English and Maths are taught to all pupils daily and lessons are carefully planned to meet the range of needs across the school.
“Teaching and learning are good across the school. Teachers hold high expectations and plan interesting and challenging work for pupils of different abilities.” Ofsted Inspection Report June 2016
On-going, daily assessment provides teachers with valuable information to inform their planning. Regular summative assessments also provide a way to set targets for pupils and measure progress in learning termly in the core subjects of English, mathematics and Religious Education.
On entry to school in Reception Class, pupils are assessed using Ages and Stages and their progress is measured against the Early Learning Goals at the end of the Foundation Stage using the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.
Once children leave the Early Years Foundation Stage, they enter Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) and move on to Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6). Effective transition arrangements allow us to track and measure pupils’ progress between the key stages.
The school has a clear Marking Policy. Through consistent implementation of this policy, we aim to ensure that pupils know how well they have done in any learning task and to provide them with clear guidance on what they should do to improve further.
Teaching and learning in school is based upon the National Curriculum and the Curriculum Directory for Catholic Education. We aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for our pupils that engages them and produces in them a life-long love of learning. We also aim to engage with parents, who provide vital support for their children’s learning. In the Autumn and Spring Terms, Parents’ Consultations Evenings provide parents with opportunities to meet their child’s teacher/s and discuss their learning and progress. Towards the end of the Summer Term, parents receive a written annual progress report on their child. Other meetings with teachers can be organised at other times during the school year.
As a Catholic school, Religious Education is considered one of our core subjects. Our Curriculum for RE is based on the Catholic Curriculum Directory, supported by Diocesan teaching materials and The Way, the Truth and the Life, as commercially produced RE scheme. Pupils are assessed termly and their progress tracked year on year. We provide a wide range of learning experiences and encourage cross-curricular learning in RE, notably in the range of writing opportunities we offer our children in a range of genre.
Children are taught phonics and to read through Read, Write, Inc. Spelling and grammar are an integral part of Literacy lessons. Handwriting is developed year on year, throughout the school and teachers have high expectations of presentation in all subjects.
Reading skills are taught in regular Guided Reading Sessions and we aim to instil a deep enjoyment of reading as well as teach children how to read for information. We move from teaching them to learn to read, to teaching them to read for learning. The school has a wide selection of books for the children to read and enjoy. Individual readers are regularly assessed using either the Nelson PM Benchmark Scheme or other assessment tools.
Our pupils also enjoy a wide range of opportunities to develop their writing skills in literacy lessons and in other areas of the curriculum, in particular Religious Education and History. Pupils are given a wide experience of text-types in building up their writing skills in different genres. Drama is also used to develop a deeper understanding of what makes a piece of writing effective. Assessments for writing are regular and teachers use a range of assessment tools to ensure their judgements are accurate and consistent.
We aim to provide a mathematics curriculum that is vibrant and develops an enthusiasm for number, shape, and all other areas of mathematics. We place a great emphasis on developing confidence in mental maths skills and timetable daily discrete sessions for mental maths practice. In addition, we offer regular opportunities for developing problem-solving skills. Teaching and learning is supported by the Abacus maths scheme and a range of other resources, including web-based resources. We also place a great emphasis on practical approaches to learning in maths, allowing lots of opportunities for pupils to use practical apparatus to learn. We provide parents with a range of support materials on our website to help them support their child’s maths learning. (See the Maths area of our website).
Through our science curriculum, we aim to ensure that our pupils develop a deep curiosity about the world around them and the skills with which to explore it scientifically. Pupils investigative skills are developed across the school through lessons that seek to provide lots of opportunities for questioning, predicting, testing, observing, measuring, recording and analysing results. These skills are built up over time, from Reception Class onwards. The science curriculum also seeks to develop a core of scientific knowledge as well as skills.
Computing skills are used to support learning in every curriculum subject and the school has a wide range of hardware and software. We strive to develop the computing skills our children need for life in the 21 st Century. The school is committed to a rolling programme of updating hardware and software across the school. We also have a commitment to teaching essential messages about how to keep safe on-line and seek to engage and support parents in this area.
History and Geography
In History we seek to provide children with a rich range of experiences that allows them to explore the past in a meaningful way and develop historical research skills, including the ability to evaluate information they gather. We have a creative approach to planning for learning in history, using cross-curricular links to enhance pupils’ learning. Similarly, Geography is taught through class topics. An understanding of the local geography, map skills and the development of Britain and the EEC, coupled with the study of non-EEC countries are covered. Again, a creative approach to planning means that pupils have a rich range of experiences to allow them to develop their geographical skills.
Design & Technology
The D&T curriculum provides many opportunities for cross-curricular learning. We aim to develop skills across the school to ensure that pupils learn to use tools safely, to plan a D&T task from design to a finished product and to evaluate their work against a set of success criteria.
Music is central to the religious life of the school as well as being a curriculum subject. From the start, pupils have opportunities to develop their skills in singing and using simple percussion instruments. In Years 4 and 5, the extended opportunities programme offers all pupils experience of learning the djembe drum. There is a wide range of opportunities for our pupils to perform, especially when supporting religious events and services. Peripatetic music teachers also provide recorder, piano, violin and singing lessons.
Art & Design
Art is also central to the religious life of the school. From the earliest age, we teach art skills through a range of media and place an emphasis on creativity. Pupils are taught to observe carefully and are encouraged to try a range of techniques. We run a weekly Art Club and our children’s work is displayed at the annual Potters Bar Carnival Art Exhibition. There are also regular opportunities for their work to be displayed in our local Parish Church.
All children have access to two hours of PE activities a week and we seek to develop children’s skills in all areas of the PE curriculum. We also seek to develop their teamwork through school sports teams such as netball and football. Children in our school have regular opportunities to engage in a wide range of inter-school sports competitions. In addition, pupils from Year 1 to Year 6 use the Furzefield Leisure Centre termly once a year for swimming.
Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE)
The school has a policy concerning all aspects of health education including drug awareness and sex education. The PSHE curriculum is delivered in a caring, Christian context and we ensure that we share the content of sex education sessions with parents prior to them being delivered by the School Nurse. We develop leadership and citizen skills through our commitment to Fairtrade and children from Year 2 upwards form our School Parliament.
For curriculum overviews for all year groups, please go to the class pages on our website which can be accessed by clicking on the children’s area on the home page.