The Tower Hill Curriculum
At Tower Hill, we aim to ensure that our students learn deeply through our carefully-sequenced, values driven curriculum, designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Working in close partnership with parents, the whole school community strives to give our children the best possible start in education, so that their true and full potential can be reached.
We pride ourselves in being:
a happy, safe, caring and inclusive values-based school, where staff and families work together to nurture self-belief and inspire a love for learning;
a place where every child will reach their own unique potential through high expectations and where all of our children, families and staff are valued, respected and supported;
a place where the educational, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of every child will be met;
a place where we encourage our children to do and be, the best they can.
“Grow Together” is our motto and this is evident in everything we do at Tower Hill. Within a warm, nurturing environment, we engage our children with high quality teaching, high quality learning and high expectations. As a values-based school, all aspects of school-life at Tower Hill is underpinned by our school values:
Intent: What will children be taught?
Our curriculum has been designed to meet the particular needs of our school demographic and context and is based on the National Curriculum. It reflects our vision and has the same academic and vocational ambitions for all learners, with our aim to provide a rich and supportive learning environment, with a values-based focus on character development. Where this is not practical – for example, for some learners with high levels of SEND – our curriculum is designed to meet their needs, whilst remaining ambitious. Our Inclusion Team provides wider pastoral support for pupils and their families designed to enable a positive and successful school experience.
We believe that cultural capital gives our students the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who also understand and appreciate British Values. Being located within the market town of Witney and in close proximity to the city of Oxford, we benefit from a rich cultural, historical and geographical context, which we draw from to enrich the learning experiences for children and these opportunities are embedded within our curriculum. At Tower Hill, we have designed our curriculum to extend beyond the academic to include enrichment experiences that promote character development. This is to enable our pupils to become physically and mentally healthy individuals who embody our vision and values, and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable them to succeed.
Implementation: How will children be taught?
Our curriculum design is underpinned by three key principles from cognitive science:
In addition to the three principles above, we also understand that learning is invisible in the short term and that sustained mastery takes time. Cognitive science also tells us that for pupils to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding, they must first master the basics. Sequences of lessons include opportunities to revisit core knowledge and skills, across a wide breadth of subjects, so that our children can gradually build a depth of understanding in them over time.
See our Subject pages for more information on indiviudal curriculum subjects, including our phonics and reading programme of learning.
Impact: How will we assess what children know and remember?
We define ‘learning’ as a change to long term memory, which science tells us is impossible to see in the short term. To counteract this challenge, we adopt a range of assessment processes that we deem appropriate, relevant and useful in facilitating pupil progress over time, including individual, group and whole-class formative feedback, low-stakes assessments and national standardised assessments. In writing, we use ‘No more marking’, which is an online platform that facilitates comparative judgement of pupils’ writing nationally, alongside other writing produced across the curriculum to inform teacher judgements.
At Tower Hill, we have consciously designed our curriculum to extend beyond the academic, to include aspects of character development that further embodies our vision and values. This is to enable our pupils to become physically and mentally healthy individuals who embody our values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable them to succeed. Although the impact of this is ambiguous and elusive, we believe that the following assessment tools support us in measuring our curriculum impact more holistically:
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
The curriculum that we teach in Nursery and Reception meets the requirements set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework. Our curriculum planning focuses on the unique child and the characteristics of effective learning which are embedded within the seven main areas of learning:
A model of Tower Hill’s Curriculum