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At Barton Hill Academy, we want to inspire and support every pupil to achieve and to go on achieving -through each learning journey and through life as a whole. Our core curriculum vision is to provide all pupils with the necessary language, experiences, skills and knowledge – to recognise, to understand and to improve our world. Every curriculum subject is valued and taught to the highest possible standard.
Adapting Our Curriculum; Knowing Our Learners:
Knowledge of our school demographic and population is of great importance to us and both factors have significantly shaped our curriculum design. Approximately 80% of the pupils we teach, have English as an Additional Language (EAL) and many of these pupils are multilingual. We openly celebrate that so many of these young learners arrive with/develop vast linguistic knowledge. At the same time, our curriculum offer sets out to remove language barriers for all pupils – by teaching pupils to use English, technical and subject specific vocabulary. Modelling application of this vocabulary through effective communication/oracy is crucial. Such a focus on communication is also designed to support our SEND population (Special Educational Needs and Disability). Improving communication and interaction is key to our inclusive offering along with a strong focus on learning about positive relationships – what they look like and how to maintain them; understanding personal feelings and how to support ourselves (and others). Indeed a significant number of our students have emotional development interruptions and this is addressed, not only through our whole school approach and taught curriculum, but through our specific targeted Thrive interventions.
Our curriculum intent includes sharing, celebrating and understanding the rich and wonderful ethnic diversity of our school population (around 85% are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic origin (BAME) whilst also promoting British Values. Pupils are taught to reflect on similarities/differences between Britain and other countries; to encourage reflection on our position in the wider world. We teach pupils about socio-economic diversity and understand that a high proportion of pupils experiencing social deprivation first-hand. To give further context: in 2018-2019, 59% of our students received Free School Meals (FSM) and in the last six years, both the school location deprivation indicator and the pupil base were in quintile 5 (most deprived) of all schools. Although many of our pupils are extremely fortunate to have loving family, friends and carers, not all have equality in terms of their developed cultural capital. For this reason, providing a multitude of school trips/visits and visitors is something that we are proud to offer all of our pupils. Providing real-life experiences, sharing related knowledge and then developing skills, are fundamental to our broad and rich curriculum offering.
Curriculum Content; Connected Curriculum (Theme)
Barton Hill teaching staff employ a connected, enquiry based framework – to support planning of our “theme” curriculum content. Each term, pupils and teachers explore a main theme question such as, “How does electricity work?” Based on assessment of pupil prior knowledge, pupil interest, the framework support materials and through referring back to the overarching theme question frequently, teachers take pupils on a learning journey. This journey includes learning vital knowledge and skills from across Foundation and Core subjects (Foundation: History, Geography, Design Technology, Art, ICT, Music/Core: Science, Maths and English) whilst learning to use and apply them as part of an end of unit “product” (e.g. creating an electrical circuit in order to power a model vehicle). All key knowledge and skills outcomes are mapped progressively to set pupils up for success at each phase of the curriculum (e.g. pupils learn about the location of London in Y1 before learning about the Great Fire of London in Y2). Crucially, our school now plan theme-linked, educational visit opportunities at the beginning of each unit. We know that pupils learn best when they have sufficient foundations for further learning and by providing linked experiences to begin each unit, we enhance the class based and home-learning that follows.
Over the course of an academic year, content is balanced out in order to ensure that each National Curriculum subject is taught and valued. We recognise that our diverse population have different knowledge, skills, interests and talents. Therefore, by teaching a broad range of subjects, we are enabling learners to unearth their strengths and learn more about themselves.
We value use of the Connected Enquiry Framework as it: •Promotes questioning and the importance of enquiring minds •Provides thoroughly engaging, real-life themes/interesting contexts for learning •Allows pupils to make learning links between different subjects (cross-curricular learning) •Enhances the breadth and balance of our curriculum offering •Highlights subject specific and technical vocabulary which will enhance pupil understanding of the World. •Supports staff to provide suitably progressive challenge and lesson sequencing for pupils in all foundations subjects and science (through clear outcomes/descriptors) (The Connected Enquiry Framework is mapped against the National Curriculum in England Document (NC) requirements at KS1 & KS2)
Theme Curriculum in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Each term, our Early Years curriculum employs Connected Curriculum Themes. Within these Theme Units, Development Matters outcomes have been sequenced to maximise learning and assessment opportunities. The EYFS curriculum is based around developing pupil independence through teacher modelling leading to Continuous Provision - opportunities to apply learning in a strategically planned learning environment. In line with the whole school curriculum, there is a real focus on development of language through early reading and phonics.
Discrete Core and Foundation Subjects
Although we make cross-curricular links between subjects across our curriculum (e.g. data handling links maths and science) we also promote important learning through primarily “discrete” subjects including: Maths, English (Core), R.E/SMSC, P.E, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Computing (Foundation subjects) and PSHE (Physical Social and Health Education). We use the following planning frameworks to provide progressive support & challenge (key knowledge and skills), stimulating/engaging content and accurate subject knowledge: Talk for Writing (English Writing), Letters and Sounds & Rapid Phonics (Phonics & Reading), Whiterose (Maths), Discovery (R.E) Superstars P.E, La Jolie Ronde (Spanish MFL), Purple Mash (Computing) and Jigsaw (PSHE).
Removing Barriers to Learning; Being truly Inclusive
Inclusion is at the forefront of our curriculum. We have already begun our journey towards the Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) and believe that every child has a right to learn; to be the best that he/she can be. Communication is in our view, key to success. Therefore, English and subject specific vocabulary definitions are taught prior to educational visits and throughout learning units, in order to help all pupils understand learning content. Sentence stems and talk frames are provided alongside teacher modelling of effective speaking and listening - thus supporting pupils to communicate their understanding, questions, opinions and solutions.. Our main approach to teaching and learning includes removing and reducing barriers as opposed to lowering expectations. For this reason, we review pupil progress each term and explore supportive intervention and resources for pupils. Often, by providing specific resources (e.g. number-lines for pupils who need visual number support or tactile resources for tactile learners) or strategically giving additional adult support, young learners can begin to access age related curriculum content. On rare occasions, learners have needs which mean they are not ready to access the entirety of our broad curriculum offering. In such instances, we plan pupil-specific, bespoke content as part of a strategic integration plan e.g. for a child requiring a great deal of emotional support, we may focus learning towards Maths, English and PSHE content in Nurture Group; For a child lacking the basic maths and English skills to fully access the curriculum we may remove that pupil from class (temporarily) during Theme learning, in order to provide additional maths and English intervention for catch-up.
An Enriched Curriculum
As mentioned, the subject content we teach in class is enhanced and enriched through a vast array of theme linked educational visit opportunities. We know that pupils also learn through celebration and so curriculum learning opportunities are extended to include the wider school community. Annual celebrations such as “We Are Barton Hill” (Multicultural Celebration), Eid festival, Diwali and Christmas Celebration are just some events that are inclusive to pupils, parents and families – promoting interaction with other cultures and faiths. We recognise that pupils can benefit from learning creative drama skills and developing confidence through performance. For this reason, every child (YR- Y6) spends at least one term of drama focussed learning, reading scripts, acting, improving their speaking & listening. Learners then apply their learning during a year group/combined year group performance to other pupils and parents/carers. Our curriculum is further enriched through the After School Learning Clubs we offer (4 days available per week). After School Clubs enable our pupils to access an even wider curriculum offering in order to extend their learning (e.g. Art Club, Music Club, P.E Club, Dance Club, STEM Club, Carnival Club, Forest School Club). Recognising that not all pupils can attend clubs and in order to be inclusive, we provide additional learning choice and opportunities during the school week. Every term, pupils sign up to an “Enrichment” group of their choice. This enables pupils to strengthen relationships with other staff and children, and also, to follow their learning interests. Theme days and weeks supplement our curriculum. These form short enquiry units with a context/stimuli and an end product. Each unit enables learners to delve deeply into a topic or theme for a focussed period of time. Our current Theme Week’s include: Global Week, History Week, Anti-Bullying Week, E-Safety Day, World Book Day, STEM Week, We are Bristol/Ancient Greece (during Olympics year) and Arts Week.
Curriculum Outcomes for Our Learners
We sequence knowledge and skills outcomes to provide progressively challenging sign-posts for learning. These act as a measure of success for teachers, learners and our curriculum as a whole. Crucially, by the end of KS2, our curriculum intent is to ensure that all learners are on track for secondary education. Learners must be able to: feel safe and know how to keep safe; know how to build a sense of mental and physical health, well-being and happiness; be able to recognise their strengths and next steps; be confident and have the confidence to try new things; know how to play, make friends, build and maintain healthy relationships; be a functional reader and writer; have the capability to read for pleasure and also to gain and provide information for life’s journey; have an increasing vocabulary and communicate thoughts and feelings clearly and confidently; apply knowledge from outdoor learning as well as creative and expressive arts; draw on inspiration from others; know who they are, where they belong and how they can contribute to society: have respect for their own and others’ identity, views, rights, faiths and beliefs and the law; recognise important responsibilities; continually challenge themselves in pursuit of excellence and success; embrace diversity, and have the skills and values to help them contribute as a respected member of society; live British Values; have the ability to reflect, explore and solve problems; develop the resilience to challenge themselves and the perseverance to bounce back from challenging experiences; embrace the importance of equality; show compassion for others; show tenacity and have the skills to access further education, employment and/or training.
Assessment and Continual Curriculum Development
Our Curriculum Vision states that all subjects are valued and taught to the highest possible standard. In order to understand the needs of our learners, pupil are assessed in every subject. Whilst the depth of assessment may vary subject to subject (e.g. Maths is supported by formal testing whereas P.E is teacher assessed), all assessments are used to explore pupil understanding; to shape teaching & learning provision and in addition, our future curriculum design.