Branscombe CE Primary School
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire”
Our school mission statement for Branscombe CE Primary School states that:
Our aim at Branscombe C of E Primary School is to create a happy, fun, secure, caring, interactive and stimulating learning environment in which all children will receive an education of the highest quality, within the context of the school’s Christian beliefs, enabling all members of the school community to develop their talents and realise their full potential’.
The aim of the federation curriculum is to help and encourage pupils to reach their highest level of personal achievement, and specifically to;
- develop lively, imaginative, creative, enquiring and independent minds,
- read, write, speak and listen effectively,
- acquire and develop the knowledge, understanding and further key skills required for adult life and further learning,
- encourage a love of learning for children, as well as parents, staff and governors,
- recognise the worth of all individuals and celebrate children’s endeavours and achievements,
- encourage children to have high aspirations,
- encourage children to be active and respectful members of the school, village and global communities,
- support the children’s social, emotional and healthy lifestyle awareness.
We have developed a broad and balanced, creative curriculum which is based on knowledge and skills. The curriculum inspires our children to ask questions and deepen their understanding of the topics covered. We have used the Cornerstones Curriculum to support the planning of our rolling programme, which encompasses the National Curriculum but also gives the opportunity for us to build on children’s interests, skills and questions about the topics covered.
Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science; three main principles underpin it:
1) Learning is most effective when spaced rather than blocked
2) Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long term retention
3) Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.
Some of our content is subject specific, whilst other content is combined in a cross-curricular approach. Continuous Provision through our ‘Daily Dashboard’ sessions replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and, in other cases, provides retrieval practice for previously learned content.
Our school is an integral part of our village community and is situated in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty and close to the Jurassic Coastline. We believe it is important that as well as opening the children’s eyes to opportunities in the wider world, we should celebrate the customs, traditions and natural resources that we have locally. Going on walks in the village, inviting members of the community into school and visiting places further afield in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset are important elements of our rich curriculum which, we believe, put the children’s learning into context, therefore making it more memorable.
Our pupils are encouraged to consider their depth of learning, knowing that at times a concept will be new to all of us and will require further exploration. The children use the language of ‘Paddling, Snorkeling and Diving’ in relation to their depth of knowledge and understanding.
We have recently begun to implement Philosophy for Children (P4C) into our provision. We want our children to explore big questions and learn to express opinions whilst respecting those of others. This approach supports our pupils to deepen their understanding of thinking.
We also consider supporting our pupils’ mental health to be an important part of our provision. So, as well as ensuring all the National Curriculum subjects are taught in our curriculum, time is also given in discreet lessons, as well as activities across the day and the action plans of our trained pupil mental health ambassadors, to provide strategies and opportunities to support mental health.
Our Curriculum Plans consist of the long term rolling programme with specific vocabulary and key knowledge linked to our curriculum intent, that need to be covered within the term and support future learning.
Traditionally it was expected that teachers would differentiate by task or expectation and many different levels of success were accepted, this approach often ran the risk of lowering expectations. Today, the effective teaching practices see teachers expecting everyone to succeed by offering higher levels of support or extra challenge for those who need it, so that pupils can access the learning at the expected year group standard.
The impact of our curriculum is that the school Christian Vision will be fulfilled – that the children in our care will recognise their talents and these will be realised to their full potential.
By the end of each unit the vast majority of pupils have sustained mastery of the key content, that is, they remember the knowledge, can apply it and are fluent in it; some pupils have greater depth understanding. We track carefully to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum. Children have positive self esteem, have an interest in the topics as well as seeing the relevance to their lives and links to prior learning; therefore they gain knowledge and make good progression in understanding and applying skills.
Our curriculum ensures that:
- Children gain a broad knowledge,
- Children learn progressively with hooks from one topic to support the next,
- Children having wide, rich vocabulary that can be used across contexts,
- Children apply knowledge to their everyday lives,
- Children are prepared for secondary education and have the skills and thirst for life long learning.