Why is our curriculum designed the way it is?
At Bygrove, our vision for our pupils is articulated as a set of promises we make each one. Our curriculum is the means by which we deliver these promises.
Our curriculum design follows a set of agreed principles:
- Acquiring knowledge & developing skills are not mutually exclusive priorities; they are, rather, interdependent. ‘Knowledge and the capacity it provides to apply skills and deepen understanding are essential ingredients of successful curriculum design.’ Amanda Spielman
- Learning makes best sense when there is clear & well-thought-through progression both of skills and knowledge content, across all subjects, that is built upon year on year
- Children learn best when they can make connections within & between subjects
- For learning to be most successful, it needs to be meaningful & relevant for children in our context
- Making learning irresistible should be a key feature of curriculum; children who love learning make great progress
- We need to challenge & expect the best of pupils. There exists no conflict between teaching a broad, rich curriculum and pupils attaining highly. A well-conceived, well-delivered curriculum leads to high achievement
- Successful curricula provide access points for children across the attainment range
- Narrowing the curriculum damages the life chances of all pupils, but particularly those most disadvantaged
- Reading is the key to unlocking curriculum
- Effective curricula are underpinned by robust research
- There is no such thing as the perfect curriculum; a curriculum that serves children should not stand still.
As such, our curriculum:
- Is thematic – most learning takes place in lessons linked to a theme. Each term every class studies a different theme. Some are science based, some are historical and others have a geographical bias. All have been carefully chosen because they have a particular relevance to pupils. Over the course of a year pupils will experience a balance of each
- Includes themed weeks and days which are a focus for the whole school. These special themes reflect the context of the school and our local community and include Anti-Bullying Week, Thinking of Others and Be Healthy Week
- Includes the Explorer curriculum delivered in mixed-age groups where pupils are taught key features of character or behaviours and broaden their horizons
- Is designed to reflect a ‘knowledge-engaged approach’; an approach with a clear progression of skills intertwined with a good knowledge content to prepare our children to be good citizens and critical thinkers. This progression of knowledge and skills is designed and articulated by subject leaders
- Prepares our pupils for the complexities of the real world by turning knowledge strands into a coherent whole
Key questions we consider:
- What is the body of knowledge a child needs so they will flourish in future?
- How do we inform our choices about what to do when, how much depth to pursue, which ideas to link together and the best way to teach?
- How are we maintaining a strong theoretical understanding of curriculum?
- How do we make sure our lower attaining children have the same access to the curriculum as others & that we ensure appropriate challenge for all
The National Curriculum
The foundation of the LETTA curriculum is the National Curriculum. We shape it to best serve children in our context. Curriculum leaders and their team of subject leaders monitor and evaluate the quality of curriculum design and its impact on pupil achievement including coverage.
We design our curriculum to meet the needs of the children in the communities we serve:
- Highest quintile for deprivation and low levels of social mobility
- Highest quintile for EAL, FSM and SEND
- Most children enter the Early Years significantly below age related expectations
- Highly urbanised locality
- High proportion of pupils with Bangladeshi heritage
- Local authority with amongst the highest levels of obesity in the country
- High level of digital disadvantage
- Local safeguarding risks such as, Prevent, DV, gangs, children missing in education, online safety
So our provision includes:
- Early intervention, i.e. school social worker, high levels of Educational Psychologist support, school speech and language therapist, family engagement officer, learning mentors
- A rich curriculum including: Explorers, residential trips, Shakespeare Schools Festival, Disney project, Enabling Enterprise week, themed weeks and days, lots of trips and wider world experiences
- Locality specific learning such as, We Love London, and The World At War
- Specialist teaching in PE, art and DT, performing arts and music
- Out-of-hours provision including: breakfast club, library club, sports and creative clubs, Saturday School and holiday club
- High calibre volunteering programmes and business partnerships with organisations including: Morgan Stanley, Langdon Park Secondary School, Education Business Partnerships and lunchtime number and reading partners
A progression across subjects
English is incredibly important in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
At Bygrove, we follow the new National Curriculum for English and this is closely linked, where appropriate, to the themed curriculum. Our aim is to promote and challenge all children in developing a comprehensive range of English skills equipping them for the present and future.
Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in their development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
Our overarching aim for English is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
We aim for all pupils to:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
At Bygrove, we expect pupils to use an excellent standard of spoken language so we insist that this is what is modelled by staff.
The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. We therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. We encourage pupils to develop their capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. We assist them in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and address their misconceptions. Pupils are also taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.
We use drama as an important tool for helping pupils to develop their ideas. Pupils are taught to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, and they rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.
The Early Years and Key Stage 1
From Nursery, adults promote a love of reading and model book skills to pupils in daily shared reading sessions. Our youngest learners are also taught how to recognise and distinguish environmental sounds and other fundamental skills such as how to rhyme.
From the first day in Reception and continuing into Year 1 our pupils begin to learn how to decode text using phonics. Teachers follow a validated systematic phonics programme based on Letters and Sounds (THE Partnership Phonics Programme). This is a clearly structured and sequenced programme which teachers use alongside the Big Cat Books reading scheme to ensure that the books they are reading match their phonic knowledge. Children are taught to read in small adult guided groups which support them with applying their phonic knowledge and developing fluency. Pupils take home books they can decode independently to develop confidence with reading.
In Year 2, children continue to read books that are carefully matched to their reading level. The sessions ensure children develop their fluency and expression whilst developing their language and comprehension skills, to ensure they are reading with understanding and engagement.
All our Early Years and Key Stage 1 pupils take part in a daily story session. Books for these sessions are chosen by adults from a set of core texts for each year group.
Key Stage 2
From Y3 onwards, pupils read books matched to their reading level using the Accelerated Reader programme. They self-select books to match these levels and continue to improve their reading accuracy. The Accelerated Reader programme helps them gain fluency in reading whilst continuing to develop and check their comprehension skills.
Teacher’s lead shared reading sessions three times a week where they teach and model skills to read for understanding whilst continuing to practise fluency with expression. Pupils have repeated opportunities to practise retrieval, summary, prediction, inference as well as analysing authorial intent.
All our Key Stage 2 pupils take part in a daily story session. Books for these sessions are chosen by adults from a set of core texts for each year group.
Reading is central to increasing pupils’ vocabulary, as up to 90% of vocabulary is
encountered in reading and not in everyday speech. These are some of the ways we use
reading activities to help pupils to develop their vocabulary:
- Reading aloud in story time
- Exposure to technical language in non-fiction books
- Ensuring children are reading a wide range of age appropriate books
- Modelling finding the meaning in guided reading and shared reading lessons
- Exposure to rich vocabulary in core books
- Displaying vocabulary in the learning environment
- Using drama and storytelling
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
Our teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. Pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation
Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. We also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning.
We teach pupils to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English; to use the appropriate elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’.
Throughout the programmes of study, we teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English; these terms are integrated within teaching.
Timetabling & resourcing
English is timetabled for one hour a day for Years 1 – 6. In the EYFS, children have shorter shared and guided sessions of reading/writing daily. From Year 2 onwards children are taught spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation as part of their timetabled session.
All children throughout the school have reading sessions. From Year R – 2, children read for 15 minutes in small adult guided groups four times a week. From Year 3 -6, children further develop their comprehension skills in their Shared Reading sessions which take place three times a week and last for 30 minutes.
We recognise how important real quality literature is both in internalising English language structures & in developing a love of reading. All year groups have core books which they are expected to read or have read to them throughout the year. In KS2 the children use Accelerated Reader which provides children with appropriate age related and ability texts. When the children finish an AR text, they complete a ‘quiz’ which develops and assesses their comprehension.
At Bygrove our maths curriculum includes all the elements of the revised National Curriculum for mathematics and is taught through a mastery approach. From the Early Years to Year 6, well sequenced maths mastery lessons allow our children to develop a fluency which enables a deep understanding of mathematical concepts. Children are reminded of real world maths and how their in class learning links to their everyday lives. This provides an exciting and interesting context in which to embed learning through making meaningful connections. Our expectations of what children are able to do by the end of their primary schooling are, and have always been, very high.
We believe that mathematics is a way of making sense of the world, a powerful tool for analysing and communicating information and ideas. It is a creative and highly interconnected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. Maths is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.
A mathematical concept or skill has been mastered when a child can show it in different ways, use mathematical language to explain their ideas and independently apply the concept to new problems in unfamiliar situations. As such we aim, through our curriculum, to provide children with enjoyable, stimulating experiences which enable them to develop their confidence in themselves as mathematicians; to develop their natural curiosity and ability to question; to encourage them to have high expectations of themselves; to enable children to use a range of mathematical tools such as concrete resources, pictorial representations and abstract written methods to give them opportunities to apply their mathematics knowledge, skills and understanding in a range of meaningful contexts.
We aim for all pupils to:
- become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately
- reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
- be able to solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions
We know that effective early learning in maths involves lots of play and the use and manipulation of real life objects through which children develop mental models and images of how numbers and patterns work. It also highlights the need for maths learning to take place little and often and so the implementation of Mastering Number from Reception to Year 2 enables children to master the core elements of number work from a young age. Our progression of knowledge and skills enables a progression of hands-on learning within the Early Years to develop throughout a child’s experience of maths learning during primary school. Concrete resources are a key element of learning mathematics here at Bygrove. Our mathematics curriculum is cyclical in that concepts are revisited throughout a child’s time here at school, enabling them to make links between what they have learnt before and what they are learning next.
The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should always be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. The mastery approach to the teaching of mathematics encourages small steps within mathematical concepts and this supports the approach of allowing children to keep up and catch up during their maths learning. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content. Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.
Have a look at our calculation policy
To find out more about how your child learns maths at school or how you can help, please either speak to their class teacher or contact the maths leader, Charlotte, via admin@Bygrove.org.uk
Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity.
Our science curriculum provides the foundations for understanding the world through biology, chemistry and physics. All pupils are taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
We aim for all pupils to:
- develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
- develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
- be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.
“Art enables us to find ourselves & lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton
“Every child is an artist.” Pablo Picasso
Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. Our art and design curriculum engages, inspires and challenges pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.
As pupils progress, they are able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.
We aim for all pupils to:
- produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
- become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques
- evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
- know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms
Art and design is taught by our specialist art teacher so pupils get access to first class provision.
Our computing curriculum aims to equip pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems.
The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content.
Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
We aim for all pupils to:
- understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
- analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
- evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
- be responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
We want design and technology to be an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems in a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on subjects such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art.
Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.
We aim for all pupils to:
- develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world
- build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users
- critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others
- understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.
Learning in geography helps us to understand the world, the pieces of the jigsaw and how we fit into it. Our geography curriculum inspires in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that we hope will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
Our geography teaching equips pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world helps them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
We aim for all pupils to:
- develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
- understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
- develop competence in the geographical skills needed to:
- collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
- interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
- communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.
One term’s theme each year, in every year group, has a geographical bias. These are linked to the revised National Curriculum & can be found in the curriculum map at the top of this page. Throughout these themes, children acquire the knowledge & develop the skills associated with each of these subject areas.
Understanding our present and our future come from a secure understanding of our past. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
Our history curriculum helps pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It inspires their curiosity to know more about the past. Our teaching equips pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement.
We aim for all pupils to:
- know and understand the history of these islands from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
- know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; achievements and follies of mankind
- gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
- understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
- understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
- gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.
At least one term’s theme in each year group has a historical bias. These are linked to the revised National Curriculum & can be found in the curriculum map at the top of this page. Throughout these themes, children acquire the knowledge & develop the skills associated with each of these subject areas.
Learning a foreign language is fulfilling and liberating, giving pupils an important window into other cultures. We choose to teach Spanish. Our Spanish curriculum helps to foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. Teaching helps pupils to express their ideas and thoughts and to understand and respond to others. It provides opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes and learn new ways of thinking. Our pupils learn Spanish here but this teaching provides the foundation for learning further languages.
We aim for all pupils to:
- understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
- speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
- write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
- discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing
Music is a universal language and one of the highest forms of creativity. Our music curriculum engages and inspires pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.
As pupils progress, they develop a critical engagement with music; they compose and listen with discrimination to the music of others.
We aim for all pupils to:
- perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
- learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn at least one musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
- understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
During their time at Bygrove every child learns to sing and play the ukulele, recorder and drums. They are taught by specialist music and performance teachers. We also provide opportunities for children who have a love for music to continue learning out of class hours with music and performance clubs.
Performance is a big part of our Bygrove curriculum. Each child from Reception to Year 6 takes part in an intensive performance project every year with opportunities to perform to an audience, embed their music skills learnt during music lessons, explore roles in technical theatre and develop their confidence. We are also proud of our partnership with Disney who support us in delivering a Disney musical each year in Year 5.
We make sure every class has a genre focus each term that relates to their thematic theme in order for them to learn new genres, which is hopefully a catalyst for our young people to find a genre of music they love – and to express their opinions using musical terminology on the genres they do not! We aim for music at Bygrove to inspire our children to be confident and creative, with opportunities to perform, listen, compose and critique. By focusing on musical performance, analysis and composition, we enable and encourage our children to express themselves musically and emotionally so that they can achieve their full potential.
We know that a high-quality PE curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel, not just in sport and other physically-demanding activities, but across the other subjects too. Our curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect.
We aim for all pupils to:
- develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities
- be physically active for sustained periods of time
- engage in competitive sports and activities
- lead healthy, active lives.
Pupils take part in 2 hours of PE each week and this includes gymnastics, dance, outdoor games and swimming. PE sessions are delivered by a PE specialist. There are also plenty of opportunities for pupils to take part in sport during breakfast club, at lunchtime and after school.
RE is important not just for pupils’ spiritual development; it helps us to understand one another as human beings with empathy and compassion. In examining the differences between major world religions we also realise the things that are universal – the things we share.
We use the SACRE locally agreed syllabus as the basis for planning religious education, trying to tie it wherever possible to the context of our themes. Follow the link to the curriculum map at the top of this page for a closer look.
At Bygrove, pupils’ personal development is of paramount importance. We follow a PSHE scheme of work called Jigsaw. Jigsaw brings together PSHE Education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development in a comprehensive scheme of learning. Teaching strategies are varied and are mindful of preferred learning styles and the need for differentiation. Jigsaw is designed as a whole school approach, with all year groups working on the same theme, or ‘puzzle’ at the same time. This enables each puzzle to start with an introductory assembly, generating a whole school focus for adults and children alike.
Jigsaw PHSE is motivated by the genuine belief that if attention is paid to supporting children’s personal development in a structured and developmentally appropriate way, this will not only improve their capacity to learn – across the curriculum – but will ultimately improve their life chances. That’s why Jigsaw is completely child-focused.