At Holy Apostles’ we aim to offer a well-balanced, broad-based curriculum that is not only academic, but also includes cultural, social, spiritual and physical development and growth. Our school’s Christian ethos is at its heart and all learning is linked to our core school values: love, happiness, friendship, determination, honesty, equality and forgiveness.
While English and mathematics are central to our curriculum, the development of essential life skills to enable all our pupils to be independent learners is also of central importance. In combination, these attributes ensure pupils’ ability to access future learning.
We aim to provide our pupils with practical, hands-on learning opportunities that enable them to experience learning in a meaningful way that reflects their interest and needs. We tailor learning to provide our pupils with opportunities to develop skills and explore concepts. These will allow them to build their knowledge and understanding through topics that will capture their interest and stimulate their imagination. Our curriculum reflects life in Modern Britain and encourages our pupils on their journey through life so they can grow into safe, caring, democratic, responsible and tolerant adults who make a positive difference to British society and to the world.
At Holy Apostles’, we recognise that English skills underpin all areas of the curriculum. We aim to provide pupils with a high-quality education in English that will teach pupils to speak, read and write fluently, so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others effectively.
We place the development of writing, directly linked to reading, at the very heart of our curriculum, and provide meaningful contexts and quality texts as the inspiration for writing. We want children to acquire a wide vocabulary, a secure understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn.
As part of our writing curriculum, we also ensure that time is spent on supporting children to make links between phonics, reading and writing, and endeavour to enable all pupils to acquire a growing vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and the ability to spell new words effectively by choosing and applying spelling patterns and rules that have been taught.
Throughout their time at Holy Apostles’, children develop their writing by exploring a wide range of different genres and text types. We ensure that all children are exposed to high quality, engaging texts across the whole curriculum that model excellent writing across a broad range of genres.
We not only develop a real enjoyment of writing in English lessons but in all subjects across the curriculum. We expect the highest standards of writing every time a child writes in any subject.
We are inclusive of all children, by providing the appropriate scaffolding, support and writing tools which children need in their writing process to experience success.
At Holy Apostles’, reading is a top priority and is a key driver within our curriculum. We intend that by the end of KS1, all pupils can accurately decode using their phonological knowledge and understanding and can apply this to a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. As children become fluent readers, our aim is to develop their comprehension so that children have a deep understanding of the texts that they read.
Our goal is that by the time children leave Holy Apostles’, all pupils can read fluently and with good comprehension in any subject. Furthermore, because of a deep immersion in high quality literature, our mission is that pupils develop a lifelong deep love of reading. Throughout our curriculum, it is our intention that pupils are introduced to a rich vocabulary, allowing them to communicate effectively both now and in the future. We therefore intend for children to read widely across fiction and non-fiction to develop:
- Knowledge of themselves and individual interests
- Knowledge of the world in which we live
- A deeper understanding of people and cultures from across the world
- To gain knowledge from across the curriculum
Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is to get all children to be competent readers as quickly as possible. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words. Essential Letters and Sounds is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme and was validated by the Department for Education in June 2021.
We aim to give all of our pupils a deep and secure understanding of Mathematics, through work that develops our pupil’s skills in line with the aims of the National Curriculum – fluency, reasoning and problem solving. Key concepts of number and place value, four operations, fractions, decimals and percentages, measurement, geometry and statistics are taught through carefully planned lessons. A strong emphasis is placed on reasoning and problem solving activities and there is a strong commitment to using a range of resources, including concrete and visual resources. This enables children to gain a deep mathematical understanding and build on their prior knowledge.
We believe that all children can achieve in Mathematics and encourage all of our pupils to have a ‘Growth Mindset’, believing that they can do it. This is reinforced throughout lessons with emphasis upon each class’s ‘Maths Mantra’, which is read before each lesson. This links to the GLOWMaths message #YesUCan.
In EYFS, Maths is formally taught 5 days a week using NCTEM Mastering Number as their key resource supplemented with the White Rose Maths space, shape and measurement units. Maths teaching is planned for all children to access. This involves a short input by the teacher and children completing a mathematical task. Different independent activities are planned from the lesson and implemented into the Continuous Provision both indoors and outdoors which each child accesses during the week. Throughout the Summer Term, the lessons in EYFS gradually become more formalised, preparing them for the transition into KS1.
Year 1 follow the National Curriculum and the White Rose Maths scheme. At the beginning of the year, lessons are very practical using the same manipulatives as used in EYFS. Lessons also involve a lot of guided practice, which enables a smooth transition from EYFS into Year 1.
From Year 2 and above, we use White Rose as our key resource to enable a coherent journey through the national curriculum with each year group following a medium term plan where small, cumulative steps build a solid foundation of deep mathematical understanding. All teachers carefully plan their lessons to include a concrete, pictorial and abstract approach to the subject.
In addition to daily Mathematics lessons, the children also receive daily maths meetings. These sessions provide an opportunity for practising key number, place value and calculation skills. In KS1, these maths meetings are used to deliver the Mastering of Number resource. This aims to secure firm foundations in the development of good number sense for all children from Reception through to Year 1 and Year 2. Through this, children will leave KS1 with fluency in calculation and a confidence and flexibility with number.
This is an important subject in our Church of England School. It is taught from Foundation Stage through to Year 6 and monitored in a range of ways. As well as Christianity, children learn about Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Non-Religious beliefs with a strong focus on showing respect for the faith of others. Pupils learn about sacred writings, places of worship, beliefs and traditions and how these may vary within faiths. We encourage all pupils to ask questions about the beliefs of others and themselves. We follow the Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus and the principal aim for RE is ‘to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.’ We embrace this aim and take every opportunity – across the curriculum – to put it into practice.
Additionally, our provision in RE aims to enable pupils to:
Make sense of a range of religious and non-religious beliefs, so that they can:
- identify, describe, explain and analyse beliefs and concepts in the context of living religions, using appropriate vocabulary
- explain how and why these beliefs are understood in different ways, by individuals and within communities
- recognise how and why sources of authority (e.g. texts, teachings, traditions, leaders) are used, expressed and interpreted in different ways, developing skills of interpretation
Understand the impact and significance of religious and non-religious beliefs, so that they can:
- examine and explain how and why people express their beliefs in diverse ways
- recognise and account for ways in which people put their beliefs into action in diverse ways, in their everyday lives, within their communities and in the wider world
- appreciate and appraise the significance of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning
Make connections between religious and non-religious beliefs, concepts, practices and ideas studied, so that they can:
- evaluate, reflect on and enquire into key concepts and questions studied, responding thoughtfully and creatively, giving good reasons for their responses
- challenge the ideas studied, and allow the ideas studied to challenge their own thinking, articulating beliefs, values and commitments clearly in response
- discern possible connections between the ideas studied and their own ways of understanding the world, expressing their critical responses and personal reflections with increasing clarity and understanding
Our Science curriculum is centred on enabling our pupils to develop a sense of enquiry and to extend their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. We use a range of teaching methods in science lessons that are intended to develop pupils’ scientific concepts; enable them to be curious about the world; and lead them to work as scientists, planning and undertaking practical investigations.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, activities are planned in relation to the “Understanding the World” area of the Foundation Stage curriculum. Pupils’ progress and achievements are assessed against the Early Learning Goals at the end of their Reception year. The activities are planned in a cross-curricular way through topic areas that are interesting and enjoyable.
During Key stages 1 and 2, science is taught through specific subject lessons and wherever possible, links are made between science and other subjects, particularly English, mathematics, DT and computing. Activities are planned to cover the relevant key science skills and knowledge for each year group, with particular importance placed on pupils working practically so that they can make discoveries for themselves. Work is recorded in a variety of ways including the use of drawings, charts, graphs and photographs. Pupils complete at least one science investigation per half-term, with an emphasis on assessing particular investigational skills and working scientifically. In Years 5 and 6, pupils are able to plan, carry out and then write up their full investigations. They communicate conclusions and carry out repeat tests to check results.
Every year we attend the Cheltenham Science Festival as part of our Science Week and invite visitors into school to provide exciting and ‘hands on’ activities to enhance our learning about and enjoyment of Science.
ART & DESIGN
Art and Design is a practical and creative subject. From EYFS through to Year 6, pupils learn to explore their imagination, generate ideas, acquire and refine new skills and expand their knowledge of great artists, architects and designers both current and throughout history. In Year 1, pupils are each given a sketch book to explore, develop and record. The sketch books travel with them throughout their educational journey into Year 6 where pupils are able to reflect and revisit ideas, always building on previous knowledge and skills. Our curriculum will engage pupils' imagination and provide opportunities to explore ideas, celebrating originality
EYFS - Pupils use a wide range of materials and media to create freely, with adults supporting development of fine motor skills to ensure readiness for Year 1. They will be introduced to the work of a range of artists to learn techniques, inspire individuality when creating and promote conversation, collaboration and the correct use of key words. Pupils will experiment with colour, design, texture, form and function to create artworks that require a number of stepped processes, and will be able to share and describe their creations with peers.
Key Stage 1 - Pupils use a range of materials creatively in drawing, painting and sculpture. They begin to develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space. Pupils are taught to share their ideas and experiences and to develop their imagination. They will look at the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and making links to their own work.
Key Stage 2 - Pupils will be taught to develop their techniques, including control and use of materials, with creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design. They will continue to improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials. Great artists, architects and designers in history are included as a part of lessons.
DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY
Design and technology at Holy Apostles’ School enables our pupils to combine practical skills with being creative and imaginative. Through our planned curriculum, we enable our pupils to create a range of structures, products using - mechanisms, textiles and electrical systems and food products. The teaching of Design and Technology, across the school, follows the National Curriculum. It is carefully planned to ensure progression across the year groups alongside the opportunity to build on prior knowledge and skills. We actively encourage the children to reuse and recycle materials to make new products as part of developing their awareness of environmental issues.
Key Stage 1
When designing and making, pupils are be taught to:
- design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria;
- generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through talking, drawing, templates, mock-ups and, where appropriate, information and communication technology.
- by selecting from and using a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing];
- by selecting from and using a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics.
- Explore and evaluate a range of existing products.
- Evaluate their ideas and products against design criteria.
- Build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable.
- Explore and use mechanisms [for example, levers, sliders, wheels and axles], in their products.
Cooking and Nutrition
- Use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes.
- Understand where food comes from.
Key Stage 2
When designing and making, pupils will be taught to:
- Use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups.
- Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design.
- Select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing], accurately.
- Select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.
- Investigate and analyse a range of existing products.
- Evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work.
- Understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world.
- Technical knowledge.
- Apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures.
- Understand and use mechanical and electrical systems in their products.
- Apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products.
Cooking and Nutrition
- Understand and apply the principles of a healthy and varied diet.
- Prepare and cook a variety of predominantly savoury dishes using a range of cooking techniques.
- Understand seasonality, and know where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.
At Holy Apostles’, the intention is that children gain a firm understanding of what music is through listening, singing, playing, evaluating, analysing, and composing across a wide variety of historical periods, styles, traditions, and musical genres. Our objective at Holy Apostles’ is to develop a curiosity for the subject, as well as an understanding and acceptance of the validity and importance of all types of music, and an unbiased respect for the role that music may wish to be expressed in any person’s life. We are committed to ensuring children understand the value and importance of music in the wider community, and are able to use their musical skills, knowledge, and experiences to involve themselves in music, in a variety of different contexts.
Our curriculum coverage is as follows:
Key stage 1
Pupils are taught to:
- use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes;
- play tuned and un-tuned instruments musically;
- listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music;
- experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music.
Key stage 2
Pupils are taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They are encouraged to develop their understanding of musical composition; to organise and manipulate ideas within musical structures; and to reproduce sounds from aural memory.
Pupils are taught to:
- play and perform solo and in ensembles using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression;
- improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music;
- listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasingly accurate aural memory;
- use and understand staff and other musical notations;
- appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians;
- develop an understanding of the history of music.
Our aim is to give children a thorough and ambitious education in computing, equipping them to use technology, computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. It is now more important than ever that children are able to use technology positively, responsibly and safely, and that they see good models of this.
By the time they leave Holy Apostles’, children will have gained key knowledge and skills in the three main strands of the National Curriculum for Computing (2014): computer science (programming and understanding how digital systems work), information technology (using computer systems to create, store, retrieve and send information) and digital literacy (evaluating digital content and using technology safely and respectfully). Furthermore, from Reception to Year 6, experiences in computing and the wider curriculum are planned to develop children’s computational thinking skills.
Our Curriculum coverage:
Key Stage 1
Pupils are taught to:
- understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions;
- create and debug simple programs;
- use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs;
- use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content;
- recognise common uses of information technology beyond school;
- use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies.
Key Stage 2
Pupils are taught to:
- design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts;
- design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts;
- use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output;
- use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs;
- understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration;
- use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content;
- select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information;
- use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.
At Holy Apostles’, the children are very keen to learn about the past and they love their history lessons.
Our history curriculum is rigorously sequenced so that our children’s historical knowledge, understanding and skills build over time. We have selected and designed our units carefully so that our curriculum includes diverse narratives and voices.
Within our classrooms, we follow rich and ambitious lines of enquiry by answering questions such as 'What is the lasting legacy of the Ancient Greeks?' Studying history in this way inspires children’s curiosity, encourages them to ask critical questions and enables them to have a better understanding of the society in which they live and that of the wider world.
In our history curriculum, we have thought about key threads that run through the units of learning. These include invasion and settlement, legacy, lifestyle and culture, understanding chronology and significant people and events. By carefully mapping these themes across the units and revisiting them in different sequences of learning, we ensure children make links and gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, national and international history; and between short- and long-term timescales.
In EYFS, children begin to develop their sense of chronology by talking about their own life story and the life story of family members. They are supported to communicate in the past tense when talking about things that have happened. Our children explore images of the past and make comparisons with the present. In KS1 and KS2, history is taught as a discrete subject. Teachers plan sequences of lessons across the unit that will build on and develop the children’s knowledge and skills. In Key Stage 1, our curriculum is mapped to enable children to develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They will start to know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. As they progress through the key stage, they will begin to make comparisons and connections between people and events in the past. In Key Stage 2, children will continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. This chronology, or sequence of events, will be referred to throughout KS2 so that children become secure in their understanding of important historical events and eras. It will also enable them to begin to identify trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms such as ancient and civilisation. The explicit mapping and rigorous teaching of vocabulary ensures that children can gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘legacy’.
Carefully selected skills are chosen to best match each unit of knowledge and progress year on year. Opportunities to practise and embed skills are planned for so that they are revisited and refined over time. The knowledge and skills that children will develop throughout each history topic are mapped across each year group and across the school to ensure progression. We also maximise the opportunities that our home town of Cheltenham and county of Gloucestershire has to offer in terms of its rich history, the museums and cultural sites. Therefore, children’s learning in history is enriched by visits, where workshops and visit materials deepen their understanding and knowledge.
The impact of our history curriculum can clearly be seen in the children’s books. Our children’s historical understanding is also evident in class assemblies where children share their knowledge with their parents. The opportunity to evaluate and reflect on the learning is planned for regularly to enable the children to see how their learning is progressing.
Children’s learning is assessed informally in each lesson and teachers plan responsively to next steps. At the end of a unit, children complete quiz questions. These short independent tasks provide evidence for assessing against the assessment statements on the unit plan. The quiz questions require the children to recall their knowledge about the unit. At the end of the year, class teachers then use the children’s recorded work and assessment to make a judgement as to whether each child is working at the expected level.
At Holy Apostles’, we believe that high-quality teaching of geography should inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its inhabitants that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. In order to achieve this, we strive to ensure that our approach to teaching geography enables all children to develop their contextual knowledge as well as a competence in geographical skills.
Geography also deepens understanding of many contemporary challenges – climate change, food security, energy choices. As a subject, it impacts upon every aspect of our children’s lives and plays a crucial role in developing caring and understanding citizens of tomorrow.
At Holy Apostles’, we want children to realise that geography is about them, growing up in their world. We want to build on children’s interests and experiences but also find ways to challenge and excite them with content that might be beyond their immediate horizon. We carefully selected units which reflect the needs of our children: units which take them beyond the local area to explore the UK and the wider world, to develop a passion for learning so that they leave us excited about geography as a subject.
Although we make meaningful links to other curriculum areas, we believe that children should see geography as a subject in its own right. Skills needed to be a geographer are taught progressively. Concepts are built upon, learning is revisited and children’s locational knowledge is built on year on year.
Geography is taught in the Spring term in KS2 – Teachers are clear about what they need children to learn and how this builds on prior learning.
Fieldwork is a statutory part of the national curriculum and is undertaken on a regular basis. Our geography curriculum ensures children engage regularly with the outside world and develop skills in meaningful and current contexts. First hand experiences are really important for our children. Fieldwork ensures children are engaging with the world around them, managing risks, navigating real landscapes and gathering data for real purposes. Year 6 enjoy visiting the River Chelt.
Through our geography curriculum, we have thought about key threads that run through units. These threads of Our local area and beyond, Environment and Sustainability, Settlements and Lifestyle, Weather and Climate and Mapping are revisited over time and add to the cohesiveness of our curriculum.
The impact of our geography curriculum can be seen in work in children’s books. children complete a short Quiz assessment at the end of each unit. Teachers use these assessments to plan for next steps and to evaluate whether a child is working at the expected standard at the end of the year.
At Holy Apostles’, we aim to widen our pupils’ views and understanding of the world, and we believe that learning a foreign language is a fundamental skill which allows children to access a multi-cultural society.
French at Holy Apostles’ is taught through a purpose written scheme of work, offering cross-curricular learning and opportunities for all children to engage with, and develop, a love of language learning. The curriculum is designed to ensure that all four skills (Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing) are covered in every unit and key skills are built into students’ learning journeys and are regularly revisited.
Throughout Key Stage 2, pupils have weekly lessons developing their ability to understand and communicate in another language, equipping them with a foundation to study further languages at Key Stage 3.
We use a variety of the following techniques to encourage children to have an active engagement with French:
· Games – in order to develop vocabulary through repetition, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills
· Role-play – these should relate to the situations the children may find themselves in the future
· Action songs and rhymes – to develop phonetic skills, memory skills and to further vocabulary
· Reading of quality materials – to foster a love of literature in another language
· We build children’s confidence through praise for any contribution they make in the foreign language, however tentative.
An annual Journée de la Francophonie widens pupils’ awareness of the wider French speaking world, with a focus on history, geography, culture and the arts.
At Holy Apostles’ School, we believe that physical education is an essential part of a child’s education, helping them to become healthy and active members of society. We aim to develop a balanced programme that helps children to develop the fundamental movements need to live an active life, as well as offering a wide variety of activities and sports to enhance their skills in physical education. We believe that positive participation in physical education will enable our pupils to build self-esteem, team work and positive attitudes which can be translated into all areas of life.
We aim to:
- develop confidence, skills and knowledge;
- pursue excellence;
- promote fair play and respect;
- educate pupils to improve health and wellbeing;
- provide quality opportunities for children outside of school time.
We promote British Values through our daily teaching and learning.
Through our provision of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development, we aim to:
- enable pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- enable pupils to understand what mental health is and how it relates to general to well-being;
- enable pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England;
- encourage pupils to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the local community and to society more widely;
- enable pupils to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England;
- further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures;
- encourage respect for other people; and
- encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
We currently use the progressive scheme of work, SCARF (Safety, Caring, Achievement, Resilience and Friendship), for our teaching of Personal, Social and Health Education.
Collective worship and our values curriculum support quality teaching and learning, whilst promoting the development of a positive society. The values we have chosen to adopt include friendship, happiness, respect, forgiveness, determination, equality and love and relate strongly to the promotion of British Values.
Through our School Council, we ensure that all pupils within the school have a voice that is listened to. We actively promote democratic processes. Our School Council is run by pupils and Council members are voted for by the pupils.