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Please click here to download the full Curriculum Statement (PDF) outlined below 

Please click here for the National Curriculum

Curriculum Philosophy

Our overall Catholic mission, “We learn, we grow, we love” helps us to place Christ at the centre of everything we do. From this starting point, we plan our curriculum with ‘the end in mind’. Our aim is to provide a rich and varied curriculum, focused on the delivery of the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values every child needs – thus providing the basis for success in secondary school, a life-long love of learning and, ultimately, for our pupils to flourish and lead a fulfilled life.

Our Core values of respect, aspiration, community, resilience and creativity help drive our curriculum and these help us to focus more clearly on the knowledge, skills and attitudes that all pupils require in order to achieve academic excellence and lead a fulfilled life. British values are also at the heart of our curriculum and we embed these by providing our children with an inclusive and cross curricular subject delivery that effectively promotes British values, holding SMSC morals at the heart of all that we do. Our aim is to create a values driven school that achieves outstanding results for our pupils, stakeholders and for the wider community

The curriculum aims are ambitious and include ensuring that our approach:

  • Has the needs of the children at the heart of everything we do
  • Is based on a strong foundation of oracy
  • Provides a range of  learning experiences that are exciting, enriching and enjoyable
  • Provides opportunities for our children, staff and parents to all learn together
  • Positively improves academic outcomes
  • Prepares our children to become positive Catholic citizens and role models in, and effective contributors to, the wider society
  • Meets the needs of our Catholic community and local community in general
  • Gives our pupils the chance to become the very best versions of themselves

Our updated approach to the curriculum is grounded in research evidence about how pupils learn and retain knowledge in the long term – focusing, in particular, on cognitive science in relation to how learning and retaining knowledge in the long-term memory. We have taken account of…

  • Willingham (Memory Model)
  • Hattie (Effective teaching)
  • Coe (Effective teaching)
  • Rosenshine (Sherrington – Principles of Direct Instruction)
  • Myatt / Wiliam (Formative assessment / curriculum development)
  • Twisleton (Teachers as concept / skills builders)
  • Lemov / Christadoulou (approach to reading)

Curriculum Statement

Curriculum Intent: (Sequence and Sense Making)

“In general, the traditional teaching approach works best for children who possess a good memory (80%). Unfortunately, this is rarely the case for children from more vulnerable groups (20%).

With deep thought and an investment of effort, we are adapting our teaching methods to better suit all pupils.”

When planning our curriculum, we recognise the very wide social and economic backgrounds of our families. We are creating a curriculum where children ‘keep up’ – they never have to ‘catch up’.

Our curriculum is increasingly designed to cater for the needs of all pupils – from those children who are very able to those children who may have barriers to their ability to learn. As a result our curriculum is designed to reinforce the basic skills our children require, while offering rich and engaging experiences. The objectives for learning in each subject – as well as between subjects – are sequenced to reinforce learning and to allow children to see connections and links in order to build understanding and make sense.

Curriculum Implementation: (Learning Reification)

Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science; three main principles underpin it:

  1. Learning is most effective when classroom instruction breaks learning down into small steps and cognitive load is managed
  2. An integrated approach to curriculum development and planning helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention of ‘powerful knowledge’ in a domain specific way
  3. Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.

In addition to the three principles, we also understand that learning is invisible in the short-term and that sustained mastery takes time.Some of our content, when appropriate, will be presented in a subject specific way, whilst on other occasions, the content may be combined in a cross-curricular approach. Our staff will decide depending on the approach that best supports learning.

Curriculum Impact: (Cultural Capital)

Measuring the impact of our highly ambitious curriculum will need to be done in two ways.

First, through the success of children in their standardised tests in year 2 and year 6. Then, second, through the personal development they show as resilient learners, who can live a healthy life and who are respectful Catholic citizens.

In relation to the standardized tests, our aim is for every child to make outstanding personal progress. In particular our pupils will;

  • From their different starting points, make good academic progress and have strong attainment in the core subjects when compared to local and national results.
  • Have knowledge, understanding and skills that is secure and embedded so they are fully prepared for secondary school, further education and the world of work.

In relation to their personal development, our pupils will;

  • Have strong communication skills, both written and verbal, and will listen respectfully and with tolerance to the views of others. They will take pride in all that they do, always striving to do their best.
  • Demonstrate emotional resilience and the ability to persevere when they encounter challenge.
  • Develop a sense of self-awareness and become confident in their own abilities creatively, socially and physically.
  • Be kind, respectful and honest, demonstrate inclusive attitudes and have a sense of their role in our Catholic community and the wider society.

Curriculum Delivery

From September 2019, the staff at St Joseph’s have worked assiduously to completely overhaul the curriculum delivery in the school to reflect our updated philosophy and to incorporate the research that has informed intent, implementation and impact. While this is in the early stages of development, significant progress has been made and this is reflected in our curriculum delivery – outlined below…

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) – Curriculum Delivery:

At St Joseph’s we cover all seven areas of the EYFS curriculum through planned, purposeful play. Staff work together to plan a range of experiences or activities that children can play with and build their confidence exploring ideas, thinking about problems and relating to others. Sometimes children are learning by leading their own play and at others times by being led by an adult so we provide both child-led and adult-led experiences and activities.

We believe the characteristics of effective learning are:

 Playing and Exploring: Children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’

  • Active Learning: Children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • Creating and Thinking Critically: Children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things

In early years the learning concentrates on 7 areas split between prime and specific areas of learning…

Nursery

The Nursery is organised into different areas so that children have a range of learning experiences based on their interests and talents. Before the beginning of each session, activities are set up according to the needs and interests of the children and based on the goals (expectations of achievement by the end of Reception). Some activities are taught by Nursery staff as part of a curriculum focus, whereas others enable the children to initiate their own ideas and follow their own interests. Equal emphasis is given to outdoor play at all times – even in adverse weather – and this is planned to develop language, maths, science and creative skills, as well as the more obvious personal, social and physical ones.

During sessions, staff observe the children and record their interests and progress. These observations are fed into our weekly planning in order to ensure that the individual needs of all the children are met. Much of the work the children do has no end product. At this stage, the process of the activity is all important, learning new skills and developing skills already learnt, e.g. moulding and manipulating playdough to develop the fine motor skills essential for pencil control, playing with sand and water to learn about capacity.

Reception

As in the Nursery, activities are planned to cover the curriculum areas and to enable the children to achieve the desired end of year goals. Each classroom is organised into learning areas areas with relevant resources and equipment. The outdoor area is also used throughout the day in the same way as Nursery.

An important part of our work at this stage is settling the children to new routines and a new environment. This is time consuming, but vital to ensure future success in learning. For part of the day, the children will participate in activities with a specific focus, led by the teacher or other adult. These activities are differentiated for individuals or small groups, taking in to account the stage of the children’s development. At other times, the children participate in activities which they initiate themselves, with adult support where this is appropriate.

Again, these activities are based on play, which is the main medium for learning in the EYFS. Much of what the children do is of a practical nature. As in the Nursery, the processes of learning are vitally important in the Reception year, although the children will be recording more and more as the year progresses. This recording will be done in a variety of different ways, e.g. through drawing, painting and writing.

Year 1 to Year 6 – Curriculum Delivery

From Year 1 to Year 6 the school offers a rich and varied curriculum through incorporating the requirements of the national curriculum for English and Maths. Whilst we follow these requirements, this is by no means the totality of our school curriculum. We firmly believe in creating memorable learning experiences in which our children have the opportunity to experience the extraordinary - the awe and wonder of learning.

The curriculum has been designed to be cross-curricular to encourage the transference of skills across subjects. This cross-curricular approach has also ensured full coverage of the humanities and science elements of the curriculum.

Reading:

We believe that the ability to read fluently is the doorway to all other learning. Consequently, learning to read and then reading regularly and widely is at the heart of our curriculum design.

Systematic Phonics Teaching

In early years we use Read Write Inc as our preferred scheme for the delivery of phonics. We have chosen this approach due to the clear structure of learning and the links made to reading and comprehension. The teaching of phonics begins at the start of Reception, where sounds are introduced at a rate of one a day throughout the autumn and spring term. Sounds are consolidated in the summer term. This knowledge is built upon in Year 1; more complex sounds are introduced and reinforced throughout Year 2. Should children need additional phonics support in phonics, this teaching continues. All children are regularly assessed to ensure that the correct resources and teaching expertise are available to them and so that they are able to learn at an appropriate pace.

Phonics Screening

During the summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps us to identify children who have gaps in their phonic awareness and may need support in Year 2 to develop reading and writing skills. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation within the child’s end-of-year report. Additional tuition in phonics will be given to those children who did not achieve a pass during Year 2 and they will be tested again in the summer term.

Reading Scheme

We use a variety of reading programmes to cover our reading requirements, including Daily Supported Reading and Destination Reader, as well as PM Benchmarking to support our assessment and needs analysis.

Daily Supported Reading

In Years 1, we use Daily Supported Reading to structure our reading lessons. This is a quality first teaching programme developed by the Hackney Learning Trust, which ensures sustained, independent reading opportunities, as well as improving children’s application of phonics and supporting reading at greater depth. Over the course of the year, children have the opportunity to read over 70 different texts and are heard read by an adult every day. Children are PM Benchmarked at the beginning of the programme to ensure that they start at the correct book band and are then re-assessed each term to monitor the progress they are making.

Destination Reader

In Key Stage 2, we have introduced Destination Reader, a reading initiative also developed by the Hackney Learning Trust, to teach daily reading lessons. Destination Reader aims to build firm foundations and develop thinking and understanding around texts. Not only does it promote a love and enjoyment of reading, but also increases reading stamina in children through a talk based structure. Every class from Years 3 – 5 have a 45 minute reading lesson, in which they are then taught 7 key strategies that are used by good readers:

  • Predicting
  • Inferring
  • Clarifying
  • Summarising
  • Evaluating
  • Making Connections

Maths

At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, all of our children are given the opportunity to develop their mathematical potential through a rich, engaging curriculum. We want our children to feel confident in using and applying mathematics in a wide range of situations. We don’t believe that there are individuals who can do maths and those that can’t. Instead, all children are taught to have a positive mind-set to maths and engage in stimulating and challenging lessons. We believe that mathematics is uniquely powerful in helping us to make sense of, and describe, our world and in enabling us to solve problems. At St Joseph’s Primary School we follow a ‘Maths Mastery’ approach. ‘Maths Mastery’ means pupils acquiring a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject. The phrase ‘teaching for mastery’ describes the elements of classroom practice and school organisation that combine to give pupils the best chances of mastering maths. Achieving mastery means acquiring a solid enough understanding of the maths that’s been taught to enable pupils to move on to more advanced material.

( https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/49450 )

 

EYFS Maths: Maths in the EYFS involves your child working with numbers every day and exploring ideas such as counting, measuring and developing mathematical vocabulary. An interest in maths, numbers, and problem solving is encouraged through maths games and fun activities.​

Religious Education

This is a Roman Catholic School, and the religious education we deliver conforms to the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Religious education is provided within the timetable according to a syllabus authorised by the Diocese of Westminster called "The Way, the Truth and the Life". You can find out more about our RE curriculum here.

The School has an agreed policy for Education in Relationships and Sex Education which contains arrangements for teaching Sex Education. Children's sex education is based on Christian principles and is related to the stage of their development as they move through the school. We always invite our Y6 parents to a meeting to discuss the approach we take and to share the resources we use for the delivery of the relationships and sex education we deliver in this year group.

Children make their First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion in Year 3. Because these are important stages in the life of the child, our aim is to work with Fr Hector to involve parents as fully as possible in this sacramental preparation to strengthen and develop links between Home, School and Parish.

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