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Our Curriculum

Our Curriculum
This section of our website is focused on our Curriculum and provides an overview of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework and the Curriculum offer for children in Years 1 to 6.  The Curriculum is all the planned activities that the school organises in order to promote learning, personal growth and development.  All classes use a mixture of teaching styles and techniques during the week in a variety of groupings – whole class, ability groups, mixed ability groups, paired working. Children are taught daily lessons of English/Literacy and Mathematics/Numeracy where the level of work is tailored to individual ability.

In our school we have high expectations of what our children can achieve in reading; writing; speaking and listening and grammar, punctuation and spelling.

We also give our children opportunities to apply their reading and writing skills through other curriculum areas.

How we teach phonics and reading
Reading is a priority in our school, pupils in EYFS benefit from shared reading as soon as they start school and the school has a well-established reward system for reading.   Pupils who require additional support are provided with Buddy Readers, are a focus reader in their class and may be provided with additional support by our newly established Better Reading Champion.  This emphasis ensures that pupils develop reading skills rapidly which in turn impacts on pupils progress and attainment.

The school uses a wide range of reading material to engage our pupils believing that by doing this pupils will engage and enjoy the variety offered by our scheme books.  The schemes we use include; Oxford Reading Tree, StoryWorld, Project X, Songbirds, Fireflies, Read Write Inc and Big Cat Phonics. This list is not exclusive; once pupils have secure reading skills they move to independent readers; in this way we foster a love of reading.  The school produces a reading leaflet which provides an overview of how reading is taught and helpful tips for parents to support home reading.

We link the teaching of reading very closely to the phonics development of our children; but not exclusively as we believe children require a range of strategies to access texts effectively and with enjoyment in the early stages of becoming a fluent reader. Children from Reception to year 2 are taught phonics (letter sound correspondence) every day. They are also taught exception words (words that cannot be read by using the strategy of phonics) and how to use cues in pictures or within the sentence they are reading to decode (read) a text.

The assessment of children’s phonic knowledge at the end of Year 1 is a statutory requirement. We report children’s attainment to parents at the end of Y1. In 2015 92% of our pupils achieved the required score. Pupils who do not pass the test are provided with a range of engaging materials to reinforce their learning at home and provided with additional support in Year 2 to ensure they pass the phonics resit at the end of Year 2.

In the very first few weeks within school the children will be given books without any text; we use these to build the children’s confidence to re-tell a story from the picture cues whilst at the same time developing their ability to use phonics to decode (read) phonetically plausible words and to build their capacity to read exception words (words not phonetically plausible) in daily phonics sessions.

Children are then given a book from our school reading scheme that contain text – new words will be explained to them before they read the book but as they become more confident readers and their vocabulary grows and they recognise more words on ‘sight’ we move into showing our children strategies to read longer words e.g. chunking into syllables; looking for root words or trying different pronunciations to hear which fits best in the context of the sentence, as they read the book.

When children are confident fluent readers we sometimes make the decision to remove them from the school reading scheme as this is primarily to develop the skills of decoding (reading). We will then allow them to choose their own books to read to an adult so that other skills can be taught and children have the chance to practise them with texts that allow them the scope to do so e.g. intonation and expression; controlling tone and volume to make meaning clear. This also supports them when they come to share their own written work from Y2 onwards.

PLEASE NOTE: children in Y1-Y6 read regularly within English lessons in a group situation (we call this guided reading) where they might be looking at and exploring a particular genre in a particular format e.g. recounts written as diary extracts. They will also read in other areas of learning using printed or screen texts to support learning.

How we expect parents/carers to support their child to become a fluent reader

We send the reading books regularly (please see class teacher for more information). We believe fluent readers who have a joy of reading can be developed in school but that it stems from a love at books modelled at home and a high value placed on the skill of reading by a child’s parents/carers.

When your child brings their book home please spend time reading it with them in and as they become more confident and fluent by listening to them read it.

Please remember to send your child’s book back to school the next day when it is sent home.

Writing; grammar, punctuation and spelling
From Y1 onwards our children are taught to write in a range of genres across our school. Children are taught how to draft and refine their work.

Speaking and listening:
We have high expectations that all our children have positive and effective listening skills and are able to speak to a range of audiences, in a range of situations, appropriately and that they acquire a broad and secure vocabulary and subject specific vocabulary.

We plan for speaking and listening opportunities within our curriculum and ensure that vocabulary is used in the right way as well as providing enrichment activities such as our school performances.

Our maths curriculum ensures that our children acquire secure mathematical knowledge; for example automaticity and rapid recall of number bonds and multiplication facts. They also develop the knowledge, skills and understanding of formal methods to record a calculation, so that they have the skills to know when and how to use this knowledge so that their understanding is deepened.

Foundation Stage – Reception Children
At St Cuthbert’s we are proud of the start we give to all children in Foundation Stage. Our EYFS children access an environment that develops “the whole child”. Each area of development is closely and often seamlessly intertwined to enable children to learn and develop following a curriculum enriched by play based activities.  The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum has three “prime” areas of learning; Personal, Social and Emotional development, language for communication and thinking and physical development, and four “specific” areas; literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. Broad developmental bands indicating likely stages of development and behaviours in each of these areas form the basis of our planning for learning and children’s progress and attainment is monitored in relation to these developmental bands.  All activities and experiences are designed and planned to meet individual needs and interests.

Quality play experiences form the basis of the curriculum.  Reception children are encouraged to initiate and develop their own ideas, working with other children and adults in a variety of contexts both indoors and in the outdoor classroom. In addition we use our School garden and grounds to enable children to  use the natural environment to explore,  learn and grow, as well as enhancing self-esteem, confidence, independence and personal well-being.

We have a carefully structured induction programme to settle children into our school and we work closely with parents and families to form a partnership around each child to work together to ensure each child reaches their fullest potential. Reception   children contribute to whole school life in many different ways, including performances, joining older children for Collective Worship and special celebration times, visiting other classes and sharing their work with others.

Year 1 to Year 6 Curriculum
A broad and balanced curriculum is planned and taught in a happy and stimulating environment in accordance with the National Curriculum requirements.  Independent and collaborative skills are encouraged in all year groups and computing is readily used and embedded across the whole curriculum.  It is a priority of the school to ensure that the basic skills of reading, writing, communication and maths are taught not only as discrete subjects but in as many other subjects as possible through a cross-curricular enquiry based approach.  The curriculum we offer is designed to meet the needs of all our pupils. It is rich, varied, creative and imaginative and meets the needs of individual learners exceedingly well.  We give children the opportunity for a topic based approach for our foundation subjects.  Our outdoor curriculum provides adventurous learning opportunities for pupils that impact on pupil attainment.

This approach we feel has inspired and engaged all our children in their learning, enabling all our children to enjoy and achieve to their fullest potential. Our curriculum is broad and balanced, providing pupils with their full entitlement and is customised to meet the changing needs of individuals and groups. PE, SEAL, Music, RE, and French are all taught discretely outside of the Creative curriculum to ensure depth and rigour. In PE children have the opportunity to develop wide ranging skills and compete in intra and inter school and County Competitions.

As a Catholic School Religious Education is central to the education we provide for our pupils. We base our teaching upon the ‘Come and See’ scheme.  We place great importance on providing opportunities for everyone within the school community to continue their personal Faith journey.   Our Collective Worship programme Nurturing Human Wholeness deepens our pupils understanding of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Over the course of the school year pupils;

  • are encouraged to be reflective about their own and others’ beliefs
  • develop an understanding about themselves and others in the world
  • recognise the difference between right and wrong and the importance of tolerance and respect for everyone
  • understand the consequences of their behaviour and actions, and appreciate the viewpoints of others
  • are supported in, developing a respect for the civil and criminal law of England
  • develop their social skills to embrace pupils from different religions, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds

During the school year there are many opportunities for the children to take part in school worship through assemblies, Mass and other celebrations.

The Governors are required to remind parents of their right to withdraw pupils from religious worship and education. However parents are also reminded that the school exists to give a Catholic/Christian education to its pupils and therefore parents are expected to be in sympathy with the aims and objectives of the school. It should be noted that parents who choose to exercise their right of withdrawal are responsible for the supervision of their children during these periods of withdrawal.

The Sacraments
The children receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist during Year Three. We believe in the importance of a Home and Parish partnership in the preparation of the children for these important Sacraments. The children receive the Sacraments with their own family and the Parish community.

Education in Personal Relationships
We consider that sex education should be taught within the context of personal relationships and that it should also be linked to Religious Education, because it is concerned with the person as a whole. Through Science, R.E., P.S.H.E. (Personal, Social and Health Education) and Citizenship, our aim is to make the children aware of the changes which take place both emotionally and physically as they mature. We aim to do this in a caring and supportive atmosphere, linking this knowledge to an understanding of God’s plan for our growth and personal relationship with Him.

Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)
All pupils follow the National Curriculum at a level and a pace that is appropriate to their abilities. Our philosophy places SEND children at the heart of personalised learning and our curriculum is tailored to meet individual pupils needs.

At times and when it is felt appropriate, modifications to the curriculum may be implemented.  To successfully match pupil ability to the curriculum St Cuthbert’s RCVA Primary School remain committed to:

  • A range of teaching and learning styles
  • Differentiated learning materials
  • Access to ICT and Technology
  • Additional in class support
  • Additional out of class support
  • Many Enrichment and Enjoyment opportunities to stimulate and motivate learning
  • Flexible groupings – including small group support work
  • An innovative and supportive curriculum
  • The appropriate use of rewards and sanctions
  • A broad range of extra-curricular activities, including homework club, one to one support and booster/extension sessions
  • Assessment procedures that emphasise pupils’ strengths and achievements
  • Applications during national testing at Key Stage 2 to obtain access arrangements as appropriate

Class pages provide further information on the topics to be covered during the school year and share pupils’ work.

What role does our governing body play in ensuring good curriculum provision?

Our governing body consider and agree the curriculum statement, monitor and review our curricula through visiting school to talk to our co-ordinators if they have a special interest and through feedback from the head teacher.

What role does our head teacher play in ensuring good curriculum provision?

Our head teacher reviews the curriculum statement each year for consideration at the governing body meeting.

Our Head teacher monitors the provision of our curricula through lesson observations, work book monitoring, progress review meetings, data analysis and regular feedback from curriculum co-ordinators.

The Head teacher reports to the Governing body on standards and progress within the school, giving consideration to:

  • year groups;
  • comparisons with national averages and similar schools nationally and
  • the nature of any parental complaints concerning the curriculum.

In doing this the head teacher and governors can evaluate whether our curricula is fit for purpose; taking swift action when it is not but maintaining its strengths.

What role do our co-ordinators play in ensuring good curriculum provision?

Each teacher has responsibility for at least one curriculum area and they monitor delivery; progress and standards within these areas. They report to the head teacher and other colleagues about their findings and give support and challenge through discussions or professional development they lead.

What role do our class teachers play in ensuring good curriculum provision?

All our teachers have a responsibility to deliver the agreed curricula through careful planning, teaching and evaluation.

What role do our learning support assistants (LSAs) play in good curriculum provision?

Our LSAs have a supportive role within school to deliverer our curricula.

This is in two ways:

  • Within lessons they work in partnership with the class teacher who manages the day to day curricula.
  • If they support on yard they work in partnership with the SENCo who manages the pastoral curriculum in this space.

Below you will find a yearly overview of the curriculum in each subject for each year group.  If you would like any information regarding our school curriculum, please use the contact us page and we will be happy to help.

Assessment Without Levels