Our Curriculum Implementation: how are subjects taught?
We have designed our own Berkeley curriculum which is appropriate for our children and builds on prior learning from EYFS to the end of KS2, ensuring consistency and progression across the whole school This sequenced knowledge and skill based curriculum focuses on Depth, Breadth and Balance.
We design, organise and plan our curriculum to ensure that children are not merely covering content but achieving a depth to their learning which enables them to use their skills and understanding in all areas of the curriculum.
Our careful curriculum design and planning means that we build in many opportunities for repetition and practise opportunities for essential knowledge, skills and understanding in every subject. This ensures that children are able to revisit previous learning, which allows them to gradually develop a deeper understanding of the skills and processes within subjects, at their own pace and in the best possible way for each individual child.
Our curriculum is meticulously designed and planned to move the nature of children’s thinking to a higher order deep level of understanding rather than just acquiring new facts and knowledge.
Drawing on the knowledge and experience of our staff, and by carefully analysing the needs of the children of The Berkeley Academy, curriculum priorities have been developed that have helped us to design a broad curriculum with four KEEE drivers underpinning every subject area. We believe that by focusing on the KEEE drivers will enable our children to grow as leaners, encounter new experiences with endeavour and confidence and be ready to successfully meet the challenges of the next stage of their education and their lives.
Our KEEE curriculum drivers are:
Knowledge and Understanding of the World (Discovering the differences and variety of the world)
Enquiry (Finding out answers to challenges and problems)
Enterprise (Preparing for life and working effectively as a team)
Emotional Awareness (Thinking of others and Improving yourself)
Using these KEEE drivers, we have created a bespoke curriculum that combines essential core skills and knowledge with the opportunity for children to think and learn creatively. The Berkeley curriculum incorporates a project-based learning approach where National Curriculum objectives are structured around challenging ‘real world’ questions which encourage children to solve problems, make decisions and investigate concepts and document their learning. This approach provides children with the opportunity and space to develop a genuine depth of knowledge whilst also allowing them to develop the skills they need as 21st century learners, leading to a project outcome.
National curriculum objectives have been strategically mapped and incorporated into termly projects. Each project has a driving question, key concepts and an authentic outcome. Our curriculum is organised into three broad themes: Discover, Explore and Create. Discover is the theme for one term, and is the history focus for the year (the only term in which this subject is predominately taught). Explore is the theme for a term, and is Geography focused, and Create is the theme for a term, and is Arts focused.
Discover (History driven)
Explore (Geography driven)
Create (Art driven)
Central to our curriculum are Core Skills which underpin everything we do and also provide the basic skills essential for success in learning and life:
With the core skills at the heart of the curriculum, the remaining key skills are mapped across the year. With each theme, teachers focus on developing learning opportunities that are designed to explicitly develop the key skills alongside the subject content.
Alongside the core and key skills, the idea of concept-based learning has been developed - a curriculum model framed around an enquiry process. Instead of trying to manipulate cross-curricular links, philosophical concepts have been identified that can be explored through that particular part of the curriculum. To complete the process, an enquiry question has been created that frames the concepts and gives the children a starting point for their enquiry. The enquiry question is specifically designed to encourage more questions and thoughts - something that continues throughout the process.. Examples of these concept questions are ' Should the punishment fit the crime?', ' Does adversity always make you stronger?', and 'Is it better to stand out or fit it?'
As individual subject disciplines are developed and the children become more knowledgeable, they have the opportunity to explore the concepts, generate ideas, challenge assumptions and deepen their understanding, all whilst making connections between what they know and their broader understanding of the world.
Finally, pupils work towards an authentic outcome, which places it in a real-life context, invites evaluation and gives purpose. We continually strive to bring real-life experiences and opportunities into the curriculum and immerse the children within the current theme and make learning relevant. Each term, the pupils build on and learn new knowledge and skills. Enrichment activities are key to the learning that takes place. These may be visits or visitors to the school and form an integral part of the curriculum.
We have designed and planned our curriculum to offer a range of experiences which contribute to every child receiving a full and rich curriculum. The range of experiences we offer support and champion our culture and ensures that our children benefit from a full range of academic, spiritual, moral, social and cultural activities. These activities enrich their lives and those of our whole school community and make them proud of their British values and the society to which they belong and play an active part. We are proud that our curriculum gives our children the skills, confidence and self-belief to lead a happy and fulfilled life by encouraging them to aim high and work towards being the best they can be.
It is our underlying belief that every child should feel valued and experience the feeling of success in a wide range of curriculum areas. We believe that through the curriculum we can impact on how children feel about themselves, so that they feel clever, confident and ready to tackle any challenge they may face.
We have designed, organised and planned our curriculum to ensure every child receives an appropriate balance of academic and personal development which means that in practice our curriculum places equal importance on core and foundation subjects.
At The Berkeley Academy we place high priority on ensuring children’s physical and mental wellbeing are met. We understand that children will not be successful learners unless they are emotionally secure. Therefore, we carefully design our curriculum and adopt a flexible approach to timetabling to ensure that we can meet and respond to any issues which may arise. Children’s social, physical and mental wellbeing are as valued and important as academic development.
We carefully monitor children’s progress with their personal development and our well planned and thoughtful approach helps to ensure that every child is well cared for and supported.
Our balanced approach to the curriculum is not at the expense of high standards in core subject areas. High standards and enabling children to reach national expectations and above is of vital importance if they are to succeed at the next stage of their education and go on to achieve full and happy lives and careers. Our full and rich curriculum, with its excellent range of experiences, ensures that every pupil at The Berkeley makes excellent progress both academically and personally. Our unique curriculum ensures that every child is given the opportunity to do their best.