The National Curriculum (2014) and Blacklow Brow Primary School
Prior to the statutory changes surrounding the new National Curriculum of 2014, Blacklow Brow Primary School followed a thematic based curriculum. Within this thematic curriculum, certain topics such as ‘Local History’, ‘Conflict and Resolution’ etc were covered throughout years 1 to 6 and underpinned by all of the key skills, concepts, knowledge and understanding required by the former National Curriculum.
With the introduction of the National Curriculum 2014, the management of the school have now decided to move away from the thematic curriculum and adopt a discrete subject curriculum but still maintain some thematic elements. We are determined to ensure that the delivery and content of the curriculum are designed in such a way to provide our children with opportunities to experience as much enjoyment as possible and maximise their learning potential. In addition, whilst we may study discrete subjects, each subject area is firmly underpinned by a strong ethos of enhancing basic, and essential, skills in English and maths.
We’re very proud of new curriculum and its design and our work in preparing for it has been recognised by some important external agencies. Our success in developing it was so noted, that it came to the attention of CAPITA and Mr Owens and Mrs Walmsley were invited to speak in Central London at the CAPITA Primary Curriculum Reform Symposium in July 2014. Whislt there, the audience were so impressed that both Mr Owens and Mrs Walmsley were invited to contribute to a White Paper about the new National Curriculum!
In years 1 to 6 all staff are required to teach the 2014 curriculum for all subjects with the exception of years 2 and 6 where the former curriculum for maths and English will be followed. The new curriculum for maths and English for these year groups will be followed in September 2015.
The Curriculum for years 1 to 6 is explained in further detail below:
In our school we wish to foster in children a love of language, reading and writing. We acknowledge that the ability to communicate effectively and accurately is a key skill – not simply for accessing academia but for life. Therefore, we place a huge emphasis on ensuring that ALL of our lessons are underpinned and rooted in exploiting and galvanising all of the key skills, concepts and knowledge that exist within the English curriculum whether they be spoken or written.
We aim to supply our children with the very best start in life; therefore we endeavour to provide them with a firm grasp of number and calculation. Only by helping a child develop there awareness of these areas, can we feel assured that we are preparing them for life in, and after, statutory education. Like English, wherever there is an opportunity throughout the school day or curriculum to include the skills and knowledge of mathematics, we endeavour to do so. Children are taught the value of calculation and number in theoretical and real life circumstances. Their knowledge and understanding of the mathematical world is furthered through investigations into ALL other subject areas, when possible, and this provides them with a realistic view of the importance of maths and how to manage their life as financially responsible individuals
Our English and maths lessons are carefully planned and we have rigorous assessment processes that help us monitor children’s progress and just as importantly leads to various interventions to support children as a result of the assessment. We have a very good range of resources to support the teaching of English and mathematics and our staff receives regular in-service training to support their teaching.
To understand the world in which we live in, one must understand and appreciate the impact that scientific understanding, investigation and query have had. Our science lessons are taught weekly and children’s understanding of the subject is assessed both formally and informally each week and half term. Our pupils love the opportunity to explore the phenomena the scientific study provides and we endeavour to instil in them a love for asking ‘why’ and desire to find solutions.
To be a broad minded, sensible and level headed individual, one must study history. The study of history at Blacklow Brow gives our children the chance to understand why they are who they are, allows them to understand their place and impact in the world, appreciate and learn from the successes and failures of the past and inform them of how to be an integral part of a better, progressive and tolerant future. Through our study of history at Blacklow Brow, we intend to make children understand that they have the power to make change, have the right to question thus giving them a greater understanding of the political, social, physiological and economical events that have made the behaviours, values and customs that exist on our planet today.
The study of Geography is unique in bridging the social sciences (human geography) with the natural sciences (physical geography). Human geography concerns the understanding of the dynamics of cultures, societies and economies, and physical geography concerns the understanding of the dynamics of physical landscapes and the environment. At Blacklow Brow, our study of Geography puts this understanding of social and physical processes within the context of places and regions – recognising the great differences in cultures, political systems, economies, landscapes and environments across the world, and the links between them. Understanding the causes of differences and inequalities between places and social groups underlie much of the newer developments in human geography.
At Blacklow Brow, we teach our children languages that we feel can be taught accurately and purposefully. Therefore, we teach our children one modern language (French) and in the upper juniors, we complement this learning with the teaching of Latin. We encourage children to understand that our own language is derived from these two foreign languages and by doing so, give them a further understanding of the evolution and changes to our own language whilst helping them to understand it grammatical roots and putting them on the road to being multilingual. Both of these subjects are taught as formal lessons, but these are not exclusive; there are lessons and subjects in which our children may be taught some basic Spanish, German, Swedish and Japanese!
We are extremely proud of our Artsmark Gold Award therefore, at Blacklow Brow, we instil in children that the study of art is not simply painting or drawing. Rather, we teach our children about the cultural and social impact of artists, architects and designers, their lives and their works. We also provide our children to experiment with a vast range of artistic media and celebrate their work in a variety of forums. In each year group, children are taught about the life of three artists, designers or architects and encouraged to use any developing skills they have acquired and use them with pride at all times.
Design and Technology
At Blacklow Brow, we consider this subject to be the study, design, development, application, implementation, support and management of computer and non-computer based technologies for the express purpose of communicating, using various mediums, product design intent and constructability. To ensure our children have the best opportunities for their future careers, we encourage them to see the impact the area of DT has had in the world and its impact on building design, construction and the maintenance industry, in addition to industrial and product design and the manufacturing and fabrication processes therein.
At Blacklow Brow, we have recruited the very best in providers to ensure that our staff are able to teach the subject of computing. The study of computing at Blacklow Brow is not solely about using the internet or word processing, it is the study of the science of computing and computers. Only by teaching computing are we able to to ensure that our children are able to access technologies with which they will undoubtedly work in their future lives.
Part of Arstmark Gold Award was determined by our provision and teaching of music and our school’s involvement with the local authority; our very own Head Teacher is, in fact, the Head Teacher representative of Knowsley’s Music Hub. In our last OFSTED subject inspection, we were also deemed to be judged ‘Outstanding’ in our music provision too! We have many extra curricular clubs such as choir, steel pans, violin and piano; indeed, many of our children are also members of out of school musical organisations too! We feel our enviable subscription to these extra-curricular groups stems from the teaching of music and music appreciation that exists within the classroom. Music is taught regularly by our staff and covers a wide range of skills areas. Children are taught about historical music such as baroque, blues, rap and even dance! In addition, they undertake a study of two notable musicians each year. These musicians may be historical figures such as Bach or Handel, but they also have the opportunity to study more contemporary musicians such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Lady Gaga!
We, at Blacklow Brow, are extremely serious and dedicated to the study of physical exercise. Our children are taught the subject twice a week by our regular teaching staff, but are taught additional sessions by PE experts. We place great importance on health and fitness and complement this with helping the children to understand the beneficial effects PE has on their physical and mental health, how to eat healthily and the anatomy of the human. Whilst we a school that actively engages in many competitions, we also instil a healthy understanding fairness, teamwork and effort to all of our children, so that no matter what their level of ability, all are encouraged to feel included and valued.
Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning is an integral skill to ensure that our children are tolerant, understanding, reflective, appropriately behaved and compassionate individuals. Whilst all members of Blacklow Brow instil these qualities on a daily basis, more indepth and expert sessions of SEAL are provided on a weekly basis by our Learning Mentor. During these sessions, children are given opportunities to gain the life skills necessary to be civic minded, responsible and socially aware individuals.