At Barrow Hill Primary Academy, our vision is to create a safe, nurturing, learning environment where children become curious learners, acquire deep and memorable knowledge across a range of subjects and where children, staff and the community are proud of their achievements
Our vision for the children of Barrow Hill is that they will grow up to be responsible citizens prepared for life in modern Britain showing;
Our curriculum aims to embed this vision at the heart of all we do.
Learning is defined as the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught.
At Barrow Hill Primary Academy, the curriculum has been designed to equip our children with the knowledge, skills, understanding and behaviours required for deep and memorable learning. We provide a broad, balanced, ambitious, knowledge rich curriculum, which caters for children of all abilities, attempting to develop each child’s potential to the full.
Staff at Barrow Hill Primary Academy are ambitious for the children. It is expected that all children will succeed – some may need additional support and scaffolding but we believe that everybody can achieve!
Our curriculum is underpinned by five curriculum principles;
These principles are at the core of our curriculum intent.
Our aim is to inspire children to be the best they can be; to #DreamBig and work hard believing that effort is linked to success. We share our successes together, support one another and are #ProudToBeBarrowHill.
The National Curriculum has been carefully planned over a two-year cycle to ensure that our mixed age classes cover the content of the National Curriculum by the end of their Key Stage. Each half term, there is a connecting theme across the school and a subject driver. Where appropriate, authentic connections are made across subject areas. Curriculum subjects are taught discretely enabling children to see themselves as historians, geographers, designers, artists, musicians, scientists, technicians, programmers, philosophers and citizens of the world.
Each subject has a carefully crafted scheme of learning to support teachers planning small, connected steps of learning. These schemes aim to develop and build knowledge over time. Teachers make connections to prior learning and add new information to existing knowledge (schema) ensuring that children experience purposeful learning over a period of time and not just a series of unrelated activities.
Learning journeys are planned to incorporate prior learning and connect learning across classes and year groups. Staff work collaboratively to plan the intention of each learning journey and provide rich experiences for children to immerse themselves in. Learning begins with a wow hook to engage, motivate and inspire our children through a memorable learning experience. Towards the end of a journey, children plan to share their learning with a finale event. This encourages the children to plan how to share their learning and communicate clearly with an audience.
S plans are used across all curriculum areas to plan small, coherent steps of learning building conceptual understanding and knowledge. These S plans are shared and revisited with the children.
Staff continue to developed their understanding of how children learn and the neuroscience behind ‘remembering’. We have used articles and studies to inform our practice: https://impact.chartered.college/article/shibli-cognitive-load-theory-classroom/ along with research evidence suggested by the Education Endowment Foundation https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/tools/guidance-reports/metacognition-and-self-regulated-learning/ which claims the use of ‘metacognitive strategies’ (getting pupils to think about their own learning) can be worth the equivalent of an additional +7 months’ progress when used well. Further training related to metacognition including 'Rosenshine's Principles' (Sherrington, 2019) and 'working memory' is planned over the next two academic years.
Our aim is to make knowledge stick; retention of knowledge is important in order to build on knowledge in subsequent year groups.
Teachers use the subject schemes of learning to plan well sequenced lessons. The lesson design model has been developed from research informed practice and aims to support teachers planning small steps whilst paying close attention to strategies that aid long term memory.
Our high standards and expectations are displayed and referred to in all classrooms. Children are encouraged to ‘be the best’ they can be and to produce work at the high Barrow Hill Standard. Scaffolds are provided for children with additional needs who require extra support to meet these standards.
The impact of the Barrow Hill curriculum is measured by assessing if the children know more and remember more across the subjects they are taught.
The principles of our assessment system are built around the research shared by Dame Alison Peacock in her ‘Assessment for learning without limits’ book. Newly appointed staff are inducted into our assessment system, receiving training around the pedagogy and principles which supports our approach.
We use EAZ Mags to track attainment and progress. Children are assessed against National Curriculum year group objectives as to whether they are:
- Emerging- at early stage of development (support needed)
- Developing- growing ability and independence (prompting may be needed)/ securing
- Secure- exhibits skill independently
- Mastery- exhibits skill spontaneously and with confidence
The subject schemes of learning outline the age-related expectations for each year group. The individual progress of all children is tracked and shared termly during pupil progress meetings. A range of strategies and approaches are used to determine if children are making progress and meeting age related expectations including:
- High challenge, low threat assessments within the lesson
- Mini quizzes
- Quality of work in books and stored on digital platforms
- Pupil interactions within lessons e.g. discussions, conversations, answering questions, modelling
- Pupil interviews to discuss learning
- Termly standardised NFER tests
- National tests – Reception baseline, Y1 phonics screening, Y2 phonics screening retake, Y2 SATs, Y4 multiplication check, Y6 SATs
Our assessments are quality assured through internal and external monitoring activities including; work scrutiny, moderation, learning walks, pupil interviews and planning scrutiny.
The Covid-19 pandemic which has so far spanned over 3 academic years continues to have impact on the curriculum. Our approach to teaching and learning continues to evolve in light of research, best practice and the needs of our children. We have re-designed our curriculum taking account of gaps in learning and gaps in knowledge. Time has been spent recalibrating and prioritising the curriculum to minimise the disruption cause to teaching and learning and to secure firm foundations before moving on to new learning.
Our curriculum is designed to offer a wide range of balanced learning opportunities to help our children grow into a responsible and independent young people with a desire to learn.