Curriculum Rationale & Refresh

Our Values


  • We are committed to the ideals of Liberal Education – we strive to enable children to engage with the highest and the best in all areas of human thought and endeavour
  • Human and egalitarian values lie at the heart of our curriculum – we aim to allow fully rounded individuals to flourish and enable them to contribute significantly to life in a fair and equitable society
  • We aim to continue build a curriculum that is empathetic to life in Balerno Village as well as nurturing wider national and global perspectives – we believe that partnership building is central to this aim
  • We have high expectations of all pupils

Our Recent History


  • Until recently, our curriculum was based on a 4 faculty system, namely Health, Citizenship, Eco and Enterprise.
  • This system, with its committee structure, enabled pupil voice to develop into a strong driver at all stages of the school.
  • We are a Rights Respecting School (second level) and we hold three Eco-School Green Flags

Our Current Position & Thinking


  • Curriculum planning is being streamlined. Our intention is that it should be lean and meaningful, give greater coherence, and facilitate high quality learning and teaching.
  • We are currently in the second year of a two year development programme that will ensure we engage with the full range of Es & Os. Coherent programmes of study showing pathways of progression are being developed and further defined across the curriculum.
  • The curriculum is being audited in the course of the two year development period to ensure that Es and Os are addressed systematically and comprehensively.
  • Interdisciplinary learning is integrated within curriculum plans with reference to specific Es and Os (see below).
  • Contextualised, real life trans-disciplinary learning and community engagement is being developed systematically through the Big Ideas (see Partnerships below).
  • Evaluations and next steps are defined in relation to CEC significant aspects of learning.
  • We are adopting a no “add-ons” philosophy. Everything we do in school will be rationalized and accounted for within the curricular framework. To that end, we are building a curriculum that is robust but flexible enough to ensure that it can evolve and respond to changing circumstances and needs.


Building Capacity


In Staff


  • Teachers work together in stage and department groups to plan new topics.
  • Whole school CPD opportunities in Language (Big Writing), Maths (SEAL, Active Maths) and Modern Languages (we are a 1&2 pilot school) have supported the development of the curriculum.
  • All teachers are involved in cluster moderation in Literacy this session, and moderation in Maths is being planned for next session.
In Pupils


  • The Eco, Health and Citizenship committees are being retained, together with the Pupil Council, JRSOs and Rights Rangers.
  • The Pupil Council will focus on discussions relating to Learning and Teaching within the new curricular framework.
  • A calendar of whole school assemblies has been planned to focus on curriculum/learning and teaching issues, as well as reflecting the SHANARRI indicators.
  • The team of Senior Pupils have significant roles in the school and the Head Boy and Head Girl are involvement in the process of recruitment of new members of staff.
In Transition


We continue to develop excellent links with Balerno Community High School. The HT and one of the DHTs are dual qualified and will have significant teaching input with BCHS drama and science classes.

This session we will focus on:

  • Working with the Drama Department on a production of Les Miserables.
  • Working with the Science Department to support our science programme at the P5, P6 &P 7 stages, as well as developing a Big Idea community project centered on the Pentland Hills.
  • Working in partnership with the Literacy Coordinator on the assessment and moderation of Literacy and English.
  • Working in partnership with the Maths Coordinator on the assessment and moderation of Maths and Numeracy.
  • Working in partnership with the Modern Languages department to develop the 1&2 Languages Programme.
  • Implementing a skills-based programme in PE developed in partnership with BCHS.
  • Developing Food Hygiene in partnership with BCHS Health Food Technology department.
In Partnerships with Parents and the Community


  • The Big Ideas are community based projects set for each year group. The projects span an academic year, involve the development of a wide range of skills across many areas of the curriculum (in that sense they are trans-disciplinary), and culminate in an application of the children’s learning in a community setting (rich tasks). Partnership work with a wide range of community groups and agencies has already been established, and further opportunities for partnership work have been identified.
  • A series of discussion evenings for parents has been organised. It is anticipated that those discussions will inform future steps in curriculum development, as well a highlight opportunities for improving communication further.
  • We are working with the Balerno cluster on fund-raising efforts to build a 2G all-weather pitch that will benefit the community of Balerno.


Next Steps


  • Complete the second stage of the planning cycle this session.
  • Audit the new curriculum, identify any “gaps” in relation to Es & Os, and take measures to address those.
  • Further develop the Big Ideas and integrating them into the curriculum framework, amending existing programmes accordingly.
  • Take a closer look at the resources used to support our programmes (especially in Maths).
  • Take a closer look at the programmes to ensure essential knowledge & skills are being developed systematically throughout the school (e.g. mapping skills in Social Studies).
  • Review the planning structure to ensure that it is as coherent and streamlined as it can be.


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