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Barrow Hill Academy

Barrow Hill Academy

our curriculum


We aim to deliver an awe inspiring curriculum for the children of Barrow Hill Primary brimming with lots of engaging learning experiences. We develop the 'whole' child and want our children to leave our school confident, inquisitive and enthusiastic learners. At Barrow Hill Primary Academy learning is defined as: The process of acquiring the essential knowledge, skills, understanding and behaviours required for deep understanding. 

Our Teaching & Learning Policy

Provision is designed to advance understanding, gradually throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and  key stages. Lessons are not an event in themselves. They are part of the process of learning and therefore we do not expect pupils to complete learning within a lesson. Many lessons will carry on several days, weeks or even over a whole year until a pupil is showing the required degree of understanding. Many lessons will involve multiple learning objectives, some of which may be encountered for the first time while others are being revised in a new context. Some aspects of the curriculum will be taught whilst continuous & enhanced provision will be used for the other aspects. Sometimes continuous & enhanced provision is used to introduce concepts or skills, other times it is used to deepen them or secure retention of them. Effective provision helps pupils, over time, to make progress. Learning in the EYFS is provided through continuous provision delivered to meet the next steps of individual learning journeys. Focus activities run through out the week to teach new skills with enhanced provision provided for the pupils to keep working through these new skills independently.

Progress is defined as the widening and deepening of essential knowledge, skills, understanding and behaviour. This means that pupils will experience the same content over and over again, each time in a richer and more challenging context, thus deepening their understanding. We do not rush to introduce new content as it is important that pupils have sophisticated problems that challenge them in a wide variety of different situations first. The time scale for progress is across the EYFS and a key stage, not every lesson/learning opportunity. We understand that progress is more about ‘nudging and shuffling’ than ‘leaping and bounding’ towards goals. 

In key stage 1 and key stage 2 pupils are given increasingly challenging activities at each stage of development which we call ‘cognitive domains’. The table on the next page shows cognitive domains, the type of teaching that pupils will receive in each domain and the typical nature of activities. 

Pupils are assessed according to the curriculum standards for each curriculum area.  We use the following language to assess our children:

  • 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 Nature of Progression

Cognitive domain

Type of thinking

Types of activities

Predominant type of teaching


Low level cognitive demand. 

Involves following instructions. 

Name, describe, follow instructions or methods, complete tasks, recall information, ask basic questions, use, match, report, measure, list, illustrate, label, recognise, tell, repeat, arrange, define, memorise. 


Steps to success


Higher level cognitive demand beyond recall. Requires application involving some degree of decision making.

Apply skills to solve problems, explain methods, classify, infer, categorise, identify patterns, organise, modify, predict, interpret, summarise, make observations, estimate, compare. 




Cognitive demand involves non-standard, non-routine, inter-connected, multi-step thinking in problems with more than one possible solution. Requires reasoning and justification. 

Solve non-routine problems, appraise, explain concepts, hypothesise, investigate, cite evidence, design, create, and prove. 


In the EYFS pupils are assessed according to the descriptors set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.   At the end of the EYFS (Reception class) pupils are assessed as being either emerging, expected or exceeding the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.



At Barrow Hill Primary Academy, we teach maths using a mastery approach.  Mastery of the curriculum requires that all children

  • Use mathematical concepts, facts and procedures appropriately, flexibly and fluently;
  • Recall key number facts with speed and accuracy and use them to calculate and work out unknown facts;
  • Have sufficient depth of knowledge and understanding to reason and explain mathematical concepts and procedures and use them to solve a variety of problems

The essence of Maths Teaching for Mastery is that it rejects the idea that a large proportion of children ‘just can’t do maths’.  at Barrow Hill, we have created a whole school approach in line with Inspire Maths that is underpinned by the belief that by working hard all children can succeed. 

We want our children to

  • Acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of mathematics
  • How do we achieve this?  By moving children through the curriculum content at broadly the same pace.  By allowing children time to think deeply about the maths
  • Develop their self-confidence and build their resilience
  • How do we achieve this?  By allowing all children access to the full maths curriculum.  By promoting multiple methods of solving a problem
  • Continually challenge their thinking
  • How do we do this?  By differentiating through depth rather than acceleration; by allowing children who grasps concepts quickly the opportunity to experience rich and sophisticated problem within the topic and by providing additional support for children who are not sufficiently fluent so that they are able to consolidate their understanding before they move on.

We have adopted the use of the Master’s Glasses as a tool for children to use to challenge their understanding.   To summarise; if a child really understands a mathematical concept, idea or technique, he or she can:

  • Describe it in his or her own words and then Explain it! To someone else
  • Represent it in a variety of ways – Prove it!
  • Make up his or own examples (and non-examples) of it – Convince me!
  • Recognise it in new situations and contexts – Use it!
  • See connections between it and other facts or ideas

Children will often work with a maths partner.  The partner is normally pre-chosen by the teacher in advance of the lesson.  The partnership should allow and encourage opportunities to develop reasoning skills but also learning skills such as speaking, listening, turn taking and co-operation.  This also provides an opportunity for children to demonstrate their understanding by explaining their learning. 

At our school we use a concrete, pictorial, abstract approach to develop a secure understanding of mathematical principles and ideas.  Throughout school all children will have the opportunity to use manipulatives such as Numicon, Base ten, place value counters, place value boards etc. to support learning, when appropriate.  Questions asked by the maths teacher will allow children to think deeper.  Manipulatives can be used to facilitate this.

A key feature of teaching for mastery in our school is the precise design of lessons through use of CPA, modelling, pupil activities, practise questions and intelligent practice.  The arrangement of tasks and exercises aim to draw children’s’ attention to patterns, structure and mathematical relationships, therefore providing ‘intelligent practice’ and the opportunity to deepen conceptual understanding.

Our lessons are built on the following principles of a mastery lesson:


  • making connections so that steps are easier to take
  • focussing on one key point each lesson allows for deep and sustainable learning
  • certain images, techniques and concepts and important pre-cursors to later ideas.  Getting the sequencing of these right is an important skill in planning and teaching for mastery

Variation – procedural and conceptual

  • The central idea is to highlight the essential features of a concept or idea through varying the non-essential features
  • When giving examples of a concept, it is useful to add variation to emphasises what it is (as varied as possible) and what it is not
  • When constructing a set of activities/ questions it is important to consider what connects the examples – what mathematical structure is being highlighted
  • Variation is not the same as variety.  Careful attention needs to be paid to what aspects are being varied and for what purpose

Representation and structure

  • Carefully planned prior to the lesson
  • The representation needs to pull out the concept being taught, and in particular, the key difficult point.  It exposes the structure
  • In the end the children need to be able to do the maths without the representation
  • A stem sentence describes the representation and helps the children move to working in the abstract
  • Pattern and structure are related but different children may have seen a pattern without understanding the structure which causes that pattern

Fluency – number and table facts

  • Fluency encompasses a mixture of efficiency, accuracy and flexibility
  • Quick and efficient recall of facts and procedures is important in order for learners’ to keep track of sub problems, think strategically and solve problems
  • Fluency demands the flexibility to move between different context and representations of mathematics to recognise relationships and make connections and to make appropriate choices from a whole toolkit of methods, strategies and approaches

Mathematical thinking – chains of reasoning

  • Mathematical thinking is central to deep and sustainable learning of mathematics
  • taught ideas that are understood deeply and not just received passively but worked on by the learners.  They need to be thought about, reasoned with and discussed
  • Mathematical thinking involves looking for patterns in order to discern structure, looking for relationships and connecting ideas and reasoning logically, explaining, conjecturing and proving.

Keep up!

Class teachers intervene when a child/children are having difficulty keeping up.  This may be within a lesson or during timetabled ‘Keep up time’.  There may also be occasions when children are pre-taught a concept prior to whole class teaching.  Where appropriate ‘Keep Up’ time may also be used to pre read content to a child/ group of children.  If there are children who do not require specific keep up then the time should be used to practice mental skills e.g. time tables, finish off earlier work, attempt additional challenges or explain their learning.  Rapid graspers are challenged by having opportunities to deepen their learning through carefully chosen challenges/ problem solving activities.


Each year group has a long-term plan for the sequence of learning.  This plan maps out the Inspire Maths Units to be taught.  Inspire Maths 1-6 is not year group specific.  Key stage 1 predominantly use the Inspire 1 programme.  There are some units from Inspire 2 that are taught in year 2.  These are mapped out on the long- term plan.  The place value and number aspect of Inspire 2 is not started until Year 3.  This is to ensure the children in Key Stage 1 have sufficient time to go ‘deep’ and master numbers to 100 and not move through the number system to quickly.  Inspire Maths regularly publish updated material on the Oxford Owl website.  Class teachers check this content regularly and plan for additional and supplementary activities to be included.  There are some National Curriculum objectives that are not covered through Inspire Maths.  White Rose Maths Medium Term Planning is used to support with planning the small steps for these objectives and concepts. 

For each conceptual journey the class teachers, alongside their supporting maths teaching assistant, produce an S plan.  This method addresses a theme and aims to strip it down into smaller steps by which teachers can reflect on the strategies to move learners along the "learning journey".  Once the steps have been identified teachers can focus on how best learners can master the conceptual & procedural skills and knowledge of each one in turn.  Where possible links are made to previous learning.   Many of these steps are planned for using the Inspire Maths Teacher Guide but knowing the journey in advance and planning for further opportunities ensures that the needs of all children are planned for and that small, coherent steps are well thought out.  This planning is visible in the classroom and is a working document.   Mental calculation skills and arithmetic are taught in addition to the Inspire Maths programme; the ‘Progression in Mental Calculation’ document supports with planning and teaching.  Weekly arithmetic quizzes of 10 questions linked to current and previous learning assess progress and keep skills sharp. 

Enhanced Provision

Teachers plan activities during enhanced provision which develop mathematical skills.  This could be either a follow on from the maths lesson or something previously taught.  During science and foundation subjects, explicit links are made to maths where appropriate.


We use EAZ Mags to track 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 individual progress of all children is tracked and shared termly during pupil progress meetings.  When appropriate, Inspire Assessment books, NFER tests and Inspire Maths Year group tests are used to assess progress and offer opportunities for challenge and greater depth problems.   

Regular opportunities (weekly or fortnightly) are built into the timetable for the children to have a go at a ‘quiz’ to assess their understanding and give them experience of trying a range of different questions/ topics.  These are taken from White Rose, Classroom Secrets, Testbase, Twinkl, Inspire Maths and NCETM.  This is not a test.  Children track their own achievement, teachers use the quiz as an Assessment for Learning tool. 

Half termly assessments from Inspire Maths Online are used as a summative assessment tool.   This data is collated and inputted onto a spreadsheet and where appropriate, results analysed.  All of the information sources will be used when discussing pupil progress during meetings with the Head of Academy.

Early Years


The first few years of a child’s life are especially important for mathematics development. Research shows that early mathematical knowledge predicts later reading ability and general education and social progress(ii). Conversely, children who start behind in mathematics tend to stay behind throughout their whole educational journey(iii).  The objective for those working in Early Years, then, is to ensure that all children develop firm mathematical foundations in a way that is engaging, and appropriate for their age. The materials in this section ( of the website) are primarily designed to support Reception teachers (those working with 4-5 year olds), and are based on international research.  The materials are organised into key concepts (not individual objectives), which underpin many early mathematics curricula. The typical progression highlights the range of experiences (some of which may be appropriate for younger children) but the activities and opportunities could be developed across the Reception provision.

There are six key areas of early mathematics learning, which collectively provide a platform for everything children will encounter as they progress through their maths learning at primary school, and beyond:

Cardinality and Counting




Shape and Space


You can explore these areas in further detail in a special Early Years episode of our podcast with Dr Sue Gifford and Viv Lloyd.

These areas form the fundamental mathematical basis of a CBeebies series of five-minute animated programmes called Numberblocks. The NCETM has provided support materials linked to the Numberblocks programmes. These are designed to help Early Years practitioners draw out and build on the maths embedded in the stories contained in each episode.

At Barrow Hill, the Foundation stage use the principles of mastery to ensure the children are building firm, mathematical foundations.  The learning environment enables the children to see and experience maths through play and interaction with adults and other children.  Early use of concrete resources such as Tens Frames, Numicon, counters, objects etc support children with their understanding of maths.  The environment in Early Years is language rich and children are encouraged to use the environment to support their learning.  In addition to the continuous play and adult led activities there is also a daily 20 minute discrete lesson for all reception children.  The NCETM, White Rose Maths Hub and Inspire Maths are used to plan and prepare these lessons.  This ensures the five elements of mastery are promoted in Early Years.   



Competence in English enables children to communicate well in a range of settings and thus leads to improved life opportunities. Speaking, listening, reading and writing enables pupils to organise and express their own thoughts and gives them access the knowledge and ideas of others. In addition to this, the ability to respond to literature at a personal level enriches the lives of our children.


We aim to develop pupils’ abilities within an integrated programme of Speaking & Listening, Reading & Writing. Pupils will be given opportunities to develop their use, knowledge and understanding of spoken and written English within a broad and balanced curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and reinforce taught literacy skills. Barrow Hill Primary Academy pupils will leave Year 6:  reading and writing with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct; with a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment; with an interest in words and their meanings; developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms;  understanding a range of text types, media types and genres;  able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation;  using their developing imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness;  having a suitable technical vocabulary to articulate their responses.

Subject organisation

Foundation Stage

Children in Nursery begin their reading journey on Letters and Sounds phase1 and they work through the phases on their level through short activities. In reception, if they’ve completed letters and Sounds phase 1, they begin Read, Write, Inc. doing the four day rolling programme. If they have not completed phase 1, they continue on Letters and Sounds until Phase 1 is completed. Running alongside that is ‘Every Child a talker’ which is used as an intervention for children to improve their communication skills. Daily ‘Funky Fingers’ sessions work on pupils pencil grip and fine motor skills preparing them for writing. Opportunities for mark making are then given through continuous provision in and outside the classroom.

Key Stage 1

In Key Stage 1, pupils learn phonics as well as spelling, punctuation and grammar through Read, Write, Inc. lessons four days a week. Read, Write, Inc. sessions are taught in ability groups and whole class guided reading is taught at least once a week. Children have daily mixed ability English lessons with an emphasis on real texts. Opportunities to demonstrate mastery of these skills is then demonstrated during weekly or fortnightly writing opportunities. Children are taught, and encouraged to use, cursive handwriting.

Key Stage 2


In Key Stage 2 children are taught the spelling rules in pure year groups.  The children are encouraged to practice these spellings at home and during writing opportunities throughout the week.  There is a weekly quiz for children to apply what they have learnt; these spellings are assessed half termly and throughout their written work. 

English Lesson

In Key Stage 2, children have a daily English lesson which incorporates all of their literacy skills.  Where appropriate, the lesson context will link to topic or other areas of the curriculum.  Literacy skills are developed across the curriculum and there are regular opportunities for children to apply what they have learnt to topic, science and writing tasks.  A range of stimuli are used to engage, hook and inspire children including

  • High quality texts
  • Text extracts
  • Visual literacy – film extracts, story shorts
  • Artefacts and objects
  • Real life experiences
  • Music

Approach to Reading

Small group, differentiated Read, Write, Inc. lessons in FS and KS1 enable children to decode efficiently. This is continued into KS2 where necessary.  Over the week all children in KS1 and KS2 will participate in whole class reading which aims to increase children’s exposure to the knowledge and patterns that exist within and across books and lead to greater comprehension of future texts.  At the beginning of the week a new text is introduced, children are paired up with a confident reader and are challenged to make predictions about the text before the teacher models reading , ensuring a good pace and intonation. There is an emphasis on the learning and understanding of new vocabulary. Teachers plan in advance which words are to be taught explicitly in the lesson, using images and examples where possible. Teachers clarify meaning as the children progress through the text and children are set timed challenges to complete independently or with their reading partner. The reading task feeds into the learning of spelling and grammar and where appropriate, drives the focus of the writing through the week. 

Where appropriate, teachers plan opportunities for guided reading, reciprocal reading and written comprehensions. 

Children in Early Year and Key Stage 1 are listened to read on a 1:1 basis at least once a week.   Children who cannot fluently decode age-appropriate texts will also work each week on developing fluency and decoding skills individually or in small focus groups.

Across school teachers develop vocabulary actively, building systematically on pupils’ current knowledge though a ‘Word of the Day’.  Children are taught new words in a fun and interactive way and are taught the meaning by using the words in context. They are encouraged to use their expanded vocabulary in their writing to ensure that taught words are retained.  These words will be selected from different curriculum areas to ensure the words have meaning and purpose.

Raising the profile of reading in school is a priority, there is a focus author each half term and a weekly assembly to provide opportunity for staff, pupils and visitors to share and model good reading. Each class has a reading area and there is the opportunity to free read in this area each week. Parents/carers are invited into classes to share books with the children and to read one morning a week for 10 – 15 minutes. 

Approach to Speaking and Listening

We want children to become fluent and confident communicators who are increasingly matching their style and responses to their purpose and audience.

Speaking and listening skills underpin the learning in all curriculum areas and are applied in all lessons. However, teachers also develop the speaking and listening skills of each child by regularly planning and teaching lessons which explicitly develop speaking and listening skills. During these lessons good speaking and listening is effectively modelled and taught.  Using Talk for Writing methods for both fiction and non-fiction, enables children to internalise language structures, develop appropriate text type language and widen their vocabulary.  Children are provided with the time to orally rehearse their ideas in all lessons before being expected to write them.  Teachers ensure that they do not dominate the dialogue that takes place in the classroom. Instead they offer prompts by scaffolding rather than taking over and rephrasing. Both planned and impromptu circle time sessions enable children to respond to and raise issues and opportunities are planned to solve problems and learn collaboratively in all subject areas.

Approaches to Writing

We aim to develop the children’s ability 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 (with links to the Talk for writing approaches) and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions. 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 at the end of each unit. The children are given frequent opportunities in school to write in different contexts using quality texts as a model and for a variety of purposes and audiences. There are many opportunities for children to improve their writing inspired by drama techniques and film clips. They may be asked to produce their writing on their own or as part of group. Children will also be given the opportunity to use ICT for their writing. Through RWI children develop fluent, clear and legible letter formation which is then continued to create a joined up writing style in KS2. Teachers will seek to take advantage of opportunities to make cross-curricular links. They will plan for pupils to practice and apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through literacy lessons to other areas of the curriculum, with a particular focus in our school of writing through all subject areas where the same standard of writing is expected as seen in Writing Books. We recognise the important role ICT has to play in our school in the development of Literacy skills. ICT is used on a daily basis to enhance the teaching of English and to give all children the opportunity to experience, read and write multimodal texts and develop visual literacy. The use of ICT is cross – curricular.


Children are taught to use a continuous cursive handwriting style. Handwriting is discretely taught at least twice a week in the Foundation Stage, Years 1 and 2, and once a week in KS2. Children are encouraged to maintain a correct posture and pencil grip and opportunities for linking phonics and spellings are made whenever possible. Handwriting books are used from Y1 onwards.  Additional handwriting and fine motor control sessions are given to those children whose letter formation, joining or speed, require improvement. Children write in pencil until the end of year 4 and may then earn a pen license.

Specific Progression:

Foundation Stage

Children are taught correct letter and number formation in a pre-cursive style, moving from single letters to words and sentences. Children are free to select a writing implement of their choice in child initiated learning. The correct sitting and pencil grip is taught and children are taught how to write in a straight line from left to right and to write ‘on the line’. The use of rulers for labelling is modelled by teachers and rulers are available for child initiated learning.

Key Stage 1

Children are taught how to join letters with a continuous cursive style. They are encouraged to maintain regular size and shape of letters and regular spaces between words. Children develop the fluency of their joined handwriting at word and sentence level and are taught how to underline and label neatly with a ruler.

Key Stage 2

Years 3/4 is the transition time from pencil to pen. Children continue to use pencil in their work books but are taught to use pens in handwriting lessons. They work on securing joins, improving fluency and continuing spelling links. Children are expected and taught how to use a ruler to draw lines, including underlining, diagrams, labelling and crossing out.  Children write in paragraphs around a theme and are taught to adapt the layout of their written work to fit the intended purpose, i.e. letter presentation, play script, etc.  In Years 5 and 6 children who have earned a pen license write in black handwriting pens.  They are expected to use a ruler to draw lines, including underlining, diagrams, labelling and crossing out. The teaching of handwriting continues to develop an efficient writing speed and aids spelling.  Children learn to select the most appropriate presentation style for different writing genres.  They begin to understand the balance between speed and legibility which is dependent on the purpose of the writing: the product or the final draft of a piece of writing.

Role of the Subject leader

The Subject Leader is responsible for improving the standards of teaching and learning in their subject through:

Monitoring and evaluating -

  • Pupil progress
  • Provision
  • The quality of the Learning Environment 
  • Taking the lead in policy development 
  • Auditing and supporting colleagues in their CPD
  • Purchasing and organising resources
  • Keeping up to date with recent developments.

Monitoring and Evaluation

In order to monitor standards and progress the following systems are in place:  At Pupil Progress meetings, three times a year, the class teacher and Head of Academy monitor and evaluate the progress of children in.  Subject Leaders are given time to observe lessons and give oral and written feedback, and also to see children’s work.  Staff meet regularly to engage in whole school moderation and moderation across the Cavendish Learning Trust. The progress of pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) is reviewed with the Special Needs Co-coordinator (SENCO) each term.  The school’s English and Maths Action Plan is part of the School Improvement Plan – this is reviewed and updated annually by the English and Maths Subject Leaders and Senior Management Team.

Get in touch


Station Road, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, Derbyshire. S43 2PG


01246 472494