St Peter's Curriculum Overview
The Early Years Foundation Stage
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a comprehensive statutory framework that sets the standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five in England.
Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support to fulfil their potential. A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right, and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their talents as they grow. The framework is based on four Themes and Principles. It recognises children as individuals and competent learners:
The EYFS is delivered through a well planned, play based approach to learning and development. The activities that are provided for young children will underpin the skills they need to work towards the scale points in the following areas at the end of their reception year at school.
Personal, social and emotional development
Children are provided with experiences and support which will help them to develop a positive sense of themselves and of others; respect for others; social skills; and a disposition to learn.
Communication, language and literacy
Children’s learning and competence in communicating, speaking and listening, being read to and beginning to read and write is supported. We provide opportunities and encouragement to use their skills in a range of situations and for a range of purposes, and support children in developing the confidence and disposition to do so.
Problem solving and reasoning
Children are supported in developing their understanding of problem solving, reasoning and numeracy in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practise and talk about their developing understanding. Children are provided with opportunities to practise these skills and to gain confidence and competence in their use.
Knowledge and understanding of the world
Children are supported in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world. Their learning is supported through offering opportunities for them to use a range of tools safely; encounter creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments and in real-life situations; undertake practical ‘experiments’; and work with a range of materials.
Children’s creativity is extended by the providing activities to develop their curiosity, exploration and play. They are provided with opportunities to explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings, for example through a variety of art, music, movement, dance, imaginative and role-play activities, mathematics, and design and technology.
The physical development of young children must be encouraged through the provision of opportunities for them to be active and interactive and to improve their skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement. Children are supported in using all of their senses to learn about the world around them and to make connections between new information and what they already know. We support children in developing an understanding of the importance of physical activity and making healthy choices in relation to food.
All areas are of equal importance and many activities will cover many of the areas. Each area is divided up into stages of development and practitioners are able to identify resources and learning opportunities for individual children dependent on their developmental needs.
Key Stages 1 and 2
Children from Year 1 to Year 6 follow the National Curriculum consisting of the core subjects: English, Mathematics, Science and ICT and the foundation subjects: Art, Design Technology, Geography, History, Music, Physical Education and Religious Education. Citizenship and Personal, Social and Health Education are also taught as part of the curriculum and included within the range of topics covered by the children.
The school is working to develop its curriculum through a more thematic approach which involves cross curricular links between subjects where appropriate and the development of key attributes of effective learners.
Children learn through practical work, discussion, communication, questioning, collaborating, listening, enquiry, researching and reflecting. Lessons may include visits to appropriate places, visitors coming into school and the use of different resources loaned from Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School and the local secondary school and any other sources as available and as required.
English and Mathematics are taught every day as distinct separate subject areas but skills are reinforced
within the thematic curriculum. With the exception of Music and PE which are taught discretely, the
Foundation Subjects and Science are taught in a more thematic approach. Information and Communication
Technology (ICT) is taught through all the curricular subjects though specific ICT skills are also taught in dedicated ICT lessons.
As a voluntary aided Catholic School, the Catholic religious ethos is to be found across the whole curriculum and not just within the Religious Education programme. The children’s faith is enriched through contact with the faith and prayer of the staff and the Christian atmosphere of the school.
Children are helped to understand their world and their lives in the light of their faith. The school supports, extends and clarifies what the children learn and experience at home and in church.
Daily worship and Religious Education are seen as having an important influence in promoting the Christian attitudes and values we hope children will apply through their lives.
The Religious Education we provide is in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic faith. We teach the "Learning and Growing as the People of God" programme. This scheme is the curriculum strategy for Religious Education in Catholic Primary Schools in the Archdiocese of Birmingham approved and commended by the Archbishop of Birmingham. This strategy is also supplemented by other resources. The school complements the catechesis which takes place in the home and parish. Our Christian faith encourages children to develop into the person God wants us to be and is at the centre of our curriculum and behaviour strategies.
There is a daily act of worship for all children that is suited to their age and stage of personal, social and religious development. Children are involved as much as possible in leading school worship.
The parish priest, Father Gary, helps the children to appreciate and participate in the liturgy of the Church. During the school term, the children take part in the celebration of the Mass either in church or school. The major Christian festivals are celebrated with special services in which pupils participate. Parents are very welcome to join us on these occasions. When the children are in Year 3 they prepare for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. The school welcomes the support of the parents at this time in the spiritual lives. In Year 6 the children prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Throughout this involvement, we aim to deepen the faith of the whole family at these important stages in a child’s life.
Parents have a statutory right to withdraw their children from Religious Education and worship. It is not expected that parents seeking a place in a Catholic School would wish to exercise this option. In many instances it would be very difficult to identify a specifically "Religious" element in a topic or theme as Catholic philosophy underpins so much of our everyday work. Any parents considering withdrawing their children from this area of the curriculum should put their request in writing to the Head teacher. They are very strongly urged to discuss the matter with the Head teacher in advance of any such decision.
We place great emphasis on developing good language skills and encourage children to develop fluency and understanding in reading. Children are taught to read using various approaches of word recognition. They are taught the sounds of spoken language in order to develop phonic skills. The Read Write Inc Programme is used to teach elements of phonics across the school. As abilities improve, children are given opportunities to read a broader range of books for pleasure, to develop vocabulary and for interest. Parents are encouraged to help with reading both at home and in school. The school uses the
Literacy area of the Primary Framework which contains a range of resources and materials to support the development, planning and teaching of all aspects of Literacy.
The school follows the Primary Framework for Numeracy which provides a carefully structured programme of work for each year group enabling the progression of mathematical skills and knowledge from Reception to Year Six. The work includes using and applying Maths concepts in everyday situations, number work, shape and space, measuring and data handling.
In Reception children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage. Please see this area for more information.
Each class has a daily Maths session and pupils are encouraged to talk about their work as this allows teachers to ascertain understanding of concepts and allows pupils to solve problems. Emphasis is placed on development of mental calculation skills and on the development of a progression of written skills to improve basic Numeracy skills.
We have a wide range of resources to support our mathematical teaching including games and puzzles to help with problem solving and investigation work. The children are taught to use a calculator for selected
activities but are not used as a substitute for mental and written calculations. Each class has an interactive whiteboard with appropriate mathematical programs to enrich their work. Competence and confidence in mathematics are what we aim to achieve. We hope in doing this we can also impart a feeling of enjoyment in the subject, a pleasure in the recognition patterns and in the resolution of a problem.
We aim to enable children to develop an understanding of the world by using and applying scientific knowledge and skills. Science can be taught through a thematic approach or may be delivered as a discrete subject depending on the class topic. At both Key Stages, the main themes are: How Science Works;
Organisms, their behaviour and the environment; Materials and their properties and the Earth, Energy, Forces and Space.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Information communication technology (ICT) is now an essential element of your child’s education. Through teaching ICT we equip the children to participate in a rapidly-changing world where work and leisure activities are increasingly transformed by technology. We enable them to find, explore, analyse, exchange and present information. We also focus on developing the skills necessary for children to be able to use information in a discriminating and effective way. ICT skills are a major factor in enabling children to be confident, creative and independent learners.
The school is well equipped with a computer suite, and there are interactive whiteboards and computers in each classroom. A laptop trolley also provides mobile access for whole classes to computers. The school is networked and all computers have access to the internet.
As they progress through school the children extend their ICT skills and make use of a wide variety of tools and software to support learning across the entire curriculum. This includes the use of the Internet which is taking an increasingly important role as a research tool for children. We have our own website
www.stpeterc.bham.sch.uk which provides information about the school and activities that have taken place. All the computers in school are linked to a server and a safety filter is used to ensure that all internet sites are filtered and only appropriate safe sites accessed.
St. Peter’s believes that the benefits to pupils from access to the resources of the Internet far exceed the disadvantages. The responsibility for setting and conveying standards when using media and information resources is one the school shares with parents and guardians. We feel that the best recipe for success lies in a combination of site filtering, of supervision and by fostering a responsible attitude in our children in partnership with parents.
All new parents will be sent an explanatory letter and the internet rules which form our Internet Access Agreement Policy. These are signed by parents and can be seen as an extension to the Home School Agreement.
History is taught in a cross-curricular manner. Children are encouraged to develop an awareness of the past, the ways in which it was different from the present day and the influence it has had on the modern world. Children use a range of information sources to aid enquiry and interpretation. Such sources include artefacts, pictures and photographs, written documents, internet research, educational visits and visiting adults talking about the past.
Geography is taught in a cross-curricular manner. Topics that are taught cover the study of physical and human features in real places and why features are as they are. To enable them to do this, the children are taught to carry out fieldwork, use maps, find relevant details from a range of reference materials, and to record and discuss their observations. ICT supports geographical enquiry and research through the use of the internet.
Design and Technology
This is taught in a cross-curricular context and involves working with food, textiles, graphics and materials. Design and make assignments are the means whereby skills and knowledge are drawn together in the creation of a product. Products are often examined before the design process begins.
Art and Design
Children are given opportunities to experience different approaches to art and design, working individually, in groups and as a whole class. The work may be related to a topic or may simply be an experience of working with a medium as an end in itself. Visits to the Birmingham Art Galleries are included as part of the curriculum. We also take every opportunity to welcome visiting artists to work with the children.
All children are able to take part in singing, percussion and appreciation of music. Children are encouraged to perform in class lessons and assemblies. The Birmingham Music Service provides free vocal sessions. Each class has access to a unit of singing support. We are part of the Wider Opportunities programme of instrumental teaching in which all the children in one class learn an instrument for the year. There is no cost to the individual pupil. We enjoy trips to the Symphony Hall where the children are exposed to a wide range of musical genres and experiences.
P.E. and School Sport
St Peter’s believes that PE and school sport, experienced in a safe and supportive environment is important to a child’s development and well-being and we aim to develop an awareness of the benefits of exercise for a healthy and active lifestyle.
We offer a broad and balanced PE curriculum to provide for children’s increasing confidence in their ability to manage themselves and their bodies within a variety of movement situations. This is implemented through the teaching of Core Tasks. At KS1, the children are taught Games, Dance, Gymnastics, Multi- skills and Golf. These areas of activity are progressed further at KS2 with the addition of swimming, athletics and outdoor and adventurous activities.
Different lunchtime and after school clubs are held over the year and any opportunities for sports coaches to work with the children are encouraged.
Personal and Social Education
The school recognises its responsibilities towards the children in this area of their development. A programme of Sex and Relationship Education is in place which provides for pupils, as part of a wider study of personal, social, religious and health education. It will seek to answer questions honestly, when they occur, and in a manner appropriate to the child’s age. From the child’s early years, the sex and relationships programme aims to:-
The Year 5 and 6 programme ‘Living and Growing’ has been recognised and assessed as a suitable resource which will help the pupils prepare for adolescence and puberty. Children are encouraged to discuss what they learn with their parents. Parents are invited to view and discuss the materials used in school before it is delivered to our pupils. Any parents wishing to have more information about the school’s programme for sex and relationship education are encouraged to contact the school through either their child’s teacher, the Personal, Social and Health Education Co-ordinator or the Head teacher.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from aspects of the Sex and Relationship Education programmes, which do not form part of the National Curriculum. Requests for withdrawal should be
put in writing to the Head teacher but parents are strongly encouraged to discuss the matter before taking this step.
We have a School Council made up of elected representatives from every class. The Council meets to discuss pupils’ issues.
Modern Foreign Languages
All children in KS2 are able to take part in French lessons as part of the curriculum.