Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Children can begin their school journey from the age of two when they join our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which continues until the end of Reception.
Children engage in a range of high quality adult and child initiated activities throughout the day, in a well-equipped learning environment. Learning is planned around the children’s interests, and they are encouraged to move between the inside classrooms and outside area to ensure a wide range of learning takes place.
All children work in groups, with highly skilled practitioners, to develop their individual learning needs. In Reception, children also have daily Phonics, Maths and English lessons to support the learning of these important life skills and a weekly swimming lesson (on site).
The children take part in weekly Forest School activities, which are carefully planned to develop all areas of learning, as well as risk taking. This takes place in our extensive grounds and is very popular.
All children have learning diaries, which practitioners use to record all learning achievements. These are shared electronically with parents every month to ensure strong links with home and school learning.
Maths at Barley Close
In Reception, children are working towards achieving their Early Learning Goals (ELG) in Number and Shape, Space and Measure. They take part in both child and adult initiated activities and are encouraged to use resources to aid their learning, as well as written work.
Years 1 - 6
In Years 1 - 6, teachers plan lessons based on the aims of the National Curriculum. These aims focus on:
Children in all year groups have the chance to improve their fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills, through activities that link together the different areas of maths.
As a school, we talk about having a mastery approach to maths. Mastery seeks to show children 'why' and 'how' mathematical concepts work, rather than just learning facts and tricks to get the answers right. We focus on children gaining a deep understanding of what they are being asked to do, rather than learning a skill quickly and moving onto the next one.
In Years 1 - 6, children have daily maths lessons that focus on the following areas of Maths:
There is a clear progression through the school, that uses previous knowledge to build on new knowledge. Lessons are planned to make sure children are able to access them at the level they are working at. We aim to make children proud and confident mathematicians, able to use maths in real life situations!
We have recently started using the programme 'Times Table Rockstars', which focuses on children learning multiplication and division facts in depth, to make sure they are able to recall them accurately. Year 2 children focus on 2x, 5x and 10x tables and Years 3 - 6 are working through recalling all facts from 2x - 10x, as we introduce ourselves to the scheme.
As TT Rockstars is an internet based scheme, children in KS2 are able to access the games at home. Please ask your child's teacher for their log in details.
The English National Curriculum
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
We believe that reading is an important life skill, and making our children successful and confident readers is a high priority for us. To make this happen, we have:
a structured approach to the teaching of phonics,
a cohesive reading scheme which runs throughout reception and KS1,
a wide range of books in KS2 for school and home reading, to develop the children’s love of reading,
decoding and comprehension skills taught in English lessons,
a new library area,
reading areas in each classroom,
book weeks and fairs which promote a joy of reading,
home reading monitored weekly,
In Reception and Key Stage 1, we use a reading scheme called Oxford Reading Tree. Oxford Reading Tree follows a synthetic approach to phonics and supports the learning of key words.
In Key Stage 2, once children are working within their age related expectations, children become ‘free-readers’ which means they can select from a range of materials, including age appropriate newspapers and magazines, to foster a love of reading.
Every child reads weekly in a small group with their teacher. During these sessions, children are not only required to read but also to demonstrate an understanding of the text. This provides an assessment opportunity for the teacher to identify strengths and next steps for learning. The wide range of texts covered in these sessions provides an appropriate challenge in order to ensure the children progress with their reading.
Children are encouraged to start writing in reception, initially printing and later joining their letters in a cursive script. Across the school children are encouraged to write different genres for different purposes and audiences. We constantly encourage the children to develop their vocabulary, spelling, grammar and sentence structure within those different genres. At the beginning of term 2 we launched 'Big Write' at Barley Close. Big Write takes place every Friday in years 1-6.
What is Big Write? Big Write is a teaching method aimed at helping children improve their writing. It was developed by Ros Wilson and is used by many schools throughout the U.K.
What does a Big Write session ‘look’ like? The morning will begin with a lively, fun lesson that focuses on key aspects of successful writing and generates ideas for the Big Write. After break, children will return to their classroom where they will have an undisturbed writing session with calm music, a special book and special pencils/ pens. This will be a time in class where children produce a piece of independent writing to be proud of. After each Big Write children will be given ‘Super Short Term Targets’ to work on.
The importance of talk: The premise of Big Write is that if children can’t say it or talk about it, then they can’t write it. The better we can talk, the better we can write. Having a wide vocabulary and using language well help children with all of their learning.
To help children prepare for Big Write, we will be setting weekly Talk Topics. Please see class webpages and classroom doors for details of these.
Speaking and Listening
Across the school we develop the children’s speaking and listening abilities as we believe this significantly compliments their reading and writing skills. We teach the children: turn taking, respecting the views of the others, poetry recitation, and formal presentations, as well as acting. There are many opportunities for children to take part in productions including assemblies, events for special occasions such as Harvest, Christmas, Easter, class assemblies and the Year 6 production. Talk topics are also set each week in all classes. In Nursery and reception talk topics are linked to the children's interests whereas in Year 1 -6, talk topics are linked to the Big Write for that week.
Years 2 - 6 follow a key text each term as the basis of their English work. An overview of the texts used can be found below.
Phonics and Spelling at Barley Close
Spoken English has 44 sounds (phonemes) and these phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). A sound can be represented by one letter or a group of letters, e,g. 'sh'.
At Barley Close children are taught these sounds in the order outlined in the attached Phonics and Spelling map, using techniques drawn from Read, Write, Inc. and Jolly Phonics.
Each term children learn set letters and sounds as well as key words. Some of these key words are decodable once letter sounds have been taught, e.g. 'it', but some are tricky and need to be learned by heart, e.g. 'was.' Children are taught to blend (merge sounds together to make a word) and segment (split words up into their sounds). They also learn to read alien words (nonsense words) in order to enhance the skill of blending.
In Key Stage 2 children are taught spellings in line with the English National Curriculum. Children are also taught words from the statutory word list as outlined in the English National Curriculum. These objectives and words are organised into year groups - see Phonics and Spelling map.
Science at Barley Close covers a wide variety of topics which build on the children's prior knowledge whilst further developing their understanding of a topic each year.
Plants, animals and humans are taught across year groups with a different focus depending on the age of the child and the curriculum focus. This begins by identifying plant parts, to moving onto their function or with identification of animals and their habitats, and progressing to food chains. Life cycles and adaptation are then focused on in the upper key stage year groups. Children are also taught in detail about the human body, its processes and how it functions - again by beginning with body parts when teaching the younger children to focusing on how the heart functions when teaching the older children. Aspects of chemistry and physics are covered in topics such as space, forces, states of matter, light and electricity, which again, are taught within specific year groups, and serve to broaden pupil’s scientific knowledge base as they progress through the school.
We believe that children should develop their scientific knowledge and understanding through enquiry and investigation. We strive to promote a scientific curiosity, encouraging pupils to question the world around them and seek answers through observations and data gathering. Wherever possible we endeavour to provide a practical and hands-on approach to lessons, allowing children to experience science at its best! By providing this type of approach to learning, the following skills can be developed as they progress throughout their primary school learning:
· Asking and answering questions
· Planning and conducting investigations
Science is a key part of our learning and features throughout our current Topic or as a stand alone unit when required.
Our curriculum aims to provide opportunities for all pupils to learn and achieve in an exciting and stimulating environment. We promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. By equipping pupils with the skills and personal qualities, it will enable them to become successful and effective members of society in the 21st century.
The curriculum is very carefully planned by all staff to ensure we provide children with a broad and balanced education. The foundation subjects are taught through topics which last for the length of a term, sometimes this will cover two terms. As we know that children learn in a variety of ways, we plan topics that will enthuse and engage. The topics often start or end with an exciting visit, visitor or activity which get the children involved and eager to find out more.
Children map out what they already know about a topic before generating questions about what they would like to find out about next. Links between subjects are made, so if the topic is history based, ‘What was life like for Viking raiders?’, the children will develop their learning through drama, writing, art, design-technology, computing, geography etc. Activities are designed to be stimulating and engaging so that all children can take part. We are aware that children learn in different ways and so ensure that what we provide is varied, active and engaging.
Aims into practice
We want pupils to develop a positive attitude to life and learning, with a will to solve problems, the resilience to do so and the ability to work well with others. We want all our pupils to approach the process of learning with confidence and independence, gaining a broad knowledge of all subject areas.
We have PSHE at the heart of our curriculum and believe pupils need to develop high-esteem and the ability to think well in order to achieve in all other areas of the curriculum.
Links between curriculum subjects are made when and where appropriate to make learning more meaningful.
We encourage pupils to be reflective learners, to review aspects of their own learning and to be actively involved in planning next steps or learning opportunities.
The delivery of the school curriculum is inclusive for all learners with extra support or resources provided as appropriate.
At Barley Close, children learn History through carefully planned topics (please see topic maps for specific information). Pupils gain a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of the past and that of the wider world. In line with the National Curriculum, we equip pupils to ask questions about the past, critically evaluate evidence, and develop their own opinions.
At Barley Close, children learn Geography through carefully planned topics (please see topic maps for specific information). Our curriculum ensures that pupils are equipped with knowledge an understanding of our world - the places ,people, cultures, and environments.
At Barley Close we follow the South Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus for RE. This follows two main strands- learning about and learning from religion. As well as Christianity, children learn about different aspects of Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism. R.E encourages children to respect the values and beliefs of others. Intrinsic throughout all areas of the curriculum is the understanding of social, moral, spiritual and cultural values.
Sport and Physical Education (P.E.)
At Barley Close we are lucky enough to have our own swimming pool which means that pupils have weekly swimming lessons from April to the end of October throughout their school life.
All pupils take part in P.E. twice a week throughout the school. Activities include gymnastics, dance/movement, athletics, games, and orienteering in older year groups. Some of these activities are led by an external sports coach.
The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
At Barley Close, computing skills are taught on a weekly basis but where possible will link to the topic that the class is studying. Each class has regular access to laptops and ipads. Children in KS1 and lower KS2 are able to put their programming skills into practise using programmable Bee Bots and Probots, whilst children in KS2 are learning how to create their own games through coding on websites such as Scratch and Flowal.
We are also lucky enough to have a 3D printer for designing and printing skills.
We also have good links with the wider world and provide our Year 5 children with a Robotics day and we have Google Expeditions visiting all classes from Year 1 onwards for a virtual reality experience.
At Barley Close, we encourage pupils to develop a love and appreciation of music. Our music curriculum ensures that pupils:
Throughout the year, we participate in a range of musical events including:
Singing takes place as part of collective worship. In addition, we have a school singing club which often performs for the whole school, parents, the local community, for example this year they performed at the Emerson’s Green Town Council annual Christmas event
Art and Design
Art and design is taught in an inspiring, practical and cross-curricular way at Barley Close
In Key Stage 1 pupils are taught to use a range of materials creatively to design and make products, to use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination, to develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space. Pupils also learn about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, comparing them, and making links to their own work.
In Key stage 2 Pupils are taught to develop their techniques, including their control and their use of materials, with creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design. Pupils also learn about great artists, architects and designers in history.
You can see some fantastic examples of our art and design work on display around the school.
At Barley Close, we understand the importance of pupils being emotionally literate. We teach PSHE using the SEAL and Lifelines resources.
Across the school we teach French through a fun, multi-sensory approach. In Key Stage 2, pupils are encouraged to explore the language in more details and develop their French speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. All french is delivered by Mrs Griffiths when she covers class PPA.