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Curriculum Rationale

Our vision: Success for Everyone

‘ empower pupils to acquire, demonstrate, articulate and value knowledge and skills that will support them, as life-long learners, to participate in and contribute to the global world.’

At Balfour, our curriculum fulfils the expectations set out in the statutory National Curriculum and is supportive of all learners regardless of their starting points.  It has been developed and built around the needs and interests of our pupils and the community in which they live. We have chosen an ambitious, knowledge-rich curriculum which has clearly identifiable cumulative learning and vocabulary instruction and is built on the principles of cognition and neuroscience whereby once knowledge has been secured, pupils can then apply this in a variety of ways. This is done through the development of key skills to embed learning both within the subject and across other subject areas.

A well-defined and connected curriculum

Each subject area in our curriculum has its own vision and is well defined and clearly organised into knowledge and skills content for each year group, starting at EYFS. Within this, Subject Teams have highlighted interleaving and cross curricular links to ensure that the curriculum is well sequenced and interconnected to offer rich and meaningful learning opportunities. Year groups refer to these when designing the half termly overviews of learning and seek to create opportunities to connect the learning through cross-curricular links. Key aspects of knowledge and skills are assessed for each child as they move through the school to inform progress and aid planning.

Teachers present the learning in a variety of ways to excite and enthuse learners. Pupils are given opportunities to write for a range of purposes across the curriculum but are also given the opportunity to record their learning in creative ways which enables them to evidence their learning and experience success.

Teachers and pupils understand what they are learning and why they are learning it due to the clear sequencing of the knowledge which deepens and develops throughout the learning journey.

Through meaningful cross-curricular links pupils can connect their learning and apply their knowledge and understanding across subject areas and year groups- revisiting previous learning and connecting it with new learning.

At Balfour, each subject is of equal importance to ensure that pupils can explore and develop their passions and talents. Our curriculum is intended to excite and engage pupils in their learning so that they can see the relevance of their learning experience and can connect their knowledge through rich, real-life experiences. This enables development of self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence.

Our curriculum is strongly aligned to our school values and we are committed to ensuring that all pupils experience success in their learning and are ambitious, motivated, reflective and resilient life-long learners who have the confidence to take risks in order to deepen their learning and fulfil their potential.

Subject teams have developed and refined their curriculums over a period of time, researching best practice to enable them to secure their own subject knowledge and support the planning and delivery of their curriculum across the school.  Through half termly monitoring activities, they are able to offer coaching and guidance to other teachers within the school to ensure the successful delivery of the planned content.

At Balfour, we use a combination of formative assessment strategies alongside low stake and retrieval activities to enable pupils and teachers to track what they know and understand, and what they need to learn next. Assessment tasks are built in at the end of a unit to enable pupils to demonstrate disciplinary/procedural knowledge by applying the substantive knowledge they now have.

We recognise that a truly inclusive practice starts with considering the needs of the most vulnerable learners through quality first teaching Our curriculum is fully inclusive and accessible to all pupils through in depth knowledge of our pupils and their needs. We use this knowledge to carefully adapt planning, teaching and resourcing to meet the needs of our pupils with SEND and low prior attaining pupils and to deliver the learning, ensuring that the knowledge has been secured before progressing to the next step in their learning. Teachers carefully consider the needs of pupils and provide practical scaffolds such as editable knowledge organisers, dual coding and clearly identified connections are supportive of our inclusive ambition for all pupils to thrive. Clear lesson structure (7 Stages of Learning), routines and predictability support all vulnerable learners, including the neurodiverse and those SEMH needs. Key vocabulary is carefully chosen and frames the concepts that we teach and this is rich, coherent and systematically revisited.

Our curriculum aims develop cultural capital and equip learners for critical and active engagement with the challenges and opportunities of life in a fast-changing and interdependent world. Through our social responsibility and personal development curriculum we will provide opportunities for pupils to make sense of a world in which they live including conflict, environmental change, inequality and poverty. Pupils will recognise and celebrate different perspectives, ideas, beliefs and values. Developing a sense of community and belonging, pupils contribute to our school, community and the wider world.

The mental health and wellbeing of our pupils is a key driver at Balfour. We recognise that optimal learning only takes place when pupils’ emotional needs are met. Pupils are taught explicitly about mental health and wellbeing each year as part of the PSHCE curriculum, but this is also regularly promoted through assemblies.

Please see below for our Curriculum Recovery information and updates.