About the Curriculum
Our core curriculum is made up of English, Maths, Science, PE and Religious Studies.
For more information on the teaching of Religious Studies, please navigate to our dedicated page.
The English curriculum consists of Reading, Writing, SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) and Phonics. Pie Corbett’s Talk4Writing is used alongside resources from Alan Peat in order to ensure children have access to a rich and stimulating curriculum.
Talk for Writing, developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong, is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version.
The children at St Vincent’s have been using this approach from the Early Years to Year 6 for a number of years. The approach has dramatically improved pupil happiness, confidence and skill in writing, reading and speaking. As our children have built a bank of language, including vocabulary, their desire to write and read has also improved.
In addition to this approach, high quality CPD from the likes of Alan Peat and Lee Parkinson ensure that children’s writing has a purpose, often finding work shared or even published through a variety of media. Projects such as ‘The Writing’s on the Wall’ have resulted in published work the children can truly be proud of.
In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, children follow the Read, Write Inc scheme solely for the teaching of phonics, leading into early reading.
The teaching of Maths has been revolutionised over the last year with St Vincent’s investing in the Singapore Mastery Approach – ‘Maths No Problem’. Staff and children alike are enjoying Maths lessons more than ever. Please click the below link for an introduction to the approach.
The teaching of Science has also seen a dramatic change with the introduction of Empiribox Science. This hands on, practical enquiry based approach ensures children are more than secondary ready by the time they leave in Year 6.
At St Vincent’s we draw upon influences from the Learning Challenge Curriculum for all foundation subjects.
The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work resulting in a meaningful curriculum which promotes high standards. It is an approach to structuring and delivering the curriculum with a focus on challenge and basic skills. It is under-pinned by a secure pedagogical framework which weaves together the critical elements of curriculum, teaching & learning and assessment.
The Learning Challenge curriculum is not an ‘off the peg’ scheme of work. It requires teachers to actively think what their curriculum needs to include in order to meet the needs of their children in their context – leading to high standards in all areas of the curriculum. It provides a range of tools which will help teachers plan their curriculum. These tools allow teachers to focus on the way they want to deliver rather than what they need to deliver.
What are the main principles?
The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work. It requires deep thinking and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point.
In designing the curriculum, teachers and learners are using a prime learning challenge, expressed as a question, as the starting point. Using the information gained from pre- learning tasks and the school’s context, a series of subsidiary challenges are then planned. Each subsidiary learning challenge is also expressed as a question. See how this works in the schemes of work provided.
The subsidiary learning challenge is normally expected to last for one week but this does not need to be the case. However, initially it may be useful for the learners and indeed the staff to get used to the weekly learning challenge. The important point is that the learning challenges need to make sense to the learners and it is something that is within their immediate understanding.
The key DRIVERS of the Learning Challenge approach are:
- Planned around the distinctive needs of your children
- Enquiry based to promote curiosity
- Outcomes driven to raise standards
- Embeds the application of basic skills
- Allows writing to be meaningfully embedded
- Cross-curricular (where meaningful)
- Interesting for the teacher as well as children
- Integrates empowering learning (‘learn to learn’)
- Underpinned by latest thinking about quality learning and brain-based learning