Birkbeck Primary School


Systematic development of knowledge and understanding

The ethos of our curriculum is:

To continually strive for social justice and equity of opportunity.

Our curriculum intent is:

To create a learning community where we are planning and pursuing excellence and enjoyment through sequenced, evidence informed teaching and learning that enables all children to be valued for their heritage and individuality and to be motivated to reach their full potential and to understand how they can influence the world of the future. 

At Birkbeck, we are immensely proud of our curriculum, designed to meet the needs of the twenty-first century child within our unique context. We prioritise the development of deep disciplinary and substantive knowledge as part of a web of key concepts which are continually revisited at strategic points in a child's journey through a given subject. 

Our mission is to teach children the very best of what has been thought and said and frame it in such a way as to facilitate our curriculum vision and always keep this in mind so that when children leave us, they have a clear understanding of what they have learned in their time with us and how it has enriched them as individuals and shown them how they can influence the future.

Because we are so aware of our curriculum vision in this way, we know that we must make choices that facilitate this curriculum focus. This involves carefully choosing what to include in each topic but also what to leave out. If children learn only what we teach them in each of the subject areas they study with us, then at the very least they will know how their understanding can shape the future. To achieve this, the following concepts are threaded through the substantive knowledge that is chosen in each unit of work in each subject area within each year group for History, Geography, Science, Art and DT.

Justice - Democracy - Community - Conflict - Wealth and power - Achievement

These concepts are not taught directly but are cultivated through the content that we choose and when we strategically make sure that children encounter it. For example, in one of our Year 5 Art units of work, children learn about Banksy and through this study consider the concept of Justice. This concept is also considered via the content of the Year 4 Geography unit on Fair trade and in the Year 1 Spring term History unit in which they study Lilian Bader as well as the Year 2 Writing unit based on Because Claudette, a story about Claudette Colvin. These threads are vital to developing the well rounded global citizens that we strive to help our pupils become. Through a cross-curricular development of these concepts, children are also able to develop an understanding of how different subject disciplines are connected as well as a feeling of what it is to be educated at Birkbeck Primary school.  

They provide the basis for the selection of the subject specific threads of concept which then provide a framework for the substantive knowledge taught in each subject area, within each unit of work, within each year group. This is specified clearly in each unit. By allowing these curriculum threads to be our focus, we ensure that our curriculum keeps coming back to our why- our ethos and our vision. 

Diversity and inclusion is also woven deliberately through the curriculum in every subject. We want our children to be forces for positive change in the future and to inspire a world where tolerance and the embracing of difference are the norm. To do this, we teach them about social, racial and ethical injustices of the past and the present day and we provide space for them to formulate their own responses to these based on the values that we promote and cultivate as a school. Although the world of the future will evolve from the present day, we do not believe that the course of that evolution is firmly set and so we see the cultivation of a belief in their ability to shape the world and of the importance of doing this to a just and diverse end, as central to the mission of our curriculum. While this is a challenging endeavour, we believe that is our responsibility as a school to provide this unique kind of education to our pupils to equip them with the critical thinking skills, underpinned by mutual respect and an understanding of equality to enable them to pursue social justice and equity of opportunity beyond our walls. 

As you click on each subject area, you will be able to read about the key threads of concept that we have chosen for that subject and how we have used these threads to select the content that is taught in each unit of work. The fine detail of what is taught in each unit is communicated to parents at the beginning of each term during our Meet the teacher meetings. 

You can read our in depth curriculum rationale as well as how we encorparate cultural capital below. This document also goes into more depth about how our curriculum is sequenced, using the analogy of a box set.

the curriculum rationale.pdf


Every term, lessons are supplemented with trips and visitors which enrich our children's experience of the curriculum. 

 A full list of the trips for each term can be found below:

trips and experiences map.pdf


Our curriculum is overseen by the Deputy Head teacher, Mr. A. Kohlbeck. As such, if you have any questions at all regarding any of the information contained in these pages or would like to discuss the curriculum in more depth, please do not hesitate to contact him at: 

Please also take the time to listen to this recording of a parents presentation on curriculum.