Our Curriculum Intent
At St Stephen’s CE Primary School, we aim to provide all pupils with a stimulating and inclusive educational environment in which everyone feels safe, respected and supported to grow and develop their potential.
It is our mission to support, challenge and inspire children to achieve their ambitions and become well-rounded adults that are fully prepared for a purposeful and enriched life in the modern world. Our school aims to offer high quality education in a friendly and supportive environment by:
- teaching children to have an internal wish to learn and how they can improve their own lives through education and first-hand experiences;
- providing an inclusive curriculum that encourages high standards, provides challenge and engages all children with their learning;
- leading children to have an internal moral code that is based upon Christian values, the teachings of Jesus Christ and upon British values;
- giving parents the information needed to support their child to learn and behave well;
- staff working hard, but gaining enjoyment, and fulfilment in their work because of their visible impact on the children and families.
At St Stephen’s CE Primary School, we know that pupils who have a positive attitude towards their learning will make good progress and be successful; consequently, instilling a 'growth mind-set' is important. We want all our pupils to relish challenges, embrace their mistakes as part of the learning process, value the importance of effort, respond carefully to feedback and take inspiration from others. This will help them to achieve, not only with us, but also in the next stages of their education and into their adult lives. We know that in order for our pupils to grow their potential and become confident and resilient learners we, as a team, need to be modelling the mind-set of a learner who is not afraid of making mistakes but who thrives upon them, knowing that this is all part of the learning process.
At St Stephen’s CE Primary School, we strive to challenge and develop the attitudes of all pupils and staff towards learning by considering what makes a successful learner.
Our School Expectations:
- We expect staff to have high expectations of themselves and all children;
- We expect teachers to impart knowledge accurately and with enthusiasm which generates high levels of commitment from children;
- We expect children to make rapid and sustained progress in lessons;
- We expect teachers to support children in developing independence;
- We expect teachers to systematically check understanding, intervening in a timely manner when needed;
- We expect children to be challenged;
- We expect teachers to regularly provide high quality and constructive feedback to children;
- We expect Christian values to underpin everything we do.
The curriculum is not just a list of subjects that are taught in school. Our curriculum describes everything that is going on in our school and helps children to learn about the world around them. We believe that we should provide a broad and balanced curriculum offering the children the opportunity to achieve success in many different areas. Although our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum, there are other planned opportunities that make up the wider curriculum. We like to involve learning inside and outside, promoting their social, moral, cultural and spiritual development. Where possible we follow a topic-based approach to the curriculum in the belief that children learn best when logical connections are made between different aspects of their work. We support them in becoming aspirational – aiming high – in order to make the most of their learning.
At St Stephen’s CE Primary School, we embrace a pedagogy of ‘Personalised Learning’, an approach that expects all children to reach or exceed national expectations, to fulfil their early promise and develop latent potential. Briefly, children learn best when:
- they understand clearly what they are trying to learn, and what is expected of them;
- they are given feedback about the quality of their work and how to make it better;
- they are given advice about how to go about making improvements;
- they are fully involved in deciding what needs to be done next.
High expectations of progress apply equally to children working above, at, or below age-related expectations, including those who have been identified as having special educational needs. There is an expectation of participation, fulfilment and success; and teaching and learning is characterised by ambitious objectives, challenging personal targets, rapid intervention to keep pupils on trajectory and timely assessment to check and maintain pupil progress. There are clear plans to support those who are struggling to maintain trajectory.
The teacher’s priority is to support and challenge children so that they can keep up with the pace of learning and make good rates of progress. Traditionally it was expected that teachers would differentiate by task or expectation and many different levels of success were accepted, this approach often ran the risk of lowering expectations. Today, the effective teaching practices at St Stephen’s CE Primary School see teachers expecting everyone to succeed by offering higher levels of support or extra challenge for those who need it, so that all pupils can access the learning at the expected year group standard.
Key Foci for Effective Teaching:
Quality First Teaching
- An inclusive classroom practice to meet the needs of all learners;
- Highly focused lesson design with sharp objectives;
- High demands of child engagement with their learning;
- High levels of interaction for all children;
- Appropriate use of teacher questioning, modelling and explaining;
- Emphasis on learning through dialogue;
- An expectation that children will develop resilience and accept responsibility for their own learning and work independently;
- Regular use of encouragement and praise to motivate children.
- Individual children’s progress tracked;
- Strengths and weaknesses identified supporting planning and intervention
- Data collected on a regular basis and shared with staff and children;
- Children have regular opportunities to discuss their progress. Teachers actively involve children in setting and reviewing their progress towards their targets;
- Teaching, interventions and revision programmes are adjusted in the light of progress children make;
- Parents and carers regularly are regularly updated on their child’s progress;
- Processes run across the whole school to ensure consistency and are regularly evaluated by SLT to ensure that the needs of all children are being met.
- Timely assessment and tracking of children’s performance takes place to inform classroom practice allowing children to make good progress and close attainment gaps;
- Day to day, periodic and transitional assessments used effectively;
- Assessment for Learning (AfL) evident across the school – learning objectives, learning outcomes, success criteria, self and peer evaluation
- Individuals and groups who are not making sufficient progress are identified;
- Provision for intervention is mapped according to need;
- Detailed plans are put into place;
- Interventions are evaluated and relevant adjustments are made;
- Staff meet regularly to discuss current and future interventions engaging in dialogue around the impact of interventions, potential barriers and further actions required.
- Organisation of the classroom/learning environment adapted to the children’s learning needs;
- The use of learning resources and IT developed to allow children to work independently and successfully;
- Make effective use of other spaces – ‘outdoor classroom’, Forest School, hall space, Church;
- Displays to be a mixture of celebration of children’s work, supportive resources and information.
Our school offers a range of activities and clubs which enhance and extend the basic curriculum:
- We ensure access for all by dedicating time for curriculum enrichment;
- Parents and carers, as well as the wider community, are involved in extended provision;
- Access to other services is provided or arranged, including health and social services.
Supporting Children’s Wider Needs
- Each classroom has an area dedicated to prayer, reflection and spiritual growth;
- Our school maintains close communication with parents and carers;
- We develop and maintain multi agency links to support vulnerable children;
- Our bespoke HUB, led by our Pastoral Leader, provides dedicated support for children with additional needs, including (but not limited to) learning, social, emotional and mental health needs.
- We acknowledge that people learn in different ways and we recognise the need to develop pedagogies, which enable all children to learn in ways, which suit them. We offer ways for children to learn in different ways including:
- investigation and problem solving;
- open ended tasks;
- research and finding out, with independent access to a range of resources; group work, paired work and independent work;
- effective questioning;
- presentation and drama;
- use of ICT;
- visitors and educational visits;
- creative activities, designing and making;
- use of multimedia, visual or aural stimulus;
- participation in physical or athletic activity;
- extra-curricular clubs and activities.
In our Pre-school provision, we work to the Development Matters. This framework Prime Areas: CL, PSED & PD, and Specific Areas: Literacy, Maths, UW & EAD.
In Reception, we follow the Early Years Statutory Framework as set out in the EYFS Handbook 2018 for the Early Years Foundation Stage, published in November 2018 by the DfE. This Framework specifies the requirement for learning and development in the Early Years and provides specific areas of learning we must cover in our curriculum. These areas are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- Communication and Language development
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
A vital aspect in the development of essential knowledge and skills is the use of continuous provision. This means that children are using and developing certain skills throughout the year on a daily/weekly basis.
Continuous Provision practice and principles begin in Early Years Foundation Stage and support children to develop key life skills such as independence; innovation; creativity, enquiry; analysis and problem solving.
Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 Curriculum
Our curriculum is designed to give children the opportunity to:
- set clear links between different aspects of learning;
- develop a rich and deep subject knowledge;
- develop new skills and independence through a variety of contexts;
- be curious learners - experiencing the challenge and enjoyment of learning;
- develop individual strengths.
Where possible our teaching is topic based to allow pupils to make links in their learning across a wide range of subjects, apply their skills in a variety of ways and develops a structured approach to the acquisition, understanding and use of a rich vocabulary.
Our English lessons develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary. English is taught in a cross-curricular way, linking up with other areas of the curriculum. We teach our pupils to speak clearly, to convey their ideas fluently and confidently and to ask questions. Their vocabulary is developed systematically. Our pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure and to read widely.
We use Letters and Sounds for our phonics programme. Phonic awareness helps the development of reading by segmenting and blending sounds. The children will be heard reading individually and in groups. The guided reading sessions cover both fiction and non-fiction books. Guided reading also develops the children’s comprehension skills. Parents are given clear expectations about reading at home.
We develop writing skills so that our pupils have the stamina and ability to write at the age expected standard. To support children in moving towards independent writing we provide a wide range of activities including use of film and imagery, modelled, shared and guided writing, peer editing and discussion. Talk for writing is used to encourage pupils to express their ideas, exchange ideas and to develop vocabulary that is more sophisticated. We provide opportunities for writing for purpose and we encourage pupils to see themselves as authors. The status of written work is promoted by providing opportunities for children’s writing to be published and read by real audiences.
Handwriting sessions are incorporated into the English lessons enabling pupils to write fluently.
A range of extra activities are used to promote literacy within the school including an annual focus week, World Book Day and author visits.
National Curriculum English Programmes of Study: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-english-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-inengland-english-programmes-of-study
At St Stephen’s CE Primary School, we ensure that mathematical skills are taught every day following our plans and the White Rose Maths Hub. They also use cross-curricular opportunities to develop pupils’ mathematical fluency. Our pupils understand the importance of mathematics, are encouraged to be confident in numeracy and to apply the skills that they learn to simple problem solving. The activities cover a wide range of mathematical knowledge, many with an emphasis on practical work. In each lesson, there is a short and simple times tables session. We build on skills and understanding in a systematic and progressive way and continue to develop place value, the four number operations and the understanding of fractional parts.
There are extra activities throughout the year to promote mathematical skills and thinking including participation in World Maths Day and Numbers Day.
National Curriculum Mathematics Programmes of Study: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-mathematics-programmes-of-study
Science is linked to our topic work but taught as a separate lesson (supported by Snap Science scheme) where appropriate. We encourage our pupils to be curious about natural phenomena and to be excited by the process of understanding the world around them. Key scientific terminology is introduced each lesson and knowledge will be built upon throughout the school. Pupils are encouraged to work scientifically and will able to carry out simple tests and experiments using equipment and to gather and record data.
Whilst at St Stephen’s CE Primary School, children learn about plants, animals including humans, materials, seasonal change, habitats, rocks, light, forces, states of matter, sound, electricity, earth and space and evolution and inheritance. Visits by specialists such as Mad Science enhance the children’s learning experiences. We also have dedicated science weeks throughout the year.
National Curriculum Science Programmes of Study: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-science-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-science-programmes-of-study
Art and Design
Art has a very important place in our curriculum. We see art as a vehicle for creativity and individual expression and it provides opportunities for collaborative work. It is an important form of cultural expression and, therefore, has significance and meaning for all our children. Our teaching provides an understanding of all the diverse art forms so that the children experience drawing, painting, collage, textiles, 3D designs, printmaking and digital media. Our design and technology lessons encourage the designing and making of products to solve real and relevant problems. Our pupils learn to select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics.
National Curriculum Art Programmes of Study https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-art-and-design-programmes-of-study
Drama is used as a key tool in developing oral skills, vocabulary development, building confidence and self- esteem, and as an essential tool in developing imaginative, expressive, and persuasive spoken and written language. ‘Hot seating’, and ‘response in role’ drama techniques are used in literacy lessons aid the development of speaking and listening, reading and writing skills. Imaginative role-play is fundamental to developing the whole child, not just in Early Years and KS1 education, but also as they children develop, and our curriculum provides opportunities to perform to wider audiences through assemblies and events around key festivals. There are increasing opportunities for our pupils to perform as they progress through the school.
We do have discrete timetable time for the development of IT skills and subscribe to the Purple Mash scheme. The children develop their skills, starting in reception with mouse control, keyboard skills, saving and printing work. They draw pictures, write and use the internet to carry out research. They then progress to more complex skills such as data analysis and coding. Pupils use technology safely and identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns. IT is also used to enhance homework through research skills, spelling and mathematics programmes and challenges, which can be accessed from home via the school website.
National Curriculum Computing Programmes of Study: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study
Modern Foreign Language
From Year 3 to Year 6 we teach French to all children. Our approach is to make learning a new language fun! Young pupils are very receptive to learning a new language; they like to mimic pronunciation and they can easily pick up and duplicate new sounds. They feel a real sense of accomplishment when they learn to say something new. We have discrete lessons on the timetable but we also integrate the foreign language into the everyday routine.
National Curriculum Language Programmes of Study https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-languages-progammes-of-study
In their music lessons, pupils use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes. Assemblies also provide an opportunity to practise singing. Pupils also experience playing a variety of instruments musically and encouraged to play together in ensemble groups. We encourage listening to a wide range of music with concentration and understanding. Music lessons are linked to the class topic and music is used in a variety of lessons and activities to create, mood, atmosphere and to help thinking. The Charanga programme supports our teaching of music across the school.
National Curriculum Music Programmes of Study: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-music-programmes-of-study
Religious Education is taught throughout the school. We focus on Christian values and use the Manchester Diocese agreed syllabus for RE and Understanding Christianity as the basis for our teaching. We celebrate a variety of religious festivals throughout the school year and enjoy strong links with St Stephen's Church and Bolton Road Methodist Church.
Through teaching religious education at St Stephen's, we provide opportunities for spiritual development. Children consider and respond to questions concerning the meaning and purpose of life. We help them to recognise the difference between right and wrong through the study of moral and ethical questions. We enhance their social development by helping them to build a sense of identity in our multicultural society. Children explore issues of religious faith and Christian values and, in so doing, they develop their knowledge and understanding of the cultural context of their own lives.
Every half term, our school looks at a different Christian Value that we try to instil in our everyday practice in teaching and during collective worship. In school, we make reference to these values and we ask that parents/guardians try to help to reinforce each value at home.
Ethos Group meet weekly every Monday after school. Pupils have lively discussions, take part in art and craft activities, write prayers, sing and enjoy spending time together.
Religious Education DfE Guidance:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/religious-education-guidance-in-english-schools-non-statutory-guidance-2010
Physical Education (PE)
Our PE sessions are both indoor and outdoor for Reception and Key Stage 1. They focus on mastering basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination. Pupils are encouraged to participate in team games and to develop simple tactics for being an effective team member.
Key Stage 2 pupils will also complete lessons inside and outside and may visit other facilities including the local swimming pool. Swimming is introduced to the timetable from Key Stage 2. We ensure wider participation in the community by involvement in interschool sports competitions.
Our partners at Funtime Sports provide a weekly lunchtime sports club. Pupils focus on six fundamental skills and will have the opportunity to rotate around the activities, recording their scores and trying to improve their personal best score every week.
All classes from Pre-school to Year 6 take part in the Daily Mile.
We use topics to deliver humanities subject skills and understanding. Our topic programme (Cornerstones) is carefully balanced and planned to be age appropriate across the years. Topic maps are produced to show how each is taught, the knowledge and skills covered and links to other parts of the curriculum. It is important to us that art, music, literacy and where appropriate numeracy and science are linked in topic teaching.
So, for example, a history topic about Romans could include urn making in art, catapult construction in design and technology and catapult testing and measuring in mathematics and science. Our topics have a history and geography base so that we teach location and place knowledge, weather and climate skills, knowledge, and about significant historical events, people and places in our own locality. Humanities time also provides further opportunities to learn about people and cultures. A timetable of trips to support pupils’ learning and to enhance the curriculum is published as part of our long-term planning.
Humanities Programmes of Study:
We are committed to the broadest educational offering, and that means looking beyond the National Curriculum. A very successful enrichment programme that draws upon a wide range of adult skills is offered through school trips, visiting specialists and themed days and weeks. The programme is planned throughout the year.
Trips, Visits and Workshops
We plan a series of trips throughout the year for each year group and these are communicated to parents at the start of the academic year. These will link to their class or to a whole school topic. We also organise a residential trip to Waddow Hall for Year 6.
Themed Days and Weeks
We also have themed days and weeks throughout the year. Themed days are also incorporated into curriculum. These may be designed to fit with national initiatives e.g. World Book Day, to match with events in the UK e.g. a national election and to highlight our curriculum subjects e.g. Art Day.
Homework is an important part of supporting pupils at St Stephen’s CE Primary School. Homework is not intended to be onerous but it does help support children’s progress and includes daily reading at home, and weekly maths and spelling activities. We also issue half-termly creative homework projects. These projects are theme related and give the children six possible homework projects that they can complete across the term. Children are asked to complete at least two projects over the course of a term. The projects themselves vary- ensuring there is a mix of writing, creative, scientific, mathematical, historical or geographical tasks. Children are expected to hand in completed work on the last week of term.
The main source of impact is the quality and breadth of work seen in pupil’s books and the learning environment. We strive to raise the expectation of learners and the quality of work they produce from a rounded and connected curriculum. We ensure there are always opportunities for application of learning within and across subject disciplines.
The impact of our curriculum should also be measured by assessment procedures, which allow us to measure outcomes against all schools nationally:
- EYFS % of pupils achieving a ‘Good level of development’ (GLD)
- Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1
- End of KS1 % of children working towards or at the expected standard and at Greater depth in reading, writing and mathematics
- End of KS2 % of children working towards or at the expected standard and at Greater depth in reading, writing and mathematics
We assess the impact of our curriculum through the views of our governors, parents, children and staff by regularly taking feedback through personal correspondence, conversations and questionnaires.
Furthermore, the impact will be measured by how effectively it helps our pupils develop into well rounded individuals who embody our values and carry with them the knowledge, skills and attitudes, which will make them lifelong learners, and valuable future citizens.