Statement of Curriculum Intent
We believe that, before effective learning can take place, a school’s ethos needs to be nurturing and supportive with strong relationships between staff and pupils. The mutual respect and care for one another provides the foundation for a positive learning environment.
We see our school as having a knowledge-engaged curriculum. This means that our curriculum is underpinned by the learning of knowledge whilst offering opportunities for the application of skills.
We define knowledge as being the content within the National Curriculum supported by Lancashire’s Key Learning Indicators of Perfomance, enriched by child-led enquiry and opportunities derived from the school context and learning environment.
Alongside the gaining of knowledge as an end point, we also strive to provide our children with skills that are transferable across the curriculum and which will give them the tools to be lifelong learners. Examples include: presentational skills - choosing the best method for representing their understanding; working collaboratively to solve problems or follow lines of enquiry.
Reading is a key aspect of our work as we believe that it is a vital skill for the children’s future. We use a wide range of high quality texts across the curriculum to enhance their knowledge, develop their reading fluency and engender a love of reading.
By the time children leave Balshaw Lane, we endeavour for them to have resilience, empathy and self-belief, with a love of learning that inspires and enthuses them throughout their future lives. Having identified a particular need to develop resilience, we created our ‘Learning Powers’ to give the children the understanding and vocabulary to express qualities which support learning.
Our ‘Learning Powers’ are visually represented by ‘alien’ characters created by the children: Independence, Go-Getter, Flexibility, Creativity, Self-Belief, Resilience, Curiosity.
Our children should leave our school with high aspirations for their future. We encourage them by exposing them to varied career options, positive role models and by helping them to recognise how their individual talents can be utilised in a wide range of careers. For example: Enterprise Weeks and Aspirations Weeks; visits from parents who challenge gender stereotypes in their careers.
We also develop our children’s emotional and social understanding by exploring our school values. We explore these values and British Values through cross-curricular lessons, PSHE and assemblies and embed them throughout the children’s journey through school. Significant social and cultural events are marked, helping children to become more globally aware. By doing this, we hope to prepare the children for the challenges of the ever-changing world.
At Balshaw Lane, we have a Connected Curriculum which means that children have the opportunity to connect new ideas or concepts to prior knowledge and across curriculum subjects. For example, Y6 history work about the Ancient Egyptians linked to a DT outcome where the children made an artefact using pneumatics.
Children have opportunities to develop their long term memory through curriculum weeks, class assemblies, visits and visitors. Skills are planned through a sequence of lessons and are revisited throughout children’s learning.
We feel that particular strengths of the school are the Arts and Music, demonstrated by the high standard of our productions and musical performances. We have led local cluster art projects, exhibited at Chorley Flower Show and demonstrated Apple GarageBand at a local heads’ conference. We have recently gained the ArtsMark Gold Award which recognises the quality of the Arts in schools.
Sport is another strength of the school, acknowledged by receiving the Sainsbury’s Gold Award six times and other local awards. We enter and achieve great success at high-level competitions as a result of the wide range of extra-curricular clubs on offer.
The curriculum is also enhanced by visitors into school. For example, we have strong relationships with faith visitors. Educational visits and cultural opportunities bring learning to life beyond the classroom.
We ensure that any curriculum experience is inclusive by using the necessary support staff to help meet learning, behavioural and medical needs and by funding or supplementing costs. We plan in opportunities which challenge and broaden children’s cultural awareness and increase their cultural capital.
We believe that learning at Balshaw Lane is collaborative and that staff can continue to develop their learning alongside the children. The incredibly strong relationships between staff and pupils create an environment of mutual respect, shared direction and the safety to question and explore.
We encourage parents to be engaged in their child’s curriculum through the school website, workshops, newsletters and social media as well as class assemblies when children can showcase their learning. Homework projects give open opportunities for children to explore a focus in more depth and to present their findings as an individual outcome. Parents are regularly invited to galleries which celebrate whole school and local community projects.
Where we have identified gaps /weaknesses in our children’s personal development, we have designed our curriculum to meet these needs. Examples include: supplementary outdoor, adventurous activities to develop risk-taking; visiting galleries and places of significant cultural importance to develop a sense of awe and appreciation; charity work to develop empathy and a wider understanding of their impact on the world.
We also identify gaps for our disadvantaged children and aim to meet these at an individual level in order for them to flourish academically and socially.
We share and discuss our curriculum intent with all staff and governors at the annual Vision and Values meeting in September.