At Burman we believe that one of our most important tasks is to equip children with the skills to be good communicators. We aim to do this through teaching them to speak, listen, read and write with skill and independence. Language is incorporated into all areas of the curriculum and is a key aspect of all children’s learning and development.
Speaking and listening
Language is a vital part of learning and spoken language in particular has a key role in children’s learning. We provide many varied opportunities within our teaching and learning to encourage children’s language development, such as through drama and role play, problem solving activities, class discussions and visits. Within school our children use speaking and listening to share ideas, speculate, make decisions, solve problems, enjoy listening to music or poetry and to reflect upon different ideas. At Burman we value the importance of children being able to develop good social relationships and this depends on them being able to speak and listen effectively. It is very important that children at an early stage learn to express themselves and can communicate their ideas, feelings and knowledge with increasing confidence.
Through the process of teaching phonics at Burman, children learn to; recognise individual letter sounds (phonemes), identify sounds that combinations of letters make (also phonemes!) and then to blend these sounds together from left to right to make a work. They then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they experience.
Here ‘Phonics’ is delivered in partnership with other teaching methods and reading experiences, to support our children in their development of all the other vital reading skills and to help a real love of reading to grow!
At Burman, we use the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme.
The skill and enjoyment of reading benefits children greatly throughout their lives. It is therefore important that children acquire the basic skills that will enable them to become confident and fluent readers that engage with enjoyment.
Reading is an integral part of all learning that takes place at Burman every day. Children are involved in reading for many different purposes such as; following written instructions, gathering information and for interest and enjoyment, whilst developing and extending their vocabulary, skills and confidence. They are exposed to a wide range of texts from different cultures and genres including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Our arrangement of reading books complies with the National Reading Book Band levels. The structure is based on careful research into the kinds of words used in each book, linking directly with phonetical knowledge and understanding. Each ‘band’ is represented by a colour and supports the development of progressive reading strategies and subsequently promotes reading for enjoyment.
Throughout our curriculum at Burman we provide opportunities and experiences that will interest and stimulate children and give them different purposes for which they need to write. We value children’s early attempts at writing and work to develop their ability to express themselves through the written word. It is important that children learn to write in different ways such as; in recording factual information, writing letters or invitations and writing stories for pleasure. We aim to gradually develop children’s ability to spell a variety of words and teach them how to use dictionaries to enable them to look up more difficult words.
Handwriting skills are taught from an early stage and children are encouraged to write letters based on a cursive script, enabling them to join letters naturally as they progress further throughout the school. Children are encouraged to ensure their writing is legible and to take pride in the presentation of their written work.
The introduction of a new National Curriculum, has greatly influenced the way we plan and deliver the Mathematics at Burman.
The New Mathematics Curriculum places greater emphasis on becoming secure in grasping key concepts and our teaching aims to equip children with the necessary skills to develop into competent mathematicians. We plan activities to enable children to develop fluency and reasoning skills which lead them to be able to solve problems confidently.
For Mathematics lessons, children are kept in their class groups in the Foundation Stage and in Year 1. In Year 2 they are grouped according to their ability. More able children will be challenged to develop more in-depth learning of the key skills in Mathematics, whilst children for whom mathematics is more difficult can receive the support they need, often with an extra member of staff.
All staff use a variety of resources to support the teaching of the Mathematics with a range of strategies including ICT. We have purchased the ‘Abacus’ Mathematics scheme to help support planning and teaching of the new curriculum. Using this and a range of other resources, each new skill is taught in a concrete/physical way first, enabling children to grasp the concept firmly. We encourage children to represent their Mathematic pictorially, with emphasis on jotting and correct formation of digits. More formal ways of recording Mathematics using signs and symbols are introduced at a pace appropriate for the needs of each child.
ICT forms a great part of what we do in Mathematics, from using concrete visual representations on the class whiteboard to using games/activities in ICT lessons to support children’s learning.
The Mathematic games library operates throughout the school from Reception to Year 2 and is in addition to any homework activities that are prescribed from time to time. Homework tasks are set every week in Year 2 and reflect the topics and learning objectives that have been covered during the week.
In Year 2 children also have the opportunity to access Mathematic activities at home via the online Abacus Portal allowing them to practise and extend their skills e.g. in learning number bonds, times tables and calculation strategies.
Our aim in Science is to inspire children’s natural curiosity in the world around them. Our Curriculum revolves around investigations, giving children the opportunity to make their own scientific discoveries. In Nursery and Reception this is threaded through the overall theme of each half term e.g. in the Traditional Tales topic, children investigate which material would be most effective for the Three Little Pigs’ house. In KS1 children begin the year with an entire half term dedicated to exciting practical experiments, using awe and wonder to build children’s engagement in Science. We have lovely grounds at Burman, which our children use to experience the Science curriculum first hand, learning about materials, plants, weather, animals and their habitats. Children in KS1 also conduct fieldwork about our local environment, monitoring an outdoor area at different points throughout the year. We have an Eco Committee that lead us in making a positive impact on our environment by promoting recycling, low energy consumption and healthy living throughout school.
Our children live in an increasingly technological world. Through Design Technology they have the opportunity to work with a wide range of materials and equipment. In Foundation Key Stage children are encouraged to explore materials and ideas, and begin to learn how to use these appropriately and safely. By Key Stage 1 they are introduced to the complete design process, from identifying a need, to producing a final outcome and evaluating its suitability for the purpose. Some of the projects include making a fruit salad, creating a puppet and designing and making a wheeled vehicle.
Information computing technology (ICT)
We aim to develop each child’s ICT capabilities to support and enhance their learning across other areas of the curriculum. They develop general skills of word processing, information/data handling programming, research and communication. We follow local Authority policies for safe use of the internet and raise awareness through special days and assessments.
We have a computer suite which is used by the children from Reception to Year 2. This is upgraded on a rolling programme. We have interactive whiteboards in each classroom and the hall to enable ICT to support learning where appropriate. The children also use a host of ICT equipment in their learning across the curriculum.
Humanities (geography and history)
Humanities at Burman enables the children to investigate their local community, country and other parts of the world. We undertake local walks and educational visits enabling the children to have ‘hands on’ experiences.
Children also access information about a topic through the use of ICT. Humanities provides many cross curricular opportunities and is a very important part of our curriculum.
Educational visits are organised for each year group to enhance and support the school curriculum. Parents are given plenty of notice and may be requested to make a voluntary contribution.
At Burman we aim to give the children, rich and varied musical experiences as both listeners and performers. Singing and the making of music is an integral feature of everyday school life and is enjoyed by staff and children alike. All Year 2 children are given the opportunity to learn to play the recorder and the chance to take part in the residential Dunfield House course.
Children engage in various physical activities where they can develop co-ordination, agility and confidence. Activities include dance these are taught using a variety of approaches including Top Dance cards and music DVDs and support from Miss Laura our dance teacher. Gym is taught using large and small apparatus using the Val Sabin gym programme and multi-skills programme.
Games are usually planned for the Summer Term so children and staff can use our playing fields to play team games, using bats, balls, ropes, hoops etc to build on developing races for Sports Day activities.
We place great emphasis on children’s art and design activities. We provide the opportunity for children to work creatively with a wide variety of materials and develop a range of techniques. Children also look at and experiment with techniques of many artists gaining many new skills.
In Religious Education the children have opportunities to learn about and share knowledge of their own faith and to experience elements of the faiths of others. We also encourage the children to learn from their knowledge and relate it to their own personal experience, as they develop spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness.
They are taught to appreciate the beauty of the Natural World, to work together, to value everyone, to develop self-esteem and to be reflective of their own and others experiences and religions. The spiritual, moral, social and cultural developments are not seen as the sole reserve of Religious Education but are reflected through all areas of the curriculum and our school life at Burman.