Our curriculum Intent: Nurturing Aspirations within school and preparing pupils as world citizens of the 21st Century
Birchwood Junior School sits in the heart of a friendly, close-knit community and is a school that holds moral values at its very core. We are wholly committed to ensuring that, despite the wide spread social and economic challenges for a setting in the top 10% of deprived areas in the country, our children will not only be educated to the highest standards, but empowered to succeed to their fullest potential. Though our high expectations never falter, our experience recognises that the journey to success looks different for every child and we embrace that. Whilst our teachers offer a nurturing hand to independence, our curriculum provides each student with their own pathway through an entirely inclusive curriculum, written with them and for them. With bespoke, engaging content and enriched with a variety of experiences to spark curiosity, and build a deep and sustained love of learning, our curriculum is built to ensure that all of our children reach their fullest aspirations, whilst maintaining the moral compass their community provided them with.
Our dynamic curriculum is ever adapting and evolving, responding to the environmental challenges that our children face. Through nurturing our pupils’ aspirations, we hope to build resilient learners who are prepared for adulthood. As our curriculum adapts to issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic we ensure there are five constants in our curriculum that run through it in the form of Golden THREADS:
Our Golden Threads
- Inclusivity for all
- Every Child A reader (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evaluation-of-every-child-a-reader-ecar)
- Experiences for deep, sustained learning across the curriculum
- Mental, physical and emotional well being
- A Community Approach
A research based perspective
Collaboration is vital in delivering the best-equipped curriculum for our pupils. We provide numerous opportunities for staff development with many teachers holding MaST and NPQEL awards. Many staff members have been SCITT trainees and with support have developed their roles within school as examples of how Birchwood Juniors supports professional development. The school also works closely with the LTSA and St Georges SCITT programs providing outstanding maths training to trainee teachers. We are proud members of the Birchwood Federation working closely with the two infant schools. This has been vital in ensuring pupils and their families can have consistent pastoral support.
The Birchwood Federation has strong Governing body that provide challenge and play an active role in school life. Ofsted state: ‘Governors make frequent, focused visits and check how well pupils are learning. They monitor all aspects of safeguarding carefully and speak with pupils about feeling safe. Governors act on pupils’ comments to make improvements. Safeguarding is effective and remains a high priority within the school.’
In addition to this we hold annual staff training between the 8 Birchwood estate schools which ensure staff can network and share developments across the estate. This collaboration ends with the Birchwood Carnival a musical celebration that recognises the vast talent the children of Birchwood have. Finally, we are an active member of the KYRA teaching school alliance taking part in cross moderations, workshops and staff training. The Executive Head works as an LLE and the Deputy Head as an SLE for the alliance.
Staff annually review their medium-term planning to ensure topics are relevant to the children’s interests and needs.
To meet the requirements of the National Curriculum, all classes in Key Stage 2 follow some set, pre-planned topics. The National Curriculum sets out the minimum content. At Birchwood Junior School, we make sure children learn a broad and balanced range of additional skills, knowledge and understanding.
▸ we offer a range of opportunities (*fee paying) to learn a musical instrument – these extra-curricular activities go beyond the statutory requirements.
▸ if a class or group show an interest in a particular subject, teachers will try to include this in the school year – a recent Year 6 class wanted to learn more about Climate Change .
▸ current local/national or international events can provide a great basis for learning – the Olympics or the reconstruction of the Magna Carta.
How We Deliver Our Curriculum
We prefer to set start and end dates for most of our topics, and we do this by planning topics with a specified length ('Big Topics' last for seven to eight weeks, for example). This is so that we can ensure a broad and balanced curriculum – often with a themed launch "Wow Factor" – and end at the same time – with some sort of reflective activity to share learning with others.
Learning from Others
Occasionally children learn with children from other classes or different members of staff. For example, older children might support younger children (under supervision) in reading or PE games. Not only does this help younger children to acquire new skills, but older children's social skills and self-esteem can improve, too. We also make use of many visitors to school who have particular skills or interests, especially in drama and PE. Children (and teachers!) enjoy drama within many topics, typically delivered by specialists in their field. It acts as a powerful, motivating vehicle for all learning and has a positive impact on standards in reading and writing as well as topic work. Our P.E leader, works hard to use PE money to invite lots of specialist coaches and teachers to enhance PE activities which can sometimes link with topics.
Curriculum Long Term Maps
Curriculum Trailers below: