We have developed an approach to our curriculum at St Christopher’s Academy which has evolved over time. We can describe this as having three distinct components that interconnect and intertwine with each other to form a broad and rich learning experience for children during their time here. Layer one lays the foundation for learning. We believe that happy children who feel emotionally settled and want to come to school learn best. To this end we have a robust nurture and family support programme that enables us to support children and their families to ensure we achieve this aim. Layer two is the taught curriculum. This is subject based, meets the requirements and ambitions of the national curriculum and is dovetailed with key attainment indicators that ensure children meet their milestones across the breadth of the curriculum. Layer three compliments the taught curriculum with a rich range of experiences that have been designed to provide contexts for and embed learning in the classroom. In addition to this, layer three provides bespoke opportunities for children who may not have access to normal every day experiences and by doing this we promote equality of opportunity and raise aspirations. We are mindful of current educational thinking and theories and to this end we have dovetailed the curriculum and assessment to enable children to achieve and build on key milestones, to make links across curriculum areas and accumulate the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.
We intend that our children should experience a curriculum that allows them to:
- Read early so we can quickly move from learning to read into reading to learn.
- Acquire a wide vocabulary that will unlock understanding over a broad range of subjects.
- Develop number fluency that will scaffold and support their problem solving and reasoning skills.
- Develop resilience and be prepared to persevere and extend their own thinking.
- Have a good understanding of the faiths and cultures of others in our school and in the wider world and some of the broader issues around this.
- Develop tolerance and respect for others regardless of race, faith or culture.
- Practice our school Values and develop healthy social and emotional attitudes.
- Have well developed local and wider historical and geographical knowledge and understanding expected for their age.
- Gain the scientific knowledge, understanding and skills expected for their age.
- Take an interest and become involved in a broad range of environmental issues.
- Experience a range of musical and sporting opportunities both in and out of school
- Be well prepared at each transition phase for the next stage in their journey of learning by building on the intellectual capital the children have already gained.
- Have a voice and see the impact of their opinions.
Conditions for Learning
We believe strongly that children learn best when they feel happy and safe. Our Vision was designed in 2013 and is revisited every year and it is by no coincidence that the first few statements are focussed on children wanting to learn. We believe that children have to be keen to come to school and eager to learn before deep learning can occur. To this end we instil our Values in all we do, we work hard to promote pupil voice through our Investors in Pupils agenda and ensure that it has impact. We support our most vulnerable children through our nurture programme, we expect and promote high levels of behaviour and attitudes and hold a strong moral purpose.
The Taught Curriculum - The Core.
At the heart of our school is the taught curriculum. We believe this should be rich in knowledge, challenging, progressive and balanced in terms of skills and content. We aim to enable children to gain the skills they need to access the curriculum and gain a full understanding of the content therein.
We recognise the value of quality texts and appreciate the intellectual capital they can add to learning, therefore out English curriculum is taught through quality texts. We prioritise the acquisition of a wide vocabulary across all disciplines as the basis to support an accumulative understanding of the areas we teach.
We teach maths to promote the Essence of Mastery which is encapsulated by the nine statements included in our document ‘How we Teach Maths at St Christopher's Academy’
We teach a subject specific curriculum that has clear age related expectations of the outcomes required at each stage of the primary phase. Our foundation subjects are led by an enquiry based approach that encourages children to consider and question.
Progression, balance and consistency is ensured through comprehensive curriculum mapping which is overseen by class teachers and subject leaders.
This component of our curriculum is both supplementary and complimentary and provides children with a range of experiences in and out of school that equally contextualise and add depth to their learning. This part of the curriculum is in many ways unique to our children and community and is designed to meet their particular needs as well as embedding and extending the learning that takes place in the classroom.
Impact of the Curriculum
Academic Attainment and Progress
The core purpose of our school is to provide children with an education that will prepare them well for the next stage in their journey. In an academic context, we strive to ensure that whatever their starting point and whatever the barriers to learning, we enable the children to achieve the best outcomes by considering Age Related Expectations and the children’s individual potential.
Our curriculum is mainly subject based and each subject is broken down into steps that indicate the expectations of knowledge and skills to be attained for each stage of the primary phase. It is our intention that the children meet these expectations at each stage and that each stage provides the building blocks for the next stage.
In preparing children for the next stage in their journey we ensure that:
Our Nursery children are school ready and have acquired the developmental stages they need to proceed to start school and our children in Reception classes build on this development to enable them to access the KS1 curriculum.
Our children in Year 1 are provided with the phonic skills and knowledge they need to learn to read efficiently so they can quickly transition into reading to learn. We build the resilience needed in our KS1 children so they are prepared for the demands of the KS2 curriculum and our children in year 6 are prepared for the academic and social and emotional demands of life at secondary school.
Social, Moral and Cultural Understanding,
The impact of the time and focus in this area is seen in the children’s attitudes to each other, to adults in school, to their conduct on school visits and trips and to the way in which they approach their learning. The children at St Christopher's Academy are often complimented on their behaviour in the wider community and we pride ourselves on this.
Our school is a diverse community composed of families from around the globe and through our Values programme and the ethos and culture of our school, we see Tolerance and Respect demonstrated on a daily basis.
Many children and their families encounter difficulties that stretch far beyond the control of the school, however through our family support system and our nurture programme we provide advice, support and practical help that impacts positively on the wellbeing of the family and therefore the child.
The school has due regard to the principles and ethos of the Equality Act 2010 in respect of the delivery of our curriculum and strives to:
- Promote an inclusive and collaborative ethos in their classroom
- Challenge prejudice and discrimination
- Deal fairly and professionally with any prejudice-related incidents that may occur
- Plan and deliver curricula and lessons that reflect the school’s inclusivity and diversity strategy.
- Maintain the highest expectations of success for all pupils
- Support different groups of pupils in their class through differentiated planning and teaching, especially those who may (sometimes temporarily) find aspects of academic learning difficult
- keep up-to-date with equalities legislation.
If you would like any further information about the curriculum our school follows, please do not hesitate to contact us (01582 500960 or SCAemail@example.com).
Annual overviews and termly overviews for each year group can be found on their class pages.
At SCA we aim to inspire pupils to develop their confidence to experiment and invent their own works of art. The scheme we have chosen has been designed to give pupils every opportunity to develop their ability, nurture their talent and interests, express their ideas and thoughts about the world, as well as learn about the rich heritage and culture of the British Isles and beyond.
At St Christopher’s we teach our Art and design through the use of the Kapow scheme of work. This scheme of work is designed with five strands that run throughout. Theses are:
- Making skills,
- Formal elements (line, shape, tone, texture, pattern, colour),
- Knowledge of artists,
These strands are revisited in every unit. In some units, the children are given the opportunity to learn and practice skills discretely. The knowledge and skills from these units are then applied throughout the other units in the scheme. Key skills are revisited again and again with increasing complexity in a spiral curriculum model. This allows pupils to revise and build on their previous learning.
The scheme of work develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of key artists through practical work. Our units fully scaffold and support essential and age-appropriate sequenced learning and are flexible enough to be adapted to create cross-curricular links to other subjects. Creativity and independent outcomes are robustly embedded in the units, support students in learning how to make their own creative choices and decisions, so that their art outcomes, whilst still being knowledge-rich, are unique to the pupil and personal.
Lessons are always practical in nature and encourage experimental and exploratory learning with all children using sketchbooks to document their ideas.
The immediate impact of an Art lesson will be apparent within the session. The curriculum is designed to ensure children are involved in the evaluation, dialogue and decision-making about the quality of their outcomes and the improvements they need to make. By taking part in regular discussions and decision-making processes, children will not only know the facts and key information about art, but they will be able to talk confidently about their own learning.
At the end of their time at St Christophers pupils should leave school equipped with a range of techniques and the confidence and creativity to form a strong foundation for their Art and design learning at Key Stage 3 and beyond. The expected impact from our curriculum is that children will:
- Produce creative work, exploring and recording their ideas and experiences,
- Be proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques,
- Evaluate and analyse creative works using subject-specific language,
- Know about great artists and the historical and cultural development of their art,
- Meet the end of key stage expectations outlined in the National Curriculum for Art and design.
Computing at St Christophers Academy intends to prepare our pupils for life in a modern, digital world. We aim to provide our pupils with an, ambitious and relevant education in Computing. We want to equip pupils to use computational thinking and creativity that will enable them to become active participants in the digital world. It is important to us that the children understand how to use the ever-changing technology to express themselves, as tools for learning and as a means to drive their generation forward into the future.
Whilst ensuring they understand the advantages and disadvantages associated with online experiences, we want children to develop as respectful, responsible and confident users of technology, aware of measures that can be taken to keep themselves and others safe online.
Our aim is to provide a Computing curriculum that is designed to balance acquiring a broad and deep knowledge alongside opportunities to apply skills in various digital contexts. We seek to do this using our Purple-Mash Computing planning alongside The National Curriculum. For computing we aim to ensure that all pupils:
At the end of KS1 children should be able to:
- understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions;
- create and debug simple programs;
- use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs;
- use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content;
- recognise common uses of information technology beyond school;
- use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the Internet or other online technologies.
At the end of KS2 children should be able to:
- design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts;
- use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output;
- use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs;
- understand computer networks including the Internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the World Wide Web, and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration;
- use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content;
- select, use and combine a variety of software (including Internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information;
- Use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact
Following the Purple Mash Curriculum, we have a comprehensive progression document for staff to follow to best embed and cover every element of the Computing curriculum.
At St Christophers Academy, we encourage our pupils to enjoy and value the curriculum we deliver. We will constantly ask the 'why' behind their learning and not just the 'how'. We want learners to discuss, reflect and appreciate the impact computing has on their learning, development and well-being. Finding the right balance with technology is key to an effective education and a healthy life-style. We feel the way we implement computing helps children realise the need for the right balance and one they can continue to build on in their next stage of education and beyond. We encourage regular discussions between staff and pupils to best embed and understand this. We look for evidence through reviewing pupil’s knowledge and skills and observing learning regularly. Progress of our computing curriculum is demonstrated through outcomes and the record of coverage in the process of achieving these outcomes.
During a child’s time in our Early Years provision, we strive to do our best to have happy children and families who trust us with the care of their child. We believe that the time children spend in the Early Years provide the foundations on which children grow and develop a lifelong love of learning and are vital to their future life chance.
We intend to build positive relationships with both children and their families. Our Early Years team strive to be approachable, friendly and welcoming to families and support and act promptly on any queries or concerns that arise. We aim to involve parents to become interested in what's behind their child's learning and activities so they can support their children at home.
We aim to provide a safe and stimulating environment that promotes, reflects, and celebrates the diverse backgrounds our children and families come from where children are enabled to flourish. We want our children to be excited about their learning and grow into happy, confident, and independent learners who are encouraged to take risks. We aim to provide our children with opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge they need to progress to the next stage in their learning.
We intend to provide our children with a broad, balanced, and challenging curriculum that meets the unique and different needs of all our children and provides them with a secure foundation to build on as they progress through school and beyond. We aim to rapidly identify children who may be falling behind or having difficulties early to get the right support place as soon as possible.
To ensure a safe and secure environment inside and out for our children to learn we:
- Have a robust transition system that supports children to feel safe and secure from their first day,
- Provide every child with a key worker who builds positive relationships with the child and family to support them through their time in the setting,
- Encourage children to take risks and make mistakes and learn from the process rather than the outcomes,
- Have a range of resources that reflect the backgrounds and cultures of our families,
At SCA our curriculum is unique to us and has been devised on recommendations from Development Matters, Birth to 5, Talk for Writing, ELGs and work from Mary Sheridan. Our curriculum has a focus on early language development, and social skills and has the necessary skills and knowledge to prepare children for the Key Stage 1 curriculum. It is organized to be progressive with small steps and is spiral so that children return to previous learning and build on the previous step.
Our planning begins by looking at the development of children’s skills and knowledge across the year (long term plans) which are then broken down into termly intentions (medium-term plans) which are then finally compiled into short term planning. Children’s next steps and individual needs are planned into the learning and key information on individual’s progress is shared by key workers (or support staff) with the room leaders (or class teachers). Throughout the whole of the Early Years, this planning is adapted and led by the children’s interests however, the intended skills and knowledge are brought into their learning sessions or the environmental planning. This ensures that all children have access to a broad and balanced curriculum which develops both their knowledge and skills.
We ensure our environment is well planned for, using the children’s next steps and starting points, to ensure it meets the individual needs of our children and covers all areas of the curriculum. Whilst, providing a challenge for our children to develop their natural curiosity, investigative and enquiry skills, encouraging them to ask questions and talk about what they are doing. We use highquality resources which are constantly enhanced to link with children’s current learning and interests adapting them as needed to engage the children and adapt to their interests. Our environments are set up to allow a mix of child-initiated and adult-led learning, all rooms have an element of self-selecting of resources to encourage vocabulary and social skills development. We surround our children with trained, knowledgeable staff who know when to interact, observe or enhance the children’s learning in the moment.
Staff training and progression are planned to ensure staff feel knowledgeable and have the desired skills to support children in their care to achieve their best.
Children’s progress is formally assessed against a bespoke assessment tool created in alignment with our curriculum. The children’s progress is formally assessed against the school’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at the end of each half term or term. At the end of each term, these KPIs are shared with senior leaders as part of the school’s pupil progress meetings. At this point, children are discussed individually to identify any children falling behind, needing an additional challenge and to check on how key groups (such as PP) are progressing. This information is then quickly acted on to ensure appropriate actions are put in to prevent gaps between peers from widening.
These formalised meetings happen at the end of each term but staff are constantly assessing and monitoring the children’s progress concerning the week’s intended learning outcomes. Key workers’ feedback on their children’s individual progress into the weekly planning so that this can be adapted to ensure pupils’ next steps are being identified and planned for.
Parents are updated on their child’s progress throughout the year with termly parent consultations for all preschool and reception children and at the end of the day for nursery children. Early Years staff use the online Tapestry Journal to update parents on what the children have been learning as well as their child’s ‘WOW’ moments. Parents are encouraged to engage and show staff what their children have been learning at home.
Design and Technology
At SCA we aim to inspire pupils to be innovative and creative thinkers who have an appreciation for the product design cycle through ideation, creation and evaluation. We want pupils to develop the confidence to take risks, through drafting design concepts, modelling, and testing and to be reflective learners who evaluate their work and the work of others. Including work from a range of backgrounds and inventors. Through our scheme of work, we aim to build an awareness of the impact of design and technology on our lives and encourage pupils to become resourceful, enterprising citizens who will have the schools to contribute to future design advancements.
Our scheme of work enables pupils to meet the end of key stage attainment targets in the National curriculum.
The DT National curriculum outlines the three main stages of the design process; design, make and evaluate. Each stage of the design process is underpinned by technical knowledge which encompasses the contextual, historical, and technical understanding required for each strand. Cooking and nutrition has a separate section, with a focus on specific principles, skills and techniques in food, including where food comes from, diet and seasonality.
The National curriculum organises the Design and technology attainment targets under five subheadings or strands:
- Technical knowledge,
- Cooking and nutrition
Our chosen scheme (Kapow Primary) has a clear progression of skills and knowledge within these five strands across each year group. Our curriculum overview shows which of our units cover each of the National curriculum attainment targets as well as each of the five strands. Our progression of skills shows the skills that are taught within each year groups and how these skills develop to ensure that attainment targets are securely met by the end of each key stage. We teach a condensed scheme of work which ensures all the national curriculum requirements are covered in each phase and each year group alternates a half a term of art and DT.
Through the scheme of work, pupils respond to design briefs and scenarios that require consideration of the needs of others, developing their skills in six key areas:
- Cooking and nutrition (food)
- Electrical systems (KS2)
- Digital work (KS2)
Each of our key areas follows the design process (design, make and evaluate) and has a particular theme and focus from the technical knowledge or cooking and nutrition section of the curriculum. It is a spiral curriculum, with key areas revisited again and again with increasing complexity, allowing pupils to revisit and build on their previous learning.
Lessons incorporate a range of teaching strategies from independent tasks, paired and group work including practical hands-on, computer-based and inventive tasks. This variety means that lessons are engaging and appeal to those with a variety of different learning styles. Adaptive ideas for children with additional needs and opportunities to stretch pupils’ learning are included within the scheme of work.
Strong subject knowledge is vital for staff to be able to deliver a highly effective and robust DT curriculum. The scheme of work provides teachers with videos to develop subject knowledge and for ongoing CPD. This aids to promote pupil progress across all phases.
The immediate impact of a DT lesson will be apparent within the session. Whilst children are designing and making, we would typically expect to hear the key vocabulary within their discussions which is a key school priority alongside the development of their evaluation skills. The constant opportunity for practical work builds confidence but also gives the teacher the opportunity to assess the learning and address any misconceptions or preconceived ideas. Formative assessment for learning will be based on the objective within a particular lesson and assessed by the teacher in preparation for the next. At the start of a unit of work, children will carry out a pre-learning task to determine what they know before any teaching has taken place and at the end of the unit, the same task will be carried out - the post learning task. This should show clear progress and demonstrate the learning that has taken place. The pre/post-learning tasks may take different forms depending on the age and ability of the children. Finally, we hope that they acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as maths, science, engineering, computing and art. High quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.
At St Christophers Academy, we believe that the teaching of English is a key component of learning at our school and underpins the rest of the school curriculum. Our aim is that every pupil is literate by the time they leave our school and good progress is made in the areas of reading, writing, and speaking and listening. It is our intention that pupils reach the expected standards in Phonics, Reading, Writing and Grammar Punctuation and Spelling at the end of Year 1, Year 2 and Year 6 respectively.
Staff take the time to get to know their pupils and their starting points. Lessons are adapted to meet the needs of pupils and teachers take time to build on the prior knowledge gained.
English at St Christophers Academy is not only taught during discreet lessons but it is the corner stone of the whole curriculum as is embedded into every lesson taught. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the pupils of St Christophers Academy will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening.
In EYFS and KS1, we use the key principles of Talk for Writing to help deliver our English curriculum. This compromises of three main stages: Imitation, Innovation and Invention.
During the Imitation phase, teachers share a key text with pupils and teach the structure of that piece of writing. By the end of the phase pupils are familiar with the vocabulary, the text type and its structure pupils can retell the text orally internalising language patterns.
During the Innovation phase, teachers model and teach pupils how to write their own versions of the key text. Grammar is taught explicitly taught to pupils staff model how to apply this knowledge to writing.
During the Independent phase, pupils are able to independently write their own text using the structures taught.
As well as this, each class has a core bank of nursery rhymes and songs and these are taught and learnt over the course of the academic year. Through the learning of these, pupils are building their language and vocabulary. The bank of rhymes and songs are built upon over the course of a pupils’ time within the EYFS stage. Each class has a bank of key texts which are taught to pupils
Over the course of a week pupils will receive a daily lessons of phonics and English. The use of a high quality key text helps to encompass the elements of spelling, composition and grammar. Handwriting lessons are taught in separate lessons using the Penpals scheme of work.
Each unit is broadly 4 weeks with flexibility built in to extend, adapt or introduce alternative activities based on rigorous on-going assessment. Outcomes and objectives are clearly identified and activities planned to ensure that they are based on the learning of that year group. Attention has been paid to looking at progression within each objective, breaking them down into steps towards achieving the end of year learning.
Whilst there is a clear week by week sequence within each unit, skills, knowledge and understanding are built throughout the unit and provide the building blocks for the identified outcomes.
There is a sharp focus on reading and the units offer questions and activities which may be used in whole class or group reading lessons. The beginning of each unit concentrates on understanding, responding to and deepening understanding of the text. This focus continues with on-going reading activities matched to the identified reading objectives. Word detective work should be an emphasis throughout.
From the well-chosen high quality texts teachers plan for purposeful learning and give pupils reasons for writing as well as the skills they need to write with impact on their reader. Teachers follow a learning sequence to support this:
- A hook to fully engage and interest the pupils
- Responding to reading activities to allow immersion in and exploration of the text, including picture exploration, book and writer talk
- Capturing ideas and activities which include drama and talk to support understanding of the text and to develop vocabulary, language and ideas for writing
- Possibilities for contextualised grammar
- Sentence games (these may be to reinforce prior learning or consolidate new learning) to develop creativity, vocabulary, language and grammar
- Links to guided reading- pupils may focus on how a text is structured overall, how a writer has used sentences and grammatical features and how and why the writer has made word choices
- A range of writing tasks which may be the final unit outcomes or incidental opportunities during the unit
Teacher model the writing process aloud and the decisions writers make about sentences, paragraphs etc. to create impact on the reader. This will also include the modelling of handwriting, planning and spelling and grammar strategies.
This is a collaborative composition with discussion and suggestions about what to write and how to write it to create the intended effect. At this point pupils may write a sentence/s often in pairs, or on whiteboards which are then discussed.
Small group sessions based on the specific needs of a specific group of learners. These sessions may address misconceptions bridge gaps or extend learning and can take place at any point during the process.
In line with the 2014 national curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required for that age groups. As well as teaching the objectives, teachers are able to embed the skills throughout the year during the teaching of the foundation subjects in the Learning Challenge Curriculum.
Through research and discussion, the SCA working party was able to produce a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for each year group with which teachers can assess pupils against. These have been produced for reading and writing and focus on the key areas of learning for each year group that will ensure pupils are reading for the next stage of learning. These KPIs are in line with the end of the Key stage expectations.
In this sense, assessment of writing is also more fluid as teachers can assess against a set framework. All year groups use the same format for assessing writing which have been produced in line with the end of Key Stage assessment frameworks as published by the Department for Education.
The impact on our pupils is good progress, transferrable skill and sustained learning. We are already seeing the impact of using the Talk for Writing principles being taught to pupils in our early years and key stage 1. Pupils at St Christophers Academy will at least make good progress from their starting points. The writing journey will support pupils to become more confident writers by the time they leave St Christophers Academy at the end of key stage 2. Pupils will be able to write for a range of purposes and audiences, manipulating grammar and punctuation. Our pupils will leave our school being creative writers with a passion for English.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross-curricular writing will be of the same standard as that produced in English lessons. This shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar and punctuation. We hope that we fulfil our school’s vision: to prepare our children for the next stage of their lives to enable them to contribute positively to their community.
St Christophers Academy is located in the old market town of Dunstable in Bedfordshire. The immediate location is urban residential with some nearby industrial estates. It lies approximately 1 mile from the M1 motorway, sits beside the Chiltern Blows Downs and is approximately two miles from the Dunstable Downs. Our school is situated very close to the border of Luton and is 30 miles north of London. As a result of our location, the majority of pupils reside in Dunstable but we have a large proportion residing in Luton.
Our location and local industry has attracted much migration and this is reflected in our school. This includes families from London, the north of England, India and Pakistan and more recently Eastern Europe.
Our intention, at St Christophers Academy, is to provide a high-quality geography education that builds on children’s natural curiosity and fascination to enable them to develop the skills and knowledge to understand the world and its people. Our geography curriculum has been designed specifically with our location and culture in mind. Two core themes are immersed in our curriculum: migration and mapping.
We want our children to have a strong sense of place and location, with mapping as a focus and understand and celebrate the diversity of cultures in our school; locally, nationally and globally due to migration. We want them to acquire the geographical skills of collecting, recording, presenting and analysing data to understand the world around them. We want them to be confident in using maps, digital maps, globes and in locating places.
To meet this intention, SCA has developed an enquiry based Geography curriculum that is relevant and specific to our children. Each enquiry question has been developed to incorporate our two core themes of mapping and migration and is carefully planned and structured to allow children the opportunity to meet all National Curriculum objectives. This includes providing a broad and balanced curriculum, ensuring the development of geographical concepts, knowledge and skills is progressive and cumulative while also developing a love of geography. We will also extend geography learning beyond the classroom to include visitors, educational workshops, trips and experiences.
Long term planning has been developed with our two core themes: mapping and migration.
In each year group, in each term, classes will be taught weekly geography lessons with an enquiry based question. The enquiry questions have been chosen to incorporate our core themes, our locality and to meet all National Curriculum objectives.
Each big enquiry question has been broken down into further enquiry based questions which can last one or more lessons. Each unit of learning will begin with a pre-learning task to establish children’s prior knowledge and understanding. Once the unit is complete, a post-learning task will be used to consolidate learning and as a tool for assessment. Further to this, children will complete end of unit and end of year ‘quizzes’ to assess their knowledge and understanding of the taught geographical content.
Currently at St Christophers Academy, KS1 Geography will be planned, delivered and assessed by class teachers with the support of the subject coordinator. KS2 is trialling a new approach of subject teachers teaching a specific subject to Years 3-6. Therefore Geography in KS2, will be planned, taught and assessed by the Geography Subject coordinator.
In addition to the planned classroom learning, we aim to provide our children with experiences to enhance their geography and develop their love and sense of enjoyment of the subject.
Children’s books will demonstrate the knowledge and geographical skills learned during individual lessons. Children will also record and evaluate what they have learned compared to where they started through the completion pre-learning tasks at the start of a unit and post-learning tasks at the end of a unit. At the end of each ‘Big Question’ of study, children will also present and showcase their learning in a variety of ways including presentations and booklets. This will be followed by an end of unit quiz and finally an end of year quiz in which children will demonstrate their acquisition of key knowledge and skills taught against the end of year expectations taken from the National Curriculum.
As children progress through the school, they will develop their knowledge and understanding of their local environment and its place within the wider world. Children’s appreciation and respect for people of different cultures and beliefs and the environment in which they and others live, will be further developed through our work with organisations such as Fair Trade and Water Aid.
Luton and Dunstable are ancient settlements that attracted industry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and are now built-up urban areas. The communities from which St Christopher’s Academy draws are from both places and consist of traditional white British working and lower middle-class families. These families have lived in the area for generations but we also have families form diverse backgrounds such as Indians who settled after the Second World War and more recently Eastern Europeans. Pupils have relatively open attitudes but many lack knowledge and pride in their locality and some remain ignorant of how the diversity of the area came about. Therefore, when introducing our pupils to the rich cultural capital prescribed by the National Curriculum History, we are choosing to place a strong emphasis on the push and pull factors that prompt and explain patterns of migration historically. We are seeking to inspire a passion for learning about the heritage of the locality, particularly through the fascinating archaeological methodology.
At SCA, we have history lessons once a week and these are based on the National Curriculum and implemented through the Learning Challenge Curriculum Scheme. This is an enquiry based approach where there is an overarching question for the whole term and also weekly questions for the children to develop their knowledge and skills.
We carry out the curriculum planning of History in two phases (long-term and medium-term). The long-term plan maps the History themes that the children study in each term during each key stage. Our long-term History plan shows how teaching units are distributed across the year groups and how these fit together to ensure progression. Medium-term planning is completed by the History Lead and shared with teachers. Short term planning is carried out by the individual teacher as necessary.
In Key Stage one, individual teachers plan and deliver history lessons and in Key Stage two one teacher will plan and deliver lessons throughout the week. Children will be taught as a whole class, in groups or as individuals. Use of ICT, as a teaching and learning tool, will be planned for in order to enhance children’s historical knowledge. Differentiation will be used to ensure each child is appropriately challenged. Activities are planned to allow children to progress according to their own abilities. Visits and trips are planned to allow pupils to have real-life experiences of history such as attending Victorian school or recreating a World War two evacuation.
Complexity of the task is designed to further the development of skills of more able children, including planned opportunities for independent learning. Children with Special Educational Needs will work through modified tasks if required.
Key vocabulary that will occur during lessons is predicted in advance so that the correct terminology can be taught, repeated, moved into active use and contextualized.
The impact of our history lessons in SCA can be seen through our pre and post learning tasks completed each term. Pupils also complete end of term quizzes which include questions on the knowledge acquired in lessons in that term but also of the previous term to insure progress from each year group.
Progress is also measured in each history lesson through formative assessment such as questioning, discussions, group, paired and independent tasks. Teacher assessment is compared against age-related expectations for each term of the academic year and is a useful tool to identify the gaps in the children’s understanding.
St Christophers Academy employs a Teaching for Mastery approach in Maths. Through our work with Enigma Maths Hub and the NCETM, we are in the Sustaining phase of the TfM programme having been through the Development and Embedding phases. We are proud to use the TfM approach and have seen definite progress in number sense and fluency, arithmetic and reasoning ability which indicates the positive impact our Teaching for Mastery approach has had.
At SCA, our intention is to enable all pupils to meet their maximum potential in Mathematics and become fluent, resilient and independent-thinking mathematicians with the power to reason and deploy their learning in new contexts.
To meet this intention, our Teaching for Mastery approach to Mathematics aims to provide deeper understanding and reasoned, connected thinking are given precedence over a superficial, unthinking approach with a dependence on routine algorithms. At St. Christophers, we often say that the answer is only the beginning.
We teach mathematics to whole classes and all children are included and should feel included. It is our intent to represent the diversity of our school, our local community and the wider UK in our Mathematics lessons and in the resources we use in positive and inclusive ways that support a sense of self-worth, identity and value. All pupils are encouraged to believe that by working hard, persevering and adopting a positive mindset focused on resilience and growth they can succeed in Maths and reach their own potential. Mistakes are seen as learning points and catalysts for progress, enabling risk taking and conjectures to develop.
Our intention is to provide a cumulative Maths learning journey from Early Years to Year 6 where knowledge and skills are gained, retained and connections are strengthened in future terms and years.
The big ideas of Teaching for Maths Mastery are central to how we approach Maths learning:
- coherence through small steps
- representation and structure;
- mathematical thinking;
We believe that our intent can be met through our Maths programme of study which covers the whole of the Primary Maths Curriculum. It is based on prioritisation of key topics identified as Ready to Progress criteria by the DfE 2020 Guidance for Teaching Maths in Primary School. Some areas of Maths that are not included in the DfE Ready-to-Progress criteria are also covered within each year of study at St Christophers.
The timing, order and duration of the learning are deliberately chosen to allow longer to be spent on topics which gives all pupils the chance to develop a deep and meaningful mastery of the concept and of the structural relationships of mathematics. Each SCA year group follows a careful journey through a schedule of learning units. Each lesson within a unit focuses on one key conceptual idea reflecting the small step, mastery approach. These lessons may last longer than one day each depending on what is necessary for the pupils.
In planning for each lesson, teachers recognise the incremental key learning points (micro-steps) that will be required and the order in which the pupils will be exposed to each key learning point in a carefully ordered episodic fashion during each small step lesson. Potential misconceptions are also thought through during the planning stage and incorporated into the lesson as opportunities for learning. Key vocabulary that will occur during the unit is predicted in advance so that the correct terminology can be taught, repeated, moved into active use and contextualized. Planning also deliberately builds in opportunities to expose the underlying structure of the mathematics that allow generalisations to be formulated from reasoning about specific cases.
Lesson delivery often involves an initial task; teacher structuring using appropriate representations (concrete, pictorial and abstract) and class recording of the learning; application of the learning with incremental addition of key learning points before pupils have the chance to apply the accumulated learning independently.
Any resources used in Maths should take account of our responsibility to represent the diversity of our school, our local community and the wider UK. This means that images used to support questions and names used as examples in questions can be more reflective of the backgrounds and heritage of the pupils in our school and our communities. Pupils should experience positive ‘role models’ in Maths that promote positive empowerment in an inclusive way. Any learning that involves the history of Maths should include innovations and ideas that come form a range of historical cultural backgrounds reflecting that breakthroughs in Mathematics have never been limited to one particular ethnicity or culture.
Reasoning skills such as pattern spotting, identifying what is the same and what is different, forming conjectures and providing convincing evidence and proof that support mathematical thinking are always promoted in an SCA Maths lesson. Pupils also have the opportunity to reflect on and take ownership of their learning in a lesson, often being asked about successes and areas that might be proving more difficult.
Further challenge, extension and deeper thinking tasks are made available to pupils who complete work and challenge will always be present in lessons through the teacher questioning; promoting mathematical thinking and connections; developing reasoning skills and moving from the specific to the general.
At SCA, we know that number fluency requires continuous practice. Becoming fluent with number facts helps to avoid cognitive overload as mathematical concepts and contexts become more intricate. We have a carefully structured Fluency Strategy. As well as including specific number fluency lessons in our curriculum units, we also use key points of the school day to allow practice in the form of puzzles, word problems and drills. Early Years and Key Stage One engage with the NCETM Mastering Number programme which dedicates a set amount of time each day to strengthen structural understanding of number facts and relationships. Homework is often number fluency based as that allows parents to support their child with the fundamental facts. Another aspect of fluency is the flexibility to use alternative methods and representations which is encouraged in our lessons. Strategies for checking working including comparisons to ‘common sense’ are also part of the concept of fluency.
The immediate impact of a SCA Maths lesson will be apparent within the lesson. The opportunities for discussion, engagement in talk and questioning allow teachers to quickly ascertain the pupils’ level of understanding and provide further guidance as necessary. Much of the independent work can be marked immediately, giving pupils instant feedback on their efforts as feedback closest to the point of action is the most effective. The purpose of feedback should be to further the children’s learning. The small-step and coherent nature of the Mastery approach to Maths may show that pupils “get it” more easily. It is important to remember that each lesson (and indeed each question) is part of an ongoing journey and, if a particular step seems easily achieved, that is a positive thing that will enable reinforcement, retention and connections to be made with past and future learning. It would not be sensible to judge ease of understanding in one particular lesson as a wasted lesson – it must be understood as part of a much bigger picture. Most significantly, our pupils are developing their thinking, reasoning and communication skills in a mathematical context. The answer is just the beginning.
As has always been the case, some children will grasp ideas quicker than others. Where necessary and possible, intervention is provided as quickly as possible to help maintain the intention that the whole class is working together.
The progress that pupils make over time is clear evidence of the impact of the teaching and learning. Work in exercise books does not present much meaningful evidence of proficiency and progress in Maths. Instead, to measure pupil progress, teachers integrate a combination of formative assessment (gathered during discussions, questioning, resourced activities, paired and independent tasks) and summative assessment carried out at the end of each unit as well as regular term-end testing on multiple units. By considering all the evidence, teachers can evaluate a pupil’s understanding of each Maths unit in a way that allows for the ever-present disparity between the natural, relaxed situation of demonstrating understanding in a lesson and the rigid, formality of a test where interpretation of the question may be the biggest stumbling unit.
This informed teacher assessment is compared against age-related expectations for each term of the academic year. Demonstrable solid understanding of all the units within a term will meet age-related expectations for that stage of the year. Through the internal assessment process, gaps in understanding can be identified and addressed and parents can be informed of their child’s progress over the course of the year to date.
Of course, children at SCA participate in the external assessments of SATs during Year 2 and Year 6 and the Multiplication Tables check at Year 4. Although our intent is to enable learners to develop deeper mathematical understanding (rather than just meeting the requirements of tests), these assessments are important measures of the impact of the teaching and learning at SCA. Pupils in the relevant year groups also undertake mock tests in the build up to the external tests which provide additional supporting evidence for a teacher’s judgement on attainment and progress over time.
Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)
At St Christophers Academy, our intention is to provide all children with a valuable educational, social and cultural experience through learning Modern Foreign Languages, primarily French. We aim to provide children with essential and practical skills and knowledge whilst also fostering an interest in language learning. This will subsequently lay the foundations for the future study of languages.
We believe that our intent can be met through the scheme of work that we follow to deliver our Modern Foreign Languages curriculum. This is structured to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to achieve the objectives outlined within the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum for Modern Foreign Languages whilst at our school. The scheme of work provides various opportunities to develop speaking, listening, communication and written skills alongside opportunities to develop awareness of cultural differences. Our intention is to provide a curriculum where knowledge and skills are gained, retained, strengthened and challenged as children progress through the year groups.
To accomplish our intent, each year group in Key Stage 2 follows the Wakefield scheme of work, published by La Jolie Ronde which includes detailed lesson plans designed to meet the National Curriculum requirements - in particular focusing on the strands: Oracy, Literacy and Intercultural Understanding. These plans allow for flexibility and can be adapted by teachers to suit the particular needs of their class. Similarly, Key Stage 1 follow the Little Languages scheme of work, also published by La Jolie Ronde. The aim of this scheme is to provide a wide variety of language experiences to excite and enthuse children who are beginning their language learning journey.
Alongside both schemes of work are a variety of resources for teachers to use which directly link to the outlined lessons. Resources include: sound files for language support, video clips, CDs of songs and poems and resources for use with the interactive whiteboard. The scheme of work also outlines suggested core vocabulary to be incorporated within lessons.
In addition to the scheme of work, we believe our intent can also be fulfilled through the themed days planned for each term. These provide the children with further opportunities to explore cultures and languages different to their own in an enjoyable, engaging and creative manner.
At St Christophers Academy, we understand that the key to successful learning and retention is rehearsal and repetition of the knowledge and skills taught. Therefore, previously learnt knowledge and skills are revisited frequently throughout the years, whilst also allowing for the addition of new learning to ensure that progression throughout the year groups is evident.
The immediate impact of the teaching and learning should be evident within the lesson. Opportunities provided by the teacher for discussions through questioning and the application of knowledge and skills will give an effective insight into the understanding of individuals. All feedback provided should be given with the purpose of furthering learning and is given in line with the school’s feedback policy. Oral work in particular allows for instant and effective feedback, alongside live marking within the lesson which is effective in highlighting and addressing any misunderstandings or misconceptions immediately. Assessment for Learning (AFL) opportunities such as questioning at the beginning and end of a lesson can also allow teachers to see the direct impact of teaching and learning. This can be verbal, recorded as a class or recorded individually in books.
The progress that pupils make over time is evidence of the impact of the teaching and learning. Teachers are provided with end of year outcomes that the children are working towards meeting throughout the year, and these are used as an assessment tool in Modern Foreign Languages. Looking at the outcomes for previous and future years allows for teachers to see any areas for development or gaps in knowledge from prior learning as well as where the children are heading in the next academic year.
With vocabulary being a whole school priority, the self-assessment of key vocabulary is incorporated within Modern Foreign Language lessons, focusing on what the translation is in to English rather than the meaning of words. At the beginning of a new topic, teachers isolate French vocabulary that is going to arise within future lessons and ask the children to use traffic lighting to show their knowledge of each word. Using traffic lighting for self-assessment once again at the end of the topic allows children to reflect on their understanding of the vocabulary after learning and gives a further insight in to their understanding for teachers. The children can also record the translation in to English to further evidence this once they have learnt it.
Music at SCA
Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. We provide opportunities for all children to create, play, perform and enjoy music, to develop the skills to appreciate a wide variety of musical forms, and to begin to make judgements about the quality of music. At SCA, our intention is to enable all pupils to meet their maximum potential in all areas of the music curriculum. We place an important emphasis upon pupil’s creative and emotional development and feel that music makes a significant contribution to these aspects of education as well as to the spiritual and moral development of pupils. Through musical activities, children can experience a sense of individual and collective achievement, which helps to promote social skills and cooperation.
To meet this intention, we offer a diverse curriculum to all pupils from Nursery, all the way up to Year 6 to ensure needs of the individual year groups are met to the best of our ability.
All children from Reception to Year 6 follow the Charanga scheme of work from Inspiring Music. In Nursery and Pre-School children learn through exploring.
To help achieve our intended aims, each SCA year group follow a particular musical journey. During each school year, every class will have the opportunity to learn a new musical skill, which is taught by a music specialist from Inspiring music. We believe that with this specialist tuition, tailored to our individual school needs, our children can only thrive. Currently, our music programs see our children learning the following instruments;
In KS2 - Recorder, Ukulele and I-Pads (using a specialist music program); with the addition of specialist vocal training.
In KS1 - Specialist lessons focusing on understanding and appreciating music, including using ‘voice’ to experiment with pitch, tempo, rhyme and rhythm. This will lead on to learning the Djembe in Year Two.
For one term In Reception- Specialist lessons focusing on how children can use their voice in different ways (Voice Music Makers).
For one term in Pre-school- Specialist lessons focusing on “Adventuring into music” using movement and voice.
We believe that by offering these musical opportunities to our children, the expectations from the NC are met.
“…learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level in musical excellence…”.
“Pupils should be taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They should develop an understanding of musical composition, organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds from aural memory”.
“Pupils should be taught to: play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts; using their voices and playing music instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression”
When our children are not partaking in their specialist music lessons, teachers deliver lessons following the Charanga scheme of work. Charanga units of work enable children to understand musical concepts through a repetition-based approach to learning. Learning about the same musical concept through different musical activities enables a more secure, deeper learning and mastery of musical skills.
Over time, children can develop both new musical skills and concepts, and re-visit established musical skills and concepts. Repeating a musical skill doesn’t necessarily mean their progress is slowing down or their development is moving backwards! It's just shifting within the spiral. Mastery means both a deeper understanding of musical skills and concepts and learning something new.
Each unit of work comprises of the strands of musical learning which correspond with the National Curriculum for Music:
1. Listening and Appraising
2. Musical Activities
a. Warm-up Games
b. Optional Flexible Games
d. Playing instruments
The immediate impact of a SCA Music lesson will be apparent within the session. Whilst children are listening and appraising, we would typically expect to hear the key vocabulary within their discussions which is a key school priority alongside the development of their listening and appraising skills. The constant opportunity for performance builds confidence but also gives the teacher the opportunity to assess the learning and address any misconceptions or preconceived ideas.
End of term performances, with parents when possible, enable children to demonstrate their learning across the whole term. This is particularly evident in year groups learning instruments.
Finally, we hope that the overall impact of the exposure to a range of musical experiences at SCA will help to inspire and encourage children to pursue their love of music in their next school and beyond.
- Phonics is taught systematically across the school using the 'Little Wandle' programme. This is introduced in the Foundation Stage and is consolidated throughout Key Stage. It is expected that children will have progressed through, and completed, 'Letters and Sounds' by the end of Key Stage 1. Children will then begin to follow the 'Support for Spelling' programme in Key Stage 2.
- Children are set taught phonics in classes across the Foundation Stage. In Key Stage 1 they are taught in their classes as part of their guided reading and Literacy lessons. It is expected that children will have progressed through, and completed, 'Little Wandle' by the end of Key Stage 1. Children will then begin to follow a bespoke scheme of work for teaching spelling in Key Stage 2.
- Some pupils will undertake specific intervention programmes if they experience any difficulties with reading and/or spelling.
- The school has a wide selection of phonic reading books which may be sent home with children in addition to their regular reading book. These are used to support children who need more practice applying their phonic knowledge into their reading.
- Children will read their decodable book three times in school before the book is sent home. 1st session is decoding. They will apply their knowledge of letter sounds and letter patterns. 2nd session is prosody; they will read with expression. 3rd session is comprehension; children will make connections what they've read and what they know.
- You may find Letters and Sounds revised Little Wandle website information useful: https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk/
The Intent, implementation and Impact of our PE Curriculum
At St Christophers Academy, we aim to inspire all of our children to find a passion for, and to build a positive relationship with physical education, activity and sport. We want to help all children develop the physical literacy, emotional and thinking skills to achieve in physical education, sport and life. Physical fitness is an extremely important part of leading a healthier lifestyle. It teaches self-discipline and that to be successful you must work hard, show resilience and have the determination to believe that anything can be achieved.
At St Christophers Academy, we deliver high-quality teaching and learning opportunities that aim to inspire all children to succeed in physical activities. We want to teach children to co-operate and collaborate with others, as part of a team whilst understanding equality for all.
Children at St Christophers Academy participate in weekly, high quality PE and sporting activities. Our PE scheme of work incorporates a variety of skills and sports to ensure all children develop the confidence, tolerance and the appreciation of their own and others’ strengths and weaknesses.
At St Christophers Academy, we use the ‘Complete PE’ scheme of work which aims to teach a deep and broad curriculum of the highest quality.
In addition to our PE lessons, we provide opportunities for all children to engage in extra-curricular activities before, during and after school. Children also have opportunities to take part in local competitive sporting events. This is an inclusive approach which endeavours to encourage not only physical development but also well-being.
We teach lessons so that children;
- Have fun and experience success in sport
- Secure and build on a range of skills they have learnt throughout their time at St Christophers Academy.
- Develop good sporting attitudes
- Understand and use basic rules in games
- Experience positive competition by participating in intra-school and inter- school competition
Children in Key Stage 2 also participate in swimming lessons.
Remote Learning – In the event of a school/ bubble closure or self-isolation, we will set the children short physical activity challenges via our school website. These short physical activity challenges aim to keep the children active whilst at home and can be completed without the use of PE equipment. Children can challenge themselves to achieve bronze, silver and gold achievements.
At St Christophers Academy, we ensure that our PE Curriculum is progressive and allows children to develop fundamental skills and apply them to a variety of sports and activities.
PE is taught as a basis for life-long learning in which our curriculum aims to improve the wellbeing and fitness of all children at St Christophers Academy. This is done not only through the sporting skills taught, but through the underpinning values and disciplines that PE promotes.
Within our lessons, children are taught about self-discipline and that to be successful you need to take ownership and responsibility of their own health and fitness. We want to motivate children to use these underpinning skills in an independent and effective way in order to live happy and healthy lives.
At St Christophers Academy we share a passion for books with a love of reading at our heart. We know that the development of reading skills, along with speaking and listening skills, is fundamental to the progress that our children make and we are determined to enable our children to become confident, fluent, enthusiastic and effective readers. We have high expectations for our children and encourage them to approach books actively, expecting them to make sense and developing an assortment of strategies to help them not only decode but also to understand what they are reading. All at St Christophers Academy are committed to ensuring that this happens and this policy clearly sets out how reading is taught in our school.
We aim to develop literate children who:
- Read with enjoyment across a range of genres
- Read for pleasure and enjoyment as well as information
- Love reading and get excited about books
- Have the opportunity to listen to books that are beyond their reading ability, for enjoyment
- Build their bank of sight words to become fluent readers
- Are aware of their own progress and development of reading
- Develop their experiences through a variety of texts including use of libraries, ICT and other available media
- Are provided with an environment in which the teacher models good reading practice and associated skills
Early Reading and Phonics
Phonics is given high priority at St Christophers Academy with daily sessions in FS2 and KS1. Children in our nursery (FS1) take part in whole class and small group ability sessions to ensure that children make a positive start. Children are taught phonics following the Little Wandle programme.
Children in our early years are given picture books or reading books for parents and carers to share with their children. In FS2 children will be given home reading books when class teachers assess it to be appropriate. These home reading books are phonically decodable books from the Little Wandle Reading scheme books. As pupils progress they will move through this to Big Cat Collins reading books. We also believe that the teaching of phonics and reading should be in a rich language and text based curriculum, where children are taught a range of other strategies to help them become independent readers.
Children in Y1 are tested to check that their phonics decoding is an age appropriate standard. These skills are addressed in daily phonic sessions, using little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised and a combination of other resources. Children are routinely assessed for their sound recognition, blending and reading- and extra intervention is organised where appropriate.
Teaching staff plan for a variety of reading opportunities:
In shared reading sessions the teacher’s role is to make overt what good readers do. They assume the role of the expert reader, modelling the reading process to the whole class and providing a high level of support. In shared reading children can access a text which may be challenging to them individually. Reading skills and strategies should be clearly modelled, and discussion should help children to a deeper understanding of the text. Shared reading should have a specific focus and all abilities should be included in discussions with differentiated questions. Teaching objectives are pre-planned and sessions are characterised by explicit teaching of specific reading strategies, oral response and high levels of collaboration.
Guided reading sessions should happen at least 3 times a week. In these sessions children may be split into ability groups or Kagan seating structures may be used, where children practise, refine and apply key reading skills. In KS1 and lower KS2 (in groups of no more than 6), children work through a number of skills over the course of the week, related to the book they are studying. In UKS2 guided reading is conducted as a whole class. The skills covered will relate to the reading focuses/genres for the half term. For example the fiction unit will include prediction, clarifying, questioning and answering activities, which develop over the weeks. The teacher will monitoring the impact on future learning to ensure the children make progress.
Pupils take responsibility for selecting and reading a variety of texts including fiction, non-fiction and poetry from the school reading scheme, class libraries, web pages, print and text around the school etc. In The pupils should be able to read these books independently and comprehend them with little or no teacher/adult support. The focus for the reading is to provide practise, develop reading for pleasure and to develop personal response to text.
Independent reading response
From year 1 children have reading journals, where a range of evidence is collected and can be used to form an accurate assessment of their reading. Teaching staff plan an independent reading response activity for pupils at least once per week. This activity is a written response located in pupils’ reading journals. This provides evidence to support level judgements and the moderation process. It also provides pupils with regular opportunities to formulate written responses to a text.
Examples of intervention strategies which may be used in school:
- Better readers programme (BRP)
This is a short term intervention program ( 10 weeks, three times a week) aimed at improving key reading skills by focusing on: independent use of reading strategies and skills, increased ability to discuss texts and understand them beyond literal level, increased confidence, leading to increased enjoyments and motivation to read.
- Modelled Reading
This is where a group of children work with a teacher, adults precisely model reading sentences according to punctuation and expression and the children copy and repeat these sentences as modelled. This strategy is only used for groups of children who will benefit from this intervention.
- Individual Readers:
Provision for individual reading in school occurs for all children in EYFS, KS1 and KS2 with identified children throughout the school. Year groups are focused at different points in the academic year, for example reception in the summer term. In key stage 2, adults will listen to identified children, who are not reading at home and or have been identified from termly standardised reading tests.
In the foundation stage children should be sharing a book daily with and adult at home, retelling the story, making predictions about the text, noting print on the page and discussing text. In KS1 children should read at home to an adult daily and adults should write comments in pupils’ reading records. Children receiving little or no support at home with their reading should be identified and receive 1:1 reading support within school. Pupils in KS2 should read at home with an adult at least 3 times a week with the adult writing comments in the pupils’ reading record. Children should still be encouraged to read independently; developing their reading stamina and reading for pleasure.
Children take home a variety of books throughout the primary phases in order to develop reading for pleasure and progression in decoding and comprehension:
Children will be given an independently chosen library book. As the year progresses, children in Reception year move onto Little Wandle reading books. These books are phonically decodable and match the phonics phase the children are working on.
All children are given an independently chosen class library book and a Little Wandle reading book which is directly matched to their level of phonic knowledge. After reaching phase 5 on our Little Wandle reading scheme pupils will transfer through to our Big Cat Collins reading books which follow on from Little Wandle and continue to support reading in this key stage.
All children are given an independently chosen class library book, an Accelerated Reading scheme text at appropriate reading age and comprehension age, class core reading text and if receiving phonics intervention, a KS2 decodable text at appropriate phonics phase and age related interest level.
In the unfortunate event of books being lost by pupils, parents/carers are notified that a £5 charge per item is necessary for the school to restock each item.
The reading environment
Each class will have a class library/book corner, containing a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry and real life texts. Favourite books, book reviews, collections of books on a similar theme, weekly newspapers or reading displays will also be in classrooms. At lunchtimes there are school reading role models who take part in a range of reading activities to inspire and help other children.
In KS2 the reading display may be linked to Accelerated reader and the children’s achievements.
Children are assessed against the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) and the National Curriculum. These provide guidance for teachers in understanding how their children will progress through the three stages of the primary curriculum (Foundation Stage, KS1. KS2). Teachers assess children against these frameworks to determine starting points and targets for children in their class.
- Home/school reading diaries track daily progress.
- Teachers observe progress during reading activities within lessons daily and annotate planning.
- Reading journals
- Reading session planning records track weekly progress.
- Pupils’ phonics progress is tracked by phase and assessed half-termly.
- The EYFS profile, and National Curriculum year group expectations are used to assess progress periodically half termly.
- Accelerated Reading assessments are carried out at the beginning of every half-term and are used in conjunction with NFER reading assessments to inform teacher assessment.
- In KS1 and KS2, teachers record pupils’ progress against the National Curriculum objectives using St Christophers Academy KPIs (Key performance indicators) on the school assessment and tracking system.
- NFER reading assessments are done half termly and inform termly teacher assessments.
Leadership and Management
The literacy coordinator is responsible for reviewing and improving the standards of teaching and learning of reading throughout the school by: analysing data, pupil progress through lesson observations, book trawls, pupil interviews, auditing and supporting professional development, purchasing and organising resources.
St Christophers Academy is committed to the promotion of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) for each pupil in our school. Besides intellection development, we believe that much of what takes place in school contributes to the personal, social and emotional development of young people. Each pupil is educated within a safe, caring and structured environment, providing them with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to become happy, healthy, independent, active and responsible members of society both now and in the future. As part of a whole-school approach, we aim to develop the attributes our pupils need to thrive as individuals, as part of a family and as a confident members of the wider community. By its very nature and with close links to our Values-based Education, PSHE permeates the whole curriculum, both formally and informally. Therefore, the lessons of this subject are not just confined to the classroom, but take place all of the time. All members of staff are responsible for the implementation of PSHE and our school works closely with pupils’ families, carers and the community in order to promote the personal and social development of the pupils.
We aspire to be a school...
- Where our children are keen to come and have an eagerness to learn.
- Where children can develop their friendships and learn the social skills and independence that will support them as they learn and grow.
- Which provides a nurturing and safe environment and where we understand that the emotional and physical wellbeing of our children is paramount if they are to learn effectively.
- Where we are good at identifying aptitudes and abilities in our children and do our best to develop them
- Where we put an emphasis on creativity, fun and enjoyment to inspire and motivate our children to learn.
- Where we challenge and extend our children's thinking and have the very highest expectations of what they can achieve.
- Where we enable children to develop their thinking skills so they may use them in new learning situations.
- Where we plan and deliver a curriculum that teachers children how to learn not just what to learn.
- Where we prepare children well for the next steps in their education.
- Where we support each other to carry out our roles as effectively as possible.
- Where we have a culture of learning and everyone is keen to develop themselves and develop positive attitudes to learning.
- Which is forward thinking, innovative and open to new ideas.
- Which is well thought of and plays an active part in the local and wider community.
The Relationships Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019, made under sections 34 and 35 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, make Relationships Education compulsory for all pupils receiving primary education from September 2020. They also make Health Education compulsory in primary schools.
At St Christophers Academy, both Relationships Education and Health Education are delivered as part of our timetabled PSHE programme. Links are also made to these statutory aspects of PSHE through the delivery of our broad and balanced curriculum; opportunities to make connections to Relationships Education and Health Education are sought in other subjects such as Science, Computing and PE. In addition, both Relationships Education and Health Education remain core elements of our Values-based Education.
The teaching of Relationships and Health Education is fundamental in providing all pupils with the ability to manage the challenges and opportunities of modern Britain. These subjects have been designed to equip all children with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships, as well helping us to fulfil our duty to prepare them for a successful adult life.
What is Relationships Education?
The ethos of St Christophers Academy is firmly built on relationships and trust. Relationships Education puts in place the building blocks needed for children to form these positive and safe relationships, including with family, friends and online. Pupils at St Christophers are taught what a relationship is, what friendship is, what family means and who can support them. Relationships Education also creates an opportunity to explore positive emotional and mental wellbeing. In an age-appropriate way, our PSHE curriculum covers how to treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect.
By the time pupils leave St Christophers Academy, they will have been taught content on:
- Families and people who care for them
- Caring friendships
- Respectful relationships
- Online relationships
- Being safe
What is Health Education?
Health Education aims to provide all pupils with the information they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing, to recognise issues in themselves and others, and to seek support as early as possible when issues arise. Emphasis is given to the fact that physical health and mental wellbeing are closely interlinked; it is important to understand that good physical health contributes to good mental wellbeing, and vice versa.
By the time pupils leave St Christophers Academy, they will have been taught content on:
- Mental wellbeing
- Internet safety and harms
- Physical health and fitness
- Healthy eating
- Facts and risks associated with drugs, alcohol and tobacco
- Health and prevention
- Basic first aid
- Changing adolescent body
Teaching and Learning:
PSHE is delivered through a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum. Whilst ‘Stand-alone’ PSHE lessons are timetabled across the school, specific links to Relationships and Health Education are also made in Science, Computing, PE and RE lessons. Furthermore, both our Values-based Education and PSHE programmes are underpinned by the same core principles.
Our tailored PSHE Programme ensures an emphasis is placed on active learning with discussions, investigations and problem-solving activities offering opportunities for collaborative work. We invite members of the local community such as health workers, police, firemen, and members of religious places of worship into school to talk to the children about their role in creating a positive and supportive local environment.
Our established Investors in Pupils programme at St Christophers Academy aims to empower all pupils, ensuring they are involved in the key decision-making which contributes to the running of the school. Pupils are encouraged to develop responsibility and leadership in relation to their learning, behaviour, attendance and classroom management. In addition to our Investors in Pupils Ambassadors, our School Council representatives and Eco-School team members are also responsible for organising various activities and whole school fundraising events throughout each school year, further enhancing our PSHE Education.
Planned learning opportunities for classes and groups include:
- PSHE lessons which are planned by class teachers using the Scheme of Work and associated resources.
- Values-based Education lessons (ideas for activities and discussions in the Values Scheme of Work).
- Cross-curricular links including planned visits and trips
- Circle time (particularly for EYFS and Key Stage One)
- Classroom responsibilities/jobs (Year 6 prefects, School Council representatives, Eco-school members, Investors in Pupils Ambassadors)
- Investors in Pupils meetings
- Presentations/information shared by Eco-Team members
- Class Rewards for achieving class targets and individual targets (Investors in Pupils Programme)
- Visits from outside agencies: RSPCA, members of the emergency services, healthcare advisors
- Extra-curricular activities – including supporting the local community.
Whole School learning opportunities:
- Class assemblies with key themes e.g. Tolerance, Anti-bullying, Online Safety, Road Safety, Religious Celebrations
- Values-based assemblies
- Values-based Education themed days
- House Meetings
- Reward systems (stickers, house-points, House rewards, class Dojos, postcards sent home, Star of the Week, trips)
- Certificates and trophies for achievement (shared at termly Celebration Assemblies)
- Planned Focus Weeks – such as Walk to School, Road Safety, Healthy Lifestyle, Careers, Enterprise, Environment and Anti-bullying Weeks.
- School Council elections
- Charity events
- PTA and community events
- Drama performances and workshops
- Bikeability programme
- The morning mile
- Residential visits where there is a particular focus on developing pupils’ self-esteem and giving them opportunities to develop leadership, teamwork and co-operative skills
- Adults acting as role models
- Implementation of related policies
- Codes of Conduct/School rules
- Pastoral support
PSHE Scheme of Work:
In line with guidance from the PSHE Association, our PSHE Scheme of Work has been tailored to meet the needs of our pupils at St Christophers Academy. The Question-based curriculum framework indicates what pupils are taught in each year group and in each half-term/term across the year, covering the PSHE Programme of Study in addition to the statutory Relationships and Health Education content. Our broad PSHE curriculum also covers the concepts of economic wellbeing, careers education and personal safety education, including assessing and managing risk. The Scheme of Work sets out learning opportunities for Key Stage One and Key Stage Two based on three core themes:
- Health and Wellbeing
- Living in the Wider World
Through the implementation of our question-based PSHE curriculum, we hope to promote and achieve the following outcomes from our pupils.
Intended Pupil Learning Outcomes:
We want our children to develop self-awareness, positive self-esteem and confidence, enabling them to:
• Have a sense of purpose
• Value themselves and others
• Form healthy and positive relationships
• Be safe, whilst living their lives seamlessly on and offline
• Make and act on informed decisions
• Communicate effectively
• Work cooperatively with others
• Be resilient, responding positively to challenge
• Be an active partner in their own learning
• Be active citizens within the local community
• Explore issues related to living in a democratic society
• Explore issues related to our wider world e.g. environmental concerns
• Be tolerant, treating others equally regardless of their race, gender, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation
• Become healthy and fulfilled individuals, both physically and mentally
At SCA, we believe that Religious Education (RE) contributes dynamically to children’s education by provoking challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, learning about and from other religions and cultures and developing a self-reflective learner. Our world is enriched by a wide and profound diversity of cultures and beliefs. Engaging and stimulating religious education helps to nurture informed and resilient responses to misunderstanding, stereotyping and division. RE offers a place of integrity and security within which difficult or ‘risky’ questions can be tackled within a safe but challenging context.
RE is not a National Curriculum subject, but must be taught to all pupils as part of the Basic Curriculum. As RE is not nationally determined, a Local Education Authority must provide an Agreed Syllabus for us to follow. Therefore at SCA, to meet our intention it is the Bedfordshire RE Agreed Syllabus 2018-2023, alongside the Learning challenge curriculum which we have used as the basis of our planning and delivery of RE.
Aims and Values
We believe at this school that RE both supports and strengthens what we aim to do in every aspect of school life. Our caring ethos and the value which we place on the development of the whole child; spiritually, morally, socially, culturally and intellectually is reflected in the RE curriculum.
Specifically, RE at our school aims to enable pupils of whatever ability and level of development to:
- Acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of principal world faiths practised in Great Britain. These include Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, each of which is represented in Bedfordshire; also atheism.
- Develop an understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, societies and cultures, including the local community;
- Develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues with reference to the teachings of the principal religions;
- Enhance their own spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by:
- developing awareness of the fundamental questions of life arising from human experiences, and how religious beliefs and practices can relate to them;
- responding to the fundamental questions of life in the light of their experience and with reference to religious beliefs and practices;
- reflecting on their own beliefs, values and experiences in thelight of their study;
- expressing their own personal viewpoints in a thoughtful,
- reasoned and considerate way;
5. recognise the right of people to hold different beliefs within an ethnically and socially diverse society.
We believe that our intent can be met through our RE curriculum. This is carefully planned and structured to ensure that children have sufficient coverage of a range of faiths and religions that reflect our locality. Whilst at SCA, children will be given opportunities to have the experience of visiting local places of worship and have visitors come in to speak to the children.
Our intention is to provide an expressive and exciting RE curriculum to equip children with knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and other world views, enabling them to develop their own ideas, values and identities.
To help fill our intent, each SCA year group will follow the structured Medium Term Plan (MTP), which shows the key question that the class will be asking each term throughout the academic year. From this, in conjunction with the Bedfordshire Scheme of Work, teachers plan inspiring lessons for the children. At the beginning and end of each unit of work, children will carry out a pre-learning and post-learning task. This will be able to show clear progression from what the children know at the beginning of the topic and then at the end of the topic.
Families who send their children to SCA are from a range of different faith backgrounds. RE is concerned with “learning about religion” and “learning from religion” and it is not the practice of this school to preach to or convert the children. The faith background of both the staff and child’s family is respected at all times.
Parents of a pupil at our school have a right to withdraw their children from RE. If a parent asks for their child to be wholly or partly excused from attending any RE the school must comply unless the request is withdrawn. Any parent who wishes this may consult the Principal. Teachers may also withdraw from the teaching of RE (section 71(1) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, paragraph 1/ DfE circular 1/94).
Our Religious Education Curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. Through R.E. our children are developing an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life, which they are then able to communicate to the wider community. If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good or better progress. In addition, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes.
- Assessment through the Key Performance Indicators and half termly quizzes.
- Pupil discussions about their learning.
Science can be seen as a quest for knowledge. As an academic subject, it aims to develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Scientific method is about developing and evaluating explanations through experimental evidence and modelling. Because science links direct practical experience with ideas, it can engage learners at many levels and provide them with a way of thinking that will bring skills and techniques that can benefit them in a range of situations. Critical and creative thought is a characteristic that will prove useful to learners throughout their entire lives. Through science, pupils understand how to make predictions, to gather and analyse results and to test hypotheses.
The school aims to:
- Stimulate, excite and satisfy pupils’ curiosity about phenomena in the world;
- Enable pupils to develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
- develop pupils’ understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
- are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future
At SCA, our intention is to enable all pupils to meet their maximum potential in all areas of the Science curriculum. It is well recognised that Science can help to develop the skills, attitudes and attributes that can also support learning in other national curriculum subjects. This includes listening skills, the ability to concentrate, creativity, and perseverance, the ability to work in a group, self-confidence and sensitivity towards others.
To help achieve our intended aims, each SCA year group follow The Kent Scheme of work for Primary Science 2019, which is closely linked to the statements in the National Curriculum 2014.
Every year group will be taught science on a weekly basis. Each new area of learning will beginning with an over-arching enquiry question. This is then broken down into smaller enquiry questions, which the children will spend a lesson or more answering. These enquiry question are based on the National Curriculum statements and take into account children’s prior knowledge gained from a pre-learning task.
At the beginning of a new area of learning, children will complete a pre-learning task which will provide teachers with the children’s prior knowledge and understanding. It is also used as a tool to highlight any misconceptions which will inform future planning. Once this area of learning is complete, the children will complete a post learning task providing teachers with how much the children have learnt. In addition to this, children will also complete an end of unit assessment which will assess their knowledge and understanding on the science they have been taught.
In both KS1 and KS2, Science is planned, taught and assessed by the class teacher. Weekly Science lesson will have an intended learning outcome as well as incorporate an element of working scientifically. Children experience hands on indoor and outdoor learning where they are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given the opportunity to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. Scientific vocabulary is directly taught by teachers and the use encouraged in order for these to be embedded into the children’s minds.
Regular events, such as British Science Week, allow all pupils to come off-timetable, to provide broader provision and the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills. These events often involve families and the wider community. Children are also offered a wide range of visits, trips, visitors and after school science clubs to compliment and broaden the curriculum. These are purposeful and linked with the knowledge being taught in class.
Remote learning - In the event of a school, bubble closure or a child having to self-isolate due to Covid-19, we will provide children with online lessons which will have clear learning outcomes linked to the National Curriculum outcomes for Science. Lessons will be well-thought-out to ensure that the learning is accessible remotely and any resources needed will either be provided by the school or suggestions made on what can be used from around the house/garden etc.
The successful approach at SCA results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education, that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. By engaging the children with the local environment ensures that they learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them. Frequent, continuous and progressive learning inside and outside the classroom is embedded throughout the science curriculum. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts, children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Children at SCA overwhelmingly enjoy science and this results in motivated learners with sound scientific understanding.