Teaching and Learning
How we plan our curriculum
Our Curriculum Intent:
Our Lady’s School embraces the uniqueness of each child through God’s message of love. Learning to Love; Loving to Learn
Our aim at Our Lady’s is to ensure all our children fulfil their potential, spiritually, morally, academically, mentally and physically. We value the uniqueness of each child as made in the image and likeness of God, recognising and nurturing their potential for learning. Our 11 experiences before 11 offer plays a crucial role in supporting us achieve this aim. Through our curriculum we aim to enable each child to fully participate in current and future society as responsible and confident citizens.
Our curriculum delivers the Programmes of Study for the National Curriculum 2014 and allows for children to learn from exciting, challenging and opportunity rich learning experiences that celebrates the differences and diversity in our school community. Our curriculum has been developed to ensure we introduce and explore new vocabulary at every opportunity.
We believe that our curriculum offers a balance between acquiring, understanding and using knowledge, as well as developing and applying skills, leading to securer understanding and progression for all children. To achieve this, we have placed carefully chosen ‘learning challenge questions’ as the main drivers in our topics such as History, Geography and Science to get children to see the purpose to their learning, empower them to lead their own enquiries and challenge their learning. Over the course of a topic, these ‘learning challenge questions’ form subsidiary learning challenges so that children work on a series of learning tasks to answer the overarching question. Reflection on learning is built into a topic towards the end of the series of lessons, with children encouraged and supported to reflect on their own learning over a topic, before presenting their findings in a range of different ways.
High expectations of all children and ‘challenge’ throughout all areas of the curriculum are important features of our curriculum design, there is clear sequencing of subject specific concepts. Our curriculum is designed to account of our children’s prior learning experiences before starting Our Lady’s, strengthening and stretching pupil’s existing excellent subject knowledge, curiosity and confidence whilst supporting their development of resilience, a cultural diversity and ability to think critically. Our learning and teaching responds to the needs and aspirations of our pupils.
HOW IS OUR CURRICULUM ORGANISED?
- Learning is based around themes across each year group on a two-year cycle. Each theme has either History or Geography as its key driver and has an overarching ‘learning challenge question’. Science is taught discretely, but follows the same format, with an overarching ‘learning challenge question’ shaping children’s journey through the subject specific content
- Influential people are paramount to the curriculum, and feature throughout the three termly themes in each year group. They span different eras and link to the unit of work pupils are learning. Where possible we have linked to notable people of local importance, such as (William Shakespeare whilst studying the Tudors, or Guy Fawkes journey through Rugby on his way to parliament) and worldly cultural importance such as (Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Boudicca)
- Building our children’s sense of locality and developing their wider sense of place in a progressive manner is important, for example of youngest children begin by learning about our school locality, whilst our middle juniors participate in a local area study about Princethorpe, before our upper juniors utilise their mapping skills to learn about the wider county of Warwickshire.
- As a Catholic community, understanding of faith is a cornerstone of our curriculum, we promote learning about other world religions and place of worship though visits and as part of our multi-faith week
- By incorporating a range of people (e.g. historians, scientists, entrepreneurs), new learning is put into a real-world context.
- Developments within a subject are evident and pupils gain an insight into how their learning impacts on the world around them and inspires them for future careers.
- Title pages with an emphasis on vocabulary are used to help children revisit and retain the key terminology covered across the unit
- Pupils are encouraged to discuss new knowledge, deepen their enquiry skills and form links in their learning, making use of their oracy skills in all lessons so that they can build a deep and broad knowledge of the topics being covered that term.
- For every topic, high-quality, age-appropriate reading texts are assigned to support and shape children’s learning journey
WHY IS IT ORGANISED THIS WAY?
- Our Theme-based curriculum is designed to take account of prior learning, provide first-hand learning experiences and support children to develop interpersonal skills.
- Our curriculum is progressive, and builds on opportunities for children to develop their knowledge and skills in a timely manner
- We aim to build resilience and plan in opportunities for our pupils to become creative, critical thinkers.
- By posing overarching ‘learning challenge questions’, planning is aimed at helping students to contextualise what they learn and apply it in real life situations.
- It also provides an avenue for integration of content area in a realistic manner that helps children in applying their knowledge.
- We believe that careful questioning is a powerful tool for building and maintaining children’s interest during learning.
How does our curriculum meet the needs of our children?
- Increases the children’s interest and ability to become absorbed in a subject matter.
- Helps the children to make connections with their work.
- Keeps children engaged.
- Draws on connections from the real world and life experiences.
- Children learn better when experiencing knowledge in a larger context. They begin to see relationships and connections across time, place, and disciplines.
- Learning about wider themes and related concepts and facts more closely resembles how life is experienced outside of school and the classroom.
- Theme-based learning helps learning become more relevant for students who may otherwise become disengaged.
- Children are able to associate new information within their own lives, experiences, and communities.
- Themes allowing past to present connections which highlight persistent issues faced by society such as war, poverty, pollution, disease, or natural disasters are especially effective and as such these themes appear as threads throughout the curriculum.
- Themes are planned where possible to be chronological to help children to make sense of timelines and timescales.
- Learning focuses the class on a deeper understanding of the content and therefore allows children to be able to write / explore / discuss / analyse the topics to a higher level.