Our curriculum at Beck has three key intentions that are shaped around our Core Values and our vision for the school and its pupils.
- Children should learn the basic knowledge and skills that will allow them to achieve as they move on to Secondary school,
- Children should develop an awareness of the world, the possibilities it holds and a belief in the positive contribution their life can make to it,
- Children should gain the social skills of respect and empathy to allow them to fully succeed in life.
We have designed our curriculum with our Core Values at its heart:
We know our children and have developed the curriculum with them in mind. How can the curriculum ensure that the children who come to Beck achieve, believe and succeed? We use what we know of our children and the community they come from and build on their particular strengths and interests. However we also know that children aspire to what they know so we aim to provide them with a wide range of role models. Our curriculum aims to stretch, challenge and surprise them to look beyond what they know and support them to break down the gaps that may have developed between them and their peers.
As we know our children we focus on language – speaking and listening, reading, writing. We believe our curriculum should teach children to ‘Have their say’ through developing a confident use of the English language and a broad and rich vocabulary. This begins from the first point children enter school and is the key component of our EYFS curriculum. Alongside a systematic synthetic approach to phonics, children are taught to read for meaning from an early stage following our Reading Pathway. We provide children with authentic purposes to both read, write and present their learning verbally across the curriculum. This allows the vocabulary and concepts they come across to develop deeper meanings as well as their confidence in expressing these ideas.
We recognise that children learn to respect and empathise with others once they develop rich understanding and knowledge of a wide range of people and places. As an EmpathyLab Pioneer School one way we approach this is through the direct teaching of empathy skills, the use of high quality literature and engaging children in social action. We also have a well-planned humanities curriculum that introduces children to their own heritage and the similarities and differences between themselves and others. Alongside this we provide a range of opportunities for children to learn about current topics, get involved in fundraising and recognise and celebrate difference. For further details see our SMSC pages.
Our curriculum is organised in a way that supports children to learn the knowledge and skills intended through what we know about how children learn and also about how to develop the best teachers and teaching. Learning in the majority of subjects is blocked into term-long topics during which children consider philosophical ‘Big questions’ such as ‘Does change always lead to progress?’ We recognise that children learn through making connections but that subject specific skills and knowledge need to be developed so whilst some subjects are blocked into topics, subject distinctions remain. English and Maths are taught daily and are often linked to the topic allowing further connections to be made and vocabulary to be developed. Links across the curriculum are only made when it is purposeful and we understand that specific skills and knowledge may be taught discretely where this is more appropriate.
We recognise the importance of real experiences and invest in purposeful visits and stimuli for all topics. This includes opportunities to learn outside the classroom. By grabbing children’s attention and providing them with novel experiences, learning is more likely to stick in their long-term memory. We aim for ‘Third-generational’ learning – those experiences that children will tell their own children and grandchildren about.
Learning is enhanced when children see a purpose for their learning and that learning is embedded when children have chance to practically apply what they have learnt in a range of contexts. Learning over the term works towards an authentic outcome with children having the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have learnt in a practical often-collaborative way. Examples of this include Year One children holding a Medieval banquet to showcase their learning during the topic ‘What happened once upon a time?’, Year Three children designing and making a soup for a homeless charity as the culmination of their learning on ‘What does it mean to survive and thrive?’, Year Four children taking over the Showroom Cinema to view their Horrible History style films as part of the their topic ‘Why were the Romans powerful?’