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Curriculum Statement 2020

Birches Green Juniors School

School Curriculum

 

Curriculum Statement

Our Aims

 

Intent:

  • Vocabulary development across all subject areas
  • Increase of resilience and a growth mind set
  • Deepening of learning to progress knowledge and skills
  • Stimulating experiences

 

Implementation: Through half termly topics with a key foundation subject focus

 

Impact: Increased pupil vocabulary, knowledge and skills. Provide experiences within the community to connect children with the world around them. Create a love for learning, build cultural capital and develop a resilient attitude.

 

Birches Green Junior School is committed to meeting the requirements of the primary National Curriculum introduced in September 2014.

Birches Green Junior School, whilst delivering the statutory content of the National Curriculum, plans a thematic approach to learning with themes changing half termly to excite and stimulate the children.

Teachers are receiving training in the key areas of curriculum change and we are developing a good curriculum provision.

The curriculum is taught with the consideration of the needs of all learners encouraging a growth mindset approach. Children are expected to evaluate their own and others learning to help teachers inform future planning. Our curriculum is exciting and inspires children to nurture a passion for learning.

 

Formal requirements of the National Curriculum

Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based upon British Values which: promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. The National Curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum.

All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage.

Maintained schools in England are legally required to follow the statutory national curriculum which sets out in programmes of study, on the basis of key stages, subject content for those subjects that should be taught to all pupils. All schools must publish their school curriculum by subject and academic year online.

All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.

 

Values

Our school values are:

  • We listen.
  • We are fair.
  • We try our hardest.
  • We follow instructions.
  • We respect people and property.
  • We are kind, polite and tolerant.

The Department for Education states that there is a need:

“To create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”.

The Department for Education defines British Values as follows:

  • Respect for democracy and support or participation in the democratic process.
  • Respect for the basis on which the law is made and applies in England.
  • Support for equality of opportunity for all.
  • Support and respect for the liberties of all within the law.
  • Respect for and tolerance of different faiths and religious and other beliefs.

Our school reflects British Values in all that we do.  We aim to nurture our children on their journey through life so they can grow into safe, caring, democratic, responsible and tolerant adults who make a positive difference to British society and to the world. Birches Green Junior School ties its school values in with British Values in order to embed them into the morals and ethics of our pupils.

Extra-curricular Experiences

These include a variety of sports activities during lunchtimes and after school, of which all children are invited to take part.

Pupils are offered the opportunity to participate in sporting events that are scheduled throughout the year.

Educational visits

To engage and stimulate our curriculum, we are in the process of introducing educational visits or visitors for each half-term. As the Cornerstones curriculum is put into place at Birches Green Juniors, teachers will be scheduling trips to local landmarks and centres (eg: Sea Life Centre, planetarium, Sutton Park). These outings will provide the pupils will context for learning and help them to connect to their community.

 

In addition, guarantees are being developed for each year group. These are promises that each child will receive a given experience, which will help them develop independence, build cultural capital and learn life skills. Examples of experiences may include planning and cooking a meal, visiting a museum, taking a trip on a train or learning a new game.

 

Aims and objectives

We foster self-esteem, confidence, independence, and British Values at Birches Green Juniors. Children are encouraged to aim high; think positively; develop a love of learning through exciting and memorable experiences and to develop the ability to reflect and improve. Respect is encouraged for ourselves, each other and our community. Emotional wellbeing is promoted through PSHE (Relationship Education) lessons. We recognise the values of every individual as well as an awareness of the role they play within the wider community.

Learning is a life-long process which enables us all to play a full part in society, to contribute to it and benefit from it. Children, parents, teachers, Interim Executive Board (IEB) and the wider community are involved in this process. It is therefore of vital importance as it provides a solid foundation for future life experiences. At Birches Green Juniors, we emphasise that all children have an entitlement to:

  • equality of access and opportunity
  • broad, balanced and relevant learning experiences
  • a curriculum which recognises the individuality and special needs of each child
  • a curriculum which involves children in their learning
  • Religious Education and acts of collective worship as required by the Education Reform Act.
  • PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education)/Relationship Education

The staff and IEB wish to ensure that through our curriculum children will develop and apply the skills, knowledge and understanding gained from their homes, our school and the local community.

 

Organisation and planning of the curriculum

Birches Green curriculum is topic-led and supported by the Cornerstones scheme. It is a creative curriculum base designed with attention-grabbing starters, investigations that allows for practise of skills and techniques and lessons strategically designed to build and progress knowledge. Specific subjects are taught throughout these topics with key National Curriculum objectives linked and learning opportunities planned to meet the needs of our children.

 

English

At Birches Green Juniors we teach English sessions four times a week. During these lessons, children are stimulated by engaging literature, including modern and classic novels, non-fiction and poetry. A purpose for writing is established, providing pupils a context in which to apply their skills. Grammar and specific writing skills are therefore taught and practised in relation to the purpose. Opportunities for modelled writing (by the teacher) and shared writing (with the pupils) occurs weekly. Following a strategic building of skills, extended, independent writing occurs every 2-3 weeks.

 

Reading in year groups 3-5 is taught across five lessons per week: four small-group guided reading sessions and one whole-class session. Within the guided reading lessons, books are carefully chosen to meet the needs of the small group so that teaching is specific to those pupils. The text is read with the teacher and independently. Children complete tasks to further develop their comprehension skills and strategies. Pupils are also given the opportunity to read and write for pleasure to further develop their literacy skills and their love of learning.

In the whole-class session, a specific comprehension skill is taught, modelled by the teacher and practiced by the pupils. Differentiated materials are provided so that each pupil can access the curriculum and be successful.

Reading in year 6 is taught across five lessons per week: the whole-class session as described above as well as four whole-class reading sessions. During the whole-class reading sessions, text is read together and independently. In general, lessons focus on understanding vocabulary in context, retrieval and inference skills; however, these lessons are adapted to accommodate skills with which the children may be struggling.

 

Every child across the school has a Home Reading Record and the opportunity to take out home reading books and library books. Children are encouraged to read at least three times a week with or to an adult. This is monitored and rewarded by the teachers.

 

Spelling is taught one lesson per week. We follow the Rising Stars spellings curriculum, which is in line with the national curriculum. Children are taught spelling patterns and rules, which are practiced in an engaging activity. It is expected that the children then practice the words at home in advance of the test the following week.

 

Cursive handwriting is taught through weekly handwriting lessons and used in all areas of the curriculum. Pupils are given a line of handwriting practice in each lesson. The Letter Join interactive program is used to support handwriting and is accessible to children at home and school. Use and application of English skills is encouraged throughout learning in other areas of the curriculum.

 

We carry out the curriculum planning in English in three phases; long-term, medium-term and short-term.

 

Mathematics

At Birches Green Junior School, we see mathematics as an essential skill which contributes to everyday life. As stated in the National Curriculum, maths is ‘critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment.’ Therefore, the purpose of mathematics in our school is to develop all areas of children’s mathematical understanding and to encourage a passion and curiosity within the subject.

To do this we aim to:

  • provide a stimulating, exciting mathematical environment
  • deliver maths in line with national curriculum guidelines
  • develop children’s awareness of maths in all areas of life and promote the idea that maths is crucial for understanding the world around them
  • develop fluent mental and written strategies
  • encourage children to explain their thinking using the correct mathematical vocabulary
  • provide children with regular opportunities to talk about maths with peers and develop a curiosity around maths
  • secure children’s basic understanding of mathematical concepts before broadening this knowledge using reasoning and problem solving activities.
  • challenge children and encourage them to explore their own understanding and thinking
  • ensure children are mathematically ready for the next stage of their learning by the time they leave Year 6

 

The way we teach Maths at Birches Green Junior School is based on a mastery style approach which is taken from the White Rose Maths Hub schemes of work. These schemes are adapted to suit the needs of the children we teach. Children take part in an hour long maths lesson each day and within these lessons all children are given the opportunity to develop fluency, reasoning and problem solving. The emphasis in lessons is to make teaching interactive and to engage all children by encouraging them to talk about mathematics.

 

Therefore, our lessons involve:

  • CPA (concrete, pictorials, abstract) opportunities,
  • mathematical discussion (talk partner or group work),
  • investigations,
  • reasoning activities,
  • explanation tasks, 
  • problem solving,
  • practical experiences,
  • practice of arithmetic skills.

Children are given the opportunity to explain their mathematical thinking through written answers after exploring concepts and ideas.

 

Science

A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science.

 

In their time at Birches Green, children will build up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts. They are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They will understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.

 

Science is taught for a minimum of one hour a week, although this is sometimes taken as 2 hours every other week. Alongside this, we observe British Science Week, providing a week where every afternoon has a science focus.

 

Science lessons engage the children with practical course content and provide exciting “wow” experiences.

 

Religious Education

We follow the Birmingham City Council’s agreed syllabus (SACRE). The Badger Religious Education programme is followed as a basis for teaching ensuring that there is coverage and flexibility across all year groups. These lessons take place for one hour each week.

 

 

Our aim with RE is to promote the spiritual, moral, social, cultural and intellectual development of pupils. Lessons are structured so the children acquire and develop their knowledge and understanding of the six principle religions represented in Great Britain. We believe that by exploring a variety of religions, the children will gain a greater understanding of themselves and a more sympathetic awareness of the needs of others. By learning about and from religion, pupils gain a greater understanding of their world and their place in it. This also builds on our school values and British Values: showing respect and tolerance for others and individual choice.

 

Additional events are organised including visits to places of worship. A partnership with St Barnabas Church is Erdington has been formed to help celebrate Harvest, Christmas and Easter.

 

Visits to local buildings of worship are organised throughout the year for each year group.

 

Computing

At Birches Green Junior School we aim to deliver the skills needed to understand the objectives within the new curriculum topic areas, where these will be of benefit to our children. Computing is delivered both through cross-curricular opportunities and as a timetabled lesson. The purpose-built computing suite is timetabled for each class to use at least once during the week and children have access to networked computers and secure internet use in each classroom. We are constantly reflecting on the technology needs and aim to provide children with the skills and equipment that facilitates their drive to be life-long learners. Computing is taught using the Switched on Computing scheme of work and the teaching of coding is supplemented through use of the Discovery Coding scheme. At Birches Green Junior School, e-safety is at the heart of the work we do and children are regularly reminded how to: use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; and identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.

 

Personal, Social, Health Education

Personal, Social and Health Education are central to the well-being of individuals and form an integral part of the whole curriculum of our school. All our teaching and contacts with children - both in the classroom and around school – promote an environment in which they feel happy, valued, secure and are encouraged to share responsibility for their well-being in line with fundamental British Values, which we reinforce on a daily basis. P.S.H.E. lessons are taught weekly and coverage is ensured from the objectives set out by the SCARF program. In Year 5, the children take part in a puberty workshop in single sex groups. Likewise, in Year 6, they are taught about the importance of relationships. Both topics are lead by the Life Caravan team. Parents are given the opportunity to visit the site beforehand so they know exactly what the children will be taught.

 

Design & Technology

We, at Birches Green, believe that every child can achieve their potential in Design and Technology through stimulating, challenging and fun activities.
 

Each block taught allows pupils to follow of the processes:

  • Design
  • Make
  • Evaluate
  • Develop technical knowledge

 

They learn to think and work creatively to improve the quality of life for themselves and others. They evaluate existing design and technology, both past and present, and investigate their impact on daily life, in a range of contexts. Our children become problem solvers both as individuals and as members of a team.

 

History

Our history curriculum aims to inspire our pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. History helps pupils to understand the process of change and the diversity of societies, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

During their time at Birches Green, children will ask perceptive questions, think critically, compare and contrast societies throughout history, order events, examine and analyse primary resources, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgment.

 

History lessons are focused on engaging the children with the course content. The lessons help the topic “come alive” for the children through use of artefacts, videos, trips and workshops. Children place themselves in the shoes of people who lived through these time periods.

 

Physical Education

Birches Green Junior School aims to provide a wide programme of physical activity within curriculum time as well as during leisure time.  Birches Green Junior School recognises the benefit of physical activity in creating healthy bodies and minds.  Each child receives their weekly entitlement of curriculum, physical education and opportunities to take part in out of school hours and lunchtime sporting activities. 

 Physical activity is promoted at lunchtimes through activities lead by our lunchtime supervisors, Year 5 Play Leaders and a Sports Coach.

 Physical Activity is used as a tool to promote self-esteem and confidence in expression of feelings.  Thinking, selecting and applying skills are employed during physical activity; these are promoted as life skills. Birches Green Juniors aims to promote an understanding of the many benefits of exercise, through a balanced range of relevant activities to include individual, team, co-operative and competitive activities. The children have 1-2 hours of P.E. lessons per week. One hour is replaced with swimming for one half-term.

 

All lessons, throughout the school, are taught as class groups following the Rising Stars scheme of work.  Lessons are taught by the class teacher. Teaching and learning is based upon progressive learning objectives, which, combined with varied and flexible teaching styles, endeavour to provide appropriate, stimulating, challenging and enjoyable learning situations for all pupils.

The planning is in place to ensure progress and to build on what the children already know and do.  Each lesson includes a warm-up. The children are given opportunities to discuss the ‘effects of exercise on their bodies.’  There is always an opportunity to ‘acquire and develop skills,’ and then they ‘select and apply these skills.’ Finally, the children take part in ‘evaluating and improving’ their skills (through peer and self-assessment) and finish with a cool down.

 

Assessment is informally given as oral feedback within lessons with reference to the objectives within the planning. This will be used to inform future planning and differentiation within lessons.   Any children that are not making expected progress will be given appropriate additional support, i.e. motor group, ITP targets, focus groups. More-able pupils will be challenged through differentiated activities within each lesson.

 

 Birches Green Junior School actively prepares our children for taking part in competitive sports.  Pupils have the opportunity to take part in an intra-school competition, eg: Multi-skills, Indoor Athletics, football, etc.  Teams represent our school in regular inter-school competitions which are organised by Kingsbury Schools Sports Partnership staff. 

 Cross curricular links are made wherever possible to raise the status of sport in school, to encourage high achievements and to promote healthy lifestyles for all.

 

Geography

Geography at BGJS gives the children an understanding of human, physical and geographical knowledge of the world. Through their work in geography, children learn about their local area; they compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. They learn how to draw and interpret maps, as well as developing research, investigation, analysis and problem-solving skills. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography, children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures. Geography lessons motivate children to explore the physical world and enable them to recognise the importance of sustainable development for the future of mankind. Lessons empower our children to have a greater understanding of the wider world and how they can be active citizens in their local and global community.

 

Art and Design

Art has a very important place in our curriculum and is linked in with our half termly topics. Through strategic planning, pupils learn about a variety of artists and their impact on the world. Different techniques and skills are explored by the children before they decide upon and produce their final product. In order to develop continuity and build depth, stimulus for art is linked to half-termly topics.

Throughout their time at Birches Green Junior School, children progress through skills in drawing, painting, collage, printing, textiles, three-dimensional art and photography/film making.

 

Music

Each year group has a 30-minute music lesson each week. The Charanga music scheme is used following the year group model but can be adapted to suit the current curriculum themes. Whole-school singing practice takes place each week for 30 minutes. Through the Birmingham Services for Education children have the opportunity to learn brass and woodwind instruments. During the Autumn 2 term, the school work together to develop a Christmas themed performance.

Our curriculum is in line with the national curriculum for music. We strive to ensure all pupils have the opportunity to:

  • Listen to and evaluate a variety of music from a range of styles, musicians and composers
  • Identify music genres
  • Create and compose music with instruments and with the use of technology
  • Sing and play instruments with increasing confidence and control
  • Use and understand staff and other musical notation
     

Foreign Language

At BGJS, we believe that every child can succeed at learning a new language. French is taught in a 30-minute lesson each week. This is sometimes scheduled as a 1-hour lesson every two weeks, depending on the depth and content of the lesson. We follow the Rigolo scheme of work. Children learn numbers and counting, basic conversation skills, colours, names of items in school and at home, family members, months of the year and days of the week.

 

Outdoor Learning

Forest school gives 14 children per half-term the opportunity to learn new skills taught in a different way. Learning is initiated by the participants, centred on their needs and is playful. It is led by a trained forest school leader who understands the ethos.

The blocks have beginnings and ends, which negotiate through ground rules and establishing spaces, both physical and mental. It addresses basic survival needs of food, fire and shelter and is therefore important on a fundamental level.

Children work both individually and as part of a team to solve problems that occur. It encourages participation in physical activities, such as carrying branches to build a shelter. We often find that forest school helps children who may find the constraints of mainstream education challenging. The children enjoy their time in the wilderness and excel in these new and exciting experiences.

 

Children with Special Educational Needs and or Disability, including able, gifted and talented

The curriculum in our school is designed to provide access and opportunity for all children who attend the school, as stated in our SEND and Information report. We provide additional or different resources and support for children with special needs.

If a child is identified as having a special need and or disability, our school does all it can to meet the needs of the individual. We comply with the requirements set out in the SEND Code of Practice 2014 in providing for children with special educational needs and disabilities. If staff, parents or carers raise a concern about a child, his/her teacher will make an assessment under advice from the SENCo. In most instances, the teacher is able to provide resources and educational opportunities which meet the child’s needs within the normal class organisation. Support staff may be used to assist the child. We work closely with outside agencies using their advice to further support our SEND pupils where appropriate and use them for statutory assessments. If a child is working at above the expected standard staff will ensure children are sufficiently challenged.

 

The role of the subject leader

The role of the subject leader is to: provide a strategic lead and direction for the subject; support and offer advice to colleagues on issues related to the subject; monitor and evaluate pupil progress in that subject area; provide efficient resource management for the subject.

It is the role of each subject leader to keep up-to-date with developments in their subject, at both national and local levels. They review and monitor the way the subject is taught in the school and plan for improvement. This development planning links to whole-school objectives. Each subject leader reviews the curriculum plans for their subject, ensures that there is full coverage of the National Curriculum and that progression is planned into schemes of work.

Monitoring and review

Our Interim Executive Board is responsible for monitoring the way the school curriculum is implemented.

Subject leaders monitor the way their subject is taught throughout the school and have responsibility for the purchase, storage and management of resources. They are responsible for the long-term plans across the curriculum.

The Class Teacher is responsible for the day-to-day organisation of the curriculum and is responsible for the short and medium-term plans, which are shared with the subject leaders.

The Head Teacher, Senior Leadership and the Chair of the IEB monitor the lesson planning of all teachers during the year.

 

The policy is reviewed every year.

For further information please contact:

Erika Cornell

Curriculum Leader

on tel: 0121 373 3457. 

 

 

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