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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 against the national curriculum and whether they have a Basic (working towards expected standard), Advancing (working at the expected standard) or Deep (working above the expected standard) understanding of them. 

Teacher plan Bronze, Silver and Gold challenges aimed to develop pupils understanding of a concept. Teachers use their knowledge of the different cognitive domains to plan these activities. These layered challenges are stuck into the children's books and work in marked linked to these. 

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.


Maths lesson

At Barrow Hill Primary Academy we teach maths using a mastery approach.  In years 1-4 children are split according to their year groups and the maths teacher follows the Inspire Maths programme.  The pitch of Inspire is slightly above National Curriculum.  Opportunities for greater depth and further consolidation are provided by the maths teacher and these can be taken from different sources. In year 5 and 6 the children are also taught using a mastery approach but they do not use Inspire Maths textbooks. There is still the need in upper key stage 2 to plug some of the gaps as a result of the phased introduction of mastery.

Staff have high expectations for all children and they believe that all children have the ability to succeed.   All children within a year group are taught the same content at the same time but there may be opportunities for challenge for the rapid graspers and time for ‘keep up’ for the children who require more support.

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.

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.  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:

  • Coherence – making connections so that steps are easier to take
  • Variation – procedural and conceptual
  • Representation and structure – carefully planned prior to the lesson
  • Mathematical thinking – chains of reasoning
  • Fluency – number and table facts 

Class teachers intervene when a child/ children are having difficulty keeping up.  This may be within a lesson or at another time in the day.  There may also be occasions when children are pre taught a concept prior to whole class teaching.  Rapid graspers are challenged by having opportunities to deepen their learning through carefully chosen challenges/ problem solving activities. 

We use EAZ Mags to track progress.  Children are assessed against National Curriculum year group objectives as to whether they have been taught (but not understood an objective), achieved at a Basic level, Advancing level or Deep level. (See Chris Quigley Depth of Learning Assessing Maths document).  The progress is updated half termly and shared during pupil progress meetings.  A child would only be judged to have a ‘deep’ understanding after they had demonstrated on several occasions in different contexts.  For year groups where Inspire Maths is taught the Assessment books are used to assess progress and offer opportunities for challenge and greater depth problems.  This data is then recorded onto a spreadsheet tracking system for the maths lead to monitor termly.

Continuous/ Enhanced Provision

Teachers plan activities during continuous 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 will be made to maths where appropriate.

Maths Passports

Maths passports are designed to improve fluency of number and table facts.  All children from Year 1 – Year 6 are given a maths passport which they have to practise, be assessed on then progress onto the next passport.  The passport targets are incorporated into the oral mental starters and independent learning time throughout the week.  A range of activities are used to support their learning e.g. oral/ using ICT/ laminated boards/ equipment.  Children are encouraged to work together on targets and increase the speed of recall by using stopwatches. Parent’s have been informed about the Maths Passport process and children are encouraged to take their passports home to practise their targets and improve their skills. Children are assessed on these targets weekly by completing a timed task. Three ticks next to a target indicates that the target has been achieved.   Children continue to practice and be assessed on the remaining targets until all of the targets for a continent have been achieved. They receive a certificate for this achievement in the following achievement assembly. They then move on to the next continent and a new set of targets.  Progress is tracked on EAZ Mags and shared with the maths lead termly. The assessments are then passed on to the next teacher.  



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, while children have daily mixed ability Literacy lessons with an emphasis on real texts. Opportunities to demonstrate mastery of these skills is then demonstrated in a weekly ‘Wow write’.

 Key Stage 2

 In Key Stage 2, children have daily Literacy lessons. There are also spelling, punctuation and grammar for writing sessions. Further Literacy sessions include: Reciprocal Reading, Handwriting and Story sessions. Literacy skills are developed across the curriculum and continuous provision activities provide opportunity for mastery as well as a weekly ‘Wow write’.

Approaches to Reading

Teachers model reading strategies during shared reading sessions, whilst children have the opportunity to develop reading strategies and to discuss texts in detail during reciprocal reading sessions. Read, Write, Inc. lessons in FS and KS1 enable children to decode efficiently. This is continued into KS2 where necessary. Reciprocal reading roles support the process of reading by giving children strategies to ‘unpick’ texts. A range of reading schemes are used to support early readers as well as book banded ‘real books’ used for Reciprocal reading sessions and on-line texts. 

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 Literacy 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 literacy 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.

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 teacher monitor and evaluate the progress of children in Literacy.  The Literacy Subject Leader is 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 Literacy Action Plan is part of the School Improvement Plan – this is reviewed and updated annually by the Literacy Subject Leader and Senior Management Team.

Get in touch


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


01246 472494