Holy Spirit Creative Curriculum 2018/2019
Holy Spirit’s curriculum is closely designed around our school mission and vision statements and has been developed to support the needs of our community and the child as a whole. Our curriculum is designed to be creative, inspiring and challenging
Encompassed within our vision, is the need for pupils to be exposed to a range of topics and experiences that broadens their understanding and equips them with the skills our children need to be successful, confident, life-long learners who reach their full potential for example Egyptian dress up days, Viking workshops and a Victorian afternoon.
Due to the context of our school, we endeavour to enable all our pupils to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to enable them to thrive. We believe access to a high quality, broad and balanced curriculum is the right of all pupils.
As a result of recent research we are working towards a ‘Knowledge Rich Curriculum’ where children acquire a depth of knowledge in all areas of the curriculum. We have a cross-curricular topic approach and, alongside this, we build in enriching and enlivening topic weeks which immerse the children in a variety of relevant themes. A curriculum that is literacy rich and language rich is must for our school if we are to open doors for the children’s futures. We, therefore, place a high focus on developing the children’s vocabulary and spoken skills and use quality texts to do this. Reading is at the heart of our school and central to the children’s learning. The wider curriculum is an opportunity for pupils to practise and consolidate KSU learnt in basic skills lessons.
As a Catholic School, we strive to ensure that the children receive an enriching experience/curriculum which reflects the person of Christ and the message the church received from him. Please also see Our Catholic Life page for a further celebration of what we offer.
Cross curricular – Our approach to the Foundation Subjects is cross curricular and we seek opportunities to make authentic links with the core subjects whenever possible. The Focus scheme is used and a school over-view is used to ensure sequential learning.
Driver – In each cross curricular topic a foundation subject will feature more heavily and this is known as the driver topic.
WOW- a wow experience is expected within each topic to hook the children in and make their experiences memorable.
Stand alone – Some Foundation subjects are primarily stand alone for example PE, MFL and Music although links are still sought whenever appropriate.
Topic Weeks- whole school topic weeks take place throughout the year. These are determined by the school needs or relevant, upcoming themes. A cross curricular approach is encouraged
RE- As a Catholic school, the RE curriculum is central to the whole school curriculum and underpins all teaching. It is a core subject and we follow the ‘Come and See’ scheme of work with timetable collective worship and daily lessons. I
National Curriculum – through expert understanding of the statutory requirements we have created a curriculum that builds high level knowledge, skills and understanding for ALL pupils. It is broad, balanced and promotes depth of study.
Literacy Links- Reading and Writing are a feature of all Foundations Subjects. Links between reading and writing and the foundation subjects are encouraged.
Communication and Language- Developing communication and oral skills is a feature of all Foundation subjects. Extending vocabulary and ensuring subject specific vocabulary is taught and is a feature of planning and display.
Home School Links - Children are encouraged to research questions at home and to create and design a range of craft work at home related to their class topic
Assessment – through the teaching of key knowledge and skills , teachers are able to assess pupil outcomes against the Focus objectives. Outcomes in each subject are monitored and tracked.. Medium term plans are evaluated and adapted
Both summative and formative assessment approaches are used.
Quality of Leadership– A team approach to Foundation Subject Leadership is encouraged with all teachers contributing. All teachers have a curriculum subject to lead.
Monitoring Cycle – A cycle of monitoring takes place which include lesson observations, book scrutiny, learning walks and pupil consultations in English and Maths and is being developed across all other subjects.
If you have any questions regarding the curriculum we teach please contact the school directly
Read Write Inc. Phonics teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly and children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes.
The Read Write Inc programme is highly consistent and structured and children enjoy daily success in small groups. Children make good progress and enjoy their daily learning!
At Holy Spirit, we have introduced the Maths – No Problem! programme, initially across years 3 to 6 last year in 2017/2018 and now also to year 1 and 2 in 2018/2019. It is a highly structured approach to teaching maths and deepens the understanding of all children. Each lesson is based around an ‘anchor task’ which the children explore using different methods. The children are encouraged to talk about their maths and explore their ideas fully, then work independently using the workbooks.
Maths — No Problem! is a series of textbooks and workbooks written to meet the requirements of the 2014 English National Curriculum. The Maths — No Problem! Primary Series was assessed by the DfE’s expert panel, which judged that it alone met the core criteria for a high-quality textbook to support teaching for mastery maths.
Teaching maths for mastery is a transformational approach to maths teaching which stems from high performing Asian nations such as Singapore. When taught to master maths, children develop their mathematical fluency without resorting to rote learning and are able to solve non-routine maths problems without having to memorise procedures.
We are very excited to be part of this mathematical journey and from September 2018 Year 1 and Year 2 will also be taught using this scheme.
The Maths No Problem! approach may be very different to the way in which you were taught yourself. To help you support your child at home, please click on the ‘Parent Videos’ below, which will give you an insight into some of the mathematical approaches.
When it comes to times tables, speed AND accuracy are important –bursts of daily practise are more effective than spending hours once a week. And this is where you come in. To support with times tables we are introducing Times Table Rockstars which is an online programme for times table practice that is both effective and motivational. For your child to be fully motivated and for them to get the best out of the practice, they need your help. Without your praise and your reminders, without you sitting down next to them or checking their work, practising times tables will not feel important to your child and the more facts your child remembers, the easier it is for them to do harder calculations. Please encourage your child to play the game at home regularly over the next few weeks to develop a regular habit that will assist their mathematics, just as daily reading helps propel their reading and writing.
Times Tables Rockstars can be easily accessed with internet browsers or alternatively with phones and tablets using the Times Table Rockstar app (visit the App/Play Store). For Internet browsers go to:
All children have been given their user name and password, but there is a facility to request this again via the website if you need to.
Examples of our creative thematic approach:
Children really learn from topic and themes by living and experiencing the learning. This can be done through what we call 'wow' moments to generate interest and curiosity in the subject.
Having theme dress up days in class, receiving and talking to knowledgeable visitors or visiting places of interest really add to the learning.
Here are a couple of good recent examples of making our curriculum broad, balanced, vibrant and fun.
Creative Curriculum! take a look at these fantastic models!
Year 2 children have worked on their Kings and Queens, Knights and castles theme and the children produced some superb castles with help from family at home.
Year 3 children really enjoyed their work on Volcanoes and created some super erupting volcanoes complete with lava!
Both are great examples of using fun and creative learning opportunities to really enhance the children's learning.
Journey by Aaron Becker
The whole school took part in an English based theme week in September using Aaron Becker's Journey picture book. Take a look at some of the photos linked to the Journey theme.
What does your child learn at school each day? Find information about our curriculum subjects here.
You will find more details on topics for each half term on class pages.
Year 4 Summer term topic was 'What is so special about the River Mersey?'
In the morning they went on the Ferry across the Meresy and could identify the two Cathedrals, the Radio City Tower and the Three Graces. In the afternoon they visited the Liverpool Museum and learnt all about the Liverpool docks.
Year 5 Space topic - launch using 'The Space Dome' with Astro-physicist Graham Perrin. The children got a real buzz from learning all about the stars and planets. Did you know that the planet Neptune is made of such cold gas that its' actually quite think - so that a space probe can be sent through it though its like travelling through custard!
Creative whole school topics:
Each term we have worked on a creative whole school topic. This has often been linked to a shared story with the whole school sharing it and working on it together - often with two classes, one younger, one older doing shared activities.
Recent examples include: (1) Whole school topic on 'Stickman' by Julia Donaldson (2) This Moose Belongs to Me' by Oliver Jeffers (3) 60 years and 7 decades at Holy Spirit (4) Tuesday (the story of the flying frogs) by David Wiesner.
Whole school creative topics creative a real 'learning trap' with pupils very excited about their learning experiences whilst a real love of learning and familiarity with quality texts is developed.