St. Teresa’s Curriculum
Our curriculum has been designed to promote and sustain a thirst for knowledge and understanding and a love of learning. We cover a wide range of subjects and provide opportunities for academic, creative and sporting excellence. Emphasis is placed on acquiring, developing and applying core skills in reading, writing, communication and mathematics.
At St. Teresa’s Catholic Primary School we carefully design, plan and implement a curriculum to provide balance for every pupil:
At St. Teresa’s we place high priority on ensuring children’s physical and mental wellbeing is met. We understand that children will not be successful learners unless they are emotionally secure, therefore we carefully design our curriculum and adopt a flexible approach to timetabling to ensure that we can meet and respond to any issues which may arise. Children’s physical and mental wellbeing are as valued and important as academic development.
We carefully monitor children’s progress with their personal development and our well planned and thoughtful approach to Social, Moral, Spiritual, Cultural (SMSC) helps to ensure that every child is well cared for and supported.
Our balanced approach to the curriculum is not at the expense of high standards in core subject areas. High standards and enabling children to reach national expectations and above is of vital importance if they are to succeed at the next stage of their education and go on to achieve full and happy lives and careers.
Our full and rich curriculum, with its excellent range of experiences, ensures that every pupil at St. Teresa’s makes excellent progress both academically and personally. Our unique curriculum ensures that every child is given the opportunity to shine and flourish.
At St. Teresa’s Catholic Primary School we carefully design, plan and implement a curriculum which provides breadth for every pupil:
At St. Teresa’s careful analysis and discussion about our pupils’ backgrounds, life experiences and culture has helped us to design a curriculum with key priorities underpinning every subject area. We believe that by focusing on the following key priorities our children will be ready to successfully meet the challenges of the next stage of their education and their lives.
Our curriculum priorities are:
Our 5 key values reflect our school mission statement. These values are threaded throughout our whole school curriculum and they are embedded into school life at all levels:
‘Shine in little ways’
We inspire everybody in St. Teresa’s to shine in their own way, in a safe, welcoming and nurturing environment.
We learn, work and serve together in unity with the school, church, families and community.
To grow in God’s way and be a witness to our faith.
This value is at the heart of our Catholic faith and shows our commitment and compassion towards others in the same way as Jesus Christ did. Through school, parish and community links we will strive to take steps towards responsible citizenship and make positive contributions to society, our local area and the wider world.
Hope is more than just wishing for things to be different; it is about believing that things either in our own personal world or the wider world can be better and being prepared to do something and act on our beliefs. We will ensure that we encourage our pupils to act with confidence and commitment to live out their hopes for their future and their world.
Throughout our curriculum and school life we encourage our pupils to show Integrity by demonstrating a strong moral purpose through trust, tolerance and respect. The fundamentals of integrity are responsibility, respect, fairness, trustworthiness and honesty. A child can demonstrate integrity when they uphold honesty and differentiate between what is right and wrong. Integrity means following your moral convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances, even if no one is watching. A person with integrity is truthful, honest, caring and genuine, dependable and worthy of trust and respect.
As our children grow with us, we will care for them, support and protect them whilst also encouraging them to do the same for each other and the wider community and environment. We will focus on nurturing ourselves through positive relationships, mental health and wellbeing, as well as focusing on nurturing our environment, our world, our school family and wider community.
The pupils in our school are encouraged to try their best, challenge themselves and aim high. Hard work and self-improvement are required to reach your goals and gain the sense of satisfaction and reward that follows. Endeavour requires courage and risk taking – effort and progress are recognised more than just outcomes. This value also embodies our ‘growth mindset’ approaches to learning which builds resilience and positive attitudes towards challenging ourselves. We are proud that our curriculum gives our children the skills, confidence and self-belief to lead a happy and fulfilled life by encouraging them to aim high and work towards their goals in life.
Our mission, values and curriculum actively promote the fundamental British values of Democracy, The Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We encounter these values through our mission, values and curriculum. At St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, the fundamental British values are deeply embedded into our SHINE values. We teach children about the importance of free-speech and standing up for what they believe in. Our School Council promote democracy and pupil voice all throughout the year. All of the values are taught continuously throughout our RE curriculum and wider curriculum offer.
Our curriculum at St. Teresa’s Catholic Primary school is carefully designed, organised and planned for depth of learning:
At St. Teresa’s Catholic Primary school our definition of progress is; the widening and deepening of essential knowledge, skills, understanding and learning behaviours. We design, organise and plan our curriculum to ensure that children are not merely covering content but achieving a depth to their learning which enables them to use their skills and understanding in all areas of the curriculum.
Our careful curriculum design and planning means that we build in many opportunities for repetition and practice opportunities for essential knowledge, skills and understanding in every subject. This ensures that children are able to revisit previous learning, which allows them to gradually develop a deeper understanding of the skills and processes within subjects, at their own pace and in the best possible way for each individual child.
Our curriculum is meticulously designed and planned to move the nature of children’s thinking to a higher order level of understanding rather than just acquiring new facts and knowledge.
At St. Teresa’s Catholic Primary school, it is our underlying belief that every child should feel valued and experience the feeling of success in a wide range of curriculum areas. We believe that through the curriculum we can impact on what is in children’s head and how they feel about themselves, so that they feel clever, confident and ready to tackle any challenge they may face.
We have designed, organised and planned our curriculum to ensure every child receives an appropriate mix of academic and personal development which means that in practice our curriculum places equal importance on core and foundation subjects.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Children in Reception classes follow seven areas of learning; three prime and four specific areas. The prime areas are Personal, Social and Emotional development; Communication and Language and Physical development. The specific areas are English, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
Key Stage One and Key Stage Two
Children in Years 1 to 6 cover the full range of National Curriculum subjects; English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, History, Geography, RE, PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education), Music, MFL (Modern Foreign Language), Art, Design Technology, PE and Games.
At St. Teresa’s we teach the following subjects as blocked units; Science, History, Geography, Computing, Art and Design Technology. There is on average 6 hours of blocked teaching per week planned into timetables. The rationale for this way of working is to allow children to engage fully with a subject or topic over a concentrated block of time. We strongly believe that children get immersed into the learning, and it allows teachers greater flexibility when planning. Teachers will also plan short recap/retrieval lessons, away from the point of learning, in order to assess/understand whether children have remembered more over a longer period of time.
Physical Education (PE), Music, Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE), Relationship Sex Education (RSE) and Modern Foreign Languages (French, delivered by a specialist teacher) are still taught discretely at St. Teresa’s.
PPA/Subject Release Time
We offer PPA once a week to all year group teachers. This time allows teachers to plan in year group phase teams whilst giving children the experience of specialist teaching (PE/Forest School for example).
At St. Teresa’s we value all subjects in the National Curriculum. Our core subject leads receive release time to develop, monitor and implement school development plans two afternoons every half-term, as a minimum. Foundation subject leads receive release time at least once a half-term to develop, monitor and implement school development plans to ensure we are aiming for the best provision across all our subjects that we offer our children in school.
At St. Teresa’s, Forest School provides a nurturing space that supports our children’s wellbeing by providing and implementing positive, outdoor, child-centred experiences in a natural setting.
Children participating in Forest School have a half-day session either once a week per every other half-term or alternating weeks for the whole year. Our provision is in a secure, large woodland area on our school grounds. These two hours provide children with the time to experience their environment and be fully emerged within their learning. Level three trained Forest School providers lead Forest School sessions across a variety of age ranges and children’s skills are developed as they progress through the school. Children develop practical skills such as knot tying, fire lighting and the safe, responsible use of tools.
Children are active, take ownership of their learning and develop their self-esteem through a variety of independent tasks they take ownership of. Children develop knowledge of sustainability and respect for their learning environment and the outdoors as a whole. Children develop their teamwork skills and increase their capability to work together to solve problems in a variety of ways, considering one another’s ideas. Positive relationships are built through these sessions and children are both enabled and empowered to achieve their holistic potential.
At St. Teresa’s we believe in providing a wide range of sporting opportunities both within the school day when delivering the curriculum, and outside of the school day both a.m. and p.m. Our provision may vary year on year but we ensure through careful monitoring that all children across every age range gain access to different sporting opportunities. Children in our football, netball, basketball, cross country, athletics teams take part in local and national competitions.
We have a specialist FA qualified coach employed to support and deliver PE across the school, as well as other specialist coaches that support other areas of the curriculum throughout the year.
Assessment and Monitoring
Throughout their time at St. Teresa’s, children’s work is constantly monitored and assessed through teacher observations, marking and testing. We use skills and knowledge expectations to track ongoing progress against National Curriculum statements.
In Foundation Stage (Reception), children are baseline assessed within the first six weeks of being in class. Teachers make regular observations and gather evidence of development and attainment, which is used to complete the children’s EYFS Profile at the end of the year.
In Year 1, children undertake the National Phonics Screening test. Year 4 children take part in the multiplication test check. At the end of KS1 and end of KS2 children are tested using National Tests, produced by the DfE. Summative tests are also used in the autumn, spring and summer term by all year groups from Year 1 in the spring term onward, to ensure we track and monitor children’s progress against national age-related expectations.
Extending our curriculum
We have designed and planned our curriculum to offer a range of experiences which contribute to every child receiving a full and rich curriculum. The range of experiences we offer support and champion our culture and ensures that our children benefit from a full range of academic, spiritual, moral, social and cultural activities. These activities enrich their lives and those of our whole school community and make them proud of their British values and diverse society to which we belong and play an active part. We are proud that our curriculum gives our children the skills, confidence and self-belief to lead a happy and fulfilled life by encouraging them to aim high and work towards their goals and dreams in life.
Within our curriculum educational visits are of significant importance. We believe that children gain so much from learning outside of the classroom, meeting and working with specialists from a range of different fields. The scope of our educational visits links closely to our curriculum, and where possible we visit locally.
In Year 4, we begin our overnight residential experience by offering children an overnight stay in Berwick, with visits to local places of interest including; Druridge Bay, Bamburgh and Holy Island. This trip is closely linked to our First Holy Communion preparation, as well as giving children the chance to visit places of local historical interest linked to our Northern Saints and people of inspiration (Grace Darling).
In Year 5 we offer the challenge of a 2-night outdoor activity residential to experience various exciting opportunities, including gorge scrambling, high ropes and caving.
In Year 6 we offer children a 4-night overseas trip opportunity. Past destinations have included Northern Italian, Rome and more recently Ypres in Belgium (all trips linked to our school curriculum).
Each year group staff members work hard to ensure that our children have first-hand experiences of our learning opportunities. This includes working with specialist providers, including ‘That History Bloke,’ Heritage grant specialist subject experts and in-school experience days such as Forest School learning. Our Year 4 children experience life as Roman apprentices and in Year 5 children learn about life in Greek times. Finally, in Year 6 children experience life as an evacuee in World War Two, participating in a 1940’s school room experience for the day.
It is part of our ethos that children should have the opportunity to participate in a show, be it an assembly, production or seasonal celebration, enabling all children to experience the process of auditioning, rehearsing and performing to parents and family. A truly invaluable learning experience.
At St. Teresa’s, we strive to develop ‘live’ projects working closely with our local community. The range varies year on year but in recent years children have worked with Virgin Money, ‘Making £5 Grow’ Project, been given money from the council in a project to celebrate our local area (art work displayed in our hall). Various charitable efforts in order to raise children’s awareness of social justice, including St. Oswald’s Hospice ‘Elmer’ project, shoes box appeal and collections for our local food bank.
Charity events and overseas school links
Every year the school supports a range of charity events including our Diocesan Youth Ministry Team, Save The Children, Malawi Fundraising and many more. Our School Council representatives lead these events supported by teachers across the school. We see these events as an important part of our annual calendar.
Before/After School Clubs
We offer a wide range of after school clubs that are not sports based; such as Art Club, Lego Club, Chess, Creative Writing and Choir. These are run by teachers and the provision year on year varies but we ensure through careful monitoring that all children across every age range gain access to different opportunities throughout the year.
We also offer a range of sports clubs and the offer of these are all dependent on the time of year and accommodating space in school. Before/after school football is offered all year and begins for Reception children in their spring term.
Other sports clubs we offer include: futsal, netball, badminton, dodgeball, cross country, archery, multi-sports and CrossFit kids.