Curriculum Overview & Statement of Intent
Here at St.Michael's, we have an exciting curriculum, following the National Curriculum, which focuses on knowledge, skills and understanding. This page will provide you with all the information that you will need regarding the topics each year group learn about. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Curriculum Statement of Intent
Morals and values framework and ethos of the school statement
Our Community Statement, ENRICHING LIVES EVERY DAY’ is key to the development of our Christian environment and ethos.
This statement, inspired by the Apostle Paul:
“For in Him you have been enriched in every way, with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge.” 1 Corinthians 1-5, provides a foundation of Christian expectation and is integral in the teaching and learning of Religious Education for the children in our care, and can be witnessed though our school values, which are:
Excellence; Nurture; Respect; Integrity; Compassion; Hope (ENRICH)
We aim to:
- have integrity in all that we do, ensuring that the school is true to its Christian foundation. This will guide and inform everything that we do.
- nurture our children physically, emotionally and spiritually; encouraging them to be curious, inspiring them with a love of learning.
- Provide our children with a wonderful sense of hope that will prepare them well for life.
- ensure that our children are provided with every opportunity to achieve excellence every day; so that their confidence and willingness to succeed will grow with every achievement, enabling them to fulfil their true potential.
- provide opportunities for children to develop life skills, encouraging them to respect others, show compassion and understand the importance of maintaining good relationships.
- We place great emphasis on the personal, spiritual, physical, moral and social development of our children through Christian teaching and the provision of Christian adult role models; standing by our values of excellence, nurture, respect, integrity, compassion and hope.
- We provide a safe, positive, stimulating and caring environment which promotes the development of the child.
- We are witnesses to the truths and values of the school’s Christian foundation
As a school in St Christopher’s Trust, we are committed to building flourishing communities. Through a rich curriculum and high-quality teaching, we strive to:
- Support children’s wellbeing
- Secure children’s active and enthusiastic engagement in their learning
- Encourage and promote respectful relationships
- Enable children to become active local, national and global citizens
- Celebrate culture and community
- Facilitate pupils in exploring, knowing, understanding and making sense of the world
Our priority is the wellbeing of pupils and ensuring that we quickly re-establish attitudes and dispositions to learning. We seek to do this through the PSHE curriculum, and the implementation of the statutory RSE and health education, especially those component parts that most support children’s self-regulation and attitudes to learning. In addition, we will support those pupils more adversely affected by COVID through more individual and personalised interventions. All staff have been trained in trauma informed approaches.
Into the woods
How have toys changed over time?
What is it like to grow up in Heavitree?
Where does my food come from?
What does it take to be a great explorer?
What is the best way to stay healthy?
|Who is the greatest history maker?|
How does Borneo compare to England?
How does Roald Dahl use plants in his stories?
Why is the history of my local area important?
Why do we love the seaside so much?
Forces and magnets: can you feel the force?
How do we know about life in the past?
Why did people settle by the River Nile?
Why do so many people live in megacities?
Rocks and soils
Why are insects important to our world?
|Why don’t shadows appear at night?||Vertebrate or Invertebrate? That's the question.|
(1 week block)
|Why do some earthquakes cause more damage than others?|
(1 week block)
What's that noise? (Sound) (3-4 weeks)
Making a torch (1 week block)
Why are jungles so wet and deserts so dry?
How did the arrival of the Romans affect Britain?
Beyond the Magic Kingdom: what is it like in the Sunshine State?
What happens inside of us?
How do electrical circuits work?
|How do artefacts help us understand the lives of people in Iron Age Britain?|
States of matter
|How do we classify things?|
One small step for year 5
(Earth and Space)
What was life like after the Romans?
Why are mountains so important?
What would have enabled Scott to succeed?
How can we live more sustainably?
Would you rather be a Viking or an Anglo-Saxon?
|Making shelters (1 week block)|
Why did the Mayans change the way they lived?
Why do some creatures no longer exist?
|How do volcanoes affect the lives of people in Hiemaey?|
What did the ancient Greeks do for us?
What’s good for my body and what’s not?
Who are Britain's National Parks for?
How did WW2 Affect Exeter?
(1 week block)
How has electricity benefitted us?
Making phone cases
This overview shows the focussed learning that is covered within this unit.
Pink: The Arts
Red: Design and Technology
At St Michael’s, we believe a rich web of knowledge is what provides the capacity for pupils to learn even more and develop their understanding. However, this does not preclude the importance of skill. Skills matter and cannot be separated from knowledge.
Knowledge and skill are intrinsically linked: skill is a performance built on what a person knows. That performance might be physical or cognitive, but skills matter and they cannot be separated from knowledge. They are the ‘know-how’ in applying the ‘known’.
Knowledge and the capacity it provides to apply skills and deepen understanding are, therefore, essential ingredients of successful curriculum design.
Breadth, balance and progression:
We believe that children are entitled to breadth, depth and balance, and to high standards across the entire curriculum.
At St Michael’s, we have ensured that our curriculum has been crafted by answering the following questions:
- What do we want pupils to know?
- Does our curriculum contain the appropriate knowledge in an order that supports the learning?
- Is the curriculum providing pupils with the building blocks of what they need to know and be able to do, in order to succeed in each subject?
- What understanding will be demonstrated in knowledge and skills and how will progression will be demonstrated?
- What will independence in learning look like throughout the school?
- How will the curriculum coincide with our school values?
How do we make our curriculum inclusive?
At St Michael's, we are committed to helping disadvantaged children and those with special education needs (SEN) narrow the gap with their peers, so that they can leave ready to take advantage of all secondary school can offer. To do this, these children are at the heart of every lesson, with teachers carefully considering how to adapt their teaching so that all children can contribute and make progress. When planning, we ensure extra support and scaffolding is in place to allow every child to take an active part in learning. Our Pupil Premium lead and SENDCo hold surgeries in which teachers can discuss the individual needs of these high-priority children to consider the best strategies to support their learning.
We know there is much more to success than what happens in the classroom. We work hard to support disadvantaged children and their families when they need it the most. This has included sending out hampers at Christmas, free music lessons ( JSaxes) and help accessing school trips, not to mention simply being at the end of the phone when needed.
How do we make our curriculum progressive so that it builds knowledge?
We design each sequence of lessons to fit carefully within a whole school progression of learning. Each subject has a progression map that enables teachers to plan sessions that build upon the learning from previous years, previous topics and previous lessons.
Each lesson begins with a recap of prior learning. These questions are carefully planned to enable children to revisit their learning and move their knowledge into their long-term memory. Teachers will select questions that enable the children to access the knowledge that will help them make greater progress within lessons, as the knowledge builds session by session.
Regular assessment allows teachers to quickly identify anyone who may be falling behind and deliver the additional support needed to help them catch up with their peers. This assessment may take place dynamically within a lesson, or through the use of summative assessment at the end of a sequence of learning.
How does our curriculum promote our Christian, core values?
Throughout the teaching of our curriculum, our teachers model our core values to help develop classrooms that reflect them. Children are regularly reminded about these values and their achievements are celebrated in special assemblies.
Our Collective Worship is inclusive, invitational and inspiring to our young people, encouraging all participants to grow spiritually. We have forged a strong community partnership with our local church, who support the school enthusiastically and effectively to further develop our provision.
Being an independent learner
We have introduced three types of knowledge organisers: a subject leader knowledge organiser, a teacher’s knowledge organiser and a child’s knowledge organiser.
Subject Leader Knowledge Organisers (for foundation subjects and those where we do not follow a scheme):
The purpose of these are to allow the subject leader to:
- Know how effectively that particular subject is being learned and being taught.
- Know how their subject progresses through the school and the standards that children should achieve at each stage, including what Greater Depth would like in that subject.
- Know which teachers lack confidence in those subjects and may require extra support.
- Be able to hold people to account.
- Be able to explain the knowledge that each child should gain; the skills, which they will employ; the vocabulary that they will use and the opportunities and experiences they will have, in order to combine knowledge, skills and understanding.
- Ensure children are working at the correct standard by sharing examples of ARE and GD work and using them to support monitoring purposes.
You will find these for each of the subjects (Music, Art, D and T, Computing, MFL, History, Geography), which don't follow a scheme by clicking here and then entering the specific subject page.
Teacher Knowledge Organisers: (Years 1- 6)
The purpose of these are to allow the class teacher, in conjunction with the subject leader, to consider:
- The knowledge that is needed in that unit and how it links back to previous learning in the school.
- The essential knowledge that has to be learned (purple) and the additional knowledge that could be learned if time allows (pink).This includes 'I wonder if' sessions, being introduced this term, where children can independently investigate key questions they wish to find out for themselves. This allows time to be spent developing the children’s depth of understanding as opposed to being moved on at undue pace.
- The activities the children are completing in order to develop their understanding, using both knowledge and skills.
These are currently being uploaded and will be here very soon! Sorry for any inconvenience.
Children's Knowledge Organisers
A ‘Child Knowledge Organiser’ is essentially for the child and is a go-to document for a unit of work. Each one identifies the key information that children need to have learned by the end of a topic. It also acts as a tool to support children in retaining and retrieving knowledge for life-long learning. We are developing our own 'Knowledge Organisers' to support the delivery of the curriculum, with each one containing a list of technical vocabulary with definitions. Depending on the topic, there may also be maps, dates, key figures and people’s beliefs. Each organiser will a quiz to help children recall the knowledge and encourage home-school links.
The effectiveness of our approach will be monitored through our robust cycle of monitoring teaching and learning, with a sharp focus on how the needs of our most vulnerable pupils are being met.
How Could Knowledge Organisers be Used at Home?
Question and Answer
Simply having another person test the pupils understanding of key terms, through asking questions is an effective way of developing their understanding of new knowledge and securing in the long term memory. A quick quiz during breakfast or on the way home from school, will help pupils remember key terminology they have been studying.
True or False
Playing true or false offers pupils the opportunities to check how well they understand the vocabulary they are studying. Particularly, when initially learning new vocabulary, pupils can focus too much on learning definitions off by heart. This activity really tests their overall understanding each term, as they have to state whether a definition is accurate. Asking pupils to then correct the misconception will improve their recall of that piece of knowledge.
If in Year 5 and 6, have your child create their own flashcards at home with the key information, definitions and vocabulary on. If in Year 3 and 4, you may need to support your children in creating the flashcards and completing this quizzing technique. Flashcards are one way pupils can learn, rehearse and remember key vocabulary that is taught in lessons. By writing the definition on one side and the key term on the other, it allows pupils to test themselves independently or with an adult. Pupils could try and recall the definition of a word, or read the definition and recall the term it relates to. We encourage pupils to learn a definition, however they should not feel it has to be word for word, as long as the definition they give suitably explains the term on the other side.
The Development of Schemas
In Key Stages 1 and 2, we are currently developing the use of schema as a means of improving children's long term memory. We intend to use schemas to support our history, geography and science units of work and use these visual representations as a means of recalling information throughout the sequence. Where appropriate, at the end of the unit, the children will create their own version to demonstrate how much they have learned.
Our Year 6 children have already trialled one geography unit and you can see their final assessment piece below.
- Our curriculum ensures that we develop well-rounded citizens with a clear understanding of the school’s values: excellence, nurture, respect, integrity, compassion and hope. Our curriculum addresses negative stereotyping through investigating similarities and differences, and promoting acceptance, diversity, citizenship and human rights.
- Through independent learning, children demonstrate greater levels of resilience and motivation, and a growth mind set when faced with different types of challenge. They develop attitudes and dispositions to make a positive contribution to the world. Our daily interactions provide a regular check on this and success across the wider areas of the curriculum reflect this.
- Learners develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result, achieve well. Where relevant, this is reflected in results from national tests and examinations that meet government expectations. This ultimately means that learners are ready for the next stage of education.
- We use regular and robust triangulated monitoring to evaluate the impact of our curriculum design. Leaders at all levels review learning, talk with our children (through the use of Class Learning Forum or the school’s SPLAT team) and provide feedback to move practice forward.
- We ensure that our children’s attainment and progress are in line or exceeding their potential. We measure this using national data (where appropriate), our connected curriculum, and monitoring evidence.
- Through high quality teaching, we will have closed gaps for all learners, but especially those who are disadvantaged.