At the heart of every school lies the curriculum. It defines ethos and culture and at the same time delivers the school mission, aims and values. The curriculum is every planned experience provided for all students and as such cannot be seen as a stand-alone document.
If our children are to be equipped with the knowledge and skills that will assure them of future success, they need to have the confidence and ability to respond to changes around them. In a world of exponential change, the need for innovation, borne out of reflection and evaluation, becomes increasingly more important.
A successful curriculum therefore is not just a curriculum for the here and now but a curriculum that prepares young people for the future. We take pride in our enquiry led curriculum at Berry Pomeroy school as we offer engaging, real and relevant learning based on particular subjects at any one time, therefore allowing our children to experience deep learning. Our curriculum at Berry Pomeroy is a curriculum where knowledge and academic progress is built on character values and the ability to take on new learning and make connections. This is the zone of true learning innovation – where nurtured talents, passion and discovery meet life changing experiences. And all of this is fed by deep, rich knowledge through the curriculum. The design of our curriculum is so that it can make a real and lasting difference to the lives of young people and their ability to make the world of the future an even better place.
At the heart of our curriculum lie three core values: pursuit of academic excellence; the explicit development of metacognition; and crucially, character education.
Academic excellence is fundamental within our curriculum model. The children’s acquisition of a deep body of knowledge within subject disciplines, will enable them to express their learning to the highest standard. When children achieve excellence, this gives them the confidence to challenge themselves further. Through this process of experiencing success, they will develop character, for example grit, determination, self-efficacy and courage.
Whilst academic success remains a core priority, developing character is also an essential element of our curriculum model. Our curriculum gives children opportunities to make a positive impact on society. We want them to grasp the possibilities and opportunities of life beyond the classroom, to enable them to thrive at each and every challenge they face in life and make a difference to themselves and those around them.
Our curriculum not only focuses on achieving character whilst pursuing academic excellence, but also emphasises deep learning through developing the skills of metacognition. We use an enquiry approach to drive our learning experiences, making the reflective learning process explicit. In addition to this, tools for thinking will be taught to support children’s higher order thinking, synthesis of knowledge and creating of new thinking. However, metacognition can only be developed within a knowledge-rich curriculum.
The ‘mastery approach’ to teaching maths is the underlying principle of Mathematics Mastery through the use of the White Rose planning resources. Instead of learning mathematical procedures by rote, pupils are taught to build a deep conceptual understanding of concepts which will enable them to apply their learning in different situations.
The Mathematics Mastery curriculum is cumulative – each school year begins with a focus on the concepts and skills that have the most connections, which are then applied and connected throughout the school year to consolidate learning. This gives pupils the opportunity to ‘master maths’; by using previous learning throughout the school year, they are able to develop mathematical fluency and conceptual understanding.
Each lesson includes problem-solving which is at the heart of the Mathematics mastery curriculum and is the essence of everything we do as mathematicians. Every lesson provides opportunities for pupils to communicate and develop their mathematical language. Resources are included in each session throughout the school so that the children can see the maths happening. The pupils are expected to all solve the same investigations by the end of the lesson, meaning the key concepts and objectives are met by all pupils. Instead of accelerating higher attainers onto new content, we differentiate through depth in order to develop pupils’ conceptual understanding.
Phonics and Early Reading – Reception and Year One
Please see the attached information about the phonics scheme that we follow at Berry Pomeroy Primary School:
Reading at home
In Reception and Year 1 children take home reading books to read with an adult using a range of reading schemes including Oxford Reading Tree book bands. This is a vital part of their experience of learning to read, as it not only gives them a chance to practice their learning, and share that with their parents or carers, but it also helps them understand the value that we put on reading throughout society. Through sharing books with their children, parents can show children how much they value their child’s learning to read. The books the children take home relate to the phonic sounds that they have been learning, and are colour banded to ensure that they give the correct level of challenge to support the child’s learning.
Developing Reading – Year 2 Onwards
Throughout the early years of reading (Reception, Years 1 and 2) children progress through books which become progressively more challenging for them, according to their ability to read the words and understand the text. These books follow a colour banding to identify the level of challenge. They bring reading books home and, as before, parents are asked to hear them read on a daily basis to support this stage of their learning and give them the encouragement they need.
Reading beyond the colour bands
Once children are reading white books confidently and can talk about their understanding of the book, inferring what is understood but not written, and relating the text to other similar books or stories, children will move on to Accelerated Reader (from Summer 2020). This is a web-based programme, which ensures that children continue to read books at the right level of challenge to their ability. After they have read a book the children log on and take a quiz to show how well they have understood the book and are given a score to reflect this. They earn points, rewards and certificates for their reading, and can get on with books independently, whilst teachers and parents can keep a watch on their progress and understanding.
Writing is taught within the curriculum as children will acquire knowledge and use this to inform their fiction and non-fiction writing. Teacher’s plan writing to compliment the enquiry question that is being studied.
Through these texts we also teach the grammar that is now explicitly set out in the new 2014 National Curriculum and included in the statutory assessment points at the end of each Key Stage (Years 2 and 6).
A vital part of the writing process at all ages is children editing and redrafting their work. They need to be able to talk about what they had to do – or need to do next time – to make the writing better.