Curriculum

BJAB follows the National Curriculum for England with adaptations for an international school. The curriculum is taught in English and specialist teaching is given to children for whom English is not their first language.

The curriculum is divided into three stages:

  • The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Reception (ages 3-5),
  • Key Stage 1: Years 1 and 2 (ages 5-7),
  • Key Stage 2: Years 3 – 6 (ages 7-11).

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

Key Stage 1

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum concentrates on seven areas split between prime and specific areas of learning.

The prime areas of learning are:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development

The specific areas of learning are:

  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

Teaching is often done through play with children learning about subjects and other people through games. At the end of the EYFS an assessment profile of each child, based on teacher observation, is passed to the teacher of the next curriculum phase.

Key Stage 1

Key Stage 1

In Key Stage 1 the National Curriculum for England requires children are taught three core subjects: English, mathematics and science; and seven Foundation subjects: art and design, computing, design and technology, geography, history, music and physical education.

Teachers produce schemes of work each term detailing the areas of the curriculum to be covered and what topics will be used to devise interesting and inspiring activities and lessons.

English

All pupils are encouraged and challenged to reach high standards of language and literacy. We equip children with a strong command of the spoken and written word and develop their love of books and literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. Pupils learn to apply a knowledge of phonics to understand that the letters on the page represent the sounds of spoken words, as the basis of all reading and spelling. The programme of study includes Reading (word reading and comprehension) Writing (composition, spelling, handwriting, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation) and Spoken Language.

Mathematics

The principal focus of mathematics in Key Stage 1 is to ensure that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. This involves working with numerals, words and the four operations often with the support of practical resources such as measuring tools, and weights. Children learn to recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort different shapes and use the related vocabulary. Concepts of different quantities such as length, mass, capacity/volume, time and money are explored.

Science

In Key Stage 1, pupils are taught to experience and observe the natural and humanly-constructed world around them. We encourage curiosity and a desire to use different types of scientific enquiry to answer children's own questions. The programme of study includes observing changes over a period of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying objects, carrying out simple comparative tests, and finding things out using secondary sources of information. Most of the learning about science in Key Stage 1 is done through the use of first-hand practical experiences, supported by appropriate books and technology. Pupils are encouraged to present their findings and communicate their ideas to a range of audiences, especially parents, using simple scientific vocabulary and language.

Art and design

Creative children abound in our school with art and design providing opportunities for expression and critical thinking. Pupils are taught to draw, paint and sculpt using a range of materials to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination. They learn about techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space and study the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers.

Design and technology

Problem solving, risk taking and resourcefulness are the qualities we encourage in our children through a variety of creative and practical activities. Learning takes place in and out of the classroom to ensure relevance to the wider world. The learning process children are taught to follow is Design, Make and Evaluate.

Geography

As an international school at the crossroads of Europe, where many of our families lead transient lives, geography has a particular relevance. Pupils learn locational knowledge about continents and oceans; the physical geography of places including their similarities and differences; human and physical geography such as seasons and weather patterns. Children explore inside and outside the classroom, taking full advantage of our location.

History

In Key Stage 1 we teach our children to develop an awareness of the past and the passage of time. They study similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. We encourage pupils to ask and answer questions and how to use stories and other sources to show that they know and understand the features of key historical events and people, particularly those in our locality.

Key Stage 2

Key Stage 2 - in the computer room

In Key Stage 2 the National Curriculum for England requires that children are taught three core subjects: English, mathematics and science; and seven Foundation subjects: art and design, computing, design and technology, geography, history, music and physical education. Children at BJAB are also taught French.

Teachers produce schemes of work each term detailing the areas of the curriculum to be covered and what topics will be used to devise interesting and inspiring activities and lessons.

English

With a solid foundation of phonic knowledge from Key Stage 1 , children in Key Stage 2 start to develop their understanding and enjoyment of stories, poetry and plays and begin to read silently. They are introduced to reading non-fiction about a wide range of subjects. We continue to equip children with a strong command of the spoken and written word and develop their love of books and literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. Our teachers make sure that pupils build on what they have learnt, particularly in terms of the range of their writing and the more varied grammar, vocabulary and narrative structures from which they can draw to express their ideas. We teach the cursive style of handwriting.

Mathematics

The aim of the curriculum is to ensure our pupils become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, learn to reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry and to solve problems. In lower Key Stage 2 we ensure that pupils become increasingly fluent with whole numbers and the four operations, including number facts and the concept of place value. Children start working with simple fractions and decimal place value. By the end of year 4, pupils should have memorised multiplication tables, up to and including, the 12th multiplication table. In upper Key Stage 2 pupils extend their understanding of the number system and place value to include larger integers. They develop their ability to solve a wider range of problems, including increasingly complex properties of numbers and arithmetic, and problems demanding efficient written and mental methods of calculation. With this foundation in arithmetic, pupils are introduced to the language of algebra as a means of solving a variety of problems.

Science

The principal focus of the science curriculum in Key Stage 2 is to broaden pupils' scientific view of the world by exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments. We encourage children to ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them. The programme of study covers plants, animals (including humans), habitats, evolution and inheritance, earth and space, rocks, forces and magnets, states of matter, sound, light and electricity. In upper Key Stage 2 more emphasis is given to working scientifically. During years 5 and 6, pupils are taught to use practical scientific methods, processes and skills including planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, take measurements using a range of scientific equipment, record data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels and use test results to make predictions. Our children are always encouraged to share their findings from enquiries in oral and written displays and presentations.

Art and design

In Key Stage 2 pupils are taught to develop their control and use of materials with creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design. Each child has a sketch book to record their observations and to improve their art and design techniques. We continue to utilise the resources of Brussels to inform and inspire our children about the great artists, architects and designers of the city.

Design and technology

Through a variety of creative and practical activities, pupils continue to observe the core process of design, make and evaluate. They begin to explore work in a range of relevant contexts: home, school, leisure, culture, enterprise, industry and the wider environment. In Key Stage 2 pupils' technical knowledge is expanded to include how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures, understand and use mechanical systems such as gears, pulleys, cams, levers and linkages and basic electrical systems.

Geography

In Key Stage 2 our pupils extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This includes the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. They learn to identify the position and significance of latitude and longitude, the Equator, Northern and Southern Hemispheres, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, the Arctic and Antarctic Circles and time zones. In physical geography children learn about climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle. In human geography pupils study types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water. We take our children on fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies.

History

Key Stage 2 pupils continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of European and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They study connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They are taught to understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources. Pupils will undertake a local history study and learn about the achievements of the earliest civilisations.

French

French class

French at the British Junior Academy of Brussels is taught by French native speakers and pupils are fully immersed into the French language within the classroom. The key objective is to develop pupils who are able to read and write independently and speak with confidence and fluency.

Pupils are allocated to one of two teaching groups upon entry depending upon their language skills. There is planned differentiation according to ability levels for advanced learners and bi-lingual pupils. The teacher to pupil ratio is usually 1:8 / 10.

In years 1 and 2 (Key Stage 1) pupils will be taught all sounds, phonics and blends to allow them to read independently and begin writing by the end of Year 2. The lessons are based on a French reading scheme used to teach children how to read in Belgian schools “La planète des alphas”.

In years 3, 4, 5 and 6 (Key Stage 2) pupils are introduced to French grammar, conjugation, spellings and specific vocabulary. Using the method “Les Clés du Français” again as used in Belgian schools. Children will learn to read and write independently in French and develop strong speaking and listening skills. Pupils have up to one hour of French daily. Parents who are considering transferring their children to French speaking schools at the end of Year 6 will be required to support in-school provision in order that pupils achieve the appropriate bi-lingual level.

Computing

French class

Computing is now taught as an integrated part of the curriculum, to reflect how technology is used in everyday life. All children are taught internet safety and who to approach with concerns.

In Key Stage 1 pupils are taught to understand what simple algorithms are and how they are implemented as programs on digital devices. They create and de-bug simple programs and learn how to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve information.

In Key Stage 2 pupils learn to solve problems by using sequence, selection, and repetition in programs and working with variables and various forms of input and output. They are introduced to a wider variety of software, the internet and how to use search technologies effectively.

Music, arts and drama

Music class

The beauty of music is that it is a language which draws our multi-lingual and multi-cultural school community closer together. We provide opportunities for and encourage all our children to use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes. Our specialist music teacher teaches children to play tuned and untuned instruments musically and listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music. As children develop, in Key Stage 2, they are taught how music is organised and manipulated into compositions and some history of music. We have choirs and peripatetic teachers for piano and guitar who enable children to play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments.

The skills of public speaking and appreciation of literature are encouraged and developed using the framework of LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts).

The school mounts regular productions of plays and dramas, including a PTA Christmas pantomime.

Sport and physical education

Gym class

All primary children receive formal lessons of Physical Education each week. They develop the fundamental movement skills including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination. As they grow older they become increasingly competent and extend their agility and coordination. Team games such as football and basketball are organised as after-school activities. The school uses the facilities at the local Espadon sports centre for swimming, gym and dance.

Sports Day and the Swimarathon are annual events where the whole BJAB family celebrates in its sporting achievement.