Curriculum

We offer an ambitious curriculum which is broad and balanced and meets the requirements of the National Curriculum, Religious Education and the Early Years Foundation Stage. We believe every child is unique and special and can achieve in some educational endeavour. We recognise that one of the most important contributions we can make to the lives of our pupils is to develop positive attitudes towards learning and confidence in themselves as learners. Therefore our primary curriculum is designed to be as broad as possible so each child may find their strengths, achieve and grow in confidence and self-esteem and self-efficacy.

INTENT

  • To provide a broad and balanced curriculum enriched with quality learning experiences. High standards and risk taking are promoted and learning made exciting and memorable* to promote a positive attitude towards learning and facilitate excellence.
  • To support and develop pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
  • To actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
  • To build systematically on children’s existing knowledge and skills and for children to be able to apply these in relevant situations.
  • To organise learning thematically, thereby making learning relevant and connected.
  • To provide a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities and high quality extended school services to further enhance provision.*
  • To ensure that teaching and learning is inclusive and focused on individual pupil’s attainment, abilities and needs, thereby maximising success.*
  • To prepare each pupil for life and work beyond school as responsible citizens in a multicultural and diverse, democratic society where prejudice and discrimination are not tolerated.*

*(taken directly from the aims of the school)

IMPLEMENTATION

Our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) ensures that learning is fun, effective and that the children are confident and socially settled with their peers by the time they progress to Key Stage 1 (KS1). The learning in both the Nursery and Reception years occurs through child initiated activities and direct teaching. The classrooms are organised into areas of continuous provision e.g. water, sand, role play, writing, small world, small and large construction. It is in these areas that the children are given opportunities to explore the prime and specific areas of learning as identified in the Foundation Stage curriculum. The prime areas are: personal, social and emotional; communication and language; and physical development. The specific areas are: literacy (including reading and writing), mathematics, understanding the world; expressive arts and design. Learning also takes place in the ‘outdoor environment’ on a daily basis. Forest school practices are incorporated into outdoor learning, led by a trained member of the foundation stage.

In KS1 the children have opportunities to consolidate their learning using the principles found in the EYFS. The mixed 1/2 classes incorporate elements of continuous provision to enable a smooth transition from EYFS through KS1 and onto Key Stage 2 (KS2).

We use a phonics first approach to teaching reading following the systematic, synthetic phonics programme, Floppy’s Phonics. We use a broad and varied range of schemes including: Bug Club, Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds, Floppy Phonics and Read Write Inc. whilst ensuring reading material is carefully matched to the phonics taught. Phonics starts the moment our children start school. We stream by phonic phase across Years 1and 2. Children who still benefit from phonic support receive phonic teaching into KS2.

The school rightly prioritises reading and mathematical fluency as these are preconditions to achieving across the national curriculum. Interventions for reading, writing, mathematics and specific learning are appropriately delivered to enhance pupils’ capacity to access the full curriculum.

The school plans a rolling programme of activities to develop a love of reading, including: carefully chosen texts to support the curriculum; visits from authors and storytellers; drama productions linked to the reading curriculum; reading buddies; raffles to encourage reading and recommending texts; book fairs; World Book Day;  reading challenges including our ‘read-a-thon’ and visits to local libraries. Our work in this area is informed by children from the school, our Reading Council.

Our reading ‘Gems’, taken from the National Curriculum reading domains are explicitly taught and prominently displayed in classrooms. The reading gems provide children with the language to think through the reading strategies they are using to comprehend texts. The school uses a variety of progressive reading approaches to build fluency and comprehension. Small group guided reading sessions occur in the EYFS through to Year 3, before switching to whole class guided reading.

Our ‘Reading into Writing’ spine maps out the texts used in school. These quality texts support the English writing curriculum and wider curriculum, making learning meaningful and allow objectives in English and history/geography/science to be taught efficiently and in context.. The writing objectives of the National Curriculum are broken down and progressively mapped out from the EYFS through to Year 6.

Opportunities to develop speaking, listening, group interaction and drama skills are planned as an integral part of the delivery of the curriculum.

Children need to experience the widest possible exposure to vocabulary. In addition to ensuring children experience vocabulary during reading quality texts, the school has mapped out subject-specific vocabulary across the school.

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In mathematics, the school uses White Rose Maths to support our mathematics curriculum. Our children experience a variety of concrete, pictorial and abstract activities to support their learning. The learning of times tables is important to reduce load on working memory to free up children’s capacity to complete more complex tasks. We encourage the regular practise both in and outside of school using tools such as TT Rock Stars. As a school mathematical problem solving techniques are explicitly taught and displayed prominently in school.

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Individual subjects of the National Curriculum are organised into progressively demanding, coherent and cohesive, sequenced content. Where children have demonstrated an excellent understanding of part of the curriculum, teachers broaden the children’s understanding further so they master the knowledge and skills being taught. 

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Where possible the curriculum is taught as cross curricular topics with a specific bias of science, history or geography. Individual concepts may have to be taught independently from the topic framework, if an area does not lend itself to natural inclusion in a topic. Although much learning is organised into topics, children should still appreciate how learning relates to individual subjects. The school uses knowledge organisers which summarise the essential knowledge found within a particular topic. At KS2, the topics are organised into weekly questions to engage the learner. Our topics take into account and use the school’s locality; locally, regionally and internationally.

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The principals of cognitive science are incorporated into the teaching sequence. Teachers plan carefully opportunities for children to retrieve information to build memory and thereby make progress.

The curriculum is personalised by providing appropriate challenge to enable pupils to maximise their achievement. We encourage our pupils to take risks with their learning and always be willing to try new ideas or experiences. As the children grow we equip them with the tools for life so they can explore creativity across the curriculum. We expect our children to take increasing responsibility for their own learning.

The school’s Christian values of trust, hope, friendship, perseverance, forgiveness and peace are incorporated into planning and activities across the curriculum. We use one value each half term as a focus for worship. Every child individually responds to a value stimuli, these responses are displayed prominently in school.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) Education (incorporating British Values) is implicit in the school ethos and is planned into all aspects of the curriculum. Christian Values are identified in teachers' planning to ensure our formal curriculum supports our ethos.

RE is taught as a separate subject in line with Chester Diocesan guidelines and follows its scheme of work. Approximately two thirds of the RE curriculum taught is specifically related to the Christian faith and a third to other world faiths such as Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. The resource ‘Understanding Christianity’ is used to support the delivery of the Chester Diocesan Scheme.

Our Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum, incorporates the statutory Relationships and Health Education. We use Heartsmart, a scheme of work endorsed by the Church of England, to support teachers in delivery of this area of the curriculum. We choose to teach sex education in Year 5.

The school uses the National Centre for Computing Excellence (NCCE) scheme form computing. Additionally, computing is deployed to support learning throughout the school and its curriculum where it can achieve learning outcomes more efficiently than more traditional means or where it is the only means of achieving these goals.

Class councils are held regularly to raise issues for class representatives to discuss at School Council as part of the children’s citizenship education.

We educate our pupils in personal safety through: Safer Internet Day, Bikeability (safer cycling scheme), Crucial Crew (roadshow of emergency services) and Judo Education for Y6 (personal safety course).

We actively plan for progressive leadership opportunities and development. Examples include: School Council, Sports Council, Ethos Group, Friendly Listeners (pastoral mentors), Play Leaders (lunchtime assistants) Eco Council, My Money activities (independently generate money for charity), pupil led worship for other pupils and our older pupils run Sports Days for Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.

We build a cohesive community which extends beyond the school by: promoting a ‘language of the term’; incorporating non-Christian festivals into worship; producing cards for festivals including Mothering Sunday; Switch Off Afternoon where the school is plunged into darkness; Families for Lunch where we invite family members to share a school meal with their children; Stars in Our School where children write certificates of appreciation to school support staff; Thank You Tea Party for school volunteers where Year 6 prepare food, wait on guests and give speeches; School Linking both locally, regionally and internationally with contrasting schools. Our regional link school was chosen for its predominantly Muslim faith pupils and Joy School, Uganda for its contrasting ethnicity and international dimension to assist the children’s understanding of Christianity as a global faith.

Performance and public speaking are developed through: School Choir; School Orchestra; productions for Key Stage 1 and 2; Xmas Factor (like X Factor but with a Christmas theme), St Mary’s Has Got Talent (eclectic talent show), Year 3’s First Contact project with Trafford Music Service where all pupils learn a tuned instrument and perform with other pupils across Trafford and a professional orchestra / ensemble. Opportunities exist for children to perform for our end of term services in our local church and during Day School Sunday, a tradition going back over a hundred years to the founding of the school.

We encourage volunteering and charitable giving through supporting Comic Relief / Sport Relief, Children in Need, other charities chosen by School Council and Joy School, Uganda.

We promote an understanding of future careers by inviting specialists into school to discuss how their education has influenced their career choices.

We observe national events such as: Remembrance Day; Holocaust Memorial Day; Anti-bullying Week; Mental Health Week; Fair Trade Fortnight; World Book Day and Pancake Olympics on Shrove Tuesday!

At KS2, specialist teaching occurs in Music, Dance, Foreign Languages (Spanish) and at Key Stages 1 and 2 P.E..  Teachers usually teach all subjects to their own classes but sometimes may be timetabled to share a specialism with other classes.

Many disadvantaged pupils typically start school with a language deficit. Developing children’s vocabulary and reading is essential if these pupils are to achieve as other pupils. Teachers are right to emphasise the acquisition of vocabulary and the skill of reading for disadvantaged pupils. This is best achieved by a rich and broad curriculum. Where interventions are deemed appropriate, consideration should be given to the impact on the wider curriculum.

Our curriculum is inclusive. Information on how our pupils with SEND are supported to make the best progress can be found here.

Offsite educational visits and visitors to school, linked to the curriculum, play a significant part in the development of children. Visits and visitors enhance and bring to life the teaching of the National Curriculum and Foundation Stage through first-hand experiences which enrich the understanding of, empathy with and enjoyment of the curriculum.

Each class has one offsite visit per term. Visitors, such as, authors, poets, artists, musicians and historians are organised by individual teachers and the school as required. Year 4 take part in the School Linking initiative with a contrasting school to further develop the children’s understanding of diversity and difference. Year 6 enjoy an outward bounds and problem solving residential trip.

Extra-curricular clubs are offered before, during and after school to further enhance our broad curricular offering. More information can be found here.

 

IMPACT

Our distinctive Christian ethos and school systems nurture and grow confident pupils who exhibit excellent learning behaviours: they experience quality relationships, care and guidance; work well in teams; readily take on leadership roles and work well independently demonstrating good character and resilience.

Pupils apply their English, communication, mathematical and computing skills in a variety of contexts as a result of the cross-curricular approach to teaching and learning. Our children have excellent vocabulary.

Children experience a progressive curriculum which allows all pupil groups to build knowledge, behaviours and skills that they can access to demonstrate cultural competence.

Our children are reflective, being able to debate points and reflect on their own learning well, demonstrating good meta-cognition skills.

The school’s broad curriculum with a strong tradition of performance both at school and in the community; achievements in the arts and sport means all pupils feel valued, and achieve excellence in a variety of disciplines.

 

If you would like an further information about the school's curriculum then please contact the Headteacher.

Our curriculum from Year 1 to Year 6 (key Stages 1 &2) is founded on the National Curriculum.

Additionally, within the Early Years, you may find 'Developmental Matters in The Early Years Foundation Stage' and the 'Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework' useful information when understanding how we organise learning within the EYFS.