A curriculum designed for
St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School & Preschool
A curriculum that promotes the school’s culture and aims
“The Christian life is a call to a deeper communion with God and with one another, and this finds particular expression in our schools, which are rightly recognised as being families themselves, where no one is a stranger and where everyone, whatever his or her background or academic ability, is welcomed, treasured, supported and helped to become the person whom God calls them to be.” Bishop Malcolm MacMahon.
The school’s direction stems from its Mission Statement:
A family united in God’s love, learning in faith together for a compassionate tomorrow’.
At St Catherine’s,
We believe that children should love learning, be guided to adopt a set of values that they want to live their life by, be treated with dignity and recognised as a gift from God. We have high expectations for all children and encourage them to produce work they can be very proud of.
Our aim is to enable all children to learn and achieve, promote their spiritual, moral and cultural development and prepare all children for the opportunities and responsibilities of later life.
We believe that the key to both a child's academic and personal future success is the development of literacy and numeracy skills. We pride ourselves on providing a rich language environment with daily high-quality phonics and number work within our Reception, Year 1 and 2 classes. As a result, our children make good progress in their early literacy skills enabling them to access out rich curriculum effectively. Throughout the school, our focus on developing key skills by applying them within a wide range of subject areas leads to good progress.
Our curriculum planning constantly evolves in order to meet the interest of our learners. Our curriculum has been carefully designed to cover both a wide spectrum of knowledge from the National Curriculum and real-life skills, such as resilience, problem solving, persistence and enquiry.
St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School will:
- develop a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge
- foster values for learning
- help our children become global, national and local citizens.
- have high expectations
- provide a broad and balanced curriculum that inspires independence and life-long learning
- know our children well
- use assessment to tailor our curriculum to meet each child's needs regardless of ability, gender, ethnicity, culture, faith or tradition
- create and maintain an exciting and stimulating learning environment
- believe learning should be active
- ensure that each child’s education builds on their prior learning
- make sure that learning is tailored to each child's individual needs
- recognise the crucial role which parents play in their child’s education
- encourage parental involvement
We provide our children with a toolkit for lifelong, values based learning by enabling them to:
- be resilient learners (manage distractions, notice what is going on around them, persevere and absorb themselves in their learning)
- be reflective (learn about learning, plan, revise, explain to others)
- be resourceful (make links, ask questions, imagine, reason and capitalise on opportunities)
- collaborate, have empathy, listen, try things out and recognise the need for each other - interdependence
- Show kindness and concern for others, the environment
- think of others before themselves
- communicate effectively, be willing to talk and share ideas
- be courteous and polite
- cooperate, work with others in a helpful way
- be conscientious, get things done and follow through a task
- be confident, be sure of themselves, have an 'I can' attitude
- be tolerant
- show respect for all cultures and in doing so promote positive attitudes towards other people
- recognise and value uniqueness
and apply these skills across the curriculum and in real life contexts
Our curriculum inspires our children to:
- love learning
- take responsibility for their own learning
- listen attentively
- speak and write using standard English
- think and solve problems mathematically in a variety of situations using concepts of number, algebra, measurement, shape and space, and handling data
- develop an enquiring mind and scientific approach to problems
- solve problems using technological skills
- communicate through a variety of art forms including art / craft, music, drama
- develop their inventiveness and creativity
- know about geographical, historical and social aspects of the local environment and national heritage
- be aware of other times and places
- recognize links among family, local, national and international events
- know about the beliefs of the major world religions
- be agile and physically co-ordinated
- apply the basic principles of health, hygiene and safety
Curriculum Intent – how we designed our curriculum
Good teachers possess a capacity for connectedness. They are able to weave a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects, and their students so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves.” (Parker Palmer)
We can look for opportunities to make links across the curriculum, to look at a topic from a range of subject perspectives, to relate to those we teach as whole people but, perhaps most importantly of all, we show it by living lives that have a wholeness that comes from Christ.
As a Catholic school, the precepts of Catholic education remain at our core. This includes the pursuit of excellence and preparing our children as world citizens of the 21st Century. In order for this to be achieved our children need high levels of literacy and numeracy. We recognise R.E as a core subject, so we adhere to a diocesan-wide curriculum, ‘God Matters’. We also recognise that parents are the primary educators of the faith and we work closely with the local parish and community in embedding these strong links with our parish and our local community we foster an ethos of serving both individuals and society. Charitable links and service remain a focus , as does seeking awe and wonder. The school recognises that science is both an exciting academic subject and another area where children can develop a sense of awe and wonder.
When planning a curriculum, St. Catherine’s has had to recognise the very wide social and economic backgrounds of our families. The school has a wide catchment area from Blandford to Bournemouth.
Hence school has a significant minority of families who require a lot of support, sign posting and care. Within PSHE and citizenship, account is made of the socio-economics of the area and we recognise that the children need both a sense of valuing themselves and developing aspirations for their future and for their community. We have designed our termly curriculum enrichment weeks to provide a breadth of experience within a subject area, drawing on outside speakers, involvement of parents and developing a sense of curiosity. We are passionate that all children realise that it is a big and wonderful world out there that they can play an active and positive part in. We play an important part in providing the means for social mobility. We also plan opportunities for the children to know about keeping safe, linked to the KCSiE document. We also plan for and promote British values, (Democracy, Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs) ensuring that children are aware of their rights and responsibilities as a UK citizen.
The wellbeing agenda is at the heart of St Catherine’s curriculum. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. (Please refer to the bottom of this page for more detail). Pupils show themselves to be deep thinkers. They are able to empathise with the feelings and actions of others, seeing points of views and beliefs other than their own. Particularly in RE and PSHE, they show a keen interest in ethical issues and are able to apply their personal values to situations, giving reasons for their decisions and actions. They are ready to question arguments and situations.
In recognising the development of the whole child, the pastoral support given to children so they can access the curriculum is strong. The school has various systems which support the emotional and mental well-being of children and provides signposting to their parents.
Emotional and mental wellbeing is also greatly enhanced by sport. Sport has remained central to both our curriculum and extra-curricular provision and we know this is hugely beneficial to all our children. We also believe the pedagogy of P.E. in sport affects other areas of the curriculum and really enhances children’s learning, physiologically allowing better learning to happen, as well as children learning skills such as listening, problem solving, team work and resilience. We have invested heavily with the P.E. and sport provision, with inclusion for all and this has been evident through being recipients of the School Games Gold Award which reflects the effective sport provision.
Staff annually review their medium-term planning to ensure topics are relevant to the children’s interests and needs. Subject leaders are currently working on curriculum coverage on foundation subjects, e.g. Geography and History, with all middle leaders being aware of the curriculum expectations and in turn working towards planning the skills within their respective curriculum areas. The curriculum is designed to ensure: deep learning, with focus made on extending those who are working at a greater depth within the curriculum areas; engagement with their learning and initiating the direction of the units of study, particularly in the foundation subjects along with breadth and balance. Not only do staff review the actual curriculum regularly, but also the principles for learning and teaching.
The Curriculum – implementation
The school is currently organised into 6 classes.
In KS1, 21 hours is spent each week on teaching the curriculum and in KS2, 23.5 hours.
We teach phonics through the Letters and Sounds Scheme. This is used throughout the school particularly in the foundation stage and key stage one. We use a wide variety of reading schemes, covering fiction and non-fiction, including Oxford Reading Tree. More confident readers are able to choose from class readers and a well-stocked library. The scheme is continued at home. We encourage children to read daily at home and this is monitored via a home-school communication book.
The school gives additional booster provision to our younger children who may need it and in Year 3 every child is re-assessed on their phonics knowledge so teachers are able to adapt plans accordingly.
Impact our curriculum is having on standards of teaching and learning
The curriculum at St. Catherine’s is well planned and thought-through to enable a wide range of engagement, not only within class but in providing out of class opportunities to enable children to develop themselves as learners and encourage each child to be as independent as they can be. Questionnaires to the pupils and parents allow the staff to regularly review and assess the impact that the curriculum is having.
We strongly feel that the discussion including regular pupil conferencing that we have with children is effective, which highlights their awareness of the adjustments that are made to enhance their learning
Following a recent parent survey (October 2018), we received acknowledgement that we continued to be successful in our approach to learning:
Challenge is integrated within the curriculum with striving for every child to produce their absolute best,
Assessing our children’s learning within the curriculum
At St. Catherine’s we ensure that the children are regularly assessed against the relevant frameworks across the breadth of the curriculum. Within the assessment policy we have a feedback section whereby we measure the assessment against, including coding within books or the level of independence and verbal feedback being issued to support the learning. This results in each child receiving personalised learning and in turn increases their awareness of their next target(s).
Again, within our assessment policy (which can be found on our website, Key Information, Policies it highlights the various ways in which we assess the children, both formatively (on a daily basis) and summatively (end of a unit of study or tests) and even the children self and/or peer assessing.
Recognition is also taken account of in terms of the individuality of the children.
We are extremely proud of the achievements of the children in our school. Academic data proves that our attainment and progress, which is a culmination of hard work, determination and high expectations expected from all at St. Catherine’s has led to successful learning and performance. Further information can be found in the Key Information section of our website.
There is a regular half-termly cycle of monitoring and assessment which provides data; this is collected, analysed and utilized for providing interventions, support and a reviewing of planning. In addition to this, the teachers meet with members of the leadership team to discuss each pupil’s progress to find out the reasons behind their current attainment.
A curriculum for the whole child
“A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person. And a good Catholic school, over and above this, should help all its students to become saints….” Pope Benedict XVI, 2010
The spiritual development of pupils is shown by:
•Pupils’ ability to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values
•Their sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them
•Their use of imagination and creativity in their learning
•Their willingness to reflect on their experiences
The moral development of pupils is shown by:
•Pupils’ ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong, readily apply this understanding in their own lives and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England
•Their understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions
•Their interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and being able to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues.
The social development of pupils is shown by:
•Pupils’ use of a range of social skills in different contexts, including working and socialising with pupils from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
•Their willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
•Their acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; the pupils develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.
The children enjoy getting involved with national celebrations:
Our school displays represent national celebrations:
The cultural development of pupils is shown by:
•Pupils’ understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others
•Their understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain
•Their knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values and in continuing to develop Britain
•Their willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, sporting and cultural opportunities
•Their interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.
Sex and Relationships Education
At St Catherine’s, sex and relationships education is taught through a whole school policy and, where possible, is integrated into other areas of the curriculum such as religious education, science and PSHE. It is always taught within the context of the church’s teaching on sexual relationships. In Years 5 and 6, parents are informed prior to any lessons from the class teacher and workshops from the school nurse relating to this area of the curriculum. Parents are given the opportunity to discuss what their child will be learning so that they can support their child’s work at home. Any questions that children ask are answered sensitively and in a caring manner. Lessons and resources are always chosen to suit to the age of the children.
One of our greatest innovations is our Themed Weeks and Days, held termly covering a wide variety of subjects. Children experience the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. The whole school moves away from the usual timetable and the learning is focused around a given theme or subject for the week. These weeks involve workshops, parents and other visitors, the children working alongside older or younger children and can involve the local community. Please take a look at our photos to see what the children experience on our Curriculum Enrichment Weeks.
At St Catherine’s, the children experience a variety of educational visits, which prove to be valuable learning experiences. In Years 5 and 6, pupils take part in residential visits. Many of our visits and visitors are celebrated on our website.