Statement of Intent
At Corpus Christi we aim to provide our pupils with a broad, balanced curriculum which is underpinned by our Mission Statement ‘Love one another, as I have loved you’. The core values of our Catholic education remain central to the life of our school and our ‘Called to Serve’, ethos is at the heart of everything we do. We want our children to have a sense of self-worth through their experience of belonging to a caring community and we appreciate and respect the diversity of others.
Our curriculum is challenging, exciting and dynamic and has been designed to develop confident, independent and successful learners with high aspirations who are well equipped for life in 21st century Britain. We want our children to be able to face the challenges ahead and pupils are provided with a range of opportunities and fun activities to help them build resilience, inquisitiveness and motivation. Through our strong Personal Development curriculum, pupils learn the Secrets of Success and how to develop strong emotional awareness to help them stay happy and safe.
As a Global Learning school, we believe that all of our pupils should leave Corpus Christi with the knowledge, skills and values they need to thrive as Global Citizens, and to recognise their responsibility to care for God’s World. We encourage our young people to grow into conscientious, active members of the local and global community, who value and understand the location in which they live, and the impact they can have on the environment.
Through a rich Cultural Capital we aim to open our children’s minds to a wealth of possibilities. We broaden their horizons through access to educational visits, visits from specialists and through an exciting range of learning enrichment opportunities and extra-curricular activities. We recognise the correlation between the number of words a child recognises and their future success. Children are given numerous opportunities to develop their language and expressive skills.
The National Curriculum is taught as separate subjects with some subject skills and knowledge coherently sequenced and delivered through a range of engaging learning projects. Our long term plans ensure that we have authentic cross-curricular links which enrich learning and enable the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum. To ensure that all children reach their full potential, the end of year expectations are clearly planned and progress is measured against these regularly. Day-to-day planning, teaching narrative and lesson delivery are supported by high quality, knowledge-rich resources and astute curriculum leadership.
Curriculum leaders play an important role in the success of our curriculum, ensuring that there is full coverage of the national curriculum programmes of study and that there is progression of skills, knowledge and understanding. Professional development ensures that staff are highly qualified and up to date with current trends in their subject field.
Our parents, as first educators, have a vital part to play in their children’s success and we actively encourage our parents to become involved in the life of the school. This enriches the school experience for both parents and children and it enables our parents to participate in many of our curriculum activities and learn new knowledge and skills themselves.
We continue to articulate and embed high expectations in all subject areas.
At school, we strive to develop the most innovative and effective approaches to learning.
We aim to embed a sense of ambition, resilience and a life-long love of learning for pupils and families.
We strive to ensure that we have a clearly mapped out curriculum, which maintains both breadth and balance.
In order to develop and enhance our curriculum to achieve the above aspirations, we have formed a strong ‘Curriculum Working party.’ Deputy head teacher, Yvonne Gamesby leads the group, which also includes members of the teaching staff. We have recently invited a teacher from St.Gabriel’s to join the team so that we are able to share our expertise and support the teaching staff with the development of their own curriculum.
This term the working party has concentrated on some key areas:
Mastery and greater depth:
The new National Curriculum states: ‘There is an expectation that the majority of pupils will move through the programme of study at broadly the same pace and that pupils who grasp content rapidly should be challenged through rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration to new content.’
In order to help our children flourish who are capable of achieving greater depth in their learning, we have invested in quality professional development for all staff. We recognise that questioning is at the heart of assessment for learning and that progression within the curriculum, is much more focused on developing depth and understanding, than on mere progression to the next set of content. We have also moved away from the notion of differentiation as being a way of structuring tasks, often at a simpler level and we now aim to ensure that all our children have access to attain at the expected level, i.e. make it to the expectation, at least.
We have worked together as a staff to re-consider what effective differentiation will look like in the classroom and planned lessons which have a high level of discussion and engagement, with concepts and provision for higher attaining pupils, to be challenged through tasks requiring more demanding thinking. During PD, staff explored what mastery and greater depth look like, so they were able to consider the types of questions they could use in the classroom to deepen children’s learning, and plan lessons and experiences to facilitate children’s learning at greater depth.
As part of the school development plan, staff also spent time, considering how we can motivate and engage boys in their learning, particularly in Literacy and promote learning at greater depth.
Lesson observations and book scrutiny activities have provided the Leadership team with evidence of the impact of Professional development by SLT, with the majority of lessons showing evidence of high expectations and learning being challenging for pupils. Through our new marking policy (linked to principles advocated by Shirley Clarke) feedback, marking and the types of learning provided show increasing evidence of the culture and ethos of scholastic excellence being promoted.
A strong focus of lesson observations by SLT, has also been on the quality of questioning by teachers to move the children forward in their learning and on high levels of productivity. The outcome of effective, probing questioning by staff, helps teachers identify whether children require further support and scaffolding, or whether they require further challenge through enriching experiences, before moving onto to new content.
Examples of learning at greater depth:
Key stage one:
During the learning focusing on the science unit: ‘Identify and name a variety of common animals’, the children deepened their knowledge by examining the different animals who live at the zoo. The children then went on to use a range of age-appropriate information books to explore more about these animal habitats. In their Literacy lesson, the children focused on the book ‘Dear Zoo’, by Rod Campbell.
Year 1/2’s learning challenge was ‘Why are humans not like tigers?’ pupils wrote a sentence to explain their reasoning whilst a group of high ability children combined their knowledge of animals with the style of Rod Campbell to create their own guide to visiting the zoo. Each page of their own book started with a question, keeping in the style of the learning challenge. Some children downloaded photographs of animals to enhance their work, using their IT skills and they also included a contents page and glossary as part of their finished work.
Pupils were asked the question, ‘Can a meerkat live at the North Pole?’ Pupils used their knowledge of climates and animal habitats to answer the question in their writing, whilst children working at greater depth considered why a meerkat would not live at the North Pole and then presented their findings, focused on their knowledge of climate to the rest of the class. Children wore a meerkat mask (which they designed themselves) when making their presentation and spoke in the first person. The context for learning engaged all pupils, particularly boys and it was evident that through their presentations, it was evident that the children had appreciated the difficulties a meerkat would experience, living in a cold climate.
Key stage two:
In science and PSHE, pupils were learning about Dental care. Children were asked to record what advice they would give to younger children regarding good dental hygiene. Children working at greater depth were encouraged to choose their own type of genre to represent their ideas and advice. Some children produced a persuasive leaflet, one child produced a short newspaper report and two other pupils produced a presentation which they delivered to younger children, using props.
Pupils in Year 3 and 4 learning about the Mayflower Pilgrims participated in historical role-play to re-create what the journey aboard the ship would have entailed, this particularly engaged the boys. Children were encouraged to use this experience to write a historical recount of the event, and even boys working at a lower level produced writing that was clear and interesting. Pupils working at greater depth chose to represent their ideas and research in the form of a diary and were able to write confidently in the first person, using the features successfully. The boys were particularly interested in reading about the original pilgrims and what they were allowed to take on board the ship, they later included the names of some of the original pilgrims and details of their journey in their writing.
Pupils working at greater depth in year 5, (learning about the Celts and Boudicca), used drama to act in role as the famous heroine. Using a ‘green screen’ pupils wore traditional clothing and a shield and spoke in role as Boudicca, explaining how it felt to ‘face’ the Romans in battle.
Innovative approaches to learning:
To continue to make our curriculum engaging and inspiring, we have also invested in some innovative new resources:
‘Read, Write, Perform!’ will help our teachers plan and deliver a new and exciting approach to learning. The programme encourages the children to engage with a variety of media, including IPADS and apply their new learning in a meaningful and purposeful way. Children are given opportunities to research and empathise with characters in stories and in history and pupils working at greater depth have the opportunity to apply their learning to different contexts, including other areas of the curriculum.
Focus History/Geography and Science:
This programme of study takes into full account metacognitive principles when planning activities and tasks for pupils.
The starting point is excellent quality Literature to link the English learning with a specific history, geography or science focus, it is designed in such a way to ensure that the integrity of English, history, geography and science remain whilst providing natural links between them. One of the main aims of the resource is to improve pupils’ writing, particularly boys as well as improving children’s knowledge and acquisition of skills in the foundation subjects.
The resource also provides many opportunities for pupils working at greater depth to deepen and broaden their knowledge in an exciting and stimulating way.
At the beginning of each new unit, teachers are encouraged to start the lesson with a lead question e.g ‘Pupils in year 3 learning about Pompeii and volcanic eruptions are asked to consider the question ‘What makes the earth angry?’
The Curriculum working party are exploring and scrutinising the new resources, and matching the content very carefully to the skills and knowledge the children need to learn within each subject for the next academic term.
(Our personal development curriculum) Embedding a sense of ambition and resilience
To encourage our pupils to be independent and to develop the resilience required for studying in greater depth we are introducing a new programme ‘Secrets of Success’ which will allow the children to try out new skills and activities that will push their comfort zone and help them to see the benefits of trying new challenging things.
Our aim is that every child by the end of Key stage two will have tried out and experienced 50 things on their ‘bucket list’.
Not only will these activities be memorable they will also be linked to the primary curriculum and help tackle a number of weaknesses which restrict pupil resilience. e.g perseverance, reflective thinking, collaboration, risk taking, speculative thinking, will power and attention to detail.
Examples of activities and experiences include:
A visit to the theatre.
‘Horrible Histories’ The Awful Egyptians
As part of their study of Ancient Egypt, the Year 3 and 4 children enjoyed a visit to the Darlington Civic theatre to watch the ‘Horrible Histories’ Awful Egyptians musical, based on the book by Terry Deary. Not only did the children learn lots of fun and interesting information about the fascinating pharaohs and the power of the pyramids during the play, at the end of the entertaining performance there was an opportunity for the children to see popular children’s writer Terry Deary.
Children later described the experience as ‘Awesome’, ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Amazing’.
Yvonne Gamesby (PSHE Co-ordinator) is working with year 6 pupils on a programme called ‘Smart Moves’.
The resources has been put together by the Eikon Charity and adapted from ‘The Resilient Classroom’. The children work through a set of structured lessons which help prepare children for the transition to secondary education and cover key areas identified by children themselves.
As part of our Global Learning curriculum, some of our year 5 pupils have written letters to children who attend school in Sotira Village, Famagusta in Cyprus.
During the half-term holiday, Yvonne Gamesby met the principal and enjoyed a visit to the elementary school.
Our year 5 children included some Greek words and phrases in their letters and the children in Sotira will hopefully develop their modern foreign language skills too, by attempting to write to children at Corpus Christi, in English.
By establishing a link between the two schools, our children can learn about the Greek Cypriot culture and about the lives of children living in a different location in the world.
Relationship and Sex Education
In preparation for the new Relationship and Sex Education Curriculum which is becoming statutory in 2020, Yvonne Gamesby attended a conference organised by the Diocese of Middlesbrough’s Schools’ Service in York.
The programme was led by Martin O’Brien from Ten Ten Resources, a Catholic organisation that specialises in providing resources which will meet statutory criteria and support the RSE Policy in school.
Working in partnership with other dioceses throughout the UK, Ten Ten have created a fully-resourced programme of study based on ‘A Model Catholic RSE Curriculum’ provided by the Catholic Education Service.
The programme of study ‘Life to the Full’ was introduced to Catholic headteachers, senior leaders, RSE Co-ordinators and governors and School has subscribed to the resource since it aims to provide everything required to implement a Relationship Education programme that meets statutory and diocesan requirements.
At Corpus Christi, we provide a creative and enriching curriculum that meets the needs of every child, so they develop the skills to become lifelong learners
Recently, we introduced our new ‘Learning Challenge Curriculum’. The Learning Challenge concept promotes independence, ‘deep thinking’ and encourages children to learn, using a question as a starting point.
Children are taught Mathematics, English, Science, R.E and P.E discretely, with most of the foundation subjects being taught through Imaginative Learning Projects. This has helped bring our curriculum, our teaching and most importantly, the children’s learning, to life. Each Learning Project has a theme and promotes a cross-curricular, skills based approach to learning. Teaching and learning takes place within the following framework:
The topic is introduced, providing the children with a memorable experience that contextualises their future learning.
Learning opportunities are delivered to help children develop their creative thinking, articulate their ideas and promote deeper thinking.
Children have the opportunity to share and celebrate what they have learned, within school and in the learning community.
Our EYFS curriculum is child centred and reflects childrens’ interests and natural enthusiasm. Children are actively involved in the decision making process of their chosen theme, which also follows the structure of the Imaginative Learning Projects.
Enterprise, diversity and emotional awareness are inter woven into our curriculum, preparing our children for life in the twenty first century.
The thoughtful and wide-ranging promotion of our pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development enables pupils to thrive.
At Corpus Christi, we think it is very important that our pupils develop a strong sense of Christian values and principles in synchrony with core British values. Through our Imaginative Learning Projects, ‘Life Smart’ programme of study and religious teaching, we equip our children with a mature, respectful and senstitive appreciation for difference and diversity within a multi-cultural and multi-faith society. Children are given opportunities to develop critical personal skills which challenge prejudice and discriminatory behaviour.
We inculate a deeply embedded appreciation of the values of fairness and democracy through our humanities and PSHE curriculum as well as through our School Council, in which children, have a voice in decision making. Our children are also encouraged to be aware of their links to the local parish, the wider community and Britain as a country, as well as having a global understanding of the world around them.
We also provide a curriculum that encompasses the distinctive nature of Catholic Education and allows our children to live out the Gospel values, made explicit in our Mission Statement. We believe our strong ethos, helps our children graduate from Corpus Christi School with the values and virtues required to help them succeed as responsible, caring citizens in a rapidly changing society.
We also recognise the crucial role our parents play in their children’s learning and development and we aim to provide an environment that fosters close partnerships with parents, carers and the wider community. Our well established Family Academy, actively encourages parents to participate in curriculum workshops to support their child’s learning and School was recently awarded the Leading Parent Partnership Award.
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