At Burnside Primary, we offer a full, rich and creative education, which is unique to our school. This provides our children with inspiring, stimulating and enriching experiences. Our determined staff have designed our broad and balanced curriculum, which is at the heart of all we do. Pupils enjoy breadth and depth in all subject areas.
The full range of subjects help children to acquire knowledge, understanding and skills in all aspects of their education. We enrich the curriculum with educational visits, links with the wider community and extra curricular activities. We involve parents and carers in their children’s learning, valuing a joint working partnership.
We have arranged our curriculum content into a range of exciting themes and topics, ensuring coverage of the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum.
Teachers identify starting points for each topic, showing how it will develop and outline any significant outcomes within planning. Taking account of our children's specific starting points, our tailored curriculum aims to address social mobility as well as removing barriers to learning.
Governors and staff are committed to providing equality of opportunity to all pupils. Our children are prepared for life in a multi-cultural society and are taught the importance of British values. To this end, all schemes of work and resources have been scrutinised to ensure that they provide balance.
Parent/teacher consultations and/or written reports provide details of individual progress and celebrate achievements across the full curriculum. These opportunities are provided each term.
A brief outline is given of the general aims of each curriculum area below.
The overarching aim for the teaching of English at Burnside Primary and in response to Government initiatives, as well as the National Curriculum, is to promote high standards of language and literacy. This is achieved by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature.
At Burnside Primary, we ensure all children receive high quality education in English. We aim to teach pupils to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually, preparing them for life within our modern British society.
Reading and Spelling
We have a systematic yet creative approach to the teaching of reading and spelling. From Nursery onwards, children are taught using the Read Write Inc. programme to recognise sounds (phonemes) and letters (graphemes) in order to read and spell words.
As soon as children are ready, they will bring home a reading book. All reading books are banded according to their level of difficulty. Children in Key Stage 1 also have a weekly visit to our school library.
Quality texts form the spine for all of our teaching and a varied selection of poetry, fiction and non-fiction is available to all classes.
The development of writing skills is a key priority at Burnside Primary. Children are taught to write for a range of purposes and audiences, not just within Literacy lessons but across all subjects, as part of our uniquely designed curriculum.
Digital Literacy is also a life skill of modern Britain and again these skills are taught throughout the curriculum.
Standards of presentation are important and children are taught, from Nursery onwards, to develop their handwriting skills through a variety of games, activities and exercises. Individual letter formation is introduced in conjunction with the Read, Write, Inc programme.
In accordance with the National Curriculum, each year group follows a prescribed programme of work with a daily maths lesson using the White Rose Maths Scheme. There is an emphasis on mental calculation leading to standard written methods at later stages. The daily lesson may include oral work and mental calculation, an independent activity, direct teaching and an opportunity for children to feedback on their learning.
Understanding of mathematical concepts is vital and therefore practical, problem-solving and investigative approaches are taught. Children are encouraged to discuss methods used to answer questions. We ensure that the children have an awareness of the uses of mathematics beyond the classroom and relate mathematics work to everyday life. We aim to maintain and increase each pupil’s confidence in mathematics and develop his/her appreciation and enjoyment of mathematics.
Through science work in the school we aim to increase the children’s knowledge and understanding of their world. We place great emphasis on the experience of scientific processes - observing, problem solving, pattern seeking, designing and predicting the outcomes of experiments and communicating findings in a variety of ways. Links between Science and other curriculum areas, for example, Computing, Design Technology, English and Maths are explored wherever possible. In each phase children study a range of topics in accordance with National Curriculum guidelines.
Children have experience of topics drawn from Biology, Chemistry and Physics. We believe that with the consistent experience of scientific processes via this wide range of topics, the children will be well equipped to meet the challenges of Science work in their future school years and life beyond.
All classrooms, Nursery to Y6 have interactive whiteboards. We also have a set of wireless laptops and iPads for use in classrooms.
The children use ICT to reinforce skills and knowledge acquired from other areas of the curriculum.
Internet access, which is supervised and monitored, is available in all classrooms. Children are taught about keeping safe when using the internet and parents are welcome to discuss any aspects with staff.
A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content.
Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
Design Technology promotes the children’s natural interest in finding out how things work. It involves the identification of need or problem, proposing a solution, designing and making and then finally testing and modifying the result. The children develop skills such as problem solving, planning, decision making and evaluating. They consider the aesthetic qualities of their own work and that of others. The children undertake this work using a variety of tools and materials, from commercially produced kits to model making with junk materials. Technology work is not restricted to model making. It also includes sewing, food technology, using Technical Lego, designing and making usable products.
All children are given a variety of musical experiences throughout their time at Burnside. We have regular singing assemblies ensuring that children learn new, exciting, age appropriate songs in class every half term. Children have access to a wide range of percussion instruments for class based musical work, alongside regular listening sessions in which they are introduced to some of the major classical works and music from other cultures. Children also have the opportunity to join our school choir, which performs at many school and collaborative events. Instrumental tuition is available for pupils at a cost to parents.
Art, Craft and Design
The children’s understanding and enjoyment of Art and Design is developed through inspiring, cross curricular, creative activities.
At each key stage children are given opportunities to individually express their ideas, record observations, design and make artefacts.
Throughout their work the children are taught about pattern and texture, colour matching and mixing, how images are made using line and tone, and the use of shape and form. Children are encouraged to use a range of tools and media in all activities, and a range of high quality resources are available for children to use.
We have an art program installed to develop skills on computers and online resources children can access to find out more. They are given an awareness of the work of artists and designers from the past and present, and from a variety of cultures. We develop links with a number of artists, and children have the opportunity to work with, and take inspiration from these creative individuals.
Whole school art projects, further contribute to the children’s interest and enjoyment of art. Through attention to display we hope to encourage pride in their own artistic achievements and increasing sensitivity towards both natural and manufactured artefacts.
Each child has an individual Art portfolio in which they regularly add observational drawings and paintings throughout they time in school. The portfolio shows progression and development of skills in a range of media.
History study units are followed in accordance with the National Curriculum recommendations but with a distinctive local slant. Reception, Y1 and Y2 explore their own immediate history, followed by an exploration of childhood, schooling and life when their parents and grandparents were young. This is supplemented with stories about famous historical characters and happenings. Children in Key Stage Two will study specific history units such as Ancient Egypt, The Roman Empire and its impact on Britain and Britain's settlements by Anglo-Saxon's and Scots. They will also study Ancient Greece, linking Greek life to its influences on the Western World. In addition, they will unpick the struggle for the Kingdom between the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons.
Work in Geography aims to stimulate children’s interest, initially in their immediate environment and, subsequently in other environments on the earth’s surface. We hope to foster a sense of wonder at the beauty of the world around and thus to develop an informed concern about the quality and care of the environment. Nursery and Reception find out about their immediate environment, exploring the school grounds and local community. Key Stage 1 find out about Explorers whilst Key Stage 2 study the Caribbean and environmental issues. Geography is taught within the creative topic.
At Burnside Primary our Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) is designed to help our children acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding to help them to lead confident, healthy and independent lives. They have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and understand how they are developing personally and socially.
We recognise that PSHE is relevant to many curriculum areas and we respond to the children's needs where appropriate. In addition we also focus on national events such as Holocaust memorial day and Anti-Bullying week.
We are a healthy school and as such ensure that we incorporate drug, alcohol and anti-smoking education into our curriculum. Pupils also find out about the main political and social institutions that affect their lives and so are helped to become informed, active, responsible citizens.
In the Early Years, Religious Education appears within the context of carefully chosen themes, sometimes integrated with other areas of the curriculum. It begins with the known, finding out about themselves, their environment and their relationships, with the aim of developing both moral and spiritual awareness. Children are helped to appreciate what religion is about and make their own personal response to it. All children during the school year are involved in different work concerned with Harvest, Christmas and Easter. Children at KS1 also study aspects of major faiths, in particular Judaism. Children at KS2 will study elements of most major religions. All religious teaching is devised in accordance with the LEA Agreed Syllabus. Parents have the statutory right to withdraw children from the teaching of RE.
Here at Burnside we work hard to develop a deep understanding of global injustice encouraging our whole school community to tackle these issues while becoming courageous advocates for change. We are extremely proud to be the first school in Northumberland to have achieved the Bronze Award status in Christian Aid’s Global Neighbour's scheme in recognition of our wide-ranging steps to love and support our global neighbours. The accreditation scheme celebrates schools that are helping pupils learn about global poverty and the Christian responsibility to tackle it, as well as giving them the tools to play a confident part in creating a fairer world.
The whole community at Burnside Primary School continue to work hard in taking their place as global citizens. Through each issue explored the children have the opportunity to learn the importance of considering, valuing and treating all people with dignity and respect. Our participation in this award and our ongoing vision has helped and continues to help our young people to become courageous advocates for those who have no voice.
In Physical Education the children are encouraged to plan, perform and evaluate their work. At Key Stage One, the children are taught three areas of activity: games, gymnastics activities and dance. At Key Stage Two, the children are taught games, gymnastics activities, dance and swimming. At points during this Key Stage the children participate in athletics activities. The PE Scheme consists of a balanced, progressive programme covering all of these components. It makes provision in the acquisition of the basic physical and manipulative skills and encourages active participation. These qualities together with the qualities of alertness, concentration and self-discipline help develop positive attitudes and the healthy growth of each child. Throughout each Key Stage the children are made aware of the positive effects of exercise on their bodies. Safe practice is observed at all times.
Health Education is usually integrated within other areas of the curriculum. Sex Education is covered within the context of a relationships policy. This was agreed with Governors and is regularly reviewed.
Modern Foreign Languages
At Burnside we feel that by learning a language, children will have the opportunity to develop positive attitudes and respect for other languages and cultures. Children at our school learn French throughout Key Stage 2. Children acquire and develop key language skills and knowledge by participating in stimulating French lessons. A range of themes are taught such as: numbers, colours, animals, food and clothes. We also recognise that learning a language supports and strengthens skills in other areas of the curriculum, such as literacy.