Teaching & Learning
At Bannockburn Primary School, we believe that learning is most memorable for pupils when it is planned in a cross curricular way, enabling children to make meaningful links throughout their learning.
We offer a creative curriculum that is balanced and broadly based, promoting the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of all pupils. It provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge, skills and understanding that they need to be educated citizens in today’s modern society.
Our curriculum at Bannockburn introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said, and helps stimulate an appreciation of human creativity and achievement. We are consistently exploring new ways to prepare our children to function in the world beyond the classroom. We want all of our children to move confidently and successfully through their education. At Bannockburn, we believe in providing the best quality teaching and learning for all our pupils. We all work together to ensure that our curriculum engages all learners and provides opportunities for deeper learning.
Wherever possible, we encourage children to plan the direction of their learning. We plan topics that have rich content using stimuli such as paintings, artefacts and places of interest as a starting point for further investigation and to develop questioning skills. Our aim is for the pupils to investigate rich and challenging issues and topics, often in the context of real world problems. We always bring learning to life for our pupils by linking trips and visits to our topics. We ensure our lessons include challenge for all pupils, opportunities for children to learn through hands on experiences and lots of feedback from adults and peers.
The curriculum is continually reviewed and enhanced to ensure that it is flexible and responsive to the children’s needs. This ensures there is a relevant context for learning. The blend of discrete subjects, such as English and Mathematics, enriched by a plethora of other experiences, provides a vibrant mix that supports pupils’ learning. We have high expectations of both staff and pupils and always endeavour to achieve outstanding outcomes.
Effective Planning of Learning
Extensive and detailed planning provides the basis for the pupils’ day-to-day learning. Planning is written in collaboration with other teachers across each year group or phase. These well-structured plans provide guidance for teachers to be able to successfully deliver the new national primary curriculum. At the beginning of each new topic there is a creative start which grabs the pupils’ attention (‘a learning hook’), providing an engaging introduction. There is a strong focus on topicality, which ensures that pupils are fully aware of what is going on in the world around them, both at a local and global level.
Comprehensive curriculum outlines identifying key learning skills for each year group throughout the whole academic year ensures full pupil entitlement to the National Primary Curriculum. This overview is broken down into medium-term plans for each unit of work. The teachers apply their subject expertise to support the planning and ensure that high-quality learning experiences are identified.
At Bannockburn we believe that our school community are all ‘Growing Together and Learning Together’. We support parents and carers to understand their children’s learning throughout their time with us, and help them feel empowered to support their children’s education at home.
- To promote mutual respect and positive values, creating a culture where all effort is valued.
- Face new challenges through teamwork and leadership.
- Learn and achieve in a supportive and creative environment.
- Celebrate diversity and working in partnership with parents and the wider community
The curriculum at Bannockburn will:
- Consistently promote the highest standards in all subjects;
- Develop a wide range of skills and broaden children’s life experience;
- Enable all children to become resilient, co-operative and to be able to work collaboratively;
- Prepare the children for now and for the future;
- Develop children’s self-confidence, personal development and their capacity for self-directed learning and independence.
Please click on the links below to see the curriculum map overview of topics being taught this year and also a link to the National Curriculum.
Teaching and Learning Ethos
At Bannockburn, we have a culture of high expectations for both adults and pupils in regards to their effort, progress, behaviour, participation and presentation. We want all pupils to be actively engaged in their learning and to participate in not only their own learning, but that of their class. Positive learning behaviours are explicitly discussed, taught, encouraged and rewarded, linked to our school values, including effort, perseverance, resilience and co-operation.
Co-operative Learning (Kagan)
Lessons at Bannockburn are planned with the principles of Co-operative Learning at their heart: we expect pupils to be active participants in their learning and to collaborate with others frequently. Through a series of questioning structures and a specific style of classroom organisation, we support all pupils to be actively and simultaneously engaged in learning through planned and purposeful interactions.
Pace of Learning
Research suggests that learners are better able to concentrate and learn more when learning is organised into short, focused activities and there is a balance between teacher talk and pupils being active learners. Learning sessions are broken up into focused segments, such as questions or tasks, which give pupils the new knowledge and skills which are targeted in the session. While there is no single ‘correct’ length of time for an activity or task, the time given should be appropriate for the task type, complexity, age and developmental stage of the pupils.
Pupils at Bannockburn will usually work at a table with three other pupils. One of these pupils will be their ‘shoulder partner’ (the person next to them) and another will be their ‘face partner’ (the person opposite/ facing them). In each lesson, pupils will be expected to speak with their shoulder partner and their class; they may also need to speak to their face partner and the rest of their table depending on how the learning is organised.
Learning is enquiry-based and in each lesson, pupils will be asked to think about and respond to a range of carefully planned questions and tasks. All pupils will be given time to think and then to respond with a partner or group. Moreover, the teacher will facilitate feedback from pupils; we have a ‘no hands up’ rule and anyone could be asked to share the discussion they had participated in. Pupils are often asked to share what their partner said to encourage careful listening skills.
The Kagan Co-operative Learning Structures
The Kagan Co-operative Learning Structures teach pupils social skills, including interaction with other pupils, turn taking, listening to the views of others and sharing information. The Kagan questioning structures minimise the opportunity for pupils to become distracted or disruptive by giving them the skills to work with others and to learn independently of the teacher. When learning using Kagan questioning structures, pupils experience individual accountability for their contribution: their partner relies upon them to have thought about the question and to be ready to share and vice-versa. While the structures are used to facilitate different types of collaboration, they all require pupils to be active participants.
Some of the most frequently used structures are:
- Rally Robin
- Rally Coach
In this structure, pupils work with their shoulder partner. Pupils are given one or two questions to think about. They are told which question they will be responsible for answering and then have time to share their ideas with their shoulder partner. They need to both share their own ideas and listen carefully to what their partner says as they may be asked to feedback on their question or their partner’s.
In the ‘Rally Robin’ structure, pupils will work with their shoulder partner. This structure is used to generate a verbal list and can be used to answer questions such as ‘Which adjectives could we use to describe the sea?’ or ‘Which adverbs could we use to show how a character is speaking?’. The question is shared with pupils, and then they have ‘thinking time’ before taking it in turns with their partner to share a response.
This structure requires pupils to ‘coach’ each other to solve given problems. Pupils aim to show good coaching qualities such as positive body language and tone, a positive, supportive attitude, offering genuine praise and guiding by using helpful questions.
Sharing and Assessing our Learning
At Bannockburn, lessons are carefully planned with a clear focus: teachers and children have a shared understanding of what the learning is for each session and how pupils can be successful in achieving it. This is communicated through a ‘Learning Question’ and ‘Steps to Success’, which are shared at the beginning of each lesson and revisited throughout the session as required.
Explicit Teacher Modelling
Opportunities are planned in lessons for high-quality teacher models of the focus skill, for example the method for long division in Mathematics or using a pair of commas for parenthesis when writing. Teachers record modelled examples and other supportive materials on ‘Working Walls’ to support pupils in their learning.
Self and Peer Assessment
Pupils are given regular opportunities to review and assess their own learning and to support others by assessing and offering feedback on their learning, promoting responsibility and cooperation. This may be verbal or written. Verbal feedback is often supported by a speaking frame to scaffold the responses given by pupils e.g. “I really liked how you…. because…. Your work would be even better if…” Written feedback may be supported by a checklist linked to the agreed ‘Steps to Success’ or pupils may be asked to provide each other with ‘One/Two Stars and a Next Step’ in line with the schools’ Feedback Marking Policy. Pupils are encouraged to thank each other for their feedback and to act on it, for example by editing their work in response to any feedback that is developmental.
Phonics & Reading
At Bannockburn, we are passionate about reading and we endeavor to make sure that all our children develop a love of reading and that every child leaves us as a reader.
Central to our approach is the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics using ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’. Derived from the original Letters and Sounds, Essential Letters and Sounds has been extensively revised to provide a complete teaching programme meeting all the expectations of the National Curriculum and has received accreditation from the Department of Education.
Daily, discrete high quality teaching alongside effective assessment and tracking helps to ensure that children meet the ambitious reading targets that are set for them.
For more information on the Essential Letters and Sounds Phonic programme, please click on the link below.
All of our classrooms feature bright, stimulating and inviting book corners for children to sit and enjoy a book; we regularly invest in high quality texts for the children. In our book corners you will often find children’s recommendations and reviews of their favourite books. Each classroom has an author focus, which changes half termly, where we have strategically planned to ensure that by the time children leave us in Year 6 they have read many books by significant authors, including Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson, Mick Inkpen and lots more.
Guided reading is a daily occurrence throughout the school and in this time children have further opportunity to engage with high quality texts and show their understanding through a range of responses such as drama, extended writing opportunities and reader’s theatre. We also ensure that throughout their time at school children regularly hear adults reading aloud.
In Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) we have ‘Stay and Play’ sessions for parents that specifically focus on them reading with their children and we create opportunities where parents who wish to can come in and read a story to their child’s class. We also send home leveled books for children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 to ensure that children are reading books with a good level of challenge.
Throughout our school learning is planned in a cross curricular way and we routinely use books as our starting point for a topic. In the past we have planned a whole term’s worth of learning around texts such as; Owl Babies, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, Iron Man and many more. Using a high quality text as a basis for learning really engages the children and helps to develop quality writing as well as stimulating learning in other areas of the curriculum.
After consultation with our parents, Bannockburn created a homework scheme which encourages learning to take place outside of school, and that is linked to the current topic in class. Each half term the children will receive some homework suggestions that cover a variety of subjects. There are also suggestions of placing to visit that link to the topic.
Children are given the opportunity to select activities from the list provided. Tasks completed by the children are awarded points that the children record in their Homework Tracker. As the children gain points and add them to their homework tracker they will receive some incentives to keep trying, such as a 'Well Done' sticker, a special shiny homework pencil or a golden pen from the headteacher. For those pupils who achieve a maximum of 60 points by the end of the school year their names go onto the 'Diamond List', which is here on the website (see below) and 10 house points.
This homework scheme is not conpulsory; however, the school strongly recommends that the children continue their learning outside of the classroom.
Please click below to see the children who gained a maximum of 60 points.