We have been working hard to further develop our curriculum to ensure a more thematic approach is interwoven across all areas of the curriculum. We are sure that the outcome will provide the children with an enjoyable and enriched learning experience. Throughout the term, topic themed days, visits or visitors and engaging ‘Hooks’ will offer the children the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in their learning. There will always be a clear and purposeful outcome for learning which will be shared with you. With a termly overview of each topic, you will be informed of the learning which will be covered. A Creative Curriculum approach encourages connections to be made across subject areas and within all areas of learning to enhance the children’s ability to make sense of the world in which they live.
At St Bernadette’s we follow the national curriculum which outlines core knowledge and skills around which teachers develop stimulating learning opportunities. We believe that all our children are entitled to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, enabling them to develop their full potential. We believe that children need to be happy in order for them to learn. This belief is at the centre of our approach. If children are unhappy with any aspect of school or home life, it can become a barrier to their learning. Therefore, every member of staff is ready to discuss any worries your child may have. We take a positive approach to all of our children and their characters. We develop their learning through praise and encouragement. Specific curriculum content is available on this website under each year group heading. If you require a paper copy or would like more information please contact the school office by email or telephone.
Languages (French) at KS2
Art and Design
Design and Technology
Also included in our planning is Personal and Social Health Education (PSHE).
Early Years Curriculum – The Foundation Stage
In their reception year the children continue to follow the foundation stage curriculum which they began at pre-school or nursery. The curriculum is based upon the following areas of learning:
Communication and Language
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Understanding of the World
Expressive Arts and Design
The curriculum is carefully planned around termly topics and includes first hand experiences, planned play activities and a variety of increasingly more formal tasks. The children’s development is closely monitored and as they progress they begin to work on elements of national curriculum in preparation for Year One. At the end of the reception year the children’s progress is assessed using the national Foundation Stage Profile which provides a clear indication of each child’s strengths, any areas for development and characteristics of their learning.
At St. Bernadette’s we encourage the children to express themselves well in speech and to be able to listen to others. We aim to foster a love of books, both fiction and non-fiction, and reading, Children are taught to read using a core scheme – Oxford Reading Tree – which is supplemented by a range of other material to enhance breadth and balance. We sometimes find that one child may get on with a particular scheme better than another, so we have the flexibility to choose appropriate scheme for individual children. This allows for some flexibility and means that the children can be given a choice that helps to develop their personal preferences, something that becomes more important as they move through the school.
Reading schemes are developed in conjunction with literacy experts. Our schemes begin in the Foundation Stage and become progressively more difficult. For example, Key Stage 1 books are written with a mix of high frequency and decodable words to develop a range of strategies, while Key Stage 2 books cover a wide range of genres and subjects, linking to the curriculum. To ensure that children develop a love of reading it is vital that they are supported and encouraged at home. We recommend that you read with your child on a regular basis and talk to them about their likes and dislikes.
Children are taught to recognise phonemes (letter sounds) and graphemes (letter shapes) and to blend skill. We use “letters and sounds” in a phase based approach to learning phonics, supplemented by resources from other providers such as jolly phonics. The Letters and Sounds programme focuses on securing word recognition skills, as these are essential for children to decode (read) and encode (spell) words accurately with ease, and so concentrate on comprehending and composing text.
We develop the children’s ability to write clearly and legibly and to produce a range of independent pieces of writing using accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation. We use ‘Letter Join’ handwriting scheme to develop a clear, fluent style of writing. We strive to make learning as meaningful as possible by making use of appropriate cross curricular links. Children are encouraged to develop their skills of planning, drafting and editing to improve their work and sustain their writing stamina in both fiction and non fiction pieces.
At St Bernadette’s we believe that understanding basic mathematics is an essential life skill. Our aim is for children to enjoy maths and to become fluent in the fundamentals of the subject. Maths is used to analyse and communicate information or ideas and to tackle a range of practical tasks and real life problems. We strive to motivate children to achieve a high standard in numeracy and a range of other mathematical skills and to apply these skills with confidence and understanding when solving problems.
Parents can support their child’s mathematical development at home. Board games, puzzles and jigsaws are a great way to provide fun mathematical experiences. It is also important to show how we use maths in our everyday lives and to make sure children have opportunities to be involved in activities such as baking (using measures) and shopping (using money,) Parents can be instrumental in helping their children to learn their times tables and practice quick recall of number facts – this is one of the most important skills which children will need to be successful in maths.
St. Bernadette’s provides an environment in which children can grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Catholic Faith and develop their own relationship with Christ. We want our children to understand that religion is not just for learning but for living. To complement the religious education which already takes place in the children’s homes and parishes we teach the “God Matters” religious education programme, enriched by appropriate use of the Old Testament and the Gospels. Children also learn about liturgy and the sacraments. Within the topics there are opportunities for exploring and appreciating aspects of other faiths. We encourage links with other faiths and cultures whenever we can to broaden children’s understanding.
In Year 3 children being prepared for First Holy Communion and Reconciliation through Parish based programmes will be supported by the school. The year 3 teachers liaise with Parish catechists regarding the programme to be followed.
At St. Bernadette’s we help our pupils to develop a reverential attitude in their prayer life and to make prayer a natural part of their daily lives. Children are exposed to a variety of prayer experiences, both formal and informal, private and communal. Children are given opportunities to compose their own prayers and take an active part in school Masses and non-Eucharistic liturgies. Daily collective worship takes place either as a whole school, key stage or class. It provides an opportunity for children and teachers to worship and reflect on the Liturgy, develop the current “God Matters” theme and consider spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from collective worship and religious education, which we respect. As a Catholic school, however, both are an integral part of our mission and we would hope that parents would not exercise this option.
School Masses, Assemblies and Class Collective Worship takes place during the year and parents are welcomed and encouraged to join their children on these occasions.
The aim of Personal and Social Health Education (P.S.H.E.) is to equip children with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to become informed, active citizens who lead independent, healthy lives. We teach children to develop a growth mindset and become resilient, determined learners who see mistakes as part of the learning process. We use “Philosophy for children” to challenge and engage children in developing their thinking skills.
PSHE is nurtured through our ethos, the RE curriculum, healthy school and Rights Respecting School Status. Through the development of children’s social, moral, spiritual and cultural education, we contribute to the promotion of British Values and address our duty to prevent violent extremism.
Sex and Personal Relationship Education is taught through a carefully structured programme “
Journey in Love” which is developmentally appropriate to the age of the children and delivered sensitively, in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from sex education lessons, but we hope you will consider this an important part of their education. Teaching materials used as part of the programme are available to view on request.
Science teaching is based upon the programmes of study in the National Curriculum. Lessons are delivered in a variety of ways ranging from formal whole class demonstrations to small group investigations. Children are encouraged to observe, question and reason systematically and logically. At Key Stage 1 Science is usually taught within the topic being studied at the time. At Key Stage 2 science may sometimes be taught more formally as a separate subject in order to ensure that all the aspects of the programme of study are thoroughly covered.
Children are taught to explores, enjoy and challenge the world around them through their learning in the foundation subjects, using appropriate cross curricular links.
Using laptops and iPads children develop their logical reasoning and understanding of computer systems. Children have access to the DB Primary safe learning environment from school and home which helps to support their growing appreciation of the digital world.
In Key Stage 2 children begin to learn French, both spoken and written.
The PE curriculum helps to encourage our children to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Emphasis is also placed on team spirit and good sportsmanship as well as on healthy competition.
Schemes we use at St Bernadette’s
In KS1 the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme and the Oxford Reading Tree scheme are used. The reading scheme is supplemented by Project X Series and Floppy phonics.
Further information regarding the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme can be found on the Department for Education (DfE) website by clicking the link below:
Information regarding the Oxford Reading Tree scheme can be found on the Oxford University Press website by clicking the link below:
How PE is delivered at St. Bernadette’s
At St Bernadette’s we believe strongly in providing great opportunities for sport and other physical activities because we recognise the contribution of PE to the health and wellbeing of our children. We know that a broad, balanced, high quality curriculum and a range of exciting after school clubs and activities will have a good impact on focus, conduct for learning and achievement of the children at St Bernadette's.
All pupils rare offered 2 hours of PE per week, delivered by well trained teachers and specialist coaches. The curriculum provides the children with a focus on the fundamentals of movement, while also emphasising the importance of social skills and co-operative learning. As the program challenges all abilities effectively, children are now able to evaluate the work of peers and articulate their next steps and progress in the core skills.
The children follow a fun and varied curriculum, which includes gym, dance, athletics, multi skills, swimming , cricket, rounders, netball, basketball, tag rugby , football and outdoor and adventurous work such as mini orienteering. In the summer term, we run a Schools Games Day which includes a range of fun multi skills based activities, as well as the more traditional sprint race events and relays for each year group. We also run a cycling proficiency course for Year 5 and make use of professional coaches during the year who work with children across the school.
We offer many sporting school clubs, such as Multi Sports, Football and lunchtime clubs. We work closely with CM Sports and have specialist instructors on site weekly working with all age groups. We are involved in various local leagues and support the team members with many practice sessions.