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St Thomas' CE Primary School

St Clement & St James CE Primary School

St Thomas' Federation - Stronger together

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Curriculum & Subjects

 

 

Our Curriculum

 

Curriculum Design

Our curriculum is designed to develop children’s character, intellect and curiosity.  We have high aspirations for our children and aim to offer them a broad, challenging and engaging curriculum.

By the time children leave our school they will:

  • Be kind, confident, well-mannered, thoughtful members of society who embody our Christian values.
  • Speak confidently and in Standard English, with a broad range of vocabulary, in formal situations, for example children should be able to argue a point and  greet a visitor .
  • Have knowledge of a core set of books and poetry that they can make links to and draw upon.
  • Have a broad general knowledge and understanding of the world for example of historical facts, geographical sense of place and religions.
  • Understand the cultural and historical influences that have shaped this area of London.
  • Be ambitious for their futures, expecting that he or she can follow career paths that take them onto higher education such as university or an apprenticeship.
  • Enjoy and appreciate the arts and be able to participate in performances, for example music, poetry, dance and drama.
  • Understand their body, how to keep it healthy and enjoy participating in sporting activities.
  • Have healthy relationships with an age-appropriate understanding of sex education.
  • Be able to keep themselves safe (both online and on the streets) and know how to avoid confrontation and resolve disputes peacefully through restorative approaches.
  • Have a love of learning and self-efficacy around studying.
  • Be passionate about looking after our world and take active responsibility for making a difference in our world.
  • Understand and value the concepts of Global Human Values and contribute positively to our community.
  • Respect each other regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, culture, gender, disability and wealth. 
  • Be courageous advocates for the causes they believe in.
  • Be anti-racist and call out injustice.

 

What we know about how children learn

  • Learning is defined as a change in long term memory.
  • Our working memory is limited so it can become easily overloaded with too much new information.
  • The more that is secured in our long-term memory the more we are able to think, because we free short-term working memory.
  • Repetition is key to ensuring learning is not forgotten – we must be able to recall information the next week, month, term and year.
  • Children need to achieve success, but some level of difficulty which forces children to think, helps with embedding information and knowledge in our memory.  (Our brain rewards us with dopamine when we successfully meet a challenge.)
  • People love stories, problem solving and making links.
  • It is no good learning a series of facts out of context.  We must combine facts to create knowledge and in turn apply this to create deep learning.
  • Cultural capital is important to prepare children for future success.

 

The implications for planning our curriculum

  • Our curriculum will be underpinned by our key drivers which are:
    • Our Christian values
    • The arts
    • Caring for the environment
    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • We will plan a very broad curriculum which continually revisits key concepts (curricular goals).  
  • We will ensure there is representation of the nine protected characteristics; diversity of voice and narratives from many perspectives; opportunities to interrupt inequalities.  We will be mindful that what we choose to teach confers or denies power.
  • The more knowledge of the world children have, the more likely they are to have the procedural and semantic understanding they need.  
  • Cultural capital gives our students the vital background knowledge they need to be thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in our school values and Global Human Values.  As a result:
    • We will plan to teach new tier 2 and 3 words per year – these will be planned in consultation with subject leaders.  
    • We will ensure there is a set of texts which are carefully selected (for their vocabulary, range of subjects, enrichment) which all children will have an entitlement to during their time at school.
    • We will regularly review our curriculum to ensure that it is reflective of the communities we teach and includes a diversity of knowledge. 
    • Continue to “diversify” the curriculum as we develop our own knowledge and pedagogy. 
    • Ensure our history curriculum tells the histories of stories of a diverse range of people and cultures.
  • Tying our curriculum together are the concepts which are the key ideas in each subject area eg in history the concepts include chronology and sources of evidence.  
  • Within the concepts there will be progression models with milestones along the way (milestone 1 is KS1, milestone 2 is LKS2, milestone 3 is UKS2).  Within each milestone there will be learning at a basic, advancing and deep level.  The goal being to reach a deep understanding by the end of the milestone (over a two year period, in the first year the teaching is likely to be more basic).
  • We won’t rush through the curriculum.  We will secure the basic learning and go over this in a variety of ways (through variation as we do in mathematics).
  • Knowledge organisers, which are informed by the National Curriculum programmes of study, help link each topic and threshold concept to previously studied topics. In addition, knowledge organisers often include key vocabulary, significant people and events. Alongside these organisers we’ll plan a series of knowledge lessons.
  • In order to aid learning and ensure there is a change to long term memory, our curriculum is subject specific and planned so there are frequent opportunities to revisit key curricular goals in a variety of ways.  
  • We will link subject work to studies of Kensal Town or Notting Dale areas, such as Holland Park, Meanwhile Gardens or Kensal Cemetary.  Topic links will only be made between subjects where they are relevant and not contrived.
  • Opportunities to recall knowledge will be aided through frequent low-stakes quizzes such as 10 daily questions, question quadrants and quick fire questions (the 3 Qs).
  • Because it’s impossible to assess children’s learning in the short term we look at how well children are learning over time.  We will use POL (proof of learning) tasks and comparative judgements to compare students’ learning over time.
  • We acknowledge that ‘Wow’ moments are memorable but do not in themselves lead to understanding of concepts.  However they are useful in hooking in children’s enthusiasm for learning.
  • Trips and visitors are important but must have educational relevance and enable children to gain cultural capital.  We will make use of the rich educational resources in London e.g. The Natural History Museum, V&A, Tate, Holland Park and local community resources.
  • We know that working towards meaningful outcomes gives a context that creates opportunities for deep learning.
  • We acknowledge that creating our curriculum will always be a work in progress and it will need regular review and updates as new research is published and our knowledge develops.

 

Enacting the curriculum

 

How is our curriculum organised and what will children experience?

  • Our curriculum is broad and balanced. Importance is placed on all subjects and time is allocated for each subject on a weekly basis (we do not “block'' subjects with the exception of Engineering).  
  • Our curriculum is diverse and provides opportunities for children to learn about different times, places, people and cultures each year. 
  • Our curriculum is driven by our values and mission statements. 
  • Effective teaching of speaking and listening underpins everything we do and is embedded across all subjects.  

To find out more about our curriculum please click on the subject links below:

 

     

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