Our curriculum meets the expectations set out in the National Curriculum. It is broad and balanced and has been developed to suit our pupils and to fill gaps in their experiences, academic, social, nurturing, moral and spiritual; it is a whole person education.
We are a Roman Catholic school and our mission statement and ethos are part of all we do. We build on the examples Jesus shows us in the Gospels. We try to ensure children see real life examples of the Gospel message through our fundraising and Mini Vinnie work which is focused on helping people.
How do we teach subjects?
We teach subjects discretely unless the overlap is clear. We also include topic themed weeks/days so pupils have experience of learning in a cross curriculum way too e.g. Money Week, Safety Week, Maths Week, Arts Week, African Week, French Days.
Why do we focus on vocabulary and the development of language skills?
Many of our children are learning English as an additional language or are language deprived so we have high emphasis on vocabulary building across the curriculum. We run interventions such as Talk Boost, Talk Partners. Referrals to Speech and Language are high. We encourage talk using talk partners and discussion in lessons and approaches such as P4C and No Pens Day.
Behaviour policies are clear and children have a deep understanding of the school rules: be kind, show respect and work hard. Boundaries are set and behaviour expectations are high. These are based on our ethos and our beliefs in the Rights Respecting Agenda, we hope our children see that everyone is respected and treated fairly and given what they need. This is an important part of our curriculum and is taught specifically in RE and RHSE as well as in curriculum subjects. Sometimes there is a conflict between our expectations and those at home but our views are shared with parents and most families support them. Our work on achieving a Rights Respecting Award has supported development in this area.
We run an in-depth PHSE programme based on Ten Ten ‘Life to the Full’. At times , our children can struggle with their social skills. The programme covers British values, racism, safety, drug and alcohol issues, healthy eating, exercise as well as basic manners, respect and anti-bullying. There are strong links to our RE programme. We ensure pupils have an experience of a school residential and use it to prepare them for transition to secondary school. Our visits to parliament either in London or Edinburgh engages pupils and ensures they are made aware of how our country is governed and how laws are made.
Our diverse community
Our pupils come from very diverse backgrounds and we need everyone to feel accepted and valued. We use our international work as a vehicle for the appreciation of different cultures including European, African, French, Spanish, Indian and Chinese. We have an International Award from the British Council. We regularly visit places such as London and Edinburgh. We work closely with Gateshead EMTAS service to support our EAL learners. We have developed an effective programme for teaching children who arrive at our school with little English. All our staff are trained.
Visits and Visitors
Some of our children have limited experience of the world, thus we ensure that we include in our curriculum exciting visits out and interesting visitors coming to us on a regular programme. Our Humanities curriculum is particularly rich in these experiences. Our site is limited so visits are also important to develop pupils physically and to give them residential, forest school, adventurous activities which are difficult to provide on-site. Our Early Years children enjoy ‘Forest Friday’, where they use our local park for a rich variety of outdoor activities. We work on a local allotment.
Art education is important to us. Some of our pupils have limited experience in Arts subjects so we ensure we cater for this by all pupils in KS2 having musical instrument tuition each week and learning to play four different instruments across school – violin, glockenspiel, ocarina and ukulele. We have a school choir. We are developing an orchestra. Our PE curriculum has a strong dance element and we take part in the Dance Festival. We invite experienced artists into school to work with pupils to develop their Art skills. An example is the water colour artists we use on a regular basis. We regularly use the nearby Art Gallery and the educational opportunities they offer. All of these activities ensured we keep our Arts Mark Award at Gold level. We regularly visit museums and theatre productions and have performers in school. We are developing a drama curriculum and have devised a Poetry Spine of poets and poems for each year group to learn.
We recognise the vital role Physical Education has on a child’s physical cognitive, social and emotional development and that it is an integral part of the curriculum to be enjoyed by all children. We provide regular swimming lessons to enable our children to develop this essential skill. Alongside our high quality curriculum, we timetable active breaks which include dance, fitness, yoga and the ‘daily mile’. We participate in competitive sport through the Gateshead School Sport Partnership. We have after school clubs for Karate, Netball, Football and Multi Skills. We work closely with a range of specialist coaches.
Our chosen scripture is ‘Let your light shine’ Matthew 5. This scripture is central to our mission and ethos. We have the highest expectations of our children and hope they will continue to flourish in the education system. We run a ‘raising expectations’ programme in which pupils learn about a variety of jobs and the training needed for them. They learn about what is on offer in colleges and universities and industry. They make visits to places of work.
We offer emotional and mental health support via programmes such as Sun Beams, Rainbows, individual counselling, nurture groups and the employment of a Family Support Worker.
We endeavour to educate the “whole person” at Corpus Christi and we are continually looking to improve our curriculum provision.
In the future we hope to extend the opportunities for residential visits to more year groups. We also hope to increase the amount of pupil input into designing the curriculum.