Our Curriculum

image001‘The ladder of education can never be secure unless the first rungs are firmly in place.’

We want all our children to experience success and enjoy their learning whilst at school. We aim to achieve this through high standards of learning and teaching within a happy and caring environment.

We aim to present the curriculum through an interesting and challenging programme of work, which build son the children’s interests and experiences. We build children’s confidence and try to encourage our pupils to develop cooperation, self-discipline and perseverance. Our children are given the chance to develop and use these skills throughout the curriculum, through first-hand experiences and practical activities. We actively teach the children how to be good learners.

Through a variety of teaching methods and strategies, we aim to instil children with an enthusiasm for learning and prepare them for future school life. Teaching methods, including whole class, group and paired work, or individual personalised programmes of study are chosen, as appropriate, to meet the task or skill being focused upon.

During the course of the year, the children will encounter a range of teaching methods. They will mainly be taught by their own class teacher, although we do have specialist teachers in some areas, enabling us to best use the individual expertise of a large, talented teaching staff.

Our curriculum strives to ensure breadth, balance and depth. We know that children learn faster and more effectively when skills and concepts are linked between subjects at the same time. We plan themes or topics carefully so that continuity and progression are smooth and aid development. Topics enable us to identify skills, concepts, knowledge and ideas from individual subjects and bring them together in a cohesive way. Some areas of study are taught discretely, especially where strong links cannot be made, to ensure complete curriculum coverage.

We are currently reviewing our curriculum, as part of a trust-wide initiative. The new curriculum will be both a knowledge- and a skills-based, creative curriculum which will promote challenge and depth through enquiry, whilst matching the children’s learning needs. Children will be able to re-visit key concepts throughout their time at the school, layering, interleaving and sequencing their growing knowledge, thus enabling progression. – a ‘Mastery’ approach to learning. Our curriculum is being planned around our school driver words; Aspiration, Innovation, Diversity and Spirituality, which take into account the factors which make our school the unique place that it is.

Underpinning our curriculum development is an increased whole staff understanding of the cognitive research and theories about how children learn best. Through regular ‘Teachmeets’ over the last year or so, teachers have had opportunities to explore at depth the pedagogy which informs good learning, and to investigate different approaches to curriculum design. We have been fortunate to work with educationalists such as Mark Burns and Chris Quigley, who have both delivered training within school.

How We Are Developing Our Curriculum

Over the last couple of years, we have been focussing on developing a Growth Mindset culture throughout the school so that children become more open to new ideas and more able to take risks with their learning. We have done this by delivering specific Growth Mindset training to both children and staff, actively changing the language of learning that we use in school and altering the focus of our Celebration Assemblies. We have also re-defined our feedback and marking strategies, increased opportunities for autonomous choices, explored what ‘challenge’ looks like and extended our knowledge of the many different methods we can use to engage children. We call this FACE, and it forms part of the Teaching and Learning model which underpins all that we do in the classroom. Children, teachers and support Staff have all contributed to ensuring that we have created a firm basis on which to build our new curriculum.

An example of our St Francis Teaching and Learning Approach can be seen here.

January 2019

The whole staff worked together to contribute to this productive day: we are fortunate to have so many knowledgeable adults working collaboratively in school, all with ideas to contribute.

During January’s Training Day, Teachers and Support Staff worked in cross-phase teams to develop Curriculum Knowledge Outlines to help inform the next stage of our curriculum planning. These ideas will now be refined by Subject and Milestone co-ordinators to ensure breadth and depth of curriculum coverage, opportunities for re-visiting key concepts, and continuity and progression. We will keep you updated as our exciting curriculum continues to develop!

February 2019

In February we developed our Curriculum Intent Statement, which sets out our approach behind the design of our new creative curriculum. Click here to read it.