Lessons buzz with enthusiasm throughout the day – Ofsted 2012
The stated aims of the Academy embody essential principles which should underpin educational practice and attitudes at Benedict Biscop CE Academy.
All pupils must be valued equally whatever their stage of development and are entitled to experience the maximum feeling of success.
All pupils must be afforded equality of opportunity and not be discriminated against on the grounds of gender, class, race, colour, religion or disability.
Personal development is a lifelong learning process.
The provision of education is a partnership between the Academy, parents and the wider community, each having contributions to make to the development of the other.
Nature & Scope of the Curriculum
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Schools defines the curriculum as:
“The curriculum in its fullest sense comprises all the opportunities for learning provided by the school: the so called extra curricular and out of school activities promoted or supported by the school and the climate of relationships, attitudes, styles of behaviour and the general quality of life established in the school as a whole.”
The curriculum is not just the formal programme of lessons. The extra dimensions of the learning of values and the development of attitudes, through the relationships experienced in the wider life of the school, have a powerful influence upon a child’s education. The curriculum at Benedict Biscop CE Academy is based on Christian values, taught both explicitly and implicitly throughout the day and made real in our everyday lives. Children study their own rich cultural heritage and develop an understanding of how this culture is enriched by the multi-cultural British society of today, based on British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
“In Benedict Biscop CE Academy the curriculum is outstanding and exciting and is adapted extremely well to pupils interests.” (Ofsted 2012)
At Benedict Biscop CE Academy, there is a strong emphasis on learning through experience in and beyond the classroom. There is a high expectation that children work collaboratively, learning from each other and through trial and error. The curriculum enables children to develop skills and gain knowledge which they then transfer to new situations, continually “learning”.
The Academy’s curriculum offers a broad, balanced, relevant, differentiated education for all its pupils providing progression and continuity building upon cross-phase links. Above all it is an opportunity for all children to succeed.
The process of evaluation and assessment is continuous and is inseparable from the teaching and learning process. It provides the next steps for learning for your child and ensures that they make progress. We believe in assessment for learning.
The National Curriculum
The Academy broadly follows the National Curriculum, laid down by Parliament in the New National Curriculum 2014. It is made up of ten subjects. The core subjects are: English, Mathematics and Science. The foundation subjects are: Computing, History, Geography, Design, Art, Music and Physical Education. In addition the Academy provides Religious Education and a daily act of collective worship which is central to the life of the school. Our Personal Development (Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship Education) curriculum is outstanding and children develop as responsible citizens. Mental Health and Well Being are given high priority with children taught to relax, regulate their own thinking and practise mindfulness.
Within the national curriculum, programmes of study set out the essential teaching within each subject area. There are national assessments for primary school children at ages 7 and 11 years. These ages mark the ends of the two key stages of the primary school.
Our curriculum is delivered within the Academy’s curriculum entitlement. The overview encompasses all the requirements of the National Curriculum and is arranged in termly and half-termly blocks. This arrangement ensures steady progression and continuity throughout the foundation stage, key stages 1 and 2.
The curriculum builds upon the seven areas of learning:
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication and language
- Mathematical development
- Understanding the world
- Physical development
- Expressive Art and Design
Within the structured framework, consideration is given to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of each child with activities and experiences planned in the light of each child’s needs and maturity level. It is from this range of experience that basic skills are refined and consolidated.
Personal Development (Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship Education
This is is a very important part of the curriculum. We encourage children to lead healthy lives, by educating them on healthy eating, exercise, mindfulness, decision-making, responsible citizenship and relationships with family and friends. The purpose of this curriculum is to help our children grow to be independent, thoughtful and caring citizens, who take risks within boundaries and learn to keep safe (including digital Literacy). This programme is often linked to other areas of the curriculum. We are a UNICEF Rights Respecting Award school.
A recent development is Room2Talk – an area in school where children feel safe, share their worries and their concerns within a safe environment before situations escalate.
Sex & Relationship Education
After careful consideration the Directors [Governors] of the school offer a programme of sex and relationship education. It is appropriate to the pupils’ age and experience and is presented within a moral, family orientated and Christian framework.
Communication & Language
English is the basic language of communication in this country and much of the Western world and its mastering is prequisite for educational progress and a vital way of communicating in life. In studying English, children develop skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. It enables them to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others effectively. Children learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction and media texts. The Academy’s language programme encourages children to read for meaning and enjoyment and emphasises the need to develop skills for reading both for pleasure and information.
“Pupils of all abilities have excellent communication skills because they are encouraged to talk as a way of developing their thinking and deepening their learning” (Ofsted 2012)
Children are encouraged to write as individuals, to appreciate different styles of prose and poetry, and to produce for themselves factual, descriptive and creative pieces of work.
Modern Foreign Languages
The school offers Spanish to pupils in KS2. To aid transition from Primary to Secondary Education, from September 2016 we are offering pupils in KS2 the opportunity to learn Spanish. Spanish is currently taught by our main feeder Secondary School Venerable Bede Academy. In recent years the school has established partnerships with other countries, including France, enabling pupils to communicate with other schools across Europe and in China. By doing this, we aim to provide pupils with the opportunities to experience the culture and practise languages so that they can develop their understanding of countries beyond the UK.
Mathematics teaches us how to make sense of the world around us. Our aim is to ensure that each child gains a sound understanding of mathematical ideas and a proficiency in calculation, appropriate to the individual stage of development. Our scheme promotes a practical, investigative approach through substantial work on number, shape, money and measurements of length, time, weight and capacity. The Academy is very well resourced with a range of materials and practical apparatus. Children are assessed on a regular basis to ensure that the learning they undertake is suitable for their ability, with sufficient challenge to develop progression. Following careful research, the school introduced INSPIRE mathematics (based on Singapore Maths) which focuses on a specific way to teach problem solving. The pupils are introduced to mathematical concepts through a concrete, pictorial and abstract approach, which deepens learning encouraging mastery.
Benedict Biscop is a Church of England Academy. Religious Education and daily worship, are conducted in accordance with the beliefs and practices of the Church of England. Parents are invited to weekly community worship, led by children and the Reverend Tolhurst. Opportunities are provided for parents to join us to celebrate Harvest, Christmas and Easter.
The Durham Diocesan Syllabus for Religious Education (2018) is taught. Parents are reminded of their right to withdraw their child from the corporate act of worship and religious education lessons.
To develop understanding of our changing society and to reflect our City’s diverse culture, developing an understanding and tolerance of other faiths, we also study other religions Judaism, Hinduism and Islam.
Parents are reminded of their right to withdraw their child from the corporate act of worship and religious education lessons. To develop understanding of our changing society and to reflect our City’s diverse culture we also study other religions Judaism, Hinduism and Islam. We have been awarded the Gold RE Quality mark. Children have the opportunity to be confirmed in school.
History stimulates the children’s interest and understanding about the life of people who lived in the past. We also want the children to understand and appreciate how the past has influenced their own lives and modern day living. We teach children a sense of chronology, and through this they develop a sense of identity and a cultural understanding based on their historical heritage. Thus they learn to value their own and other people’s cultures in modern multicultural Britain and, by considering how people lived in the past, they are better able to make their own life choices today. In our school, history makes a significant contribution to citizenship education by teaching about how Britain developed as a democratic society. We also teach them to investigate these past events and, by so doing, to develop the skills of enquiry, analysis, interpretation and problem-solving.
Geography teaches an understanding of places and environments. Through their work in geography, children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and indeed, the rest of the world. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem solving. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography, children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures, contributing to the school’s promotion of SMSC. Geography teaching also motivates children to find out about the physical world and enables them to recognise the importance of sustainable development for the future of mankind.
Computing and Information Technology
Computing and IT prepares children to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to a varied and developing technology. Pupils use computing and IT tools to find, explore, analyse, interpret, evaluate, exchange and present information responsibly, creatively and with discrimination, for a range of purposes across the curriculum. They learn how to employ computing and IT to enable rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures. Increased capability in the use of computing and IT promotes initiative and independent learning, with pupils being able to make informed judgements about when and where to use computing and IT to best effect, and to consider its implications for home and work both now and in the future. Each teaching area has an interactive white board and access to computers and iPads. Children have the opportunity to develop skills with the hardware as well as using a variety of programmes to enhance a range of curriculum areas. Using the internet to link with children in other schools (e.g. in China and Italy), provides our children with increased understanding of communities across the world. Our children are taught to access the wider world safely, both in school and at home.
A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
Music and Creative Arts
Art is concerned with the development of the whole child. The acquisition of art and design skills enables children to achieve personal fulfilment and satisfaction and is a way of stimulating children’s creativity and imagination. Art is a form of communication of ideas feelings and meanings and for many children a means of individual expression.
Music is a unique way of communicating that can inspire and motivate children. It is a vehicle for personal expression and it can play an important part in the personal development of people. Music reflects the culture and society we live in, and so the teaching and learnign of music enables children to better understand the world they live in. Besides being a creative and enjoyable activity, music can also be a highly academic and demanding subject. It also plays an important part in helping children feel part of a community. We provide opportunities for all children to create, play, perform and enjoy music and develop the skills to appreciate a wide variety of musical forms. Children in KS2 are given the opportunity to further develop their skills, learning to play brass, guitar, drums and keyboard instruments.
Design Technology prepares children to take part in the development of tomorrow’s rapidly changing world. Creative thinking encourages children to make positive changes to their quality of life. The subject encourages children to become autonomous and creative problem solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team. It enables them to identify needs and opportunities and to respond by developing ideas and eventually making products and systems. Through the study of design and technology they combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues, as well as functions and industrial practices. This allows them to reflect on and evaluate present and past design and technology, its uses and its impacts. Design and technology helps all children to become discriminating and informed consumers and potential innovators. In the Foundation Stage we have an Engineering Pod which develops creative thinking and resilience.
During P.E. lessons we aim to improve the key skills of co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement through fun and enjoyable activities. Opportunities are given for children to participate in group situations so that they gain experience of team work. We actively promote living a healthy lifestyle. In PE we aim to motivate and stimulate interest and excitement for learning and ensure children discuss their learning and take an active part. We ensure children are given opportunities to develop the knowledge and key skills identified in the National Curriculum. We provide a broad and balanced curriculum and ensure that we use a range of classroom practice and teaching style appropriate to the needs of the learners in the group.
Sporting Aims and Provision
At Benedict Biscop Church of England Academy we emphasise positive attitudes of fair play, honesty, enjoyment in success, learning through disappointment and a willingness to attempt all challenges put in front of the pupils.
The formal school curriculum is not used to practice full sided team games – the emphasis is on small sided team games which give pupils an opportunity to put skills into practice. Your child will have the opportunity to participate in netball, football, tennis, cricket, rounders, hockey and rugby. All KS2 children have an opportunity to attend coaching sessions for swimming.
The school participates in the local school leagues and takes part in cup competitions. We have our own football pitch and netball courts. Children are encouraged to join some of the many sporting activities organised by the external agencies and individuals.
Games, Clubs, Study Support – Schoolz Out
We are very keen to develop extended opportunities for children to learn a new activity or work with a different group of children. We offer an extensive programme of activities beyond the school day. These vary from time to time according to staff arrangements and seasons of the year. They include sports practices, choir, a study night for year 6 children, drama, dance, newspaper, maths, cookery, gymnastics, Eco club, fit-for-fun, confirmation groups and computers.
During the weeks leading up to a musical presentation parents are informed of rehearsals taking place outside school hours and we love an opportunity to share our talents with parents/carers and visitors.
We believe that all children should develop skills as independent learners. We believe that organised home learning can play a vital role in raising standards of achievement. It is important that the home learning set, supports and complements learning in school and that the amount of home learning pupils receive, reflects the stage they are at in their schooling, especially as we begin the transition towards Secondary education.
All our children take home reading books daily, which gives you an opportunity to listen to your child read. Each child has a reading record/home learning book in which we encourage parents to comment, to maintain contact between home and school.
All our children take home spellings on a daily or weekly basis. Please encourage your child to learn the spellings.
Many successful class projects rely on children bringing in materials which they, and you, have helped to prepare at home. This research is invaluable and provides a focus for discussion and the basis of developing life skills.
If a child needs to consolidate or extend their learning the class teacher may suggest appropriate work or other activities to be undertaken at home.
Your child may be occasionally asked to complete work at home, started in school. It is not appropriate for children to be given home learning for a planned holiday during school time.
Educational visits are a vital part of bringing first hand experience into many aspects of the curriculum. Every year group is offered an opportunity to take part in learning beyond the classroom which is carefully monitored and supervised. This provides opportunities to stimulate and deepen learning and for the development of spirituality. In order to facilitate this the Academy fund class visits and the school mini bus enables us to take our children to many places.
All children are given the opportunity to participate in residential outdoor activity visits in years 5 and 6 in England. In KS2, children visit different places of Worship to develop an understanding of our diverse community. Previously children have visited China, France, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Spain and Greece. We plan to continue our European Visits.
Curricular provision and arrangements for pupils with special educational needs
We strive to create a positive environment for learning and we provide for individual differences in the classroom, adapting our teaching methods, through careful selection of a wide range of teaching materials. Some children need special help and “are extremely well supported” (Ofsted 2012) because they find it difficult to grasp new concepts, others because they show outstanding skill in an area of the curriculum. Specialist help may be given in the classroom wherever possible, but there can be occasions when individual or group work is more appropriate. Resources to support children with SEN are regularly evaluated and updated.
For a very small proportion of children the Academy may need to involve other specialists in a formal assessment of complex SEN. In such circumstances, there is always prior consultation with parents who are involved in any assessment process. One of our governors oversees the teaching of children with special educational needs.
Provision for pupils with disabilities
Our admission policy ensures that we treat all children equally, including those with disabilities. Our classroom environment and access to the curriculum is inclusive, with adaptations for children who require special provision. We are fortunate that the school is on one level.
We have a medical room and have refurbished two external doors to include disabled access. Our main entrance has a ramp and assisted opening on the doors. The school has designated disabled toilets and there is a ramp to the rear gate. We have assisted hearing within the school hall.
Future developments will include a hoist in medical room.
You have particular rights in making a complaint about:
- curriculum provision, including R.E. and collective worship.
- the implementation of the National Curriculum.
- the availability of external qualifications.
- exemptions from the National Curriculum.
- the operation of charging policies.
- the provision of the information listed in the section below.
The complaint must first go to the Academy, through the Headteacher. If the complaint cannot be resolved it may be necessary for it to be considered by the governing body. If the complaint is not resolved by the governing body it may be referred to The Board of Trustees, which include the Diocesan Director of Education. If that fails, the complaint can be referred to the Secretary of the State.
Note: This procedure does not apply to complaints on matters like pupil discipline or individual teachers.