Breadth, Balance and Depth
Our curriculum at St Oswald’s provides a broad range of experiences for our pupils:
At St Oswald’s the following principles underpin all areas of our curriculum.
- Possibilities/aspirations – which help our pupils build aspirations and become more aware of possibilities for their future lives.
- Learning behaviour – which helps pupils to grow as independent learners, not dependent on adults to learn.
- Positive self-esteem – which helps to instil in our pupils a mindset that they can continue to learn and grow and learn in all areas of their lives.
We offer a thoughtful range of experiences that support our children: pupils enjoy a full spectrum of academic, physical, spiritual, moral, social and cultural activities that enrich their lives and give them the confidence and skills for a fulfilled and happy life.
Our curriculum at St Oswald’s provides appropriate balance:
At St Oswald’s we believe that all children should feel valued, successful and experience the feeling of accomplishment in a wide range of areas. Our curriculum therefore gives pupils an excellent mix of academic and personal development; it gives equal importance to core and foundation subjects; physical and mental wellbeing are both valued, understood and prioritised by our careful consideration of curriculum design.
Spiritual, moral and cultural development, along with a well planned and structured programme of personal development, underpins all of our work and is monitored as closely as academic subjects.
We carefully balance the requirement for pupils to reach national expectations in core subjects with our wider curriculum aims of providing a full spectrum of thoughtful and enriching experiences and as a result our pupils thrive, achieve and make excellent progress.
Our curriculum at St Oswald’s is carefully organised and planned for depth:
At St Oswald’s we define progress as: the widening and deepening of essential knowledge, skills, understanding and behaviours.
To do this we ensure our pupils don’t merely cover the curriculum but we build in opportunities for repetition to return to areas which allows them to gain a deeper understanding of the skills and process within subjects.
We design and plan our curriculum to change the nature of children’s thinking to a deep level of understanding rather than just acquiring new knowledge.
The School Curriculum
A new National Curriculum was introduced for all Primary Schools in 2014.
As a Catholic school St Oswald’s teaches Religious Education as a core subject. We follow the Archdiocesan Religious Scheme ‘Come and See’. We spend 10% of the school curriculum teaching Religious Education.
In addition to Religious Education other compulsory core subjects taught are English, Mathematics, Science and Physical Education.
Other national curriculum subjects taught include: Design Technology, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Computing and Modern Foreign Languages (Spanish at Key Stage 2).
In addition to the compulsory subjects of the national curriculum we also teach Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE), Citizenship and some Spanish at Key Stage 1.
The Early Learning Goals (ELG) are taught in the Early Years Foundation Stage in Reception.
The National Curriculum is organised into blocks of years called Key Stages (KS). In line with national requirements at the end of each Key Stage we will formally assess your child’s performance.
Reception – Age 4 to 5 – Early Years
Assessments at the end of the year are through Teacher Assessments in the Profile. At the start of the year we assess the children on entry during the first three weeks in school. These on entry assessments are optional but we choose to conduct these assessments to help us measure progress.
Children are introduced to our Reading Book Bands which take the children through 10 levelled stages of reading as they move through the Reception year and throughout KS1. It is expected that children will move through Pink, Red and Yellow bands in Reception.
Children are taught phonics daily and we use the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme. Our expectations are that the children will cover Phases 1, 2 and 3 in Reception.
Key Stage 1
Year 1 – Age 5 to 6
Assessment – Phonics screening tests take place in Year 1 for all children in June. Children are tested reading 40 words out loud to a teacher. Although the pass mark can vary each year children need to read accurately on average 32 words correctly to reach the require standard.
If a child does not meet the required standard in Year 1 they will need to do the assessment again the following June at the end of Year 2.
Children continue to work through the school Reading Book Bands in Year 1. It is expected that children will move through Blue, Green and Orange and continue to receive daily phonics lessons using the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme. We expect our Year 1 children to cover phases 4 & 5of the phonic scheme.
Year 2 – Age 6 to 7
Assessment – During May the children will have to complete national tests in Reading and Mathematics and are Teacher assessed in Grammar Punctuation and Spelling, writing and Science.
Children will continue to work through the Reading Book Bands in their Reading. Children are expected to read Turquoise, Purple and Gold bands. We aim for children to be reading at the Purple band to be able to meet the standards expected in reading at the end of the Year 2. Children’s reading is assessed through completing an unseen comprehension paper.
Daily phonic lessons continue throughout Year 2 with Teachers focusing on phase 5 & 6 Letters and Sounds. Children will also need to read and write all words on the Year 1 and Year 2 word lists.
Any children who did not meet the standard in phonics in Year 1 will need to do the assessment again at the end of Year 2.
Key Stage 2
Year 6 – Age 10 to 11
During the summer term in May all children are expected to complete national tests in English (Reading, Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar) and Mathematics. Children are assessed by the Teacher in Writing and Science.
The children will achieve a standardised score. In 2016 children had to score 100 to reach the standard expected. Nationally the assessments must take place on designated days over a week. The tests take approximately 4 hours to complete over the week.
Nationally children will be expected to reach the standard in Reading, Writing and Mathematics at the age of 11 to be High School ready.
The tests are externally marked (with the exception of the Teacher Assessed Writing) and returned to school usually in early July. Our school will share the results in person with parents at the summer term parents meeting. Results are also shared with the High Schools the children will be attending in September.
Reading in Key Stage 2
In September 2017 we introduced an extension of the reading book bands from Year 3 to Year 6. Four bands support reading in each Key Stage 2 class:
The school uses the Assertive Mentoring scheme for teaching and assessing children from Year 1 to Year 6 in Mathematics, Writing, Science, Spelling and Grammar. Each week on a Monday morning a Big Maths session takes place for all children Year 2 – Year 6. During this session children work on weekly skills in small groups. Weekly spellings and ‘Grammar Hammer’ work takes place in all classes Year 1 – Year 6. Half term Assertive Mentoring assessments take place in Mathematics, Writing, Spelling and Grammar and a written Science assessment is completed at the end of each term.
Assessments are shared with the Head Teacher and Assistant Head Teacher weekly, and each half term and term. The weekly and half termly assessments are used to measure progress. All weekly and half term assessments are collated in a Big Maths folder and a Grammar Hammer folder which the children take home every night to share with their parents.
Behaviour including learning behaviour is recorded each half term and reported to the Head Teacher and Assistant Head.
The school also uses a range of reading assessments to measure progress in Reading – these include regular benchmarking of the children’s progress through the reading Book Bands, PIRA (Progress in Reading Assessments) comprehension assessments at the end of each term .
Evidence of coverage and attainment in other areas of the national curriculum are recorded in children’s workbooks, and through the use of 2simple software.
There are subject leads for all curriculum foundation subjects; two teachers lead each subject area in Geography, History, Art & DT, Science, PE and Music. These subjects are taught as discreet subjects but cross the curriculum when and where appropriate.
Core and foundation subjects are supported through wider curriculum learning opportunities including educational visits, visitors to the school, theatre in education groups and performances. We offer a range of resources to children to support learning in all curriculum areas and place great emphasis on ensuring our school environment inside and outside offers children the opportunity to learn in a safe, organised, stimulating and enriched environment.
Our school garden which is made up of many smaller gardens – vegetable garden, seaside garden, Mediterranean peace and reflection garden, Japanese garden and orchard – provides a rich outside learning opportunity for the children and enables the curriculum to be delivered outside, particularly in the subject areas of Science, Geography, RE, Art, creative work and English. The Early Years Foundation Stage woodland enables the Early Years curriculum to be delivered and enriched.
Curriculum Reporting to Parents
Two parent meetings take place throughout the academic year to update parents on their child’s progress and attainment and a written report is produced for parents at the end of the academic year. The report records attainment in all curriculum subjects. In addition to the curriculum attainment children are also graded on their behaviour and on their efforts and attitudes towards their learning.
Each half term a curriculum overview for each class on the work they will be covering in class is sent home to parents. Overviews are shared with parents in a paper copy and are also posted on the school website on each individual class page.
Each term a Religious Education newsletter is sent to parents and posted on the website informing them of Come and See topics, religious events, collective worship and school /parish /community events.
Teachers throughout the year are available to meet with parents to discuss concerns related to the curriculum, progress or attainment.
For further information about any aspect of the curriculum at St Oswald’s, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher. Alternatively contact the school office who will direct your query to the Head Teacher, Assistant Head Teacher or other appropriate member of staff.