At Birley Spa, we believe that children will thrive when staff support their wellbeing, enthusiasm and access to learning. Our Teaching and Learning model includes:
The curriculum is the totality of pupils’ learning experiences. At Birley Spa Primary Academy, we believe that our curriculum should be broad, balanced, and relevant and meet the needs of all children whatever their ability. It should give them the knowledge and skills to flourish in an ever-changing global society.
Over the last few years, we have redesigned our curriculum through a process of discussion with pupils and staff to capture the core values that make our school an exciting and rewarding place to learn and teach. Through this process, we identified the key aspects of our curriculum that are the essence of our school.
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As a school, we have identified six characteristics that we believe are fundamentally important and underpin every aspect of our children’s cognitive, social and emotional development and learning. These core attributes are:
At Birley Spa, every pupil can flourish as an inquisitive, intuitive and inspirational critical thinker and leader. Together, as a learning community, we work passionately to develop our core behaviours, as these provide a richness to learning both inside and outside of the classroom-learning environment. Everything we pursue as a school seeks to develop our pupils beyond them solely achieving high academic attainment. We strive to provide them with a set of personal strengths that will enable them to achieve their full potential both here and beyond life at school.
The aims of the curriculum at Birley Spa Primary Academy are to:
- Promote high standards in reading, writing and mathematics.
- Promote high standards in all subject areas, behaviours for learning and in presenting work.
- Allow children to develop a true knowledge of themselves.
- Enable children to acquire knowledge and skills in all curriculum subjects.
- Enable children to be confident and safe in the use of IT.
- Promote spiritual development.
- Promote physical and mental development and well- being and have awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
- Enable children to be aware of the importance of and participate in the arts and related cultural themes.
- Provide enriching activities both in and outside school that lead to the children being inquisitive about the world around them.
- Enable pupils to develop moral sensibility through carefully taught values.
- Develop a sense of community with school being part of the local and wider communities in which our children live.
- Develop the personal and social skills of each child.
- Develop the best relationships with each family.
- Provide equality of access and the opportunity for all pupils to make progress.
- Provide the best possible provision for children with additional needs.
- Be relevant to children and prepare them for the next phase of their education and their future.
ii) The Organisation of the Curriculum
The curriculum is planned effectively, providing continuity and progression. It promotes an enjoyment of, and a commitment to, learning and achieving. Through the provision of rich and varied activities, we aim to:
- Encourage the best possible progress and the highest attainment for all pupils.
- Sequence learning effectively to enable pupils to make connections across different areas of learning.
- Help pupils to think creatively and solve problems.
- Develop pupils’ capacity to learn and work independently and collaboratively.
- Enable pupils to respond positively to opportunities, challenge and responsibility.
- Enable pupils to acquire and develop a broad range of knowledge, skills and understanding and build on this each year.
Our curriculum is taught through discrete subjects and topic areas where relevant:
- Units of work are planned, usually over half a term’s duration. These medium term plans contain the detail of the work to be covered with a progression of learning objectives and success criteria. The plans indicate how the work will be differentiated and what the pupil outcomes will be; plans also demonstrate how knowledge is built cumulatively across the subject areas.
- Short term planning is carried out in more detail across the curriculum (through the use of ActivInspire flipcharts).
- Children are taught within their year groups. Smaller support groups are established where appropriate to enable the teaching to focus on a particular age range or level of ability and these can be mixed across the two classes within a year group.
- Units of work are planned using the framework of the National Curriculum.
- The RE scheme of work follows the Lincolnshire Locally Agreed Syllabus for RE.
- The PSHE scheme of work follows the “Jigsaw” programme and our safeguarding curriculum is underpinned by the SCARF programme.
At Birley Spa Primary Academy we use the Curiosity Approach and are working towards our accreditation as a Curiosity Approach setting. This will see us adapt and develop our learning environment and the way that we think about learning. The Curiosity Approach is particularly relevant for our children who have missed many early experiences due to Covid restrictions. Many of our children join us with limited experiences of a wider world and with lower-level language skills which may limit their aspiration. We want our children to become confident and independent thinkers and explorers who communicate effectively as they learn together. The role of the adult is to support the child by stimulating interest and providing provocations so that they extend their thinking through modelling, questioning, challenging and encouraging in order for children to develop their executive function.
To learn well, children must approach opportunities with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Effective learning must be meaningful to a child, so that they are able to use what they have learned and apply it in new situations. These abilities and attitudes of strong learners will support them to learn well and make good progress in all the Areas of Learning and Development.
Outdoor learning is crucial in our curriculum. We are fortunate to have access to our outdoor classrooms as well as the wider school grounds. The children experience and explore the seasonal changes in our natural world through their daily interactions with their familiar environment.
Much of our learning is based around high quality children’s books which are carefully chosen to extend children’s vocabulary and experiences. Immersion in fictional worlds provides opportunities to question and children become skilled at retelling stories through their play and love to share stories together.
Key Stage 1
Throughout KS1, language is built into the curriculum on a daily basis. Staff consistently model good language skills and support children in correcting themselves and speaking in the correct tense. Daily Phonics also helps to build language skills as it helps the children work towards reading and writing independently. All KS1 children have daily stories and discussions which enable them to increase their vocabulary and understanding of words.
Independence is also a key skill which all teachers focus on building throughout KS1. This is in many forms such as children fastening their own coats, tying shoelaces and being responsible for their own equipment. Children are also encouraged to work independently academically by using a range of resources to support them in their learning such as sound mats, number lines, word mats and dictionaries.
Engagement in the curriculum is a key focus for KS1 as we have further developed our curriculum so it meets the needs and interests of our children. Children begin new topics and texts with immersion lessons enabling them to ask questions and discover what they will be learning. We have also linked educational visits to our topics in order to further engage the children and enable them to experience new opportunities (through cultural capital).
The school values have been interwoven into the learning in KS1 in many ways.
Creativity is used daily in English lessons and also weekly in Art and DT lessons. Children also think creatively in PE lessons when we have put together performance in gymnastics PE lessons (for example).
Resilience is encouraged daily as the children are challenged. This is particularly evident during independent/apply sections of lessons when children complete different levelled challenges and are taught to continue trying even if they find it difficult.
Endeavor is encouraged daily in all aspects of school life and learning.
Aspiration is explicitly discussed and encouraged in many lessons, particularly PSHE and History. PSHE lessons enable children to aspire to be the best they can be and History lessons show them a wide range of aspirational people who were successful.
Teamwork is focused upon daily. All children work in teams with the children they sit with (sharing out equipment, tidying up, etc). They also demonstrate teamwork whilst playing outside at break time and during PE lessons.
Empathy is explicitly taught in various areas of the curriculum including PSHE, History, RE and English.
Key Stage 2
The values at Birley Spa (CREATE) are interwoven into each and every lesson. As such, children are given engaging tasks and challenges that allow creative freedom to flourish. We have high expectations of every child and aim to develop aspirational leaners who show real endeavour within their learning. The enthusiasm that teachers have for every subject promotes resilience and teamwork across every class. Each unit of work across the curriculum has empathy and tolerance developed within it. For example, looking at how key figures in History have impacted the way in which we live today or how a natural disaster’s effect can be felt long after the event in Geography.