At Sunny Bank Primary School, our aim is to provide a broad and balanced, creative, exciting and engaging curriculum which will enable our children to gain the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to develop as educated, well-balanced global citizens in this ever-changing world.
The Learning Challenge approach is used as a structure and ethos for our curriculum design. It makes use of the statutory requirements of the national curriculum to ensure our children are taught a broad range of key skills and essential knowledge and understanding within subject disciplines, whatever their starting points.
The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater children’s involvement with the work. The concept requires deep thinking and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point.
In designing the curriculum our class teachers and children use the school context and also the needs and interests of our children to set a prime learning challenge, expressed as a question, as the starting point. Further engagement in learning is encouraged through a ‘Wow’ moment - a starting lesson that sparks curiosity.
- Motivates and extends all children through deepening their thinking, helping them to develop a full range of knowledge, skills and understanding.
- Enables children to talk about how they learn, to think creatively, to take risks and handle change, so that they can become lifelong learners, able to respond to the opportunities and challenges of the rapidly changing world in which we live.
- Ensures equality for everyone, providing opportunities for all members of our community to learn, achieve to the best of their abilities, experience success, gain confidence and grow in independence.
- Places an emphasis on the development of courteous, co-operative and caring individuals who are sensitive to the needs of others and form and maintain constructive relationships based on respect.
- Encourages children to recognise their responsibilities as global citizens by providing opportunities for them to play an active part in school life, take care of their environment and develop their understanding of the mutual interdependence of the global community.
Our approach to curriculum design recognises the benefits of a focus on subject specific content coupled with a flexible, thematic approach that enables us to make links across the curriculum.
We use units from Focus Education Learning Challenge Curriculum as the starting point for the construction of half-termly themes: history and geography are delivered through these creative learning projects with the other curriculum subjects linked wherever there is a clear and purposeful connection. Each year group has a long-term Curriculum Map to show subject curriculum progression.
Although we place a strong emphasis on a thematic approach, in order to ensure progression and coverage, curriculum leaders have developed subject progression overviews that provide an overview for every subject, and for each year group, broken down into half term units.
At Sunny Bank we believe our responsibility is to help develop children’s characters so they have a mindset that they can achieve what they want to if they put their mind to it, embracing challenge, taking risks, making mistakes and responding to constructive feedback. Working with the children we have developed our own ‘Building Learning Powers’ of;
- Independent Learners
- Critical Friend
- Team worker
- Effective Participators
- Critical thinkers
As a school we have also created ‘The Sunny Bank Way’ which encompasses everything that we as a school community offer anyone that enters our building.
Our journey to develop a 'Growth Mindset' amongst our children and staff, equipping them with the habits of mind to tackle anything in their path forms the basis that underpins our entire curriculum.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
At Sunny Bank Primary School, the Early Years Foundation Stage is about developing key learning skills such as listening, speaking, concentration, persistence and learning to co-operate with other children. We also work to develop early communication, literacy and numeracy skills that will prepare children for Key Stage 1 of the National Curriculum.
The curriculum of the Early Years Foundation Stage is organised into seven areas of learning: -
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication and language development
- Mathematical development
- Understanding of the world
- Physical development
- Expressive arts and design
Each area of the curriculum has Early Learning Goals, which establish expectations for children to reach by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage. These are achieved through highly focused learning objectives which are used to engage children in independent learning.
Writing is taught through a range of exciting stimuli which starts with a ‘Core Text’ linked to the current topic to engage children; other texts, film clips artefacts, visitors and real-life experiences are also used as stimulus to engage the children. We strive to equip children to develop a rich vocabulary which can help them bring their writing to life. Basic skills and non-negotiables (Must Marks) underpin writing in all areas of the curriculum. Teachers model the writing process and demonstrate the ambitious high standards expected of all children.
Reading is a fundamental part of everything we do at Sunny Bank Primary School. Children are exposed high quality texts across the curriculum and reading skills are taught explicitly in all year groups. Guided reading is taught through a whole class approach. This enhances individual and class-based reading. Children are taught the skills of reading comprehension using VIPERS: Vocabulary, Inference, Predict, Explain, Retrieval and Sequence / Summarise. Reading for pleasure is a key aspect of our approach to enable and give child the ‘Love of reading’, this is achieved through giving the children a wide range of texts to read and ensuring that children encouraged to read and discuss what they have read. We use accelerated reader to engage our children, motivate reading practice and improve reading progress.
We place a strong emphasis on phonics (letter sounds) in the early years of learning to read because we believe this lays the foundations for successful reading. At Sunny Bank Primary, we use the DFE Letters and Sounds guidance to teach interactive lessons and we use Jolly Phonics resources in the Foundation Stage. Children remain with their class teacher for phonics learning who provides the appropriate level of challenge for each attainment group.
At Sunny Bank Primary School we draw upon different resources to support teachers in all aspects of their planning whilst delivering Maths Mastery methods effectively. Although we primarily draw upon the White Rose Maths Hub objectives which are fully supported by the Department for Education we also use Power Maths, Maths No Problem, I see Reasoning and NRich Materials.
As part of this process, teachers need to plan using the five part lesson structure:
- Daily fluency focus
- Let's learn
- Guided Practice
- Independent Practice incorporating a chance to be challenged.
We recognise that maths is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment.
Children are encouraged to take risks and extend their thinking and reasoning skills through high expectations within tasks. Fluency is an important aspect of Mathematics throughout the school as this underpins Maths Mastery and allows children to become functional mathematicians. Each class will focus on fluency every day to ensure that the basics are mastered and allow the children to solve more complex aspects of maths. We promote the use of IT, developing the home-school link through our use of TT Rockstars, Mathletics and our Judo Maths competitions.
Creative thinking is developed through autonomy in Science and the Foundation Subjects.
At Sunny Bank Primary School, the’ Learning Challenge’ approach is used as a structure and ethos for our curriculum design. It makes use of the new national curriculum and individual subject skill progressions to ensure our children are taught a broad range of skills across subjects. The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work. It requires deep thinking and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point. In designing the curriculum our class teachers and children use a prime learning challenge, expressed as a question, as the starting point. Engagement in learning is encouraged through a ‘Wow’ moment - a starting lesson that sparks curiosity. The first lesson engages children to bring out what they already know; what misconceptions they may have and what really interests them. This is then recorded as KW on the topic working wall. Children are given time to reflect on their learning.
The Computing Curriculum at Sunny Bank Primary School is designed using Purple Mash to equip children with the skills and understanding to live in a technological world, this includes being able to use a variety of computer software and coding programmes. The children are encouraged to apply the skills they have learnt independently as they progress through school. These are split into the following six areas:
- Digital photography (graphics, images and animation skills)
- E-communication (Using discussion boards, blogs, email and video conferencing)
- Instructions and Events (Computer programming and data logging skills)
- Sorting Information (simulations, data bases and digital research)
- Sounds (Recording and editing digital audio)
- Text and multimedia (word processing and presentation skills)
There is an emphasis on the importance of Online Safety for all year groups
Using the Learning Challenge curriculum combined with the Bury RE Agreed Syllabus children are taught knowledge and understanding around a range of religious and worldwide views so that they can: describe, explain, analyse and investigate allowing them to appreciate beliefs and practices, recognising the diversity, meanings and values within and between communities (including their own) and amongst individuals.
At Sunny Bank we have adopted The Charanga Musical School Scheme which provides teachers with lesson support for each year group in the school. Assessment, clear progression, and engaging and exciting resources are used to support every lesson and give our children integrated, practical, exploratory and child-led approach to musical learning.
Modern Foreign Languages
Our French curriculum is designed to progressively develop children’s skills in languages, through regular taught lessons. Children progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary organised around topics. All of these approaches help to equip our children with the skills to be confident global citizens.
Through specialist teaching, a progressive curriculum and a strong passion for PE and sport children are given the opportunity to develop their Building Learning Powers, develop an understanding of the importance of leading an active lifestyle and evaluate and build skills, understanding and knowledge through many avenues. Children in EYFS, KS1 and KS2 take part in Health and Well-being events once every term. Children also have the opportunity to represent school at inter sports events during the school year. Keeping in line with current sporting and live events is a motivator we value.
At Sunny Bank we believe in educating the whole child and offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities during the year for each year group. These include:
- Girls and boys football – Key Stage 1 and 2
- Triathlon club
- Art and Craft club
- Board games club
- Social Skills club
- American sports club
Sunny Bank Primary School believes that not all learning takes place inside the classroom and we encourage teachers and children to take learning outside to make learning more relevant to their lives in the community and wider world.
Each child in school will experience Forest School at different stages during the year to experience the outdoors during each season. In Forest School children are able to take calculated risks in a controlled environment. They learn cause and effect and what may or could happen. They are given the opportunity and responsibility under supervision, to use tools and help be part of a team, creating a fire to keep them warm and cook food. Equality, achievement and self-belief help children to return to the classroom feeling that they can accomplish and succeed in what they do. Every child is valued, and their input is vital; we work as a team and they are able to respect and treat each other fairly and as equals.
We encourage children to be responsible for and respect the local community and environment giving them a sense of belonging and ownership of the place in which they live. We explore the uses of the local area, integrating subjects so that meaningful activities can be planned and delivered effectively and regularly.
Visits and Visitors
In the curriculum we recognise that children’s learning is enhanced by different experiences. We offer children a wide range of educational visits which are used to motivate, engage and enhance learning which improves retention. Regular visitors in school give the children another perspective on values, attitudes, learning and understanding. These include charities, people from different professions, members of different religious faiths and also the local community.
At Sunny Bank Primary School, the curriculum is aimed at allowing all children to develop into aspirational life-long learners who aim high to achieve the best they can; whilst achieving the outcomes they have worked hard for and deserve. Children are proud to be part of Sunny Bank and of the wider community. Over time they grow as Global Citizens ready for the next stage of their education with the knowledge and skills to enable them to succeed in anything they put their mind to.