Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Curriculum Rationale

Holy Cross Curriculum:
Right Content, Right Place, Right Time

Our aim when designing the Holy Cross Curriculum was to provide a child-centred framework that would deliver unique and diverse opportunities for all of our pupils. We want to inspire a lifelong passion for learning and a desire within our pupils to explore and connect with their immediate world whilst promoting curiosity in all they have yet to discover. We search to exploit every opportunity for children to grow, explore and succeed as happy and ambitious individuals in a community where they have a voice and a sense of belonging and we strive to provide a challenging and engaging learning environment: an environment that encourages children to question, problem-solve, collaborate and imagine. We work hard to provide opportunities for our children to view the world from different perspectives, to explore and connect with the natural environment, and to have an innate wish to 'know more' and 'understand more'.

At Holy Cross, our Catholic faith is central to all that we do. We work to ensure our whole curriculum, our moral values and our relationships stem from gospel values and that our children are continually reminded of God's loving presence in all that we do. Close links to our local parish strengthens the bond between home, school and church and promotes a community framework that supports faith and spiritual wellbeing: a community where every individual is respected and valued.

To alleviate disjointedness in our curriculum we have adopted a schema-based approach to learning. Progressively sequenced to provide children with the opportunities to build upon prior knowledge, we have introduced a spiral curriculum where understanding is developed through pupils making links and connections to what they already know and challenge is extended at every stage of a child's developing and maturing needs and abilities. We believe that a continuum of learning, as opposed to insular pockets of year group knowledge, is conducive to this approach; allowing knowledge to be embedded, extended and deepened at each stage of the learning journey. Careful placement of content and coverage allows cross-curricular connections to be exploited and transferable skills utilised and this collaboration between skills, knowledge and understanding assists children in their understanding of 'why' as well as 'what'. Detailed curriculum maps and progression documents equip teachers to plan for an accumulative curriculum where prior knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills are built upon to maximise pupils' ability to learn. Developing vocabulary is a priority for our school and the inclusion of subject-specific language allows for the teaching of vocabulary and concepts to complement and mirror the progressive approach in teaching knowledge, skills and deeper understanding.

As well as improving what we teach, we also considered how we teach and therefore reviewed the schemes that we use to support lessons. Moving towards subject-specific schemes such as KeyStage History and CLPE Power of Reading allows teachers to access quality planning and resources which can be adapted and personalised to meet the needs of our pupils. Adopting subject-specific schemes across the whole school allows staff to quickly access and revisit previous content whilst allowing children to benefit from a systematic approach in the teaching of individual subjects.

We took the decision to put reading at the very heart of our curriculum. Our text-based approach when teaching English supports children's reading and writing at each stage of their development and high quality texts provide exposure to an array of authorial style and content. Visiting authors, librarians and reading buddies all work to inspire our children to engage with reading and assist in our ambition to foster a lifelong love of literature. Our English curriculum map includes associated titles to support each class text studied, providing reference and guidance for staff when making recommendations to children. In addition to this, children enjoy regular visits to our school libraries and all enjoy a daily class read from their teacher. Our Maths is delivered through an ambitious, connected and sequenced curriculum accessible to all children in our school from EYFS to Year 6. This allows pupils to secure, apply and deepen their mathematical skills. With support and guidance, children move from practical resources to working in the abstract, with opportunities to secure and deepen their knowledge through reasoning and problem-solving activities. Our curriculum uses a variety of high-quality materials including; White Rose Maths schemes of learning, Classroom Secrets, Testbase, NCETM and NRICH.

In appreciation of the scope of knowledge, skills and experience that can be gained from studying a range of subjects, we offer a varied and exciting curriculum to our pupils: in music, every child learns to play an instrument – with many performing as part of our orchestra in school, church and at community events; in art, children develop fine motor skills and consider why art can often extract diverse and polarised responses; and DT projects allow for precision and accuracy to be developed through the practical application of skills. We recognise that physical and mental health are of equal importance to the overall wellbeing of a child and therefore PE is especially important to us. We participate in local tournaments/leagues so that children can enjoy competitive sport and children with SEND attend local disability sports days whenever possible. Although not always formally measurable, as a school we fully appreciate the importance of offering a broad and balanced curriculum to nurture the needs, opportunities and experiences of all our children.

Limited cultural capital restricts the breadth and depth of an individual's learning and engagement with the world around them and our 'theme weeks' provide immersive learning experiences. Visiting experts or trips provide first-hand experiences and aim to ignite a passion and excitement for learning. Typically culminating in a presentation of their work to a wider audience, these experiences furnish a sense of pride, achievement and confidence within our pupils whilst promoting engagement and inclusion within the wider community.

Our wider curriculum reflects the diversity of our pupils, where difference is not only accepted but celebrated, and opportunities are provided for children to fulfil their own potential in paths of their choice. We are proud that our curriculum allows children to grow in confidence and stature; to work effectively both individually and collaboratively; to develop team spirit; and to experience competition – both through the lens of celebration and the management of disappointment. Our curriculum encourages children to embrace challenge and difficulty and recognises both effort and achievement.

Whilst extensive work has been carried out and we feel our curriculum offer has improved dramatically, we recognise that this needs to be under constant review to continually ensure the best outcomes for our pupils. Our curriculum maps are working documents that are regularly reviewed, evaluated and refined and we constantly strive to make the best even better: because that is what our pupils deserve.

Holy Cross Catholic Primary School
Queen's Drive
Telephone: 01793 527679
Email: admin@holycross.swindon.sch.uk
Headteacher: Mrs S Dowdeswell
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