The curriculum is the totality of pupils’ learning experiences. It is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning and personal growth and development.
At Beechwood Primary School we believe that our curriculum should be broad, balanced and relevant and meet the needs of all pupils whatever their ability. The taught curriculum is comprised of the National Curriculum, Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and the wide range of extra-curricular activities that the school organises in order to enrich the experiences of the pupils.
We have spent considerable time rewriting our whole school curriculum to provide pupils with exciting and engaging theme-based learning opportunities. We follow the requirements of the new 2014 National Curriculum whilst also incorporating our own school ‘curriculum drivers’, through which we aim to develop the following key skills:
- Enterprise – pupils who show initiative, resilience and are independent in their learning
- Global diversity – pupils who are knowledgeable about the world around them and the types of lifestyles of those who live in it
- Community – pupils who see their school as a central part of the local community
We aim to ensure that pupils have a range of learning experiences that challenge, stimulate and promote thinking and learning. This encompasses all foundation subjects and enables us to provide a high standard of teaching and learning.
To provide an enjoyable curriculum that is centred on meaningful learning and that focuses on the development of skills.
To equip pupils with the skills and personal qualities to enable them to become successful and effective members of society in the 21st century.
To promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, linking ‘real life’ with their learning to prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
To underpin foundation subjects with literacy and numeracy skills.
To develop independent thinkers/learners who are able to seek solutions creatively and cooperatively by having an ‘enquiring’ mind and by asking questions.
The way time is allocated will depend on our analysis of pupils’ needs and also on the aims and priorities of the school. The school will take into account national initiatives to raise standards of attainment and to strengthen learning and teaching. Currently, a minimum of one hour per day is allocated to each of the core curriculum areas of English and Mathematics.
The time allocated to a subject will result from discussions between the Head Teacher, Deputy Head and teaching staff, taking account of priorities identified by the school. Time allocated to subjects may vary slightly between year groups in the school. In addition, there may be separate time allocations for individual pupils or groups of pupils, in order to help them meet their particular learning needs.
The Beechwood Curriculum is broad and balanced; based on the National Curriculum of 2014.
Foundation Stage follow the Early Years Curriculum and is child led. Key Stage One Curriculum has changed from mixed year group cycles to single year planning since September 2017. Key Stage Two Curriculum still reflects mixed year group teaching and is planned on a rolling programme in Years 3/4 and 5/6 with regard to topic and foundation subjects. The curriculum reflects the local culture and there are many excursions in the vicinity.
The maths curriculum is based on Focus Maths although this isn’t exclusive – planning is driven by a progression in calculation policy with opportunities to develop reasoning within problem solving and investigations. Maths is taught within a context of real life and children enjoy practical and outdoor learning.
The English curriculum is driven by high quality texts. The teaching of reading is supported by quality guided reading texts and there is a clear emphasis on higher order reading skills. The teaching of writing is skills based and covers all genres. There are opportunities for writing across the curriculum. Talk for writing has contributed to the children’s rich vocabulary and has given them more scope to write creatively. Children work on becoming competent editors of their own work.
Read, Write, Inc. is used successfully to teach the children phonics in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.
Extra-curricular activities support the formal curriculum by extending the children’s knowledge and understanding, and to improve their skills in artistic, creative and sporting activities.
Monitoring of reading, writing and maths takes place on a half termly cycle.
We are well aware that all pupils need the support of parents/carers and teachers to make good progress in school. We strive to build positive links with the parents of each child by keeping them informed about the curriculum and how well each child is progressing.
Special Educational Needs:
Our curriculum is designed to provide access and opportunity for all pupils who attend the school and if we think it necessary to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of individuals or groups of pupils, then we do so.
We identify pupils whose abilities are outside the usual range in either a particular area of the curriculum or more generally. We keep a register of the identified pupils and teachers consider these pupils when planning; using a range of strategies to enrich, extend or ‘deepen’ their learning to meet their particular need.
Monitoring of the Curriculum:
Subject leaders monitor long-term and medium-term planning to ensure that a broad coverage of skills and knowledge is being taught across the school.
Subject leaders monitor the delivery of the planned curriculum through regular work scrutiny. Senior Leaders monitor the delivery of the planned curriculum through lesson observations, learning walks and regular work scrutiny.
Where possible, governors observe parts of lessons in the subject areas for which they hold ‘link’ responsibility.
Evaluation of the Curriculum:
Head Teacher, Deputy Head responsible for Curriculum and teaching staff share evaluations of curriculum areas/subjects during staff meetings.
Team leaders share evaluations of teaching and learning across their team during team meetings.
Subject leaders share evaluations of their curriculum subject as part of the Performance Management review process.
Governors share evaluations during Governing Body meetings.
If evaluations result in issues being raised, these are reviewed and then acted upon.
We have developed a ‘reading culture’ at Beechwood, where children can interact with books, print and spoken language. We promote the enjoyment of a wide range of genres and encourage children’s own interests. Great importance is placed on ‘reading for meaning’ and a variety of methods are used to develop children’s skills in reading through a host of learning experiences.
The teaching of reading begins in the autumn term of Foundation Stage where the children are introduced to letter sounds (not letter names), and over the course of the term, become familiar with all the initial sounds of the letters of the alphabet. These are not taught in alphabetical order, but follow the order prescribed in the RWI Phonics programme.
Once the children are confident of the initial sounds they are taught to segment the letters in words in order to decode (read) and blend letters in order to encode (write). The children usually begin to do this when ready in the Foundation Stage, following the structure of the RWI Phonics programme and are grouped according to their rate of progress.
In Years 1 and 2 the children continue to follow the programme, again working in groups determined by rate of progress. During their English sessions, as well as revising and learning new phonic sounds, the children will apply and develop their phonic and reading skills whilst reading a range of phonic books, both fiction and non-fiction. As well as phonic lessons the children all receive Guided Reading Sessions where they are encouraged to develop the ability to read at speed, with fluency and expression, and to read ‘like a story-teller’ and discuss many aspects of the book in order to answer comprehension questions verbally. The content of these books becomes gradually more complex.
Once pupils are able to decode, their reading continues and we begin working on the pupils’ comprehension skills. Comprehension skills are taught through a whole school Guided Reading Programme. This develops children’s comprehension of, and response to, a variety of texts so that they become critical thinkers engaging with texts. Comprehension activities are designed to help children to infer, summarise, question, clarify, predict and argue a point of view. The children also make connections between texts and their own experiences. We use higher order questioning to ensure pupils reach age related expectations and are well challenged.
Throughout the school, from Foundation Stage to Year 6, children are provided with reading books from the Oxford Reading Tree and Treetops schemes, to share with an adult at home. We expect that children read at home with an adult at least five times per week, to extend the ‘reading culture’ beyond school itself. Each child’s stage on the Oxford Reading Tree/Treetops scheme is determined by their stage on the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme or, later, by their National Curriculum reading level.
Termly curriculum news for all year groups is available at https://beechwoodprimaryschool.com/termly-curriculum-news.
Additional information about the schools curriculum is available upon request, please contact the school office.