Principles underpinning the planning and delivery of our school curriculum
Underpinning everything we do at Barnes Primary School is the idea of maximising learning, love and laughter.
The central aims of our curriculum will be high pupil standards, high equity and high enjoyment.
We aim to offer all pupils a great education.
We will offer an inclusive curriculum and look to overcome all barriers that prevent pupils from succeeding.
The National Curriculum will form a part of our whole school curriculum. We will take autonomy for our school curriculum and for the way we plan for and deliver the National Curriculum. Our school curriculum will be enriched by the wide variety of before- and after-school clubs on offer.
We will have the highest expectations of all learners. There will be no ceiling set for the performance of any pupil. So we will set ambitious, aspirational targets for the continual improvement of all learners. We will always look for suitable and appropriate opportunities to stretch and challenge every pupil.
We believe in assisting pupils to develop deep, secure understanding. We will therefore allow them to study at a pace that enables the formulation of a robust understanding of central ideas; key concepts; key bodies of knowledge; and fundamental skills. We will abide by the maxim ‘less is more’ and may cover fewer items, but we will do so in much greater depth. Our aim in doing so will be to ensure that all units of learning have a high impact on pupils’ development.
Pupils will be supported to master fundamental concepts in subjects. The curriculum will not be delivered at an undue pace, with teachers moving on to the ‘next thing’ too quickly.
Our curriculum will be broad and balanced. We will not allow English and mathematics to dominate the school timetable and the learning time that is available. There will be weeks when no English or mathematics is directly taught. We will, however, continually look for meaningful opportunities for pupils to apply the skills and knowledge they have learnt in English and mathematics in other subject areas.
Teachers will show flexibility when planning the next learning activities or units. They will not follow a year sequence slavishly, but instead choose what to teach next based on their accurate assessments of what pupils can do.
We are committed to offering as many high-quality opportunities in sport, music and the creative arts, including dance and drama, as our financial capacity allows.
The unique learning themes we have created that involve learning in art, design technology, geography and history will be retained as a key element in our teaching of the foundation subjects.
We will maintain our highly popular theme weeks (On Camera – the chance for pupils to make a film; Arts Week – a whole week dedicated to the creative arts and the performance arts; Solve a Problem Week – design and technology focus). From time to time we may offer other theme days or weeks (for example, our geography theme day: The Country We Live in).
We will fully utilise the enormous cultural and historical capital that London offers. Pupils will be given plenty of chances to visit places of interest as part of their learning experience.
All staff will seek out relevant and meaningful opportunities to develop pupils’ social, moral, cultural and spiritual understanding when teaching all subjects.
We will ensure that pupils have plenty of opportunities for practical, ‘hands-on’, multi-sensory learning.
All pupils at our school will be supported to become highly articulate. The development of mature speaking and listening skills will be given a high priority. Pupils will be taught to speak clearly, precisely and audibly, using sophisticated and expressive vocabulary. They will learn about Standard English and be assisted to help them avoid lazy, imprecise, unclear and unspecific talk (for example: it’s like; it’s kind of; it’s sort of; basically . . .). All pupils will be expected to develop the art of public speaking. They will also become skilled at engaging in a productive discussion.
Staff at the school will continually support and promote pupils to read widely.
Staff at the school will give pupils regular opportunities to solve problems across a range of curriculum disciplines.
In our view a fit body and a fit mind are interlinked. So we will ensure pupils have a wide range of opportunities to engage in sport and physical education.
At different times, pupils will be expected to think fast (for example, in mental arithmetic) and think slow (for example, in thinking carefully about how to design a scientific enquiry). Teachers will strive to ‘make thinking visible’. In our view it is important for teachers to nurture thinking in the daily lives of learners and to make it visible – noticing it, highlighting it and commenting upon it – so that pupils can recognise it.
We will take heed of research findings on homework for primary school pupils. In the main, homework tasks will involve reinforcing or practising what has been learnt in the classroom.