At St Ethelbert’s Catholic Primary School and Nursery, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum which builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all our pupils, regardless of their starting points, as they progress through our school. Our approach to learning is rooted in Christ and aims to incorporate the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum, along with other experiences and opportunities that enrich and enhance the spiritual experiences and developmental needs of our pupils. Our aim is to provide a curriculum that allows our pupils to develop and flourish as lifelong learners who are ready for the next stage of their education as responsible, dynamic citizens with a clear moral purpose.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Children in Nursery and Reception follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. This learning challenges children and encourages them to develop into independent, motivated learners and thinkers, full of curiosity about the world around them in a happy, safe and stimulating environment.
The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is based on the following areas of learning:
- Communication and Language
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- Understanding of the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Pupils have opportunities to explore, enquire and take risks through carefully planned provision, both indoors and outdoors, in our high quality learning environment. Children transition smoothly from Nursery to Reception and Reception to Key Stage 1 through carefully managed staffing and opportunities for the children to familiarise themselves with their new setting.
Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
St Ethelbert’s Catholic Primary School follows the National Curriculum from Year 1 to Year 6. Our curriculum design is based upon the development of skills and the acquisition of knowledge with clear progression through the year groups. The curriculum aims to maximise learning time through a series of linked, creative topics that incorporate humanities, literacy and art. Each year group studies a themed topic per term such as Explorers, Mass Media or Great Wave. A full list of topics and content is shared with parents each term.
Literacy is taught using the ‘Storytelling Schools’ approach, enabling pupils to learn, perform and then write their own stories and non-fiction texts. The approach extends to the teaching of history. Where possible, guided reading and class texts are linked to the topic content. St Ethelbert’s is an accredited Storytelling Schools school. Vocabulary is explicitly taught during guided reading sessions following the school’s participation in a research group into the impact of vocabulary teaching on pupils’ reading age. Phonics is taught using a Read Write Inc. scheme of work by Ruth Miskin.
10% of the timetable is dedicated to RE; this is taught using the Come and See scheme. Pupils’ understanding of key religious rituals, ceremonies and what this means in terms of their own lives are explored. Two weeks per year are devoted to the teaching of other religions: Judaism and Islam; pupils respect and are interested in the teachings of other faiths.
In September 2018, Maths No Problem was implemented at St Ethelbert’s to develop the already successful teaching of Maths further in all year groups. The approach uses a ‘bar method’ to develop a deep conceptual understanding of mathematical concepts and has been extensively resourced.
Science and computing are taught as stand-alone subjects. Specialist sports coaches teach PE, and the school provides music tuition for two year groups in Key Stage 2. As many children as possible participate in after school clubs, and sports tournaments and competitions.
Termly enrichment weeks focus on creative arts with art, drama and music events, visitors and performances. Parents are often invited to observe performances, and family art and DT projects have been successfully set as holiday homework. Pupils all enjoy regular theatre groups and an annual pantomime. Year 5 and Year 6 visit an art gallery and theatre, respectively.
The outdoor environment and opportunities for outdoor learning are a focus for 2018-19, with the installation of a walking track to support the Daily Mile initiative, a wildlife area on the field and an outdoor amphitheatre for whole class learning planned for the Advent term in 2018.
Parents are involved in every aspect of their child’s learning: Termly curriculum newsletters are sent home to inform parents of the teaching content; regular curriculum workshops are held and weekly drop in sessions are held for parents each Wednesday to visit classrooms and look through their child’s books.
Pupils social, moral, spiritual and cultural development is enriched and developed through the Catholic ethos of the school. The Gospel values of peace, love, justice, mercy and forgiveness run as a thread through every aspect of school life, and the pupils are explicitly reminded of these through daily acts of collective worship. Regular visits to attend Mass at the parish church of Holy Redeemer provide experience of formal worship for the pupils.
British values are explored through weekly sessions using ‘Picture News’ which promotes discussion around the themes of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect using images and questions relevant to the age of our pupils.
Older pupils are given the opportunity to join a range of leadership teams: we have a Head Boy and Head Girl; House Captains; a School Council; a Chaplaincy and Eco team; playground peer mediators, and lunch duty monitors.
The Year 6 pupils visit a local university and participate in a residential trip to help prepare them for life beyond primary school.