At St Mary’s our intention is that the curriculum we offer our pupils is first and foremost one that is rooted in our Catholic faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Solidly based on the National Curriculum, we design our curriculum to be rich and meaningful for pupils, reflecting the diverse backgrounds of them and their families. We have the highest expectations for each individual and know that the curriculum we provide is the means by which our children can become all that they are meant to be, enabling them to succeed despite the obstacles and challenges of their lives. We strive to create a secure yet stimulating environment, with a rigorous and detailed approach to learning which matches the varying needs, abilities and starting points of pupils.
We believe in the importance of our pupils being confident communicators, able to clearly articulate their learning. Oracy (‘the ability to express yourself well in speech’ – Oxford English Dictionary) has therefore been identified as a key curriculum driver in our school, with opportunities planned for the development of language (in formal and informal contexts) throughout the school, from the early years to upper key stage two. Central to this is access to high quality texts intended to immerse pupils in the rich language of literature and which supports and enhances the vocabulary and depth of understanding of subjects right across the curriculum- reading and books are not viewed in isolation but as intrinsic to all learning. Developing a love of reading forms part of the broader aim of supporting and encouraging all pupils to participate in as wide a range of activities as possible, in order to develop ‘the whole child.’
Curriculum subjects are planned and taught so that knowledge builds sequentially, based on the key concepts underpinning them. These key concepts form the basis of the schemas within each subject (we understand schemas as a way of organising knowledge in a meaningful way so that pupils know how facts are connected and the way in which they are connected). Knowledge, through the teaching of specific units, strengthens the schema while carefully planned tasks deepen the connections. Teachers therefore plan for their pupils within the context of the subject as a whole across the school. The planning is based on what has been previously taught and is designed to ensure progression with an ever-deepening understanding. Pupils know more, can remember more and are able to do more.
Our pupils grow and develop as learners, able to talk with confidence about their experiences within the classroom and outside. They are able to articulate their care for each other within the school community and to demonstrate an outward looking understanding of the wider world and their place within it. Based on the curriculum we provide, our pupils have the opportunity to go on to be successful, confident and caring individuals with ambitions to shape their world for the better. ‘True education enables us to love life and opens us to the fullness of life.’ (Pope Francis, address to Italian teachers and pupils 10th May 2014)