Curriculum statements of intent

Balgowan Primary School
Curriculum Intent Statement

Balgowan’s values-based curriculum has the statutory requirements of the national curriculum at its core and it is then further enhanced.
Our main focus is on developing the whole child as we strongly believe that our curriculum should extend beyond the academic, technical and vocational. It has been designed to develop character including resilience, confidence and independence, as well as allowing children to become creative, critical thinkers with a positive outlook.
Our curriculum introduces the children to the best that has been thought and said, helping them to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.
It has been designed with clear purpose and intent to prepare students for life in modern Britain by teaching them to be responsible, respectful, active citizens who are tolerant of all and who contribute positively to their community and society as a whole.

Every child is recognised as a unique individual and we celebrate and welcome differences. Teaching is engaging and accessible to all.
By building on children’s existing interests, knowledge and skills, our curriculum enables pupils to know more and to be able to do more, year on year. Learning is underpinned by the teaching of knowledge, key vocabulary, concepts and by transferable skills and values. Balgowan children progress by understanding how we can build on their previous knowledge and skills to take on the challenges presented by future lessons. Work produced across the curriculum is of a consistently high standard.
We provide enrichment opportunities to engage learning and firmly believe that childhood should be a happy and investigative time of life where there are no limits to curiosity and a real thirst for new experiences and knowledge exists.
We use the characters and their pets from the Balgowan ship of values to promote the characteristics of good learning, the Balgowan values and positive attitudes.
We provide children with relevant and purposeful first hand learning opportunities as experience has shown that this leads to the most effective and memorable learning taking place.
Every child will be safe, happy, stimulated and content. A love of reading will be nurtured and children will be encouraged to reason, to tackle challenges, to persevere and to not be afraid of taking risks or of making mistakes.
Children leave our school with a love of learning. They are academically, socially, morally, spiritually and culturally prepared and are able to demonstrate the skills and attitudes required to contribute positively to life in modern Britain and the wider world beyond.

          View more about the different subjects we teach at Balgowan Primary:

English Curriculum Overview
Our aim is that all children:

  • are excited and motivated to read, write and express themselves;
  • are provided with a rich, experimental and imaginative curriculum;
  • are exposed to a wide-variety of high-quality literature;
  • build and internalise a bank of stories that support them in developing their imagination, vocabulary, writing techniques and confidence;
  • are taught phonics, spelling and grammar through a creative approach that is contextualised within the art of writing;
  • are exposed to high-quality shared and guided reading and writing, modelling the skills and techniques of being a confident reader and writer;
  • receive informative and motivational feedback in order to move them on developmentally, as well as motivationally as readers and writers.

At Balgowan, our aim is that all children love English and are excited to read, write and express themselves. In order to achieve this, we follow Talk for Writing (TFW) as a whole school, cumulative and systematic process for the teaching of English. Since implementing TFW, children have progressed, gaining confidence as well as pleasure in becoming readers and writers.

Talk for Writing fundamentally teaches children how to be writers – not just how to write. It supports children to be able to generate ideas, draw upon their reading and write confidently for a variety of audiences and purposes.  The methodology follows a three-tier pattern: Imitation, Innovation and Independent Application.  During the imitation stage, children get to know a text really well by orally learning it, exploring it through drama and then reading it for vocabulary, comprehension and writerly tools.  The Innovation stage is grounded in the processes of shared writing, with a strong and systematic focus on securing the basics of handwriting, phonics/spelling and grammar in relation to what is needed for the text type being taught. The final stage, Independent Application, promotes children to draft, edit and publish their own independent versions.

At the heart of Talk for Writing is the principle that schools should increase the amount children read and are read to.  Balgowan is establishing a very strong ‘literature spine’ which identifies key stories, picture books, poems and non-fiction which will be read and drawn upon and referred to when teaching writing.

Mathematics Curriculum Overview
The Balgowan Maths curriculum is cumulative – each school year begins with a focus on the concepts and skills that have the most connections, and this concept is then applied and connected throughout the school year to consolidate learning. This gives pupils the opportunity to master maths: by using previous learning throughout the school year, children are able to develop mathematical fluency and conceptual understanding.

Our curriculum is designed to make sure that the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum for England are fully met. Each year’s curriculum includes all of the National Curriculum objectives for that year, plus a small number from the year above – usually from “number” – where we feel these will help pupils make connections with their learning. The exception to this is in year 6, where we focus on deepening learning from across a child’s school life and contextualising concepts through problem solving and drawing further, and more concrete, links from previous learning.

For Maths at Balgowan, we believe in a ‘growth mindset’ – this is the belief that intelligence and ability can be developed over time through effort, dedication and hard work. Children tend to persevere with tasks and enjoy challenges due to the belief that effort needs to be expended to learn. People with a growth mindset believe they can be successful if they apply effort and hard work, and are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks resulting in more resilient children with an inner drive to succeed.

We believe it is essential for pupils to develop mathematical thinking in and out of the classroom in order to fully master mathematical concepts. We want children to think like mathematicians and be enthusiastic problem solvers, not just DO the maths.

We believe that all pupils should:
Explore, wonder, question and conjecture

  • Compare, classify, sort
  • Experiment, play with possibilities, vary an aspect and see what happens
  • Make theories and predictions and act purposefully to see what happens, generalising their findings

It is important that we support all pupils in developing their mathematical thinking, both in order to improve the way in which they learn, as well as the learning itself. Good questioning is used to develop pupils’ ability to compare, modify and generalise – all building a deeper understanding of mathematics.

Ultimately, we want children to leave Balgowan with a positive attitude towards mathematics: children who have the inner drive to work both independently and as part of a group; persevere through challenging questions and problems; as well as demonstrating an open-minded attitude towards new challenges and concepts. We believe the skills and attitude we aspire towards are both vital to our pupils’ ongoing success and development in mathematics.

History Curriculum Overview

Our aim is that all children:

  • know and understand the history of Britain, how people’s lives have shaped it and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world;
  • know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world;
  • understand historical concepts, such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance;
  • understand the methods of historical enquiry and decide on the validity of a range of sources;
  • gain historical perspective by looking at historical events from a variety of points of view.

At Balgowan, we aim to provide a quality and, most importantly, enthralling history education that will help children gain knowledge and understanding of both Britain’s past and that of the wider world.  We believe that children should be inspired to learn from the events of the past. Our history curriculum gives children the opportunity to question the mistakes that have come before them, as well as reflecting on the numerous successes, allowing them to think critically and develop their own opinions and judgements.

History gives pupils an insight into people’s lives, changes in society and relationships between people, which should not only capture their imagination, but will also help form them into well-rounded people with a breadth of interests. Crucially, history should be fun and engaging by allowing children to experience elements of the topics they study through practical lessons, history-themed days, school trips and independent research.

Geography Curriculum Overview
Our aim is that all children:

  • have a contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – terrestrial and marine – and their related geographical characteristics and processes;
  • can understand the Earth’s key physical and human processes;
  • can collect, analyse and communicate data gathered from fieldwork;
  • are able to interpret geographical sources, such as maps, diagrams, globes, photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS);
  • can effectively communicate through images, maps, data and written formats.

At Balgowan, we believe that all children should be inspired to have a real sense of curiosity and fascination to find out about the world around them and the people within it. Our geography curriculum equips the children with knowledge and understanding about diverse places, people, resources and environments.

Geography at Balgowan is taught through discrete lessons.  We widen and enrich the geography curriculum with overseas school partnerships (MFL link) and educational fieldwork opportunities both locally and further afield.

Science Curriculum Overview
Our aim is that all children:

  • engage in a high-quality science education that provides the foundation for their understanding of the world;
  • are equipped with the skills for lifelong learning;
  • are developed in curiosity, enjoyment, scientific skills and a growing understanding of science knowledge, through an approach in which pupils raise questions and investigate the world in which they live;
  • apply their own knowledge across a wide and varied curriculum;
  • are confident in the investigational skills required to explore the wider world.

At Balgowan, children build up a body of key foundational knowledge, concepts and skills, with a particular focus on the teaching of practical science.  We aim to foster a sense of excitement and curiosity for the world around them, encouraging children to explore, question, predict, investigate, research and draw their own conclusions.

Our aim is to provide the foundation stones for the science capital required for children to make a successful transition to secondary school and beyond into the wider world. We support this by adding a rich variety of experiences within lessons, as well as through the use of outdoor learning space, extra-curricular activities and visits from respected scientific institutions.  We also encourage links to be made at home to support and embed the concepts learnt in school through the setting of varied homework tasks and experiences.

Within each Key Stage, we study the following topics:

  • Biology:Plants; Animals (inc. Humans); Living Things and their Habitats; Evolution & Inheritance
  • Physics:Everyday Materials & their Properties; Electricity; Light; Forces (inc. Magnetism & Sound);
  • Chemistry:States of Matter; Changes of State
  • Earth Science:Rocks, Seasonal changes; Earth & Space

In addition, working scientifically and researching the work of inspirational scientists, both past and present, is woven into the curriculum at all stages.

Art Curriculum Overview
Our aim is that all children:

*are inspired to develop curiosity, interest and enjoyment in the Arts;

*become familiar with the knowledge, principles, skills, techniques and vocabulary related to the Arts subjects;

*are exposed to a wide range of creative experiences and resources;

*work independently and as part of a team in varied activities so that the Arts also contribute to the development of core skills such as ICT, reading, writing, speaking and mathematics;

*have equal access to the Arts, irrespective of their gender, ethnic origin, academic attainment etc.;

*are aware of the implications of the Arts (past and present) for the individual, local, national and international communities;

*develop informal opinions and are able to support these through reasonable arguments, free from prejudicial intolerance;

*foster and encourage a lasting enjoyment and appreciation of the Arts from a variety of cultures and traditions.

Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity.  At Balgowan, we aim to give children an understanding of how it has shaped our history and contributed to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.  We recognise that every child has untapped creativity and it is our responsibility to nurture, encourage and inspire them at this critical early age, so that they can grow up to be rounded individuals and contribute in all walks of society.

We provide a high-quality art and design education that meets the guidelines of the national curriculum.  Our lessons inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, develop a capacity for critical thinking and problem solving.  Six skills areas are monitored for progression as children move upwards through the school: drawing, colour, texture/collage, form (3D and 2D), printing and pattern.  Alongside this, children will and learn from ‘The Great Masters’ exploring a wide range of their styles and approaches.

Design and Technology Curriculum Overview
Our aim is that all children:
*draw upon their innate creativity and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts;
*consider their own and others’ needs, wants and values in terms of design and manufacture;
*build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users;
*acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art;
*develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world;
*understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.

At Balgowan, we recognise how important design and technology (DT) is in helping children learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens.  We want children to understand how DT makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of our nation.

We provide an excellent, high-quality design education that explores skills in research, design, making, evaluating, and developing technical knowledge and skills. In addition, cooking and nutrition (food technology) forms part of our curriculum.  Our lessons aim to be inspiring, rigorous and practical, with children getting real, hands-on experience in areas such as woodwork and cutting tools, or 3D design in a variety of materials.

Computing Curriculum Overview
Our aim is that all children:

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation;
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems;
  • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically in order to be able to solve problems;
  • become responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

 

Our aim at Balgowan is to equip the children with the computing skills and creative flair required to access the world we live in today. We are strong believers that, whilst pupils become digitally literate, they are also able to use and express themselves through information and communication technology.  As a result, computing infiltrates all elements of our curriculum, providing the children with the opportunity to explore, observe and solve specific problems, whilst making thrilling and interesting discoveries.

Additionally, due to ever changing technology, computing resources are carefully factored into all areas of the curriculum, enabling the children to identify the tools that help promote and develop skills, as well as supporting and encouraging them to engage with their imagination and their learning.

 

Religious Education Curriculum Overview
Our aim is that all children:

  • understand and reflect upon the religious and spiritual beliefs, practices, insights and experiences that are expressed in humanity’s search for meaning in life;
  • explore and express their own responses and personal beliefs, shaping their behaviour.

At Balgowan Religious Education promotes pupils’ understanding of the multicultural and multi-faith society that we live in today by enabling them to explore issues of belief and issues between faiths. Having learned about different faiths and beliefs, pupils are then encouraged to understand how we can interact with each other and explore inter-faith issues of contemporary society.

RE at Balgowan is taught in such a way that it reflects the schools aims and values. It plays an important role, along with other curriculum areas, particularly PSHE, in promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children.

Religious Education allows children and young people to help build their identity but also to understand their culture and the cultures of others, and how they relate. This can not only help breed tolerance, but also support them in building the moral framework that is so important in guiding young people as they grow and develop into active and effective members of our community.

We follow the Bromley Agreed Syllabus, produced by Bromley SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education). All agreed syllabuses must reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the teaching and practises of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain.  The areas of study through which children learn are authority and worship; sacred and inspirational writings; and lifestyle and celebrations.

Our lessons are engaging, with pupils being given opportunities to explore religion and beliefs through symbols, artefacts, art, drama and music.
In Early Years and KS1, pupils are given an introduction to four of the six main faiths: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.
In KS2, each year group studies a non-Christian faith in more detail and makes comparisons with Christianity.Throughout their time at Balgowan, pupils are also given the opportunity to visit a Mosque, Baptist Church, Gurdwara and a Synagogue.

Physical Education Curriculum Overview

Our aim is that all children:

  • develop and explore physical skills with increasing control and coordination, allowing them to become competent and confident to excel in a broad range of physical activities,
  • know the importance of leading healthy, active lives and understand the positive impact that physical education has upon health,
  • are physically active for sustained periods of time and can recognise changes that occur within their bodies when they are physically active,
  • develop their enjoyment of physical activity through creativity and imagination and work and play with others in a range of group situations (KS1),
  • engage in a wide variety of competitive sports and activities and are offered opportunities to compete in both intra-school and inter-school sporting events (KS2).

At Balgowan, our Physical Education curriculum inspires all children to succeed in competitive sports and other physically-demanding activities. We believe that developing children’s physical competence and confidence is key. At the beginning of their school life children learn and explore basic movement skills. They develop these skills throughout their time at Balgowan and leave as confident movers able to play and excel in a wide range of sports. Our Physical Education curriculum has been carefully planned to build upon previous learning from year-to-year. It allows pupils to gain an understanding of how to succeed in a wide variety of different activities and sports, as well as learning how to recognise and evaluate their own success and the successes of others.

Physical Education provides opportunities for children to be creative, competitive and cooperative; facing up to different challenges in every lesson as either part of a team or an individual. Opportunities to compete in sport and other physical activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect. Alongside this, children reap the mental benefits of exercise; reduced stress and improved concentration. Exercise and physical activity have a positive influence on children’s attainment in school and children are aware of the importance that physical activity holds both for their physical and mental wellbeing.

PHSE Curriculum Overview
Our aim is that all children:

  • know and understand what constitutes a healthy lifestyle;
  • are aware of issues surrounding their own safety;
  • understand the characteristics of positive relationships with others;
  • have respect for others;
  • be independent and responsible members of the school and wider community;
  • be positive and active members of a democratic society;
  • develop self-confidence and self-esteem, and make informed choices regarding personal and social issues, building self-efficacy.

Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) at Balgowan aims to equip children with the knowledge and skills needed to keep themselves healthy and safe, build healthy relationships, reach their full potential and become lifelong learners that contribute successfully to society. We fully understand that the knowledge and skills taught in PSHE are key to ensuring children are happy and effective learners. The aim of PSHE at Balgowan is to deliver a meaningful and relevant curriculum which is accessible to all, maximising the outcomes for every child.

Our teaching consists of three core themes that are taught through age-appropriate activities and discussions. These are: Relationships, Living in the wider world and Health & Wellbeing. PSHE is taught through discrete lessons, as well as part of cross-curricular activities. In addition, PSHE is reinforced through daily life at Balgowan. We provide pupils with rich learning experiences, educational and residential visits, forest school, values based assemblies, extra-curricular clubs and various enrichment opportunities.

Languages Curriculum Overview
Our aim is that all children:

  • Are enthusiastic about learning languages, valuing the acquisition of a new language as an important skill that brings people together and allows communication with new friends
  • Are curious about new languages and the countries that they come from, exploring countries and their cultures, making links between language and other areas of the curriculum, and sharing their own knowledge of home languages
  • Have a positive attitude towards language lessons and language learning, knowing that they are in a respectful environment where they are safe to ‘have a go’ and make mistakes, and knowing that these are crucial steps of early language acquisition
  • Begin to learn French phonics and use knowledge of phonics to discuss and make educated guesses about the pronunciations and meanings of new words
  • Are able to use French in a meaningful way, answering questions and conversing with both teachers and children during language lessons and throughout the school week
  • Make progress in the four key areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing
  • Are able to make links between language learning and other areas of the curriculum, be that spotting cognates, identifying similarities and differences between grammar rules, understanding how historical events in England and France fit into the same timeline or learning about festivals and religions of French speaking countries

At Balgowan, children in Key Stage 2 learn French in a fun and engaging way. Children take part in a variety of games and activities that introduce them to new vocabulary and encourage them to make links between new and existing knowledge. Children learn grammar rules and make meaningful use of vocabulary they have learned by asking and answering questions, leading up to short conversations between pupils in Years 5 and 6. Children are also taught about French-speaking countries around the world and important historical and cultural dates in France, ensuring that they have an appreciation of where the language has originated and developed and how they can use their new language skills in real world settings and situations.

The curriculum is based on a combination of Language Angels’ resources and teachers’ own planning, therefore ensuring that all children have access to correct pronunciations by a native French speaker and that lessons are planned by teachers that personally know each individual child, their previous experiences and their unique skills. Lessons are also supported by a variety of resources including French songs and stories, and teachers are able to revisit French learning throughout the week, giving children further opportunities to consolidate learning and allowing children to make links between French and other areas of the curriculum.

In Year 6, children also have the opportunity to become a Language Leader and teach a home language to Year 2 pupils, giving them the opportunity to put the language learning skills they have learned during their time at Balgowan into practice in a teaching role. This gives older pupils the opportunity to show pride in their language and culture, and sparks curiosity and a love of languages in younger pupils, fostering a positive attitude towards language learning from an early age.

Music Curriculum Overview

Our aim is that all children:

  • are inspired to develop a love of music and to develop their innate talents as musicians, engaging with music and seeing themselves as musicians in their own right.
  • learn how to sing and how to play musical instruments in solo and ensemble contexts, especially the recorder in Year 3 and steel pans in Year 5. Peripatetic teachers from BYMT also offer an extensive range of instrumental lessons.
  • perform to an audience at least twice a year, including year group concerts and shows, Christmas performances, music assemblies and concerts to the wider community such as to Beckenham Social Club for the Blind.
  • have the opportunity to join a music club, such as one of the school choirs, the elite steel pan band or the accordion group.
  • make progress in the key areas of composing, listening and appraising, through experiencing a wide range of music from different genres, eras and cultures and through a variety of lesson styles and experiences. Pupils in KS2 will also develop an understanding of the history of music. Children understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.
  • develop life skills and values through music, especially creativity, self-confidence, concentration, teamwork, listening skills and respect.

 

The music curriculum is designed to suit the children of Balgowan, taking into account their starting points, interests and class work and building upon this year on year. We follow the National Curriculum using Kodaly and Dalcroze methodology and have a strong focus on group work and skills.  Music at Balgowan is well resourced and led by a Music Specialist with the help of class teachers.