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
We follow the National Curriculum for Primary Schools.
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 core subjects taught are English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education and PHSE/RSE.
Other national curriculum subjects taught include: Design Technology, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Computing and Modern Foreign Languages (Spanish at Key Stage 2).
A new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum has been introduced September 2021. The EYFS curriculum sets the standards that ensure that children learn, develop and are kept safe and healthy. The broad knowledge and skills gained at this key time in their lives, provide the firm foundations needed for future progression in their time at school and beyond.
Learning and experiences for each of the 7 areas of learning follow the educational programmes in the statutory framework for the EYFS. Development Matters (non-statutory guidance) is used to support the delivery of the EYFS learning and development requirements.
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 children’s attainment will be assessed.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Reception – Age 4 to 5
In the first half of the autumn term, (the first six weeks of school) a Baseline Assessment is carried out to find out the starting point of each child for each area of learning and plan accordingly to ensure progress is made. In addition to the baseline, all children starting school are assessed using the statutory government RBA (Reception Baseline Assessment) which creates a school-level progress measure showing the progress pupils make from Reception until the end of Key Stage 2. This assessment focuses on Language, Communication and Literacy and Mathematics.
In the summer term of Reception, the Early Years Foundation stage Profile (EYFSP) is completed. These assessments provide us with a clear picture of the child’s development, knowledge, understanding and abilities, and their readiness for Year 1. Each child is assessed against the 17 Early Leaning Goals (ELGs) and teachers determine whether children are working at the ‘Emerging’ stage or at the ‘Expected’ stage of development.
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 required 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.
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, Speaking and Listening and Science.
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. A score of 100+ is required to reach the standard expected. Nationally the assessments must take place on designated days over a week. The tests take approximately 4 hours in total 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 and Phonics in EYFS
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is the Phonics scheme that we use to teach the children in EYFS and Key Stage 1. The children are taught Phonics daily and engage with three group adult led reading sessions a week. In EYFS the children are taught Phases 2, 3 and 4. Year 1 continue with Phase 4 in addition to learning Phase 5 Phonics. The children are provided with a decodable reading book matched to their current stage of Phonics learning. These books contain words they can decode by applying the Phonics tat they have been previously taught and common exception words linked to their phase of learning. The children will progress through the decodable reading books as they move through each stage of the Phonics phases. In addition to this, the children select a library book each week which they share with an adult at home. This book helps them to develop a love for reading by sharing experiences, thoughts and feelings about the content. The shared reading book also provides the opportunity to learn and develop new vocabulary.
Reading and Phonics in KS1
Year 1 children receive daily phonics lessons using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised phonics scheme and take part in Reading Practice Groups (RPGs) three times per week. We expect our Year 1 children to cover phases 4 & 5 of the phonic scheme.
Daily phonics lessons continue in Year 2 as required.
Reading in Key Stage 2
Throughout Key Stage 2 children are directed to books which are age and skill appropriate. They progress through 7 stages throughout the key stage.
Read more about our English curriculum here.
The school uses the Assertive Mentoring scheme for teaching and assessing children from Year 2 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 bi-weekly ‘Grammar Hammer’ work takes place in all classes Year 2 – 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.
Assertive Mentoring is used to inform Teachers’ planning. The school uses a tracking system ‘Insight’ to record and track children’s progress and attainment.
Assessments are collated in a Big Maths folder and a Grammar Hammer folder which the children take home every day 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 PIRA (Progress in Reading Assessments) comprehension assessments at the end of each term and benchmarking assessments as required.
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 and Collective Worship, 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 on Google Classroom 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, sacramental news 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.