Our ACE Curriculum

In 2012, Upperwood Academy was established as a single academy trust. Upperwood Academy is an independent academy with its own funding agreement. This agreement clearly enshrines in law our duty to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum. The broad and balanced curriculum at Upperwood Academy must promote Spiritual, Moral, Cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepare pupils for the responsibilities of later life. It must also include the subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, as well as following the locally agreed syllabus for Religious Education. 

Being a stand-alone Academy allows us the opportunity to deliver a bespoke and unique curriculum that suits our children’s needs and the context in which children in Darfield grow up. Our aim is to develop our children into the scientists, historians, geographers and artists of the future with our carefully thought out content and ambitious curriculum design putting their lives in context both locally, nationally and internationally. There is also a clear focus in our curriculum in teaching children to be safe. To teach these subjects well alongside the core curriculum subjects, demands an increased focus and time commitment. 

Careful analysis and discussion about our pupils’ backgrounds, life experiences and culture has helped us to design a curriculum which celebrates their strengths whilst helping them to overcome the potential barriers to learning. We believe that by focusing on the following key priorities of oracy and language development as well as knowledge of the wider world, our children will be ready to successfully meet the challenges of the next stage of their education and their lives. In recognition of our many of our pupils’ poor early language acquisition, the importance of vocabulary development throughout school and particularly in the Early Years is a priority. 

In 2017, stakeholders developed an ACE curriculum. This curriculum drives our approach to children’s learning through Adventure, Creativity and Environment. More recent developments in the curriculum in 2019 – 2020, have seen the design of clear curriculum intent documentation, mapping out the learning journey in individual subjects and across the curriculum to ensure learning is connected and cumulative.  Highly skilled subject leaders have designed progressive curriculum maps which ensure children gain the key knowledge and skills in every subject.  Our knowledgeable and skilful teachers ensure that children are able to revisit and retrieve previous learning, which allows them to a deeper understanding of the key knowledge and skills within subjects.

Our curriculum is focused upon the acquisition of knowledge as well as the development of subject specific skills and wider skills of enquiry, communication and resilience. The ACE (Adventure, Creativity, Environment) curriculum drives the delivery of our school offer. Every pupil in our school has the opportunity to access a broad and balanced curriculum. This curriculum offer can change over an individual’s time at school. Where children have gaps in learning in English and particularly reading, Mathematics and also gaps in their social and emotional aspects of learning, that may limit their ability to access the wider curriculum now and in the future, an individual may receive extra support, through targeted interventions, to narrow learning gaps and support their next steps in their learning career. 

We are incredibly proud of our curriculum and the experiences we provide children who in turn demonstrate how they are deeply proud of our school, their British values and diverse society to which we belong and play an active part. We are proud that our curriculum gives our children the knowledge, skills, confidence and self-belief to lead a happy and fulfilled life.

Our curriculum drivers: 


At Upperwood, our curriculum motivates, engages and inspires our children through a series of exciting learning opportunities and an adventure that each half term topic features. Whether that adventure is a visit to a zoo, an adventure in the woods or an adventure through the mind through drama, our curriculum motivates and engages learners. Just a few of our adventures in recent times have been using animal visitors to school, activities in the woods, a visit to a Stately Home our annual adventures on our two residential visits and our biannual visit to the Houses of Parliament!


At Upperwood we plan curricular learning experiences to ensure learning is purposeful and engaging. Our exciting curriculum offers our children the opportunity to develop their visual awareness and to work creatively and imaginatively using a variety of skills, techniques and materials.  We believe that every child is entitled to experience the artistic pleasures the range of curriculum subjects provide. 


We are lucky enough to be in a wonderful school environment and we believe children learn effectively outdoors.  We have the use of our fantastic school grounds, garden area and the local woods and fields to bring our curriculum alive. We also value the importance of our local community and beyond. We have an important place within our community and believe it is important that our pupils see themselves within a local context and also learn about the local community they live in as well as how this links to the wider world.