A curriculum designed for
St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, Yate
A curriculum that promotes the school’s culture and aims
The school’s direction is driven from its Mission Statement: ‘Raising God’s Children to Distinction”. We provide a Catholic Christian education based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Our “St Paul’s Way” values draw upon Gospel values and underpin all aspects of school life. In doing so, we aim to provide an environment in which the dignity of each person as a child of God is recognised and developed; and to promote the full potential of each child through a curriculum which develops spiritual, academic, social and emotional growth.
We aim to provide a curriculum which is enriching and challenging, where children experience the opportunity to learn in a wide range of contexts.
Principles for Learning and Teaching
- All children are valued as individuals.
- All children are encouraged and enabled to achieve their very best.
- All children are entitled to be independent, enthusiastic and self-motivated learners; raising their own questions.
- All children are given opportunities for reflection and understanding next steps
- All children are supported their different learning styles recognised.
- All children are entitled to teaching that encourages them to be creative.
- All children are striving to be challenged in their learning and enjoy learning, as well as encouraging problem solving.
- All children are allowed to develop spiritually, morally and as members of their community and the wider community.
As a Catholic school, the precepts of Catholic education remain at our core. This includes the pursuit of excellence and preparing our children as world citizens of the 21st Century. In order for this to be achieved our children need high levels of literacy and numeracy. We recognise R.E as a core subject, so we adhere to a diocesan-wide curriculum, ‘God Matters’. We also recognise that parents are the primary educators of the faith and we work in partnership to achieve this goal. Charitable links and service remain a focus of the work we do in supporting the local, national and more global communities. The school recognises that science is both an exciting academic subject and another area where children can develop a sense of awe and wonder.
When planning a curriculum, St. Paul’s recognises the very wide diversity of the backgrounds of our families. The school has a falling roll of Catholics (46%), yet remains almost full in all year groups (NOR 200) because the families in our school value the Christian education that is on offer for their children of other faiths or no other faith. We have a significant number of children for whom English is an additional language (27%) and from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds (38%). We have 15 languages and 17 countries represented in our school.
We are serious about the fact that all children need to realise that it is a big and wonderful world out there that they can play an active and positive part in it. To do this not only do we pursue excellence but ensure the children are equipped with the correct skills in which to do this. We also plan opportunities for the children to know about keeping safe, linked to the KCSiE document. We also plan for and promote British values, (Democracy, Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs) ensuring that children are aware of their rights and responsibilities as a UK citizen.
The wellbeing agenda is at the heart of St Paul’s curriculum. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. Pupils show themselves to be deep thinkers. They are able to empathise with the feelings and actions of others, seeing points of views and beliefs other than their own. Particularly in RE and PSHE, they show a keen interest in ethical issues and are able to apply their personal values to situations, giving reasons for their decisions and actions.
“Pupils have a genuine respect for those from different backgrounds. This is due to a growing understanding of different faiths, which they have studied and reflected on.” Section 48, 2017
“There is a real sense of belonging and respect for others, regardless of faith or none, and this is an outstanding aspect of this warm, inclusive school.” Section 48, 2017
“Great values, family oriented. Lovely multi faith school. We are not Catholic but really like what is offered. Faith and its associated values are important and visible.”
Parental comment from Section 48 Inspection 2017.
In recognising the development of the whole child the pastoral support given to children so they can access the curriculum is strong. Nurture groups have been developed alongside a range of interventions which support the emotional development of the child. The school has various systems which support the emotional and mental well-being of children and provides signposting to their parents.
Staff annually review their medium-term planning to ensure topics are relevant to the children’s interests and needs. Subject leaders are currently working on curriculum coverage of foundation subjects, e.g. Geography and History, with all middle leaders being aware of the curriculum expectations and in turn working towards planning the skills within their respective curriculum areas. The inclusion of the “Non-negotiables” for English and Maths have been matched to the skills ladders for the foundation subjects.
The Curriculum – implementation
The school is currently organised into 7 classes. The time spent teaching across the week is 25.7 hours.
The school curriculum overview for each year group follows:
For greater detail of our RE, English, Maths, Science, ICT, PSHE, Music and foreign languages please see our separate pages.
We teach phonics through the Sound Discovery. This is used throughout the school particularly in the foundation stage and key stage one. We use a wide variety of reading schemes, covering fiction and non-fiction, including Rigby Star and Oxford Reading Tree. More confident readers are able to choose from class readers and a well stocked library.. We encourage children to read daily at home and this is monitored via a home-school communication book.
The school gives additional booster provision to our younger children who may need it and in Year 3 every child is re-assessed on their phonics knowledge so teachers are able to adapt plans accordingly.
Impact our curriculum is having on standards of teaching and learning
The curriculum at St. Paul’s is well planned and thought-through to enable a wide range of engagement, not only within class but in providing out of class opportunities to enable children to develop themselves as learners and encourage each child to be as independent as they can be. Questionnaires to the pupils and parents allow the staff to regularly review and assess the impact that the curriculum is having. We have had many positive responses to this effect:
“Broad range of learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom - not all just English and Maths!”
“The school has excellent provision for pupils who need extra support to enable them to get the most out of the learning environment. The pupils access a broad curriculum, supplemented with numerous school trips and activities. Both my children are very happy and feel safe at school.”
We strongly feel that the discussion, including through pupil conferencing, that we have with children is effective, which highlights their awareness of the adjustments that are made to enhance their learning, “The teachers and adults are interested in my views and ideas and listen to me”.
Following a recent parent survey (January 2019), we received acknowledgement that we continued to be successful in our approach to learning:
“I defy anyone to find a better school, with better teachers and better values. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Standards are high because the teachers expectations are high. Children are challenged and supported to do their best.”
Challenge is integrated within the curriculum with striving for every child to produce their absolute best.
Assessing our children’s learning within the curriculum
At St. Paul’s we ensure that the children are regularly assessed against the relevant frameworks across the breadth of the curriculum. Within the assessment policy we have a regular moderation meetings whereby we measure the assessment against pupils books, including coding within books or the level of independence and verbal feedback being issued to support the learning. This results the teacher focussing on the needs of individual learners in their care.
We are extremely proud of the achievements of the children in our school. Academic data proves that our attainment and progress, which is a culmination of hard work, determination and high expectations expected from all at St. Paul’s has led to successful learning and performance. Where any trends emerge, we work swiftly to action plan and implement changes and improvements. Further information can be found in the School Performance Tables and KS2 Results section of our website.
There is a regular termly (and half termly for vulnerable learners) cycle of monitoring and assessment which provides data; this is collected, analysed and utilized for providing interventions, support and a reviewing of planning. In addition to this, the teachers meet with members of the leadership team to discuss each pupil’s progress to find out the reasons behind their current attainment.
A curriculum for the whole child
“A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person. And a good Catholic school, over and above this, should help all its students to become saints….” Pope Benedict XVI, 2010
The spiritual development of our pupils is shown by:
•Pupils’ ability to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values
•Their sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them
•Their willingness to reflect on their experiences
- St Paul’s Way Values that support this development: Respect, Thankfulness, Friendship, Perseverance
The moral development of pupils is shown by:
•Pupils’ ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong, readily apply this understanding in their own lives and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England
•Their understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions
•Their interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues, and being able to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues.
St Paul’s Way Values that support this development: Honesty, Caring
The social development of pupils is shown by:
•Pupils’ use of a range of social skills in different contexts, including working and socialising with pupils from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds
•Their willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
•Their acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs; the pupils develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.
The children enjoy getting involved with national celebrations:
St Paul’s Way Values that support this development: Friendship, Confidence
The cultural development of pupils is shown by:
•Pupils’ understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others
•Their understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain
•Their knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values and in continuing to develop Britain
•Their willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, sporting and cultural opportunities
•Their interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.
St Paul’s Way Values that support this development: Perseverance, Caring, Thankfulness
Sex and Relationships Education
At St Paul’s, sex and relationships education is taught through a whole school policy and, where possible, is integrated into other areas of the curriculum such as religious education, science and PSHE. It is always taught within the context of the church’s teaching on sexual relationships. Parents are informed prior to any lessons from the class teacher and parents are given the opportunity to discuss what their child will be learning so that they can support their child’s work at home. Any questions that children ask are answered sensitively and in a caring manner. Lessons and resources are always chosen to suit to the age of the children.
We are proud of the broad and balanced curriculum that we offer at St Paul’s. Children enjoy a range of opportunities to explore their own gifts and talents through art, design and technology, music and sport. We have high expectations for all and children are proud of their achievements as a result.
At St Paul’s , the children experience a variety of educational visits and visitors, which prove to be valuable learning experiences. Each year during our “One World” week, children consolidate their learning about other faiths and enjoy visits to places of worship. The major world religions are revisited on a rolling cycle.