Curriculum Rationale

A community that lives, learns and laughs together.

At Uplands Junior L.E.A.D Academy we have developed our curriculum based on our visions and values.


Understanding Leicester, the UK and the global community

Our History and Geography curricula feature ‘Leicester’ as one of their key strands. Units of learning give children the opportunity to explore the city’s past and present in terms of land use, industry, social/cultural change and migration. Children are challenged to make comparisons between Leicester and other localities across the World. They are challenged to think like geographers or historians by considering future issues on a local, national and global scale.

Our PSHE curriculum helps to prepare children for life as young people in Leicester and the United Kingdom by addressing social issues present in the local context such as radicalisation and extremism, criminal exploitation and safe relationships. Protected characteristics and British Values feature strongly in weekly assemblies.

Working collaboratively with stakeholders

A wide range of parental and governor engagement events ensure that our families feel welcome and have a voice in our school. Feedback from all stakeholders is regularly sought and acted upon during the year. Guest speakers and coaches visit the school to deepen children’s understanding of key concepts and to make learning opportunities more meaningful.


Understanding physical, mental and emotional well-being

Our specialist PE teacher has designed a broad curriculum that enables children to develop motor competence, knowledge of rules and tactics for competitive sport and knowledge of safe and healthy participation. Our PSHE and Science curricula complement this by giving children deeper knowledge in areas such as physical and mental health. The RSHE coverage prepares children for the physical, mental and emotional changes that our children face during puberty and in preparation for adolescence. Children are encouraged to take ownership of their mental and emotional well-being through regular discussion on ‘zones of regulation’.

Broad, inclusive and challenging

At Uplands Junior L.E.A.D Academy we are proud of our broad and balanced timetable. Though links are made, each subject is valued in its own right and is taught discretely.

At all points, adjustments are made to ensure all individuals are included. This can be seen in the everyday culture of our classrooms and in personalised learning plans that are developed and reviewed regularly by staff with support from the SENDCO. Our learning mentor provides constant pastoral support to our children so that there can be no social or emotional barriers preventing them from accessing our curriculum.

Units of learning across the curriculum are logically sequenced and build progressively in cognitive demand without overloading children. Subject leaders have identified the knowledge that children should learn and class teachers demonstrate high expectations its delivery. The development of vocabulary is a big focus for our children who often come to Uplands with a limited grasp of English – the 2023 census shows that 32 different first languages are spoken by our children. Challenging class novels form the backbone of our reading spine and this exposure to high quality texts enriches children’s language development. Children are encouraged to think critically in all subject areas. In Maths, children develop reasoning and problem-solving skills that can be transferred into ‘real-life’ contexts. High quality oracy opportunities enable children to discuss their thinking while giving children skills that are vital for life in secondary school and beyond. We strive hard to raise aspirations for our children. ‘Significant Women’ is a key strand of our History curriculum, which exposes children to people from the past who have overcome adversity and sought the very best for themselves and others. We want all of our children to leave Uplands with the digitally literacy required to be active participants in the digital world and to safely navigate the internet including social media.


Promoting lifelong enjoyment and participation

Our ‘reading for pleasure’ agenda goes further than providing children with fluency and comprehension skills – it shows our commitment to instilling a passion for learning beyond the primary years. We have identified that children often decline opportunities to be physically active when they move into secondary education. To boost children’s enthusiasm by giving them further exposure to the possibilities within this important area, we have redesigned our PE coverage for Year 6 children so that they select a ‘pathway’ that suits their interest: team activities, individual activities or leadership activities. Our Music curriculum also reflects our commitment to lifelong participation and enjoyment in learning activities. The Year 4 curriculum is taught entirely through the ukulele which gives children a year’s experience in learning an instrument. Through our extra-curricular program, children then have the option to continue this journey or to take up a different instrument of their choice.

Wider enrichment opportunities

At Uplands Junior L.E.A.D Academy, our children often have narrow life experiences – 30% of our children come from families that are eligible for the Pupil Premium Grant. Because of this, we have factored into our curriculum a huge amount of wider enrichment activities that enable children to gain crucial cultural capital and personal development. Events such as the Uplands pop-up art gallery gives children the chance to build upon the knowledge they have gained of some of the world’s most acclaimed artists by seeing their own artwork presented in frames and by sharing the experience with their families.

We believe it is vital that pupils begin to establish the links between the knowledge they acquire at school to the world of employment. Our curriculum offer includes visitors from different professions, both academic and vocational, who explain their role and how the knowledge they acquired in school links to it. These experiences raise aspirations and enable children to see the relevance of their own study.

As with visitors from employment, we use school trips to deepen children’s knowledge through experience. We give children opportunities to access the cultural capital that Leicester has to offer as a city, visiting places such as Leicester Museum, De Montfort University and Bosworth Battlefield. We also take advantage of the local environment to ensure children get first-hand experiences of working scientifically or working as a geographer.