‘I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.’John 10:10
At St Catherine’s, we have designed a curriculum that is ambitious, and intended to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with SEND, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Our curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced to provide cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning.
The intent of the curriculum at St Catherine’s is driven by our Mission Statement, ‘Be who God created you to be and you will set the world on fire.’ It is designed with three aims:
Aim 1: To enable pupils to be who God created them to be
To develop the ‘whole’ child by providing a balanced curriculum, which equips our children with powerful knowledge, with high expectations for all, so that every child achieves their full potential.
Aim 2: To support and encourage pupils to ‘set the world on fire‘
To be rooted in the world around them, inspiring the pupils to contribute to wider society and live out our Catholic mission by being agents for change.
Aim 3: To build on the rich cultural capital of our school community
To value and celebrate the uniqueness of each child and their heritage. A curriculum in which our children see themselves and are seen. To provide a curriculum which recognises and builds on the cultural capital that our families bring to the school, as well as exposing children to key powerful elements of British and world culture.
‘Be who God created you to be…’St Catherine of Siena
We provide high quality teaching following the principles of Direct Instruction (Rosenshine, 2010). These were collated through decades of research. The principles of direct instruction are:
In addition to learning through the national curriculum (and of equal importance), we strive to offer our pupils a breadth of experiences throughout their journey at St. Catherine’s. Examples include: providing a range of enrichment opportunities; leading the charitable work in the school, parish and local community; arranging educational visits and speakers from different cultures, faiths and experiences to share about their way of life; promoting and protecting emotional wellbeing and mental health; offering pupil leadership opportunities, Christ’s Crew, Junior Leadership Team, ECO Warriors, Farm Rangers and Buddies.
Maths – We use the White Rose Maths scheme of work, which is sequenced to ensure progression. We assess using NFER materials and regular/constant teacher assessment. In addition, we are entering our third year of the Maths Mastery Programme with Matrix Hub and are starting Mastering Number this year.
Writing – We follow Literacy Tree, Writing Roots. This is a book-based writing scheme, where units are based on a wide range of high quality and significant children’s literature chosen to engage, challenge and support children to be critical readers and confident and informed writers. All National Curriculum requirements of grammar, spelling, vocabulary, literary language and composition are embedded leading towards a variety of purposeful and exciting shorter, longer and extended writing outcomes where the audience and purpose is clear. We assess using writing assessment grids and moderate across the year group, with the year group below/above and within our Trust and with other Hertfordshire schools. We focus on handwriting and presentation, and edit our work carefully to improve it. We celebrate writing across the school.
Reading – We read with the class in whole-class guided reading sessions. We visit our school Jungle Library to access a progressive reading scheme to help us with reading at home. Learners need the space and time to make choices about books, and to discover authors and texts they might not get chance to look at outside of school. Our teachers check we are reading books that will challenge us, and create exciting reading areas around the school. We assess reading using teacher assessment.
Religious Education – We use the Diocesan approved scheme of work ‘Come and See.’ This includes 6 topics per year group from Reception to Year 6. In addition, we supplement the Come and See Units with our own enrichment units. Examples of this include Anti-racism and COP26. Subject leaders deliver training to staff to enhance teaching and learning in Religious Education as a result of specialist training that they have received. All children participate in pupil-led and teacher-led Collective Worship sessions as well as taking part in assemblies, Masses and liturgies. Children are encouraged to take opportunities to express their faith through various school organisations such as our Junior Leadership Team, Farm Rangers, Sustainability Society and Christ’s Crew.
Our school believes in and celebrates the uniqueness of every child, as created in the image of God. The example of Christ’s love and care is encouraged through every aspect of school life. This is developed in partnership with parents, the parishes and the wider community.
We follow our school mission of ‘Be who God created you to be and you will set the world on fire’ which inspires us to be the best we can be academically, spiritually and socially. We recognise the multi-cultural, multi faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom. We promote and uphold the key ‘British Values’.
Teachers ask learners to undertake positions of responsibility around the school, as we believe that children understand values by seeing them in action in others.
The majority of our foundation subjects are taught in half-termly blocks. This allows pupils to be immersed in the subject, and gain a deeper level of knowledge. To ensure that knowledge is retained, teachers regularly revise and revisit previous blocks in a variety of ways (including fun quizzes). We call this our ‘Blast from the Past’.
Foundation subjects – We plan foundation subjects using progressive skills, which show what children should be learning in each year group in each subject. Teachers check children’s learning against these progressive skills and curriculum leaders check that they are doing this correctly. Curriculum Leaders keep a record of how each class is doing and monitor the progress of pupils. Our curriculum encourages children to develop independent thinking skills and questioning, with a strong focus on skills based, practical learning rooted in real-life experiences.
Teachers plan a wide variety of educational visits including: residentials, school trips and guest speakers. We hold exciting events like: Science week, History Day and Art week as well as half-termly theme weeks. These allow children the opportunity to apply their learning in a real-life context and situation. These events are extremely popular with parents and members of the parish and wider community.
Where possible cross curricular links are made between Religious Education, Maths, English and Foundation Subjects. We assess the foundation subjects using assessment grids, supported by materials from the relevant scheme of work.
We use high quality schemes of work to ensure a cohesive curriculum and reduce teacher workload. However, these have been adapted to ensure that units celebrate the rich heritage and build on the cultural capital of our families.
Developing the spiritual and moral compass of our learners (Our place in the community and wider world: Where we are)
When teachers plan the curriculum, they think not just about what pupils should learn and how pupils should learn it, but also how they can bring in an understanding of spirituality, morality and the wider world. Teachers do this through:
‘and you will set the world on fire!’St Catherine of Siena
What do we hope will be the impact of our curriculum and how do we measure it?
Intention 1: Developing our learner’s learning (What we learn)
We strive to ensure that our children’s attainment in Religious Education, core and foundation subjects is in line with or exceeding their potential when we consider the varied starting points of children. We measure this carefully using a range of materials, but always considering age related expectations. Our aim is to ensure that children will be academically and socially prepared for life in high school and in modern Britain and the world.
Intention 2: Developing the character of our learners (Who we are when we learn)
Our learners will have a clear understanding of our core values and our mission as pupils in our school and as they move on in each stage of their life. They will be empowered to see that they are able to make a difference to their own lives and the lives of others. They will feel inspired to use their skills, talents and abilities to make a postivie change in their on homes, schools, communities and in the world.
We measure this not just by the work our children produce, but in the behaviours we see each and every day in all learners. The impact of this intention is seen in the daily interaction of all members of our community, including staff and children.
Intention 3: Developing a sense of self, valuing and embracing diversity and an appreciation of British and world culture (Our understanding and appreciation of ourselves and others: Who we are)
The impact is seen by how pupils approach challenges every day. This could be on the playground, in a game or disagreement, or in class in a complex learning challenge. Children don’t give up, are highly motivated to succeed and achieve and are equipped with all the personal skills to do this. They will be able to express how they are feeling and know how/where to get support if needed.
Intention 4: Developing the moral compass of our learners (Our place in the community and wider world: Where we are)
Our learners will be motivated by a strong personal sense of spirituality and morality. They will make decisions for the right reasons and in the best interests of their community, guided by their faith. Our learners will be happy and resilient, and the impact will be that they make a positive contribution to society, to modern Britain and the world. They will leave this school ready for the next phase of their education and go out into the world and make a difference in their own life and to others.