Curriculum

The school curriculum reflects the requirements to provide a broad and balanced curriculum as per the Academies Act 2010, and the National Curriculum programmes of study which we have chosen to follow.

It also reflects requirements for inclusion and equality as set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014 and Equality Act 2010, and refers to curriculum-related expectations of governing boards set out in the Department for Education’s Governance Handbook.

Further information on how we achieve this can be found in our statement of equality information and objectives, and in our SEND Policy and information report.

Intent

At St. Patrick’s we have a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give our pupils, particularly our disadvantaged pupils and those pupils with SEND, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. This curriculum is the National Curriculum with many additional bespoke elements that draw on the strengths of our staff (art, signing, singing, dancing) and the unique history, geography and diversity of our locality.

CPD, planning sessions and action plans evidence our curriculum journey. We are ensuring that our school’s curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced and that learning progresses meaningfully through the year groups. This means that our pupils have cumulatively sufficient knowledge, skills and attitudes for their future education and employment.

Our school has a commitment to equal opportunities for all pupils to access all we have to offer. With this in mind, our curriculum has been designed for a range of learners, providing equal opportunities for all – by doing this, pupils will benefit in the following ways:

  • Learning how to lead safe, healthy and fulfilling lives;
  • Developing healthy, curious, discerning minds;
  • Finding joy in a sense of belonging to the school and its local community while gaining confidence to take up their place in the wider world;
  • Understanding that failure is part of the road to success;
  • Being supported with their next stages in education and feeling prepared for life after primary school;
  • Becoming responsible individuals who contribute to the community in which they live and their wider environment – showing tolerance and kindness in their face-to-face and online relationships;
  • Learning new skills and building on existing skills;
  • Identifying their talents and achieving to the best of their ability;
  • Acquiring a wealth of knowledge and experience to open their minds and a wide vocabulary;
  • Becoming critical thinkers;
  • Learning how to communicate with confidence and express themselves effectively;
  • Learning how to cooperate with their peers and respect one another inside and outside the classroom;
  • Understanding they are loved unconditionally by God and for them to realise their value and importance in the world.

Implementation

Regular monitoring and evaluation by Subject Leads ensures that staff understand what they need to do improve their teaching. We maintain a detailed, rigorous and robust timetable of learning walks, workbook scrutiny and lesson observations in order to evidence this judgement and to identify areas in which teaching can improve. Features of quality first teaching at St. Patrick’s include:

  • All children are challenged to do their best work and practical and interactive activities ensure their full engagement.
  • Teachers display secure and confident subject knowledge.
  • Work that the children are set is in line with our curriculum intent.
  • Teachers have consistently high expectations which results in very good behaviour.
  • Clear differentiated questioning ensures appropriate responses can be made by all groups of pupils both through support and challenge.
  • Children’s work is used to model good examples, identify next steps and sensitively address misconceptions throughout the lesson. An emphasis is placed upon peer and collaborative learning.
  • An optimistic approach that promotes the characteristics of effective learning and welcomes errors as opportunities to learn more.
  • Support staff are empowered to be proactive in using their time to target groups of pupils (for example during plenary sessions).
  • Formative assessment and feedback are used to good effect. Books are regularly marked and children are given time to respond to teacher suggestions in helping to take their learning forward.

We routinely conduct whole school and pupil group ‘Book Looks’ to ensure consistency in high standards of clearly identified next step marking; productive peer and self-assessment opportunities and to regularly check that time is given for pupils to respond to feedback.

Our mathematics curriculum emphasises number concepts and knowledge about shape in the earlier years, progressing to applied problem solving in a range of contexts as pupils develop their understanding. The White Rose Maths scheme is designed to give sufficient time to explore and understand concepts in depth. This practice and consolidation helps children to grasp the links between topics and to understand them more deeply.

There is an ongoing dialogue between teachers and the senior leadership team around the percentage of pupils deemed likely to achieve or exceed age related expectations. We also focus on those children who are not making expected progress. The effectiveness of intervention programmes is analysed, together with discussion of individual children who may benefit from support in a specific area e.g. emotional, social, phonic skills etc. to help move their learning forward.

Reading is highly valued at St. Patrick’s as it underpins all learning. We endeavour to ensure that all our pupils see themselves as readers and as a result are able to access the whole of the curriculum. We aim to embed a love of reading for pleasure as well as for information, helping to ensure that our pupils not only reach the expected standard of reading within each year group but also leave our school as lifelong readers.

We engage with parents, our local community and other agencies on a regular basis and we believe that our parents/carers understand their responsibility to educate children in partnership with our school. Meetings, briefings, open lessons, workshops, assemblies, Pupil Progress Meetings (child / teacher / parent) and written reports all keep parents up to date with how well their children are doing. From Reception through to Year 6 opportunities are taken to enrich the curriculum through:

  • Visitors to the school, including authors, actors, musicians;
  • Use of the locality e.g. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Cossington Street Library, Cossington Street Swimming Pool, Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre;
  • Educational visits and workshops e.g. The Space Centre;
  • Special whole school days or weeks e.g. World Book day, Art week;
  • Projects with charities e.g. Blue clothes (Hope against Cancer), FINS;
  • Sporting competitions;
  • Day and residential visits.

Every child from F1 – Y6 will perform in a show during the school year. These may be Christmas celebrations or Easter/End of year productions. In addition to this there will be choir concerts and instrumental concerts throughout the school year.

Impact

Pupils are ready for their next stage in learning because they attain well in core subjects and attain good basic skills.
We also have evidence that our school prepares pupils well in many other areas for the next stage. Through the curriculum, pupils develop a good understanding of different faiths and cultures and show respect and consideration for others.

St. Patrick's Catholic Voluntary Academy