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Westminster Cathedral

Roman Catholic Primary School

Founded by
The Jesuit Fathers circa 1849

Our Curriculum

Our Curriculum Intent

The curriculum at Westminster Cathedral Primary School is dynamic, broad and balanced. The school’s ambitious curriculum is structured around the National Curriculum, the Religious Education Curriculum Directory and age appropriate Relationships education. Our creative and fully inclusive approach to teaching, along with the rich curriculum, extends learning further to ensure pupils are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive as a fully participating citizen in a modern and versatile world.

Our school mission statement is entwined within our curriculum. The four key areas: achieve, respect, joy and friendship is incorporated throughout our teaching and learning. At the centre of our curriculum is a belief that children learn core knowledge whilst developing the necessary skills to make them independent thinkers. This is demonstrated in a skills progression that the children will follow in each subject area so as to ensure that they can attain this.

We promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils as we prepare them to become lifelong learners. As a Catholic school we strive to ensure the pupils have an enriched learning experience rooted in the teaching of the Church and the message of Christ.

We are confident that through the dedication of all our staff, an ethos of care, support, responsibility and awareness of self and others within a safe, healthy and friendly environment all pupils will receive a curriculum that is inspiring and appropriate to them allowing them to achieve their personal best.

Religious Education

Religious Education is at the centre of our curriculum. In our school we use Come and See which we supplement where appropriate. We follow guidelines set by the Westminster Diocesan Board of Education, which includes 10% of the timetable each week devoted to the Religious Education curriculum. Children are taught to respect and value the beliefs of others. We aim for children to develop their religious and moral codes to sustain them through later life and to help them develop an understanding of Christian beliefs and the faiths of others. Children are also taught about two other religions embodying our Mission Statement ‘Love One Another as I have loved you’. 

Collective Worship: In addition to this, children engage in worship which plays an important role in our school. Each class gather throughout the week to worship together. This takes place in phases, classes and whole school. At Westminster Cathedral Primary worship follows the four step process of Gather, Word, Respond and Mission. ​

The prayer life of the school is strongly supported by our Parish Clergy, and Holy Apostles Church is a focal point for our collective worship. School masses are celebrated there or in school and the Church also provides a link with our local community. Parents are encouraged to attend many of our services.

Curriculum

​Unit of Work                               ​Term                

1. Domestic Church

2. Baptism/ Confirmation

3. Judaism

4. Advent/ Christmas

​Autumn
 

1. Local Church

2. Eucharist

3. Lent/ Easter

​Spring

1. Pentecost

2. Reconciliation/ Anointing of the Sick

3. Other Faiths on a 3 year cycle (Islam/ Hinduism/Sikhism)

4. Universal Church

​Summer

Prayers & Hymns

Daily prayer is an integral part of our school day and includes prayers said at the following times: 

9.05 – Morning Prayer 

12.05/12.30 –  Grace before meals

3.20 – End of school day prayer 

The children are also taught the traditional prayers said at Mass and in the home, such as the Hail Mary, Our Father and Glory Be. Other prayers said at specific times of the liturgical calendar are also taught. 

The children learn a collection of hymns which they are encouraged to sing during collective worships such as assemblies, class liturgies and school masses. These hymns are practised every Tuesday during hymn practice. 

 

English

At Westminster Cathedral Primary school, we aim to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping children with a strong command of the spoken and written word. We believe that developing a love of our language in our children is vital in achieving success at school and later in life.

As a school, we aim to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

At Westminster Cathedral Primary school, ‘The Power of Reading’, an initiative about teaching Literacy through using quality children’s literature is at the heart of our English curriculum. The teaching approaches including art, music and drama is the. This approach enables us to engage and motivate children in their literacy learning. It also enables children to deepen their understanding of texts, offers extensive opportunities for speaking and listening and provides a meaningful context for writing whilst following the English program of study.

The Power of Reading combines the use of outstanding books for children and teachers with an approach to teaching the English curriculum that is creative, engaging and develops a love of literacy.

Writing: We aim for pupils to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Each half term, children will have a core text that is the stimulus for studying different genres of writing, considering the different audiences they may be writing for. Through quality first teaching, teachers skilfully immerse children through the text in these different genres and support them in their planning and development of their writing. Pupils have the opportunity to apply the skills they have been taught throughout the week with an independent extended ‘Big Writing’ session. Children also have planned opportunities for extended writing and the transference of Literacy skills taught, in other subjects such as RE, topic and science.

Handwriting is taught throughout the school focusing on pre-cursive letters in EYFS and developing to cursive script.

In EYFS Children are introduced to the Read Write Ink letter formation and pre-cursive script for letters at the earliest stages of writing. Children in the foundation stage are encouraged and supported to write in the pre-cursive script for specific letters to enable an easier transition in Year1.

In Key Stage One Handwriting is taught daily during our phonics lessons with pupils given the opportunity to practise their skills throughout all written work.

In Key Stage Two handwriting lessons are linked to our spelling patterns during our ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ sessions.  Handwriting is assessed and fed back to children, particularly when they seek to experiment with other handwriting styles.

Reading: Reading is an important part of our curriculum and to support our renewed commitment to the new English Curriculum, all teachers dedicate time daily and weekly to teaching this invaluable skill.

A number of strategies with regards to reading are employed across the school including: phonics sessions, 1:1 reading, guided reading and shared reading.

We want our children to become enthusiastic, engaged readers and to develop a life-long love of books.  We introduce the children to a range of high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through our whole-class, core-text approach to teaching reading, and during their weekly guided reading session.

In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills from the ‘Read Write Inc’ teaching programme as our main approach, alongside which we teach sight vocabulary and vocabulary linked to our topics.  Once grasped, the focus for developing reading is on understanding and comprehension.  Children read with their class teacher at least once a week during their guided reading session, with a TA and also independently supported by teacher set activities during the rest of the week. We also have reading volunteers read with children to support their learning.

Reading at home: Developing readers will bring home levelled books (according to their stage of development). Once children are more confident readers, they progress to longer books with chapters. Independent readers bring home a self-selected book from their class book corner or one they have borrowed from the school library.  Children are encourage to change their book regularly so they can read each evening.

Parental support is hugely important for children in developing their reading skills, confidence and understanding.  Even if a child is an independent reader, we encourage adults to listen to them and discuss the books and other reading material (newspaper etc) they are reading.

Speaking and Listening: Through all lessons, children regularly use and develop their speaking and listening skills in a variety of independent, paired and group activities. We place a huge emphasis on this particularly in Reception where Communication and Language is a prime area for learning. Children also benefit from ‘Talk Boost’ sessions, where include activities that cover the key elements of language: Attention and Listening, Vocabulary, Building Sentences, Telling Stories and Conversations.

Phonics: The teaching of phonics (Read write Inc) is an important part of our literacy learning and this is covered extensively across the Reception and Key Stage One. In Reception pupils are introduced to a key set of phonic skills, including grapheme (written letter) recognition, phoneme(sound) pronunciation, oral segmenting and blending and decoding, that can be transferred to reading and writing in familiar and unfamiliar contexts.

Once the children know the sounds different letters and groups of letters make, they are far more able to decode (read) and blend (spell) words. By the end of Year 1, all children sit a statutory test in phonics.

Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling: Grammar and punctuation are taught through a mixture of stand-alone lessons as well as being embedded within other English lessons, and other subjects.

 

Maths

We at Westminster Cathedral Primary School teach maths for mastery. It is a transformational approach to maths teaching which stems from high performing Asian nations such as Singapore. Teachers have access to extensive online- daily planning, online resources, textbooks, workbooks and concrete mathematical manipulative as well as termly curriculum objective overviews.

The method used to help our pupils with calculations has been devised to meet requirements of the National Curriculum for the teaching and learning of mathematics. It is also designed to give pupils a consistent and smooth progression of learning in calculations across the school.

Teaching maths for mastery: The whole class works through the programme of study at the same pace with ample time on each topic before moving on. Ideas are revisited at higher levels as the curriculum spirals through the years.

Differentiated activities : Tasks and activities are designed to be easy for pupils to enter while still containing challenging components. For advanced learners, the textbooks also contain non-routine questions for pupils to develop their higher-order thinking skills.

Problem solving: Lessons and activities are designed to be taught using problem-solving approaches to encourage pupils’ higher-level thinking. The focus is on working with pupils’ core competencies, building on what they know to develop their relational understanding, based on Richard Skemp’s work.

Variation: The questions and examples are carefully varied by expert authors to encourage pupils to think about the maths. Rather than provide mechanical repetition, the examples are designed to deepen pupils’ understanding and reveal misconceptions.

International research: By incorporating established learning research into a highly effective approach, Singapore has become a “laboratory of maths teaching”. The Primary Maths Series is founded on the international research of Piaget, Dienes, Bruner, Skemp and Vygotsky and has been tested and refined over the last 30 years in Singapore.

UK evidence: The MNP Primary Series was assessed by the 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 Primary Series is one of the few textbooks that complies with the UK’s high-quality textbook guidance published by the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics (NCETM).

Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) approach: Based on Jerome Bruner’s work, pupils learn new concepts initially using concrete examples, such as counters, then progress to drawing pictorial representations before finally using more abstract symbols, such as the equals sign.

         

Pupils can be first introduced to an idea or skill by acting it out with real objects (a hands-on approach).

Pupils then are moved onto the visual stage, where pupils are encouraged to relate the concrete understanding to pictorial representations. The final abstract stage is a change for pupils to represent problems by using mathematical notion.

Pupils are taught strategies to develop and strengthen their mental agility on a daily basis. They also need to be able to apply written calculation skills in order to:

• represent work that has been done practically

• support, record and explain mental calculation

• keep track of steps in a longer task

• work out calculations that are too difficult to do mentally

Children become confident in choosing and using a strategy that they know will get them to the correct answer as efficiently as possible; pupils are free to choose their preferred method to solve calculations. Although we’ve discussed CPA as three distinct stages, a skilled teacher will go back and forth between each stage to reinforce concepts.

Alongside the scheme it is agreed that teachers are given the freedom to deviate slightly if they deem necessary as a result of using their professional judgement and formative assessment skills. This means some calculations may be concise or some may be referred to at a later stage.

It is also noted that some SATs-style revision may not always follow the regimented MNP scheme for every set of lessons. However, it is important to add that MNP strategies and principles will incorporate their overall Year 6 learning experience. 

Science

Our aim in science is to nurture a curiosity about the world we live in and encourage an enthusiasm and love of the subject. We believe that science should generate excitement and above all, respect for the environment and all living things. We recognise that every child is a ‘scientist’ in society.

We ensure that our programme of study is in line with the new national curriculum and deliver a hands-on approach in order to engage the children and stimulate their learning. We begin to develop the children’s “working scientifically” skills in key stage 1 and progress to completing full investigations in key stage 2.

We have strong links and regularly visit the Science Museum to further enhance children’s experiences. We also annually hold a science day to celebrate science achievements and developments. 

Computing

Technology is developing at an ever-increasing rate, and is now an essential part of everyday life. At Westminster Cathedral Primary School children are taught the skills to prepare them  to  participate effectively in this digital world.  

Children are taught, how digital systems work and how to apply this through  programming and coding. To encourage children to become computer literate, they are given the opportunity to create and debug programs and systems. Children are given the opportunity to further develop their  skills and create a range of content  using a different software packages.  Children also learn how to be respectful, responsible and safe while using all technology.​

Creative Curriculum

At Westminster Cathedral RC Primary School, we are proud to teach our unique creative curriculum which combines history, art and design, geography, and design and technology objectives. Our curriculum has been carefully designed to ensure that all National Curriculum objectives are covered, and key skills are built upon as children move through the school. Our aim is to inspire all of our children to become confident, independent, life-long learners who have the necessary skills to achieve their full God-given potential.

Our curriculum has been carefully developed to:

  • Reflect our school mission statement as our chosen themes offer many opportunities to follow in the footsteps of Jesus by applying learning from our British Values and Religious Education curriculum, promoting liberty, tolerance and mutual respect towards all
  • Encourage, foster and develop children’s imagination, creativity and originality
  • Allow children to make cross curricular links and apply their learning through meaningful, stimulating tasks
  • Have ‘themed’ off-timetable days held regularly throughout the year. This allows us as a school to immerse and enrich our children’s education beyond the statutory curriculum
  • Develop life-long skills which are relevant for the changing world our children are growing up in 
  • Encourage children to respect, care and protect their surrounding environments
  • Involve parents and carers at every opportunity and maintain a good working relationship between home and school

Physical Education

At Westminster Cathedral, we aim to promote a Healthy Active Lifestyle by promoting the importance of physical activity. By offering a broad and balanced curriculum, children are exposed to a variety of different sporting activities which allow them to develop fundamental skills necessary for physical growth and development.

Our Aims:

  • Promote a healthy lifestyle
  • Increasing the participation of sports amongst all children
  • Raise the standard of PE

Every class receives weekly Physical Education lessons taught by a specialist sports coach who is able to teach children not just key skills, but the importance of keeping active daily and how the human body works during exercise.  In line with the skills being taught, children also have the opportunity to show their skills in a competitive environment. We regular attend competitive competitions and festivals where children are able to learn how to participate against others respectfully.

We have a wide variety of extra curricula clubs which include; Football, Ballet, multi skills, Girls club, and Dodgeball. All of which encourage the participation of physical activity out of curriculum time.

Music

Our aim in Music is to stimulate a life-long appreciation for music and for our pupils to develop an understanding of music and develop their skills as performers and composers. We work closely with the Tri-borough Music Hub and Pimlico Musical Foundation.

Each class receives specialist music teaching each week focusing on three areas of performing, composing and appraising. The children experience a broad spectrum of musical genres.

Year 2 receive weekly stringed instrument lessons where each child learns to play a violin, viola, cello or double bass. Year 4 receive choral lessons each week where the children are taught the skills to sing.

Westminster Cathedral Primary School offers a range of instrumental lessons from Year 3. We have three peripatetic instrumental teachers that visit the school who teach piano, guitar and violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet and the bells.

Music is strong in the wider curriculum. We have a school choir who have performed in a variety of concerts and represented the school in a variety of local community events. We have an orchestra where the pupils learn to work collaboratively playing their own instrument.

 Children from our school are part of the Pimlico Musical Foundation Choir and Young Scholars. For more information please see, www.pimlicomusicalfoundation.org.uk

Spanish

At Westminster Cathedral Primary School the pupils are taught Spanish as part of their curriculum from Reception to Year 6 by a staff member who teaches Spanish across the school.  Learning an additional language across their primary school education provides an opening for all our pupils to other cultures and countries within the world, it also develops pupils' curiosity and deepens their understanding of the world. Spanish is spoken in 20 countries within the world. By the pupils learning Spanish they are learning to communicate for practical purposes, learning new ways of thinking and are given the opportunities to learn skills which can equip them to study and work abroad.

The curriculum is taught through a balance of spoken and written language. It incorporates the pupils listening attentively to spoken language and showing their understanding by joining in and responding. Patterns and sounds of Spanish are taught through songs and rhymes. The pupils are also taught to read and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing. Through being exposed to Spanish stories, songs, poems and rhymes they are learning new vocabulary which they demonstrate in their speaking and listening and writing in Spanish.

Personal, social and health education

Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) is an important subject for helping children to develop their personal well-being and the skills needed to be a successful member of the community.  Topics relating to safeguarding, for example the emergency services and e-safety, are embedded in the scheme of work, ensuring that children are taught key skills to help them to navigate the world around them.

We follow the Coram Life Education for PSHE, where all children from Reception to Year 6, study the same topics at the same time. This enables us to fully embrace the ideas being taught that term.

Autumn: 

Me and My Relationships

Includes feelings/emotions/conflict resolution/friendships

Growth Mindset (stand alone lessons)

Spring: 

Valuing Difference

Includes British Values focus

Keeping Myself Safe

Includes aspects of Relationships Education

Summer: 

Rights and Responsibilities
Includes money/living in the wider world/environment

Growing and Changing

Includes RSE-related issues