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Our Curriculum Intent

St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School

‘With Jesus, we learn together through faith and love’

At St. Mary’s we have designed our curriculum with pupils’ learning at the centre with the aim of ensuring that all pupils make progress. 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, the teachings of the gospels are at the centre of everything we do. 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 intend to offer our pupils new and exciting experiences that are designed to build resilience, confidence and self-esteem both in the classroom and through extra-curricular activities. 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. Mary’s 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

For all pupils to:

  • Become fluent and confident readers and to develop an appreciation and love of Reading whilst gaining knowledge across the curriculum.
  • Use excellent basic skills across the curriculum including Reading, writing and mathematics.
  • Develop a sense of morality, respect and community.
  • Be excited by the curriculum and want to learn.
  • Retain key knowledge in all curriculum areas.
  • Become independent, 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).
  • Have 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

  • We recognise the importance of Reading across 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. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and real texts are used to introduce topics across different subject areas including history, geography and science.
  • Past ‘book looks’ have shown that pupils do not always demonstrate the same high level of basic skills across the curriculum as they do in their English and mathematics books. 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.
  • As a Catholic school, we have designed a curriculum that teaches pupils morality, respect and a sense of community. Not only through our religious education and PSHE teaching but across the whole curriculum through topics including slavery, the life of Rosa Parks and the rainforest.
  • Our pupils have told us (through pupil interviews) that they learn best when they enjoy learning. We have planned our curriculum to include a range of exciting and pupil-motivating activities, avoiding an over-use of worksheets.
  • Whole school monitoring has shown that our pupils often forget key knowledge that they have been taught (particularly in the case of foundation subjects) and so we have planned a curriculum that is knowledge-rich. Changes to the National Curriculum have enabled us to teach fewer topics in more depth concentrating on the key knowledge that we want children to remember. There is a frequent repetition of content to help pupils acquire this core knowledge. 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 in greater depth. There are opportunities for pupils who do not master learning objectives to repeat work before moving on.
  • We want our pupils to become independent, resilient and divergent learners so they are ready for secondary school (and beyond). 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 pupils make good progress across all areas of the curriculum (including disadvantaged pupils and those with a special need and/or disability). There is a sequencing of subject-specific concepts based on what we expect pupils to know at each particular stage ensuring challenge. We are an inclusive school (as recognised by our Inclusion Quality Mark accreditation) and we aim to ensure curriculum access for all, including disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
  • Many of our pupils start school with a very limited vocabulary (as evidenced by our Early Years baseline assessments) and our disadvantaged pupils often have gaps in their vocabulary. 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.
  • Not all of our children (including some of our disadvantaged pupils) have the opportunity to develop their life experiences outside of school. Our curriculum considers the local context and it is enriched with local trips, workshops and visits linked to curriculum areas (please see the links identified on our Curriculum Coverage overviews for each year group).