Our Curriculum

CURRICULUM INTENT

At Our Lady’s the curriculum is designed to:

Ensure that all pupils achieve their full potential and enjoy an enormous range of highly engaging and memorable learning opportunities that allow them to develop interpersonal skills, build resilience and become creative, critical thinkers.

Every child is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate and welcome differences within our school community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values. We constantly provide enhancement opportunities to engage learning and believe that childhood should be a happy, investigative and enquiring time in our lives where there are no limits to curiosity and there is a thirst for new experiences and knowledge.

Community involvement is an essential part of our curriculum. Children leave Our Lady’s with a sense of belonging to a community where they have the confidence and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners.

The National Curriculum

In accordance with the Education reform Act, the National Curriculum is taught throughout the school. Children in Year 6 (Key Stage 2) are tested by means of Standard Assessment Tasks (SATs).
 
In order to ensure that the requirements of the national Curriculum are fulfilled the school regularly reviews the curriculum.  Teachers attend courses to familiarise themselves with changes in the curriculum and staff meet regularly to discuss and plan work in the classroom.
 
Religious Education
 
The Religious scheme of work “Come and See” is recommended by the Archdiocese of Liverpool. The children follow the scheme from Reception through to Year 6. The Programme presents 9 topics in each year group on a 1 year cycle. Each topic lasts approximately 4 weeks and is developed through the programme specifically related to the year group and builds upon prior learning. For each level there are clear learning objectives and learning outcomes.  These allow pupils to work according to their different abilities.
 
The process for delivering COME AND SEE has seven elements that enable the development of skills and the fostering of attitudes.
 
In the process the teacher helps the children to:
EXPLORE: Look at and become aware of an aspect of life experience; explore through practical tasks and activities; discover significance and value, and come to a deeper understanding of it.
REVEAL: make links with the Christian understanding of the life experience through Scripture, Church practice and teaching, prayer and the lives and way of living of the Christian community.
RESPOND: remember their learning; celebrate in worship what has been explored and revealed and look back and evaluate and respond to in daily life.
    
 
Community of Faith – Church Themes
 
Autumn: family- Domestic Church
Spring: Community-Local Church
Summer: World- Universal Church
 
Celebration in Ritual – Sacraments
 
Autumn: Belonging- Baptism/Confirmation
Spring: Relating- Eucharist
Summer: Inter-Relating- Reconciliation
 
Way of Life – Christain Living Themes
 
Autumn: Loving- Advent/Christmas
Spring: Giving – Lent/Easter
Summer: Serving- Pentecost
 
Judaism is taught for one week every year. Each year, the pupils learn more about how their Jewish sisters and brothers live and what they believe, as the theme develops. 
For one week every year, the children also learn about another religion from a choice of three: Islam, Hinduism, or Sikhism.

The whole school regularly gathers together in prayer at school assemblies.  Every Friday families are welcome to join the school community in our weekly collective worship and help to celebrate the many achievements that have been recognised over the week. Each class also takes the responsibility for at least one class assembly a year. This is a way of celebrating work done in class. These assemblies are usually presented on a Friday morning at 9.00 a.m. Once again families are always welcome to share these assemblies with us.
 
During the course of the year, we raise money for two main charities. In December, in the build up to Christmas during Advent, we collect for Cafod.  Throughout Lent there is The Good Shepherd Collection for the Nugent Care Society. The children are encouraged, as Christians, to be aware of the needs of others in our local community and in the world-wide Family of God, this can mean that we may respond to appeals for money or goods, sparked off by famine, flood or some other such disaster.
 

 
English
 
Knowledge of English, and a command of the spoken and written word, is an essential resource for a child’s learning in school. It is a tool used across the whole school curriculum, as well as being a subject in its own right. The National Curriculum divides English into five strands:
 

  Speaking and Listening, Reading, Writing, Spelling and Handwriting.

 

  Speaking and listening:

 Beginning in Reception and continuing through all Primary years the children develop their capacity to express themselves effectively for a variety of purposes. This is fostered in our Communication Friendly Spaces, as well as through carefully structured lessons. Working with adults and other children, their activities include listening, giving opinions, replying to instructions and questions, describing experiences and feelings.

 Junior children extend these skills to recount events, tell stories, take on dramatic roles, report, summarise and predict. Children are also provided with opportunities to compose, recite and perform poetry. All classes take part in literary events, where published writers work with the children to enrich their literary skills. Both KS1 and KS2 children take part in annual dramatic public performances. The infants will be performing a Christmas nativity this year, and the juniors will end the year with a summer show.

 

 Reading:

 Children learn not just the mechanics of reading, but to become accomplished, comprehending readers; developing the habit of silent reading and a love of reading for life. Each class has a designated reading area to help promote the love and high importance that reading holds in our school. They can enjoy exploring a wide selection of reading books, which helps them to develop an appreciation of our rich literary heritage. 

This year we are continuing to embed the 'Power of Reading' scheme into our curriculum. This has placed high quality literature at the heart of our English lessons. We have seen a marked improvement in motivation and attitude towards reading, especially amongst reluctant readers.

From Reception phonics is taught through the use of Letters and Sounds and this is then continued through Y1, 2 and 3.  Across school we use a range of reading schemes, which incorporate fiction and non-fiction texts. Book bands are used to grade the texts according to the national book-banding scheme. Guided reading is also an integral part of our English curriculum, where groups of children engage with a number of carefully planned sessions working with a teacher or independently, exploring the meaning of the books being read.

This September we have purchased a reading comprehension scheme called: 'Cracking Comprehension' to explore a thorough understanding of texts being read.

 

  Writing:

Spelling, Handwriting and Composition – These strands go hand in hand throughout the Curriculum. As they mature, children develop a growing ability to write in different styles, for different audiences and purposes, e.g. stories, diaries, letters, invitations, captions, posters, plans, reporting on projects and poetry. Cohesively planned, modeled and implemented by all staff, writing genres and conventions are creatively developed throughout both key stages. Emphasis is laid upon drafting, as a process to encourage children to improve the construction, spelling and layout of their written work. All classes have access to computers, which are also used to develop the children’s writing. Much of their writing is developed from the use of high quality literature, as the children respond to plot, character, illustration and ideas.

They are taught the rudiments of grammar, progressively from Reception through to Year 6, both discretely, as well as in the context of the literature they are studying. Attention to grammatical rules being studied are also noted as they are encountered in all areas of the curriculum.The handwriting scheme 'Letter-join' was introduced to complement our teaching of handwriting. We have seen pleasing improvements in the presentation and cursive writing skills across the whole school. Furthermore, we have now acquired the 'Home/school edition', enabling the children to practise their letter formation at home on PC's I-pads or android devices.

 

 The teaching of spelling is enhanced by our subscription to 'Read Write Inc. - Spelling', which introduces all the required spelling rules, by way of a lively, interactive series of cartoon characters and on screen activities. We constantly strive to create a variety of  daily spelling activities, which are visual, auditory and engaging for the children. Our aim, over time is to ensure our children become accomplished proficient spellers  - much needed in these days of text speak.


 
Mathematics
 
Each class is well equipped with mathematics apparatus, games and in Reception, special areas, e.g. shop corner or house corner. These enable the children not only to understand the basic concepts of mathematics, but also ensure that their experiences are enjoyable. 
 
Our main aims in Mathematics are to give children the knowledge and ability of basic mathematical skills, sufficient that they can use their knowledge and apply it to the world in which they live and to actively encourage our children to reach their full potential in mathematics.
 
In September 2017 all classes are now doing Singapore Maths after it was initially introduced in Years 1,2 and 3 in 2016. This approaches  mathematics and it's applications from a mastery perspective  to enable pupils to become confident and competent with number.
 
The programme is based on system of teaching Maths in Singapore state schools.
Accessible pupil textbooks introduce concepts in a highly scaffolded way, enabling all pupils to develop critical thinking skills, make mathematical connections and become more confident mathematicians.
It builds on a concrete-pictorial-abstract approach, ensuring secure foundations and deep understanding of mathematical concepts and uses spiral progression to develop fluency, reasoning and problem solving.


Science
 
In keeping with the instructions of the Department of Education and the demands of the National Curriculum, the school provides a varied programme of practical investigative science in which children can explore how and why the world in which we live functions as it does. We use a variety of resources to deliver science throughout the school.  Science activities are also drawn from other sources. The scientific programme is structured to stimulate curiosity and interest, develop scientific thinking and skills, lead to a firm understanding of science concepts and encourage good attitudes and imaginative, original work. Work in science is strongly linked to other subjects, particularly the design and problem-solving aspects of technology and mathematics as well as language development.
 
Computing
 
In our increasingly technological age, I.C.T. is experiencing a high profile within the curriculum.
 
We have a refurbished computer suite which has 30 computers and an interactive whiteboard, which classes can use every day. In each classroom there is an interactive whiteboard. Pupils also have access to ipads to enhance learning across all subjects, and to ensure all pupils see ICT in action and as an essential skill in life.  In addition, the ipads are used for animation, video and audio editing, further enhancing how children can present their learning in a range of multi-media formats. 

Physical Education
 
Physical Education, which includes gymnastics, dance, swimming and games, is an important part of the school curriculum and the National Curriculum. It is the only subject which, through the use and knowledge of the body and its movements, contributes to all aspects of the education of young people.
 
PE is taught on a minimum of 2 hours a week and the aim in all of its range of activities is to develop all the physical skills, to encourage an enjoyment of sport and to establish an attitude of perseverance and an acceptance of rules and decisions.
 
The school has a well-equipped school hall and large playing field. Year 5 and 6 classes each have a block of swimming lessons, which lasts a term and a half. These sessions take place in Kingsway Swimming Baths.

We are affiliated to the Halton Sports Association, giving us opportunities to regularly compete with schools across the borough.  Through the inter-school activities we enter a range of competitions such as, cross-country, swimming and athletics. We also compete in sporting events run between schools in other local authorities.
 
Special Needs
 
In accordance with the requirements of the Special Needs Code of Practice, the school has worked hard to implement the stages of the Code.  Our SEN co-ordinator is Mrs A Heston.

For children with special educational needs, differentiation of task is essential both for the child who is able and for the child with learning difficulties. Teachers’ planning for both English and Maths lessons allow for each child to progress according to their own pace and ability. In other subjects the teacher provides tasks for the children working at different stages. This may be devising work programmes to be used at home with members of the family.
 
Modern Foreign Language

French is taught in Key Stage 2. A virtual learning platform will be used to support the way children are taught by means of drama, performance, rhymes and stories. Children will develop their conversational skills as the years progress and begin to extend their ability to write simple sentences and questions. In addition, children will gain an understanding of the cultural differences and traditions of European countries.

 
Humanities - History and Geography 
 
History and Geography are taught in accordance with the Department for Education Guidelines. We have linked the National Curriculum with the 'Focus Education Learning Challenge Programme of Study' to provide an exciting curriculum that allows children to raise questions and research answers. We look at how technology and lifestyles have changed since our grandparents were little as well as famous historical events. We also compare places locally and globally and learn about different cultures. Throughout the School Year we also celebrate different historical events and global days. We celebrate and teach this through our Learning Challenge topics, Class-Based Collective Worships and Whole School Assemblies.
 
At the end of each half term we celebrate our 'Learning Challenge Topic' by consolidating all of our work and research. This could be through an assembly to the rest of the School, an invitation to parents to come and find out what their children have been researching or by going on an educational visit. 
 
Every Half Term a Learning Challenge Homework is sent home. This gives the children the opportunity to explore their topics further. This is to enhance their learning of the different topics the children are taught throughout the School Year. 
 
ARTS - Art and Design, Music and Design and Technology
 
Children are encouraged to be spontaneously creative, using a variety of media and techniques in art and craftwork. An awareness of colour, shape, balance, focus and proportion are developed alongside the use of symbols to convey ideas and feelings. The study of a wide range of artists, craftspeople and designers complements this work.
 
The teaching of music is based around our new Charanga scheme of work. Children have the opportunity to enjoy musical experiences through listening, singing, movement and dance and by playing a variety of musical instruments. We employ specialist music teachers to teach music and give pupils the best opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in this area of the curriculum.
 
We have been involved in the Halton Arts Network scheme last year and we are excited to be taking part again this year which will showcase children's artwork from Reception to Year 6 as well as a performance at the Brindley.
 
Through Design and Technology, the children are encouraged to identify, examine and solve practical problems and to make existing situations better. The children are encouraged to be inventive, using a range of materials and tools, thus developing, modifying and evaluating their ideas through a series of projects and are often linked to the learning  challenge.

 

PERSONAL, SOCIAL, HEALTH AND ECONOMIC EDUCATION.

All schools must make provision for personal, social, health and economic education of children in order for them to:

  • Develop confidence and responsibility

  • Prepare to play an active role as citizens

  • Develop a healthier/safer lifestyle

  • Develop relationships and respect differences between people.

 

Here at Our Lady’s pupils have access to the Life Education Centre every year when specially trained Coram Life Education educators visit our school in a mobile classroom to help our children keep themselves healthy and safe, this is central to PSHE education and children's Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development.

PSHE is also strongly linked to other subjects particularly Science and RE
 
 
The link below will allow you to find out more information about the curriculum we follow in our school.
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum
 
If you would like to find out more information relating to your child's year group then  please visit each class page, where you will find annual curriculum maps, half termly curriculum overviews, end of year expectations and a list of recommended reading books.

 
EYFS

Our Reception children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, this comprises of seven key areas of learning and development.

These are:

Three Prime Areas:  
  • Personal, Social & Emotional Development,
  • Physical Development
  • Communication & Language.

Four Specific Areas:
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts & Design