Curriculum Overview

Our Lady's Catholic School strives to provide our children with a rich and broad curriculum within which all pupils can learn and achieve their best.

The curriculum delivers the National Curriculum in an exciting and purposeful way – cross-curricular links are exploited to make learning interesting and meaningful. The curriculum is enhanced through visits, visitors and special events throughout the year.

Cross curricular topics can be viewed in the document below:

Whole School Overview of Each Subject

Religious Education

As a Catholic School, we attach the greatest importance to Religious Education in the life of our school. This not only applies to specific RE lessons but in the every day interaction of school life, assemblies, meal times, play times and all the relationships that exist within the school. We try to help children to find a personal faith in God and to enjoy a sense of awe and wonder at His creation. We teach tolerance and respect for other faiths, races and cultures.

The Parish Priest takes an active interest in the school and its religious life. Mass and liturgies are celebrated in the school each week. The School celebrates acts of collective worship each day, in class groups or as a whole school.

British Values... Gospel Values!

In 2013 the Department for Education said "Keeping our children safe and ensuring schools prepare them for life in modern Britain could not be more important. This change is an important step towards ensuring we have a strong legal basis for intervening in those schools where this is an issue. The vast majority of schools already promote British values. This is about making sure we have the tools we need to intervene if children are being let down."

Schools are required to actively promote and not undermine 'British Values' The government has set out its definition of British Values as:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect
  • Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.

As a Catholic School we actively promote values, virtues and ethics that shape our pupils character and moral perspective, through the teachings of the Church. We are confident that our continued focus on the Gospel Values will give our pupils the necessary awareness of what it means to be a good citizen in Britain today, and embed in them the building blocks of a future successful and productive life.

Through our RE, PSHE, PATHs, Geography and promoting The Common Good we are able to make real links between the values of our pupils and the lives of others in their community, country and the world in general.

Through our Creative Curriculum we teach about democracy, civic responsibility, rules and laws, the monarchy, equality, values and virtues, environmental awareness and understanding of other faiths.

Through our mission statement and values we live out our 'British Values'.

English

Speaking and Listening

Children are given a variety of opportunities to listen: as a whole class, within a small group, to a partner and individually. They are encouraged to respond to a variety of questions adapting their answers to their listeners. Drama also plays an important part in development these skills. Visual Literacy is used to stimulate, motivate and engage pupils in talk.

Reading

Children are encouraged to become fluent and confident readers who show good understanding of the variety of texts they read. The texts studied in literacy follow given topics, such as instructions or myths and legends, but are increasingly challenging as children move up the school. By reading together in literacy sessions all children are helped to access the texts. The teacher will also read to the children, so that they are provided with a good role model for reading aloud. EYFS and KS1 follow the Read Write Inc. Phonics program.

Group Reading

By using a collaborative approach we have ensured that every child is heard to read regularly. Each class is divided into groups. The teacher hears a group read from one book or part of a book for a twenty to thirty minute session. This enables the teacher to talk about the book with the children so that he or she can find out more about what each child understands and can pinpoint weaknesses that need addressing. Groups that are not reading will be involved in different reading activities which could be based on the book that they have read to the teacher or other reading. Reading journals have been introduced to encourage independence in KS2. The journals allow children to select their own reading activity while another group is working with the teacher.

Home Reading

Each child is given a reading book from our reading scheme until they reach upper KS2. These books are graded and contain fiction and non-fiction books suitable for individual needs. The children take these books home to read. It depends on the child's individual need how often a child is heard to read from these books in school. In upper KS2 children are also given books from well-known children's authors to read at home.

Mathematics

The National Framework for Mathematics has been introduced into the school to enable teachers to provide pupils with a firm foundation in mathematics and set targets for raising standards in key skills. We believe in interactive, whole-class and group teaching using a variety of approaches that meet the diverse needs of individual children.

Mathematics is taught through a daily mathematics lesson, which uses a three-part structure, starting with oral work and mental calculation using whole-class teaching as well through cross curricular links with other subjects. The main part of the mathematics lesson is used for teaching new topics or consolidating previous work. Finally, the plenary plays an important role, allowing teachers to draw together all that has been learned. Lessons focus on whole-class teaching with a strong emphasis on mental calculation and, throughout the lessons, pupils are given the opportunity to explain their answers and suggest new ways of tackling problems.

We also try to relate maths to real life whenever possible and use our surroundings to learn outside the classroom on a regular basis. Problem solving is incorporated throughout mathematics lessons and displays around the school, children are encouraged and challenged to apply their skills across a range of applications.

Computing

Computing encompasses two main areas:

  • Preparing our children to be competent, safe users of a range of digital equipment (computers, photographic and recording equipment, tablets, mobile phones etc).
  • Developing our children's understanding of how the technology we use daily actually works, the science behind the computers.

During KS1 the children will progressively develop skills in programming, creating digital content and using technology safely and respectfully. These skills will be further developed in KS2 and in addition the children will learn about computer modelling, networking and how the internet and search engines work.

Where learning is enhanced by its use children will use a variety of ICT equipment across the curriculum, selecting the appropriate hardware and software for the task, on a regular basis. Computing skills however will be taught in dedicated computing lessons. In addition to a new media suite, each classroom has access to a range of ICT devices and software. From Reception upwards our aim is for pupils to become as confident and skilled as possible in order to fully empower them in our increasingly technological age.

Science

We aim to develop interest in science and to develop scientific knowledge and investigative skills.

Science is a core subject of the National Curriculum and all pupils are involved in some science activity each week. Each year group will study six units of work.

The children are taught about living things, materials and physical processes. These are taught through a range of activities, visits and visitors to school.

The children learn to investigate these things at first hand, using the school environment when appropriate.

Activities encourage the children to find out about the world around them and to help them raise their own questions. The children have opportunities to develop their skills in planning investigative work, selecting the equipment to use, carrying out activities safely and making decisions on how to present their results.

There are many cross-curricular links within the science curriculum. Mathematical understanding is developed as children interpret data and collate results on graphs whilst children may also write a list of instructions as part of their English lessons.

Art

The Art curriculum offers children the opportunity to develop their understanding and use of a variety of media and processes in order to record, communicate and express their own ideas in many different ways.

Through art our children are encouraged to develop and express their creativity and imagination. The children take part in activities which allow them to explore, enjoy, discuss and respond to art in its many forms that has been produced by a range of artists, including famous artists, themselves and their peers.

Design and Technology

Design and Technology draws from and contributes to all other areas of the curriculum and is essentially practical. Pupils learn to work with a variety of materials to create high quality products through combining their designing and making skills with knowledge and understanding.

They will be taught to use a range of tools safely and techniques for problem solving. As they progress they will develop an understanding of technological processes, products and their manufacture. Finally the children will be encouraged to develop a critical awareness of their own and other's responses to their work as well as responding to designs around them in the man-made world. Cross curricular links are made wherever possible and ICT is used where appropriate.

Geography

We encourage each child to develop a natural interest in the world around them and this curiosity is used to develop their knowledge and understanding of not only their locality but of contrasting localities in the United Kingdom and the wider world. In all Key Stages we value the importance of trips as an important element in stimulating work in geography and broadening their understanding of the world around them. As well as the study of places, children are taught the essential skills of using resources such as maps, atlases and photographs as a means of gathering information. They are encouraged to ask probing questions, make relevant observations and develop a good geographical vocabulary.

Links with current world events are made whenever possible and displays are used to encourage children's interest.

History

History is a very powerful subject in our curriculum as it sparks curiosity of the past in Britain and the wider world. Children find out about past lives and societies and how these have influenced the present. Pupils learn skills of chronology to help place significant events and people over time. Pupils also learn enquiry skills – how to gather and interpret evidence from a wide range of sources.

We seek imaginative ways to bring history to life for our pupils by organising a range of trips to museums, historical sites and visitors who have lived in historical times in each year group.

Personal, Social and Health Education

The children are very much encouraged and helped to develop the skills necessary to listen to and value the views of others. Children are encouraged to think about their responsibilities and the consequences of their actions upon others. Throughout the school PATHs is followed as a practical teaching tool. Children are encouraged to respond positively to one another and share compliments daily.

Policies are in place for the teaching of drug and sex education. The 'Health Bus' visits the school annually providing an engaging and interactive introduction to health education each year. Family life education follows the Diocesan scheme 'All That I Am.'

Modern Foreign Languages

French is taught to children from Year 3 onwards we use an interactive teaching programme to assist in the delivery of French lessons and also have a visiting French teacher from JHNCC who delivers lessons to the children. The teaching of French is very active and fun in its approach using song, games, and activities, etc. The development of the spoken word is our main focus.

Music

At Our Lady's Catholic School, the teaching of music develops pupils' ability to listen and appreciate a wide variety of music and gives them an opportunity to make judgements about the quality of music in general. In music lessons, pupils are encouraged to be actively involved in different forms of amateur music making, both individually and in groups. Music activities include the playing of instruments, singing and performing simple movement which aids the experience of rhythm.

Specialist tutors from the Birmingham Music Service come in twice a week to teach music lessons and brass lessons. Children who attend specialist music lessons are given the opportunity to perform twice a year in school along with the school choir. Opportunities are also provided for children to participate in city wide events. At the end of every term, a year group puts on a production, in this way providing further opportunities for pupils to sing and play instruments, and the whole school are also taught new songs on a regular basis, which are sung during Mass.

Physical Education

At this school we provide the children with lessons that have clear objectives, varied teaching styles and challenging activities. Tasks are differentiated to allow all children to feel a sense of success and achievement. We teach the children the importance of exercise. By following the National Curriculum and Local Authority Guidelines we cover a varied curriculum from Games to Dance, Gymnastics to Swimming, Athletics to Outdoor Education.

Extra-Curricular Activities

We offer the children a range of activities such as Tri Golf, Cheerleading, Multi-skills and Football. We also participate in various sporting activities within the locality and with the Catholic Sports Competitions.

Swimming

KS2 classes attend the Stechford Cascades Pool for weekly swimming sessions on a half term rotational basis. The first priority is placed on teaching the highest possible number of children to gain confidence in the water and to be able to swim with some degree of competence. Confident swimmers develop their technique in a variety of swimming styles and survival skills.

For further information please see our school prospectus or contact the school.