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,
“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 that God calls them to be.” Bishop Malcolm MacMahon.
In St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School and Preschool we expect all our children to produce exceptional outcomes whist developing their knowledge, skills, independence and creative thinking. We want to produce collaborators, innovators, leaders and very importantly, young people who are ready for life in the 21st Century. We want our young people to leave us empowered to be ‘agents of change’- educated and caring people who have the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to flourish as human beings and make the world a better place.
Our curriculum is underpinned by a Catholic education based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. The Gospel values are at the heart of our school ethos and underpin our expectations for how everyone behaves, interacts with one another and approaches school life. We deem the community to be an integral part of what we do. The children need an understanding of where they come from, their heritage, how they can have a positive effect on those around them, how their role within the community fits in with the wider world and how their actions can have far-reaching impact. We are committed to providing an excellent Catholic education for every child in our care.
We define curriculum as the totality of a child’s experience within our school. We promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical qualities of all pupils. We believe that an effective curriculum offers knowledge, skills, understanding and progression. Our curriculum is designed with these principals in mind: it is personalised, reflecting the background and experience of our pupils; it is outward facing, setting learning in global contexts wherever possible; it celebrates diversity to emphasis unity; it is rooted in authenticity and context so that learning is relevant.
We believe that learning is an enjoyable lifelong process through which everyone can achieve their potential and exceed their expectations. We will challenge and support all our pupils to do their best by providing an extensive range of learning experiences within and beyond the statutory requirements. Learning will be supported with a wide range of high quality reading texts. We believe that ‘reading is the gateway to learning’.
To ensure curriculum quality we have addressed the following:
- A mastery curriculum which is underpinned by carefully sequenced and vertically integrated knowledge and skills learning, where pupils know more and can do more
- Procedural knowledge is developed and revisited within year groups, across subjects and the year groups.
- Local context and filling the gaps from pupils’ backgrounds
- Focus on subject disciplines even when projects are taught
- Considering depth and breadth and curriculum content
- Seeing the curriculum as the progression model
- Having a clear purpose for assessment
- Listening to the pupil voice
- Reviewing and evaluating curriculum design
- Clear curriculum leadership and ownership
How will the curriculum be delivered?
Knowledge underpins and enables the application of skill. We see these as intertwined and our curriculum is about ensuring that pupils can achieve both. We do this by having an emphasis on cross-curricular teaching which makes the curriculum relevant and meaningful to pupils.
Using the Early Years Foundation Stage Strategy and National Curriculum as a basis, age-appropriate progression in knowledge for each core and foundation subject has been identified. This has been mapped out to ensure coverage of identified knowledge is secured across KS1 and KS2. We carefully select the sequence of when, what and how knowledge is taught. The approach taken with all subjects is to ensure that memory is strengthened.
Our Curriculum content is organised into a series of projects. These run for a term each. During the learning journey, a range of objectives in several curriculum subjects are addressed. This content is sequenced to ensure that components of knowledge lead to conceptual learning. In Autumn the project focus is, ‘Discover’ and is predominantly history orientated. In the Spring term the project focus is, ‘Explore’ and is predominantly geography orientated. In the Summer term the project focus is, ‘Investigate’ and is predominantly science, art and craft orientated. Each project is underpinned by a ‘Big Question’ based on specific concepts, for example: resilience, faith, diversity. These also link to our Gospel values. The questions are designed to engage the children and frame the learning journey by linking the wider curriculum.
How do we know how well our children are doing?
English and maths will be tracked via ongoing formative assessment and termly summative assessments. EYFS, Year 1 (phonics), Year 2 and Year 6 will be assessed against national assessments. Year 4 will have their online Multiplications tables check. Other strategies to track the progress of our children against our curriculum include comparisons between initial and end of unit ‘knowledge harvests’ and the continuous use of ‘sticky questions’. Our curriculum acts as its own progression model: progress is knowing more and understanding more.
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 Read Write Inc 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. More confident readers are able to choose from class readers and our newly refurbished 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.
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.
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 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
From September 2020, Relationship Education became statutory for all primary schools. In line with other schools in Plymouth CAST, St Catherine's has adopted Life to the Full by Ten Ten Resources. Ten Ten is an award-winning Catholic educational organisation that is well-respected and very experienced in this field of work.
The Life to the Full programme is based on ‘A Model Catholic RSE Curriculum’ by the Catholic Education Service which was highlighted as a work of good practice by the Department of Education. Therefore, we have confidence that the programme will be fit for purpose in supporting the growth and development of your child.
Life to the Full is much more than a series of lessons. It is an entire platform of creative resources that will engage, inform and inspire our children and, indeed, you as parents. This includes interactive video content, story-based activities, employing a wide range of teaching tools, original worship music and an accompanying programme of classroom prayers.
At St Catherine’s, the children experience a variety of educational visits, which prove to be valuable learning experiences. In upper Key Stage 2, pupils take part in residential visits.