At St. Gerard’s Catholic Primary School, our intention is to provide an ambitious, broad, and balanced education which will help the children in our care to grow to their full potential. We pay close regard to the formation of the whole person, so that they leave our school strong in faith, and academically ready to make a positive contribution to the world.
Our curriculum is tailored specifically to the children of St. Gerard’s Catholic Primary School. We focus on giving the children the knowledge and skills outlined in the National Curriculum of England, whilst modelling and teaching the virtues given to us by Christ, through the Gospels.
We intend our Curriculum to be intellectually stimulating by giving the children unique learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom. These experiences will give the children opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills, and cultural capital to succeed in life, including those who are disadvantaged or have special educational needs or disabilities.
Throughout our curriculum are woven the threads of social, moral, cultural, spiritual, and vocational development alongside an understanding of democracy, rule of law, liberty, respect, and tolerance.
Children are challenged daily to be inquisitive, resilient, creative, and independent learners through the quality teaching of knowledge and skills in all subjects. Whilst we teach subjects discretely, teachers skilfully ensure content is combined in a cross-curricular approach.
Teachers’ pedagogy is based on Rosenshine’s Principles of Effective instruction. We use it as a model for quality first teaching. Teachers constantly review prior learning to build on knowledge, they continually question children to broaden their thinking and to assess understanding, and they support and stretch pupils based on their ability. When teachers introduce new content, they do so in a logical, sequential way and always model best practice.
The Educational Endowment Foundation asks us to consider three key principles from their studies into cognitive science and the processes by which all of us commit information to our memories.
- Learning requires information to be committed to long-term memory.
- Information is processed through the working memory.
- The working memory has limited capacity and can be overloaded.
We have taken this into account when planning our school timetable. In order to commit information to the long-term memory, we practise subjects daily and in a logical sequence. In the mornings, all classes will learn English. Depending on the age of the children, this will include handwriting practice, phonics, spelling, grammar and writing. There will also be a dedicated reading lesson as described in our English curriculum. The children will have a break, and then move on to daily Mathematics lessons.
After lunch, we have decided to trial a different approach to teaching Science and our ‘foundation subjects’. Knowing that the working memory has limited capacity and can be overloaded, we have tried to reduce the amount of switching between subjects. By teaching in two week blocks, we will dedicate more time to a subject and practise it daily. We hope this will commit more to the children’s long term memory by giving them a chance to study topics in more depth, whilst reducing the pressure on their working memory. This is shown in the overviews below.
When children leave St. Gerard’s Catholic Primary School, they will have a strong spiritual knowledge and faith based upon the Catholic nature of our school.
They will have a strong web of knowledge across the curriculum subjects that is deep, durable, and transferable from one context to another.
They will have the ability to retrieve knowledge and make connections between contexts; apply their skills across a range of subjects; an ability to think deeply about important concepts and apply their knowledge and use it to solve problems and generate creative solutions.
They will be creative, innovative, and critical thinkers; be sympathetic and have an awareness of other people’s feelings; and show tolerance and forgiveness.
They will be resilient, confident learners who will be prepared for their next phase of education and beyond.
The Classroom Stage
We are proud to be partners with ‘Stan’s Café Theatre Company’ who have developed a programme called ‘The Classroom Stage’.
They aim to provide creative arts based solutions to school improvement challenges and work in partnership with teachers, senior leaders and children to address those challenges.
We are lucky enough to be one of only ten schools in Birmingham to be involved in the programme that will last for over two years.
The Classroom Stage is funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s teacher development fund.
The purpose of the Teacher Development Fund is to support delivery of effective arts-based teaching and learning opportunities in the primary classroom, and to embed learning through the arts in the curriculum. It aims to do this through supporting teachers and school leaders to develop the necessary skills, knowledge, confidence and experience.
Our principles and priorities are focused on:
- Supporting children and young people experiencing systemic inequality and disadvantage
- Approaches which involve learning through the arts
- Long-term, inquiry-based projects which support teachers’ professional development and learning
- Promoting effective and equitable partnerships between schools and arts/cultural organisations and artist practitioners
- The contributions of school leaders and artist practitioners as both professional learners and as supporters of embedding learning through the arts in the curriculum
- Approaches which involve any of the following art forms: crafts; creative writing, including poetry; dance; design; film; music; opera; photography; digital arts and media; theatre and drama; the visual arts; and cross-arts practices.