At Raddlebarn Primary & Nursery School we aim to equip pupils with ‘knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life’. Cultural Capital can be understood as supporting children to experience the wonder of the world that they live in. By forming links with the local and wider community, children learn about the culture, language and traditions of their locality. Opportunities to learn about the community will create confident and responsible citizens, who celebrate and value their world.
At Raddlebarn, we support the children to see the rich tapestry of nature, industry, architecture and culture that surrounds them.
We actively encourage children to find out about the world they live in and what it means for their life and the lives of others.
Raddlebarn Primary School has our very own pupil orchestra! Some of the children who take part in the huge variety of peripatetic music lessons come together to compose, perform and collaborate to create wonderful pieces of music. They have visited many venues that include Birmingham’s own Symphony Hall and have performed at Birmingham Universities Great Hall too.
Birmingham is so lucky to have some world class theatres and we have formed partnerships with The REP and The Hippodrome. This means that we have an artist/practitioner in residence for one day a week throughout the school year, working with different year groups to support their curriculum topics and/or to take inspiration from the performances on their stages. Children have had backstage tours; worked with puppeteers; taken part in festivals; summer schools; worked with the actors and have even created a network of primary school Arts Ambassadors.
Our local/national/global element of our curriculum planning means that we regularly get involved in celebrations for different religions, charities and causes that are relevant in our world today. Some of these have included a dramatic piece for the World War One memorial held in Grand Central; A Chinese New Year parade in the Chinese Quarter in Birmingham City Centre; a ‘Clean Air’ lobby in the houses of parliament in London.
Alongside drama, dance has also seen links with our theatres and national events – children took part in Summer in Southside, performed on stage at the Hippordrome Theatre and visited the Midlands Arts Centre to see performances that told stories through dance and movement. Many cultures express themselves and key messages through dance and children really do relate and get emotive with this.
Our Curriculum Overviews do demonstrate the many places that they children visit, and there are often even more but alongside the local creative spaces such as local and city libraries, Touch Base Pears and community centres, we also have a wide variety of art spaces nearby. These include: The Barber Institute of Fine Art, BMAG – Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, IKON Gallery, The Jewellery Quarter and many many more.
Raddlebarn sits next to Munz Park, which we use for our family annual Sports Day. This includes a mixture of competitive and non-competitive sports and a mixture of individual and team effort activities. There’s even some activities for families to join in with too!
Our PE lessons cover the full curriculum range and our sporting enrichment activities really do encourage children to develop their personal and team skills. We are part of primary sports networks with Shenley Academy, Kings Norton District Football and Kings Norton Sports Association to take part in many tournaments in football, netball, tag-rugby, rounders, tennis and golf.
Another partner of ours is the University of Birmingham, where we use their brand new olympic sized swimming pool for particular year groups to have their swimming lessons. As it is just a short walk away, it has now become a popular family activity with our community of children and families.
Annually, a group of our older children are offered an opportunity to build on their current sporting skills by taking part in an outdoor adventure residential. Our place of choice has and is the Frank Chapman Centre. Here children get to try their risk taking skills, courage, teamwork and resilience by taking on the challenge of the high ropes, caving, abseiling, climbing, orienteering and much more.
STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Maths
The world is ever changing and has especially changed beyond recognition in the last 30 years. Be that through the meteoric rise of the internet, our shift to a knowledge economy or because more people study at degree level. This gives us unique challenges. It is now really essential to prepare our children for jobs that don’t exist today in a landscape we can’t yet imagine! So the question is, do we need to re-think how and what we offer in schools? Could primary school be more closely aligned to the things we want our young people to be and do today?
STEAM education, at its heart, is designed to help our children think across boundaries. To work in a natural and fluid way, perceiving the flaws in the systems around them and solving those problems without noticing which tool, skill or subject they are using to do so. By unifying the subjects, as different and interchangeable points on a journey, STEAM has the added benefit of giving the whole process meaning. No longer do maths problems exist to answer a specific and arbitrary question but rather to obtain vital information to build a mechanism, or work out exactly how surveyed people feel in order to better represent them or effect change.
Drawing on a child’s natural curiosity, we can show them that their critical reflection of the world contributes to their ability to change it. Tomorrow’s leaders will have to respond to a rapidly changing world. They will have to adapt to new technologies and find opportunities to advance them. They will have to understand how people form communities in a digital age, they will have to consider the ethical implications of societal changes. They will be challenged with global warming, migration and the cost of renewing infrastructure. They will be shape-shifters, able to use every tool at their disposal to innovate and invent. They will be polymaths, driven by their curiosity and undeterred by the borders of subjects. They will be children of STEAM.
Enterprise at Raddlebarn provides our children with the opportunity to make a positive impact in the school and local community as well as raise funds or awareness. Each year group carries out two enterprise activities throughout the academic year; one social enterprise activity and a fundraising enterprise activity.
Children are supported to deliver a range of social enterprise activities throughout their time at Raddlebarn, such as hosting a WW2 themed tea dance for family members, developing the school environment by planting and caring for plants in the school grounds and making links with a local care home and visiting residents.
With regards to fundraising, the children are supported to organise projects and/or events to raise funds for a particular purpose, e.g. resources to support their learning. Some of the fundraising activities include a sponsored Teddy Toddle in the Early Years, making and selling products or holding a pop-up museum to showcase their learning.
Our children will have the opportunity to take part in the Young Citizens programme ‘The Make a Difference Challenge’ – a child-led social action programme that empowers some of our youngest citizens to identify and research a social or environmental issue that they feel passionate about, then make a difference to it through awareness-raising, fundraising or taking practical action.
Enterprise at Raddlebarn encourages all children to participate in purposeful learning with the opportunity to make a difference in our school or the local community. By providing opportunities to become active in the community we seek to create confident, responsible citizens, and build positive character traits in the children that will last beyond their school years.
Pre-Pandemic, our Nursery children took part in an intergenerational project with our local care home. This project had so many benefits for our children, including through the development of different areas of learning such as ‘communication and language’ and ‘understanding the world’, but also the care home residents got a lot out of the project too. We are hoping to get this up and running again soon.
At Raddlebarn, we believe it is important to celebrate cultures from around the world. The children are encouraged to develop their understanding of the world they live in and how their lives might differ from those living in another country.
We celebrate World Food Day which is all about celebrating the food that we are privileged enough to eat and educating ourselves on how we can help to ensure that everybody is able to access a healthy, balanced diet. This year, some classes investigated where different food comes from whereas others explored what food is popular in different countries and the different delicacies countries have.
Throughout the year we will be looking to link with schools across the world, raise awareness of different cultures around the world in the classroom and host events that celebrate where our children’s families come from.
At Raddlebarn, we believe that community lies at the heart of our school. We celebrate diversities through our parent and community links. We utilise our local high streets in Stirchley and Bournville, which have community spaces such as local shops, allotments, businesses, places of worship and local community centres to support our children’s learning and develop their knowledge of the world around them.
We have many volunteers, visitors and trips that are woven into Raddlebarn’s curriculum through a full and extended range of subjects and also through an incredibly rich out-of-school enrichment programme.
We love to celebrate our parents’ skills in our community and utilise them in the school by inviting them in for talks, demonstrations, workshops and even lessons.
We also have seasonal parent-child workshops that help promote parent-child and school/community bonds by facilitating the opportunity for families to work and connect with one another by starting conversation over a shared interest or passion. During the year we have sessions such as pumpkin carving and Christmas wreath making for families to participate in and enjoy.
We also host many events, such as the winter bazaar, the summer fayre, sports day and many other events with the help from “Friends of Raddlebarn”.