The curriculum at Balsall Common Primary School Academy is rich, challenging and relevant. We aim to provide an exciting, stimulating and cohesive curriculum that motivates everyone and enables every learner to enjoy and achieve.
The curriculum at Balsall Common Primary School Academy is ambitious, rich, challenging and relevant to its pupils. It has been graded by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’ three times, and HMI included our curriculum in their review of outstanding schools in 2007. The curriculum has continued to be graded as ‘outstanding’ because we are relentless in our drive for continued improvement. We do not ‘sit on our laurels’ because we are an outstanding school. Our curriculum intent is designed to give all learners, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. We aim to provide an exciting and stimulating curriculum that is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment. Our mission is to motivate everyone and enable every learner to enjoy and achieve.
We place a large emphasis on the love of reading and reading for pleasure, as it is a skill that allows access to all areas of learning. Reading is taught through a systematic delivery of synthetic phonics using Read Write Inc. alongside Letters and Sounds. This is started as soon as the children enter Reception and during the spring term children are placed within learning groups of equal ability to ensure targeted lessons can take place to ensure children learn the skills of decoding words through segmenting sounds and blending. From Reception to Year 6, children take part in both guided and individual reading with the class teacher.
We ensure that our children are taught the fundamental and crucial skills of Reading, Writing, Maths and Science. We provide challenging and engaging activities that take account of prior learning to ensure depth and progression. The needs of all learners are taken into account. Where it naturally occurs, cross-curricular links are made in Maths, English and Science, as well as through the thematic teaching of other subjects. Computing, French Language, Swimming and Games are taught by specialist teachers in fortnightly sessions from Reception to Year 6; French is taught from Year 2 onwards. The school pool is also used by ‘the swim school’, tss, for private lessons, and is very popular with parents.
Our timetable plans for regular retrieval of weekly and previous learning to ensure that knowledge is remembered and that schemas are created to ensure children apply their knowledge in different contexts and become knowledgeable citizens.
All children in Year 1 to Year 6 receive weekly PE lessons in gym, games or dance, with children in Reception receiving fortnightly lessons alongside swimming. In addition, there are sports coaching sessions for children in KS2 who have been identified as particularly talented.
Our curriculum is knowledge rich and focuses on a thematic approach, where appropriate; each theme has either an entry or an exit ‘Inspiration Day’. The learning that takes place during these days delivers the opportunity for real life, hands-on experiences for the topic being studied. Experiences include undertaking an archaeological ‘dig’, dressing up and spending the day as Tudors, Victorians or Egyptians, visiting the Space Centre, tasting foods from around the world, or creating the Amazon rainforest in the classroom!
Throughout the school year, we have many trips and residential visits, which help to develop social skills and independence. These also provide an opportunity to extend the children’s knowledge and understanding in the various curriculum areas, such as links to History through visiting The Transport Museum in Year 1; a visit to The Midlands Safari Park to study habitats in Science for Year 4 and a trip to Brandon Marsh for Year 5 to support learning about rivers in Geography.
Year 6 take part in an Enterprise Week, which gives the children the opportunity to experience life in the working world. They encounter the experience of ‘pitching for investment to local business’ in order to set up a company. They then sell products in order to be the most successful entrepreneurs; all profits from the enterprise week are used to fund their end of year ‘Fun Day’.
We believe in the approach of ‘learning to learn’, espoused by Guy Claxton – Building Learning Power. Through the ethos of the school and our curriculum children are encouraged to develop learning capacities which will help them to become resilient, independent and confident, life-long learners and are equipped with the knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
We offer an extensive range of extra-curricular opportunities, including sporting activities, such as football, cricket, swimming, rugby, netball, rounders, athletics, cheer dance, and dance, including tap. We also offer choir, drama, IT, cookery, science, art, chess, gardening and homework.
We believe our curriculum contributes to the development of a pupil’s sense of identity through knowledge and understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural heritages of Britain’s diverse society and of the local, national, European, Commonwealth and global dimensions of their lives. Children’s knowledge and understanding of different faiths and cultures is explored during lessons and encourages a real tolerance of others. We provide learning opportunities that recognise and celebrate their uniqueness, develop their full potential, allow them to fulfil their aspirations both in and outside of school. As a result, children have a good appreciation of radicalisation and are being prepared to meet the challenges of living in modern Britain and of becoming successful citizens of the future.
At Balsall Common Primary Academy we use ‘Discovery RE’, which is an enquiry based, detailed scheme of work for teaching Religious Education and is in-line with Solihull MBC Agreed Syllabus. It is a very comprehensive resource which supports Ofsted and SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) outcomes, SMSC, British Values, Anti-radicalisation, Critical thinking and Growth Mindset, as well as Personal Development. It teaches the 6 principal religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.
Aim of the RE Curriculum
* Appreciate the distinctive nature of religion within human experience (including visits to places of worship each year) and develop a personal sense of meaning in life.
* Appreciate the way in which religious beliefs shape life and how these beliefs contribute to personal morality and social responsibility.
* Develop a knowledge and understanding of the other principal religions found in the United Kingdom and their associated ways of living.
* Have respect for all people and their right to hold, or not to hold, religious beliefs.
* Develop and articulate their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences, whilst respecting the right of others to differ.