Nature and Scope of the Curriculum
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Schools defines the curriculum as:
“The curriculum in its fullest sense comprises all the opportunities for learning provided by the school: the so called extra curricular and out of school activities promoted or supported by the school and the climate of relationships, attitudes, styles of behaviour and the general quality of life established in the school as a whole.”
“At St. John Bosco RC Primary School a highly innovative and rich curriculum enables pupils to follow their own enquiries and make personal choices. This fosters pupils’ engagement, enthusiasm and the desire to learn” (Ofsted 2011)
The National Curriculum
At St. John Bosco RC Primary School we broadly follow the National Curriculum, laid down by Parliament in the New National Curriculum 2014. It is made up of eleven subjects. The core subjects are:
- Religious Education
The Foundation Subjects are:
- Physical Education
Our curriculum in PSHCE is outstanding and is at the heart of all that the school does (OFSTED subject inspection PSHCE 2012).
Our curriculum encompasses all of the requirements of the National Curriculum and is organised into half termly units of work. This arrangement ensures steady progression and continuity throughout the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
Our curriculum builds upon the following areas of learning:
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication and language
- Mathematical development
- Understanding the world
- Physical development
- Expressive Art and Design
At St. John Bosco RC Primary School, there is a strong emphasis on learning through experience in and beyond the classroom. There is a high expectation that children work collaboratively, learning from each other and through trial and error. The curriculum enables children to develop skills and gain knowledge which they then transfer to new situations, continually “learning”.
Our curriculum offers a broad, balanced, relevant, differentiated education for all its pupils providing progression and continuity building upon cross-phase links. Above all it is an opportunity for all children to succeed.
The curriculum is not just the formal programme of lessons. The extra dimensions of the learning of values and the development of attitudes, through the relationships experienced in the wider life of the school, have a powerful influence upon a child’s education. The curriculum at St. John Bosco RC Primary School is based on Christian values, taught both explicitly and implicitly throughout the day and made real in our everyday lives. Children study their own rich cultural heritage and develop an understanding of how this culture is enriched by the multi-cultural British society of today, based on British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
Communication and Language
English is the basic language of communication in this country and much of the Western world and its mastering is prequisite for educational progress and a vital way of communicating in life. In studying English, children develop skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. It enables them to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others effectively. Children learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction and media texts.
At St. John Bosco RC Primary School, we teach Religious Education based on the ‘Come and See’ programme. The Come and See programme is a Religious Education programme recommended by the Education Service in the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese. As a Catholic School we regard Religious Education as a core subject, accounting for 10% of the curriculum timetable. Whilst teaching is predominately Christian, the children are also taught bout other faiths: Islam and Judaism as they move through the school and they also have the opportunity to visit places of worship of other faiths.
The beliefs and practices of our Catholic faith permeate the day to day life of our school.
Collective Worship and Church Links
Children have the opportunity to take part in a daily act of worship; these are sometimes whole school based and at other times class based. They are led by staff, the children themselves and by our Parish Priests; Father Louis and Father Ligori. We are very proud to be part of the parish community of Sacred Heart and St. John Bosco Church.
Modern Foreign Languages
The school offers French to pupils in KS1 and KS2, delivered through fun and exciting activities and songs.
Personal Development (Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship Education)
This is a very important part of the curriculum. We encourage children to lead healthy lives, by educating them on healthy eating, exercise, mindfulness, decision-making, responsible citizenship and relationships with family and friends. The purpose of this curriculum is to help our children grow to be independent, thoughtful and caring citizens, who take risks within boundaries and learn to keep safe (including digital Literacy). This programme is linked to other areas of the curriculum.
Children are encouraged to write as individuals, to appreciate different styles of prose and poetry, and to produce for themselves factual, descriptive and creative pieces of work. Our youngest children use writing in both structured play situations and to record their ideas. As children mature and gain in confidence they soon begin to write stories and longer pieces of work and they are taught the conventions of writing. Our children are taught the rules of spelling and are expected to learn weekly spellings. They are set targets to improve their writing each term and grouped in their classes to help them achieve these targets. Targets are shared with parents each term at parent’s evening.
Handwriting is taught discretely and applied across all areas of the curriculum. We have high expectations of children’s handwriting and presentation of work in their books.
History stimulates the children’s interest and understanding about the life of people who lived in the past. We also want the children to understand and appreciate how the past has influenced their own lives and modern day living. We teach children a sense of chronology, and through this they develop a sense of identity and a cultural understanding based on their historical heritage. Thus they learn to value their own and other people’s cultures in modern multicultural Britain and, by considering how people lived in the past, they are better able to make their own life choices today. In our school, history makes a significant contribution to citizenship education by teaching about how Britain developed as a democratic society. We also teach them to investigate these past events and, by so doing, to develop the skills of enquiry, analysis, interpretation and problem-solving.
Mathematics teaches us how to make sense of the world around us. Our aim is to ensure that each child gains a sound understanding of mathematical ideas and a proficiency in calculation, appropriate to the individual stage of development. Our mathematics programme promotes a practical, investigative approach through substantial work on number, shape, money and measurements of length, time, weight and capacity. For the youngest children the majority of maths work is through practical tasks and there is less recording at this stage. As children progress through the school they learn to record more and use formal methods of calculation. However, discovery, thinking and solving problems is at the heart of good maths teaching and all children undertake activities to foster this. Children are taught their multiplication tables and are expected to have quick recall of number facts. Older children are taught how to use calculators effectively and appropriately. This prepares them for the use of calculators in secondary and adult life. The school is very well resourced with a range of materials and practical apparatus. Children are assessed on a regular basis to ensure that the learning they undertake is suitable for their ability, with sufficient challenge to develop progression.
Curricular provision and arrangements for pupils with special educational needs
We strive to create a positive environment for learning and we provide for individual differences in the classroom, adapting our teaching methods, through careful selection of a wide range of teaching materials. Some children need special help because they find it difficult to grasp new concepts, others because they show outstanding skill in an area of the curriculum. Specialist help may be given in the classroom wherever possible, but there can be occasions when individual or group work is more appropriate. Resources to support children with SEN are regularly evaluated and updated.
For a very small proportion of children the school may need to involve other specialists in a formal assessment of complex SEN. In such circumstances, there is always prior consultation with parents who are involved in any assessment process.
Provision for pupils with disabilities
Our admission policy ensures that we treat all children equally, including those with disabilities. Our classroom environment and access to the curriculum is inclusive, with adaptations for children who require special provision.
We have two lifts to access the hall and KS2. Our main entrance has a ramp as does our Foundation Stage and KS2 entrances. The school has designated disabled toilets and there is a ramp to the main field.
You have particular rights in making a complaint about:
- curriculum provision, including R.E. and collective worship.
- the implementation of the National Curriculum.
- the availability of external qualifications.
- exemptions from the National Curriculum.
- the operation of charging policies.
- the provision of the information listed in the section below.
The complaint must first go to the school, through the Headteacher. If the complaint cannot be resolved it may be necessary for it to be considered by the governing body. If the complaint is not resolved by the governing body it may be referred to the Diocesan Director of Education. If that fails, the complaint can be referred to the Secretary of the State.
Our Great Active Sunderland Gold Charter Mark and Sainsbury’s School Games Gold Award are a reflection of the quality and provision of our Sports programme.
Geography teaches an understanding of places and environments. Through their work in geography, children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and indeed, the rest of the world. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem solving. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography, children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures, contributing to the school’s promotion of SMSC. Geography teaching also motivates children to find out about the physical world and enables them to recognize the importance of sustainable development for the future of mankind.
Computing and Information Technology
Computing and IT prepares children to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to a varied and developing technology. Pupils use computing and IT tools to find, explore, analyse, interpret, evaluate, exchange and present information responsibly, creatively and with discrimination, for a range of purposes across the curriculum.
They learn how to employ computing and IT to enable rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures. Increased capability in the use of computing and IT promotes initiative and independent learning, with pupils being able to make informed judgements about when and where to use computing and IT to best effect, and to consider its implications for home and work both now and in the future. Each classroom has an interactive C-Touch and access to computers and iPads which allows teachers and children to access a wealth of resources to enhance teaching and learning opportunities. Children have the opportunity to develop skills with the hardware as well as using a variety of programmes to enhance a range of curriculum areas. ICT supports all aspects of the curriculum. As children move through the school they learn how to use word and publishing programmes, data handling and control programs, how to extract information from CD-ROMs and the internet, send electronic mails and make simple presentations using PowerPoint.
The new National Curriculum is providing us with new challenges which include coding, algorithms and programming. Of course, the importance of E-Safety is always high on our agenda and all children are taught to use technology safely and respectfully.
A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all pupils should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, pupils should be encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena.
They should be encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes. Our school Science programme is designed to encourage children to ask questions, to investigate in a practical way and then to record their findings. We use the school grounds, educational visits and visitors to support teaching and learning in Science, e.g. children in Year 5 use the Science laboratories in our feeder secondary schools to carry out a range of investigations: chemical, physical and biological concepts are covered.
Music and Creative Arts
Art is concerned with the development of the whole child. The acquisition of art and design skills enables children to achieve personal fulfilment and satisfaction and is a way of stimulating children’s creativity and imagination. Art is a form of communication of ideas feelings and meanings and for many children a means of individual expression.
Music is a unique way of communicating that can inspire and motivate children. It is a vehicle for personal expression and it can play an important part in the personal development of people. Music reflects the culture and society we live in, and so the teaching and learning of music enables children to better understand the world they live in. Besides being a creative and enjoyable activity, music can also be a highly academic and demanding subject. It also plays an important part in helping children feel part of a community.
We provide opportunities for all children to create, play, perform and enjoy music and develop the skills to appreciate a wide variety of musical forms. Children in KS1 are given the opportunity to further develop their skills through learning to play the violin. Children in KS2 are given the opportunity to further develop their skills through learning to play the violin, guitar, flute and clarinet.
Design Technology prepares children to take part in the development of tomorrow’s rapidly changing world. Creative thinking encourages children to make positive changes to their quality of life. The subject encourages children to become autonomous and creative problem solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team. It enables them to identify needs and opportunities and to respond by developing ideas and eventually making products and systems. Through the study of design and technology they combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues, as well as functions and industrial practices. This allows them to reflect on and evaluate present and past design and technology, its uses and its impacts. Design and technology helps all children to become discriminating and informed consumers and potential innovators. In the Foundation Stage we have an Engineering Pod which develops creative thinking and resilience.
During P.E. lessons we aim to improve the key skills of co-ordination, control, manipulation and movement through fun and enjoyable activities. Opportunities are given for children to participate in group situations so that they gain experience of team work. We actively promote living a healthy lifestyle. In PE we aim to motivate and stimulate interest and excitement for learning and ensure children discuss their learning and take an active part. We ensure children are given opportunities to develop the knowledge and key skills identified in the National Curriculum. We provide a broad and balanced curriculum and ensure that we use a range of classroom practice and teaching style appropriate to the needs of the learners in the group.
Sporting Aims and Provision
At St. John Bosco RC Primary School we emphasise positive attitudes of fair play, honesty, enjoyment in success, learning through disappointment and a willingness to attempt all challenges put in front of the pupils.
The formal school curriculum is not used to practice full sided team games - the emphasis is on small sided team games which give pupils an opportunity to put skills into practice. Our children have the opportunity to participate in netball, football, tennis, cricket, rounders, hockey and rugby. All KS2 children have an opportunity to attend coaching sessions for swimming in Year 3 and Year 4.
Within the structured framework, consideration is given to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of each child with activities and experiences planned in the light of each child’s needs and maturity level. It is from this range of experience that basic skills are refined and consolidated.
Our English programme encourages children to read for meaning and enjoyment and emphasises the need to develop skills for reading both for pleasure and information. Class teachers keep a daily record of individual and group reading in school. Children’s progress in reading is regularly assessed and results given to parents.
After School Clubs, Homework Clubs
We are very keen to develop extended opportunities for children to learn a new activity or work with a different group of children. We offer an extensive programme of activities beyond the school day. These vary from time to time according to staff arrangements and seasons of the year. They include sports practices, choir, homework clubs for year 5 and year 6 children, dance, drums, football, multi-sports, Little Kickers, First Communion and ICT.
We believe that all children should develop skills as independent learners. We believe that organised home learning can play a vital role in raising standards of achievement. It is important that the home learning set, supports and complements learning in school and that the amount of home learning pupils receive, reflects the stage they are at in their schooling, especially as we begin the transition towards Secondary education.
All our children take home reading books daily, which gives you an opportunity to listen to your child read. Each child has a reading record/home learning book in which we encourage parents to comment, to maintain contact between home and school. All our children take learn the spellings.
Many successful class projects rely on children bringing in materials which they, and you, have helped to prepare at home. This research is invaluable and provides a focus for discussion and the basis of developing life skills. If a child needs to consolidate or extend their learning the class teacher may suggest appropriate work or other activities to be undertaken at home.
Your child may be occasionally asked to complete work at home, started in school. It is not appropriate for children to be given home learning for a planned holiday during school time.
Educational visits are a vital part of bringing first hand experience into many aspects of the curriculum. Every year group is offered an opportunity to take part in learning beyond the classroom which is carefully monitored and supervised. This provides opportunities to stimulate and deepen learning and for the development of spirituality. All children are given the opportunity to participate in residential outdoor activity visits in years 5 and 6.