Our curriculum has been carefully designed to ensure that all of our children, including the SEND and disadvantaged, achieve to their full potential.
We have carefully planned and sequenced our curriculum at Bethany CE Junior School. This ensures that there is continuity in areas of learning, so that children build on their prior knowledge and understanding in a logical order.
We aim to deliver an ambitious curriculum, which is progressively challenging in terms of both knowledge acquisition, as well as the development of cognitive skills (see T&L policy for more details). This will ensure that our children understand the significance of what they are learning and that learning becomes long lasting for them.
Our teachers utilise an extensive range of tools and methods to support the development of knowledge and understanding across the curriculum.
Our curriculum follows the statutory requirements of the national curriculum, but also takes into account the rich diversity of our local environment and the cultural background of our children.
We recognise the centrality of both English and Mathematics as vehicles for ensuring children can access the curriculum and achieve well. These core subjects are taught both discretely, as well as being key integrated elements across the non-core subjects.
We rigorously assess our children in all areas of the curriculum to ensure that all children make good progress.
Our curriculum is regularly monitored and evaluated by the senior leadership team and our subject leaders to ensure that our expectations are being delivered.
There are three fundamental drivers to our curriculum:
Further information about how we ensure that these are embedded into our curriculum can be found in our teaching and learning policy.
Principles of Effective Teaching and Learning
Our approach to teaching and learning is built around Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. These define the key elements of effective practice. They are based around research, including cognitive science and are designed to give direct links from research into practice.
Our principles are:
1. Retrieval of Prior Learning
Children are less likely to be successful in learning new concepts when they lack the relevant schema. Activating prior knowledge will help teachers identify children who might be missing key foundational knowledge.
Reviewing prior learning can take place at the start of a new unit, the start of a lesson or any other point that children need to access previously taught content. Activating prior knowledge is best when it has been planned and requires all children (in the case of whole class teaching) to participate. The process of activating prior knowledge is likely to inform the teaching sequence. Children are more likely to learn taught knowledge and concepts when they are able to connect this to prior learning. Developing automaticity might be a feature of review. Reviewing prior learning helps to commit content to long-term memory.
2. Introduction of New Content (instruction)
Teachers need to consider the content of lessons when introducing new content to all children in their class. They need to consider the needs of the children and plan for this. Children may need more help to gradually build their schemata on a topic and to link it to others. When introducing new content, teachers need to break this down in to small chunks and ensure that children obtain mastery in these before moving on to the next topic. By doing this, children retain sufficient working memory capacity until they acquire the knowledge that allows them to spend less time processing content.
3. Provide Models and Examples (instruction)
Children benefit from cognitive support to help them learn to solve problems and acquire knowledge. Teacher modelling and thinking aloud while demonstrating how to solve problems are examples of cognitive support. Worked examples are another form of modelling that has been developed by researchers. Worked examples allow children to focus on the specific steps to solve problems and thus reduce the cognitive load on their working memory. Adults should be confident to use and model the use of concrete apparatus.
4. Guided Practice
Guided practice is when teachers support learning by providing models and using scaffolds until children feel confident and are successful in their attempts to complete a new task by themselves. Guided practice builds fluency and develops a level of automaticity.
All children need to practice but that practice must be guided so that the chance of forming misconceptions is minimised. Guided practice is key to generating the high success rate that fuels motivation and engagement during more independent work. As children gain in knowledge and confidence, the guided practice phase can become shorter or can cover larger amounts of small steps at once. Through guided practice, learners rephrase, elaborate, summarise, recall, and question new content, leading to sufficient rehearsal to enable independent practice.
Guided practice involves thorough explanations, high frequency, short answer questions, and simple tasks where the teacher and children are engaged interactively, with plenty of modelling, correction and affirming feedback.
5. Independent Practice and application (mastery)
Independent practice is when support is taken away so “overlearning” can occur. “Overlearning” is when children practice a task until they can complete it fluently and without errors. As a result, their newly acquired knowledge becomes automatic, taking up less working memory and reducing the risk of cognitive overload. This enables children to focus on further developing a deeper understanding of new content and successfully applying their newly learned skill. The content children practice independently should be the same as what they are practicing during guided practice. This is so children are fully prepared to engage with the material on their own and are less likely to practice making errors.
Plenaries are used by teachers either during or at the end of a lesson, to review aims and consolidate the students’ learning. It is an evaluative part of a lesson, where students reflect on what they have learnt and achieved during that teaching period. Furthermore, it can be a time to celebrate good work and outcomes. Children should leave the classroom knowing that they now know more than when they started the lesson.
At Bethany CE Junior School, we facilitate these principles through:
High quality teaching and learning is supported and informed by regular, day-today formative assessment leading to appropriate summative judgements being made about achievement.
If you wish to find out more about our curriculum, please speak to your child's teacher in the first instance. If you wish to speak further, please speak to Mr Bielby, Miss Duffy, Mrs Winston or Mr Woodward. More information can also be seen the Teaching and Learning Policy in the policies section of the website.