Our curriculum provides a broad range of experiences for our pupils
Our pupils’ backgrounds, our culture and our climate for learning provide the following drivers that underpin all areas of our curriculum:
- Catholic values – which helps pupils grow spiritually and give them values for life outside of school
- Historic Environment – which helps pupils to understand and appreciate their locality which facilitates their relationship to the wider world
- Resilience – which helps pupils grow as learners
- Initiative – which helps pupils to grow as independent learners, not dependent on adults to learn
- Subject knowledge and skills – which help pupils develop their academic skills and give them knowledge for life
- Tolerance – respecting and valuing the beliefs, values, choices and opinions of others
Our curriculum provides appropriate balance
We believe that all children should experience the feeling of accomplishment in a wide range of areas. Our curriculum therefore gives pupils an excellent mix of academic and personal development; it gives equal importance to core and foundation subjects.
We carefully balance the requirement for pupils to reach national expectations in core subjects with our wider curriculum aims of providing full spectrum of thoughtful, religious and enriching experiences. Alongside offering our children a carefully mapped progression of skills within subjects, we try to enable the children to practice and incorporate the skills of Reading, Maths and Writing across all subjects; giving them the opportunity to express their learning in a variety of ways.
We encourage our children to share their learning with each other, their families and the wider communities and to learn from others.
Our curriculum is organised for depth
We use the national curriculum guidelines in order to develop the content of the curriculum but our aim is to make the curriculum relevant and exciting to our children.
Our children don’t merely cover the curriculum but revisit each year – each time they return to areas they gain a deeper and more insightful understanding and master skills and knowledge within subjects.
We aim to meet the needs of all learners in our curriculum, challenging them and enabling them to problem solve and have a love of learning that helps them undertake learning at a deeper level.
Our curriculum is organised to provide our children with Gospel values
Our mission statement ‘Finding Christ in Each other’ is at the heart of our school. We believe in developing the whole child and praising qualities and talents in every child.
Staff model the Gospel values in the way they treat each other and the children. At our school the children in our care are at the heart of everything we do. Every pupil should leave knowing God’s love and being able to show God’s love and see Christ’s values in each other. We believe that all children are unique and must be celebrated for the special gifts and talents that they possess. Each day we encourage our children to work hard, have a positive mind-set, have the confidence to make mistakes, persevere and not give up – in order to succeed, and to feel good about themselves.
At St. Michael’s school we want our children to experience:
- Success and having their success celebrated
- A curriculum that has knowledge and vocabulary at the heart of their learning
- Opportunities to embed BASIC skills and express knowledge in a variety of ways before moving on
- Developing resilience, perseverance, challenge and support so they have the confidence to aim high and aspire to more
- Mastery and challenge opportunities for all children
- Opportunities to delve deeper into their learning, building on skills progressively each year
- A curriculum that responds to findings from pupil feedback about their interests
- A curriculum that helps children to know how to live healthy lifestyles – both physically and mentally
- Spiritual, moral, social and cultural experiences threaded through all we do which will facilitate them with all they need to face the any and all futures
- Feeling safe and knowing what to do to keep safe and what to do if they don’t feel safe
- Cultural opportunities that they may not experience outside of school
- The history and beauty of the city of Durham
- High expectations leading to high quality outcomes
- A curriculum that is current and responsive
- Being part of community as a class, school, village, parish, class and family group.
At St. Michael’s School, we plan learning in an individual subject approach to the curriculum with opportunities to inspire discussion, support the development of reading and provide writing opportunities within each subject. Subjects have been broken down across each year group to ensure that we cover the content of the national curriculum.
This approach leads to a more flexible delivery of the curriculum meaning that some weeks, children may not study Art, instead they will have a focus on Geography. During other weeks, the opposite may be true, and some weeks there may be a balance across the subjects or a deep focus on one subject only for a day or week.
In foundation subjects we have divided up the curriculum to allow children to repeat, build on and embed knowledge whilst developing, practising and mastering skills appropriate to their year group. This means that the children are able to share their knowledge with others and children are excited about what they will learn about that topic when they move to the next class and means that all children have some prior knowledge and can build on this.
Organising the learning in this way ensures teachers have the flexibility to deliver the curriculum in the way that they feel will have most impact for learners. This means that teachers plan for one aspect of a topic such as Romans, rather than trying to teach the children everything they can about the Romans. Therefore, children’s knowledge is deeper and staff subject knowledge has improved. R.E, MFL and PE are planned weekly and follow whole school progression frameworks.
At times learning will be directed and other times more open-ended enquiry based approach through big questions posed by the teacher. With a mix of both practical and written work embedded.
We believe in offering interventions for all children to develop their skills further and to close gaps in their learning. Each intervention is led by one teaching assistant, ensuring that they are able to see the progress and next steps for the children. We have a flexible approach to the timing of these to ensure that children do not miss out on learning in foundation subjects.
We believe in using the skills of specialist staff and our children are given the opportunity to work with a qualified PE coach, a specialist music teacher, ICT teacher and an artist. The children work with these specialists developing skills. The MFL subject lead teaches French across KS2 ensuring the progression and skills are built upon.
We see the beautiful city of Durham and the mining history of the village of Esh, as so valuable to our children’s learning so we thread these links into the curriculum throughout each year group.
Using the outdoors as a classroom is fundamental to our values and this can be school based or with enrichment visits to other locations. Trips/activities and experts are all vital to the enhancement of the learning opportunities we offer our children.
All of our children are part of a family group who meet monthly. This has promoted a sense of family and community. The children chose their own family group name and rules. The children also vote for a family group leader from year 5 and year 6 who support the adults in leading British and Gospel Value activities and learning opportunities. The children can earn family beads for their group and are very proud to earn these.
First and foremost, we want to instill in our children a love of learning and an understanding that the learning is part of a journey they are on. We want them to feel safe, to express and celebrate their learning achievements and celebrate their own personal and academic growth.
How we know we are successful in this is through:
- Teacher assessment – formative – through ongoing questioning, dialogue, verbal and written feedback, informal quizzes, practical tasks, day to day work.
- Summative – end of unit of learning tests, gold task in writing, summative work in foundation subjects, observations in EYFS
- Learner Voice – pupil questionnaires, self and peer assessment, school council, learning dialogue in the classroom that encourages self-evaluation.
- Parental Feedback – parent questionnaires, parental engagement sessions, parent/teacher meetings, Facebook group, informal meetings before and after school, Friends of the school
- Data Analysis – internal with SLT, subject leadership, pupil progress meetings, governors, Education Development Partner (EDP), Peer Review and external data (SATS)
- Standards – children make progress and attain in line with or better than national expectations.
- Quality Assurance – lesson observations, drop ins, learning walks, book looks
- Positive Attitudes to Learning – children engaged and inspired by their learning, posing own enquiry questions, taking initiative and being resilient
- Respect – visibly demonstrated through their school environment, their work, interactions and morals
- Participating in Community – proudly representing their school through Mini Vinnie group, School Council, sports tournaments, Gardening Club and Eco Group, community events, invited guests and parish events.
- Children demonstrating St Michael’s values – children demonstrating this in their learning and behaviour around school. Children making the right choices for their safety.
The impact of what we do and what the children achieve cannot always be measured in data sets and numbers so we always try to look holistically at the whole child. We consider our children as individuals who are facing future challenges and ultimately leave us secondary school ready having enjoyed and embraced their learning experiences along the way.
You may need a product like Adobe Reader (free download) to view our PDF documents on our website.