At Buckfastleigh Primary School, our curriculum is based on the September 2014 National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 & 2 and the Early Years 2012 framework in Reception. Our rigorous, well planned curriculum combined with high quality teaching ensures that children are supported to be well rounded, empathetic young people who have a genuine thirst for learning. Children develop a strong sense of moral purpose in addition to a respect for and understanding of people.
Skills, Knowledge and Understanding
To ensure that we teach a broad and balanced curriculum, we follow the National Curriculum 2014 programmes of study for:
English, Maths, Science, Computing, Physical Education, History, Geography, Music, Art and Design, Design Technology and Modern Foreign Languages.
We also teach the locally agreed syllabus for RE and have a programme of study for PSHE.
In addition, our curriculum is underpinned by our Daring Pioneers curriculum which is designed to develop the skills of:
- Resilience and Adaptability shown by Flexibility and Drive
- Independence shown by Confidence and Bravery
- Imagination shown by Risk-taking and Deep Thinking
- Good Team Work shown by Enthusiasm, Participation, Leadership and Encouragement
For more information on the 2014 National Curriculum click here to go to the Department of Education website.
We try to teach our curriculum wherever possible through a thematic topic (eg The Romans). We find children quickly become enthusiastic about the topic and we can capture that enthusiasm to develop subject specific skills in a purposeful way. It also enables children to see the connections between the different subject areas.
We aim to ensure that in every topic, we start with a really interesting event and include visits and visitors to bring the learning to life. Our curriculum maps can be found on the school website.
We want our children to enjoy being a learner. We want them to be motivated, inquisitive and relish challenge. We develop skills of independence and collaboration and give children the confidence to take risks with their learning. We aim to create a safe and nurturing environment in which children have the freedom to explore, enquire and excel and develop a love of learning for the rest of their lives.
English at Buckfastleigh
We promote a positive reading culture and encourage a love of books and learning through reading. This is supported by author visits/links with the local library/whole school book events and adults as positive reading role models.
- Attractive and well stocked school Library and class book corners/dens – inviting and stocked with age appropriate texts, including books from our literary heritage reviewed during 2017-18.
- Daily reading in all classes
- Reading 1:1 – with teachers/teaching assistants and volunteers
- Buddy reading – children are paired with a buddy from a younger class and take on the role of teachers giving top tips to their reading buddies and also enjoying reading books to them and listening to them read.
- Children are read a range of texts in their own classes and also in UKS2 we have a class read where children are given opportunities to engage in book talk and to read and share a text aloud. This is often a featured author or based on a recommendation from a child.
- The children take home daily their reading record for parent/teacher comments and to record reading at home.
- KS1 and lower KS2 children choose from a range of banded books in the classroom at an appropriate level – choices are guided by staff and assessed regularly
- Children’s book choices (particularly when they become free readers) are monitored daily through book talk and through reading journals to ensure appropriateness of level/age. Children are explicitly taught what a book may look like if it is age/level appropriate
- The use of Accelerated Reader (AR) - a reading management and monitoring programme that aims to foster independent reading. The internet-based software assesses reading age, and suggests books that match pupils’ needs and interests. Pupils take computerised quizzes on the books and earn AR points as they progress. This is a ‘promising project’ as reviewed by the Educational Endowment Foundation.
- Phonics (Babcock letters and sounds) and decoding skills are taught across KS1 and KS2 along with high frequency words in KS1 and lower KS2 and appropriate key words in UKS2.
- KS1 – teaching of spelling is linked to daily phonics and high frequency words
- KS2 children are taught spellings using the NoNonsense Spelling Programme
- Spelling is taught in each class at least 3 times a week
- Children are given opportunities to write across a broad range of subjects and with a clear purpose and audience
- Planning – we mainly use the teaching sequences (Babcock) based around a specific high quality text. We carry out an elicitation task at the start of each unit and then plan according to the needs of the group once assessed whilst maintaining high expectations linked to the appropriate year group’s objectives. Once a unit is completed children produce a final piece of writing and progress against objectives is assessed.
- Children will be made aware of the objectives to be covered in each unit.
- Grammar is usually taught in the context of a literacy sequence thus linking to a text although it sometimes necessary to teach grammar separately. Time is given to children to read their own writing and to edit and improve their writing as part of the writing process. The key skills of proof reading, editing and redrafting based on teacher assessment, peer assessment or self- assessment are explicitly taught.
- Examples of good quality pieces of writing as well as examples of the writing process are displayed, shared and celebrated.
- We follow the Debbie Hepplewhite approach to the teaching of handwriting from Foundation through to Year 6 and in each class handwriting is taught and practiced at least once a week. Good examples are celebrated in individual classes and have also been celebrated in whole school assemblies and through a competition. Children have time to write up and present their finished pieces and are encouraged to take pride in their presentation in their books.
Maths at Buckfastleigh
The aims of the 2014 National Curriculum for Mathematics place a significant emphasis on the development of children’s problem-solving and reasoning skills.
We follow the Complete Mathematics Curriculum across KS1 and KS2.
We group children according to what they need to do next and so groups will change depending on each child’s needs. Some will need to consolidate the work from the previous session, while others will be given tasks that require them to reason mathematically or solve problems by applying their mathematics in a variety of situations.
We encourage the children to challenge themselves and often give them challenges of differing difficulty and ask them to decide where they feel they need to begin. Throughout the session, the pupils are able to reflect on their learning and decide if they need to move onto a different challenge if they feel that their one is too easy or too tricky. At the end of the lesson the children are asked to rate their learning and to indicate if they found something particularly tricky. This self assessment is very useful as it helps the children to identify their own next steps.
At the beginning of each lesson, the children are able to read through the marking and feedback from the previous day and to comment or correct their work, as necessary.
We are assessing against the NC statements on a daily basis. Once we are confident that a child has achieved a particular objective we use School Pupil Tracker to record this information.
Foundation Stage at Buckfastleigh
- We follow Babcock Letters & Sounds including high frequency words and CVC words
- Flashcards with lower case letters and pictures, taught using actions (sent home to parents to support at home as the children learn them)
- Alphabet on display in each room
- Gross & fine motor activities available daily
- Puzzles & games to support phonics as well as ICT
- We follow Debbie Hepplewhite programme as above. We observe and make notes of pencil grip to decide which is the best way to support individuals with their letter formation. This is updated frequently to adapt support as/when appropriate.
- We encourage all children to mark make/write daily for a variety of reasons linked to interests using different implements.
- We share shining examples of writing and put this on display to encourage others-as well as certificates in assembly.
- We model writing daily during phonics and additionally throughout the day.
- All adults ask pupils before writing on their work-to model the correct formation and/or spelling. Not all will be corrected- just the most appropriate.
- We start by assessing letter names/sounds 1 to 1.
- We encourage reading by providing interesting fiction and non- fiction books in the reading den linked to children’s interests.
- The class are ready to daily with a variety of stories chosen by adults and children-children are encouraged to discuss what they have heard, as well as re-reading favourite books and authors (book reviews are used later on in the school year)
- We send home pink banded books (non word) initially with home school record and a message to parents in home school record.
- High frequency words are taught daily in phonics, and when appropriate sent home to individuals and assessed 1 to 1.
- The expectation is that children read daily at home, and at least once with their reading book at school, and additionally with a library/reading den book. We encourage role play and puppets to express familiar stories to adapt and extend learning.
Science at Buckfastleigh
While following the National Curriculum, children learn the skills of being a scientist through planning, carrying out and evaluating regular investigations as well as learning about the important science concepts and knowledge.
Computing at Buckfastleigh
Our core teaching in computing follows the new national curriculum expectations. The children have lessons in which they learn new skills. In addition to this we ensure that the children use ICT when appropriate in all other subjects.
History and Geography at Buckfastleigh
These subjects are taught thematically with a different topic either each term or half-term (see Curriculum Map on the school’s website). We find this approach ensures maximum enthusiasm and engagement from our pupils. We aim to start each topic with a visit or visitor to engage children from the very beginning. They quickly become immersed in the topic and we have received some truly amazing project work as a result.
Religious Education at Buckfastleigh
We follow the Devon agreed syllabus for RE in common with all other maintained schools in Devon. This ensures a rich mix of learning about Christianity and other World Religions through themes.
Personal, Social, Moral and Health Education at Buckfastleigh
Lessons explore feelings, social situations and aspirations through circle time, drama and group activities. We have a whole school planned curriculum which includes progressive and age appropriate learning about drugs, smoking and sex education.
Parents have the right to withdraw their child from sex education if they so wish. We are always happy to discuss and share with parents the materials we use for this area of the curriculum and parents are notified in advance when this topic is due to be taught.
Music at Buckfastleigh
Music sessions develop children’s sense of rhythm, timing and pitch through listening and composition activities. We have excess to a wide variety of instruments in the Learning Community. Children develop singing skills and a love of singing through singing assemblies.
Art at Buckfastleigh
Our art curriculum develops skills in drawing, painting, and a variety of 3D activities through art lessons. Art is usually connected to topic.
Design Technology at Buckfastleigh
Our Design Technology curriculum is linked to our topic and science work. We practice cutting, shaping and combining a range of materials to make a range of products linked to our curriculum planning and much more from our own designs.
Modern Foreign Languages at Buckfastleigh
Children in Key Stage 1 learn some French vocabulary and phrases mainly through songs, and rhymes. In Key Stage 2 children begin a more structured approach; learning French phonics and conversational language. They also learn about French culture through eating French food, learning French songs and reading French books.
We believe that low attainment is not a reason for low aspirations. Children should be supported to work towards the same learning intention and differentiation provided by the level of support and/or resources used.
- All children are treated as equals and questioning is directed to all.
- Children are given specific praise for participating, for effort and for achievement.
- Activities are accessible to all children
- Children are taught to use self-help skills.
- Different groups of learners (eg LAC, EAL, SEND, PP) are able to access learning because of a good environment and targeted use of support.
- Teaching assistants are used effectively to enable the teacher to target groups of children (SEND and non-SEND) in enabling them to improve their skills and knowledge.
- There is excellent two-way feedback between teacher and classroom assistants to ensure that support from interventions are feedback into the class and from the class into the intervention with the progress of the child at its heart.