The enrichment programme
Barnes Primary School aims to provide all children with a challenging and stimulating curriculum. We want every single child at our school to reach the highest possible standards and make the maximum amount of progress they are capable of. We would like them all to surpass what would have been expected of them based upon their baseline performance on entry to our school. We do not use terminology like ‘gifted’, ‘talented’, ‘more able’, or ‘less able’ because we don’t believe in false categorisations that create the prospect of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.
Having said that we believe that some children are achieving, or have the potential to achieve, significantly in advance of the average for their year group. It is our responsibility to enable them to reach the highest possible standards. We offer these children some additional provision. An enrichment programme was established at Barnes in September 2007.
We believe that the enrichment provision offered to our highest attainers excites and intrigues them. They thoroughly enjoy the classes they are offered because they are given tasks that are suitably stretching and demanding. We believe that this additional input, not only benefits these pupils but benefits all pupils. This is because the vast majority of learning at our school involves mixed ability pairs of pupils working together. We seek to create a community of learners – one in which everybody learns from everyone else. Enrichment provision takes pupils to a higher and deeper level of understanding. The pupils involved then establish the expectation within their respective classes for what is possible and what to aim for. This supports their peers who do not attend enrichment provision . . . as the outcomes for currently lower and middle attaining pupils clearly demonstrate. We try our hardest, within the staffing capacity we have available, to open up this programme to as many pupils as possible. It really isn’t suitable for everyone though.
The programme provides additional provision in three areas: philosophy and reasoning through stories; mathematical enquiry and scientific enquiry.
A) Philosophy and Reasoning (through stories)
In the next ten to fifteen years, one of the effects of globalisation will be that economies will become more and more knowledge based. It is vital that young people are able to think and more importantly that our education system allows children to think, teaches them to think and challenges them to think.
During the programme children are introduced to challenging ideas through the study of texts that focus on ‘big ideas’ about life and the universe. Practical philosophy enables pupils to analyse different viewpoints and evaluate them; to argue and reason stating their views orally and in writing; to communicate information clearly using increasingly sophisticated language and to think critically about what they learn.
B) Mathematical Enquiry
This is a structured course with a focus on mathematical enquiry, problem solving, using and applying logic and formulating generalisations based on evidence.
The aim of this course is to develop the following generic skills:
- Enquiry: defining a problem; predicting an outcome; testing a conclusion
- Creative thinking: generating and extending ideas; suggesting a hypothesis; looking for alternative outcomes.
- Reasoning: making and explaining deductions; reaching decisions informed by evidence.
- Evaluation: evaluating evidence and reaching conclusions; making generalisations.
- C) Scientific Enquiry
The aim of the programme is to accelerate pupils’ scientific enquiry skills. All learning involves practical investigations and pupils are expected to communicate their findings through a range of different media:
- Powerpoint presentations.
- Short films involving pupils interviewing each other or demonstrating what they have discovered.
- Diagrams, graphs and other forms of data representation.
The governing body have agreed that the following criteria will be used to allocate places in these enrichment sessions:
- Pupils’ end of year tests scores.
- Pupils’ end of year teacher assessment.
- Classteachers’ views of pupils’ capacity to access and engage with the challenging material presented.
Assessment criteria are set for each year group that are well in advance of the government’s average expectation and all pupils who reach these standards are invited to join one of the groups. Assessments in reading, writing, mathematics and science are used to inform these decisions. This means that some children will be chosen for the term when the topic is mathematical enquiry. The same child might not be as strong in English and, as a consequence won’t be chosen for the philosophy and reasoning group. Some children may be performing at a very high standard in all of these subjects and will therefore be chosen for all three groups. We are committed to ensuring that there is transparency and equity in the allocation of places to the groups.