At Ark Chamberlain, we want our children to develop a love of learning and experience a rounded education. We ensure every year group covers a broad and balanced curriculum which engages the children. Every day, maths, writing and reading will be taught, as these are core subjects and very important to children’s development.
In addition to this, we teach topic-which covers geography and history, PSHCE- which involves children’s personal, social and health education, RE, computing and Spanish.
We are incredibly lucky to have specialist teachers to deliver PE, music, art and science. These subjects are taught once a week and give the children a wealth of opportunities to extend their learning.
If you would like to find out more about the new curriculum, you can find a helpful guide here
Our primary curriculum is designed to prepare children for secondary school and for the national curriculum tests in English and mathematics taken in their final year with us. By catering to children’s different strengths, aptitudes and interests, we aim to make sure that every child achieves their full potential. In addition we utilise the power of the world wide web to enhance your child’s learning experience and give them access to a global community.
The core curriculum at Key Stages 2 (years 3 – 6) comprises:
We focus on speaking and listening, reading and writing fluently using the correct syntax, spelling and grammar. We use a number of different programmes of learning to support your child, all of which are proven to be effective. We also provide parents with links to useful materials, so they can help children at home. Every child will be given access to an internationally proven online reading and comprehension support programme called Lexia. We want all our children to love reading and we know that the outstanding library facilities within the school, as well as a focus on talking about what we are reading for pleasure will help to develop their reading passion.
Reading and Phonics
The children are grouped in Read Write Inc groups, once they have completed the RWInc programme they move to a reading group where they cover inference and deduction skills. They study one text for the whole week then spend a day looking at language, then three days focusing on the KPIs. Friday is a read for pleasure day.
All Ark schools specialise in mathematics – our children study using the Abacus programme of learning. Mathematics is increasingly taught using the methods successfully developed in the Far East which gives children a strong grasp of the basics of mathematics that they can then apply successfully in a number of different contexts. Every child will also have access to an internationally award-winning online mathematics tutorial programme called Maths Whizz.
Science stimulates and excites children’s curiosity about the world around them, linking practical experience with ideas. Children undertake experiments and investigations through which they acquire and develop scientific knowledge, skills and understanding through a series of topics.
Children also study these foundation subjects:
- Art and Design
- Design Technology (DT)
- Modern Foreign Language
- Physical Education (PE)
- Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE)
- Religious Education (RE)
We teach history, geography, design and technology and art through a creative and themed approach using the Cornerstones Curriculum.
All children will learn the basics of how a computer works and how to produce simple computer code. We use the multi-award winning ‘Switched on Computing’ curriculum to deliver this. Children have wide access to computers throughout the academy to practice their skills.
Modern Foreign Language
Our chosen language is Spanish and we use a fun approach to learning both the language and culture. We teach Spanish because it provides a good basis for learning any European foreign language in secondary education. In addition, research has shown that when it comes to education, primary school-aged children process information in a variety of ways in order for it to make sense to them. They process information on levels that are different than adults and can be taught a variety of subjects. Learning to speak Spanish is no different as they will retain what they have learned with greater accuracy. Giving a child a head-start in today’s world by speaking Spanish can be beneficial in a number of ways and an improvement in literacy levels.
DT – Textiles. All year groups will explore Shibori shape-resist textiles techniques: the art of folding geometric shapes, generating angles and motifs to create tie-dye patterns.
Art - Year 3 will experiment with texture and make simple wooden blocks for printmaking looking at the work of Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai best known for his iconic print, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” This work will be linked to storytelling and will form part of a series of projects started last term entitled, “Every Picture Tells a Story”.
Art - Year 4 will create spider sculptures using wire and mod roc explored through ink and charcoal drawings, and inspired by French artist Louise Bourgeois. The project will be linked to Science and Mary Howitt's poem, "The Spider said to the Fly".
Art – Year 5 will consider the role of an older family member. Children will identify a person over 60 and create a photographic montage and/or portrait in images and words of their life and worldly experiences. Children will look at interviewing and writing techniques.
Art – Year 6 will focus on a 'Respect & Freedom' project looking at Ramadan and the month of fasting followed by celebration. Children will take part in a dance workshop looking at celebration through movement, producing drawings of the body in motion.
Music at Ark Chamberlain sees a broad and balanced curriculum with interactive, innovative and fun activities. Children engage with music- specific vocabulary and really understand what it is to be a great musician. Children have countless opportunities to perform individually and in groups on a range of instruments within a range of styles and genres. These include music from Jamaica, Rap and Hip Hop, Pop music, music from Africa, Gamalan, music technology, Djing just to name a few. Children have the chance to learn to sing, play Ukeleles, keyboards, Guitars, Drums and a range of percussion.
As well as all of these wonderful opportunities within lessons, Ark Chamberlain has invested in extra instrumental lessons which are provided by the Birmingham Music Service. Experienced instrumental peripatetic teachers come in on a weekly basis to teach individuals a musical instrument. We currently teach Piano, Guitar, Clarinet, Flute and Drums. These instrumental lessons are provided for over 60 children within the academy.
As well as instrumental lessons being offered, there is also an array of extra-curricular activities provided. These include a year 3 and 4 choir, which runs on a Monday lunch time, a year 5 and 6 choir, which runs on a Tuesday. These two choirs provide additional opportunities for over 70 pupils. There is a club, activity or rehearsal every single lunch time which provides the children with skills in music and skills they can take into other forms of their lives.
Since Music has become a stronger part of the curriculum, extra prospects to combine cross curricular projects have become apparent. At Christmas the Music and Art department worked together on a project which brought together pupils from year 3 and 6 and enabled them to work together to put on a production of ‘The Lion King’. This term sees cross curricular links with English to put on a performance of ‘A midsummer night’s dream’ – Punk Rock version.
Last Year Ark Chamberlain played a pivotal role in the Ark Birmingham spring concert, where all of the Ark schools in Birmingham came together to put on a spectacular performance. This year, Ark Chamberlain is involved in the Ark Gala which involves thousands of children from all of the Ark schools performing as part of a mass choir in London.
Physical Education and Healthy Living
Our pupils have regular PE lessons and active play is encouraged every day. Pupils also have opportunities to meet the recommended one hour of daily physical activity, through Walking Bus and attending after school clubs. Children are provided with a wide, balanced and engaging curriculum including invasion games, divided net and wall games, dance, gymnastics, outdoor adventurous activities and athletics. Achievement is keenly celebrated and the Ark Schools primary sports day, alongside competence fixtures against other schools, are always highlights.
Each year group will have a weekly allocation of P.E on the following days:
Y3 - Thursday
We strongly encourage parents to ensure that pupils have full school P.E kit, recommending P.E kit is stored in school.
Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education
PSHCE helps to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens. Children learn to articulate their feelings and the causes of their emotions and to develop coping strategies for certain feelings. They learn to set themselves goals and to make good choices about their health and well-being.
We provide non-denominational Religious Education for all children including learning about the different religions observed by their classmates. In assembly we emphasise how our values relate to our school community and the world around us. Assemblies are non-denominational and we commemorate the major festivals observed by our pupils. We follow the Birmingham Syllabus for RE and deliver this through half termly experience days.
For more information about any part of the curriculum, please contact your child's class teacher.