We strive to offer a broad and balanced curriculum which is tailored to our children’s need. We aim to provide opportunities to develop their spoken language, life experiences, knowledge of the world and social skills; based on a secure foundation in Maths and English. Furthermore, we aim for pupils to develop self-awareness and an appreciation of their own uniqueness.
The revised National Curriculum of 2014 forms the basis of our curriculum along with Religious Education and Relationships & Sex Education.
Curriculum subjects are taught separately to ensure there is dedicated time to learn in depth about each subject enabling children to know, understand and value subject specific features. To embed and refine their increasing body of knowledge into long term memory, and to place it in context, key concepts are revisited and built upon. Subject content, including strategically selected vocabulary is mapped out from Nursery to Year 6 to ensure coverage of identified knowledge is secured and consolidated.
For example, the Year 2 Science topic of properties of materials leads to magnetism in Year 3 and States of Matter in Year 4. Plants and animals leads onto more complex classification in Year 4 and 6. Through the study of carefully sequenced historical topics, pupils are able to recognise patterns and notice contrasts within and between periods. This tailored sequence has been deliberately constructed to help children learn and remember more.
Our curriculum content reflects the children’s own experiences and backgrounds, for example ‘The Windrush Generation’, ‘Islamic Civilisation’ and locality studies in Tottenham and London in general.
Research shows that to remember new information, we need to connect it to prior knowledge and show visually how it integrates with the key over-arching concepts.
In Early Years and KS1, reading is taught primarily through phonics using the Read Write Inc scheme. Pupils rapidly learn sounds and their letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This learning is consolidated daily alongside practising high frequency words with irregular spellings. From Year 1 to 6 we have a reading spine of age appropriate books and pupils develop their knowledge and understanding of texts through the core skills of predicting, asking questions, clarifying, summarising, inferring, making connections and evaluating. This is based on the Destination Reader reading strategy. These skills are revisited in each year group and as pupils progress through each key stage, the texts increase in challenge and range.
In Writing, we follow the approach of the read into write model as writing is closely related to reading – the two activities reinforce each other. Writing is based on what pupils read across the curriculum as well as their own experience. Modelling, exemplars and scaffolds are utilised to aid clear explanations and build their schemata. In KS1, the teaching of phonics, spelling and handwriting is embedded through daily practice in order to develop accuracy and stamina in writing. At KS2, the range of genres increases and are revisited as pupils move through the school alongside the complex demands in grammar and punctuation.
With number and grammar, children engage in spaced retrieval practice, where key concepts are revisited frequently over time. In Maths each topic has a set day each week which allows pupils to revisit and build upon throughout the year.
New learning in History, Geography and Science always begins with a discussion of what the children already know, what they would like to know. At the end of the content, pupils revisit and check what they have learnt through the form of quizzes.
In Religious Education, Relationships and Health Education, Physical Education and Computing, the curriculum is spiralled so that content is introduced and revisited as pupils move through the school.
We strive to provide exciting experiences for pupils as research shows that such experiences support long term memory. New learning is launched with a wow event and ends with a fabulous finish. Praise and positive feedback; points and prizes also activate long term memory and is used extensively in our practice. In Year four, children learn a brass or woodwind instrument. All classes go on visits at least once a half term which includes a place of worship each year. We have several annual sleepovers, for example, in Year five pupils have a pen pal link with students in Norfolk culminating in an exchange visit for both schools.
The impact of curriculum content is assessed though the most appropriate and useful methods. Some of the methods we use are: observations, test/data outcomes, monitoring of books and displays, lesson learning walks, as well as discussions with teaching staff, pupils and parents.
Many subject units have planned composite tasks which take place at the end, requiring the children to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the unit components and to draw on wider knowledge and understanding gained through concept connections. The outcomes of these composite tasks allow teachers to assess how children’s long term memory has been altered.
An overview of subjects taught at Bruce Grove can be found below: