Skip to content ↓

Our Learning

Our Curriculum


The intention of our curriculum is to create a culture of enquiry, curiosity and challenge that permeates everything we do. At the heart of our learning, we continue to incorporate oracy, increase cultural capital and prioritise reading.

Our curriculum provides all our young people with the knowledge, skills and curiosity that they will need to thrive, not just in their local community but also in the wider world as it really is. We aim to create great citizens ready for the next stage in their learning journey.

Our shared values of: joy, curiosity, determination, respect and pride help our children to make informed choices; to develop a life-long love of learning; to achieve highly and to the best of their ability and to feel valued. 

Our curriculum will teach the children at Barrs Court to:

  • ask great questions and think critically
  • make things
  • work collaboratively with others 
  • speak confidently and listen actively
  • be aspirational and self-organising
  • be enquiring and curious and to discover things for themselves
  • protect their own (physical and mental) health and care for others
  • build positive relationships and contribute to their community
  • value nature and care for the environment
  • engage actively and creatively
  • set them up to live successfully.

To do all this, we provide a safe, secure and aspirational learning environment and the opportunity to participate in a range of stimulating experiences.

How our curriculum is organised:

What is enquiry-based learning at Barrs Court Primary?

Our enquiry curriculum enables our learners to become curious about the local world around them. We teach the National Curriculum through a content that is centred around our local area including Bristol. This gives learners a valuable context to their learning that they can relate to and then gives them the tools to look outward towards the world around them. We find that this approach, streamlines, aligns and ensures everything we do is purposeful, progressive and immersive with local places, people and stories.

What is enquiry led learning?

In a nutshell, enquiry-led learning provokes learners with key questions too big to answer in one go, but not so conceptually large that they cannot understand. The purpose is to guide learners through a scaffolded process, where they engage, immerse, practice and finally challenge themselves to answer the big question with a piece of writing, performance or animation, for example. Through this process learners develop both the skills and knowledge they need in order to answer the big question, and through the practice section, they are given the time and space that they need to apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired. Within each enquiry, oracy skills are taught systematically, following the Voice 21 progression and oracy framework. Learners then practice these oracy skills and apply them within the context of their enquiry.

What are the core principles underpinning this?

As cognitive development, emotional literacy and language immersion underpin our approach, as well as purposeful links to mastery-led learning principles, we recognise children’s awareness of the world develops as they mature and that this has a significant impact on their ability to learn. Our job is to help learners make sense of the world, not just expose them to it. This means that initially learning reinforces personal identity and the present day, which is essential in creating self-aware individuals. As they develop, we then connect them to the immediate environment/community/country until they are able to conceptualise abstract themes such as tolerance or culture on a global scale: from ‘Me’ to ‘Everyone’



How does this affect lessons?

The usual Author (English) and Mathematicians (Maths) teaching sequences continue. National Curriculum subject objectives from Science, History, Geography, Art and Design, Design and Technology are woven throughout enquiries as seen on the Whole School Enquiries Map. Some subjects (renamed using the States of Being) are taught discreetly, such as Foreign Languages (Linguists), Physical Education, Music, RE and PSHE. 

What are States of Being?

States of being (below) enable learners to focus on and/or combine powerful knowledge in different enquiries. Each knowledge-engaged state symbolises an aspect of the curriculum, helping learners to master both the know of and know how of a subject, not just remember it. For instance, we want our learners to be Scientists, not just learn about science. As learners get older, we help them to make links between different states of being. We want learners to discover for themselves that they can be an Author, Scientist, Geographer and Philosopher at the same time and that some adults combine these states to become Archaeologists, for instance. We want our learners to see the interconnection between what they are learning and how this knowledge is applied. We intend for our children to talk about being an Author or a Scientist rather than ‘doing’ Science or English.

Oracy (speaking and listening) is taught through all subject areas and permeates through our school. We offer opportunities for all children to develop their skills in learning through talk as well as learning to talk and this is showcased through every enquiry as well as being embedded in English, Mathematics.

State of Being– explanations

Authors... read a lot and use what they have read to help them write what is inside their heads. This means other people can read what they have written to help them understand something, entertain them or make life better.

Mathematicians... use numbers to find solutions. Being a Mathematician can help with everyday things like shopping, cooking and travelling. The world is full of numbers so we often need to count, sort and measure things.

Scientists... ask questions about the world by looking closely at both big and small things, as well as things that cannot be seen easily. They constantly search for answers to understand the world better for everyone.

Historians... use things that have been left behind to understand what the past might have looked like. They use different sources to help understand people, places and stories throughout time.

Geographers... understand the world above, around and below us by exploring, mapping and documenting. They make connections between cause and effect and how actions affect the natural and made world.

Philosophers... try to make sense of the world by asking lots of questions. They particularly like 'why' questions and seek answers to difficult ideas like emotions, thoughts and ideas.

Musicians... express ideas and emotions using voices, tuned instruments or found objects. They communicate complex things in amazing ways through sound. Music can help communicate things that might be hard to say in just words.

Artists... use different ways to communicate ideas and emotions. They can use a variety of things to help them represent the world around us like painting and drawing, sculpture or performance. Artists help us to understand the world from different perspectives.

Engineers... try to find solutions to different problems. Engineers design things to be easier to use or work better like buildings and transport. They often try to improve things that already exist or create new versions.

Linguists... understand the world through different languages. They love learning about faith, community and culture through understanding how people communicate in different places around the world. If we understand someone else's language, we not only can communicate with them, but understand how things might be different.

Athletes... are focused on being fit and healthy. They work hard at being the best they can be through listening to other people, problem-solving and keeping going no matter how tough it gets.


Get in touch

Barrs Court Primary School
Stephens Drive, Longwell Green, Bristol, BS30 7JB

01454 867799