Curriculum Statement and Vision
First and foremost, we are a Catholic school which strives for excellence in everything that we do. We are determined, ambitious and aspirational for our pupils: St George’s being situated in one of the most deprived wards in Newcastle, gives us the opportunity and the privilege to work with some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable families in the city. Upward social mobility is one of our key drivers: developing pupils’ full and true potential and doing everything we can as educators to impact positively on and improve their life chances. Our school mission statement that we ‘are called into the fullness of life; inspired by the Gospel Values to learn and grow through faith, love and laughter,’ underpins and drives all aspects of school life. Improvements are sustained and built on through our embedded ethos and culture of high expectations, high challenge, high support, and shared accountability for all pupils but especially for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils. Engagement and enjoyment are also key aspects of what we want to achieve in our school and the curriculum we have designed and developed provides quality learning experiences which children enjoy.
Our Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural (SMSC) curriculum is embedded in everything we do and intrinsically linked to our Catholic traditions and Values, the locale of the school and our determination and desire for every pupil to achieve to the very best of their ability and to prepare them for high school and later life.
Our curriculum and everything we do at St George’s is underpinned by the Gospel Values and derived from Jesus’ Law of Love: Respect, Trust, Honesty, Compassion, Forgiveness, Mercy, Community, Tolerance, Courage, Equality, Justice and Peace. These Values are taught on their own and through other areas of the curriculum, including assemblies. The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our pupils and their understanding of Gospel Values and the British Values of our society are woven through the curriculum.
At St George’s Catholic Primary School, we use the ‘Come and See’ (transitioning into ‘To Know you More Clearly’) Catholic Teaching Programme to teach all of our Religious Education (RE) from Nursery through to Year 6 which includes a Daily Act of Worship. RE is taught as a discrete subject every week and our Catholicism permeates everything that we do. Relationships and Sex Education follows the CES and diocesan approved “Ten: Ten” program.
Our Personal, Social, Health and Emotional (PSHE) Curriculum follows the guidelines and expectations outlined by the PSHE Association. PSHE is taught discretely and across many other curriculum areas and in all aspects of school life. As well as Quality First Teaching, the school utilises a whole range of specialists and external agencies to support teaching and learning in this area.
Our school offers a broad and balanced curriculum which inspires pupils to learn. The school teaches and builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills of all pupils, whatever their starting points, as they progress from the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) through to Key Stage 2. The curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the Early Years Outcomes and National Curriculum 2014 and other experiences and opportunities which best meet the learning and developmental needs and interests of the pupils in our school. The aim of our curriculum is for pupils to develop a lifelong love of learning and the requisite skills to be successful, independent and motivated learners in readiness for their next stage of education and in all aspects of their learning.
Some pupils are still working on the Early Learning Goals of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum as they enter Year 1 but the majority have achieved the Early Learning Goals and are ready for the National Curriculum. There is a transition period in the Autumn Term in Year 1 where the pupils access a more ‘play based’ curriculum to enable the move from one curriculum to the other as smooth as possible. Throughout the EYFS and KS1, all pupils are developing their phonic knowledge through the FFT Success for All Phonics Programme, including their segmenting and blending skills and their fluency and understanding in reading through our comprehensive approach to the teaching of reading. Once the pupils have achieved Phase 6 of the programme in Year 2, our Spelling Programme is introduced and is delivered from the Summer Term in Year 2 to the end of Year 6.
St George’s teaches the National Curriculum from Year 1 through to Year 6. For the core subjects, English (Reading, Writing, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS) and Maths, the school uses the Sheffield Steps Grids to support planning and assessment across Key Stages, phases, years and terms. Attainment and achievement in the core subjects is tracked using the Steps Grids and teaching and learning adjusted accordingly to meet the needs and interests of the learners; ensure that there are no gaps in learning and that no pupil gets left behind. The most and more able pupils are challenged accordingly and pupils who find aspects of their learning more difficult are appropriately supported so that they too are enabled to experience success. National requirements and school requirements for the Core Subjects and the Foundation Subjects are identified by term on our Curriculum Maps. The content, knowledge, skills and understanding taught across the curriculum are outlined on the school’s Subject Profiles and Progression in Skills documents.
The coverage of the skills, knowledge and understanding of the English curriculum and the Mathematics curriculum are supported through the Steps Grids but the school has developed its own approach to the teaching of reading, writing and GPS and Mathematics. In English, the skills of writing and GPS are taught discretely and through all other subjects. In Reading, comprehension skills and responses to reading are developed through all other subjects and through the study of a class novel or author. Reading for Pleasure is a key element of our extensive reading curriculum. Mathematics is taught discretely and through other subjects. Reading, writing, GPS and Maths are taught every day.
The school has mapped all subjects for each year group on our bespoke Curriculum Maps. The school has ensured that it meets the requirements of the National Curriculum through our curriculum design and delivery. We aim to embed as much of the learning and experiences of the pupils in our local area as much as possible, taking advantage of our rich and varied history and the wonderful location in which, we live. We aim to customise our curriculum and capitalise upon the experiences and backgrounds of pupils as well as provide them with relevant new experiences. Specialist teachers and instructors do support teaching and learning in Music, PE and Sports and the teaching of French – these specialists do not replace our teachers but enhance the learning experiences of our pupils.
In all curriculum areas, the school strives for excellence through both the breadth (opportunities to do the same things in a range of different ways through a rich and varied curriculum) and depth (how well children understand and can use and apply what they have learnt in a range of contexts) of what we deliver. Pupils experiencing breadth and growing depth of understanding of the curriculum, leads to mastery: mastery is a journey and long-term goal, achieved through exploration, clarification, practice, and application over time.
Teaching and learning across EYFS, KS1 and KS2 is led by the Senior Leadership Team supported by individual Curriculum Subject Leaders. Subject Leaders are given training and the opportunity to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school. Whole school activities and opportunities within and outside school all enrich and develop the pupils’ learning. After school clubs and events extend these opportunities further. Additional whole school programmes and approaches support Quality First Teaching and learning and the school is well resourced in terms of learning materials, books, and technology.
All curriculum areas are taught as discrete subjects. Where possible, links are made to other subject areas, in, for example, the texts used in English.
At St. George’s, we work in mixed year group classes. A curriculum cycle is planned so that over the course of a phase, curriculum coverage can be ensured and in order that curriculum objectives can be carefully mapped and tracked.
We are extremely privileged to live in a part of the world with such amazing natural, manmade and historic resources on our doorstep. We are passionate about utilising these through our local heritage and history studies as part of history and geography curriculum. We aim to support our children in learning about, understanding, experiencing, and utilising the resources in the area in which we live.