At St James’ we are passionate about delivering a curriculum that is not only broad and balanced, but that also prepares children for a future in modern Britain. We pride ourselves in empowering our pupils to be global citizens with an appreciation of cultures, values and lifestyles that may be different to their own as well as enabling them to understand the impact that they can have both in their local community and the wider world. We believe that opening doors to a range of opportunities and experiences will ultimately provide our children with skills and knowledge they need to be successful, aspirational adults.
Our curriculum design is underpinned by concepts that are closely linked to our core values which OfSTED (Jan 2018) stated “These values shape their attitudes and behaviour, giving the school a notably kind and caring ethos. Pupils are prepared very well for life in modern British society.”
Mrs Casey Cox
Head of School & Curriculum Lead
At St James’ CofE Primary School we want to develop and nurture thinking and learning skills. We want our children to flourish using Growth Mindset; and we want to build resilient, resourceful and reciprocal learners within a Christian ethos.
Our learners will develop a knowledge of key concepts through empathy and understanding of the world. They will have the strength and emotional wellbeing to help overcome challenges; and will be taught the values of being global, Christian citizens.
Concept Learning and Creative Thinking
We will provide our pupils with an ambitious curriculum which meets the needs of our diverse, local community. Our curriculum will give children a window into the world so that they understand that they are part of the global community which has a shared future.
Pupils learn through the school’s concept-based curriculum, an approach to education that puts conceptual understanding and intellectual development at the forefront of their educational experience. Our learning programme is carefully constructed (see Systematic Approach to Planning section) so that our students can make a meaningful contribution to our local community, through developing pupil voice and by striving to understand complex concepts like peace, diversity and sustainability.
In a concept-based curriculum, students are introduced to ideas and conceptual understanding as they engage in their learning. This creates a three-dimensional curriculum by developing transferable skills.
In Geography, for example, our students will study Community. They will consider a world affected by global warning. In Year 2, when studying the theme of “All at Sea”, children will consider the impact of global warming on the ocean’s habitats and food chains. They will look at how this will affect the global community. Building students’ understanding of this concept as they encounter a theme, sets the stage for deep learning and allows students to develop transferable skills.
When students look at a new theme, for instance the Rainforests and Polar regions, they are able to identify how community relates to the new theme, how it looks similar or different. By looking for connections across knowledge and skills-based learning, students form conceptual understanding. This will build a firm foundation for what they know, do and understand, across the curriculum.
Our concept and thematic learning, is woven throughout the year to allow opportunities to make connections with other subjects. We have designed a bespoke curriculum which culminates with an authentic outcome so the children feel their work has purpose and value.
Our concept learning is complimented by our six Christian values, which children learn about through Collective Worship, RE, PSHE, RSE and are re-enforced through all interactions with adults across the school.
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Our Schools are responsible for providing the conditions for community wellbeing to flourish. At St James’ CofE Primary School, we aspire towards a culture of care, where there is a shared commitment to cultivate wellbeing for all members of our community. While we acknowledge that feelings of wellbeing are personal and will vary between individuals,
Our schools are Trauma Perceptive Practice Schools, where we embrace the collective ambition for all students, staff and parents to have the values and mindsets of:
- Compassion and kindness, instead of blame and shame,
- Hope instead of hopelessness,
- Connection and belonging rather than disconnection.
At St James’ CofE Primary School, we recognise the importance of high standards of language and literacy, reading, communication and mathematics. We also recognise that children will learn best when they are engaged and motivated. Therefore, children are at the centre of all planning.
We will encourage pupils to apply critical thought to an increasing breadth of situations, developing this through the concept-based curriculum. Knowledge and skill acquisition is also important, children are provided with regular opportunities to refer back to previous learning to help cement what they know, do and understand.
The teaching of our curriculum is delivered in a systematic way, which incorporates key approaches:
The Big Question
(Promotes curiosity and interest. Pupils make links to previous learning – thinking about what they already know, do understand)
All subjects are planned over 7 years, progressively developing children’s skills and knowledge -regular opportunities to make links across subjects allow for cohesive learning.
Learning is objective led.
St James’ CofE Primary School curriculum is structured through thematic learning, termly themes bind subjects together, allowing teachers to cross connect different areas of the curriculum, linking children’s learning to provide a context, which ensures a deeper understanding and more cohesive way to learn.
Authentic Sources and High-Quality Texts
Our school highly value high quality texts and authentic sources as an essential vehicle for deepening and broadening children’s learning. Exposure to high level vocabulary through quality literature ensures all children have equal access to experiences that enhance their cultural capital.
Aspirational Figures & Diverse Curriculum
Our school recognise the importance of aspirational figures who represent our diverse British community, and its place within the global community. Our school have developed a curriculum which embraces a wide range of cultures, religions and countries celebrating the rich and varied world around us as well as learning about individuals who can inspire our pupils to succeed.
Adaption and Inclusion
Our School recognise the importance of using a range of approaches to supporting children with Special Educational needs and Disabilities (SEND). All children benefit from quality first teaching in the classroom, which caters for their individual needs and supports all children to make good progress. The schools believe that scaffolding and adapting work to enable all children to participate in learning is vital for good progress.
Teaching sequences are regularly assessed formatively and summatively on a termly basis – regular opportunities for self, peer and teacher assessments allow teachers to shape and adjust learning to the needs of their cohort.
Authentic Outcomes and Critical Audience
The school provide opportunities at the end of a theme to demonstrate their key learning within an appropriate context. This helps to build motivation and raises expectations and expertise.
Enables the production of beautiful work, alongside looking for ways of becoming even better.
Professional Learning & Development
Our ambition to grow, develop and improve our schools, compels us to continually reflect and adapt. We embrace and support professional development, encouraging all our staff to engage with new learning and development opportunities. Reflection and self-assessment through our Teaching and Learning Framework, embeds a mindset of continuous improvement, where staff are encouraged to connect and support each other alongside seeking out new opportunities for training and learning.
“The craftsman teacher understands that they are continually perfecting their craft and are willing to work toward attaining their own high standards through the pursuit of ongoing learning. They seek precision, mastery, and refinement in their craft.”
Costa and Garmston (2013)
The “Thinking Classroom” will encourage pupils to learn through effective engagement, pupils will be asking questions, engaging in dialogue, analysing and synthesising ideas to form deepening understanding of themes and broadening their subject knowledge.
Pupils will be taking responsibility for their own learning, with increasing confidence and independence. All children will be able to access and engage with this and will feel that they are well supported to make good progress.
Leadership is distributed throughout the school; children will feel that their unique voice is listened to and valued, pupil voice will be accessed continually and children will see how they have contributed to how the school develops and improves.
Following our school rules of:
Children are safe in their classrooms and the wider school, they will be treated with respect and will be protected from harm. They will be asked for their opinions about things that affect their lives and be listened to. They will feel and be safe in their interactions with adults and other children and young people and they will understand as early as possible what is meant by ‘feeling and being safe’
Staff will be committed to improving pedagogical practice, in order to directly improve learning and will demonstrate an ever-growing confidence in providing the best possible teaching supported by excellent knowledge in all subjects of the curriculum.
Finally, our dedication to providing excellent education to our pupils, will ensure that our learners enjoy their learning whilst we strive to provide the highest possible academic standards for all our children.