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 and 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.
“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 Education Reforms Act 1988, is made up of ten subjects. The core subjects are: English, Mathematics and Science. The foundation subjects are: Information Communication Technology, 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 PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship Education) curriculum is outstanding and children develop as responsible citizens.
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, language and literacy
- Mathematical development
- Knowledge and understanding of the world
- Physical development
- Creative development
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, social, health, citizenship education
This is a very important part of the curriculum. We encourage children to lead healthy lives, by educating them on healthy eating, exercise, 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. This programme is often linked to other areas of the curriculum. We are currently working towards the Unicef Rights Respecting Award.
Sex and relationship education
After careful consideration the Directors/Trustees [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 and literacy
English is 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 French to all children. Recent partnerships have enabled our children to visit France, to experience the culture and practise the language so that they are developing their understanding of communities beyond the U.K.
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.
Benedict Biscop is a Church of England Academy. Religious Education and daily worship, in which the clergy share twice a week, 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 clergy and the termly school Eucharist. Opportunities are provided for parents to join us to celebrate Harvest, Christmas and Easter.
The Durham Diocesan Syllabus for Religious Education 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 we also study other religions Judaism, Hinduism and Islam.
The history programme equips children with the skills which will enable them to understand the world they inhabit. We use the children’s own lives and environment to make them aware of the passage of time and to develop an understanding of the relationship between past and present. Project related outings are undertaken, links to our own City are developed, so that children understand the context of their heritage.
All children will have an opportunity to study the local environment. We use maps, photographs, written accounts and other sources. As children mature, we encourage them to appreciate the variety of physical and human conditions found on earth and to learn how to conserve the world’s resources. Our curriculum is changing to develop an understanding of sustainability from the earliest age, in the context of developing responsible lifestyles.
Information communication technology
ICT 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 ICT tools to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information responsibly, creatively and with discrimination. They learn how to employ ICT to enable rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures. Increased capability in the use of ICT promotes initiative and independent learning, with pupils being able to make informed judgements about when and where to use ICT 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.
The science scheme is related to the current themes contained in the Academy’s curriculum entitlement framework. A practical investigative approach is adopted. As children work they develop skills which enable them to choose and use equipment carefully, make observations, hypothesise, plan experiments and draw conclusions.
Music and creative arts
We offer children a means of self-expression through a variety of media, as we aim to increase awareness of their own feelings, senses and surroundings. Linked to the themes, children have regular opportunities for drawing, painting and making models, which are displayed with care, to create a lively atmosphere. We aim to give opportunities for such aspects of musical experience such as singing, listening appreciation, learning the rudiments of notation and creative composition. Children in KS2 are given the opportunity to further develop their skills, learning to play brass, drums and keyboard instruments.
Every child is helped to become more aware of the role of technology through a range of curriculum activities that are designed to allow children to work with a variety of materials. They are helped to design and make things, evaluate their products, understand how things work and the impact that advances in technology have on the environment.
During P.E. lessons we aim to improve the key skills of co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement through fun and enjoyable activities. Through P.E. we aim to provide opportunities to develop skills in movement, dance, gymnastics, swimming, games and outdoor 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. Children In KS2 receive badminton, squash and tennis coaching through our partnership with our local Health and Racquet club.
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, squash, badminton, tennis, cricket, rounders, hockey and rugby. The school enters teams in the local swimming gala and athletics meetings. 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, skiing, choir, a study night for year 6 children, drama, dance, newspaper, maths, cookery, gymnastics, Eco club, fit-for-fun, confirmation groups and computers. The school have achieved an Advanced Quality in Study Support Award (QISS) in recognition of our excellence in this area.
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. The Academy has purchased licenses for SAM Learning for children in Year 2 up to Year 6, which is an excellent resource for parents and children to work through together, via the internet.
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.
Every week children are involved in talk homework which offers an opportunity for the whole community to talk about current themes.
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.
All children are given the opportunity to participate in residential outdoor activity visits in years 5 and 6 in England and France. In KS2, children visit different places of Worship to develop an understanding of our diverse community. During 2012-13 children visited China, France Italy and Poland. 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 assisted opening on the doors. The school has designated disabled toilets and there is a ramp to the rear gate.
Future developments will include a hoist in medical room, a ramp at the main entrance and assisted hearing facilities in main school hall.
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 head teacher. If the complaint cannot be resolved it may be necessary for it to be considered by the Directors/Trustees [governing body]. If the complaint is not resolved by the governing body it may be referred to The Board of Members, 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.