“Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.“ Brian Tracy
At St Michael’s our aim is to provide a caring, exciting and inspiring place to learn, where children feel safe and nurtured. We want our children to become resilient learners, with a growth mindset, who are willing to try new things, learn from their mistakes and reflect on their learning. We want our children to grow into independent and confident young people, well prepared for the next stage in their education.
Collaborative learning opportunities are encouraged at our school. ‘Kagan’ strategies are embedded to promote engagement in learning and instill the values of sharing and co-operation. Mixed ability groupings are used as far as possible and children have the opportunity to work with different learning partners throughout the year.
At St Michael’s we designed a bespoke curriculum, based on the National Curriculum, with a strong knowledge focus. By instilling integrity and good values and equipping children with a knowledge-based curriculum, we enable our children to thrive in the 21st century. Although there is a strong focus on key information, we balance factual learning with its application, using practical skills. Currently we are creating ‘Knowledge Organisers' (KO) for all subjects in the curriculum. A Knowledge Organiser is the ‘go-to’ document, outlining the ‘powerful knowledge’ that children need in order to truly understand concepts. It also enables them to recall and apply this knowledge, offer informed explanations and further their understanding.
"We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience." John Dewey
“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” Brian Herbert
English sits at the heart of the primary curriculum and at St Michael’s we value our children’s right to be literate and to enjoy literature. Children should be taught to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and be able to listen and respond when others communicate with them. Reading in particular, helps children to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Reading not only enables pupils to acquire knowledge but develops knowledge, as it helps the children to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to fully participate as a member of society and therefore we aim to equip our pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, as well as develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
Spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting:
A consistently high standard of joined up handwriting and neat presentation are promoted across the whole school, which all children and staff recognise, understand and follow. In Reception, letter formations are taught alongside phonics and once the children have learned their letter formation and sounds, joined up handwriting is encouraged. From Year 1 onwards, all classes begin the day with handwriting practice.
We follow a structured spelling scheme. In Early Years and Key Stage 1, phonics lessons are planned using the Letters and Sounds framework and delivered using the Tower Hamlets approach. In Key Stage 2, a spelling rule is introduced at the beginning of each week. The children practise their spellings for the week by writing these words in the daily handwriting sessions, using the ‘Quiz, Quiz, Trade’ strategy, and revising at home. At the end of the week, the learning is assessed by a spelling test and dictation.
Grammar and punctuation learning opportunities are weaved into the literacy lessons, but also taught discreetly at times.
Writing is taught through ‘talk for writing’ (T4W) – this approach develops speaking, listening, grammar and children’s creative writing skills. As a result of this approach, the children are developing into successful storytellers and the quality of writing across the school is impressive. The method focuses on children learning quality texts off by heart so that rich language and sentence structures are embedded and built upon every year. A range of fiction and non-fiction genres are taught, to ensure children are aware of the features of different text types. The three stages of T4W are immersion in the text, innovation and independent application. Alan Peat’s ‘exciting sentences’ are taught discreetly, equipping the children with a bank of varied sentences they may use in their writing to engage the reader.
To develop their reading skills in Early Years, a structured phonics approach is embedded and every child receives 1:1 reading opportunities. In Year 1, daily guided reading sessions are held, with a focus on word reading and comprehension. From Year 2 upwards, reading is taught using a whole class teaching approach. In dedicated reading slots, the teachers use a range of strategies to aid comprehension and encourage reading with meaning. The sessions incorporate whole class modelling prior to the children applying these skills through partner and independent work. The children are frequently reminded that to be a good reader, they should read each day. Therefore, in addition to the dedicated teaching of reading, opportunities for ‘reading for pleasure’ are built into the timetable and children are always encouraged to read at home.
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein
At St Michael’s, we believe that a high quality education in Maths not only provides vital tools for understanding the world around us, but also helps develop broader problem solving skills. It also stimulates a curiosity that allows children to thrive in all areas of their learning.
Maths is all around us - we use maths skills and capabilities every day, from estimating and making calculated choices, telling time, handling money to following a recipe and measuring accurately. Everyone requires some level of specific mathematics knowledge! In most professions a sound understanding of maths is a key requirement and the stronger it is, the better the individual is able to perform in their role. The children of St Michael's are encouraged to develop their mathematical understanding to its full potential to prepare them for their future in the world.
To ensure we embed the fundamentals in Maths, all Maths lessons begin with the structured approach of ‘CLIC’, which provides the children with basic number skills appropriate for their age. These skills focus around counting, recall (learn its), making links (it’s nothing new) and calculation strategies. Through embedding these basic number skills, children develop their mathematical competency and as a result they have greater freedom to explore more complicated mathematical concepts through problem solving and reasoning. We encourage children to learn from mistakes and develop the values of perseverance and resilience, as well as recognising the importance and advantages of working collaboratively.
“All religions, cultures, and beliefs deserve the same amount of respect, even if they are different from your own.” “If you are unable to love and respect someone because they don’t believe as you do, maybe you need to have another look at what it is that you believe in.”
Religious Education (RE) plays an important role in reflecting and conveying the distinctively Christian character of the school. With the school’s vision statement of 'enabling every child to flourish in their potential as a child of God', the child’s sense of own identity and worth as well as their personal beliefs and values are developed through the teaching of RE. Embedding core values will help the children to make reasoned and informed responses to life issues and moral choices. The RE curriculum helps children to develop both knowledge and understanding of Christianity as well as the other major world religions, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. We want to give the children a platform to develop deeper thinking and reflect on truth, belief and faith. Religious Education is also an opportunity to foster children’s feelings of awe, wonder, joy and mystery and to extend their natural curiosity in God’s world.
See Expectations in RE (information to follow soon)
“Science is simply common sense at its best” Thomas Huxley
“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell
“People without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”
“I began studying geography because I wanted to learn more about the world I live in.”Alice Hyde
“It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it.” Isaiah 45:12
Many people immediately think of maps when they hear the word ‘Geography’, however, as a subject , Geography is so much more than that. Geography is the study of places, landscapes, environments and people - and how they have affected each other over time to become what it is today. It combines natural sciences (physical geography) and social sciences (human geography).
We teach Geography as it develops a better world view – it helps the children to gain an appreciation for the world that goes beyond the borders that they live within and develops their understanding that they are part of a global community.
“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 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 build bridges and bring people together.” Barack Obama
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live”. Jim Roh
‘Physical Fitness is not only one of the most important keys to healthy body, but it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity’ John.F.Kennedy
We teach PE to encourage children to become actively involved in sports as well as to recognise the benefits of health and fitness. Physical Education gives us the perfect chance to build on children’s ability to be part of a team and additionally to support the building of individual character. Physical Education is also the ideal opportunity to solidify our school rule of respect as children learn the values of fairness and respect within sport.
An opportunity to succeed and excel in competitive sport , learn how to deal with the highs and lows of winning and losing is also a reason for teaching PE. It is of great importance to s that children experience the enjoyment of PE and how it can help us to feel good about ourselves , consequently gaining skills that last a lifetime.
Lessons involve a range of team work predominately in houses -led by House Captains in upper juniors-paired work and some individual activities.
At St Michael's we are committed to provide opportunities to learn to swim. Swimming is the only sport which can save a child's life... drowning is still one of the most common causes for accidental death in children, so being able to swim is an essential life-saving skill. Swimming also keeps children's heart and lungs healthy, improves strength and flexibility and it increases stamina, balance and posture. Another great thing about swimming, other than the fact that it is lots of fun, is that children of any age or ability can take part in this form of exercise.
Click here to see more information about our 'Walk-a-Mile' initiative.
Children learn a range of sports - see STM curriculum map (link)
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Scott Adams
STM art & design scheme (information to follow soon)
STM art & design expectations (information to follow soon)
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Victor Hugo
Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity – it is a key part of our lives and therefore we recognise its value at St Michael’s. We believe it offers children something that is emotional, imaginative and fun. Other reasons for teaching music are:
“Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you just want to purse a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.” Stephen Hawking
See STM computing scheme (information to follow soon)
See STM computing expectations (information to follow soon)
“Calma, dolce e gentile” Calm, gentle and kind. “When in Rome, does as the Romans.”
There are many good reasons for learning a second language; research has proven the cognitive benefits, such as memory improvement and longer attention span. The world is changing quickly and learning a second language could potentially improve an individual's employment prospects. More companies than ever are managing business in several – often dozens of – countries around the world, but they are unable to do this without hiring globally-minded people able to speak at least one foreign language. If an individual makes the effort to learn another language, rather than expecting the world to accommodate their own language, then it makes that person more interesting. If there is one culture that you’d like to understand better, or even one person in your life you’d like to know better, one of the best ways to start is by learning to speak their language.
STM curriculum map (information to follow soon)
STM MFL expectations (information to follow soon)
“Relationships are like birds, if you hold tightly they die, if you hold loosely they fly, but if you hold with care they remain with you forever...”
Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) is a lifelong learning process of acquiring information, developing skills and forming positive beliefs and attitudes about sex, sexuality, relationships and feelings. Parents/carers have a major responsibility to help children cope with the physical and emotional aspects of growing up, however, the intent of the school is to support parents in this task. We believe effective RSE could make a significant contribution to the development of the personal skills needed by pupils if they are to establish and maintain healthy relationships. It also enables young people to make responsible and informed decisions about their health and well-being. Consistent with the Church School ethos, we base the teaching of RSE on the premise that all life is from God and we are created in the image of God. We are called to love, as God is love.
“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.”
Even though the world is changing, the values that children need to develop do not really change over time - it is the application of these values that changes. ‘Values’ are the long-term underlying principles used in deciding what is right and wrong, good or bad and helps children learn and practice healthy attitudes and behaviour, such as respect, trust and resilience. Our values education underpins everything we do and encourages the children to make a positive contribution to the development of a fair, just and civil society.
Our one school rule is respect. We expect children to demonstrate the value of respect by respecting themselves and their learning, respecting their peers, respecting the staff and community, respecting the school environment and ultimately respecting God. In addition to the value of respect, the school has adopted 6 further key values we actively teach and promote - love, hope, peace, joy, trust and resilience.
We teach the British Values to nurture our children on their journey through life so they can grow into safe, democratic, tolerant, responsible and respectful individuals who make a positive difference to British society and to the diverse world we live in. We encourage our children to be creative and open-minded, respectful of themselves and of others in our school, our local community and the wider world.
“The biggest problem is that we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”
We want our children to become healthy, independent, reflective and responsible members of society, who will make a positive contribution in the wider world. Our fully planned and resourced 'Let's Talk' program develops the children's knowledge and skills which they need to manage their lives, now and in the future. The children have the opportunity to learn how to stay safe and healthy, build successful relationships and develop the attributes they need to prepare them for life and work in modern Britain.
During 'Let's Talk’ time, we cover the following four core themes:
1. Health and well-being
2. Being safe in the school and beyond the school gate
4. Living in the wider world
Within these themes, the lessons include discussions about British Values, global citizenship, personal safety, health and mental well-being.
The children's days are filled with ample, quality learning opportunities at St Michael's. Therefore, when children go home, we would like them to be active and have time to play in the garden/park, participate in sport and socialise with friends (... and preferably not via a video game!). However, it is also important that children develop skills in using their time wisely and extend their learning beyond the school gate. Home learning improves children’s thinking, memory and study skills which will serve them well in secondary school and throughout their life.
In addition to daily reading and termly projects, here are the weekly home learning expectations that we have at St Michael’s: