Our School Curriculum
At Olney Infant Academy we pride ourselves in providing an exciting and creative curriculum rooted in outstanding Early Years principles. We capture our children’s interests and talents to help them grow into independent, confident, and successful learners. Our dedicated staff work together to ignite an enthusiasm and lifelong passion for learning in every child.
We firmly believe that the key to promoting successful learning for every child lies in the strong partnership we form with parents and this is important to us. We aspire to create independent, active learners, who are able to think critically and overcome barriers. Throughout their learning journey at Olney Infant Academy, we aim to grow and nurture thinkers who have a genuine love of learning and the confidence and courage to question to pursue their dreams with determination and pride, knowing that nothing will stand between them and their goals.
Our school is built on an ethos of open ended, challenging, and uncapped learning, and an environment that promotes and challenges children’s independence through curiosity, awe, and wonder. This enables our children to engage in a rich, bespoke curriculum that is innovative, creative, open ended and active and equips them with the essential knowledge and skills needed to succeed in life and be the best possible version of themselves.
Our curriculum is inclusive, celebrates diversity and guides our children to become responsible citizens of the future.
Our Curriculum Roots
At Olney Infant Academy, our curriculum is built from our values and ethos, our community sits at the heart of school life and this is reflected in our curriculum. Our stunning outdoor environment is a key part of our learning environment; we whole heartedly believe that ‘the best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky’ Margaret McMillan
|At OIA we want our children to be strong and courageous in all that they do. We want our children to be confident in the choices they make and show strength, resilience and courage when things are challenging.||At OIA we want our children to embrace who they are, be proud of their uniqueness, to be creative and to think ‘outside the box’. We encourage and support all our children to challenge their own and others thinking, to push the boundaries and try new experiences.||At OIA we see ourselves as the ‘beating heart’ of our community. A place where children learn and understand the importance of how communities can bring people together. Through our community, we want to broaden the children’s horizons, so they learn how to be tolerant and respectful of others.||At OIA we want our children to learn to be independent: independent in their learning, independent in their thinking, honest and with strong moral principles. From this, the children will learn to make the right decisions for both themselves and all those around them.||At OIA the sky is not the limit, it is just the beginning. Nothing should get in the way of all our children achieving their best and our open ended, uncapped curriculum is underpinned by this. Regardless of their starting point, the journey is tailored for the child so they can be the best version of themselves.||At OIA we expect everyone to show understanding, compassion and to be understanding of how others feel.|
We expect our children to understand that sometimes things change, and that sometimes things don’t go to plan but that this is OK.
|At OIA we teach our children how to be supportive, empathetic inclusive and accepting. We expect our children to show kindness and lend a hand. We expect our children to be there for their friends and peers and to care.|
Here you will be able to find useful information on each subject of the curriculum. For more information about our curriculum please don't hesitate to contact the school either by email or in person.
At Olney Infant Academy we are firm believers that ‘Reading is a window to the world.’ We embed a love of reading and storytelling across our curriculum and texts are found within our continuous provision to spark curiosity and imagination.
We strive to nurture a love of reading and provide children with increased experience, this is particularly focussed through our discrete teaching of reading approach. This supports the teaching and learning and develops children emotionally, culturally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Reading enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build upon what they already know. By exposing children to a range of high quality texts, we aim to increase and improve their vocabulary beyond that which they hear or use in everyday speech.
As a school we use Read, Write, Inc. as our approach to teaching early reading and of course we add our own OIA sparkle to this program. Read, Write, Inc. is an ambitious systematic synthetic phonics program which enables all children to read accurately and fluently whilst developing and supporting their comprehension. Throughout the program, children learn the English alphabetic code along with the letter sound correspondences at a rapid pace which the help of simple and enjoyable mnemonics. Once the children have grasped the alphabetic code, they continue accessing Read, Write, Inc. however, more time is dedicated to further developing their fluency and comprehension skills until they become the fluent and confident readers that we aspire them to become.
We encourage independent writers from when the children first start with us at OIA. We ensure we build confident writers through uncapped opportunities where children are excited to use their imaginations and all writing is celebrated.
Writing within our English lessons is linked with our topic and the children build understanding, detail and fluency for writing for a range of contexts. Transcription is weaved into our English writing lessons which ensures fluency, legibility and speed in their handwriting. Teachers follow the Fantastic Foundations framework which enables them to model to pupils how to construct ambitious, highly effective sentences based on the skills (lenses from the writing rainbow) being taught within that lesson. The children are encouraged to then have a go at using that skill independently. Grandma Fantastic is a big hit within our school (she knows lots of interesting new words) and she ensures that the children grow an extensive vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques.
Spelling begins in EYFS when the children learn the different sounds during our Read, Write, Inc. lessons. During both our phonics lessons and in our continuous provision the children become confident in hearing sounds in words and writing them down in order.
Once the children are off the Read, Write, Inc. phonics program they move on to having daily spelling lessons. As a school we follow Jane Considine’s spelling program. She believes ‘teachers should stop testing spelling and start teaching it.’ This fits in perfectly with our school ethos and also creates strong links for English with Olney Middle School as they use the same spelling program. This means that the children moving up to Year 3 have a smooth transition in their learning of spellings journey. The spelling program including daily activities that are built o the fundamentals of teaching spelling with strong phonic foundations. The program focusses on increasing retention and enabling children to make fewer mistakes.
Through quality first teaching in English, we aim to broaden the children’s current use of language and vocabulary, to enable children to become fluent, articulate speakers with confidence to communicate their ideas and emotions to others. We promote a rich and varied vocabulary which gives children clarity and interest to conversations, storytelling, debate and discussions. Speaking and listening skills are taught from EYFS throughout the school and talk partners are used consistently across the curriculum. This ensures children gain the skills to initiate and join in conversations, and an ability to listen attentively and understand what is being said.
At Olney Infant Academy we believe that maths is essential to everyday life and provides a foundation for understanding the world. We want to ignite a sense of curiosity of maths in our children and ensure that they enjoy the subject. As Mathematicians children will develop the fluency, knowledge and understanding to use mathematics as a tool and solve problems by applying their learning to varied situations with confidence. Practical experiences and a growth mindset will ensure a solid understanding is gained which will foster a life-long love of maths. As a school we believe that all students can succeed in Mathematics.
Using the expected outcomes from the National Curriculum and the Foundation Stage Curriculum Framework it is our intent to enable all children to develop:
• Fluency and a secure knowledge of number facts, including a secure understanding of the four operations and how they inter-relate.
• An ability to solve problems, to reason, to think logically and to work systematically and accurately.
• The confidence and proficiency to communicate mathematical understanding.
• An ability to make the connections that are needed to enjoy a greater depth in learning.
• A confidence to ‘have a go’ at challenges without the fear of mistakes- not “I can’t do it”, but “I can’t do it YET!”.
We aim for all children to leave our school as resilient, independent learners with inquisitive minds, who have secure mathematical foundations and a desire to keep improving.
Here at Olney Infant Academy, we use a mastery approach that has been inspired by countries such as Singapore. This is an engaging style of maths teaching that enhances mathematical understanding and increases enjoyment for all children.
What is teaching for mastery?
Being taught to master maths means that children are able to develop their mathematical fluency without needing to resort to strategies such as rote learning. They are able to solve non-routine maths problems without the need to memorise procedures.
Since mastery is what we want pupils to acquire (or go on acquiring), rather than teachers to demonstrate, we use the phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ to describe the range of elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering mathematics.
Mastering maths means acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. At any one point in a pupil’s journey through school, achieving mastery is taken to mean acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable him/her move on to more advanced material.
What will you see in lessons at Olney Infant Academy
Concrete, pictorial and abstract (CPA)
Maths can often be seen as difficult because it is abstract. The CPA approach builds knowledge by introducing abstract concepts in a concrete way. It involves moving from using concrete materials, to pictorial representations and then on to abstract symbols and problems.
- Concrete – Concrete is the ‘doing stage’. During this stage, children will use concrete objects to model problems and brings concepts to life by allowing children to experience and handle physical objects. Every abstract concept is first introduced using interactive concrete materials. For example, if a problem involves adding pieces of fruit, children will first handle actual fruit and then will progress to handling resources such as counters or cubes to represent the fruit.
- Pictorial – Pictorial is the ‘seeing’ stage. This is where children will see visual representations of concrete objects to model problems. This encourages children to make the mental connection between the physical object that they have already handled with the abstract pictures, diagrams or models that represent the objects from the problem. Building or drawing a model makes grasping difficult abstract concepts easier for children as they are able to visualise problems to make them more accessible.
- Abstract – This is the ‘Symbolic’ stage. This is where children will use abstract symbols to model problems. Students only progress on to this stage once they have demonstrated a solid understanding of the concrete and pictorial stages. Children are introduced to concepts at a symbolic level, using only numbers, notation and mathematical symbols.
The structure of lessons
As a school, we follow ‘White Rose’ which allows us to follow five steps in every lesson:
We begin every lesson with a recap arithmetic lesson linked to previous learning from yesterday, last week, last month and earlier in the year. This is an opportunity for children to put their previous knowledge and skills into practise and develop fluency. We also have a reasoning twist at the start of each lesson based on the previous lesson could be a misconception. We also look at ways to explore a problem creatively through discussion, partner work, the use of concrete resources and jottings in order to reach a solution. Children are then given the opportunity to feedback the ways in which they approached this task and will be challenged to reason their thinking and to deepen their understanding through questioning led by the teacher.
The next step in our lesson is where the children will be exposed to new knowledge and skills and the teacher will scaffold and model the new knowledge to the children. The children will be have opportunities to discuss their new learning and see it in action. Problems will often be rooted in real life contexts so that children can see how maths is used in the real world.
The children then move on to the guided practice section of the lesson. This is where children have the opportunity to put into practise the new knowledge and skills that they have acquired and to ‘have a go’ whilst being guided by the teacher. Children will move through this section at a pace that is right for them and are able to practise what they have been taught using concrete resources and pictorial representations. Teachers will question in order to guide children and to direct their thinking to reach a solution but with a deeper understanding of the concept.
This is the stage of the lesson where children are able to practise and show what they have learnt in that lesson. Children have the opportunity to demonstrate their learning creativity through continuous provision and high-quality independent work.
We are encouraging the children to be independent, ambitious learners and self-select the correct level of challenge for them based on their understanding of the concept taught in the lesson.
This is final stage of the lesson where children are able to show and discuss what they have learnt in that lesson.
The skills and knowledge the children have being taught are then embedded in our continuous provision offered to the children where they can be practiced independently and then embed and deepen their knowledge and understanding further. These activities will be found throughout the inside and outside provision in each year group.
By the end of EYFS, we expect the vast majority of our children to achieve the ELGs in Number and Number Patterns.
By the end of KS1 we expect the vast majority of our children to have developed confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value including working with numerals, words and the four operations. These children will have achieved the expected level within the KS1 curriculum.
At Olney Infant Academy we understand the importance of Science in our everyday lives and as a core subject within the primary curriculum. We ensure that the subject is given the fitting importance that is deserves. Our intention is to grow a sense of amazement, excitement and curiosity towards science and the role it plays in helping us comprehend the wider world around us. We understand the importance of children being curious of the world around them and encourage the children to question what they have learnt, understood and what they have observed during the lesson. Children are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
The processes of ‘Working Scientifically’ – questioning, comparative and fair testing, sorting and grouping, identifying and classifying, observing and measuring, experimenting, analysing, explaining and evaluating - underpin our entire curriculum and permeate all science teaching across the school.
We wish to develop children’s thirst for knowledge and to grow a genuine love for science, so they leave Olney Infant Academy with a solid foundation to continue their scientific journey.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) at Olney Infant Academy gives children the opportunity to experience the very best possible start to their education. We ensure that our children establish solid foundations on which they can build for their future learning journey. This ensures that they continue to flourish throughout their school years and beyond. The EYFS prepares children for learning in Key Stage 1 and the KS1 National Curriculum.
Our Foundation Stage curriculum and learning experiences build upon what the children have already experienced either at their pre-school, nursery or home settings. In Literacy, skills are taught daily, with specific emphasis on phonics. The children learn to read and write in a variety of fun and practical ways. The foundation to their learning is provided by the Read Write Inc phonics scheme which teaches the children to hear, say, write and read the sounds in words. Maths is also taught daily in a fun and practical way. We value all areas of the EYFS curriculum and celebrate children’s successes in whatever they excel in.
Each day through our comprehensive assessment and planning, children will access learning challenges in each of the 7 EYFS areas of learning. In practice, most challenges will develop a number of different skills and knowledge. For example in role play children could be learning to play with others whilst developing their language or story telling skills or during modelling with construction children could be learning positional language, to count, spacial awareness skills and fine motor control.
Each week is carefully planned to ensure children receive personalised learning experiences, taking into account their skill development and interests. Some challenges will be adult-led, whilst others will be independent activities chosen by the child. We provide opportunities for learning indoors and outdoors whatever the weather.
We have excellent working relationships with the parents of our pupils and value working in partnership throughout the Foundation Year.
Personal, social and health education (PSHE) deals with many real life issues young people face as they grow up. It gives them the knowledge and skills needed to lead healthy and responsible lives as confident individuals and members of society.
PSHE and RSE is a statutory part of the curriculum, and we believe in the importance of learning how to lead healthy lifestyles, manage feelings and build positive relationships. PSHE promotes children’s positive behaviour, mutual respect and self-awareness. We follow the PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) Programme across our school called Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE. This approach has also been adopted by the Middle School. We have always taught RSHE to our children at OIA but now we have a whole school approach that includes lessons throughout the year on topics like anti-bullying, healthy friendships, keeping our bodies fit and healthy, staying safe, growth, changes and many more. Our aim is to carefully build on children’s understandings of these things each year and we do this in an age-appropriate and sensitive way.
The lessons introduced during the year, built children’s emotional literacy, self-esteem and knowledge of who they are and how they relate to each other and the world in a positive and healthy way.
Geography is challenging, motivating, topical and fun. In our diverse society children need, more than ever before, to understand other people and cultures. Geography makes a major contribution to children's physical, intellectual, social and emotional development. In short, geography matters!
At Olney Infant Academy, we believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. Our curriculum is taught through our Imaginative Learning Projects with a focus on knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills. We seek to inspire in children a curiosity about the world and to promote the children’s interest as well as offer children a range of practical educational experiences. We aim for children to build on prior knowledge and promote a love of learning that will stay with them for the future.
At Olney Infant Academy our exciting and creative history curriculum reflects our whole school approach of open-ended exploration, building on the Early Years principles. Our vision for history is that all children develop skills through an enquiry approach. In history children are encouraged to question their understanding of the past, in order to enjoy and access all history has to offer. Through a combination of artefacts, exciting trips or visitors and enquiry based learning, children gain an in-depth understanding of significant people and events in British history, as well as appreciating how things change over time. Our approach ties in with the exciting development of Olney and Milton Keynes, along with well-known people and events. By understanding the complex people and communities of the past, children can work towards understanding a positive, exciting future.
At Olney Infant Academy we want to inspire and encourage our children to be great thinkers and we provide many opportunities where they are able to creatively and practically solve problems, both as individuals and as members of a team. Through our teaching of Design and Technology we encourage our children to use their creativity and imagination - to design, make - using a range of tools and equipment, and evaluate their own/other’s products considering their own and other’s needs. We aim to, wherever possible, link their work to other disciplines across the curriculum such as computing, mathematics, art, science and engineering. We provide ample opportunities for them to revisit their learning and really embed those taught skills through our continuous provision in the classroom. They are encouraged through our values to be open-minded and courageous; taking risks and unafraid to try out/explain their concepts and products to others. We want our children to leave Olney Infant Academy with a solid foundation in Design and Technology; eager to continue their journey in being resourceful, confident and competent creatively, technically and practically – better prepared and armed with the skills they will need for an ever-evolving world of innovation and engineering in which we live.
Children develop their understanding and enjoyment of art, craft and design through a wide range of activities that include drawing, printing, painting, collage, sewing, claywork and weaving. They are taught to use a range of materials, tools and techniques to produce a variety of work. They are introduced to the work of artists, crafts people and designers, locally and from other cultures.
Take One Picture
Each year the whole school collaboratively takes part in a project called 'Take One Picture'. 'Take One Picture' is the National Gallery's countrywide scheme for primary schools. The Gallery focuses on one painting to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms. Every year we exhibit the work we have created in our school hall which is open to parent, carers and members of the community. The National Gallery then chooses a few select items to be exhibited in the Gallery. Olney Infant Academy has been very fortunate to have their work displayed numerous times and we have also featured on BBC Television’s “Look East”. We are very proud of our achievements!
At Olney Infant Academy our vision is to develop children's skills of enquiry, reasoned argument and reflection. In school, our RE curriculum core come from the MK RE Syllabus. We bring our curriculum to life through our community our children.
Religious education contributes dynamically to children and young people’s education in school by provoking challenging questions about; the meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. Our world is enriched by a wide and profound diversity of cultures and beliefs. We as human beings are strengthened and empowered by learning from each other. Engaging and stimulating religious education helps to nurture informed and resilient responses to misunderstanding, stereotyping and division. It offers a place of integrity and security within which difficult or ‘risky’ questions can be tackled within a safe but challenging context.
In R.E pupils discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions, in local, national and global contexts, through learning about and from religions and other world views. They learn to appraise the value of wisdom from different sources, to develop and express their insights in response, and to agree or disagree respectfully.
Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and other world views, enabling them to develop their ideas, values and identities. It should develop in pupils an aptitude for dialogue so that they can participate positively in society with its diverse understanding of life from religious and other world views.
Pupils should gain and deploy the skills needed to; understand, interpret and evaluate texts, sources of wisdom and authority and other evidence. They learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences, while respecting the right of others to differ.
At Olney Infant Academy, we aim to produce pupils who love and have a passion for Physical Education and Sport.
Through our CURIOUS approach to learning, we instil independence, courage, respect and an understanding of our unique abilities. We offer a broad and balanced approach, focusing primarily on the FUNdamental movement skills needed so that our pupils have the competence and confidence to move through a wide variety of Physical Activities. Through our whole-child approach and placing and importance on wellbeing, we aim for children to leave OIA with a deeper understanding of what they can achieve in sport by offering a range of extra-curricular physical activity clubs, such as: Tennis, Football and Hockey; as well as seeking opportunities to work with our close partners – Olney Middle School.
We want to aid our children in learning the values and skills to celebrate and respect the successes of everyone, as well as celebrating their own successes by placing an equal important on the social, emotional and cognitive, as well as the physical development of the children at Olney Infant Academy.
ICT Computing intent statement
At Olney Infant Academy we want our pupils to be able to thrive as digital citizens who are confident and competent using a range of technology positively, responsibly and safely. We aim to give pupils high quality, enjoyable and memorable learning experiences whilst providing a wealth of opportunities within computing with an open-minded and adaptable approach. We recognise that the world of technology is fast changing therefore computing education needs to progress appropriately in order that our children move forward with the skills and knowledge necessary to be active participants in today’s, and the future’s digital world.
At Olney Infant Academy we aim for pupils to have a foundational understanding of computing to include algorithms, simple programs, logical reasoning and prediction. Pupils to purposefully and creatively store, manipulate and retrieve digital content as well as recognise how technology is used across the wider world. Our intention is that pupils will also be able to use their computing skills across the whole curriculum to inform and enhance life-long learning whilst developing children’s curiosity and critical thinking.
We understand and promote the accessibility opportunities technology can provide for all our pupils. We encourage staff to make learning creative and accessible whilst our school values of independence, being courageous in undertaking challenging tasks, being supportive with their peers and being open-minded about all tasks undertaken are integral to every day school life at Olney Infant Academy. We want our pupils to be fluent with a range of tools to best express their understanding and hope by the end of Key Stage 1, children have the independence and confidence to choose the best tool to fulfil the tasks and challenges set by teachers.
Our teaching implements all aspects of the Computing curriculum – Digital Literacy, Information Technology and Computer Science. Knowledge and skills are taught progressively, allowing the children to embed their learning over time. Children are taught to be supportive, respectful, understanding and kind towards others and everyone they meet through our online safety teaching whilst nurturing each child to be a unique individual.
We are proud holders of the NAACE ICT Mark since 2013.
At Olney Infant Academy we recognise that music is a universal language that expresses one of the highest forms of creativity. Each music lesson taught engages and inspires pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity, curiosity and sense of achievement.
All of our children at Olney Infant Academy have weekly music lessons using a scheme of learning called Charanga. Each lesson follows a clear progression of skills being taught in a fun, engaging and exciting way. In line with the curriculum for music and guidance from Ofsted, we use at Olney Infant Academy an integrated, practical, exploratory and child-led approach to musical learning. Each interrelated dimension of music weaves through the units to encourage the development of musical skills as the learning progresses through listening and appraising, differing musical activities (including creating and exploring) and performing.
Olney Infant Academy will ensure that all pupils; perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians. They will learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence. Our children will learn to understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the interrelated dimensions; pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
All children have a choice to further their musical aptitude by offering to our Year 1 children an afterschool Elfin Strings club and Year 2 having Infant Strings during curriculum time if they wish to. This is led by the Milton Keynes Music Hub.