We believe that the curriculum offered at the Arbor School is an essential response to changes in the nature of schooling, as well as changes in society and the environment. The school will therefore identify themes and real-life topics of interest that provide meaningful contexts, allowing for project-based, cross-curricular topic approaches in which independent learning flourishes.
Children are encouraged to develop their skills across a wide range of areas – both academic and social. Over the two years of the Foundation Stage, our Nursery and Reception classes will gradually develop the basic skills the children need to thrive in later life – at school and beyond. We develop reading and writing through a series of progressive activities, including stroke making, learning the alphabet and phonics work.
Children will also learn basic numeracy skills and will be able to perform simple addition and subtraction problems by the end of the stage. We look at the wider world and try to understand how and why things happen. The Arbor School places strong emphasis on experiential and outdoor learning and a love of nature. We also love to give our students the chance to explore and experiment with art, music and other creative pursuits.
Learning outcomes within the Primary School are delivered through the National Curriculum for England, with specific focus placed upon literacy and numeracy. The Arbor School then further enriches the curriculum within specialist lessons for languages and creative subjects, highlighted by a core commitment to experiential learning and participation within the ‘Artists and Scientists in residence’ programme.
The flexibility available at the Arbor School also means that we are in a fortunate position to be able to offer the best of different curricula and educational ideas from around the world, and as such, we also offer the International Primary Curriculum, which ensures that all students are taught the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This curriculum is thematic based, and will focus upon elements of the Arts and Humanities which shall be delivered through project based learning, focusing upon issues as diverse as fair trade, the provision of education, energy supply and gender equality.
This commitment to enrichment is a key aspect to life at The Arbor School, which promotes academic excellence through a values-based education. As such, students shall develop their understanding of eco-literacy and begin to become aware of both local and global issues surrounding environmental justice. This is supported by a commitment to exploring local ecosystems, whilst accessing our biodome and learning garden for more detailed work within controlled environments.
The focus throughout the Primary School is on providing stimulating learning opportunities to children through well-planned and prepared lessons which will lead to children progressing through a series of assessment levels, culminating in their graduation in Year Six. Assessment is on-going, both formal and informal, and all pupils are offered a personalised learning experience to ensure all areas of the curriculum are understood by each student in order to fully prepare them for Secondary School.
In Years 7 to 9, students pursue a range of subjects in which they will improve their academic, creative, social, interpersonal and sporting skills. In each subject, courses are structured to ensure increasing, progressive challenge in preparation for GCSE courses in Years 10 and 11.
In all subjects, learning frameworks within each unit of work provide sequential assessment activities. After completion of tasks, students are provided with regular and precise formative guidance so that they learn how to improve in preparation for subsequent tasks. At each stage of assessment, students are provided with tasks that will ensure that they reflect upon their work and engage with targets set. Long-term planning within each year and throughout Key Stage 3, allows skills to be revisited, strengthened and developed further.
As the Arbor School develops, we are committed to providing students with a personalized education. This will mean that there will be a wide range of academic pathways available to students, with an opportunity to also engage in technical and vocational subjects. By being able to provide a wide choice of options, in combination with a rigorous A-Level programme, students at the Arbor School will be well prepared for life and further study at the end of Year 13.