“I have called you by your name. You are mine.”
The school aims to provide a secure, stable and stimulating environment conducive to effective learning that reflects St Swithun Wells’ strong Catholic ethos, where every child is valued and their academic progress, physical development, spiritual welfare, creative awareness and pastoral care are promoted. We believe that all children have the ability to achieve their best and our curriculum and pedagogy enables all children to do this.
Teaching and Learning
The key to effective teaching and learning at St Swithun Wells is the core belief that all children can achieve and that our teaching enables children to develop our values. Our rationale for teaching and learning is through a problem based curriculum where units of work are structured around a key question or statement and where there is a clear learning journey that enables children to answer or respond to the problem. This means that in all curriculum areas:
- The unit of work is based around a key question or statement and the sequence of learning ensures this is answered and responded to (the exception is English which is structured around a high quality text);
- Skills and knowledge are revisited and links made with children’s current learning;
- Key concepts and skills are highlighted and over-learning of these areas occur through modelling, scaffolding of learning, repetition, opportunities to practise and consolidate;
- Reading and vocabulary are emphasised in all subjects;
- Learning is progressive and sequential.
Our curriculum is designed to enable all our children to develop into confident, independent and successful young people. It recognises the need to adapt to the demands of the changing world where communication and the use of computing are a pre-requisite and good citizenship and care for the environment is essential.
With a commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum, we seek:
- To enable all our children to acquire the basic skills necessary to access further learning and provide the widest possible choices to improve their life-chances. This includes a rigorous focus on teaching early reading, phonics, writing and maths in EYFS and KS1.
- To recognise and encourage each child’s unique gifts and talents and to endeavour to stretch/challenge their intellectual, creative and physical capacity.
- To ensure all children have access to the curriculum and that the curriculum is adapted, where necessary, so that all can learn and progress.
- To provide opportunities for children to develop independence and success through a problem based approach to learning.
- To appropriately support the curriculum with high quality, memorable learning opportunities that will motivate and engage children and influence further learning.
- To consolidate and embed knowledge and skills by linking learning across curriculum areas whilst recognising the distinct characteristics of each subject.
- To review and adapt our school curriculum to reflect the school’s context and priorities as reflected in the School’s improvement planning.
- To provide learning and other opportunities:
- That promotes children’s understanding of the environment and their responsibility as stewards of God’s creation;
- Where children learn how to keep themselves safe, especially when using the internet and know what to do if they find themselves in a dangerous or unsafe situation;
- That promotes children’s health and well-being and ensures they know what to do if they are worried or need additional support.
Teachers use a range of pedagogical practices throughout the curriculum to ensure that our identified curriculum intent is implemented and has a positive impact on learning.
- Teachers use professional judgement in how learning is best disseminated, including whole class, small or focused group teaching, or individual tasks.
- Skills and knowledge are taught sequentially, presented clearly and broken into manageable chunks so children’s working memory is not over-whelmed and skills, along with, concepts are embedded in children’s long-term memory.
- Teacher modelling and explanation, deep questioning, scaffolded learning, opportunities to practise-consolidate-embed skills, giving children memorable experiences and over-learning ensure that key concepts and knowledge are transferred to children’s long term memory.
- Each curriculum area is led by a subject leader who is responsible for designing, reviewing and implementing the subject’s Scheme of Work, including sequencing learning so there is clear progression of knowledge, skills and concepts and opportunities for over-learning. Reading, vocabulary and maths skills are promoted in all subject areas.
- Subject leaders support high quality teaching in their subject through offering advice, coaching and training, monitoring books and pupils’ learning and identifying future priorities. Priorities are reported to the head teacher and Governors so that they can be reflected in whole school Improvement planning.
- Units of work are planned as a clear learning journey, beginning with a key question or statement that is based around a problem. Subsequent teaching enables children to deepen their knowledge and skills and results in an appropriate task which shows their learning and understanding.
- In order to promote reading, high quality texts and text extracts are used as a basis for English units and feature in other curriculum areas where appropriate.
- Where appropriate links between subjects are highlighted.
- The curriculum is effectively enhanced with a wide range of extra-curricular and enrichment activities that reflect the needs and interests of the children. These include visits, visitors, Learning Adventure Weeks, Theme Days and performances. The time dedicated to these opportunities are taken into account in deciding time allocated to teaching. (See Appendix 1 for Curriculum Time Allocations)
- Opportunities for children to develop and practice the qualities reflected in our values, along with an appreciation and care for the environment, are threaded throughout the curriculum.
- We employ specialist teachers for music through Hampshire Music Service and PE to ensure these areas are effectively taught to enhance children’s learning.
- The curriculum enables children to achieve highly across the curriculum.
- Most children leave the school with secure skills and are ready to meet the challenges of the next part of their educational journey. They do this with confidence, a positive attitude to learning and an enthusiasm to embrace new experiences and challenges.
- A robust assessment system enables us to check children’s progress in relation to the curriculum and provide targeted interventions if needed.
- Senior leaders and the SENDCO ensure all children can access the curriculum. Subject leaders carry out termly tray reviews of books and planning and are involved in lesson observations where appropriate, providing feedback and support to develop and embed high quality teaching.
The principles and practices of inclusion and equality are integrated into the teaching and learning in all curriculum areas.