We believe that every student, no matter their ability or background, can achieve well and build a bright future for themselves. We aim to improve the life chances of every student. Our curriculum provides the foundation for that success by developing the knowledge and attributes pertinent to their local and global communities in the 21st century.
The curriculum at ATAM Academy is underpinned by our school core values and British Sikh ethos. It is our mission to educate the whole child and to support students in becoming confident, productive, selfless, and ethical members of society. We teach our students that by drawing upon British and Sikh cultural traditions we can work towards a more harmonious and integrated Britain. Our academic and co-curriculum is inclusive, rich, balanced, and ambitious.
Our curriculum vision revolves around a coherent cycle of learning. This means our students have a deep and connective understanding of where they have come from, who they are and what they might become. Underpinning this is are our core values and British and Sikh ethos. We want out students to belong to their community and become skilled citizens who will shape a hopeful, compassionate, thriving future for themselves and others.
The Seven Sikh values are:
- SAT TRUTH
- SANTOKH ALTRUISM
- DAYA COMPASSION
- DHARAM SERVICE
- HIMMAT COURAGE
- CHARDI KALA RESILIENCE
- PYAAR LOVE
Our curriculum is accessible to all students and is planned to ensure everyone can enjoy their experiences and make visible progress, no matter their ability. We equip our staff with the resources to ensure that barriers to learning are removed and all students are suitably challenged and supported. Literacy and numeracy are prominent within our curriculum as these provide a gateway to acquiring core curriculum and wider knowledge.
Our curriculum is focussed upon providing students with an enriched educational experience, drawing upon both the EYFS, primary and secondary National Curriculum objectives to enhance students’ life chances by embedding cultural capital throughout their academic journey. We empower students to use an enriched vocabulary enabling a better understanding of concepts and ideas and facilitating access to knowledge beyond their ordinary daily experiences.
Our curriculum draws upon the rich Sikh cultural traditions and British values to reflect and celebrate diversity. Equality is a central tenet of the Sikh faith, and our personal development curriculum emphasises this. Through our planned personal development and co-curriculum, we seek to develop young adults of strong moral character. We encourage staff to organise educational visits and develop the depth of their teaching to enhance the quality and enjoyment of the learning both in and outside of the classroom. We provide a range of extracurricular opportunities to support the development of our students' character and prepare them for life as balanced, happy, well-rounded individuals, who can succeed in whatever they apply themselves to.
Excellence and Ambition
Our curriculum is knowledge rich enabling students to know more and remember more. It is designed with both vertical (within a subject) and horizontal (across subjects) integration of skills. Students are encouraged to draw out conceptual links between subjects, honing their analytical, literacy and numerical skills. We expect all our students to strive for excellence in all that they do. Our ambitious and integrated careers curriculum supports students in achieving long term goals and maintaining long term academic and co-curricular commitments.
Through our focus on British Sikh values our curriculum teaches our students to become honest, selfless, compassionate, contributing, courageous, resilient, and caring members of society. We encourage our students to see themselves as citizens and not subjects, to have the confidence to lead not simply follow, and to develop an understanding of their spirituality, community and personal responsibility enabling them to shape both their own destiny and the destiny of others. Our personal development curriculum and enrichment programme teaches students to treat one another with compassion and humility, and to respect the world around us. It supports students so that they can develop and look after their own physical and mental well-being.
CURRICULUM AIMS 2020-22
To achieve the curriculum aims outlined above the school has prioritised three aims for focussed development during for the 2020-21 academic year. Whilst all elements of the curriculum are important, these three aims are considered critical and foundational to the development of the curriculum at this juncture.
- The embedding of the new key stage three curriculum
- The development of the primary curriculum
- The embedding of learning science and pedagogy (long term memory)
- The development of cross curricular literacy
Curriculum Aims 1,2 and 3
In November 2020 ATAM Academy began the ongoing process of curriculum review. This involved a review of all key stage 1, 2 & 3 National Curriculum required knowledge and skills, the sequence of teaching and the embedding of learning science to ensure knowledge taught is learnt, reviewed, and is secured in the long-term memory. The resulting long and medium-term curriculum plans outline the carefully planned sequence of learning.
Subject leaders have defined the key concepts that underpin core and subject specific learning and have interwoven these to deepen learning. The increasingly complex sequence of learning challenges students to make connections within the subject enabling them to build a sophisticated understanding of the core knowledge and concepts. Each unit of study is divided into distinct components and builds towards a complex activity bringing together the constituent parts into compound knowledge. We are now evaluating and reviewing our curriculum plans with a view to developing increased horizontal integration of numeracy and literacy skills across the foundation subjects.
Assessment and Reteaching
Students’ understanding and ability to recall accurately are assessed throughout the units of study. The information gathered through frequent low stakes recall and formative assessment activities and formalised summative assessments are used to inform the planning of regular reteaching weeks. Reteach weeks are used to reteach areas of the curriculum students find challenging or have difficulty recalling. Reteach weeks are used to recap learning and embed the foundational knowledge required for students to effectively progress onto the next units of study.
Memory and Retrieval
Our curriculum is deliberately designed to ensure that the knowledge learnt by students is stored in their long-term memory, allowing them to build upon it in order to develop secure schema. We are beginning to implement the use of interleaving, spaced retrieval practice, repeated purposeful practice setting homework that revisits older content and the use knowledge organisers for each distinct unit of study.
Our new long-term curriculum plans for key stages 1, 2 and 3 can be found on our school website.
Curriculum Aim 4
Literacy is a critical element of our curriculum. It is of particular importance in enabling students to be able to access learning in all subjects and make good academic progress throughout their education. and in improving outcomes for disadvantaged children. Literacy is taught in all academic subjects and through a range of reading and intervention strategies
Vocabulary and Disciplinary Literacy
Disciplinary literacy emphasises ways of knowing and communicating knowledge within a subject discipline. It helps students understand how language works in different subject areas and supports their understanding of:
- how vocabulary is used
- how question phrasing will shape the answer expected
- how to interpret the written and graphic materials used for learning.
Our curriculum planning identifies the tier two (general academic) and three (subject specific) vocabulary that is taught in lessons. A range of direct and indirect instructional strategies are used to teach disciplinary literacy. These include, but are not limited to, supplying illustrations, descriptions and examples of vocabulary use, and teaching grammatical forms, roots, and affixes of words.
From the Summer term 2021 students will follow the Accelerated Reader programme, which encourages rapid progress in literacy and confidence in reading for pleasure. All students in key stages 2 and 3 undergo a reading age assessment each term. The English department and Literacy Lead look at reading ages and scales reading scores with the SENCo and Deputy Headteacher Assessment and Curriculum to quickly identify students who need extra intervention to improve their literacy levels.
Dependent upon need, there are a range of specialist interventions we use to support our students in improving their literacy at an early stage of their education. These interventions include, but are not limited to, phonics intervention, vocabulary, and grammar boosters.
For further information about reading at ATAM Academy please go to the reading page via the curriculum section of our website.
THE ATAM CURRICULUM
All stages of education at Atam Academy are underpinned by the Seven British Sikh Values
Our commitment to spiritual, moral, social, and cultural education is embodied in the vision and ethos of the school. Students embrace the core values of the school and are mindful of one another’s views, demonstrating tolerance to differences in opinions. We encourage students to be reflective learners, showing curiosity and a thirst for knowledge to improve as individuals. This enables them to develop holistically and become active participants in modern British life.
We promote students’ spiritual, moral social and cultural development in a variety of ways:
- PSHE lessons and drop-down days
- the personal development curriculum
- carefully planned and integrated assemblies and form time activities
- the subject curriculum including compulsory religious education at KS1-3
- excellent pastoral support and guidance systems
- our careers and work-related learning programme
- cultural and religious celebration days
Equality is promoted through our spiritual, moral, and social education programmes. All students are aware of different forms of bullying, including cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying (including all protected characteristics).
The spiritual development of students is promoted through our religious education lessons, Sikh studies, spiritual and secular assemblies, and tutor time. Students are taught the value of service for others, no matter their background, and they exhibit respect for others' faiths, feelings, and values. Spirituality and moral education are also promoted through our values of the month which are embedded in tutor time, and all assemblies during that month. Twice a year during the celebration of Bandi Chor Diwas and Vaisakhi, students and staff participate in a range of religious and cultural activities that encourage them to reflect upon their own spirituality and the school’s values and ethos.
The moral development of students is promoted through tutor time and our assembly programme. A broad range of topics is investigated each year under themes which promote British and Sikh values such as honesty, compassion generosity, humility, integrity, and service. The school’s values of the month provide a shared language for talking about moral issues. Assemblies are delivered by senior leaders, middle leaders and students as well as visiting speakers. Students are able to reflect on the difference between right and wrong. They are equipped to consider their own moral decision-making through a focus on restorative justice and rewards for positive conduct integrated into our culture for learning and reward systems.
The social development of students is promoted through our student leadership, student voice and enrichment programmes. Students are encouraged to participate in the many varied opportunities to develop their leadership skills. All students are encouraged to apply for positions in the school council. Students frequently lead both spiritual and secular assemblies and have many opportunities to develop their public speaking. Charitable fund raising is an important part of school life and students frequently raise money for good causes during religious celebrations and national fundraising events.
The cultural development of students is promoted through our rich and balanced curriculum. All students study a full range of creative subjects including Art, Music, Drama, and Technology, allowing them to engage their imaginations and be creative in their learning. Teachers are encouraged to provide a range of learning opportunities, trips and visits to enhance and deepen their understanding of their academic subjects and the world outside of their direct experience. The explicit planning for opportunities to develop Cultural Capital both in the academic and wider curriculum is particularly important in broadening the horizons of our most disadvantaged students. We make use of our Pupil Premium grant to allow all our students no matter their background to participate in learning experiences they may not ordinarily encounter.
The EYFS programme follows the DFE statutory framework. The framework seeks to provide a secure and consistent educational foundation that meets the need of each child. The EYFS curriculum is shaped by seven areas of learning and development:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal social and emotional development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive art and Desi
Key Stage 1 & 2
Students follow the full programme of national curriculum subjects. They also follow compulsory Religious Education and Sikh Studies Subjects are taught as distinct separate disciplines. In addition to distinct lessons, the core skills of numeracy and literacy are embedded into all foundation subjects.
For further information on reading in the primary phase please visit the reading page in the curriculum section of our website.
Key Stage 3
Students follow a three-year Key Stage 3 in years 7, 8 and 9. Our knowledge rich Key Stage 3 curriculum follows the national curriculum programme of study for all national curriculum subjects. In addition to the national curriculum subjects, students also study compulsory Religious Education and Sikh Studies.
For further information on reading in the secondary phase please visit the reading page in the curriculum section of our website.
All students study:
- Physical Education
- Computer Science
- Design and Technology (students will study resistant materials, food and textiles)
- Spanish or Panjabi
- Religious Education
- Sikh Studies or Citizenship