What is a ‘curriculum’
A curriculum is set guidelines that that have been established to help educators decide on the content of a of study – what children will learn. It is the curriculum that gives out the lesson objectives, the contents – skills and knowledge, and methods that will be used to teach. Therefore, it prescribes not only what should be taught or how it should be taught, but also why something should be taught.
Our school curriculum includes the ‘national curriculum’, as well as religious education. The national curriculum is a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools so children learn the same things. It covers what subjects are taught and the standards children should reach in each subject.
The ‘Brackenbury Curriculum’ details how we as a school implement and teach the subjects within the National Curriculum and the methods we use to meet the needs of the children at our school.
The intention of the curriculum at Brackenbury is to provide a broad, rich and varied education that develops children’s life experiences, interests and prepares them for the next stage of their education. Brackenbury pupils experience a unique curriculum that is underpinned by key knowledge and skills that impacts positively on their performance in all subject areas.
Using a range of teaching styles and experiences we aim to foster in the children a love of learning and a passion for enquiry. Our aim is to provide children with a safe, yet challenging, environment in which they can take risks and make mistakes as well as developing their resilience and ability to be self-reflective as they do so.
We put emphasis on the experiential nature of learning, the ‘hands-on’ approach where children can learn by doing. Our active and engaging lessons build on and strengthen children’s knowledge and understanding. We make use of the local area, both within the school grounds and beyond, to support the acquisition of skills and knowledge in a way that is meaningful for the children.
We celebrate achievement in all areas and aim to have happy children who enjoy coming to school. We encourage self-expression and creativity while promoting respect for each other within the diverse community we live in. This broad and balanced curriculum is customised to meet the local needs of our learners.
Teachers are provided with PPA (Planning, Preparation and Assessment time) to plan their curriculum for the whole term and on a weekly basis with their parallel teacher. As part of this planning process, teachers need to plan the following:
A cycle of lessons for each subject, which carefully plans for progression and depth;
Challenge questions for pupils to apply their learning to a range of contexts;
Ensure that lessons and learning are targeted at the correct level for the ability of all pupils; including those with SEND and the most-able;
Adapt future learning based on outcomes and assessments of completed work to ensure; that learning is reinforced and extended over the sequence of lessons;
Trips and visiting experts that will enhance the learning experience;
A curriculum information leaflet for parents and carers so learners can be supported at home.
The core subjects of Maths and English are taught daily and all other subjects are taught throughout the week. Our curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way and individual subjects are where possible linked to a topic or theme over a half term. We plan the curriculum to ensure that all children receive a broad range of lessons and subjects each week in every year group.
All subjects have a subject leader(s). These teachers champion their subject across the school and ensure that standards are met. They monitor the outcomes for children and work alongside their colleagues to further enhance and develop the provision offered in their subject. Time and training for subject leadership is allocated to all teachers each term.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes;
Review pupil response to the questions and learning provided;
Pupil discussions and conferences about their learning;
Book scrutinies of pupils’ learning across the school demonstrating the depth of understanding, progression and challenge;
The tracking of standards across the curriculum.
For further information on our curriculum design and the adaptions we have made to suit our pupils please click here.
At Brackenbury, we celebrate reading across all years and see it as one of the main foundations in a child’s learning. We believe that it helps children to understand the ever-changing world around them, as well as develop their social and emotional skills both at home and at school. In addition to this, we see that both fluency and enjoyment in reading are an integral part of a child’s academic progress, and therefore we teach daily guided reading sessions through quality texts to support this.
We put a high level of thought into the range of texts of texts our children read, both within guided reading sessions and as independent readers, as our school encourages the use of a wide range of exciting and interesting vocabulary to develop our children’s understanding and communication skills. Our well-stocked library is a place where all classes visit once a week, to share the books they have read with the rest of the class, hear stories read aloud to them and choose new books to take home and enjoy.
Children who are not yet ‘free readers’, will work through our school reading scheme – these are levelled books which match the children’s current attainment. We expect family at home to read these books with their child each evening and make comments in their child’s reading record for children in Key Stage 1. In Key Stage 2, we celebrate our reading in a different way, by recommending the books we read on a class reading tree. This is a daily routine that encourages children to evaluate the books they read, and read a wider range of texts recommended by their peers.
Children are read to each day by their class teacher, so that every child can feel part of a community of reading. By the time children leave Brackenbury, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, are motivated to read a range of genres including poetry and participate in discussions about books including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader.
Phonics / Reading schemes
Phonics is taught daily throughout Reception and Year 1 to develop phonological awareness, early reading and speaking and listening skills. We have incorporated materials from the ‘Read, Write, Inc’ scheme in line with the government’s ‘Letters and Sounds’ guidance to provide high quality teaching of these skills. A wide range of materials are used throughout the school to develop a love of reading and children are encouraged to read a range of genres.
Reading at home
Please find some useful documents for you to use in order to deepen your child’s understanding of the texts they read, and develop their reading further.
At Brackenbury we strive to create a love for reading and writing. Each English unit of work that we do is anchored by a text chosen to inspire the children and provide an excellent stimulus for their own writing, be it Julia Donaldson stories in Key Stage 1 or Shakespeare in Upper Key Stage 2, as well as utilising a range of non-fiction texts. This ensures that children develop their skills through a whole range of different text types and are exposed to many different examples of writing. New and ambitious vocabulary is introduced regularly, both to children new to English and to those who already have an excellent vocabulary, to challenge and inspire.
We want every child to leave Brackenbury with the skills of an excellent writer who:
- Has the ability to write with fluency, thinking about the impact their writing will have on the reader
- Has an extensive, sophisticated vocabulary which they use to add and extend details and description.
- Is able to use organisational devices to structure their work within a range of text types.
- Can use a variety of sentence structures, varying the ways that they start and extend their sentences.
- Has an understanding of grammar terminology and is able to apply this to their own writing.
- Ensures that their writing in well presented, punctuated, spelled correctly and neat.
- Re-reads, edits and improves their writing so every piece of work they produce is to the best of their ability.
- Has a passion for writing.
At Brackenbury, children apply the skills they have acquired in English to writing in all subjects across the curriculum. We aim to foster a love for writing and celebrate examples of this through special displays and naming a ‘Writer of the Week’.
If you would like to know more, please visit National Curriculum for English
At Brackenbury Primary School, our aim is to deepen and strengthen children’s understanding of maths and not just accelerate learning. As a result of this, the children are able to develop fluency before moving onto reasoning and problem solving. The teaching is richly supported by the use of pictorial and concrete resources, before moving to the abstract. All progress that our pupils make in maths is valuable, and therefore offering opportunities for all pupils to deliberately practise their fluency is vitally important and this is a key feature of our lessons.
During their time at Brackenbury, our pupils will learn the following essential skills of mathematics:
An understanding of the important concepts and an ability to make connections within mathematics;
A broad range of skills in using and applying mathematics;
Fluent knowledge and recall of number facts and the number system;
The ability to show initiative in solving problems in a wide range of contexts, including the new or unusual;
The ability to think independently and to persevere when faced with challenges;
To embrace the value of learning from mistakes and false starts;
A wide range of mathematical vocabulary;
A commitment to and enthusiasm in the subject.
Each year group will study a variety of mathematical topics throughout the year such as:
- Addition and subtraction
- Multiplication and division
- Properties of shape
- Position, direction and movement
Once children have a grasp of the concepts within a topic, children will have opportunities to apply their learning to reasoning and problem solving questions and activities. By celebrating learning and through engaging challenges, and weekly awards, we inspire our pupils to increase their fluency in maths and to become increasingly sophisticated problem solvers, both in maths and across the curriculum.
Art gives children at Brackenbury the opportunity to be creative and develop their skills using a range of medium and materials. Children learn the skills of drawing, painting, printing, collage, textiles, 3D work and digital art. They are given the freedom to explore and evaluate different creative ideas.
The skills taught in art lessons are also applied to other subjects, allowing children to reflect on and explore topics in greater depth. Examples of this can be seen across the school, from using pastels to draw a setting to help create a bank of descriptive language of a magical scene in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in English to painting propaganda posters to gain deeper understanding of World War Two in history. Additionally, many areas of art link with mathematical concepts in shape and space, for example: repeating patterns and using 3D shapes to support structures.
At Brackenbury, we take inspiration from a range of classical and modern artists as well as from each other in class. Time is given to discuss techniques used by others so that we can apply them for our own artwork.
In art, children are expected to be reflective and evaluate their learning, thinking about how they can make changes constructively and always building upon the marks they are making to create greater depth. Children are encouraged to take risks and experiment and then reflect on why some ideas and techniques might be more successful than others.
At Brackenbury, we believe that History is a journey that inspires children to know not only facts and dates of the past but become detectives through practical activities which allows them to explore the past in an exciting way. Children are encouraged to investigate and interpret the past, understand chronology, and build an overview of the history of Britain as well as that of the wider world. We help children to understand how people have lived in this past and compare this to modern life and their own experiences. The handling of real artefacts, workshops and visits to historical places, provides children with the opportunity for exploring history in a unique way.
We enable children to communicate historically whilst building a love and curiosity through thinking and acting as historians. Children benefit from learning through a wide range of high-quality activities where they engage in debates, discussions and research. This enquiry-based approach allows children to formulate historical questions about the past by examining, organising and explaining events that have happened in a creative way. This particularly allows them to think critically about how and why history is viewed.
At Brackenbury, our Geography curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils develop contextual knowledge of the location of significant places, including physical and human characteristics and understand the human and physical features of the world and change over time.
Geography enables children to develop an understanding of the world around them. As a subject, it lends itself to other curriculum areas. We ensure that our geography lessons are linked to the overall topics. For example, in Year 6 volcanos and earthquakes are taught in line with their topic ‘Dangerous Disasters.’
In EYFS, geography is covered through Knowledge and Understanding the World. Finding out about the world around them is what children do effectively through hands on experiences. This is delivered through continuous provision daily.
In Key Stage 1 and 2 units are planned and delivered every term and are based on the National Curriculum Programme of Study.
We also aim to make sure that all children are competent in the following geographical skills:
- Collecting, analysing and communicating data
- Interpret and use a range of geographical resources
- Communicating information in a variety of ways
Alongside our rich curriculum, children are given the chance to develop their geographical skills and take part in experiential learning through assemblies, trips (e.g. Natural History Museum) and workshops throughout the year.
At Brackenbury we believe that developing familiarity and confidence with technology is essential to enable our learners to succeed in a world where the pace of technological advancement continues to increase rapidly. In order to do this, the concept of ‘Computational thinking’ is at the core of our computing curriculum. Children are taught the key skills of:
decomposition: breaking down a problem into manageable parts;
pattern recognition: looking for similarities;
abstraction: focusing on the important information only;
algorithms: developing a step-by-step solution to the problem.
These skills are taught using a wide variety of methods, including robots, iPads and different coding languages.
We teach a curriculum that enables children to become effective users of technology who can:
- Understand and apply the essential principles and concepts of Computer Science, Digital Literacy and Information Technology.
- Have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve problems in a wide variety of contexts.
- Gather and critically evaluate information using technology to further their understanding.
- Communicate and synthesise ideas effectively through a cross-curricular approach to information technology.
At Brackenbury, keeping children safe online is part of our commitment to their health and well-being. We have an Internet Policy that provides guidance for teachers and children about how to use the internet safely. Online safety forms a key component of our computing curriculum in every year group and children are made aware of the responsibility they have to be good online citizens.
At Brackenbury we believe that Science generates curiosity and excitement about the world and above all respect for the environment and all living things.
Science teaching is best when children are engaged in discovering Science reasoning, have their curiosity and enjoyment sparked through exploration and are beginning to use Scientific vocabulary in new situations. It is important to us that Lessons are not just confined to the classroom but taken outside (the playground) and offsite (the park or museums).
Children at Brackenbury apply Scientific research skills to discover and identify patterns so that they can use evidence to provide solutions to answers. As children progress, they begin to make links to the broader curriculum and their own life experiences as well as developing how to lead their own learning. They do this by carrying out and planning investigations to help provide an answer to their own question.
We have been working with the Ogden Trust partnership which is a collaboration between the Trust and a number of different schools within the borough. The trust has provided us with resources linked to different physics topics and professional development for staff members to enhance their teaching of Physics within the Science Primary curriculum.
By linking DT to our half-termly topics, each class takes part in a creative and imaginative design and technology curriculum. In three projects across the course of the school year, each child has the chance to discover and develop their technical, practical and creative skills, whilst solving problems and creating models linked to their cross-curricular topic. Year-on-year, the children follow the same structure of investigating, designing, making and evaluating. During this process, they are able to build on their skills from the previous year through a range of projects, learning to build and develop functional structures using a variety of materials and tools.
Throughout their time at Brackenbury, children explore many techniques such as constructing, stitching, cooking, all the while linking into other subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Computing and Art. This cross-curricular approach allows children to both apply their knowledge and understanding of DT to other school subjects, but also provides an excellent base for further life as they are learning key skills such as the importance of healthy eating, the basics of engineering and problem solving.
We believe that it is vital for all our pupils to learn from and about religion, so that they can understand the world around them. Through religious education, pupils develop their knowledge of the world faiths, and their understanding and awareness of the beliefs, values and traditions of other individuals, societies, communities and cultures as well as tolerance and respect for each other. We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences.
We use the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham’s Religious Education Agreed Syllabus (AS) which has been modified and adapted for use in H&F schools.
Hammersmith and Fulham is an increasingly diverse Borough. The Agreed Syllabus was written by experts who brought together representatives of the major world faiths and humanism to adopt a syllabus to be used as a basis for teaching children and young people of all ages and abilities.
For further information please visit the RE Syllabus
PSHCE underpins areas across the curriculum and many extra-curricular activities and opportunities here at Brackenbury Primary School.
Our PHSCE curriculum has been shaped by the PSHCE Association’s programme of study and focuses on three central themes:
- Living in the wider world
- Health and wellbeing
In Key Stages 1 and 2, PSHCE lessons and Circle Time sessions are delivered on a biweekly basis and in our Early Years Foundation Stage, the personal, social and emotional development of pupils is a daily focus. All children also have the opportunity to engage with a number of extra-curricular opportunities that focus on PSHCE including special assemblies, workshops, School Council, and more.
Additionally, our school engages with a number of awards including the Healthy Schools Award, TfL’s STARS accreditation travel scheme and the Rights Respecting Schools Award. These help to develop our pupils’ understanding of themselves and their community, strengthens their relationships with peers and increases their participation and voice.
Physical Education (PE) at Brackenbury Primary School is a valued and integral part of the school curriculum. Vital skills such as communication and team work are significantly enhanced through positive and successful participation in PE. Every child should feel that PE is a chance for them to shine in a non-academic subject, but with no lesser value placed upon their success. PE also serves as a vital tool in developing children’s language skills, as children are able to link vocabulary to movements and actions.
All children have the opportunity to experience a wide range of sporting experiences at Brackenbury, in both a competitive and fun way, either in school or at after school clubs. Provision is made so that all children are able to participate actively in PE and at a level that is appropriate to their ability. PE is taught in a progressive and developmental way, building on prior knowledge and skills in order to provide a positive learning experience.
The school makes use of the Sports Premium funding to train staff and develop the provision for PE. Further details of what we use this funding for can be found on the Sport Premium page of our website.
The aims of our PE curriculum are to develop pupils who:
- Are willing to practise skills in a range of different activities and situations, alone, in small groups and in teams, and to apply these skills in chosen activities to achieve exceptionally high levels of performance;
- Have and maintain high levels physical fitness;
- Lead a healthy lifestyle which is achieved by eating sensibly and exercising regularly;
- Are able to remain physically active for sustained periods of time and have an understanding of the importance of this in promoting long-term health and well-being;
- Take the initiative and become excellent young leaders, organising and officiating, and evaluating what needs to be done to improve, and motivating and instilling excellent sporting attitudes in others;
- Employ imagination and creativity in their techniques, tactics and choreography;
- Are able to improve their own and others’ performance;
- Can work independently for extended periods of time without the need for guidance or support;
- Have a keen interest in PE – a willingness to participate eagerly in every lesson, highly positive attitudes and the ability to make informed choices about engaging fully in extracurricular sport;
- Can swim at least 25 metres before the end of Year 6 and know how to remain safe in and around water.
“Music has a power of forming the character and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young.” Aristotle
Music is an essential part of the life at Brackenbury. Singing is the core of our musical learning and it provides the means to express, create, convey and inspire our children. We develop the value of teamwork as well as the pupil’s own increasing responsibility for their own good musical outcomes. Our pupils are confident and enthusiastic performers who seize every opportunity they are given and thrive with it.
Our vision is to enable children from all backgrounds to have the opportunity to access music education, to make music with others, to learn to sing and to have the opportunity to progress within music and develop their creative talents. We believe the value of music as a subject resides in its contribution to enjoyment, self-esteem, self-confidence and enrichment for those who engage in music seriously as well as for fun. High quality music education enables lifelong participation in music, as well as underpinning excellence and professionalism for those who choose not to pursue a career in music.
Music teaching at Brackenbury starts in the Early Years (Reception) and extends across all 6 primary years. It is led by a specialist teacher and musician (specialised in Singing and Choral Singing). Instrumental tuition is available and is provided by teachers from Pelican Music.
At Brackenbury, we celebrate our musical talents in many ways and occasions. Examples of these are our annual Christmas concert, our Arts Week performance – ‘Proms in the Playground’ (Summer term), our class assemblies, Year 6 leavers’ show (always a fun musical!), and several occasions throughout the year for instrumental players to showcase their progress in front of an audience. We also have a choir who rehearse weekly and are given chances to perform each term. We sing in class as part of our lessons as well as in our weekly singing assemblies.
We offer a curriculum which focuses on the following:
- To develop singing, improvisation and composing skills by learning and writing songs and using tuned and un-tuned percussion instruments as accompaniment as well as our Charanga tool.
- To listen to and appraise a wide range of high quality recordings from different backgrounds, traditions, genres and periods. To understand how this contributes to the diversity of musical styles.
- The ability to express opinions and give verbal and written explanations using musical terminology accurately and appropriately.
- The opportunity to put ideas into action, take risks, “have a go” and to perform in front of others, individually, in groups or as a whole class.
- An understanding that music learning takes time and practise. To be patient with one’s own learning and take small steps at a time in order to master our instrumental and vocal skills.
For a greater understanding of our vision and how Music education can have a significant impact on children, we recommend this video
Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. At Brackenbury we aim to help pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in French and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. We provide opportunities for the children to communicate for practical purposes, to learn new ways of thinking and read literature in the original language. We hope to foster an interest in learning languages which will continue into Secondary School and beyond.
Children in Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) have a dedicated weekly French session, where lessons are delivered by a specialist teacher.
KS1: Lessons consist of 20-30 minutes oral French once a week. Lessons are practical and include songs, games and the use of puppets. The topics covered are: greetings, numbers, colours, classroom objects, animals, food. The scheme of work has been written by the Modern Foreign Language (MFL) teacher.
KS2: Lessons consist of 45-60 minutes once a week. A mixture of oral, written, listening and reading skills are used. Lessons are a combination of practical and written activities. They consist of the MFL teacher’s planning, supported by the Rigolo KS2 schemes of work and resources. The children have a French exercise book and vocabulary book which they will carry with them up through the Key Stage.
Here at Brackenbury, we acknowledge the statement that “Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.” (DfE 2012)
We believe it is essential to create an environment of emotional warmth, with consistent praise and encouragement, so that each child feels individually valued, motivated and confident to meet new challenges and reach our high expectations with a sense of achievement.
We use Development Matters guidance in the EYFS as we want all of our children to be successful learners, to be confident individuals and to become responsible citizens.
To promote the social, emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual development of each child.
To provide a stimulating and safe environment for learning where children can engage in first hand experiences.
To support and extend children’s learning through purposeful observation, evaluation and interaction.
We believe these overarching principles shape practice and aim at improving outcomes. They reflect that it is every child’s right to grow up safe, healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution.
We greatly value the important role that the Early Years Foundation Stage plays in laying secure foundations for future learning and development. Play underpins the delivery of the EYFS Curriculum. We use the document “Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage” to inform planning in the Nursery and Reception classes. Our curriculum for the EYFS reflects the areas of learning identified in the Early Learning Goals from the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Handbook (Standards and Testing Agency, 2014). Our pupils’ learning experiences enable them to develop competency and skill across all the learning areas. As well as the Early Learning Goals, we support the Characteristics of Effective Learning – Playing and Exploring, Active Learning, Creating and Thinking Critically – which enable the child to be an effective and motivated learner. We aim to create an attractive, welcoming and stimulating learning environment that encourages children to explore, investigate and learn through first-hand experiences. Activities are planned for both inside and outside learning and continuous provision in the EYFS includes water, tactile, sand and creative areas, ICT, math area, drawing, mark making, writing areas, reading, and role-play areas.
For more information please visit EYFS curriculum
Each term our Subject Leaders provide an update on developments within their Subjects. These can be downloaded here.