A robust and engaging curriculum taught by enthusiastic teachers is the foundation on which we nurture knowledgeable and skilled young people.
Our curriculum helps children to understand the world while learning the best that has been thought, known and created. Our curriculum brings together well-proven programmes, including Read Write Inc., Mathematics Mastery, and the Pie Corbett model of Talk for Writing. In history, geography, science and art, we have developed our own schemes of work and resources to ensure that children's learning is knowledge-rich, logically sequenced and engaging.
Our focus is on maths and the core literacy skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. We reinforce these skills across the school, whatever subject is being taught. Our teaching and learning in these areas is broadened by our knowledge-rich curriculum in other subjects. We have subject-specific teaching in music, computing and sport at Key Stage One, and in all subjects at Key Stage Two. The subjects that we teach at Key Stage Two are English, maths, grammar, history, science, geography, art, physical education, religious education, computing, music and French. Pupils begin learning Latin in Year 5.
In Reception, adults work closely in a team to ensure that a happy, caring and child-focused environment gives children the best possible start to school life. We place equal importance on academic, physical and social development, so that children are well-prepared for the next stage of their schooling.
Educational trips and visits support learning outside the classroom.
For more information about our curriculum please contact the school office.
Nursery and REception
We believe the Early Years Foundation Stage should be a time to combine formalised teaching with structured play, and this through play we discover the excitement of learning, the rewards of achievement and acquire our life skills. Our early years settings with their bright, busy and well-planned environments encourage the children in the development of skills, attitudes and understanding that will help them to reach their potential and become confident, active members of our school community.
It is through this process combined with carefully planned activities; children will work towards, achieve and in some cases exceed the Early Learning Goals. Children learn the foundational skills of reading, writing and mathematics through the programmes: Read Write Inc, Talk for writing and Mathematics Mastery. They also get a head start on the national curriculum through age-appropriate foundations in the humanities, arts and sciences.
Our aim is to inspire the next generation of readers and writers.
Our teaching of reading begins in Reception, when children are introduced to phonics. We use Ruth Miskin's 'Read Write Inc.' programme, at the heart of which is the systematic teaching of all the common sounds in the English language. Children are taught to recognise the sounds and to put them together into words for reading.
Throughout the school, the teaching of reading ensures that pupils' comprehension of words develops alongside their decoding of letters and sounds. Children are taught to read in small groups, supported by an adult.
We foster a love of reading and of good literature, promoting a life-long habit of reading for enjoyment and as a source of information and knowledge. We introduce children to myths and legends, to fables and to traditional tales, as well as to modern classics.
Children are taught to recognise the characteristics of different types of writing from poems, to letters, to non –fiction texts. Their extended writing sessions provide opportunities to write independently, and at length, types of writting including poems, letters and non-fiction texts.
We teach handwriting in all classes and encourage children to take pride in their attractive, swift and fluent script. The careful formation of letters begins in Reception, and the joining of letters in ‘continuous cursive style’ begins in Year Two. Neat, cursive handwriting is the expectation for pupils beyond Year Two.
We teach grammar explicitly, and our grammar curriculum is aligned with the National Curriculum. Our youngest pupils in Reception begin to learn how to punctuate their writing correctly, while older pupils use advanced punctuation and ambitious vocabulary choices to make their writing more effective.
“When my eldest son left Millbank, I wrote to the school to thank them for making him love reading so much – as a teenager, the daily reading habit is still strong.” Parent.
“I didn’t think that I would like grammar work, but daily practice has definitely made me a better writer, so now I appreciate it.” Year 5 pupil.
At Millbank Academy, we are proud to be a Mathematics Mastery partner school. The principles that are central to Mathematics Mastery mean that maths lessons may look very different to what you may expect.
Our curricular principles are:
- Fewer topics in greater depth
- Mastery for all pupils
- Number sense and place value come first
- Problem solving is central
The Mastery approach to teaching maths encourages pupils to become deeper thinkers around maths concepts. Instead of learning mathematical procedures by rote, we want pupils to build a deep conceptual understanding of topics, which will enable them to apply their learning in different situations.
The focus is on developing deep understanding in three ways:
Mathematical Understanding – Being able to represent maths in a variety of different ways using pictures, objects and symbols and explain the connections between them.
Mathematical thinking – Asking and being able to explore great questions through investigations that include finding examples, exploring patterns and making predictions.
Mathematical Language – Pupils are expected to use correct mathematical vocabulary to discuss and explain mathematical concepts. We always expect full sentence answers. If pupils can talk about maths then they can do the maths.
The Mathematics Mastery curriculum is cumulative - each school year begins with a focus on the concepts and skills that have the most connections, which are then applied and connected throughout the school year to consolidate learning. This gives pupils the opportunity to ‘master maths’; by using previous learning throughout the school year, they are able to develop mathematical fluency and conceptual understanding.
We aim to enable most pupils to move through the curriculum at broadly the same pace, and we timetable regular opportunities for teachers to intervene immediately with any pupils at risk of falling behind. Quicker graspers are challenged through interesting problems, which develop their logical and reasoning skills, rather than through introducing additional curriculum content too early.
Children study the earth and the people who live on it. Our emphasis is on physical geography first, so that pupils fully grasp the concept of location and the physical processes that shape the world. They later move on to human and environmental geography.
We introduce children to the geography of the world and help them become very familiar with the geography of the UK. We teach them to use maps and globes, and to think spatially.
The curriculum is very deliberately sequenced, with geographical vocabulary and concepts carefully built up year by year in a logical progression. We revisit key concepts and vocabulary with increasing complexity so that older pupils’ thinking is challenged and their knowledge deepened.
History is valued very highly at Future Academies’ schools, and is given much more timetabled time than at other primary schools, with pupils studying two history lessons per week from Year 1, and four history lessons per week from Year 3. Key Stage 2 pupils are taught Ancient History and British History as discrete subjects. Both Ancient and British History are taught chronologically. In Year 3, Ancient History begins with a study of the prehistoric world, Ancient Iraq and Ancient Egypt and British History starts with Saint Augustine and Alfred the Great. In Ancient History, Ancient Greece is taught in Years 4 and 5, and Ancient Rome is taught in Year 6. The British History curriculum continues from the Norman Conquest through to the English Civil War and the execution of Charles I.
Our history curriculum has a clear focus on improving students’ literacy. Pupils are asked to complete creative writing tasks in most lessons, and pupils build up to essay tasks as they get older. Our history curriculum is also designed to improve students’ cultural literacy.
It is our aim to ensure that pupils at Millbank Academy receive a thorough, and chronological, grounding in both the ancient world and the history of Britain.
We teach Latin in Years 5 and 6 as one of the ways in which we develop our students’ English literacy skills. It improves our students’ understanding of the structures underlying the English language, and this improves their written English. An understanding of the Latin roots of words also helps to extend their English vocabulary, which allows them to read and to write more sophisticated texts, and to understand the meaning of everyday abbreviations and phrases like ‘a.m.’ and ‘i.e.’
We teach the children to ask questions while teaching them knowledge and understanding. We explore the main tenets of world faiths in order to support children in developing their own values and principles.
We strive to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
“If you follow the way we learn history you will understand that the world makes sense.” Year 4 pupil.
Pupils learn about the making of art, and they use a range of media and styles to create their own. They also learn about its meaning, becoming skilled in how to read works of art. Our approach to teaching visual literacy enhances our pupils’ conventional literacy too.
Our art teacher teaches all year groups in The Art Room. She is also on hand to support other staff in using art across the curriculum.
“Lessons in a dedicated art room are the best thing about school. You can find out so much about famous artists, see all the best paintings and sculptures, and you can become an artist too.” Year 3 pupil.
We encourage pupils to develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. Our teaching helps them to understand scientific concepts, to engage in scientific enquiry and to understand the uses and implications of science.
We have an exciting science lab and an expert science teacher, so pupils have excellent opportunities for practical, hands-on experiments and investigations.
Our brand new science laboratory opened in September 2014. It is a customised teaching space for all our pupils, and has workstations with water, electricity and gas Bunsen burners.
Our wildlife garden – with insect areas, a bog garden and a pond – supports our teaching in environmental science.
We encourage pupils to be discerning users of technology, beginning by teaching key computing skills in Nursery and Reception. Older children learn sophisticated control skills, and use computing for learning in all areas of the curriculum.
Our computing teacher teaches throughout the school. She is also on hand to support other staff in using computing across the curriculum.
There are interactive whiteboards in all classes, i-pads, well-chosen educational software, a well-equipped computer room and a generous provision of laptop computers.
“You think that you know about technology, but school teaches you that there is lots more to learn.” Year 4 pupil.
We teach French in Key Stage Two. Initially, children learn through songs and games, before they graduate to lessons in comprehension and grammar. This allows them to learn how to speak with increasing confidence and fluency, to express their ideas clearly, and to understand and to respond to what they hear. They also develop writing skills, learning to write for different audiences and purposes. Pupils also develop an understanding of aspects of French history, geography and culture.
Our aims are to inspire pupils to develop a love of music and to teach them how to appreciate music, whether or not they are enthusiastic performers. Our specialist music teacher explains ways to listen to and to evaluate music from a range of styles and periods, alongside teaching many of the building blocks of performing, understanding and composing. Children sing and learn to perform and to compose on a range of instruments as part of the curriculum and with external instructors. Our practical music lessons teach children about pitch, duration (rhythm and beat), structure, dynamic, texture, tempo, timbre and composers.
There is a weekly opportunity for pupils to sing together, as well as two choirs and visiting musicians who enhance children’s appreciation of music. Class concerts held each term give all the children an opportunity to experience solo performance to a small audience, and Termly Concerts an opportunity for some in front of the school.
“My child loves choir, she loves taking part in singing events she is taken to, and now she is a good guitar player too.” Parent
PE & Sport
Healthy children are better learners. They are also happier and will live longer lives. We therefore encourage pupils to be physically active and fit. We also use sport and physical activity to teach children leadership and initiative, and to help them to develop social and team-building skills.
All year groups have sports coaching during the school day. We encourage participation and a healthily competitive attitude, teaching key skills and an understanding of the rules of major sports.
A specialist teacher directs our teaching, and our strong sporting links with Pimlico Academy provide additional opportunities for pupils.
We have a large pitch and other spaces for team sports, so there is ample space in lessons and at play-time to exercise, to learn sports skills and to play matches. We hold our annual sports day at the Millennium Stadium at Battersea Park.
Pupils in Years 5 and 6 enjoy specialist sports teaching at Pimlico Academy.
We offer Saturday coaching in football, basketball, dance, table tennis and gymnastics at Pimlico Academy for all Millbank pupils aged 7 to 11.
“We have matches, tournaments and play-time games – and we have fantastic equipment.” Year 2 pupil
Each child is unique, and we work carefully to meet every child's individual needs, striving for a truly inclusive school for all our pupils. Our inclusive ethos means that all children are valued equally and given opportunities to reach their full potential.
Some pupils require additional or specialist support, or adjustments to their curriculum. These special educational needs are met within mainstream lessons or through interventions.
Millbank Academy is fortunate to have Windmill class, which provides specialist support for pupils with a diagnosis of autism. Pupils spend time in their own classroom as well as joining mainstream classes and activities.
We consider carefully how best to ensure pupils with disabilities have access to the full life of the school. Our site has ramp access to all buildings, a stairlift in the main building, toilets that are accessible by people with a disability, and a Soundfield amplification system in the main hall and all classrooms.