The Curriculum at Ivy Chimneys
The overarching goals of our ambitious and inclusive curriculum stem from Ivy Chimneys’ unique context and what is important for our learners. Located in Epping Forest, our children make positive connections with their local environment, while benefiting from the close proximity of London - a diverse and exciting city.
We teach through a two-year rolling programme of termly topics, broadly based on the National Curriculum. These topics help children make connections across the curriculum as they learn about different aspects of the same theme, applying and rehearsing learning in cross-curricular lessons. Alongside these topic units, our ‘Becoming Me’ Framework enriches children’s experiences with embedded opportunities for personal development. As a result, children acquire meaningful knowledge at depth, transferable skills and cultural capital through the subjects they study, building on this learning as they progress through the school. Ivy Chimneys staff strongly believe that learning should have no limits in the implementation of our curriculum; they guide children to understand their own strengths and areas for development.
Introductions to our engaging termly topics are built around Big Questions, lines of enquiry and rich texts. We want our children to acquire a lifelong love of learning that not only readies them for the next stage of education, but prepares them to be active and engaged citizens in the future. Promoting equality and celebrating diversity have a particularly sharp focus as part of this preparation. Children here are regularly challenged to understand and be part of real-world issues, beyond the classroom: Climate Strike Day, Careers Mornings, Class Charity Cup and current affairs debates are typical examples of these. Our links with the wider Epping Forest community ensure the pupils of Ivy Chimneys understand and can become involved in the work that organisations like food banks, local councils and businesses do.
The design and delivery of our curriculum foster vital ‘future skills’: collaboration, creativity and risk-taking, providing support and challenge as children require. As we continue to build a stronger culture of learner autonomy and confidence at Ivy Chimneys, the most recent changes to our curriculum better support the development of children’s critical thinking, oracy and self-regulation. Mastery of these particular independent skills have been identified by the staff team as key areas of development for our learners.
We work hard to ensure that our curriculum remains relevant and challenging to the children we teach. This year, teachers have been exploring how the principles of ‘In the Moment Planning’ and the child-centred approaches used by our EYFS team could reshape elements of the curriculum in Years 1 to 6. We look forward to communicating our findings with the parent body in the Summer term.