What will the curriculum look like for my child at Oasis Bank Leaze?
Here at Oasis Bank Leaze we are passionate about providing the best possible learning experience for every child. We have designed our curriculum to be fun and based on the children’s interests and needs- this helps them engage and connect to what they are being taught. Our curriculum is based on four key principals:
· Developing communication and language
· Based on great quality books and texts
· Experience- led learning at it’s heart, including using the outdoors wherever possible
· Knowledge based with the emphasis on retaining that knowledge
Alongside this we have made sure our curriculum has links with our local area and context in Bristol and exposes children to the reason they are learning with a focus on careers and the wider world outside of school. Across all subjects, we encourage children to ask questions about what they are learning, think deeper by questioning why? and get stuck in to make sure the knowledge they learn is taken away for life. We want our children to feel that they have a say in leading our curriculum and the topics they want to explore; our primary school provision is their first taste of their life long learning journey- we strive to make sure it whets their appetite for more.
We tailor our lessons to meet the needs of our pupils, working as a family of educators to ensure that the best possible standards are met by us, and that our children reach their potential and make progress from the get-go. No child is left behind at Bank Leaze.
Communication and Language
From the moment our children start with us in Nursery our focus is all around talk. Our curriculum is vocabulary rich. Each topic has a focus on specific key words related to what children are learning to broaden their own vocabulary. Children share items from home with their class in their Friday class assemblies. Children have the opportunity to share more widely with the rest of the school during their class assemblies. Children are encouraged to speak in full sentences and are rewarded when they do this.
Great quality books and texts
Reading is at the heart of everything we do. Our termly topics are based on high quality literature using a range of books and diversity in authors to inspire our children across subjects. We use the Power of Reading programme to help structure our writing curriculum. This ensures our lessons are linked and the learning is purposeful.
We know that being read to is fundamental to learning. At Oasis Bank Leaze every class is read a great quality text for 20 minutes a day- this is separate to the book they may be studying in lessons. This is a chance for the children to relax and unwind whilst they are exposed to a vast array of diverse authors and stories.
With reading being at the heart of everything we do, we have a very strategic and focused plan to get children reading. We use a variety of book types to engage our early readers as they learn including Oxford Reading Tree books and PM Benchmark books. We use Book Banding levels and ‘benchmark’ children against these regularly to check they are reading at the right level for them. It’s important for us that we have a good home/ school partnership to start children on their reading journey. We have parent training on this when your child starts with us to share our in school and home approach to best support every child. We send home four books a week in Early Years and KS1 with children working really hard at home with their reading being given the opportunity to read to our school guinea pigs on a Friday. We focus on teaching reading skills in whole class sessions and children’s understanding of what they have read.
In Phonics, we use the follow the Letters and Sounds program, teaching children in smaller groups based on their current 'phase' within the program. These sessions are always as fun and active as we can make them using lots of resources. It’s often the highlight of the children’s day!
Experience based learning including the outdoors!
At the core of our curriculum and delivery is the belief that our children need deserve the chance to experience things first hand. Therefore, visits are integral to every child’s experience in the Academy. During their time with us children will have the chance to: visit a coast-line; visit Bristol Zoo, climb to the top of a lighthouse, explore their understanding at the science museum, ride the London Eye, see the Houses of Parliament, visit the Tower of London, and summit a peak, step back in time at the Roman Baths and many other activities.
Oasis Bank Leaze is set in a stunning rural vista in the heart of inner city Bristol. We make the most of our country like surroundings by making sure each termly topic we cover has outdoor learning incorporated. Our children love to be outdoors exploring their surroundings, particularly in their Forest School sessions. Our lessons and topics, written by our teacher experts, are developed to ensure that every child who is part of the Bank Leaze family leaves us in year 6 equipped with the skills and knowledge to succeed at secondary school, but also have a bank of exciting and fond memories of their time with us.
We believe the knowledge matters. Each topic is planned using a ‘knowledge organiser’. This maps out the information children will be exposed to and retain each term. Knowledge organisers are shared with parents and sent home to allow parents to join in the learning journey with their child at school. We know from research that the act of remembering actually helps long-term memory and for the reason quizzes form a key teaching strategy.
On a topic by topic basis, and across the year, this is how we ‘track’ pupils’ progress outside of reading, writing and maths.
How do we teach the curriculum over the Academic year?
The year is split into four learning terms. This helps make sure the learning is able to be studied in depth as well as ensuring progress. It also means we are able to have specific curriculum days or weeks or observe festivals as the come up in the calendar. We will also assess children each term. During our four learning terms the learning will be structured via a key question. All of the learning for the term will be structured around answering the key question. Some examples of our key questions are: What makes Bristol so special? What have the Egyptians done for me? What’s the weather like where I am? Why do people protest? ……These topics will have either an historical, geographic or scientific focus (or often a mixture of all three). Each unit is led by a key text or texts. For example, the book ‘London Eye Mystery’ is used as a vehicle for studying London as a global city in Year 6 and Egyptian Cinderella provides the structure for a scientific study of ‘changing state’ in Year while ‘Bob-Man on the Moon’ provides a starter of conversation for ‘When I grow up I want to be..?’ in Year 2.
We have chosen units of study that we think are vital for children to experience to ensure that they are ready of the next stage of their education and for fulling their part in our modern world. We have not shied away from difficult topics where we believe they are of intrinsic importance.
We strive to link every aspect of study to the key text and learning focus of each unit. However, sometimes subjects stand alone or require particular expert focus. For this reason, RE, Music, MFL and PE sit aside from our topic based approach- although often the topic is incorporated in some way.
Our PE curriculum is led by experts: we use Shine Sports – Bristol to drive our PE curriculum. Experts provide structure sessions across a range of sports and the presence of the class teacher – developing the skill-set of staff whilst also providing high-quality physical experiences for our pupils. We believe in the power of competitive sport and give all pupils the opportunity to compete against others by the time they complete Year 6.
We know music is important for the soul as well as the mind- our children love to sing and play musical instruments. We have an expert music company based in Bristol called Preludes to supplement our music curriculum. We are passionate that every child gets the opportunity to learn a musical instrument during their time at Bank Leaze as well as learning to read musical notation- we love hearing these musical opportunities every Tuesday at Oasis Bank Leaze. curriculum overview map is available here for Years 1 to 6.