At Barcroft Primary English and Maths are taught discreetly in the morning.
Reading is taught in Early Years and KS1, using elements of RML phonics and our own bespoke materials. We begin phonics teaching in Nursery. Guided Reading or RML happens daily for all children. We have a range of reading schemes which we dip into to best fit the needs of individual children. Once children are free readers and able to both read and understand texts confidently, they have a wide choice of materials to chose from, such as magazines, classical novels and more up-to-date literature. These are housed in our canal barge library and in the skyline pod. We have a school policy on children all having access to books to enjoy at home, and as such extra books are sent home each week, selected by the child. We also use Bug Club for access to hundreds of titles online. Homework is set in English to enhance the learning from the classroom. An annual reading challenge inspires pupils to improve their reading age and successful children are awarded a medal, with the best winning a kindle!
At Barcroft Primary School, Maths is linked to the Real World where possible, as we feel it is vital for pupils to understand the important of Maths within the Real World and identify this within their lessons. Maths is taught following the suggested timetabling from White Rose but we do not solely use this as a scheme of work. Teachers devise their own mastery questions and problem solving tasks to fit around a topic being taught so that pupils can see the links between subjects.
In Early Years the children are encouraged to explore Maths in their environment, this includes outdoors. We ensure there are a range of activities including lots of counting, number recognition and number ordering activities, which support the children in embedding their understanding of number. We also explore shapes, measurements and patterns. Each week we link our Maths learning with our topic so that the children are fully immersed in their learning.
Maths links are also evident within our Creative Curriculum and Science lessons which allows our pupils to find opportunities of Maths skills outside of the Maths Lesson. We ensure that the pupils at our school are provided with the opportunity to verbalise and share ideas in Maths; allowing them to work collaboratively with their peers. The school calculation policy informs staff and parents of how each topic area will be taught across the age ranges at school. We also timetable a weekly Arithmetic lesson and a Problem Solving Lesson which provides all pupils with an opportunity to apply knowledge before moving on. Maths is also supported through programmes such as 3rdSpace learning and Precision teaching which supports pupils where needed. Pupils in Key Stage 2 battle as TT Rock Stars to earn a place on the leaderboard. The best three pupils from Years 5 or 6 are also invited to represent the school in the annual battle of the bands!
In the afternoons the expectation is that the other subjects are taught in a topic based approach known as the creative curriculum. The emphasis is on ensuring that the key skills of reading, writing and numeracy are practiced in the topics in the afternoon. Improving Oracy is a school priority and is interwoven into all area of the curriculum.
The school does not use a commercial scheme but has designed a creative curriculum that is based on the Barcroft child’s needs and interests. There are key skills that have to be taught within each topic to ensure coverage of the national curriculum. Each unit is linked to the main text in literacy. Science has a strong focus on teaching mathematical and reasoning skills.
The school will
- From EYFS onwards ensure that pupils are actively encouraged to ask questions, hypothesise and share their ideas and that these skills extend into their writing
- In planning balance opportunities for creative ways of learning with secure coverage of National curriculum subjects and skills
- Ensure all pupils develop skills in ICT
- Build partnerships and out of school learning
What does Effective teaching and learning of the creative curriculum look like in Barcroft?
- Teaching includes open ended questioning and encourages independent thinking.
- Teachers succinctly set out the territory to be explored and ensure that the learning objectives are kept clearly in view while encouraging pupils to make decisions about which avenues to investigate and to reflect on the progress made.
- Teachers plan for opportunities to work collaboratively to make choices for pupils to present their work to teacher and their peers
The learning Journey
The curriculum is built round a sequence of learning journeys for each year group. The scope and focus of each journey are mapped centrally. This enables the SLT and the subject leaders to check that the national curriculum is fully covered and that pupils have opportunities to grasp the essential features of each subject as well as to make connections between them. Each learning journey involves several subjects. Willenhall to Venice in Year 3 for example, draws on social and physical geography, science, technology of different kinds, maths and English.
Every journey begins with a WOW event, some as ambitious as a trip to York to explore Viking influences, some start with a puzzle or mystery to be solved in the classroom. Pupils understand that the WOW is to get you inspired and make you want to know more. Pupils are clear about the breadth of learning involved. In between the wow and the outcome we have a directed focus on the following stages over a half term. These could be on a timeline on the learning journey board, the pupils are familiar with the phrases 'Shake it Up' for example, and year on year understand what this means on a more sophisticated level.
Wow opener, the posing questions, mind mapping, research project set for homework, special visitor, workshop, display and vocabulary boards created
Enquiry; Finding out and writing it up
Shake it up! Speculate! Envisaging what might be
Experimenting; explore other ideas/Hypothesise
We know lots now, let’s debate /share ideas, Presentation for parents, Whole school assembly, Display of work in Foyer or hall, webinar
The outcome Review and present/Assessment/Evaluate which pupil skills have been acquired or improved
The intended outcomes for each journey are very clear at the start- perhaps a presentation to parents, an exhibition, a performance, a video clip that can then be added to the school website. This is the product that the class will be working towards. At the end of every journey pupils evaluate the experience in terms of the skills they have acquired or improved and the knowledge and understanding that they have gained.
The learning journey gives the pupils a sense of distance travelled. Topics can be revisited, a topic can be dipped into in one year and then re –explored very profitably 2 or 3 years later when the children’s ability to question, investigate and analyse has matured. This could be done through whole school theme weeks e.g. a week on space can be repeated each year as long as the children’s skills are being stretched year on year.
One off theme days are more appropriate for global learning or to deal with current affairs e.g. world book day
Curriculum enrichment is achieved through an exciting range of trips, workshops and special visitors. School trips are carefully selected not only to support the curriculum but also to raise aspirations, e.g. visits to the theatre. Leaders have developed working partnerships with business such as Tesco to provide resourcing and extra-curricular opportunities.
The school offers range of afterschool clubs including choir, cooking and origami as well as booster, homework and maths tuition. The school has a strong tradition of amateur dramatics and this is promoted by one of our governors who has links with the local theatre group. Outdoor and residential learning are important and popular parts of the provision.
Pupils are given chances to take on extra responsibilities to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development very well. Pupils explore what it means to be British as well as the diversity of faiths and cultures in modern Britain. Elections to the House captains, school council and pupils awards for example give the pupils the chance to learn about democracy, representation and responsibility. Our projects including the building of the new library support local businesses and are designed to promote sustainability which is then explored in PHSE.