Teaching, Learning and the Curriculum
Principles & Purpose
As a Catholic School, the curriculum at Sacred Heart School is inspired by the teachings of the Gospel. At Sacred Heart School we promise to deliver a curriculum which is engaging, challenging and which fosters independence.
The activities we offer at Sacred Heart School are designed to encourage and promote the intellectual, personal, social, physical, creative, spiritual and moral development of our pupils. We aim to help our children and young people to learn to: understand others; to value diversity whilst also promoting shared values; to promote awareness of human rights; and to develop the skills of participation and responsible action.
Our curriculum includes the ‘hidden curriculum’, that is, what the children learn by the way they are treated and from how they are expected to behave. We aim to teach children how to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and co-operate with others while developing their knowledge and skills. We aim to enable children to make a positive contribution to their school community and the wider community as well. The curriculum is the means by which our school achieves its objective of educating children in the knowledge, skills and understanding that they need in order to lead fulfilling lives.
Entitlement & Enrichment
The curriculum at Sacred Heart School includes not only the learning which occurs in the classroom, but also the extra-curricular activities which we provide to enrich the experiences of the children.
The Core Offer for all children includes entitlement to the following as a minimum:
- Experienced, dedicated staff who have high expectations of all children.
- Highly trained teaching assistants who are able to deliver specific interventions as well as provide in-class support.
- At least one whole class educational visit per year.
- One key stage or whole school science trip in the spring term.
- A fully themed Science Week at the beginning of March every year.
- Visits to Hallam University through the STEM project.
- External visitors such as Zoolab, poets, and theatres visiting school.
- An immersive classroom with a themed doorway and themed reading area.
- Whole school themed days with opportunities to dress up and be fully immersed in the whole school theme.
- An engaging and exciting curriculum with a four-year cycle of whole school themes.
- An exciting ‘hook’ at the start of each new theme e.g. a rocket crash landing, a mad scientist visiting etc
- Regular Showcases for parents and the wider community to display written work, drawings and models made by the class. An opportunity to perform poems and songs at the showcases.
- TASC wheel activities to develop independent learning skills.
- The use of KAGAN structures to build self-confidence and social skills.
- Quality maths teaching through the Mastery Maths approach.
- The expertise of visiting professional sports people such as Sheffield United, to develop a range of sporting skills eg cricket and rugby.
- Cross curricular global learning including work around the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
- A specialist PE teacher and a specialist music teacher.
- Participate in Advent and Lenten services in church.
- Read prayers and scripture and perform liturgical dance in church.
- Read at a variety of whole school and class Masses/services.
- Be a member of the School Council, Sports Council, Eco Team or Chaplaincy Team.
- Extend writing skills through the half termly Big Write sessions.
- Develop reading skills through the Reciprocal reading approach.
- Learn to play the recorder with all children in the class.
- Purchase ‘additional’ music lessons for guitar, violin, woodwind, drums.
- Attend a range of extra-curricular activities such as: craft; cooking; French; cheer leading; Ultimate Frisbee; badminton; chess; gymnastics; netball; basketball; and many others.
Breadth & Balance
The curriculum at Sacred Heart School is arranged into a four year cycle of exciting and engaging whole school themes. These themes enable school to deliver its curriculum principles and entitlement whilst ensuring coverage of the statutory requirements of the national curriculum.
The curriculum skills grids demonstrate how the school achieves breadth and balance, whilst ensuring there is a progression of skills across all year groups.
Staff plan each term’s theme on bespoke, collegiate planning sheets, making links between subjects where possible but teaching some aspects as discrete subjects if necessary. Each theme starts with a ‘Big Question’ for the children to consider throughout their studies. Planning also includes the use of Bloom’s Questioning to encourage more in depth thinking.
At Key Stage 1, children are taught phonics through a combination of the Jolly Phonics scheme and Letters and Sounds. Phonics are then reinforced through games using an online programme called Phonics Bug and by using other apps on the school’s ipads. For reading the children have access to a variety of books including Project X, Code X, Oxford Reading Tree .
As a Catholic school, following the Come and See RE Programme, RE for example, is always taught as a discrete subject as school.
Check & Review
Assessment grids are used by staff to ensure full coverage of all aspects of the curriculum. These grids move with the class and, at the end of each academic year, they are passed up to the next staff member who will see where any gaps may have occurred. It is expected that all staff, on an ongoing basis, will work to address any gaps which may have arisen.
Staff are responsible for ensuring full coverage of the skills grids and held to account by the Senior Leadership Team.
Topic Evaluation Sheets are completed at the end of each term/topic and those children struggling to achieve specific skills and knowledge are highlighted for future support.
Impact Marking Sheets allow staff to look in more detail at any common misconceptions which may have arisen and to then adapt future learning in order to address this.
Staff develop a series of lessons which deliver the planned curriculum. Staff lesson plans show the finer detail, plotting the narrative for each theme, resources needed, key vocabulary and key questions to ask. In addition, these plans detail how pupils will be supported and what deepening activities will be offered. They show the starting point for each theme and how it will develop.
Staff identify high quality resources needed to help deliver the curriculum, as a good quality curriculum needs good quality resources. These resources include human resources, practical equipment and other teaching resources.
Trips are planned, visitors identified, resources are purchased as necessary. Local and community resources are used as much as possible eg Rivelin Valley, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Whirlow Hall Farm. Other resources are kept in topic boxes in school so they may be used in subsequent years.
Below is a link to an outline of the themes as they currently stand, however, they are subject to change.
To find out more about our curriculum, please contact the school and ask to speak to the Headteacher, Mrs Kelly, or the Deputy Headteacher, Mrs Jessop. Alternatively, why not make an appointment to come and have a look round our wonderful school and see the curriculum in action for yourself? You can be assured of a warm welcome.