Our Curriculum has been designed to ensure each and every child can‘ Nurture, Flourish and Succeed..’ by offering stimulating and awe-inspiring learning experiences with our school values at its heart.
It is bespoke to the needs of the pupils at Black Torrington Primary School, not only by focussing on appropriate subject specific knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the National Curriculum but by developing individual and collaborative learning experiences, a positive growth mind-set, a sense of responsibility and challenges that take them beyond the classroom.
We are a small village school with a constantly evolving curriculum which responds to the needs of learners and their interests by enhancing learning experiences and raising awareness from the local area to national and global arenas. Thus, we will develop outward looking pupils who are able to engage in learning about themselves and have an understanding of the wider world and its complex cultures.
Ultimately our curriculum has four features:
- is ambitious for all pupils;
- is carefully and coherently planned and sequenced;
- is successfully adapted, designed and developed for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities;
- is broad and balanced for all pupils.
In September 2021, in response to the Covid pandemic and identified gaps in learning, we adopted a new Base curriculum. This forms the basis for a new, mixed age class specific Dartmoor Curriculum. Our curriculum covers all aspects of the National Curriculum 2014: English, Maths, Science, Art, Computing, Design Technology, Geography, History, Languages, Music and Physical Education. In addition, we follow the Devon agreed syllabus for Religious Education 2019 and ensure progression in Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural education as well as PSHE and Relationships and Sex Education.
We believe in academic achievement as a partner to developing the individual child to become future community and global citizens. The behaviour of children and adults within our school is rooted in mutual respect. We believe that children and adults should be caring and kind to one another throughout life. We discretely teach children life skills and reward positive behaviour at all times. As our children leave Black Torrington we ask them to go into their community with the same care and kindness that they have shown at school. This is to all, regardless of race, sexuality, age, ability or religion.
Children within our school are encouraged to be ambitious in their learning – to take risks, make mistakes and learn. This is evident in our daily lessons and in the wider curriculum opportunities we offer. Children will take part in an offsite trips, visits and residentials. Performing arts including drama, music and public speaking are celebrated and promoted within our school. We have close links with our community and the local church. These links provide us with opportunities to perform Harvest, Easter and Christmas plays, public music and singing performances. These experiences allow our children to build their confidence, widen their horizons, grow ambitions, and have greater aspirations for the future. During the Covid-19 pandemic our school has been a beacon of support for our communit, providing food hampers for our most vulnerable as well as regular contact to ensure no one was isolated.
We use the ‘Real PE’ scheme which enhances teachers lessons and planning for our Physical Education lessons. Children also take part in competitive sporting events run locally and within West Devon. Children will have many opportunities throughout their school career to represent the school. This includes children with SEND needs – we regularly participate in the ‘Ability games.’ We want children to leave our school with a lifelong love of sport and a healthy lifestyle for the future. We provide swimming lessons for all our children from Foundation to Year 6 to ensure all children leave us with the ability to swim. Our close links with Okehampton, Holsworthy and Tavistock Colleges means we have access to more sporting facilities such as sports halls, MUGAs and athletics tracks.
Our curriculum is ambitious for all learners, including those who are disadvantaged or with SEND. We firmly believe in inclusion for all and as part of quality first teaching, teachers adapt the delivery and scaffold the resources available for all learners. Our Multi Academy Trust links mean we can ensure children who display a talent in any area have the support they need to continue progressing and develop their skills by cross school and phase working.
We have the same expectations for all of our children regardless of race, gender, SEN or background. Some children may require a support plan to ensure they are able to access our curriculum in the same way as others whilst some may need support from Pupil Premium funding. We expect parents and carers to support their children and the school in accessing the curriculum in full.
Through quality teaching of knowledge and skills coupled with a strong focus on vocabulary across core and foundation subjects, all children will be challenged to be inquisitive, compassionate, courageous and creative learners. They will have opportunities to influence their own learning through age appropriate and progressive units of learning. Effective learning characteristics including being ambitious, reflective and imaginative will drive teaching and learning.
Black Torrington Primary School follows the Read Write Inc phonics scheme. Children will then progress onto the ‘No nonsense’ spelling pathway from Year 2. Phonics will be revisited as necessary throughout the children’s school career and children who need extra support and intervention will have their needs met.
Reading is a key skill which underpins everything else. Throughout the school we foster a love of reading and model positive reading attitudes.Children will have access to phonically appropriate books then progress through Devon’s book banding scheme. We expect parents and carers to read at home with their child 3-4 times a week. In addition to this, children will take part in guided reading using a range of resources. This group reading activity builds comprehension, vocabulary, prediction, summarising and inference. Adults in classrooms will read high-quality texts to the children daily.
Children are taught to write across the curriculum. In English lessons, writing teaching will be based around ‘Texts that teach’ and the ‘Talk for writing’ principles. The use of high-quality texts as a basis for writing allows children to experience how good authors manipulate their reader through the use of grammar and vocabulary. This covers fiction and non-fiction and a range of genres. Handwriting is discretely taught until children have clear and legible joined writing.
Our maths curriculum follows the White Rose maths schemes of work, teaching the mastery curriculum using small steps. Our approach meets the needs of many types of learner – we use manipulatives to physically show mathematics, images to show how maths can be represented, calculations and explanations. Children are challenged to experiment, explore, and investigate mathematical theories and principles to further their understanding. Mental arithmetic is practised as part of our maths lessons. We encourage children to make connections across the curriculum, recognising that maths is a vital skill throughout their learning, including in science, computing and geography.
Our science curriculum meets the needs of the 21st century whilst giving the children core science knowledge. Our science programme of study covers all areas in the national curriculum and beyond. We believe in learning through practical experience so children will have the opportunity to experiment and explore around a wide range of scientific concepts. Children throughout the school will use their ICT and maths skills within science as well as links to other areas of the curriculum such as geography.
Across the curriculum teachers will plan and deliver exciting, engaging and creative lessons. We expect children to make links across the curriculum and link this to their experiences and immediate environment. Trips and visitors are used to enhance curriculum lessons and allow the children to build upon their knowledge and experience. Additional resources such as ‘Real PE’ are used to enhance the teacher’s lessons and provide a support mechanism to ensure constant high-quality teaching.
We use the Devon agreed syllabus for Religious Education. We believe that all children should have the opportunity to explore spirituality and the beliefs and traditions of world religions. RE lessons build upon children’s own experiences and widen their horizons to new ideas, beliefs and festivals.
Our children will have a confident set of skills, knowledge and values which will give them the tools they need to flourish and succeed. They will learn more, remember more, enjoy more and develop more spiritually, socially and emotionally, enabling them to be ready for their next stage in education and life.
The purpose of measuring the impact of our curriculum has 3 priorities.
- Are our learners developing the skills and knowledge in our programmes of study?
We measure academic progress by giving children elicitation tasks at the start of each unit and an application task at the end. Children will have a series of WALT’s or WALA’s within the unit which they reflect on, allowing them to see the progress they have made. Teacher’s formative assessment strategies including feedback and marking add to the basket of evidence which, along with termly standardised testing is collated to inform teacher assessment which is entered onto the Arbor data management system
In phonics we regularly track and review the progress the children are making. Pupil progress meetings, learning walks, book looks, and coaching provide additional evidence for the positive impact our curriculum is having.
- Are our learners developing positive learning attitudes that will allow them to become lifelong learners?
We use a growth mindset model of learning where children are encouraged to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them. Our curriculum design allows children to take part in activities and learning opportunities that facilitate experimentation, exploration, and discovery. Our classroom environments are supportive – adults facilitate and scaffold learning with high expectations in order to foster growth and development. Our curriculum design allows parents and carers to be part of collaborative curriculum projects, such as reading workshops. The relationship between adults and children in school is strong. We have an ethos of active listening and mutual respect.
- Are we developing the character and moral compass of our learners to become positive members of their community?
By promoting our values and ethos throughout the school our learners will be motivated by a strong personal sense of morality. They will make decisions for the right reasons and in the best interests of their community. They will be able to decide what is right and what is wrong and will be resilient to the influence of others. They will go out into the world and make a difference in their own life and to others. Our learners will be the owners of their own destinies. We measure this not just by the work our children produce, but in the behaviour we see every day in all learners on the playground, in the corridor, and in the many roles we give them. The impact of this intention is seen in the daily interaction of all members of our school community and beyond.