Curriculum and Long Term Plans
The Curriculum here at Bury CE Primary
Our curriculum has a core focus on making it relevant to the children we teach and unique to our local environment. All of our curriculum is focused around improvement and explicitly providing real experiences to build upon within English and maths. The curriculum is ever evolving and our whole school topics are designed to respond to current events e.g. utilising local projects such as the history focused, South Downs Generations or the geography based Heathlands Reunited to financially and expertly support the KS2 John Muir Award. We plan carefully to link in other curriculum subjects where it is relevant to do so, so that over the course of the year all subjects are accessed appropriately. We strongly believe in ensuring our teaching and learning is backed by current research into best practice in order to give the children here at Bury CE Primary a curriculum that allows them to achieve beyond that of the National Curriculum. We have a strong focus on teaching the children Tier 2 vocabulary at key points in time, knowing that this will then be built on in future years and that we will see this language used across the subject range. We monitor the impact of the curriculum through termly standardised assessments which allow us to see that children are making better than expected progress across the school.
We are a very forward thinking school and look to make partnerships, not based on geographical proximity, but working with teams who can support us in further enhancing the quality of curriculum provided for the children we teach. One such partnership has allowed us to be the hub for the Chartered College’s Small School Support Network. This has enabled us to host termly professional development conferences where leading professionals support us with our own improvements and that of other schools who wish to further develop. Such links have enabled us to engage with maths, writing and assessment experts and to take their ideas into the classroom to the benefit of all of the children that we teach and beyond. It has also led to a strong partnership with our local Research School, giving us further access to subject expertise to support our ever-evolving curriculum.
Our curriculum is responsive to current need with teaching techniques underpinned by current research. As an example, our youngest children were keen to know more about the impact of plastic on the environment. The teacher skillfully used this interest alongside a film unit which is proven to have a significant impact on the quality of writing so that the children could produce a film warning of the dangers of single-use plastic which was then shared with their families and the wider world. This is mapped against the National Curriculum to ensure that all children experience the whole of the curriculum and beyond it where this is possible. The quality of artwork produced by the children here is far beyond that of a typical primary school. This is because our children are taught by staff who truly understand the learning process and do not place a limit on age or a perceived ability.
All children at Bury CE Primary can achieve to extraordinary levels.
No amount of prose can truly capture the richness of our curriculum. This can only really be achieved by meeting the children that learn here and listening to them confidently and articulately discuss their learning.
When designing our curriculum there were four key questions we wanted to answer
- How have we designed our curriculum?
- How does our curriculum promote our school’s culture and aims?
- How does our curriculum promote and develop children’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) understanding and British values?
- How have we designed our curriculum to ensure deep learning, engagement, breadth and balance?
How have we designed our curriculum?
Our curriculum is rooted in the environment we are part of. We see it as essential to give all of our children and staff the opportunity to learn within our unique location, providing high quality, first-hand experiences which will form lasting memories. As author MG Leonard stated on her visit to school, ‘to describe something well you must have knowledge’. The experiences provided here at Bury are carefully planned to ensure the children have a rich vocabulary (based on Tier 2 Vocabulary McKeown, & Omanson) which is built upon through their time at Bury CE Primary. As this vocabulary is learned, we then use it within other areas of the curriculum reinforcing our understanding of the words.
How does our curriculum promote our school’s culture and aims?
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11
The quote above can be found in all that we do at school. We believe everyone has the potential to achieve and we can plan to help everyone – children and staff succeed.
We do not see art, music, an appreciation and understanding of the natural world as ‘add-ons’ to our curriculum. Rather it is through these subjects that we provide the stimulus and opportunities for learning with a real purpose – if you are going to write a poem about walking through a woodland, it makes a lot more sense to get up and walk through the woodland, noting the sounds, sights, smells and feelings that this is conjuring than it does to look at a picture on the board and imagine it.
How does our curriculum promote and develop children’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) understanding and British values?
We work closely with local experts: South Downs National Park Education Team, Slindon Estate National Trust, RSPB Pulborough Brooks to really enhance our understanding the environment of the environment that we are at the heart of. We have teachers highly skilled in certain areas: art, ceramics, PE, music, science, outdoor learning and RE and use these strengths to provide high quality learning to all of our children. Where we want additional expertise we seek the best and bring it in to school to further enhance what is on offer here at Bury: all of the children are taught by our specialist music teacher, Mr Mott; Father Peter leads Worship each Wednesday and we have a service in church at least once per term; when reviewing our languages curriculum, we were supported through Classics For All and the staff were trained by an expert so that we had the confidence and knowledge to teach Latin effectively. We perform for the local community and have regular exhibitions for parents and the wider community, demonstrating the high level of work being produced.
How have we designed our curriculum to ensure deep learning, engagement, breadth and balance?
We are constantly striving to improve the quality of teaching and learning through our own continuing professional development (CPD). We have established a hub for small schools in partnership with the Chartered College of Teaching and were one of the original 40 founding networks. This partnership has afforded us the opportunity to look at: using film to enhance writing; work with exciting authors such as M.G. Leonard, William Grill, Yuval Zommer and even poet Joshua Seigal and move to a research based writing assessment with Comparative Judgement. We also take advantage of the local Research School and engage in the regular CPD on offer and facilitate training opportunities for a number of schools within the South Downs.
For us, the key to improve the quality of learning is to focus on improving the quality of teaching and to root this in an engaging, rich, vibrant, responsive curriculum. We work regularly with local artists, again, experts in their field, providing opportunities that to learn about and produce high quality work, beyond that of National Curriculum expectations. Our curriculum is based on core principles of learning (cognitive load theory, the importance of practise, developing a rich vocabulary through a tight focus on explicitly teaching tier two vocabulary and building on this as your child progresses through school). We use standardised assessments to ensure children’s English and maths is improving and this is demonstrating significant progress demonstrating the positive effect our curriculum has on learning.
Our curriculum is the key to the education we offer here at Bury CE Primary. These children only get one chance for a Primary Curriculum, we make it our job to ensure it is one they will never forget, full of awe, wonder and lasting memories. It is a curriculum that will serve your child with the best possible foundations to continue their lifelong love of learning.