Curriculum and Ethos Categories

Curriculum

 

The Curriculum

We believe that good learners show a curiosity about the world and the ability to grasp ideas, link them together and think critically about them. Most importantly, they enjoy their learning and are motivated by a variety of subjects. In order to develop these characteristics, children need to be confident in the core skills of English and Maths and these subjects are at the centre of our curriculum. In the wider curriculum, pupils develop knowledge and skills in subjects such as the humanities and arts in the context of topics that are meaningful and interesting to them. Pupils explore subjects, learn and link facts and have opportunities to be creative in their response to their learning. We have currciulum leads for Maths (Henry Commander), Literacy (Matt Williams) and for our topic based International Primary Curriculum or IPC (Kate Tench) who are available to give you any extra information you may want on what each year group is studying. They can be contact via the school office. Please click here to see each year group’s overview for the year.

English and Maths

We teach English and Maths lessons every day. Our purpose is to ensure that pupils develop the core knowledge and skills that are the foundations for learning at secondary school and beyond.

English

Pupils read and write every day, in English lessons and as part of their learning across the curriculum.

In English lessons, children immerse themselves in texts so that they can understand and enjoy the themes contained within them. Children learn grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary to support good quality writing. We also rehearse language out loud on a regular basis in order to strengthen not only written but also oral language. Pupils learn to write in a range of forms, such as reports and persuasive letters as well as stories and poems. We make writing a meaningful activity, so that pupils are motivated to write. For example, when learning how to write a diary, Year 5 children create ‘space logs’ as part of their topic on the planets and space exploration.

Reading

Brecknock is a reading school.

Adults and children share a love of reading which sits at the heart of all Literacy teaching and learning. From our sparkling library, to the effort and commitment that goes into day-to-day teaching of reading from Nursery to Year 6, children can’t help but develop a love for reading.

Guided Reading begins as early as Reception or Nursery – as soon as a child is ready to read – and continues right through the school to Year 6. By carefully planning a set of well chosen questions, teachers are able to probe and develop children’s understanding of any fiction or non-fiction text.

Beginning from the the early years, teachers link activities in the outside area to books, to help children immerse themselves into a story. Inside, they write letters, make lists, dress up, role-play and rehearse key language from the stories they are reading. As children move through the school, they still get the same level of immersion, but in different ways. For example, learning environments and rich book corners still allow children to engage texts, but there is an emphasis on making inferences at deeper levels, and to articulate ones feelings about a word, a sentence, or a whole text.

Author Studies begin from Nursery and run right through to Year 6. Every year group in the school focuses on one author each half term. Authors are carefully chosen, so that all children experience the canon of classic stories (such as Charlotte’s Web and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe), but they are also given the opportunity to study new, ground-breaking authors (Oliver Jeffers/Guy Bass/Derek Landy). We believe that children thrive when they develop a love of reading and with our rich reading resources, every child finds an author they will cherish through to adult life.

Brecknock works closely with the CLPE (Centre for Learning Primary English).This has allowed us to continually develop our staff at a high level for the teaching and learning of reading across the school. Training also focuses on using the ‘Power of Reading’ program effectively. ‘The Power of Reading’ is the best Literacy course in the country right now, because along with training teachers, they also provide schools with the best children’s books available, complete with planning ideas which our own staff can develop. Teachers share the practice they receive with other adults, and this helps us set the best possible texts for children to study in each year group.

There is also a daily Phonics lesson for pupils from Nursery to Year 2, where children learn letter sounds for reading and writing. We use elements of the ‘Jolly Phonics’ reading programme which then leads into ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Support for Spelling’ as the children progress towards ‘Grammar for Writing’.

Once you add all the above to the best World Book Days, an engaging phonics and spelling curriculum, the latest and most exciting picture books, classics books, levelled texts to take home (from Reception to Year 6), and a rich online library for every child to access at their own level; then you begin to get an idea of just how important reading is at Brecknock.

Maths

In the daily Maths lesson, we place emphasis on learning key number skills and then applying them to solve problems. In the Early Years and into Key Stage One, pupils use hands-on resources regularly to support them in grasping number concepts, moving on to pencil and paper methods as soon as they are ready. Across the school, children spend a part of every lesson recalling number facts or solving calculations quickly in their heads.

In Years 3 – 6, there is an additional ‘I Can Do Maths’ session in which pupils tackle maths questions in order to consolidate and extend skills they have been learning throughout the year.

We believe that it is important for children to know key number patterns by heart. For example we expect children to learn their times tables and set aside time in school for them to practise and test their knowledge. Please click here to see a copy of the mathematics calculation policy.

Curriculum Topics

The wider curriculum is taught through a variety of topics that are designed to spark the curiosity of the children and engage them in finding out about people, places, ideas and their history and how all these have contributed to the way the world is now. We use the International Primary Curriculum as our base, and adapt it to ensure learning is maximised. For example, in Year 3, a topic about the Rainforests looks at products we use in our lives, plants and animals, peoples’ lives, the threat to the rainforest and the consequences that this could have on the world. In Year 6 we have introduced China as a topic to prepare our children for understanding the wider world and the way things are continually changing. Children develop knowledge and skills in Geography and Science, apply English skills such as debate, reading and writing, and respond to their learning in Art, Music and Dance. Other topics have History at the heart of them and in Key Stage 2 each year group studies a historical civilisation such as the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

Curriculum Events

The school curriculum is brought to life throughout the year through regular events that celebrate learning and provide opportunities for the school to join together. We hold a book week where children dress as characters, enjoy new books and take part in writing competitions, have visits from authors and other special events (click here for a link to a film from last years book week). During Maths week, children enjoy problem solving challenges , while in Science week they carry out a range of exciting experiments and investigations. We make time for the children to concentrate on art skills, with every class completing a large scale picture that is displayed prominently in the school.

Educational Visits

We seek every opportunity to enrich children’s learning through educational visits to places both near and further afield and children will usually go on a day trip every term. This might be to a museum, gallery or park with activities linked to the topic being studied in class.

We also invite visitors into school. This might be an author, philosopher, artist who shares their inspiration and expertise and works with the children for part of the day.

Science

Our topic-based curriculum ensures that children learn about a range of scientific processes as well as how Science plays a significant part in our lives. We also teach separate Science lessons so that there is year on year progression in all areas of the subject. We place an emphasis on investigation skills and the children carry out an investigation or experiment for every topic.

Computing

Computing is now an everyday tool in all our lives and we are committed to ensuring that children know how to use them in ways that are productive and safe. Not only do we have a computer suite, but also laptops and iPads that are used in class. Pupils use them both to support their learning and as a tool to create documents and multi-media. They also learn how to design and build simple web-sites. We follow the new national currciulum with programming embedded within it. Every year we hold our own ‘Brecknock Programming Week’ where every class is immersed in prorgamming activities as well as taking part in the ‘Hour of Code’ week.

Music

Music is at the heart of Brecknock life. We have a dedicated music teacher, Rod Arran, who provides many opportunities for all children to experience musical instruments and go on to become skilled players. All children from Year 2 upwards are taught to play the recorder and have an opportunity to play in an assembly . Pupils who show talent or a special interest form recorder groups who continue to play throughout the primary years. We are proud of the high standard that is reached by Year 5 and 6. There are many other instruments that pupils are invited to play, such as keyboards, drum kit Samba drums. Our music room also has ICT facilities for recording instruments, programming music and filming performances. So in Year 5, pupils filmed ‘Space Logs’ to camera and composed a soundtrack to go underneath. We are also pleased to welcome other schools to use our facilities, via our link with the City Learning Centre.

Religious Education

From Years 1-6, children learn about all major religions. We look at the religious practices and festivals and include children’s own experiences. We hold termly R.E. days so childrne have the opportunity to really drill down into different cultures and religions. We emphasise the right of all children to practise their religion in an atmosphere of mutual respect, in accordance with our position as a Rights Respecting School.

PSHCE

We follow the recommended Camden curriculum for personal, social health and citizenship education, but link it closely with our ethos as a rights respecting school. Children are given many opportunities to discuss and debate the complex issues around morality, how we are all affected by the behaviour and attitude of others as well as recognising what is right and wrong.

PE

Children have a weekly lesson with specialist Sports Coaches as well as PE sessions with their teachers. In Years 2-4, they go to swimming lessons at Kentish Town pool for one term per year.

We have a football team that plays in the Camden Primary league and take part in other sports events held in Camden. Every summer, we hold a school sports day on the athletics track at Hampstead Heath.

To see our current PE Premium funding for 2016-17 click here

To see our PE Premium top up funding for 2015-16 click here

To see our PE Premium top up funding for 2o14-15  click here.