Leadership ensure that the curriculum is broad and balanced and we have two clear intentions: firstly that the curriculum promotes the key skills of reading, writing and maths and secondly to teach vocabulary acquisition which in the lower years translates to improving Oracy.
Through our curriculum we aspire our pupils to be healthy and active, tolerant, global citizens ready for the next phase in their educational journey.
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!
Reading and Writing in more detail
Reading is one of the most important ways in which children observe and absorb the best language skills. So, while components such as grammar and vocabulary are important in our curriculum, they will be taught in a contextualised way, through the enjoyment of texts. Planning will include rich texts which enthuse and engage pupils. When choosing texts, we look for a balance of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; selecting emotionally powerful texts which deal with important human situations and strong feelings, and- in the early years- traditional tales with clear narrative structures and texts which have a strong musical quality and make use of 'poeticised speech'. We also ensure texts are selected to fit in with topics to ensure pupils are fully immersed in their learning.
Shared reading will take place on a regular basis to allow pupils to hear the teacher model good practice in reading. Texts will be used to support speaking and listening and writing, alongside reading skills. Children will also be exposed to reading for enjoyment and every class has a reading area.
In Early Years and Key Stage 1 pupils engage in our bespoke phonics and reading programme based on the structure of RML lessons. These sessions include learning individual sounds, blending sounds to read and spell new words and learning sight words. These words are then embedded into structured texts to give pupils the opportunity to develop fluency and expression in their reading. Comprehension also takes a high priority at all levels of our phonics sessions and ensuring pupils understand and enjoy texts is a high priority. Our bespoke reading sessions take place at least 4 times each week with Key Stage 1 teaching Guided Reading for the fifth day.
Guided reading takes place once each week in Key Stage 1 and in Reception when pupils are considered ready. Pupils in Key Stage 2 engage in Guided reading sessions every morning. During this session pupils engage in a wide variety of activities including reading in a small group, accessing ebooks, comprehension activities, discussing the meaning of words and reviewing and blogging about a text they have read. This session focuses on all aspects of reading in line with the national curriculum expectations and allows teachers to consider year group expectations and next steps for all pupils.
In addition to our teaching of reading, one comprehension lesson is taught for all year groups in Key Stage 1 and 2.
At Barcroft we aim to develop children's abilities to produce well structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. Attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Teachers model writing strategies and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions. Shared, Modelled and Guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals, whilst children have opportunities to write at length in extended independent writing sessions regularly for a range of purposes across the curriculum.
The children are given frequent opportunities in school to write in different contexts using quality texts as a model. There are many opportunities for children to improve their writing inspired by drama techniques and clips. They may be asked to produce their writing on their own or as part of a group.
Writing follows the sequence of:
Immersion and orientation- this is the stage of the unit where children are immersed in the text type. This can include a stunning start (e.g based on a quality text, visit to the library or a walk in the park, visit from a book character). Children will become familiar with the sentence pattern without being able to say it. This helps children to internalise the patterns of language, children may refer to this as 'talking the text'. Key vocabulary is identified and displayed to be referred to throughout, it is vital that children understand what words mean.
Exploring and zooming in- looking closely at the text, analysing language patterns and playing with language. This is the part of the unit where a writer's toolkit may be created and further exploration into grammatical features and deeper meanings may be explored. Children may explore other similar texts, they may draw upon underlying structures and language features of the original model to create their own version.
Imitating and Inventing- using internalised techniques and structures, children now start to imitate and invent a new idea; this may be a character, story line, text etc. At this stage children will move to becoming more independent writers. Children will be encouraged to write within the same text type but may choose different topics that interest and intrigue them.
Editing and redrafting- proofreading skills will be taught during lessons and links will be made to the teaching of handwriting. Pupils will look back at work to edit spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors and improve work by incorporating more adventurous vocabulary. On occasions pupils will complete a final draft of work to present to others.
In EYFS and Year 1 pupils will be taught to spell words using phonic knowledge and by learning sight vocabulary for words that are not spelt phonetically, such as red words. In Years 2 to 6 spelling strategies will be taught using the No Nonsense Spelling Programme. This teaches children to learn words by sight and learn key spelling rules in line with National Curriculum expectations for each year group.
Pupils in Key Stage 1 and 2 will have words sent home to practise in their green spelling book as part of our homework policy and spelling tests will take place on a weekly basis.
In Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils have one dedicated SPaG lesson each week to teach skills which are then embedded into context during reading and writing lessons. Teachers follow the National Curriculum appendices and the school's Progression in Grammar document to ensure coverage and effective progression through the identified steps.
At Barcroft Primary School, our main intention is to ensure maths is linked to the real world where possible, as we feel it is vital for our pupils to understand the importance of maths within the real world and identify this not only within their lessons but also outside the classroom environment.
As a school, we ensure maths is taught following the suggested timetabling from White Rose but we do not solely use this as a scheme of work. At Barcroft, we have devised our own mastery questions and problem solving tasks to fit around each topic being taught, while also providing our pupils with an opportunity to become independent learners and linking their maths skills to other subjects and outside the classroom environment.
Linking with maths being a real life skill, at Barcroft, we also ensure maths links are clearly evident within our Creative Curriculum and Science lessons as this encourages our pupils to explore opportunities of maths skills outside of the maths lesson. We also 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 and support their vocabulary acquisition, which links with our main intention for our curriculum.
Our school calculation policy informs staff and parents of how each topic area will be taught across the age ranges at school. As well as this, we also timetable a weekly arithmetic lesson and a problem solving lesson as these vital skills provide our pupils with an opportunity to embed and apply mathematical knowledge before progressing further and supporting them with knowing and remembering more and mastering mathematical concepts.
Maths is also supported through programmes such as ThirdSpace learning and precision teaching as these individualised programmes, support our pupils needs as individuals to ensure they remember more before moving on.
Alongside this, we also have our very own Barcroft ‘Maths Pupil Leadership Team’ which consists of KS2 pupils who are responsible for independently leading maths across their school by supporting and promoting outdoor maths with our ‘maths sheds’ and also designing, implementing and answering a wide range of mathematical competitions for our KS2 pupils to answer. This also links with our intention of promoting challenge for our pupils and encouraging our pupils to be independent learners and preparing them to become future leaders. Pupils in KS2 also 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 Early Years, pupils are encouraged to explore maths in their environment, with an emphasis on outdoor maths. We provide our pupils with a wide range of activities, including; a variety of counting, number recognition and number ordering activities. This supports our pupils with embedding their understanding of number and mastering this concept as they move into KS1. As well as this, we also explore shapes, measurements and patterns. In Early Years, we ensure that our maths learning links closely with our topic, as this allow our pupils to become fully immersed in their learning and make mathematical links at a young age; preparing them to become independent learners in the future.
At Barcroft, we believe that science is about discovery and opening our minds. As Marie Curie said, 'Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.'
Our science lessons follow the skills development as set out in the National Curriculum, but teachers, pupils, phase leaders and senior leaders have examined where different topics fit best, ensuring that skills are developed and prior knowledge is built upon successfully.
The following documents will illustrate the skills progression and journey in science more thoroughly.
Pace and Progression in Science
EYFS to KS1 Skills
KS1 to KS2 Skills
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 or to a film clip or image. 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.
Some subjects are taught discretely, for example PE, Modern Foreign Languages and RE. In these areas the lessons are planned around a school agreed medium term plan. However the driving intentions are still the same: embedding core skills, vocabulary acquisition and developing healthy and active, tolerant, global citizens ready for the next phase in their educational journey.
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.
We are always happy to share our curriculum and the children's brilliant work- just ask if you would like to know more.
Our aim at Barcroft Primary School for history is to promote children's knowledge of British and local History as well as improving their investigative skills through a creative curriculum. Each year we provide a multitude of enhancement activities, such as workshops and talks to further improve the quality of their history learning. We also aim to include a local History project, to imbed local knowledge across the school. This year we are really looking forward to our Victorian Day, where we will dress as Victorians and complete a project about Willenhall in the Victorian era. Our intention is to ensure that by the end of our children's primary education, they have acquired an understanding of both key dates in history and have a strong chronological knowledge of history. Our children enjoy learning about broad developments and historical periods and have strong mental timelines of the past.
We develop links between what children have learnt in previous year topics, such as links between the Romans studied in Year 4, and the court system dating back to the Roman times in Year 5’s Crime and Punishment topic. This ensures a love of history, building on prior knowledge and understanding.
This year pupils took part in a whole school Victorian Day, staff and children dressed up and took part in various activities, learning all about what life was like during the Victorian era.
You can find the national curriculum for history on the link below.
National Curriculum for History
Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. It offers enjoyment and recreation, training in perception and physical co-ordination and opportunities for working alone and in groups. Music is an extremely important subject for all children to learn and can lead to better brain development, increases in human connection, and even stress relief. A high-quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon.
Throughout the school year, all children are active participants in events such as Harvest Festival and Christmas production (Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2). We currently have a choir of approximately 30 children and they perform at school concerts as well as annual events such as Young Voices. We develop the skills in music by making cross curricular links and promoting British values. At Barcroft we celebrate and promote music in different cultures such as Diwali, Christmas, Eid and Chinese new year. In addition, the children have made links with the local community, by performing to the care home. Children have the opportunity to listen to music during lunch times, which calms them down and allows them to reflect on their day. During the school day, music is played in the morning and in the afternoons to make a positive impact on their emotions, this creates a positive feeling in the classroom.
Music is implemented every day at Barcroft, however it is taught 1 hour every week. We use Charanga to ensure our children are being taught the key skills which are taken from the National Curriculum. The class teachers deliver the music lessons by following the Charanga plans and adapting it to our children. The curriculum is assessed formatively and summatively, for example during lessons, at the end of a lesson and at the end of a unit of work. The staff use the key skills document to assess the children and to identify the progression of skills.
Music Planning Overview