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Curriculum

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Our Approach to the Curriculum

THE VISION

We want our children to be:

  • Guided by Gospel values
  • Engaged, curious and motivated
  • Creative, persistent and resilient
  • Independent, collaborative and caring
  • Reflective, achieving and thriving.

We want children at St Peter's who love to learn and learn to love

To achieve this, our curriculum must:

  • Be centred on our school Mission Statement:

With Christ as our guide, 

Learning together, 

Loving God and each other, 

Becoming the best we can be

  • Be engaging and have the learner at its heart
  • Promote deep thinking and reasoning skills
  • Provide opportunities for discovery, creativity and collaboration
  • Foster independence and develop confident, resilient children who celebrate ‘being stuck’
  • Facilitate a close partnership between school and home
  • Ensure rapid progress
  • Prepare our children for life-long learning.

THE INTENT

Our Catholic Ethos

St Peter’s is a safe, caring, academically ambitious environment where children flourish, developing their skills and God-given talents. Our children love to learn and learn to love. Inspired by the Gospel, as well as the examples of St John Baptist de La Salle and Brother Lionel, our children are preparing not only to contribute to society, but to transform it — through their love for others and spirit of service. Every child is recognised as a child of God — what makes them unique is known by staff and celebrated. Because our children feel understood, valued and loved at school, they thrive and become the very best that they can be.

A Thematic, Cross-Curricular Approach

The content of our EYFS curriculum is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework 2020 (early adopter version), whilst Key Stages 1 and 2 follow the programmes of study set out in the National Curriculum 2014. However, our curriculum provision is thematic and cross-curricular. Carefully chosen themes engage the children, appealing to their interests and hooking them into their learning. These topics also facilitate links in learning across curriculum subjects. Making links is fundamental to creating lasting knowledge and understanding and enables teachers to reinforce key learning. Each theme is enriched by exciting opportunities and shared experiences, adding to the cultural capital of all pupils by introducing them to things that are outside their daily experience (and, in doing so, helping to engender in them an appreciation of human creativity and achievement).

The Power of Reading

We are a ‘Power of Reading’ school — a programme created by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education. Quality children’s literature is at the heart of our curriculum, enhancing our themes and promoting a genuine love of reading. Our children explore high quality texts in depth, strengthening their reading comprehension skills and being exposed to outstanding models for their own writing. These texts enable us to embed the teaching of phonics, grammar, punctuation and spelling in a reading rich curriculum.

Learning for a Purpose

Learning is placed in the context of a meaningful outcome wherever possible. Explaining the purpose and reason for learning really enhances outcomes. Our children are excited by their learning, motivated to do their very best, and take pride in their work.

Deep Learning

Teachers strive to develop deep understanding in their pupils by planning well-sequenced lessons. Prior learning is revisited continuously and carefully built upon to support the journey towards mastery of the Curriculum. Our children are challenged to really think — to demonstrate deep learning — through tasks that ask them to: explain, solve, compare, contrast, predict, create, imagine, reflect, evaluate, generalise and hypothesise (higher level learning outcomes as described by Biggs and Collis in their SOLO Taxonomy).

The Learning Pit

All students are given opportunities to develop their reasoning skills and to problem-solve. Throughout the curriculum, teachers plan effective questions that aim to stretch and challenge their pupils and drive learning. In classrooms ‘being stuck’ is celebrated as the point at which true learning can take place. Children are encouraged to jump into ‘the learning pit’ (James Nottingham). From here, they must be creative, persistent and resilient to find a way out. Collaboration is encouraged as the children work together to strive for their ‘Eureka’ moment. ‘Eureka’ translates to ‘I have found it’ — we believe in the power of learning that the children have discovered for themselves.

Learning Outdoors

We are a Forest School and aim to draw on the benefits of our outdoor facilities at every opportunity, recognising the importance of learning outside of the classroom. Our Forest School provision contributes to the holistic development of our children, again fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. In their sessions, pupils are encouraged to follow a path of exploration and curiosity as they are given the opportunity to take supported risks.

Specialist Teaching

As an all through school, we are able to draw upon subject specialisms in a variety of ways — from seeking the advice of secondary phase colleagues in shaping our curriculum progression, to directly benefiting from specialist teaching and resources. All children, from Reception to Year 6, receive weekly Music, PE and Spanish lessons from specialist teachers. In addition to this, pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 are taught Design and Technology by secondary specialists in our dedicated DT room.

We are very proud of our status as a Music Mark School for the 2020/21 academic year. This was awarded to us by SoundStorm (lead partner of the BCP Music Education Hub) in recognition of our commitment to providing high-quality Music Education for all children.

What our children say about their Curriculum

  • We are a Catholic school and this is very important to us. We spend time praising God and learning about Jesus every day.
  • We love learning because our teachers make it fun. Our learning is always based on exciting topics and books.
  • Reading is a big part of our curriculum.
  • Our outdoor space is as important to us as our indoor space — learning can happen anywhere!
  • We like working together on learning that has a real purpose to it.
  • We really like the DT and Music lessons that we have because we get to use our imagination.

Click here to view the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework 2020 (early adopter version)

Click here to access the National Curriculum Programmes of Study 2014

You can also find out more detail about the learning that will take place within each theme by visiting the year group pages.

 

Details of additional schemes followed

Phonics

To ensure high quality teaching of Phonics, we follow the Department for Education’s ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme.This systematic synthetic phonics scheme enables children to start learning phonic knowledge and skills as soon as they start school so that they are quickly able to read and spell simple CVC words. Discrete phonics teaching continues apace, with the expectation that our children will be fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1.

Click here to access the DfE’s Letters and Sounds programme

Reading

We follow the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. We have a wide range of take home books through which children develop their reading fluency and comprehension. Our early reading books are fully phonetically decodable and those that follow on are aligned to the phases in the ‘Letters and Sounds’ Phonics Scheme.  Our stock includes a good balance of fiction as well as non-fiction, with our older readers enjoying texts from traditional myths and legends to reimagined classics and comic strips.

Every child also has a login to ‘Oxford Reading Buddy,’ an online platform through which they can access additional texts at the appropriate reading level and complete quizzes to check their understanding. The Oxford Reading Tree book level assigned to each child is carefully matched to their ability. Our aim is for children to develop confidence so that they see themselves as successful readers and enjoy reading.

Guided Reading is an important part of our daily timetable. In their Guided Reading sessions, the children follow a whole-school programme, again by Oxford University Press, called Project X Origins. Within this context, they are taught discretely to: further develop their accuracy, fluency, expression and understanding; read from the writer’s perspective; and make links to other books that they have read.

Further information can be obtained via the following links:

Oxford Reading Tree

Oxford Reading Buddy

Project X

Mathematics

Our Mathematics teaching follows the White Rose Maths Schemes of Learning. This approach to the teaching and learning of Maths aligns with the ethos of our curriculum. White Rose Maths aims to build deep understanding, confidence and competence in maths — a culture that produces strong, secure learning and real progress.

Every child from Year 1 onwards has a login to ‘Mathletics,’ an online learning platform which is designed to captivate them, supporting pupil engagement and progress in Maths both in school and at home. In addition to this, our Key Stage 2 children also have access to ‘Times Tables Rock Stars’ a carefully sequenced programme of daily times tables practice which really improves the accuracy and speed of their recall.

Click here to visit the White Rose Maths Primary Schemes of Learning

Click here to find out more about Mathletics

Click here to explore the Times Tables Rock Stars platform

Religious Education

As a Catholic school, we recognise Religious Education as a core subject. Our RE lessons follow a diocesan-wide scheme called God Matters.’ God Matters comprises 10 units of work which follow the flow of the Liturgical year: Creation, Prayer, Saints and Feasts, Advent, Christmas, Sacraments, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost and Revelation. The focus and content of these units differs in every year group, ensuring clear progression from Reception to Year 6. Teachers plan and use ‘big questions’ to drive and assess children’s learning in RE. God Matters also includes a focus on other faiths. Throughout the units of work, children identify similarities and differences between Catholicism and other world religions.

Click here to access further information on the God Matters scheme and units of work

Relationships and Health Education

To deliver the specified curriculum content of the statutory Relationships and Health Education within the context of our catholic ethos, we are following a programme called ‘Life to the Full.’ At an age-appropriate stage, our children will learn about personal health, physical and emotional wellbeing, strong emotions, private parts of the body, personal relationships, family structures, trusted adults, growing bodies, puberty, periods, life cycles, the dangers of social media, where babies come from, an understanding of the Common Good and living in the wider world. All RHE teaching is underpinned by a religious understanding that our deepest identity is as a child of God — we are created, chosen and loved by God. The programme is fully inclusive of all pupils and their families.

Click here to view the new Relationships and Health Education Curriculum (statutory from September 2020)

Click here to find out more about ‘Life to the Full’ by Ten:Ten Resources