At St Michael’s we pride ourselves on our vibrant and broad curriculum, which has been developed in response to the perceived needs of our children and our community. Our curriculum is underpinned by three focuses. These focuses are:
- High Aspirations and Realising Potential
- Health and Wellbeing
High Aspirations and Realising Potential
Providing high aspirations is a key focus to address the location of the school relational to its deprivation indicator. As a school community we feel it is incredibly important that we actively broaden the horizons of all our children, particularly the disadvantaged, and promote the value of education and lifelong learning. As a school our curriculum provides a strong framework through which connections between subjects are clearly mapped, whilst providing adaptability and flexibility so that the lives and heritage of learners and our community can be distinctly embedded. We believe that our children should not only reach their best academically but also be provided with creative and fun learning opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom, to develop a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning. The curriculum provides a balance of thematic and discrete teaching with an emphasis on knowledge and skills. Children have the opportunity to ‘get under the skin’ of the skills that deepen understanding of a subject area. We seek to consider with children the endless possibilities offered in the world of employment and the routes that need to be taken to reach a vocational destination. We look to provide positive role models for our children, linked to the real world. We aim to inspire children always look for opportunities and develop problem solving skills.
Health and Wellbeing
The second focus has been derived from national reports and research, particularly from EEF, into mental and emotional wellbeing. St Michael’s strives to provide an inclusive and nurturing community in which our wonderful children can flourish. The school is Trauma Informed and uses termly Motional screening of all children where individual, group and class information is used to inform PSHE sessions and permeate the wider curriculum and inform our practice. We believe deeply in the education of the whole child and the promotion of British Values alongside spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. St Michael’s is not a widely culturally diverse community, so our curriculum seeks to address this through topic themes, residential trips, assemblies, class discussions and shared experiences. The Inclusion Team ensure that support for children, who find learning more challenging, is effective in enabling them to focus on tasks and clarify concepts and their understanding.
At St Michael’s we strive to ‘Live and Learn Together’ in God’s love, showing respect for everyone we meet. All members of our school family; children, carers and staff, strive as one cooperative team. As a school our curriculum provides a strong framework through which connections between subjects are clearly mapped, whilst providing adaptability and flexibility so that the lives and heritage of learners and our community can be distinctly embedded. The opportunities provide through lessons, topic days, school council, assemblies, clubs, sports, trips and visits, residential trips and fundraising also reflect clearly the context of the local community e.g. mining, Flora Day, farming, military connections.
St Michael’s have curriculum teams who met regularly and are at the forefront of developing the curriculum that we offer. This team comprises of core subject curriculum leaders, members of the SLT and the Pupil Premium Leader and SENCO to ensure the lived experiences of all children are reflected in curriculum design and that cultural capital is reflected in the opportunities that are provided through activities. It is the primary role of these groups to ensure that as the curriculum develops it reflects the needs of all learners at St Michael’s. The curriculum aims to provide knowledge that is powerful, transferable and sequential. The learning opportunities reflect Kolb’s cycle of experiential learning and aim to ensure knowledge children gain is successful retained in their long term memory. Careful thought has been given to the theory of disuse when devising curriculum structure to ensure that new knowledge is deeply embedded. All curriculum leaders monitor the key knowledge each unit provides and ensure future topics build upon prior knowledge to work towards clearly defined end points. Working in this way ensures that Quality First Teaching addresses and acts upon identified school wide gaps in children’s long term memory. There is also a key focus on books/media stimulus as a vehicle for learning providing opportunities for consolidation of key English and Mathematical learning. It ensures that:
• Training needs of all teaching staff are identified and appropriated CPD is delivered to enable teachers to have expert knowledge of the areas they teach- see cycle of monitoring for staff meeting dates and staff meeting minutes
• Knowledge organisers and topic overviews are produced for each topic and monitored by curriculum leaders to ensure that key facts are clear for each unit taught, there is clear expectation for the development of subject specific vocabulary and these documents are shared, at the beginning of each new topic, with both the children and parents
• The school currently uses same day interventions to address misconceptions as they arise. The marking policy staff adhere to recognises the importance of spot marking an timely feedback to children. This allows for misconceptions to be addressed swiftly. Monitoring shows that the marking policy is embedded throughout the school. Headstart and Power Maths assessments are used to provide a summative assessment of children’s understanding. The school is currently developing a method of assessing key facts that children have learnt in topic sessions.
• The curriculum has been restructured to ensure that knowledge is cyclical. Topics build on previous knowledge and curriculum leaders regularly monitor books and planning to ensure the key requirements of a topic have been taught. The aim of this is to ensure the transfer of skills into children’s long term memory. Teacher’s are developing a mastery approach to maths which provides children with both pictorial, concrete and abstract representations of mathematical problems. As such there is a deeper ability to reason to solve mathematical problems being seen throughout the school.
Kolb’s cycle of experiential learning