Pedagogy newsletter | 04/02/2022

Pedagogy Newsletter #107

Pedagogy newsletter | 28/01/2022

Pedagogy Newsletter #106

Paradigm Trust | 28/01/2022

PE: Improving bodies and minds

The importance of physical exercise for keeping our bodies in good shape is well documented, but the benefits of Physical Education in school extend far beyond the sports field. 

In 2020, after the national lockdown, children’s charity Youth Sport Trust carried out a survey of 1,396 young people aged 6–15 to discover how they now felt about sport and exercise. Over a quarter said physical education, sport and exercise had made them feel better during that time. Additionally, 40% said not being able to play sport had made them feel worse. Clearly, sport and exercise has a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

At Paradigm it is easy to observe the positive effects PE has on our pupils. In the lessons following a PE session, students’ attention is noticeably greater, their ability to focus is far better. Long term it builds self-confidence, reduces anxiety and improves self-esteem. It also helps them develop attributes which help them cope with difficulties and setbacks.

In PE lessons, Paradigm takes a skills-based approach, especially at primary school. Rather than simply play different sports and games, lessons are instead designed to improve the fundamental movement skills – running, jumping, hand-eye coordination, balance, agility, throwing and catching – especially in the younger year groups. By incorporating these into the PE curriculum, schools are able to ensure pupils can develop these core abilities which are used in multiple sports and physical activities. Then when they come to play different sports, which are usually introduced around upper Key Stage Two, students will be competent in the necessary skills the sport requires, whether it’s throwing a ball in cricket, jumping in basketball or having the hand-eye coordination to play a racquet sport such as badminton.

To plan lessons and to ensure the pupils are able to improve their abilities as they move through the school years, teachers in the Trust use a progression map for PE. This document shows the development for each year group, and so the progression map becomes an extremely useful tool for any non-specialist teachers who are going to be teaching the lessons. It also gives them an overview of the whole PE curriculum. 

As an illustration, in Year 1 schools teach the children to throw underarm. In Year 2 the distance is increased and later they are taught the correct technique to throw overarm as well. At Secondary school the lessons become more challenging; the basic skills remain the same but the focus switches to developing and practising them more. The difficulty of the activities increases in order to hone the skills, for instance the size of the ball is reduced, throwing challenges use more difficult angles, distances are greater. Also in secondary school there is a heavier emphasis on the ability to outwit opponents with strategy and tactics, and students are routinely exposed to attacking and defending principles specific to activities through in-depth discussion. 

This approach was put into place at Paradigm three years ago, and the results are already evident in the pupils who have been taught with this method. As a whole they are displaying more aptitude in these core skills than previously, they understand games a lot better and know how to use the required skills to succeed at the sport they are playing.

When it comes to choosing between fitness and getting children healthy versus simply playing team games and having fun, Paradigm Trust works to have a good balance. For example, after lockdown children had lost much of the fitness they had previously developed so for an entire term the focus was working hard to get them back to the level of fitness where they were previously. After that teachers incorporated games too, to reintroduce the other aspect of PE.

To be able to track pupil’s progress effectively, measurement is key, so Paradigm has created a series of assessments which are used in all its schools. These tests are deliberately standardised so it is possible for teachers to compare and contrast the data across the whole Trust and adjust teaching methods as appropriate.

There are currently five assessments, including the bleep test, which gives an indication of whether pupils’ fitness is getting better, and a speed test, consisting of ten sets of 10 metres sprints which are timed to see how fast students can go. Hand-eye coordination is tested by throwing a ball at the wall and catching it, and strength is measured by seeing how far a pupil can throw a basketball from a seated position. 

PE can often be a subject that is missed by SEN children, but inclusion is a key consideration in all Paradigm’s lessons and so the Trust ensures every child has the opportunity to join in and benefit. Any adaptations made are always based around the individual’s needs, and these can take many forms, from varying the size of the ball to adjusting distances or the equipment that is used. As an example, Culloden Primary Academy has a Deaf Support Base and its PE teachers ensure the one to one support staff are there to support with the signing, whether this is on the playground, in the hall or even at the side of the swimming pool. Staff are also equipped with electronic devices that make it easier for the children to hear what they are saying, and consciously employ techniques such as positioning themselves so it’s easy for the children to lip read.

At the core of sport is competition, which is important for helping pupils develop a winning mental attitude and equipping them to handle both success and failure. Taking part in inter-school competition, both within and outside the Trust, is an effective way to do this, and so teams from all schools are entered into many different competitions throughout the year, including SEN-specific contests. As well as teaching pupils about sportsmanship and respect, it fosters a sense of friendly rivalry and school pride, and boosts morale and self-esteem.

PE is an essential part of the curriculum that builds strong character and develops qualities in pupils which are beneficial in all subjects, as well as their lives beyond school.

Paradigm Trust | 21/01/2022

Pedagogy Newsletter #105

Pedagogy newsletter | 13/01/2022

Pedagogy Newsletter #104

Pedagogy newsletter | 10/01/2022

Pedagogy Newsletter #103

Pedagogy newsletter | 17/12/2021

Pedagogy Newsletter #102

Culloden Primary Academy, Ipswich Academy, Murrayfield Primary Academy, Old Ford Primary Academy, Paradigm Trust, Piper's Vale Primary Academy, Solebay Primary Academy | 17/12/2021

Admissions Consultation

Paradigm Trust is consulting on the admissions arrangements for all the schools across the Trust for the academy year 2023/24 in line with the School Admissions Code 2021. 

The consultation is taking place for a period of six weeks, between 17 December 2021 and 28 January 2022.

Why are we consulting?

The Trust must set (‘determine’) admission arrangements annually. Where changes are proposed to admission arrangements, the Trust must first publicly consult on those arrangements. If no changes are made to admission arrangements, they must be consulted at least once every 7 years.

We have a statutory duty to consult on admission arrangements if we intend to make a change.

The changes being proposed are as follows:

Solebay Primary Academy – Nursery admissions to be coordinated by the school and no longer by the Local Authority as part of the nursery coordinated admissions process.   

You are invited to review the admission arrangements (linked below) and any questions or responses should be sent to

On conclusion of the consultation on Friday 28 January 2022, all responses will be collated and presented to the Trust Education Committee for full consideration.

The outcome of the Consultation will be posted on the Academy’s website along with the final admissions policies for 2023.

Proposed Admission Arrangements

Paradigm Trust | 16/12/2021

Hitting the right notes – music at Paradigm

In a world where we are surrounded by music every day, Music lessons help pupils understand and appreciate it in some way, whether that’s by learning an instrument, connecting on an emotional level or even using it as a method of self-regulation.

It’s also a subject which has many benefits that reach far beyond learning an instrument or improving children’s musicality, and Paradigm Trust has put the measures in place to help its pupils flourish.

To give pupils at the six Paradigm schools the best music education, the Trust employs a team of specialist teachers to take music lessons at all stages, from nursery right up to Key Stage Four.

By using staff who have trained as music teachers, the Trust benefits from their expertise at all levels. It allows Paradigm to build its own bespoke curriculum based on real subject knowledge, and as its teachers have more regular, consistent contact with the children they are able to tailor lessons to the needs of the students. It also ensures its music teachers are fully aligned with the Trust’s values and vision.

To ensure it is possible to deliver an effective music curriculum, sufficient time and resources must be given to the subject. Paradigm Trust has recently allocated more space in the timetable to the teaching of music, so now every primary school child has one music lesson a week of around forty minutes, throughout the year. At Key Stage 3, rather than being on a carousel rotation, music is a regular part of the curriculum so all students in year 7, 8 and 9 receive an hour’s music lesson every week, all year round. All schools in the Trust have specific music rooms which are equipped with all the resources teachers need to be able to conduct lessons effectively.

In addition to regular music lessons in school time, the Trust provides peripatetic tuition across eight instruments, taught by specialist tutors. This is available to all students from Year 2 upwards. The primary schools have similar opportunities, offering after school activities which include ukulele club, guitar club, choir and musical theatre.

It is also important for students’ development to experience performing away from their schools and the music staff take students to events such as Young Voices in London, and to Snape Maltings, the world-famous music venue on the Suffolk coast.

The current music curriculum was developed by Paradigm Trust three years ago and has two main focuses. The first is on the skills and musical knowledge that it aims to teach the pupils. This is unashamedly aspirational – EYFS children are taught musical terminology, and are expected to be able to understand dynamics, describing the tempo of a pulse as fast or slow, and being able to tell whether a piece is loud or soft. Similar standards are applied to later years, so by the time pupils reach Key Stage 4 they have the foundations to achieve with music, should they decide to take their studies further.

As well as improving their musicality, students are also building interpersonal and intrapersonal skills in their lessons. Teachers ensure there is always a practical aspect to every lesson with group work and performance prominent. These activities build confidence and self-esteem, and grow skills such as team-building and working with others. Learning to play a musical instrument also teaches resilience and patience, as there is no shortcut to competence, just perseverance. Inclusion is always important at Paradigm, and music is no different. Teachers aim to make sure each session is enjoyable and accessible; no pupil should go into a lesson feeling they are not going to be able to achieve.

A good example of what music can teach is apparent in a unit that is taught at secondary school called ‘Find Your Voice’, which is built into the Year 7 curriculum. On one level this is about singing and body percussion, but it is also there to help deal with the performance anxiety many Year 7s have, especially as they are starting a new school. The goal is for them to recognise that music is a subject where there are high expectations, and even though their worries are understandable, they are still encouraged to perform. The quality of the singing is important, and so is building the learner’s confidence, so in future units of study and elsewhere in their life they are better able to cope with similar situations.

Our music curriculum also centres on the cultural capital aspect of music. As children learn about different genres of music, they also study the context and diversity of the genres; the place where it was born, the people who created it and the time period. For instance, when studying funk, soul and blues the children also learn about slavery and segregation. In this way Paradigm makes music a cross-curricular subject, linking pupils’ learning to many other areas on the timetable.

Woodbridge Road Academy | 15/12/2021

Woodbridge Road Academy, a new SEN school for Ipswich

Paradigm Trust’s new school, planned to be in a new building on Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, will be specifically designed for pupils with communication and interaction needs, to give them the focused support they need to help them fulfil their potential. Sixty places will be awarded by Suffolk County Council from September 2022.

It will be the fourth Ipswich school for Paradigm Trust, which already has responsibility for Ipswich Academy, Piper’s Vale Primary Academy and Murrayfield Primary Academy. All of these schools have achieved great academic progress and community support under its care.

You can find out more about the new school here:

Last updated December 15, 2021