Listening Attention and UnderstandingSpeakingSelf RegulationManaging SelfPhysical DevelopmentComprehensionWord RecognitionWritingNumber and Numerical PatternsPast and PresentPeople Culture and CommunitiesNatural WorldCreating with MaterialsBeing Imaginative and Expressive Building Relationships
The purpose of our curriculum at St Gabriel’s is to equip our pupils with the tools they need to live fulfilled lives and be well-prepared for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life, helping them engage with and flourish in our local and global community and to captivate, excite and instil in them a lifelong love of learning. We aim to provide an inclusive, broad and balanced curriculum which meets the needs of all pupils, challenges and inspires them and gives opportunities for them to develop holistically so that they can make great progress, achieve and lead fulfilling, safe and healthy lives.
Our Early Years curriculum has been designed specifically for the children of St Gabriel’s. It is a bespoke curriculum created to ensure learning is purposeful at all times and the children are constantly challenged in every area. Alongside academic progress, we plan for pupils to develop physically, mentally, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, developing an appreciation of fundamental British values and with a deep understanding of our school values of Love, Community, Respect, Growth and Integrity.
In Early Years we have 17 areas of learning which are split into ‘Prime areas’ and ‘Specific areas’. The Prime areas consist of ‘Listening, Attention and Understanding’, ‘Speaking’, ‘Self-regulation’, ‘Managing Self’, ‘Building Relationships’, ‘Gross motor skills’ and ‘Fine motor skills’. The Specific areas consist of ‘Comprehension’, ‘Word reading’, ‘Writing’, ‘Number’, ‘Numerical pattern’, ‘Past and Present’, ‘People, Culture and Communities’, ‘The Natural World’, ‘Creating with materials’ and ‘Being Imaginative and Expressive’. In order to ensure we have good curriculum coverage, we have a carefully balanced mix of adult directed learning and independent child led learning. Our classroom environments are vital to support the independent learning of the children and each day we have dedicated adults whose role is to facilitate our environment to ensure children are consistently learning with purpose.
Curriculum content is delivered through timetabled Literacy, Numeracy and Phonics lessons which are designed to include evidence-based teaching and learning strategies to help our pupils make progress within lessons and over time. The learning in Literacy and Numeracy lessons is mapped out in long term plans and follows a progressive skill based approach to learning. The remaining areas of the curriculum are delivered through our facilitation of the Early Years environment which is carefully planned for and monitored each week. Strategies include:
- Encouraging children to interact with talk partners and groups to share and discuss their understanding and viewpoint.
- Employing assessment for learning strategies so teachers accurately assess understanding and respond by supporting and challenging children and groups of children flexibly.
- Planning opportunities for retrieval of core knowledge, themes and skills within lessons, given appropriate spacing, to help children develop their long-term memory.
- Modelling metacognitive skills by making thought processes explicit.
- Developing positive attitudes to learning and a growth mindset.
- Creating learning environments which display prompts for children and highlight core knowledge, themes and skills for subjects.
- Chunking learning to reduce children’s extraneous cognitive load whilst keeping focussed on the most germane elements.
- Utilising verbal feedback to support children in understanding more about their learning across the curriculum.
- Utilising Tapestry Online Learning Journal app to ensure parents are immediately informed of learning targets and ways to help at home.
Lessons have a learning objective and subject-specific skills which are explained to children to help them organise what they are learning. These help drive the lesson and give shared clarity for teachers and children. Activities within lessons are thoughtfully selected to enable children to develop skills and acquire knowledge.
The implementation of the school’s curriculum is dynamic, always evolving. Teachers and leaders regularly discuss content and learning strategies based on their experience and research, they share good practice and undertake continuous professional development.
Each term, children’s attainment and progress across all 17 areas of the curriculum is assessed, quantified and analysed. Teachers review evidence of learning from a range of sources such as guided work with teachers, independent work in the environment and evidence from home learning which parents share on Tapestry. These are used to make summative assessment judgments termly. Teacher judgements and professional knowledge of each child is taken into account when considering if a child is currently on track with their development against each area of the curriculum.
At the end of the Reception year the children are assessed in terms of whether they are ‘emerging’ ‘expected’ or ‘exceeding’ against each of the 17 areas of the curriculum. Whilst making these judgements, practitioners consider their progress towards the EYFS Early Learning Goals for each area of learning. A child is considered to have achieved a ‘good level of development’ if they are ‘expected’ in all Prime Areas in addition to the Specific Areas of ‘Comprehension’, ‘Word reading’, ‘Writing’, ‘Number’ and ‘Numerical pattern’. This accounts for 12 of the 17 areas of learning.
Judgements are reviewed with senior leaders, subject leaders and colleagues from other schools. Assessment analysis informs leaders on standards across all cohorts in all subjects. During lessons, assessment for learning strategies are employed to enable teachers to identify the impact of teaching and the curriculum on the strength of understanding of the children. School leaders review the impact of the curriculum through assessments, standards of work, subject leader meetings, teacher, parent and pupil surveys and governor visits.