Our Curriculum Intent
At Buxton Junior School, we offer a rich, relevant, broad and balanced curriculum. It is the sum of a child’s experiences at school and will prepare them for life in a diverse, ever-changing and exciting world. A curriculum should give children knowledge – facts, skills and authentic experiences – but should also give them time to think, to reason and to consider from their own perspective and that of others. Our job is to educate our children so that they can make the world a better place. Our curriculum meets the needs of every child, regardless of their ability or background so that all children develop academically, culturally, physically, socially and creatively.
Our curriculum drivers, created by our whole school community, ensure that children are given multiple opportunities to learn and reflect about themselves and others, our environment and local community and the wider world.
We plan our curriculum through the lenses of these drivers and ask ourselves these questions as we plan:
Our Wider World
• How can we ensure that the -children’s wellbeing is always top priority?
• How will we develop the whole child’s skills including physical, practical and communication?
• What opportunities can we find for performance, discussion and debate?
• How can we ensure that all children can thrive and achieve?
• What opportunities can we find to take our children’s learning outdoors?
• How can we encourage a respect and love of our environment?
• How can we use our fantastic grounds?
• How can we use our local area in our learning?
• How can we protect our environment?
• How can we ensure that our children respect and appreciate people of all abilities, faiths and cultures?
• How can we teach our children to be “Global Citizens”?
• How can we educate our children about things that are happening around the world?
Reading at Buxton Junior School, the teaching of reading is of paramount importance so in English we use high quality whole-class texts, both fiction and non-fiction, to develop a deep love of reading and writing. The books are read together over a period of weeks and during that time the children have the opportunity to write in lots of different styles and genres whilst engaging with the book. We use discussion and drama to embed some of the language as we believe that if you can say it, you can write it. Grammar is taught within English lessons rather than discretely so that good foundations in the skills of writing are built from an early stage. We love reading at our school and we love exploring the books we read by writing letters, diaries, stories, reports as if we were the characters in the books. We also enjoy studying poetry, learning and reciting poems by heart, while recognising and discussing different poetic forms. For more information about our English curriculum, please see below.
Outdoor learning is also a key theme of our curriculum at Buxton Junior School. Nature-connectedness and the ability to treasure the natural world on our doorstep is fundamental part of growing up. When our children are the decision-makers of the world, we will need them to be aware of the value of the natural world so we start learning and caring about it from the very start of Year 3. The children attend regular Forest School sessions, lessons are frequently held outside in one of our six outdoor classrooms and our teachers always seek every opportunity to develop outdoor learning, whatever the subject.
Implementation – Making Connections
We are determined to give our children the best education we can, so our curriculum is knowledge-rich, providing a foundation for deep understanding to allow children to develop their schemas (webs of knowledge), know more and so learn more.
We have mapped our curriculum coherently, with declarative (facts), procedural (skills) and experiential (experiences) knowledge woven together so that children develop a deep understanding within and between areas of learning to build on secure foundations and make progress through the curriculum.
By planning carefully what experiences our children have, knowledge that cannot be taught directly will be developed through experience. Hands-on activities, including outdoor learning, go hand in hand with deeper conceptual understanding so that learning has more meaning and is embedded.
Our programme of study is presented as a curriculum map for each year group where we meet the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum, ensuring key concepts and knowledge are taught. Our school curriculum goes beyond these to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to encounter a broad range of academic, cultural, physical, social and creative experiences.
The teachers plan around themes and enquiry questions that may last a half term or more so that horizontal links can be made between subjects being covered. The theme is usually led or supported by a high quality whole-class text, covered in English, and through which children can link their current learning in geography, history, art, music, computing, drama, PSHE or science.
Curriculum concepts run as key threads through subjects so that children can connect their learning from year to year and can understand the core ideas and themes within each subject. These ‘bedrock’ concepts are referred to repeatedly throughout the learning journey here at Buxton Junior School and will be built upon at secondary school.
Knowledge organisers, also created by subject leaders, are shared with the children, parents and carers so that key concepts, skills and facts can be revisited at school and shared at home. Partnership with parents and carers is a crucial part of our approach so by sharing this information, we know that children have the opportunity to have their learning supported and extended.
We are developing learning maps, co-created by the teachers and children, to cover the journey a child has made in a subject throughout their time at Buxton Junior School. Kept from Y3 to Y6, the learning maps are revisited by the teachers and children to make vertical links and connections with their previous learning. The learning maps also contain knowledge covered in our main feeder infant school’s curriculum so that links in learning can be made beyond our school.
Subject Instructional Programmes, a handbook for teachers created by subject leaders, are shared with all teaching staff. This document covers the essentials of each subject (how we teach, our aims, advice on how to plan, concepts, declarative and procedural knowledge for each topic within the subject) to ensure teaching is coherent and consistent across the school.
In addition to our good key stage 2 data, we know our curriculum is having the desired impact because:
• Teach consistently well; applying sound pedagogical practices in all lessons.
• Access a variety of high quality CPD to improve practice.
• Become more knowledgeable.
• Have high levels of confidence in delivering all areas of the curriculum.
• Can give senior leaders and subject leads feedback about what is working well.
• Have a thorough understanding of pupils understanding and progress across all subject areas.
• Plan coherent and engaging learning journeys based on the unit overviews.
• Seek support from subject leads when they are less confident.
• Seek every opportunity to develop outdoor learning, across the range of subject areas.
• Can talk with confidence about what they have learned, using correct terminology.
• Are enthused and interested in a wide range of curriculum areas.
• Can talk about the declarative, procedural and experiential knowledge within a subject and the concepts associated with it.
• Can show adults examples of their learning and describe the ‘why’ behind work they have produced.
• Demonstrate good learning behaviours in all lessons.
• Are able to explain how their learning within a subject builds on previous learning.
• Are able to make thoughtful links between subjects.
• Children have an awareness and understanding of other cultures and the rich and diverse world which exists beyond our local community.
• Can all access, enjoy and make progress within the curriculum - regardless of their starting points, or any additional needs they may have.
• Demonstrates that they take pride in what they produce.
• Children show the same effort as they would in Maths or English, for example.
• Captures their increasing understanding of key concepts within each subject.
• Illustrates their developing understanding of the disciplines of each subject, as well as the declarative knowledge content.
• Shows that a coherent teaching sequence has taken place within each unit of work.
• Demonstrates our curriculum’s emphasis on subject-specific terminology.
• Shows the declarative, procedural and experiential knowledge within a subject area and its associated concepts.
Visitors and Governors
Parents and Carers
• Give us positive feedback about pupil engagement and behaviour in lessons.
• Comment on the high-quality work that they see.
• Report that our curriculum drivers underpin everything we do in school.
• Report that leaders are clear about strengths and weaknesses, and have clear plans to address areas for development.
• Feed back to us that their children feel happy and safe at school.
• Feel involved with and have understanding of their children’s learning.
• Give us positive feedback about their children’s attitudes to their learning.
• Share examples of when their children have been enthused by the curriculum (e.g. they’ve been talking about learning at home, or carrying out their own research because of their interest).
How we plan
We have created a four year rolling programme to ensure the curriculum is fully covered but we also have an annual planning calendar to ensure we can respond to special events, anniversaries and the children's and teachers' interests and passions.
We also believe that rigour in skills leads to freedom in content so every subject has a detailed skills progression which is built into our planning tool and which also takes account of the work they have done in Y2. Please click on each subject to see their skills progressions.
If you would like any more information about our curriculum, please call or come into school.