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“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire,”
St Catherine of Siena 1347-1380
Intent - See
At St Nicholas we have designed our curriculum with pupils’ learning at the centre ensuring that all pupils make progress in all subject areas. We recognise that a curriculum has to be broad, balanced and offer pupils opportunities to grow as individuals as well as learners. As a Catholic School, gospel values are at the centre of everything we do and all are expected to live out our mission statement to ‘Living and Learning in Spirit and in Truth’. Pupils are taught to treat each other with respect and to support each other in their learning. We aim to ensure that pupils enjoy learning and feel prepared for life after school. We recognise that pupils should be challenged in their school; learning from failures and celebrating successes. We intend for our curriculum to enable pupils to develop their interpersonal skills, creativity and independence. It is our intention that pupils leave St Nicholas with a sense of belonging to a community where they have the confidence and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners.
Aims of our Curriculum
At the heart of our curriculum we ensure children are literate through encouraging a love of reading, developing imagination and vocabulary. We recognise that becoming fluent and confident readers opens doors and further develops the ability to gain knowledge across the curriculum.
We also aim for all pupils to:
Use excellent basic skills across the curriculum including reading, writing and mathematics.
Develop a moral compass , respect and sense of community.
Be excited by the curriculum and want to learn.
Retain and apply key knowledge in all curriculum areas.
Become independent, resourceful, resilient and divergent learners so they are ready for secondary school (and beyond).
Be challenged and make progress across all areas of the curriculum (including disadvantaged pupils and those with a special need and/or disability).
Acquire a broad and lasting knowledge of subject specific vocabulary.
Have a wide range of life experiences that enhance their learning (including trips and extra-curricular activities).
Rationale for our Curriculum Design
As a Catholic school, children use the Catholic ethos to Live and Learn in Spirit and in Truth. They will be stewards of the earth and understand the importance of protecting God’s creations, acting upon these issues to drive change in their community.
The curriculum facilitates opportunities to develop relationships, and immerse children in experiences that develop empathy and our gospel values of compassion, justice, courage, humility, kindness, peace, forgiveness and integrity.
Children leave our school with a strong sense of moral purpose.
We recognise the importance of reading being at the heart of the whole curriculum and its impact on the future success of pupils. Our children are taught to read confidently, fluently and with a good understanding. Pupils are encouraged to develop a habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information through daily practice and whole school activities.
Although each subject is taught as a discrete area we have designed a curriculum that makes links between different subjects, creating curriculum cohesion and enabling pupils to link their learning appropriately. There is a focus on high quality writing and pupils use mathematics and information technology skills across different subject areas.
At St Nicholas we recognise that our pupils need preparation for the 21st century, for a world that does not yet exist. As part of this they need to see the effect of making mistakes and be able to take risks.
Our pupils have told us that they learn best when they enjoy learning. We have planned our curriculum to include a range of exciting and pupil-motivating activities which will allow pupils to recall knowledge more readily alongside frequent repetition. We provide memorable experiences to develop the life experiences for many of our pupils who are unable to do so outside of school.
Our curriculum provides mastery of key knowledge. Our Maths curriculum, for example, provides opportunities for pupils to practise and consolidate their learning, master learning objectives by developing a deeper understanding and to apply their knowledge through reasoning and problem solving.
Our curriculum focuses on a meta cognitive style of learning including activities that encourage pupils to reflect on how they think and strategies they can use to apply their knowledge. This includes explicitly teaching strategies for how to plan, organise knowledge and monitor tasks. We have developed a ‘growth mindsets’ culture throughout our school teaching pupils to ‘have a go’, to use a different strategy if they get stuck, to seek peer support and to learn from their mistakes.
Our aim is that all groups of pupils have planning tailored to meet their needs to enable them to make good progress across all areas of the curriculum. There is a sequencing of subject-specific concepts based on what we expect pupils to know at each particular stage ensuring challenge.
Our curriculum has been developed to introduce/explore new vocabulary and activities have been planned to ensure that pupils get the opportunity to apply and revisit this new knowledge.
Implementation - Judge
Our children have told us that they enjoy learning from first-hand experience, and this is when they learn best. We therefore begin each new topic with an immersion activity.
Knowledge organisers are created to share with children and parents as a tool to help gain, retain and build the knowledge and skills needed. Curriculum planning follows agreed formats whereby the journey begins with the elicitation of what is already known and results in a demonstration of knowledge and skills acquired.
Lessons that follow the elicitation task will teach students skills and knowledge using practical tasks, dialogic learning and problem-solving activities.
Subject knowledge is taught discretely, with Rosenshine’s principles underpinning implementation.
The Big Ideas process is used to support and develop the dialogic and problem-solving approach to learning- deeply rooted in context to enable pupils to make links with their own lives.
An opportunity to apply knowledge to a new or abstract problem is given to allow for the assessment of learning and the evaluation of the depth of understanding of each pupil.
Planning is tailored to support the global issues outlined in Laudato Si and provide opportunities to drive a positive change to current school wide and local processes.
Impact - Act
Children Live and Learn in Spirit and in Truth, they care for the world and live out the gospel values in their daily lives.
Children enjoy reading and are excited by books.
Children will have improved communication and language skills using appropriate vocabulary and carefully constructed responses to answer higher order questioning.
Pupils have the confidence to approach complicated or abstract problems in a logical and systematic way.
Children will show good progress across all subjects.
Children will be able to apply learning from other subjects in their lessons by drawing upon knowledge and experiences, creating historians, scientists, geographers etc of the future.
Behaviour of pupils is good in lessons demonstrating engagement and enjoyment.
Pupils will confidently set up and use relevant equipment appropriately and demonstrate subject-specific skills from previous learning experiences independently in subsequent lessons.
Pupils will have an increased depth of understanding of the topics outlined in the National Curriculum.
Children demonstrate an understanding of human impact on the environment and act upon this knowledge to drive change. They promote this approach to others, spreading and reinforcing the concept that it is a human responsibility to protect God’s creations.
What types of summative and formative assessment do we use and what impact does this have?
The progression and effectiveness of the curriculum at St Nicholas is monitored by staff and senior leaders through triangulation of observation of teaching, data analysis and book looks.
The greatest emphasis is on daily assessment, this is used to inform next steps. Pupils are also assessed at the end of each sequence of learning to check their knowledge and vocabulary.
Skilful questioning will elicit understanding and identify misconceptions to allow for modification of the lesson progression to support all learners.
Enquiry skills and conceptual knowledge assessed through student responses to Big Ideas tasks
Teacher judgements formulated and tracked to allow for progress of individuals to be seen.
NTS and SATS papers are used to support summative assessment.
Termly judgements are recorded on our tracking system to enable analysis of groups and keep our parents, leaders and our Trust informed of progress.
Before a child leaves our school he/she will have had the opportunity to:
Raise money for a charity close to their heart.
Take part in an active hobby and a non-active hobby.
Help the local community
Help the school community
Stay away overnight
Perform in front of an audience
Build lifelong friendships across the school community
Learn how to look after themselves and keep safe
Recognise their own vulnerabilities and know where to get help if they need it
Have a deeper understanding of the diversity of our world and their part in it
When children first join the school, they follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. The curriculum promotes play based learning through exploration. As children progress through Year 1 and achieve all elements of the EYFS, they will start to access the National Curriculum. The National Curriculum lays down what should be taught by every school during compulsory schooling from Y1 to Y13. The following subjects are known as the ‘core’ subjects and will have more time devoted to them than the others.
Religious Education plays a vital role throughout the curriculum as it is central to the whole ethos of the school. We use the ‘Come and See’ programme to give children the opportunity to explore the Catholic faith, whilst encouraging respect and tolerance of other religions and cultures. We give daily opportunities for the children to take part in prayer, liturgy and collective worship. Our whole curriculum is also underpinned by Catholic social teaching.
At our School, we believe that literacy develops the important skills of reading and writing, speaking and listening, discussion and reflection. The children participate in daily English lessons and use their developing skills across the curriculum. Early readers will be supported by using selected books that ensure they match their phonic stage using Read Write Inc. in combination with other supplementary resources to develop reading, writing and spelling.
We aim for every child to be able to:
• read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding, employing a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct.
• love books and read for enjoyment.
• have an interest in words and their meanings.
• develop a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms.
• write clearly, accurately and coherently.
• understand a range of text types and genres and to be able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation.
• be developing their powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.
• have a suitable technical vocabulary to articulate their understanding and ideas.
• speak clearly, fluently and audibly.
• listen attentively with understanding, enjoyment and empathy.
Since the beginning of September 2020, we have been using Powermaths as a mastery strategy across the school. Alongside this Reception and KS1 children use mastering number from NCETM to develop fluency and recall of basic number facts. Staff focus on ensuring progression and continuity across all year groups, using a range of models and images to ensure that pupils develop a clear understanding of number and calculations. All staff have been trained in the progression of calculations and recognise that all the building blocks need to be there before a greater depth of understanding is achieved.
As a school we have a broad range of abilities and so work with individual pupils to challenge and develop their mathematical abilities, offering additional support for our less able and our high achieving pupils.
We aim to teach our children to:
• become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems
• reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
• solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.
This is carried out through daily maths lessons, by developing cross-curricular links and by enabling pupils to use their maths in real life situations.
The following subjects all have a school developed flight path, to ensure we have a progressive curriculum, building upon prior knowledge of both disciplinary and substantive knowledge as well as key vocabulary.
If you would like any further information on our curriculum, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
Should you have any complaints about our curriculum, our curriculum complaints policy can be found on the website.
Scientific activities are designed to excite the children’s curiosity about the world. As a practical subject, we aim to use first-hand exploration where possible using individual or group work. The children are taught how to use scientific equipment safely to support their learning. The school’s grounds are also used as outdoor classrooms when an appropriate topic is being studied.
Our science curriculum aims to:
• Develop the children’s natural curiosity about the environment and help them to seek explanations.
• Develop caring and sensitive attitudes towards living things and the environment.
• Encourage children to create hypotheses, design and carry out experiments, make observations and to record results.
• Foster imagination, inspirational thinking and receptive minds.
• Use scientific methods of investigation.
• Develop responsible attitudes to health and safety.
• Help the children become independent learners.
• Develop the children’s social skills to work cooperatively with others.
• Make links between science and other subjects through STEM weeks.
PSHE AND CITIZENSHIP
PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) is an important element of the curriculum and includes everything schools do to promote pupils' good health and well-being. Relationship education forms an integral part of this and we use ‘Life to the Full’ to support our teaching. This programme is a developmental process, which is sensitively delivered through PSHE and science, growing in depth each year. You will be informed by letter when this element of the programme is about to take place. Please contact the Head teacher if you have any concerns.
In Key Stage 1, the children develop their knowledge about the world, the UK and their locality. They will understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness.
In Key Stage 2, the children extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the UK and Europe, North and South America. This includes the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. Use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge is developed.
ART AND DESIGN
A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they are taught to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.
All pupils will have the opportunity to produce a range of creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences. through drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques. Pupils will evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design. The will also learn about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms. Pupils will have the chance to exhibit their work, for example through school exhibitions for parents and the wider community.
Using creativity and imagination, pupils will design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They will acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.
Pupils will develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world. Pupils will learn how to critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others. Opportunities such as enterprise projects and outdoor education sessions develop these skills and enable pupils to apply them in a real-life context. Cookery is also an important part of the curriculum, as pupils learn about nutrition and cookery skills. Where possible, produce grown in the garden is used to cook with in the classroom.
Computers are a part of daily life and technology plays an integral part of all teaching and learning across the curriculum. Pupils have access to chromebooks and interactive whiteboards in each classroom to enhance their learning. The school use Kapow to support planning and to ensure the curriculum ambitiously builds on the strands of the National Curriculum. Computing lessons put an emphasis on the specific teaching of ‘computing skills’, to equip young people for the workplace and to enable them to participate effectively in the digital world. This includes learning about how computers and computer systems work, designing and building programmes and developing their ideas using technology to create a range of content. In addition, pupils are also taught how to stay safe online through a programme of e-Safety sessions.
Physical education is an essential part of staying healthy and so the school aims to develop a lifelong enjoyment of sport by offering a range of different activities, which make use of the different outdoor spaces on site.
This year our PE is being supported by Dartmoor Schools partnership and a PE specialist.
Learning a foreign language provides opportunities to explore different cultures, foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes.
Children engage in weekly German session, to develop their language skills at Key Stage Two, with a particular strategy for having a key phrase to be used each week.