BISB offers a high-quality education across the full age range from Nursery to the end of Key Stage 2*. The education provided by BISB is based on the National Curriculum for England. The syllabus in subjects such as Geography and History has been adapted to suit the widely varying experiences of our pupil population and to reflect the international nature of the school within Belgium, and at the heart of Europe. The curriculum is taught in English by native speakers and there is specialist support for non-English speakers. French language lessons are given by native speakers.
PRE-NURSERY AND NURSERY (EYFS)
The two years spent in Pre-Nursery and Nursery provide a happy, warm and well-structured environment in which the children grow in confidence, becoming increasingly independent and secure as they participate in play and learning activities and social interactions not normally encountered within the home.
Each day is filled with opportunities to socialize and learn with others, both through structured group work and through recreational play, and the children very quickly gain confidence within the friendly and stimulating classroom and playground environments.
Each child has the time and space to develop at his or her own pace, and, as they continue to mature both physically and emotionally, the children gradually acquire and develop the pre-school skills necessary for a smooth transition to the start of the Reception class.
The Nursery and Reception classes together form what is called the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ (EYFS) of the English National Curriculum, during which the child’s learning is built around the seven main pillars of Communication and Language, Literacy, Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design, Mathematics, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Physical Development.
The EYFS Reception class offers a secure, structured framework within which the individual needs of each child are catered for with quality provision, supported by a strong partnership between parents, teachers and teaching assistants. Each of the seven pillars is equally important and provides the structure for the wide variety of rich, stimulating experiences that are essential to the child’s development.The children develop and learn at their own rate, becoming enthusiastic, confident and independent learners, ready to move forward through the primary years.
From the Reception class upwards all of our pupils also receive 4 French lessons per week.
Years A and B: All About Me, Traditional Tales, Muck, Mess & Mixtures, Ready Steady Cook, Paws, Pets and Whiskers
KEY STAGE 1 AND KEY STAGE 2
The Primary years are divided into Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) and Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6).
The teaching concentrates on the core academic subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, along with cross-curricular, themed topic work that covers History, Geography, Design and Technology, Information Technology, Art, and Music. Comparative religious studies are included in this cross-curricular approach.
There is also considerable emphasis on physical activity with a wide and varied range of sports, gymnastics and dance, as well as an outdoor education programme that includes activities such as orienteering, archery and hiking.
As well as working on the English National curriculum and the Numeracy and Literacy strategies, all children have specialist Music lessons twice a week and around 8-week blocks of swimming lessons during the year. Key Stage 2 children also benefit from similar blocks of Tennis lessons at a local sport centre.
OAK and ACORN LIBRARIES
The ability to read is one of the most important life skills that we can give our children, and research shows that if you are a literate child who reads for pleasure, this will have a greater impact on your future life chances than any other factor.
We place reading at the core of our curriculum and concentrate from the very beginning on introducing children to the real pleasures of reading and of discovering books. We invest heavily in new books, both to keep up with the latest (wonderful) fiction for children, and also to ensure that our topic and science themes are well-resourced with the state-of-the-art non-fiction that is now available. Books of every description are an integral part of each classroom, ready for the children to use, enjoy and share throughout the day.
We have two very well-stocked libraries, which the children visit every week to borrow titles of their choice. We believe strongly in children choosing their own library books as this helps to develop their critical capacities and broadens their experience of what books can offer.
Our brand-new Oak Library is a haven for book lovers and those discovering the delights of reading. The shelves are well-stocked with new titles, old favourites and classics, and the children are encouraged to request recent releases. With its comfortable, modular seating, subtle lighting, interactive screen and stage area, the library is rapidly becoming a hub for school activities such as debating, drama, discussion and cinema sessions!
The Acorn library also has plenty of space to lounge around and read in comfort, with an increasing range of beautiful picture books, young fiction and non-fiction. At the centre of the Acorn building, it offers a warm, cosy environment that welcomes the children into school on a daily basis.
At BISB we believe that homework is an important part of the learning journey, fostering positive attitudes and habits in the children, and reinforcing the essential school-parent partnership by involving parents in the learning conversation. It is the ideal opportunity for children and parents to share and explore the learning experiences from the week and is also an excellent way of encouraging children to work independently, consolidating and extending work that they have done in class.
We are, however, also aware of the vital importance of children having sufficient time for play, socialisation and relaxation. This is discussed with the children and we work together, with the KS2 children in particular, to achieve a sensible balance, giving them the opportunity and responsibility of organizing their own work schedules.
We encourage the children to see homework as a way of checking and consolidating what they have learnt during the week, and as a chance to reflect on how secure they are in that knowledge. The material may be presented in different forms, which gives the children the opportunity to apply their understanding independently to subjects and concepts already covered during the school week. This may involve, for example, reinforcing specific methods in maths through sets of repetitive exercises or problem-solving challenges that rely on using the method in question. The children may be asked to learn targeted vocabulary, memorise tables or write a report, thus embedding knowledge acquired during the week, or they may be required to carry out independent research involving background reading and comprehension of texts, or complete tasks designed to improve study skills.
Reading is a major priority and children will always have library books and reading books to enjoy, both independently and with parents. Creative tasks are also important, particularly ones that enable the child to explore ideas and techniques learnt in school.
Nursery and Reception are not set regular homework, but there is a weekly ‘Talk Topic’, which families are encouraged to discuss, and the children are always welcome to bring interesting objects and ‘treasures’ into school to share with their class.
The amount of homework given in each year group increases as the children progress through the school and will vary each week.
Teachers have their own preferred schedules and homework may be given on a daily basis to be handed in on the following day, or as a pack to be handed in after a week. Emphasis is placed both on the child working autonomously to revise, reinforce and extend work carried out at school – thus giving them the chance to reflect on how well they have understood the work, and also on the sharing of their learning with parents, thus enhancing their communication skills and establishing a learning conversation to further the school-home partnership.
Children are strongly encouraged and expected to read (both alone and with parents) on a regular basis, independent of the allocated homework, and are able to choose from a wide range of books from the classroom, reading scheme and library collections.