The Curriculum at St. James’ C of E Junior School
Curriculum Intent / Vision
St. James’ Junior School is a city centre Church School in the heart of a culturally diverse community. With 31 different spoken languages and over 90% of the children speaking English as an additional language, limited vocabulary and oracy are significant barriers to our children’s learning and progress. Many of our pupils are disadvantaged, with 42% eligible for Pupil Premium funding. Therefore, a high proportion of our pupils have limited wider-life experiences, which again has the potential to restrict their learning, progress and development.
In order to offer the highest standard of education to meet our pupil’s needs, we have designed a curriculum that inspires children through appropriate, age related challenges, high level questioning and by providing experiences that enthuse and engage. Our curriculum is fully inclusive and is designed to meet the needs of every pupil, regardless of their background and needs. We want every child to aspire to achieve the best that they can and our curriculum links to our School’s distinctively Christian values and vision of Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day.
Our curriculum encourages children to ask questions in order to further develop their knowledge and understanding. Children are stimulated through a variety of rich deep learning experiences and activities using new methods and ideas to meet their learning outcomes, therefore enabling them to know more and remember more.
Curriculum Implementation / Provision
For the teaching of writing, we follow the Talk for Writing scheme, an engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong. It is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. Talk for Writing enables children to explore vocabulary and encourages children to verbalise their work through text maps and shared reading, therefore support the development of language for our children with English as an additional language.
Children arrive at school with differing reading abilities, ranging from no previous knowledge of English to Greater Depth at Key Stage One. Therefore, we have developed a staged approach for the teaching of reading starting with phonics to ensure that children are secure in their phonetical understanding. For our new to English children, our Learning Zone supports the delivery of English using a phonics based approach. Children are given phonetically decodable reading books that are matched to their individual learning stage.
To develop fluency we embed a love for reading though engaging class texts that are read to the children on a daily basis thus exposing them to a wider experience of vocabulary and positive reading role models. This is further enhanced by the use of inspirational classroom reading corners and timetabled library time.
Each child is given a banded reading book based on their ability. We expect the children to read for 10 minutes every evening at home.
Reading is explicitly taught in Reading lessons using Book Talk and Super Six strategies and enhanced by the use of Cracking Comprehension.
In mathematics, we have adopted the mastery approach to learning through the use of Power Maths, recommended by the Department for Education and linked very closely to the White Rose Scheme of Learning. A concept is deemed mastered when learners can represent it in multiple ways, can communicate solutions using mathematical language and can independently apply the concept to new problems.
At St. James’ Junior School PSHE (Personal, social and health education) is taught using the Cambridge Programme. The programme is quality assured by the PSHE Association and covers a variety of strands including Myself and My Relationships, Healthy and Safer Lifestyles, Citizenship and Economic Wellbeing. There are also enrichment units on topics such as Body Image, E-safety and Domestic Violence.
Thematic Approach Learning
At St. James’ Junior School our Foundation Subjects are taught through themes based on The Cornerstones Curriculum, a creative and thematic approach to learning that is mapped to the 2014 Primary National Curriculum. Our theme curriculum is delivered through Imaginative Learning Projects (ILPs) which provide a rich menu of exciting and motivating learning activities that make creative links between all aspects of our children’s learning. Children progress through four stages of learning in each ILP – Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express and has an overarching ‘Big Question’, has and engaging ‘Big Start’ and concludes with the presentation of their learning as a ‘Big Finish’.
We believe children learn better when they are encouraged to use their imagination and apply their learning to engaging contexts. Our curriculum provides lots of learning challenges throughout the academic year that require children to solve problems, apply themselves creatively and express their knowledge and understanding effectively across the curriculum.
Cornerstones provides opportunities for children to talk about their learning whilst providing children with the potential to develop new and exciting vocabulary. With a high percentage of children who do not speak English as a first language, exploring language is an essential part of our curriculum.
Cornerstones also provide a rigorous essential skills framework that outlines the end of year expectations in all subjects. These essential skills are tied to activities and are age related so that staff can track children’s progress and identify their individual learning needs.