Our Curriculum at Barrow

What is the ‘Curriculum’?

The term curriculum refers to WHAT is being taught in school. Simply put, this includes our subject content and lessons, along with any other enrichment activities we provide. Our curriculum is purposefully designed to ensure the children at Barrow receive integrated, coherent learning experiences that contribute towards their personal and academic learning and development, both now and in the future. The purpose of our recent important curriculum development work has been to ensure that our content choices, coverage, sequencing and progression supports these core aims.

How is Our Curriculum Organised?

At Barrow Primary School we are committed to teaching a broad, balanced and aspirational curriculum. To ensure that we are as effective as possible in meeting these aims, we are constantly reviewing our curriculum development priorities. This process ensures that our curriculum decisions are responsive and strategic.  Indeed, it is more important than ever that our teaching reflects the needs of our children and takes into account the impact of the global pandemic on their learning and wellbeing.

The main aims of our most recent curriculum review were to:

  •  rebalance the long-term curriculum offer after another year of disruption and
  •  to see if it were possible to maximise the teaching time in a school day. 

As a result, we have made some changes to our curriculum structure and timetabling from September 2021.  We are now delighted to be working with Unity Schools Partnership and have fully launched our updated curriculum known as CUSP (Curriculum with Unity Schools Partnership) which is underpinned by the very latest research evidence from education and the field of cognitive science.

 New for September 2021

 With some changes to the timings of the school day from September 2021, each class timetable has been very carefully structured to maximise learning time. We continue to provide a knowledge-rich curriculum for our children within our expanded timetable for September. In a change to our usual topic-based approach, each subject will now be taught discretely.  This will allow children to:

  • build securely on previous knowledge and skills
  • enable them to become immersed in and develop depth of understanding within a subject
  • help us to better address any gaps as a result of the impact of the pandemic.

Within the long-term sequence for each year group, however, there are still deliberately planned links between subjects that complement each other. 

  • Our English curriculum includes dedicated daily reading lessons in Key Stage 2 alongside a writing session.  There are also additional reading lessons in Key Stage 1, alongside phonics and writing, as a feature. The English offer is planned with a rich literature spine with ambitious books to inspire and challenge pupils. It is carefully mapped to enable children to experience a diverse range of social, moral and ethical issues as well as a wide range of authors.  Our writing curriculum draws on taught content from History, Geography and Science and from the study of core texts from the literature spine.
  • The wider curriculum subjects of Science, Geography, History, Computing and Art & Design are taught as a series of modules which are regularly revisited within each academic year and also built upon in subsequent years. This is to ensure that core knowledge is securely acquired through clear teaching sequences that are focused, interwoven and built around regular retrieval practice. We have increased the frequency of teaching and length of Science modules for this academic year. This is so that we are able to respond directly to the challenge of time and gaps in knowledge resulting from the recent disruption to learning.
  • Time for PSHE and Modern Foreign Languages has been prioritised and given proportionally more space within the timetable.  French is now also taught in Key Stage 1.  The arts have also been given greater emphasis with Art/DT and Music being taught weekly in all year groups.  We will continue to teach Beliefs & Values weekly across the school.

Our curriculum is vocabulary focused and aims to equip the children with the necessary academic and technical language required to talk about their learning in a precise manner, across the curriculum. Knowledge organisers are used within learning modules to support vocabulary development.

The acquisition of knowledge is underpinned by the implementation of a variety of teaching methods intended to help children retain and recall their learning. The children will access mini-quizzes at regular intervals within learning modules, challenging them to recall their learning; research shows that both the ‘spaced practice,’ and ‘retrieval practice,’ embedded within the curriculum will enhance pupils’ learning.

Our curriculum provides children with memorable experiences, visits and visitors from which they can learn. It is designed to encourage them to view the world outside of Barrow with excitement and curiosity. We very much hope that this will support us in developing independent and confident learners who know about their community, the wider world and how to make a positive contribution.

How does this enhance our Church School Christian Ethos?

In designing our curriculum, we have been inspired by Jesus’ words in John 10 about ‘living life to the full’ in the day to day school learning environment, and in a successful life beyond. The 'Barrow Big Ideas' will provide a framework around which all our Collective Worship sessions will be planned. The children will become familiar with Bible characters who have faced challenges and show positive traits of character, and learn Bible verses which are encouraging and motivating. Visitors such as our Open the Book team will work with us to promote the 'Barrow Big Ideas'. The decisions the children make about which charities to support and community outreach projects to run also link to them.

Further Information

We have created curriculum overviews for each year group which ensure coherence and progression in both knowledge and skill development in every subject. These are available for each year group on our Year Group Overviews page. A wealth of further information is also available on this website. If you have any questions, however, or would like more clarification on how our curriculum is designed or the implementation of our new approaches, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Lucy Smith, Deputy Headteacher.