At Barwic Parade Community Primary School, we believe that all children are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum which is fun, engaging and provides rich and varied learning opportunities and experiences to instill a lifelong love of learning. We want the very best for our children and have therefore put careful thought and consideration into our curriculum structure and content. Reflecting on current research into long-term memory and how children retain information, we have put together a curriculum which we feel meets the aims and ethos of our school and will allow children to make links and connections between subjects. We intend that all children will be constantly reviewing and building upon previous learning, strengthening their schemas and making connections so that learning is deepened and remembered.
Responding to the needs of our children, we know that it is vital that all children feel that the world is open to them; it is essential that we as a school build children’s cultural capital to ensure that no child is left with limited experiences. Having knowledge and experience of the world is a golden thread within our school curriculum. We want children to feel that they have been on a journey around the world during their time at Barwic Parade. We intend that they do this through a love of reading, engaging and impactful lessons and meaningful experiences which bring learning to life. We want our children to become immersed in the history, traditions, artists, music and culture of all the seven continents. We want our children to question the world around them and be intrigued and inquisitive about what they learn, leaving them with a thirst to find out more.
Our curriculum is planned to give all children the opportunity to develop socially, emotionally, intellectually, physically, spiritually, morally and culturally. We want children to develop positive attitudes, healthy relationships and essential life and work skills. When they leave school, we want them to be able to make informed choices, be responsible and be aspirational about their future.
For each of our curriculum areas, the long-term planning identifies what is to be covered and when. Where possible, links have been made between subjects, for example in Design and Technology, children are asked to use their historical knowledge of World War Two support them to create Anderson shelter models. After careful reflection about current research into working and long-term memory and how children best retain information, we have organised our curriculum in a way that allows us to revisit topics at intervals throughout the year. Topics are no longer ‘blocked’ into half terms but instead are interleaved to allow children opportunities to recall and deepen their knowledge and understanding each time a topic is revisited. Mini-quizzes also form an important part of our curriculum, allowing teachers to assess where children are and what has been retained. It provides children with more opportunities to strengthen their schema for that subject, moving knowledge from working memory into long term memory at the point where it could have otherwise been forgotten.
Because we believe that knowledge and experience of the world is the golden thread interwoven in our curriculum, our geography curriculum is structured differently. Instead of interleaving topic areas, children are given the opportunity to travel the world each half term. Links are made between these different places or topics through the use of symbols such as ‘Human Features’ or ‘Physical Processes’ to help create geographical schema. As part of our Barwic Offer, we also celebrate a different country across the school every half term through our Barwic Globetrotters project. All children have their own passport to travel the world during their time at Barwic Parade. During these theme weeks, they are exposed to a range of experiences to help develop their cultural capital. We want to give our children a greater sense of the world around them; the different countries and traditions, history, artists, music and culture across all 7 continents.
All classrooms in school have their own map of the world and timeline across the top of their room. In all curriculum areas, these resources are referred to in order to put learning into context geographically and historically. Core subjects like science are taught twice a week; foundation subjects are taught in hourly lessons biweekly, except for art and Design Technology which take place weekly to allow for projects to be completed. These two subjects are alternated half termly. PE is also taught twice a week, in line with National Curriculum expectations.
We understand that our curriculum is unique; it is something completely new to the school and therefore we recognise the importance of measuring the impact which it has on children’s learning. Over the course of the year, one of our priorities is measuring this impact for all subjects to ensure that we are developing children’s retention of key knowledge and deepening their understanding of the world around them. Mini-quizzes are an important tool that we will use to assess children’s recall of key teaching points. Assessments and gap analysis will also allow for us to plan to fill any gaps in learning. Summative assessment for each subject will be completed using OTrack at the end of the year.
We will know that our curriculum is successful in its aims when children are able to talk with confidence about each subject area and are able to make links between these subjects, showing a depth of understanding and a curiosity for more knowledge. Children will be able to celebrate their learning and will leave Barwic Parade as well-rounded individuals with a love of learning clearly instilled within them. They will be prepared for their future at high-school and beyond and will have the necessary tools, knowledge and experiences to go on to succeed.