At Barrow School we offer a broad, balanced and academically rigorous curriculum for all our learners. As a church school we are inspired by Jesus’ intention for the lives of His people.
I have come that they may have life and have it to the full – John 10:10
Everything starts with the child and how we as professionals can craft a learning environment for them which nurtures their mind, body and soul to develop a happy, healthy and well-rounded citizen of the world – a child who can live and enjoy life to the full.
Our curriculum provision has been developed with a clear intent to:
A Knowledge-based Curriculum
To support these aims, the curriculum in each year group at Barrow is taught through six exciting half termly topics. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage are taught using the EYFS framework with an emphasis on developing key skills, knowledge and understanding through direct teaching and purposeful play. The statutory National Curriculum is taught across Key Stages 1 and 2.
Our curriculum is designed with knowledge at its heart to ensure that children develop a strong vocabulary base and understanding of the world. The curriculum promotes long term learning and we believe that progress means knowing more and remembering more. We have developed a curriculum inspired by current research on how memory works, to ensure that children are taught in a way in which they can remember the content in future years. We make use of knowledge organisers (which are sent home half termly) to ensure children know exactly which information is expected to be learned over the course of their topic.
One of our central aims of the curriculum is to ensure that our pupils are both “interesting and interested”. We want them to be ‘interesting’ to talk to because they know a great deal about the world and ‘interested’ in finding out more. We understand that knowledge is ‘sticky’, in other words, the more pupils know the easier it is for them to know more.
Our Curriculum Drivers
We also believe that our children deserve and need us to provide more than just the National Curriculum. Life has so much more to offer and our children have so much more to learn and experience. With this in mind we worked to prioritise the things we wanted our children to experience during their time with us. We have, therefore, developed a set of ‘drivers’ for our curriculum which we believe support us in meeting the needs of our pupils.
Our curriculum drivers relate to:
Our curriculum drivers are Identity, Connection, Legacy, Adventure, Imagination and Possibility. Our school drivers are at the heart of each topic and the themes develop coherently throughout the school year. We use these drivers alongside our values programme to underpin the development work we undertake in all areas of school life and to ensure that our curriculum offer is enriched and personalised to our children and their families.
Our Pedagogical Approach
We have designed our curriculum to ensure coherence and connectivity so that knowledge, skills and concepts are introduced, built on over time, revisited and assessed. We believe that a well-connected curriculum will enable our children to grow intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. It will enable them to become increasingly knowledgable and make sense of complex concepts that might otherwise be taught in isolation.
Our curriculum is built on four stages of pedagogy based on both research and experience. We call them the four cornerstones:
Engage: We hook learners with a memorable experience which provides a context for learning. We believe in asking questions to find out the children’s interests and spark their curiosity using interesting questions and starting points.
Develop: We believe in teaching the children facts and information which enables deeper understanding and knowledge. We provide creative opportunities for making and doing and allow time for consolidation.
Innovate: We provide our children with imaginative scenarios and encourage creative thinking enabling children to apply preciously learned skills. We encourage enterprise and independent thinking and provide opportunities for collaborative working and problem solving.
Express: We develop our environments to encourage reflective talk and create opportunities for shared evaluation. We always celebrate and share children’s successes as well as identify next steps for learning.