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Our Curriculum


The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge they need to be educated citizens. 

It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said, and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

National Curriculum for England, 2014

Our curriculum is planned so that our children have a rich experience at primary school that enables them to learn about the wonderful world – both past and present, so they are ready for the future.  We plan our curriculum so children leave us ready with the skills, knowledge and vocabulary that they need for the next stage in their life.    We recognise the uniqueness of the primary phase of education and celebrate the awe and wonder that children feel when learning new information and developing skills.  Our curriculum is beyond that of lessons in the classroom; it is about the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of our children at Brackenbury.  Throughout their time with us, we teach the children to be proud, determined and brave in their learning and in life.  We teach them to be proud of their achievements, others and their community.  We teach them to be determined to keep going when learning gets tricky or things are difficult.  We teach them to be brave to try new things or to stand up for something if they think it is not right – to be an upstander.  Underpinned by all of this, is our aim to be our Brackenbury Best in learning and in our community.  

Our curriculum is planned in two year cycles for KS1 and KS2 for some subjects; for Reception the curriculum is planned in a one year cycle that is repeated each year.   Our history, geography, DT and art themes are planned in a two year cycle.  This is so that we have teams working together in phases – KS1, lower KS2 and upper KS2.  This enables a strong understanding of what has been taught previously and what comes next, including ensuring that knowledge, vocabulary are revisited and remain in the long term memory.  This planning cycle enables us as a small school, to ensure that wider school experiences are available and affordable to all.  For other subjects such as English, maths, science, PE, computing, French, RE and PSHE, we teach year groups specific knowledge and skills.  We have planned into our staff meeting schedule, time to assess and review our topics, ensuring that our plans are as good as they can be, so that children’s learning is maximised.

Our curriculum map is being developed to showcase the new two-year curriculum.  This map explains the whole school journey.  Each topic comes with its own knowledge organiser.  These are shown on our key stage pages.  

We have carefully planned our curriculum so that the children’s knowledge builds up over their time.  We also recognise that the job of curriculum planning is never done – there will always be ways to improve and develop. 


“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.”  Kofi Anan*

Our curriculum is built on building up knowledge over time so our children can understand the world around them.  We recognise that skills do not stand alone from knowledge.  Children need to know information (declarative knowledge) to be able to do things (procedural knowledge). That is why our curriculum is based on learning new knowledge so that we can apply it.  We link to previous learning when introducing new knowledge to children so that they can begin to make connections and see wider and broader concepts in the different subject areas. As teachers, we also have to develop our subject knowledge so that our source material is strong.  As a result, we are members of subject associations and always look for CPD to deepen our understanding.  



“Deliberately building vocabulary is one of the most important things we do as teachers.  It is important for several reasons.  The first is that of we are serious about closing the gap between those pupils who come from language rich backgrounds and those who do not, then we need to pay careful attention to the building of vocabulary.  The second is that deepening and extension of knowledge.  And finally, there is the sheer joy of words well-used.”  Mary Myatt*

Understanding and growing our vocabulary is a key part of our curriculum.  Research tells us the absolute importance of vocabulary, including in reading comprehension.  We know that it is not just exposure to the vocabulary but also the explicit teaching that supports developing our vocabulary.  We use the Frayer model to introduce new vocabulary and the BHISS model for Reception and SEND children where needed. From reading to maths and throughout our foundation subjects, we have been developing the key vocabulary we want our children to learn.  We use knowledge organisers for history and geography which have our essential vocabulary on.   We recognise that all our children are entitled to understand and use this vocabulary, not just a select few.  


Quality stories and books

There is a whole lot more to a book than just reading.  Reading is a gateway into unfamiliar places, other people and alternative  experiences.” Mary Myatt*

In EYFS and KS1, we have chosen core books that we want the children to listen to and to read as they get older.  For our reading at KS2, we have carefully chosen books that are of high quality and that stretch and develop the children’s vocabulary and understanding.  We also use other quality books and stories across the curriculum so that children can explore new vocabulary and find out about new topics and themes.  We know that stories and books can bring a subject or topic to light or to help us explain our feelings and emotions.  We now have dedicated story time at the end of each day in all classes.    Our library contains our Brackenbury reads which are those books we recommend to children to read for pleasure.  These are reviewed yearly so that they are representative of our wider community and world.  We organise visits from authors to inspire children to become avid readers and writers. 


Wider curriculum and the Brackenbury Backpack

“The purpose of visits and visitors is to cement the curriculum…Both visits and visitors can enhance and deepen knowledge…”     Mary Myatt*

Our curriculum has planned visits and/or visitors as part of the children’s curriculum entitlement.  This enables us to breathe life into the curriculum and to let children experience the awe and wonder of seeing history on our doorstep or how the light reflects on the sea as part of a unit of work in art.  As part of our pupil voice, we talked to children about their life experiences outside of school and what they have done.  As a result of this, we developed our Brackenbury Backpack.  The backpack sets out the different experiences that children can have as part of their time at Brackenbury.  It also recognises that not all of our children will have visited a museum, been to the cinema or experienced a live performance.  This forms, alongside the taught curriculum, the cultural capital our children can expect at Brackenbury.  


*Reference – The Curriculum: Gallimaufry to Coherence by Mary Myatt


Early Years Foundation Stage

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.”

Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, Department for Education, 2012.

At Brackenbury we greatly value the important role that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) plays in laying secure foundations for future learning and development. Our Early Years team (Reception) ensures all our children are provided with valuable learning experiences that not only provide them with the foundations of their lifelong learning but also prepare them with the foundations of lifetime skills.  See the early years page for further information.  

You can download our curriculum offer here.  Please look at individual subject pages for further details.   

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