At St Columba our philosophy for education is that a good education changes lives. We believe learning is a lifelong process and by developing positive learning behaviours at a young age will set our children up to develop the skills to be competent, confident adults that will have the potential to succeed throughout their life. To achieve this we have high expectations of everyone, staff, children and parents, in all aspects of our school life and we work hard to build an atmosphere of trust and respect to ensure your child feels well cared for and supported through their time at our school.
At our school, we use learning journeys to map a coherent sequence of learning for your children. These learning journeys are created using the ChrisQuigley Essentials document, which breaks the learning down into Milestones. Your child's teacher will use the schools 5 E's to help inform their planning and offer a wide range of experiences. Each learning journey has nine keys words and five key facts linked to the subject that need to be learnt and embedded.
Design and Technology
Our DT curriculum has three threshold concepts; mastering practical skills, designing, making, evaluating, improving and taking inspiration from historical designs.
The essential characteristics of St Columba designers are:
• Significant levels of originality and the willingness to take creative risks to produce innovative ideas and prototypes.
• An excellent attitude to learning and independent working.
• The ability to use time efficiently and work constructively and productively with others.
• The ability to carry out thorough research, show initiative and ask questions to develop an exceptionally detailed knowledge of users’ needs.
• The ability to act as responsible designers and makers, working ethically, using finite materials carefully and working safely.
• A thorough knowledge of which tools, equipment and materials to use to make their products.
• The ability to apply mathematical knowledge.
• The ability to manage risks exceptionally well to manufacture products safely and hygienically.
• A passion for the subject and knowledge of, up-to-date technological innovations in materials, products and systems.
Art and Design
Our Art curriculum has three threshold concepts; developing ideas, mastering techniques and taking inspiration from the greats.
The essential characteristics of St Columba artists are:
• The ability to use visual language skillfully and convincingly (for example, line, shape, pattern, colour, texture, form) to express emotions, interpret observations, convey insights and accentuate their individuality.
• The ability to communicate fluently in visual and tactile form.
• The ability to draw confidently and adventurously from observation, memory and imagination.
• The ability to explore and invent marks, develop and deconstruct ideas and communicate perceptively and powerfully through purposeful drawing in 2D, 3D or digital media.
• An impressive knowledge and understanding of other artists, craftmakers and designers.
• The ability to think and act like creative practitioners by using their knowledge and understanding to inform, inspire and interpret ideas, observations and feelings.
• Independence, initiative and originality which they can use to develop their creativity.
• The ability to select and use materials, processes and techniques skillfully and inventively to realise intentions and capitalise on the unexpected.
• The ability to reflect on, analyse and critically evaluate their own work and that of others.
• A passion for and a commitment to the subject.
Our Geography curriculum has three threshold concepts; investigating places, investigating patterns and communicating geographically.
The essential characteristics of St Columba Geographers are:
• An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
• An excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.
• An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
• Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
• The ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings.
• Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter.
• Highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
• A passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there.
• The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.
Our History curriculum has four threshold concepts; investigating and interpreting the past, building an overview of world history, understanding chronology and communicating historically.
The essential characteristics of St Columba historians are:
• An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events, and contexts from a range of historical periods and of historical concepts and processes.
• The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas very confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.
• The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a
range of sources.
• The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry.
• A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why
people interpret the past in different ways.
• A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgments.
• A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.
At St Columba C of E Primary School, we use the Charanga Music Programme.
The Musical School Scheme provides teachers with week-by-week lessons for each year group in the school, from ages 5–11. The Scheme supports all the requirements of the national curriculum and is absolutely in line with published Ofsted guidance.
The learning within this Scheme is based on: Listening and Appraising; Musical Activities — creating and exploring; and Singing and Performing.
Modern Foreign Languages
At St Columba C of E Primary School, our aim is to enthuse pupils to participate fully and develop a love of learning about all modern foreign languages. Our children learn French from Year 3 onwards, through songs, games, speaking and writing the language. It is important that children learn about different cultures to broaden their understanding of the World.
Within the Learning Quests taught across the School Computing equips children with the skills to understand an ever changing technological society. Children will learn the importance of staying safe online, along with developing key skills from creating simple documents to debugging programs. Children have access to a range of tools and devices which enable them to explore technology and advance their skills within lessons.
‘Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known’ (Carl Sagan)
At St Columba C of E Primary School, an enriched science curriculum that provides many opportunities for practical lessons is key. Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in science. As one of the core subjects, we give the teaching and learning of science the prominence it requires. The children are exposed to a wide variety of topics that support their natural curiosity for learning. Our curriculum aims to broaden the children’s scientific view of, and respect for, the world around them, whilst promoting a love for enquiry and wanting to explore new things. We want our pupils to develop a love for science that carries through into later life, instilling in them an awareness of how science is relevant in today’s society. We ensure that the Working Scientifically skills are built-on and developed throughout their time here, so that they can independently plan and carry out investigations to answer questions that puzzle them; competently use scientific equipment to measure and record data accurately and have the necessary skills and vocabulary to confidently explain concepts and articulate their findings.
We endeavour to ensure that the science curriculum we provide will give children the confidence and motivation to continue to further develop their skills into the next stage of their education and life experiences.
Speaking and Listening
At St Columba we strive for children to become successful speakers as well as confident readers. Oral communication and creativity is interwoven throughout our English curriculum. Speaking and listening is fundamental across the whole curriculum and we strive to enable children to have a broad vocabulary which reflects their learning.
At St Columba Academy, we know that reading is key to a child’s learning. We believe reading opens up a new world for children and gives them the opportunity to explore new ideas, visit new places , meet new characters and develop a better understanding of other cultures. Reading is a key life skill and we strive to embed a culture of reading into the core of what we do, providing opportunities for children to read both independently and aloud as well as allowing them the chance to discuss and recommend books they have read to their peers. Reading and quality literature is interwoven into our curriculum through the use of key texts to expose our children to various genres and famous authors. We want to foster a lifelong love of reading by exposing our children to various literature across all curriculum areas.
To develop the appropriate subject specific knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the National Curriculum, at St Columba Academy we have adopted the ‘Talk for Writing’ approach to English. It is vital that our children are exposed to a range of exemplar texts, from across different genres and subject areas, to embed ambitious vocabulary choices and secure expectations of writing across the curriculum. Writing is a crucial skill that is embedded across all year groups. We want our children to leave us effectively communicating in writing – and being able to enjoy expressing themselves in this way.
At St Columba, our Physical Education (PE) inspires children to improve existing skills in order to succeed and excel in a variety of sports and physical activities. Our PE Curriculum instils key skills such as teamwork and healthy living in our children which equips them for life. Our PE covers Dance, Gymnastics, Games, Athletics, and Outdoor Adventurous activities. We are supported by CM Sports coaches to deliver high quality PE sessions linked to the National Curriculum requirements. At St Columba C of E Primary School, we engage in sports activities offered within the local area, attending both team and individual events.
We believe that, as a Church of England School, RE should be seen as an important integrated part of our whole curriculum. Children are taught about festivals, events, symbols and stories from Christianity and other major faiths, so that we can learn to respect one another and live together peacefully. We encourage children to think about their own ideas and beliefs about life, and what is right and wrong, while responding sensitively to the feelings and beliefs of others. (please also see the RE tab under teaching and learning for more information)
The basic skills of mathematics are vital for the life opportunities of our children, therefore at St Columba C of E Primary School, our aim is for all our children to think mathematically: enabling them to reason and solve problems in a range of different contexts. Our Mathematics Mastery curriculum has been developed to ensure every child can achieve excellence in mathematics, allowing the children to experience a sense of awe and wonder as they solve a problem for the first time, enabling them to discover different solutions and make links between different areas of mathematics. It provides them with a deep understanding of the subject through a concrete, pictorial and abstract approach. This ensures they fully understand what they are learning.
Key features of our Maths Mastery curriculum:
At St Columba C of E Primary School we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier.
Daily synthetic phonics lessons begin in Reception and continue throughout Key Stage One. We follow the Department of Education approved document “Letters and Sounds” and we are currently working alongside the Springhill English Hub to develop our phonics.
During phonics sessions children practice speed sounds, oral blending and segmenting, and then have the opportunity to apply these skills in reading and writing. Lessons are fast-paced and repetitive in order to introduce, recall and embed learning. Children are regularly assessed and re-grouped according to their next steps so that they always receive targeted teaching. Where extra intervention is necessary, this is provided for children throughout Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.