At St Charles’ Catholic Primary School, we endeavour to deliver a purposeful and ambitious curriculum. This broad and balanced programme of study is the gateway for all our children, preparing them for the next stages in their education. Our inspiring curriculum is designed to be inclusive, promote independence and resilience, and raise aspirations, with Jesus at the centre of all we do.
We have developed a curriculum in which Religious Education, literacy and numeracy skills are the foundations. Lessons are skilfully planned to ensure that children effectively acquire, rehearse and connect existing knowledge to new learning. We strive for our children to become curious learners equipped with the skills to question and learn from the world around them. We adapt to the specific needs of our children and the teaching of reading and phonics is an even greater priority due to the implications of recent world events.
We ensure our curriculum is inspired, driven by key questions. Themes are explored with first-hand learning experiences through a trip or experience, such as an author visit, to hook the children, or at the end of a unit to consolidate knowledge and skills. It is these concrete experiences that enable later abstraction, matched to our cultural capital.
Lifelong learning and skills are incorporated into each term through immersive projects such as STEAM Week, MADD Week and whole school topical and charitable projects. These opportunities deepen their understanding of community, widen their interactions with a range of people and careers, and encourage perceptive questions in a nurturing manner. The children’s emotional development and mental health is integral to the experiences we offer, such as Commando Joe’s Days. We allow children to evaluate and think critically to open up their perception and connections both locally and with the wider world.
Our curriculum documents carefully sequence the progression of knowledge and skills in each subject area. They are designed to be broad and balanced and ensure teachers are well-informed on the prior learning that the children have had so that they can successfully build on it. New knowledge and skills are explicitly taught so that children rapidly acquire new learning. Curriculum plans and timetables have been reviewed and refined to ensure children make accelerated progress, in light of Covid-19. Strong teaching staff deliver phonics lessons, ensuring no child is disadvantaged due to missed learning.
Evidence-based practice has informed how we implement our curriculum, valuing a Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction pedagogy to teaching and learning. Teachers are currently developing these principles in their teaching with successful outcomes on learning.
Starting each unit with a ‘key question’, we give learning a context and a focus: a purpose for their study so that learning is meaningful and relevant. Each new subject unit has an entry based ‘hook’, such as a field study, a visitor, workshops, artefact boxes, role play, to inspire and give pupils a thirst for what learning is to come. Such immersive experiences provide all children with cultural capital and an understanding of their community and the wider world, and will also enhance their learning. To invigorate the children’s curiosity about what is to come, prior learning is revisited so that children have the opportunity to build on their knowledge and understanding so that they move their learning forward. Teachers’ passion, and knowledge of their pupils through continuous formative assessment, drives enthusiasm and leads them on an interconnected narrative of what has gone before and what is yet to come.
Leaders ensure all teaching staff know how to successfully implement our bespoke curriculum. The curriculum takes them beyond the National Curriculum through a set of ambitious, progressive lessons which are knowledge-rich. Through equitable delivery, all children are supported and enriched as they explore the subject, embed skills and qualities, and foster new ones. Our thorough timetables ensure each subject is taught discretely and regularly, with personal development at the core of their learning and further embedded with a fully encompassing Relationships and Health Education programme. Teachers are self-reflective throughout and planning demonstrates prior learning, a theory-based approach to delivering new learning, such as modelling, providing scaffolds, targeted questioning, and planned knowledge for the future.
At the end of each subject unit, children will revisit the ‘key question’ to reflect and consolidate their learning through discussions to express what they have learnt and achieved. By doing so, we can measure their progress as knowing more and remembering more. We value communication with all our stakeholders and share all relevant information, regularly sharing positive messages in the form of a phone call or a postcard to ensure our children feel valued. Instilling strong mental health in the children is our priority. We have timetabled events which benefit wellbeing such as Commando Joe Days, Survival Days and access to the Forest School for planned mindfulness tasks. Our children can express the kind of people they aspire to be, the kind of world they aspire to create, and the kind of education we aspire to provide.
By talking with our children, it is clear the impact our curriculum has on their lives and on preparing them for their future. It celebrates their individuality, moulding their whole being. From their different starting points, we deliver an ambitious curriculum for every pupil and their books and confidence in discussing in their own learning illustrates their strong progress. Our curriculum drivers ensure the children’s learning is embedded in their long-term memory, thus securing their understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to enable them to attain highly and be fully prepared for their next stage of education. We aim for our children to leave here resilient, respectful, skilful, ambitious and with a thirst for life and all it has to offer. The children know they are listened to and all entries in the Emotions Box are addressed. Everything we do here at St. Charles’ is for the children, with Jesus at the centre.