At St. Mark’s we continue to work together to regularly review and develop our curriculum so that it can better meet the needs of all of our children.
It is our intent at St. Mark’s to provide our children with an engaging, exciting and empowering curriculum that equips them with the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to be life-long learners.
We want our children to know that there is no limit to what they can achieve and we work hard to ensure that all of St. Mark’s children fulfil their God-given potential.
Our school mission statement ‘Proudly and Joyfully, we love, live and learn as God’s children’ is at the heart of everything we do. The Gospel values and Catholic social teaching is heavily featured in our curriculum because we believe our children must learn how to live as responsible global citizens, treating people with dignity, regardless of their culture, ability, background or religion and to know that they have a voice and they can make a difference in the world.
Our curriculum intent includes giving children a range of opportunities and experiences to not just learn about the Catholic faith but more importantly; how to use their faith to help make the world a better place.
Every child at St. Mark’s is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate and welcome differences within our diverse school community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values with a vision to prepare our children for life beyond primary school. We constantly provide enrichment opportunities to engage learning and foster a love of learning.
Find out more about the national curriculum in the documents below:
Intents for Curriculum Subjects
Art and Design
At St. Mark’s, we provide opportunities for children to share and express their individual creativity, we support them to develop and generate their ideas, expressing these ideas in an artistic way. We ensure children develop their designing skills, experimenting with a range of mediums, materials and resources, evaluating their own and others work and as the children’s skills progress, they will be able to think critically and develop a deeper understanding of Art and Design. All children study the work of a wide range of great artists and develop an awareness of how art has shaped our history and culture.
We aspire for every child at St. Mark’s to leave school feeling confident, proud of who they are and able to recognise the many talents and qualities they have that make them unique. Through the social teachings of the Catholic Church, we provide our children with a curriculum whereby they learn not just about themselves, their faith but also about the people around them and in the wider world. We provide children with a range of opportunities to develop their sense of social justice, moral responsibility and cultural education to enable them to recognise that they can become people of challenge, change and transformation in the world.
It is our intention to equip children with the skills and understanding to live in and change a technological world. We aim for all pupils to become digitally literate and we give them the means to be able to use and express themselves and develop their ideas through information and communication technology, with a focus on e-safety, at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world. Our goal is to teach children the principles of how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. It is our intention to teach a range of skills that are transferable in a variety of other subjects, as well as the children’s wider life outside of school. We strive to develop children’s experience and understanding of ICT, preparing then for jobs for the future.
For Design and Technology, we offer an inspiring and practical approach to a varied Design and Technology curriculum where our pupils develop deeper understanding of technical and creative design to construct purposeful products. Children acquire a broad range of skills and knowledge to design, create and evaluate ideas, whilst gaining an increased understanding of the technological world. Our Design Technology curriculum incorporates knowledge from the wider curriculum areas such as Maths, Science, Computing and Art. The breadth of practical tasks offered to our children prepare them for secondary education, as well as aiming to provide them with useful life skills.
The intention of the French curriculum at St Mark’s is that children are taught to develop an interest in learning another language in a way that is enjoyable and stimulating. We encourage children to be confident in learning a new language and we strive to stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about France and the French language. We aim to embed the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing necessary to enable children to use and apply their French learning in a variety of contexts and lay the foundations for future language learning. Our MFL curriculum is designed to progressively develop children’s skills in languages and provide the foundation for further learning.
The intent of the Geography curriculum at St. Mark’s is to provide pupils with a rich and varied curriculum, supporting children to develop contextual knowledge of their location and of globally significant places. We want our children to recognise and make comparisons of features in a range of locations in the hope that one day they might travel to some of the destinations to discover firsthand what they are really like. We encourage children to think about their own place in the world, their rights, values and responsibilities to the environment and each other. We provide opportunities for children to understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features around the world as well as learning a range of geographical skills.
Our intent for History at St. Mark’s is that, the teaching of history will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain, including how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. We want our children to know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world including the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies and achievements and follies of mankind. Children will use and learn a rich vocabulary of historical words and phrases to support them in this subject. Our aim is to ignite children’s curiosity about the past. As well as gaining and furthering their knowledge of the past, we will also ensure that children have opportunities to develop their historical enquiry skills and ask perceptive questions, demonstrating critical thought. Where possible, we aim for children to experience history through field work and historical experiences.
At St. Mark’s we aim to provide a high-quality music education which engages and inspires children to develop a love of music and recognise their talents as musicians. We ensure children are provided with a range of opportunities to increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement in music. Children at St. Mark’s are given opportunities to develop a critical engagement in music, allowing them to compose and listen without discrimination to a range of different music.
Personal, Social and Health Education
At St. Mark’s we recognise we have a responsibility to provide our children with accurate information about health-related matters, whilst enabling their physical, moral, social, cultural and emotional development to thrive. We provide a curriculum in health and relationship education that is authentic to the Catholic Church’s teaching and acknowledges each pupil’s stage of physical and sexual development. Children will develop an understanding of the importance of family life, stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care. Our pupils will be equipped with the knowledge of what makes a human physically healthy and how their body may change during their lifetime. We create safe spaces for our children to confidently discuss PSHE themes and feel supported and valued in lessons.
It is our intent at St. Mark’s to teach children life skills that will positively impact on their future and encourage them to lead healthy, active lives. We aim to deliver high-quality teaching and learning opportunities that allow children to be physically active for sustained periods of time, inspire all children to succeed in physical activities and develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities. We want to teach children how to engage in competitive sports and activities, cooperate and collaborate with others, as part of a team, understanding fairness and equity of play to embed life-long values.
Rationale for Curriculum
It is our belief at St. Mark’s that we have a duty to deliver excellence in learning and teaching and expect all learners to be actively engaged in their own learning. We recognise that this is only made possible when the curriculum focuses on the child as the learner, and allows breadth and depth of learning, offering challenge and enjoyment, personalisation and choice. We also recognise that the children’s learning must be closely monitored and tracked to ensure progress is made.
Regular curriculum review meetings are held with Mrs. Linley, our Headteacher and of-ten a school governor. At these meetings, children review the learning that has been recorded in books and review what has worked well and what could be improved further to develop children’s learning and knowledge of the curriculum. At curriculum review meetings, children offer their ideas for improvement and hold leaders of St. Mark’s school to account by reviewing what progress has been made since the last curriculum review meeting.
We are working towards a ‘Knowledge Rich Curriculum’ where children acquire a depth of knowledge in all areas of the curriculum.
We have a cross-curricular topic approach and, alongside this, we build in enriching and enlivening topic weeks which immerse the children in a variety of relevant themes and skills. We believe that a curriculum that is literacy rich and language rich is a must for our school if we are to open doors for our children’s futures. We, therefore, place a high focus on developing the children’s vocabulary and spoken skills and use quality texts to do this. Reading is at the heart of our school and central to the children’s learning.
Skills Progression across the Creative Curriculum
At St. Mark’s we recognise the importance of children learning and using a range of skills in each subject across the curriculum. To ensure children learn and use a range of age-appropriate skills, each class teacher plans their Creative topic incorporating the skills children will acquire.
The termly Creative curriculum overviews (please see below) contain just some of the skills that children at St. Mark’s will learn and use.
As each topic progresses the children will learn and use a wider range of skills outlined on the curriculum overview. As each topic progresses, the teacher will often find new opportunities and activities that can be incorporated into the topic to further engage and develop the children’s learning. Evidence of all the sills children use and learn in their Creative topics can be found in their Creative books.
Mrs Linley, Mrs Picart and children discussing the creative curriculum books
At St. Mark’s we use Killer Questions to support children to fur-ther demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have learned and applied during the Creative topic.
Every topic has a ‘killer question’ and the children answer their topic’s killer question in the very last session of the topic. This is a form of assessment as the killer questions are designed and written so that children can draw on every lesson taught in the topic to answer the killer question. Therefore, every lesson has a purpose for children’s learning!
Here are some examples of killer questions our children have answered:
- What would it be like to live in a different country? (Reception)
- Why do people visit the seaside? (Year 1)
- If you went on an expedition, who would you take with you and why? (Year 2)
- How is land used in the UK? (Year 3)
- What was life like as a Viking? (Year 4)
- Why should I visit South America? (Year 5)
- How did the Mayans affect us today? (Year 6)
Every term, we celebrate an Inspiration Day at St. Mark’s. These are fun, inspiring days dedicated to our creative topics, which have a great impact on learning.
Children and staff are invited to dress up in the theme of their class topic and engage and learn in new ways. Inspiration Days are one of the ways we create memorable lessons and moments for the children, whilst building on key skills. They provide an excellent opportunity for children to gain curriculum knowledge in all subject areas, alongside reading, writing, maths and RE.
What our children say about Inspiration Days:
- “We get to learn fun things about our topic.” Dawid, Year 6
- “I like to get dressed up as different characters and last time we made a volcano.” Kian, Year 4
- “I was a queen and we painted different kings and queens.” Prabhkirat, Year 1
- “We dressed up as an adventurous astronaut such as Neil Armstrong.” Taisha, Year 2
- “It was fun and interesting learning about the Vikings.” Arya, Year 3
- “Ancient Greece Inspiration Day was amazing because it was so unique.” Kai, Year 4
- “For our WW2 Inspiration Day everyone dressed up as an evacuee. It was great fun.” Melody, Year 5
Working with our Parents
At St. Mark’s, we encourage parental involvement in the school curriculum as we feel this will further support and benefit our children to not only develop a love of learning but also a range of skills.
We hold a variety of parent workshops throughout the year focused around the curriculum. In addition, parents are invited to performances, assemblies, presentations, meetings and a range of other events.
At the end of every parent workshop, we request feedback and this is used to further improve future workshops. If you are a parent and have suggestions on how we can further improve our cur-riculum. Please contact the Headteacher, Mrs Linley.
Educational visits are when learning takes place off the school site. These are often led by external providers. At St. Mark’s, we provide the children with a stimulating curriculum and opportunities to engage in learning outside of the classroom.
The benefits of educational visits include:
- They widen children’s experiences.
- They offer learning, skills and experiences which cannot be taught in the classroom.
- Opportunity to have fun/enjoyment away from the classroom.
- Off site visits develop awareness skills.
- Provides experience of new environments and learning new things.
- Exposure to new cultures and experiences.
- Engagement with a topic.
- Promotes a love of learning.
- The learning can be delivered by a provider with expertise in the subject area.
Safeguarding – to ensure that our children remain safe when offsite we:
- Carry out thorough risk assessments.
- Conduct a preliminary visit to assess that the site is suitable and accessible for the children.
- Read the venue’s own risk assessment.
- Consider the needs of the children.
- Take into consideration the needs of the adults.
- Complete risk assessments for the mode of transport.
- Risk assessments are shared with all adults on the visit.
Following the completion of a risk assessment, they are read and approved by the Educational Visits Coordinator and the Headteacher.
Whilst on the visits, visit leaders continuously assess the risks and act accordingly.
In the event of an emergency, procedures are in place where staff act to ensure everyone is safe and then inform the emergency services and school.
All visit leaders have high standards and expectations for behaviour.