a curriculum which is built upon the strong academic legacy of the two predecessor schools (Priory Primary School and The King’s School, Tynemouth) which amalgamated to form the new school. The academic nature of the school is also founded on the local expectation to provide an appropriate, engaging and stimulating curriculum offering an academic pathway and opportunities for enrichment and to encourage the love of learning well past our walls. The curriculum followed also reflects the local context where there are well-established colleges providing more vocational courses and the two closest schools finish after Year 11 and therefore do not offer A Level courses.
We believe that the curriculum at Kings Priory School is much more than a set of subjects timetabled for pupils. The rationale of the curriculum is based upon a set of core values and core skills that we endeavour to foster in all our pupils from the earliest age. The rationale for this shown below:
Respect, tolerance and friendship are a distillation of a wider set of school values agreed upon by the key stakeholders (namely pupils, staff, parents and Academy Council) in the school during its initial establishment. The three core values underpin everything we do here at KPS and also reflect the current national agenda, as evidenced through the Government’s Educate Against Hate https://educateagainsthate.com/about/ which aims to protect children against radicalisation and extremism. The current national situation resulted in the three core values of respect, tolerance and friendship (a slight variation on the EAH campaign’s kindness) being adopted across the whole school curriculum at Kings Priory School.
Reading, communication and problem-solving are the three core skills promoted across the school. These were selected following consultation with key stakeholders and the three current core skills were introduced in April 2021. Key stakeholders, including the pupils from areas across the whole school felt that these skills were applicable to all age-ranges (albeit in different age-appropriate ways) and were transferable between all subjects. This enables us to provide a continuity for the individual pupil to develop these skills, during their time at Kings Priory School. Reading became one of the core skills in April 2021 and is seen as fundamental to all aspects of the curriculum and as creating a gateway for all our pupils in life. Reading is promoted across the school with pupils able to access range of reading opportunities, which are due to expand in 2021-22. Reading replaced reasoning in April 2021 with reasoning skills being amalgamated into problem-solving following strong feedback from staff. Communication replaced presentation as a core skill, as communication was promoted as a more inclusive core skill for pupils. In particular, there was support for this change to be made from our Additional Needs and Inclusion team, who identified that communication encompassed more opportunities for SEND pupils.
To equip Kings Priory School pupils to be able to be confident readers, able to communicate their ideas and solve problems, whilst being friendly, tolerant and respectful citizens was universally agreed as being our school curriculum’s aim and therefore provides much of the rationale for our curriculum.
Academic and Enriching curriculum
We believe that the appropriate pathway for our pupils is a stimulating and engaging academic route, especially given our location and continuing intake. There are high expectations and challenges built into the curriculum at all levels from EYFS to KS5.
The building blocks of our curriculum and the pupils learning begin in EYFS where we follow the national EYFS framework and then pupils move into primary years where the majority of what we deliver is underpinned by the Primary National Curriculum. As pupils hit KS3 they move into a preparatory stage of their education so they are given the best opportunity to follow an EBacc pathway at KS4.
Most pupils at KS4 follow an EBacc pathway with over 80% regularly taking this route and all pupils entitled to follow this route. A broad range of subjects are offered as choice, which follows on from the varied subject offer before this. The core values and core skills are knitted into the curriculum that is knowledge rich.
The curriculum at KPS intends to allow pupils access to a range of experiences both in and outside the classroom. This intention is to allow all pupils experiences that are beyond their everyday. The provision offers a wide-range of musical and sporting opportunities with pupils of all standards encouraged to participate. An extensive educational visits programme is promoted throughout the key stages with visits locally, nationally and internationally available. Careers education is a fundamental part of the curriculum too with adherence to the Gatsby Benchmarks being used as a measure to help support all our pupils onto their next stage of life after school.
All of these elements combine to create a curriculum which intends to nurture respectful, tolerant and friendly pupils, who able to play a positive role in society during their time at Kings Priory School and when they leave us.
Kings Priory School is one all-through school with one curriculum. The pupils here embark on a planned curriculum journey during their time at the school.
The Heads of School (Rebecca Watson & Phil Nicholson), the wider Senior Leadership Team and the Middle Leadership Team work together closely to ensure that the curriculum is one continuum from Reception to Year 13 and that any transition points are as smooth as possible. Pupils move through three distinct phases within the curriculum at KPS. The journey in each subject is carefully sequenced ensuring that all is co-ordinated and connected to build upon prior learning and prepare for future learning. Staff planning reflects the wider subject sequencing and the core values, core skills and careers are explicitly part of that planning. The whole school assessment schedule is published well in advance of each academic year and provides a consistency in assessment throughout the school. In lessons, staff build in assessment for learning into their practice to ensure that misunderstandings or misconceptions are identified and corrected before moving on. Individual subjects and/or phases will also hold summative and evaluative assessments to feed into the overall picture, which results in each individual pupil’s academic position being clear and thus future progress can be planned. A wide range of age-appropriate data is used to focus on pupils who would benefit from intervention to boost their progress.
Lesson time is divided differently across the different phases, for example EYFS uses a fluid approach to learning times where discrete sessions tend to be limited to literacy, numeracy and phonics; primary age classrooms use blocks of time split into morning and afternoon sessions intertwined with some shorter periods; and the timetable for Year 7 and above is taught in six, 55-minute periods each day. It is in these lessons/sessions where much of the curriculum time is allocated and a great deal, although not all, of the implementation of the curriculum happens. Time is planned by staff to ensure that lessons at KPS are positive, engaging, purposeful and impactful.
Home learning is a part of the curriculum and is there essentially to consolidate the learning in school, extend the learning in school and use the learning in school.
Across all phases of the curriculum pupil are provided with opportunities to be involved with after-school or lunchtime clubs. These diverse clubs range from climbing to gardening, reflecting the wide interests of the pupils at KPS. Indeed, many of the clubs exist because of the pupils’ own interest helping them become established.
From the earliest point at KPS both music and sport/physical activity are prominent features of the curriculum. Chances for pupils to be involved with music include: playing an instrument, joining a band or choir and performing in a show. Music is delivered by our specialist music staff right from Reception through to Year 13 allowing all our pupils the opportunity to experience and tap into the expertise from our musically trained department. In addition, we have nearly 400 peripatetic lessons taking place every week at KPS.
Our sporting provision sees pupils engaged in a vast range of team and individual sports at both a competitive and recreational level. Pupils in EYFS through to Year 4 have at least 2 hours of PE a week. This is supplemented by many other initiatives, including weekly Forest School and outdoor learning sessions, to promote being outdoors and the enjoyment of physical exercise. This focus continues on into Year 5 and Year 6 pupils where pupils have a weekly double PE lesson. Each year group from Year 7 upwards has a dedicated Games afternoon, in addition to their core PE lesson. In all phases all pupils are encouraged to take part. Subsequently our pupils regularly are everything from national standard musicians or sportspeople to those who simply want to play for fun.
The school has a rich and successful history as a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award provider with between 50-100 pupils regularly completing the Bronze award and many progressing through to the Gold award in Sixth Form. In recent years, KPS has been recognised by the National Citizenship Service as a Star School, winning the North Tyneside award in both 2017 and 2018 for pupil participation in Year 11. Both these programmes are another way in which our curriculum helps develop leadership qualities, in addition to those in school, such as our prefect system in both Year 8 and Year 13.
An extensive and structured careers programme runs throughout the school with age-appropriate engagement opportunities for pupils. Recently, KPS was one of a few schools in the region to become a pilot school for the Gatsby Benchmarks for Primary Schools. The school has strong links with local business and has its own Enterprise Adviser, who works in tandem with the school’s careers team to provide worthwhile employer links and experiences for pupils. Experience of the workplace programmes run in Year 10 and Year 12 and impartial careers advice is a cornerstone of the work with our Year 11s to help guide their post-16 choices.
As most Kings Priory School pupils start their curriculum journey in our Reception, the tone is set on the Percy Park Road site. The move into school itself is carefully managed, as is the transition between primary key stages and at the end of Year 4 across sites for Year 5 and beyond.
Phase One of the curriculum is ambitious, creative and imaginative, whilst challenging all pupils at whatever level they may be. High quality staffing is integral to our success in this area. We believe that pupils should be able to explain ‘why’ as well as ‘how’ something may happen or work. Pupils follow a Mastery Maths approach with this explicitly seen in lessons. Pupils are expected to explore their learning to ensure that they are building a depth along with wealth of knowledge and learning. Talk for Writing (TFW) is used across all year groups to allow pupils to access, learn and develop their writing skills. Reading is integral to our offer and we actively celebrate, promote and develop reading skills through a range of medium. We place great emphasis on the Joy of Reading and firmly believe that this access skill is fundamental in ensuring our pupils are able to make the most of their learning journey at school.
As a school we use Letters and Sounds to deliver our Phonics teaching. Reception use this as a basis to learn simple reading and writing skills and this can also then continue to be further seen in subsequent year groups to develop spelling and writing skills. In order to ensure relevance of curriculum and capture the attention of our learners we often use a thematic approach where children will have a focus for a term (for example: The Arctic or Great Fire of Newcastle) and where relevant the lessons will reference this across the curriculum. Themes are chosen to reflect local, national or international relevance whilst stimulating imagination and engagement. Subjects are recognised as geography or history, not as topic to build awareness for the pupil’s forthcoming curriculum journey. It is our belief that this allows pupils to develop ownership and ‘buy in’. In order to take advantage of outdoor learning we have currently placed Forest School in Reception - Year 4. This not only widens the learning experience, but also acts a transition for this key stage.