What we teach: Subject by Subject
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Early Years Framework - Statutory Guidance
‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.'
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.
Four guiding principles should shape practice in early years settings. These are:
every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured
children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships
children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers
children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
In planning and guiding children’s activities, practitioners must reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in their practice.
Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
The Areas of Learning and Development
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
These three areas, the prime areas, are:
Communication and language
Personal, social and emotional development
Providers must also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
The specific areas are:
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
As a Catholic school, Religious Education (RE) is at the heart of everything we do. We teach it not only because it is a requirement from the diocese, but because at Our Lady of Pity, our belief is that every pupil is unique and is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
We reflect back to the children the truth that they are inherently good - especially in their moments of difficulty. In this way we model and teach the fundamental truths of freedom, tolerance, respect and equality - the bedrock of a successful society. It is therefore more than a scheme of work, it is about providing the opportunity for the children to think theologically and ask questions that sometimes there is no answer to, it is about allowing them to be curious and explore the mysteries of God and the world He created.
The teaching of RE is designed to enable pupils to understand the world around them and follow our Gospel values so that they can manage their lives, now and in the future. We bring them to an understanding of ‘community’ and the importance of relationships within. We teach about how every member of a community has a contribution to make and that they should seek to maximise this. The community goes beyond school, we are a key link to the parish and to the home; we are all one as a family of God, so it is our responsibility to nurture faith and understanding of the Catholic religion. Therefore, RE is seen as the ‘lifeblood’ of the school that feeds into all we do.
“When you learn to read, you can then read to learn.” – Mitchel Resnick, Professor of Learning Research at MIT
Reading is at the heart of all we do at Our Lady of Pity. We inspire our children to be confident and happy readers with a real love of books, which will last a life-time. In order to achieve this, we use a number of strategies throughout school to develop their reading skills. To lay firm foundations, we use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme to get children off to a flying start with their reading; nurturing and enhancing their phonetic development.
Once children have a secure knowledge of early reading skills, through Pathways to Read, they are taught the key skills to move them through the reading process towards becoming competent and fluent readers. Through high quality texts children develop the skills of prediction, questioning, clarifying, summarising, inference and activating prior knowledge.
Our pupils will develop a lifelong love of reading and become passionate about reading.
Reading continues throughout each and every day with opportunities to read across the wider curriculum as well as reading for pleasure and discussing and sharing our favourite books.
C.S. Lewis, ‘You can make anything by writing.’
To support the National Curriculum for English from Year 1 and the EYFS Development Matters, we follow a whole school mastery approach to writing through the programme Pathways to Write. Units of work are delivered using high quality texts and children in all year groups are given varied opportunities for writing across a range of genres. Skills are built up through repetition within the units, and children apply these skills in the writing activities provided. Many opportunities for widening children’s vocabulary are given through this approach and this builds on the extensive work we do in school to provide our children with a rich and varied vocabulary.
Opportunities are also planned for to allow children to develop their spoken language skills through drama and presentation to a range of audiences.
“We believe that every child can master an understanding and love of maths with the right kind of teaching and support. We want you to join our mission to build the confidence of the nation’s maths teachers and learners.” Maths No Problem (2016).
At Our Lady of Pity we use Maths No Problem! This 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 Department for Education’s (DfE’s) expert panel, which judged that it met the core criteria for a high-quality textbook to support teaching for mastery. As a result, the Maths — No Problem! Primary Series are recommended textbooks for schools on the mastery programme.
The scheme has the concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) method at its heart which encourages children to use and discover through the use of equipment (concrete – such as cubes or tens and ones blocks), then they progress to representing this in picture form (pictorial) and finally moving on to the concrete stage which uses equations and mathematical symbols (abstract). The CPA approach allows all children to access maths and deepens their understanding of key topics, enabling them to make crucial links between topics and develop their mathematical thinking, ability and confidence.
Lessons involve opportunities for exploration and structured discussion of the concept or area being studied. Questions are then posed to challenge thinking and allow children to reason. This is an opportunity to deepen understanding and reveal misconceptions.
At Our Lady of Pity Catholic Primary School, science should be fully inclusive to every child. Our aims are to fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum programmes of study for Science. By doing this we endeavour to provide our pupils with a coherently planned and sequenced science curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners, no matter their abilities, the knowledge and skills that will help them as they progress in science from Early Years onwards. At Our Lady of Pity, we also recognise the importance of Science in every aspect of daily life. As one of the core subjects taught in Primary Schools, we give the teaching and learning of Science the prominence it requires. The Scientific area of learning is concerned with increasing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of our world, and with developing skills associated with Science as a process of enquiry. It will develop the natural curiosity of the child, encourage respect for living organisms and the physical environment and provide opportunities for critical evaluation of evidence
We ensure that all children are provided with rich learning experiences that aim to:
Be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of Science, today and for the future
Build on our children’s natural curiosity by encouraging them to critically question the world around them and develop a scientific approach to solving problems.
Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of Science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
Learn about scientists who have made a difference in society and think about the role they play in the real world. This could be taught through guided reading within science lessons.
Encourage rich questioning which stimulates thinking and makes children want to find out the answers to these ‘real life’ problems.
Encourage open-mindedness, self-assessment, perseverance and develop the skills of investigations – including: observing, measuring, predicting, experimenting, communicating, interpreting, explaining and evaluating.
Make appropriate links between science and other subjects.
Inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the natural and man-made world and a respect for the environment and living things that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
Equip children with the language to be able to discuss their learning and confidently explain their understanding using a range of scientific vocabulary, facts and data.
Develop our children’s science capital through their lessons as well as through the other experiences they are offered, such as educational visits, STEM visitors and enrichment days.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in Science, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. The Science curriculum at Our Lady of Pity is based upon the 2014 Primary National Curriculum in England, which provides a broad framework and outlines the knowledge and skills taught in each Key Stage. To achieve this, we do the following:
Children begin their science education in Reception. This involves them learning foundational knowledge mainly through the ‘understanding the world’ area of learning. We ensure that children are provided with a range of opportunities and contexts for them to start to learn a range of scientific vocabulary.
Before teaching a unit of work, teachers assess children’s prior knowledge and understanding and use this as the starting point from which to move forward, ensuring that connections are made, and previous knowledge is built upon.
An adapted Kent Scheme of work is used to ensure consistency across all year groups and to build progression throughout the school.
Knowledge organisers have been created for each topic. These are shared with the children and used as a point of reference throughout the topic to support the children’s learning.
Teachers in all classes use ‘Explorify’ as a starting point for most science lessons in order to inspire curiosity, encourage all pupils to engage in scientific discussions, support the development of scientific vocabulary, make links with previous lessons, identify misconceptions and to assess learning.
Staff take part in CPD to develop and extend subject knowledge.
The use of retrieval questions are encouraged in science lessons to allow the children to develop their recall of science knowledge and vocabulary, making changes to long term memory.
Where appropriate, teachers should plan opportunities to learn science outside the classroom.
Regular monitoring of science provision across the school by the science subject leader.
In measuring the impact of this we will be looking for evidence that:
Children enjoy, are enthusiastic and motivated about science at Our Lady of Pity.
Children talk about science confidently and using the correct vocabulary.
There is clear progression demonstrated in children’s work over-time and full coverage of the curriculum.
Children become increasingly independent in science, selecting their own tools and materials, completing pupil-led investigations and choosing their own strategies for recording.
Children can make links with how science is used in the real world and develop a sense of how this can apply to them.
We will check on and evidence this through book scrutinies, monitoring of pictures/videos of practical activities, pupil voice and teacher discussions, teacher assessments and moderation meetings.
Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)
PSHE / RSE
According to the PSHE Association, PSHE education is a school subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe, and prepared for life and work. PSHE stands for Personal, Social, Health and Economic education.
It aims to develop skills and attributes such as resilience, self-esteem, risk-management, team working and critical thinking in the context of three core themes: health and wellbeing, relationships and living in the wider world (including economic wellbeing and aspects of careers education).
Out of the three main strands (Health and Wellbeing, Relationships and Living in the Wider World), the first two are now statutory as of September 2021. They are often referred to as RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) or RSHE (Relationships, Sex and Health Education) but come under the main subject of PSHE.
The third ‘Living in the Wider World’ strand is not compulsory. However, it is stated in the OFSTED 2019 Framework that Inspectors will make a judgement on the personal development of learners by evaluating the extent to which: the provider prepares learners for life in modern Britain by: − equipping them to be responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to society − developing their understanding of fundamental British values − developing their understanding and appreciation of diversity − celebrating what we have in common and promoting respect for the different protected characteristics as defined in law.
What does PSHE (including RSE / RSHE) currently look like across the school?
Children have weekly PSHE lessons in which we follow the Life to the Full scheme of work. This covers all statutory objectives for the provision of Relationships, Health and Sex Education in an age appropriate way. The programme adopts a spiral curriculum approach so that as your child goes through the programme year after year, the learning will develop and grow, with each stage building on the last. (There is more information about the Life to the Full scheme of work in the RSE section of our website. This section also includes the Department for Education’s statutory objectives.)
Physical and mental health is also taught and prioritised outside PSHE sessions. We deliver a comprehensive programme of Physical Education (PE) across the school which allows every child to have a full afternoon of PE taught by specialist teachers. Class teachers also take children out for regular daily exercise breaks. KS2 have half-termly mile runs and there are many sports clubs available to all children. Healthy eating and healthy lifestyles are discussed in PE lessons and in certain year groups the Science curriculum also educates them about ways to keep their bodies healthy. First aid skills are taught to all children.
Mental health is also discussed in PE lessons where children are introduced to the concept of mental health and why it is important to look after our minds as well as our bodies. All teachers are passionate about looking after children’s mental health and our teaching and pastoral care reflect this. There is a section on our website which explains the importance of mental health and how we can further support both children and parents.
Children learn about online safety and relationships online through both PSHE and their ICT lessons.
The ‘Living in the Wider World’ strand of PSHE focuses on preparing all children for life in modern Britain by equipping them to be responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to society.
All children are familiar with British Values and these are regularly referenced within our teaching. There is a section on our website which explains British Values further.
Our whole curriculum reflects our school Vision and Values : We are an inclusive community, committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for all, irrespective of race, gender, disability, faith, religion or socio-economic background. The school has invested heavily in resources that mirror the world in 2023 to ensure we continue to celebrate diversity. For example, dolls and puzzles in EYFS and KS1 have been replaced, the school reading scheme has been updated and each class library has been given new reading resources.
Our behaviour policy promotes dialogue between teachers and children as regards expectations of behaviour. Strong focus on relationships enables children to develop good behaviours through choice, setting them up for success in the wider world.
A ‘Wonderful World of Work Week’ is usually held in the summer term. The focus is on children’s aspirations and awareness of career opportunities. We also have a Science Week which promotes an awareness of roles within Science and within this, gender equality is addressed and promoted.
The school subscribes to First News, a children’s newspaper which keeps children up to date with news and issues in the UK and around the world and which opens up discussion in classrooms about current affairs.
We are a Rights Respecting School and an Eco School, both of which equip children with knowledge that contributes to them becoming responsible, respectful and active citizens.
Lastly but perhaps most importantly, the Catholic ethos of the school and the messages children learn through RE lessons, collective Prayer and Liturgy and through the school’s charitable work, contribute to and complement their learning through PSHE.
"Where words fail, music speaks." - Hans Christian Anderson
At Our Lady of Pity, we make Music an enjoyable learning experience. We encourage children to participate in a variety of musical experiences through which we aim to build the confidence of all. Singing lies at the heart of good music teaching. Our teaching focuses on developing the children’s ability to sing in tune and with other people. Through singing songs, children learn about the structure and organisation of music. We teach them to listen and to appreciate different forms of music.
As children get older, we expect them to maintain their concentration for longer and to listen to more extended pieces of music. Children develop descriptive skills in music lessons when learning about how music can represent feelings and emotions. We teach them the disciplined skills of recognising pulse and pitch. We often teach these together. Children are taught how to work with others to make music and learn how individuals combine to make sounds. We also teach them musical notation and how to compose music. We recognise that there are children of widely different musical abilities in all classes, so we provide, where possible, suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child.
The Charanga Musical School Scheme provides teachers with week-by-week lesson support for each year group in the school. It is ideal for specialist and non-specialist teachers and provides lesson plans, assessment, clear progression, and engaging and exciting whiteboard resources to support every lesson. The Scheme supports all the requirements of the national curriculum.
Children are offered the opportunity to study a musical instrument with peripatetic teachers. We work closely with Edsential and private music tutors, providing lessons in: piano, woodwind, brass, strings and guitar.
We have been nominated to become a Music Mark School for 2021/2022 in recognition of the value we put on music in our school.
‘The study of geography is about more than just memorising places on a map. It's about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it's about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together’ Barack Obama
Beginning in Foundation Stage, our children are given opportunities to discover and learn about the world they live in. The Geography element of the children’s work is related to the Knowledge and Understanding of the World objectives set out in the EYFS Curriculum. In Key Stage 1, Geography develops pupil knowledge, skills and understanding relating to their own environment and the people who live there and an awareness of the wider world. Then in Key Stage 2, Geography extends pupil knowledge, skills and understanding relating to people, places and environments in the United Kingdom and beyond, developing an appreciation of how places relate to each other and the wider world.
At Our Lady of Pity RC Primary School, we believe in 'hands on' experiences. This ranges from fieldwork in the school grounds, to visits and walks around the local community, and further afield. We are fortunate to be located on a peninsula with easy access to the beach, river, city and other manmade and natural environments.
Geography draws on its vast range of vocabulary to identify and name places, the features within them and the human and physical processes at work there. It provokes and answers questions about the natural and human world. It develops knowledge of places and environments throughout the world, an understanding of maps, and a range of problem-solving and investigative skills both inside and outside the classroom. Geography is an important link between natural and social sciences and focuses on understanding and tackling issues about the environment.
Geography also helps our children to understand how and why places are changing, and better predict what the likely futures may be and their potential impact upon them. This approach deepens understanding of what places are like, why and how they are connected, and the importance of location. Geography gives children a sense of place; an understanding of the connections between humans and the world around them and the impact that humans have on it and each other.
"We are not makers of History. We are made by History." Martin Luther King Jr
In the Foundation Stage, our pupils are given opportunities to discover and learn about the world they live in. The History element of the children’s work is related to the Knowledge and Understanding of the World objectives set out in the EYFS Curriculum. In Key Stage One, History develops pupil’s knowledge of the similarities and differences between ways of life in different time periods, drawing comparisons with modern life, in accordance with the KS1 National Curriculum. In Key Stage Two, History extends pupil’s skills to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of local, British and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study, in accordance with the KS2 National Curriculum.
Knowledge of key concepts within History, such as leadership and power and identity and migration, unlock the door for students to be able to ask leading questions, analyse information and convey their views in a methodical and structured way. These skills are honed and developed progressively through the curriculum to create historians confident in communicating their views, both in writing and orally.
We strive to provide our children with opportunities which bring our History Curriculum to life with trips to local museums or areas of significant historical interest. We have also arranged visits from local historians to talk to the children about certain topics and offer a range of perspectives.
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams
Design Technology allows pupils to make real life links between their work and the work of engineers, architects, and designers. Design Technology compliments subjects such as Art and Design, Science, and Computing. Work often connects with on-going topics in these areas which allow pupils to understand the importance of designing and making in everyday life. It allows them to become aware of how technology is all around us and how technology advances.
Pupils are encouraged to investigate, plan, adopt and evaluate their work whilst working on their own, in pairs and small groups. This develops their cooperation and understanding of how people have differing areas of strength and expertise. Pupils gain an awareness of materials, structures, mechanisms and controls whilst considering what the product will be used for and the needs of those who use them. They pupils learn how to safely use a variety of tools under supervision to create quality products.
We believe that Design and Technology encourages children to become autonomous and prepares them to become creative problem solvers. Children should be actively encouraged to think about important issues, including enterprise, and to evaluate past and present design, when exploring design solutions to improve and impact on daily life. We live in a rapidly changing world, and it is vital children are encouraged and inspired to become the innovators, chefs, designers and engineers of the future.
Art and Design
Art and Design
‘Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.’ - Edgar Degas
At Our Lady of Pity, the children’s journey as artists starts in the Foundation Stage where they progress through the EYFS curriculum: Expressive Arts and Design and then on to the National Curriculum in Key Stage One and Two.
The curriculum is planned to engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art.
Pupils’ understanding of Art and Design is developed through knowledge, understanding and an appreciation of the work of other artists past and present and from different cultures. Through our curriculum Art and Design is also accessed in other subjects, particularly RE.
The children are encouraged to express their creative ideas in a secure and appreciative environment. They are shown how to work with a range of materials and equipment including digital media, clay, Mod-roc and textiles and are taught various techniques in areas such as drawing, printing, painting and mark making.
Languages - Spanish
"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." -Nelson Mandela
At Our Lady of Pity, we believe that the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for children. Children develop communication and literacy skills that lay the foundation for future language learning. They develop linguistic competence, extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between the foreign language (Spanish, in our case) and English. Learning another language raises awareness of our multi-lingual and multi-cultural world and introduces an international dimension to pupils’ learning, giving them an insight into their own culture and that of others. The learning of a foreign language provides a medium for cross-curricular links and for reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understanding developed in other subjects.
Children are taught the National Curriculum through a range of topics. This approach enables learners to focus on subject specific vocabulary whilst developing their phonic and grammar skills through a range of speaking, listening, reading and writing activities. Children are aware of the learning intentions for each year and play an active part in assessing their own learning. Spanish learning is implemented by playing games, songs, actions, drama, stories and lots more. The impact of our teaching means children’s understanding of Spanish deepens in each year of language learning, and they develop an appetite for discussion, detail and greater understanding.
Whilst the formal teaching of Languages begins in KS2, we also offer French and Spanish lunchtime and after school clubs to as a way of introducing languages to our Reception and KS1 children.
‘Computing isn’t about computers any more; it’s about living.’ - Nicholas Negroponte
In EYFS, the children begin to recognise how a range of technology is used in places such as homes and school and use technology for different purposes. Children learn to log in and then log out at the end of a computer session and begin to recognise and identify familiar letters and numbers on a keyboard.
In Key Stage 1, the children learn what algorithms are and how they work and create and debug simple programs. They develop logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs and use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content. Children also learn the importance of using technology safely and respectfully.
In Key Stage 2, the children learn to design, write and debug programs. They also learn to collect, analyse, evaluate and present data and information and apply these skills across the curriculum. As part of our E-safety curriculum, lessons focus on using technology safely and responsibly. The children also learn to recognise acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.
Through a computing curriculum, we teach:
All units of work explore e-safety ensuring pupils are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body. It is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity”. John F. Kennedy
The importance and value of PE is indisputable. It is the only curriculum area which can positively influence a child’s physical, mental and social well-being. It can develop key life values and skills, provide the building blocks for the development of happy and productive relationships and give children the confidence and self-belief needed to achieve. PE should be at the heart of every school. It should be celebrated and enjoyed so that children reap the benefits of all that this subject has to offer.
Having a curriculum which promotes high levels of physical activity for children provides an abundance of physical benefits. Physical benefits are those which directly impact on the body and body function. Active children will have an improved cardiovascular system, increased levels of strength and endurance, a greater understanding of how the body works and will know how to maintain and improve fitness levels. Being active can also prevent the onset of obesity as well as health related conditions caused by obesity. Activity can also prevent sleep deprivation. PE develops gross and fine motor skills such as hand-eye coordination, key body movements and posture. It is vital for healthy growth and development, particularly of bones but is also important for the prevention of injury. If schools establish and embrace the ethos of being an ‘Active School’ and fully adopt the expectation that children should do a form of physical activity every day, this will promote a lifelong love and involvement in activity.
Physical activity and school sport contribute massively to the development of children’s social skills which, in turn, can impact and influence healthy behaviours. Sport, whether it is team based, individual, competitive or recreational, promotes fairplay, honesty and sportsmanship as well as improving children’s ability to deal with success and defeat. It allows children to develop their resilience and determination as well as learn key life skills such as communication and co-operation. As many sports are not solely about participation, taking part in school sport will allow children to carry out different roles such as leadership, coaching and officiating. This means children can be actively involved in sport through a variety of means whilst simultaneously gaining skills which can be transferred into future careers.
Extensive research has been carried out on the positive relationship between physical activity and improved mental health. A Physical Education programme which is broad and exciting offers multiple opportunities to improve a child’s mental wellbeing both in the short and long term. Participating in exercise releases ‘feel good’ chemicals which noticeably improve a person’s mood. This in turn contributes to lower anxiety and stress levels. With regular participation in activity, children and young people learn to use sport as a way of coping with stress, avoiding the onset of stress related illness. The physical changes (improved body image) that take place and the improvement in skill that comes with regular participation in exercise can often lead to increased self-esteem and self-confidence. This increase in confidence is then transferred to all aspects of their life – forming new friendships, trying new activities or speaking out in class unafraid of being noticed. It also leads to improved focus and concentration resulting in improved performance in the classroom.
- Incorporate literacy and numeracy strategies
- Develops the ability to use tactics, strategies and compositional ideas to achieve a desired outcome
- Improves the ability to analyse, make decisions, reflect upon choices and refine
If we want our children to be productive, enterprising, successful, vibrant, inclusive, tolerant, inspired and positive, we need to put PE, sport and regular physical activity at the heart of school life. We need to give children every opportunity to learn the skills and values that they will need to have a happy, healthy and successful life. PE is the subject to do this.