At Birchwood our whole school curriculum is concerned with the holistic needs of all of our children. Birchwood is committed to teaching all of the National Curriculum and has developed a localised curriculum that is embedded in our curriculum plans. Our curriculum aims to develop key skills across a range of subjects to enable effective learning. Birchwood is a place where learning is fun and all children succeed.
Our curriculum is stimulating, challenging and enriching with the highest aspirations for achievement and progress. We enrich the National Curriculum subjects by teaching through cross curricular themes that are aimed to improve the children’s ability to; ask questions, investigate, interrogate information, present and argue whilst developing a range of skills and deep knowledge. Our Curriculum is designed to be flexible to the changing needs of our children and wider community. As such it is under a continuous cycle of review and evaluation. Our children contribute to curriculum design by informing us how they learn best and what they enjoy learning most.
The specific aims of our curriculum include: promoting the very highest standards in Literacy, Numeracy, Science and Computing; enabling children to acquire knowledge and key skills across the curriculum; promoting spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and in doing so ensuring high levels of involvement and wellbeing. We want to ensure children have the opportunities to participate in the arts, to grow an awareness of the humanities including R.E, to prepare our children for transition to secondary school and the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
At Birchwood our children experience a broad and balanced curriculum enabling them to grow and learn in an environment without prejudice or inequality. The curriculum aims to equip children for their futures in a rapidly changing world recognising the importance of technology, science and communication. We will help children develop a sense of identity, promoting fundamental shared values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We want our children to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show consideration and understand how they can contribute positively to society. Children will be given the opportunity to learn the benefits of physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles, by participating in personal, social and health education.
‘Rich Opportunities and Memorable Experiences’ will enable children to explore their talents and abilities through developing and appreciation of the arts, taking part in a wide range of physical activities, developing a sense of self in a supportive environment, experience music through performing, singing and playing instruments and by experiencing social, moral, spiritual and cultural education which broadens children’s awareness and understanding of the world and their place within it.
Reading is the gateway to accessing all areas of the wider curriculum. At Birchwood, we value the skill of language as essential to children’s future participation in society, and we have placed the reading National Curriculum and books at the heart of our own school curriculum, with our overall aim being inclusivity. We want all children to be confident, fluent readers who have developed a love of reading. It is vital that our children learn discrete reading skills in a progressive sequence and that we foster a love of reading through developing a positive reading culture at both home and school - reading for pleasure enhances levels of text comprehension, will increase knowledge of grammar, breadth of vocabulary and will ensure better general knowledge.
Our children are confident speakers, listeners, readers and writers and are given opportunities to use and practise these skills in every subject. As a result, our children read widely, are immersed in quality texts and experience a range of audiences, purposes, and forms. Our school curriculum has a two-dimensional focus on word reading and comprehension, which impacts positively on their ability to listen and read.
Phonics and Early Reading at Birchwood
Early reading in school follows a structured daily session of phonics using ‘Letters and Sounds’ and is supported with ‘Jolly Phonics’. ‘Phonics Tracker’ is used to record progress and identify children who require further support and challenge. Daily phonics reinforces previously learnt sounds and reading skills, whilst introducing new sounds, and all staff are highly expert in delivering and supporting early reading in school. At Birchwood, we ensure that all children in school complete phase 6 phonics, as achieving early fluency in decoding is a necessary first step in acquiring the key skill in reading.
Structured daily reading sessions across school focus on comprehension, covering all content domains and building on word reading strategies, developing segmenting and blending, and sight recognition of tricky words. Regular guided reading and whole class reading sessions helps to broaden children’s reading experience, giving them access to the language of books and literature, and helping them to form opinions about books and authors. We have designed our reading sessions so that they offer considerable flexibility as a vehicle for teaching reading comprehension and a love of reading.
Our school curriculum delivers Mathematics Mastery discretely and also by linking directly to thematic learning. This is delivered through morning activities, discrete/thematic lessons and maths meetings (consolidating previous skills and knowledge) – this is supported through mental arithmetic tasks as part of our weekly home learning.
The Mathematics Mastery programme is used to deliver our mastery approach in Reception, Key Stage One and Year 3. To ensure continuity and progression, Years 4 to 6 use the White Rose Hub Scheme of Learning, which is adapted to the needs of the class. Additional supportive resources, for example: Mathematics Mastery programme of study, NCETM and Maths No Problem are used to support the mastery approach to planning.