St Nicholas Catholic Primary School
Curriculum Positional Statement - Post Lockdowns
On 5th January 2021, the Government announced a second National Lockdown. This included the closure of schools for the majority of pupils. The school was open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. During this time, the school used our remote learning platform (Google Classroom) to deliver lessons for all of our pupils.
Our staff worked extremely hard to provide between 3-4 hours of learning, per day for all of our pupils. The curriculum content and range of curriculum coverage were monitored by the Remote Learning Lead.
It was announced that schools would fully reopen to all pupils on 8th March 2021. We, as a school, were keen to give the children a period of settling back into school life and cater for their mental wellbeing. In the three-week period before finishing for the Easter break, staff assessed (on a non-formal basis – teacher assessed) the children’s gaps and overall progress throughout the lockdown period.
During this period, we started to put into place a ‘Road Map’ of provisions to catch up on lost learning over the two Lockdown periods. Below is a rationale for and the steps to our Catch Up Road Map.
Catch Up Provision – from March 2021 – the Rationale
We began to put in place a catch-up curriculum once we returned fully in March 2021. To enable the children to catch up and to recover lost learning time, we are developing a three-pronged approach to this.
Step 1. – Reading and Phonics
Reading has always been a priority in our school but the importance has been raised since the initial National Lockdown. To counter this, we continue to look at and develop early reading, phonics, speech, and language across the school using the Read Write Inc Programme. We have used a proportion of our Catch Up Funding for this. We began in July 2020 and this has been a real strength of the school in both the Autumn term in school, in the Spring term on the remote learning platform, and since returning to school in March.
The programme includes:
- Support from Ruth Miskin Training Consultancy (Read, Write Inc)
- Staff Training – whole staff training INSET (with facilitator from the above company) and the online training resources for staff
- Monthly progress meetings with a consultant (to assess children and staff progression and action planning)
- Diagnostic testing for the children in EYFS and KS1 (half termly to track progress and adjust groupings)
- Children in EYFS and KS1 are in dedicated groupings in accordance their phonic ability and have daily one hour sessions.
- Children within the lowest percentile (or in early KS2 – Year 3 specifically the children who did not pass their phonics screening check in year 2) are having additional one to one sessions with members of the staff.
- School has purchased resources to support the programme fully (both physical and online resources)
- Fresh Start programme (through Read, Write Inc) is used to target children in KS2 with additional reading catch up.
Step 2. – Curriculum mapping and consolidation.
Over the course of the summer term, we will be consolidating the Spring term (2nd Lockdown Period) learning and going back over objectives taught so far this year and some of the objectives missed last year (1st Lockdown period). We understand that there are some children who have not accessed the remote learning in the Spring term and will need to be taught these objectives. The children who did engage will be able to consolidate their knowledge and be encouraged to extend their application of this knowledge.
The staff have completed a Curriculum Coverage document (appendix 1) to identify the curriculum subject / topic areas that have not been covered since March 2020. This covers the missed areas in the lockdown periods but also what areas may be missed in the Summer term (2021) due to the Spring and Autumn term consolidation.
The documents will then be looked at over the course of the Summer term (2021) by the subject coordinators, to ascertain the key objectives that have been missed over the last year. They will then look to map out where these objectives can be taught over the 21-22 and possibly 22-23 academic years. This will then form our curriculum mapping and action planning over the next two years.
Step 3. – Academic Tutors and Mentor
As part of the recovery programme initiated by the DfE and the Government, we are taking full advantage of the National Tutoring Programme and will be taking advantage of the delayed, National Academic Mentor Programme. The DfE and Government are funding 75% of the cost of this programme. We will be using our Catch Up Funding to fund the additional 25% of costs.
In the Summer term 2021, we will have two Tutors join our staff team, to deliver Maths and English tutoring across Years 4, 5 and 6. These year groups have been identified to give children intensive catch up provision. This gives the children in Year 6 and Year 5, the chance to gain lost learning and catch up before they leave or before moving into Year 6. In terms of Year 6, they will not benefit from Step 2 as much as other cohorts will over the next two academic years. The children identified as need this intensive intervention are allocated a total of 15 hours of tutoring, which can be spread over both Maths and English tuition. This will be funded over the course of the summer term and will run for nine weeks in total (1 hour per day for 15 days – 3 school weeks). This gives the opportunity to target most of the Year 4, 5 and 6 children.
In September 2021, the Academic Mentoring Programme will begin again. This was paused due to the second Lockdown. This will enable the school to employ a full time member of staff for the full academic year, to run specific interventions for targeted children for the full year. This is subsidised by the DfE and Government recovery programme. The school will use the remaining Catch Up Funding for this initiative.
We believe that all three of the stages above, coupled with the possibility of an uninterrupted 2021-22 academic year, we will give all of our pupils the best chance to recover and consolidate lost or previous learning.
St. Nicholas’ Catholic Primary School
At St. Nicholas’ Catholic Primary School, our aim is to ensure our children receive a broad and balanced curriculum which is creative, engaging and fun. Our school Mission Statement is:
‘Our Catholic school is a diverse, nurturing, dynamic community which is faithful to Jesus, welcoming to all and provides a stimulating learning environment for everyone to succeed.’
This encapsulates our school and we try to live this out in all that we do. We aim to develop the whole child - academically, artistically, physically, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally.
In doing this, our intentions are clear: to ensure all children make progress from their starting points; to ensure all children develop a love of learning seek challenges, value effort, persist in the face of difficulty and we what the children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave. We want children to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and cooperate with others while at the same time developing their knowledge and skills, in order to be ‘secondary-ready.’
In addition, we want our children to develop a vast array of skills and knowledge, which they can transfer across different subjects within the curriculum. With diverse families, cultures, religious beliefs and different levels of socio-economic status, the staff at St Nicholas ensure enrichment is at the heart of the curriculum we teach. Our city centre location ensures that enrichment is woven into the very fabric of our planning and teaching processes in each and every subject. Our children come to school with different life experiences, which impacts on their vocabulary, reasoning and understanding throughout all key stages. We intend to provide wealth of trips and visits to improve learning outside the classroom and to create links between learning and fun for our children, such as theatre experiences, bank and business visits and a trips to the beach, museum, zoo or other local enrichment opportunities. We want the learning gained from these trips to be invaluable as to how our children develop understanding about the world in which we live and how it can help learning inside the classroom become more tangible. We want to prepare all our children for the next stages in their educational careers as well as allow them to develop their aspirations for adult life.
British Values are strongly promoted through our SMSC and PSHE provision and Religious Education, making sure that the fundamentals are taught: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
Many of the children who come to us are new to the country and have no or very little English, therefore language acquisition and vocabulary development are key priorities so that the children can begin to access the curriculum quickly. We want to give all our children the capability to communicate with confidence in school and beyond the school gates.
Our curriculum therefore gives pupils an excellent mix of academic and personal development; it gives equal importance to core and foundation subjects; physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing are both; valued, understood and prioritised by our careful consideration of curriculum design.
We plan our curriculum in three phases:
- Years 1,2,3
- Years 4,5,6.
This we believe helps and promotes continuity for the children's learning between the key stages and builds their curriculum capital well. We agree a long-term plan for each key stage which is reviewed as appropriate. Our short-term plans are those that our teachers write on a weekly or daily basis and these are used to set out the learning objectives for each session.
Our core curriculum objectives are:
- To fulfil all the requirements of the National Curriculum and the Catholic agreed syllabus for religious education.
- To teach children the basic skills of literacy, numeracy and computing.
- To enable children to develop scientific enquiry.
- To enable children to be creative and to develop their own thinking.
- To teach children about the developing world, including how their environment and society have changed over time.
- To help children understand Britain’s cultural heritage and its values
- To enable children to develop and explore physical skills with increasing control and coordination
- To enable children to familiarise themselves with the sounds and written form of a modern foreign language through learning Spanish.
- To appreciate and value the contribution made by all ethnic groups in our multi-cultural society.
- To enable children to be positive citizens.
- To teach children to have an awareness of their own spiritual development, and to distinguish right from wrong.
- To help children understand the importance of truth and fairness, so that they grow up committed to equal opportunities for all.
- To enable children to have respect for themselves and high self-esteem, and to live and work cooperatively with others.
Our school curriculum is underpinned by the values that are important at St Nicholas Catholic Primary School. The curriculum is the means by which the school achieves its objective of educating children in the knowledge, skills and understanding that they need in order to lead fulfilling lives.
- We value children’s uniqueness, we listen to the views of individual children, and we promote respect for diverse cultures.
- We value the spiritual and moral development of each child, as well as their intellectual and physical growth.
- We value the importance of each child in our community, and we organise our curriculum to promote inclusion, cooperation and understanding among all members of our community.
- We value the rights enjoyed by each person in our society. We respect each child in our school for who they are, and we treat them with fairness and honesty. We want to enable each person to be successful, and we provide equal opportunities for all our pupils.
- We value our environment, and we want to teach our children, through our curriculum, how we should take care of the world, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations.
Our curriculum is carefully crafted to ensure all children have equal access to all areas of the curriculum, enrichment activities and extra-curricular learning too. We have devised our curriculum to ensure that the children have the building blocks and sequenced activities to build upon prior learning to develop new and stronger learning. We shape our curriculum utilising features within our local area, such as features of our city centre, which has enabled us to develop our children’s music, science, art, PE, history and geography skills.
We utilise our local area well, to help us build on experiences available to for our children to thrive. We have excellent relationships with Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, as we are the Cathedral School. We have also built up fantastic and growing relationships with our local Universities and museums (evidence of this found on the gallery section of the school website). This all contributes to our curriculum throughout the year and the children’s enjoyment of learning, bringing their learning to life.
As much as possible, we take our children out of the local area, to provide them with rich learning experiences which they are able to talk about with their friends and families and make links with their learning in school.
Sport is recognised as an excellent tool in enabling physical and mental well-being and as a result we employ a sports coach to aid the class teachers deliver a robust and challenging PE curriculum to all children. Alongside this, sporting opportunities are offered to all children in different year groups, for example our Year 5’s carry out their ‘Bikeability’ training which not only inspires them to ride a bike but teaches them how to do it safely and independently in readiness for their transition. We have both girls and boys football teams and our children regularly attend LSSP (Liverpool School Sports Partnership) competitions (basketball, rounders, netball etc). We have just been awarded the Sports Mark Gold Award for the fifth successive year in recognition of our sporting commitment.
Alongside teaching of curriculum subjects and assessment of attainment and progress, we ensure that our children’s talents and successes are celebrated throughout school. We hold weekly achievement assemblies which not only celebrate academic gains but personal ones too. Children and parents are invited and encouraged to bring in their ‘out of school’ certificates and trophies and PSHE targets are also celebrated across all year groups; this helps to inspire children to work hard in all areas of their learning as we embed a culture of celebrating all achievements for every child. A range of children’s work can be seen displayed and celebrated around the school. High expectations of all our children leads to high aspirations and the belief that the can achieve in all they do.
With the understanding that some of our children enter our school from other countries, with often no or little English, with lower than national starting points, we believe that family and community engagement is key to break down the barriers of any possible, pre-existing negative school experiences and to welcome families in to our happy, vibrant school.
The curriculum that we teach in the nursery and reception classes meets the requirements set out in EYFS Statutory Framework 2014. Our curriculum planning focuses on the Early Learning Goals, as set out in this document and on developing children’s skills and experiences.
St Nicholas Catholic Primary School fully supports the principle that young children learn through play, and by engaging in well planned and structured activities. Teaching in the reception classes builds on the experiences of the children in their pre-school learning. We have strong links between our own nursery, reception and year 1 classes and do all we can to build positive experiences and build the building blocks ready for the children’s transition from EYFS to KS1.
The impact of our curriculum will hopefully be that pupils will leave us, prepared for the next stage in their lives. That they will be confident, articulate, independent and resilient and able to work towards a positive future and a happy life.
Nothing is learned unless it rests in pupils’ long-term memories, which is why our enrichment programme is so vital to provide ‘real’ and ‘visual’ memories that relates to their learning. This does not happen, and cannot be assessed, in the short term. Assessment, therefore answers two main questions: ‘How well are pupils coping with curriculum content? and ‘How well are they retaining previously taught content?’
The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of each topic area in the different subjects, the children who stay with us, in the long term, will have a firm grasp of the curriculum content, that is, they remember it and are fluent in it, with pupils gaining a greater depth of understanding. We monitor lessons, children’s work and pupil voice carefully to ensure that the vast majority of our pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum.
Core Subjects including RE are assessed using termly assessments and termly tracking systems are updated. The Assessment lead and the class teacher subsequently produces termly reports showing attainment and progress of individuals and groups and this is shared with subject leaders, class teachers and other relevant stakeholders e.g. Governors. Foundation subjects are formatively assessed against the key objectives and progression maps and against how likely pupils are to reach age related expectations by the end of each key stage. This information is used by class teachers to adapt their planning and is collated and reported to parents each term with a formal written report at the end of the school year.
Assessment data is used to identify gaps in pupil’s knowledge, skills and understanding and to inform curriculum evaluations and design.
Many of our EAL and SEND learners find the impact of our strategies to aid their learning or, at the very least, give them the chance to communicate and access the curriculum. These strategies include our use of Makaton. We are now an accredited Makaton friendly school and use this with many of our children. We have also been accredited with the Inclusion Charter Mark, which recognises the inclusive provision we provide.
Curriculum review is an on-going process at St. Nicholas’, with evidence gathered from monitoring constantly informing its design and development. In addition, we undertake a more formal curriculum review at the end of each academic year, taking into account the views of pupils, staff, parents and governors and making changes accordingly. Our curriculum is constantly being refined and renewed in order to provide our pupils with the best possible provision and outcomes.
Our Curriculum Subject Areas:
Here are our curriculum areas. In each section, you will find the Subject Curriculum Statement and Progression Maps.