Our Curriculum Principles and values
‘The future is not a place we are going to, but one we are creating’
The school is also at the heart of our wider community and its curriculum reflects its principles and values. Wherever possible, enquiry based learning will be the core curriculum approach. We believe that this approach develops questioning, life-long learners and ensures knowledge and skills are more liable to enter into long-term memory. We do not know what the world will look like when our children enter the workplace. Therefore, we need to ensure the curriculum enables our children to be expert thinkers and learners and to have the key skills and knowledge to enable them to engage creatively and critically with a world which we cannot yet describe.
Therefore, we aim for our curriculum to:
- be founded upon the 4CS of Thinking – Caring, Collaborative, Critical and Creative
- be enriched through the learning of metacognition – supporting a self-improving system both individually and collectively.
- have an inclusive vision
- break down barriers, challenge inequality and injustice and celebrate diversity
- inspire and empower children to become life-long learners
- create children who are confident, articulate, independent and empathetic learners
- develop children as healthy, self-aware, socially responsible and positive citizens.
- ensure children understand the global context and impact of their lives and how they can contribute to sustainable growth
- be reflective and self-critical. Regular feedback including peer and self-evaluation is the driver and regulator within this system
- to nurture supportive, caring, critical but respectful relationships
- to be a creative, inspiring, co-constructed and experiential curriculum that constantly evolves and enables our children to be successful citizens of the 21st Century
Our curriculum therefore has clear values and a strong moral purpose running through it in terms of the knowledge, skills, concepts and learning outcomes we aim to promote to ensure all our children are equipped for the modern world.
At St. Luke’s:
Our curriculum has been designed by the teachers and children to provide a rich learning context, relevant to the needs and interests of the children, to help them understand their place in a rapidly changing world, where our lives are increasing linked. The curriculum topics take them on a learning journey where they often take on a role. They become pirates or ecologists, archaeologists or Tudor sailors. Many of the topics make direct links to global issues and sustainability challenges. The curriculum activities are tailored to promote independent thinking and learning often in a collaborative context. Our curriculum has successfully incorporated appropriate elements from the new National Curriculum and its new expectations. Each topic ends with a ‘celebration’ where you can share the learning with your child.
- We provide real experiences
- We believe that children learn by doing, so we take them on lots of educational visits, invite speakers into school, bring in artefacts and interesting objects, and use our environment to spark learning.
- Encourage children to take a lead- We discuss with children what they want to find out about a topic and we ensure that there is time for children to direct how the learning will flow. This isn’t to say that any of the rigour of the learning is lost, quite the opposite – if the children are really wanting to discover more about a topic then the depth and quality of the work produced is often exceptional.
- We develop problem solving and thinking skills – We want children to be able to think creatively and critically question. We believe problem solving is key to their future success and the ability to tackle problems in a range of ways will help them succeed.
- We develop links with the community – St. Luke’s is an exciting place to come to school and learn; we want children to be aware that they are a central part of our community and have a role to play in that community. They are also part of a bigger national and international community. We have links with the local churches, mosques, environmental groups and arts groups and with other contrasting communities in the wider world.
The Wider Curriculum
The education of the children extends well beyond the classroom. We offer an excellent range of extra-curricular clubs including dance, drama, ukulele, rock band, comic, coding, multi-sports, Spanish and football. Teachers organise regular educational visits for their children to support their learning. We regularly compete in local school sports’ competitions and offer two residential trips for the children, one in Year 5 and one in Year 6.
The year is enriched by many focus weeks and days where children have the opportunity to be immersed in a particular curriculum area or citizenship theme. These include Diversity Week, Good to Be Me Week, World Philosophy Day, Number Day, Fairtrade Fortnight, Book Week, Arts Week and Science Week
Global Citizenship is at the heart of our school and our relationships. It runs as an important theme through many areas of the curriculum and is actively promoted through a range of activities, opportunities and responsibilities at the school. Class and school councils, a Learning Leader group, an Equalities Team and an Eco Team develop pupil voice and active involvement in school improvements.
St. Luke’s has a special role to play in preparing children to build a brighter future through educating children in a sustainable approach to living by promoting positive attitudes relating to food, travel and healthier lifestyles. Other themes lie at its heart, including energy and water, local well-being, the development of global understanding and the promotion of global links. We are at present developing an extensive Climate Change Curriculum.
We have been awarded Enhanced Healthy Schools Status by the government, which means we have developed an ethos, curriculum and a range of opportunities for the children which support the physical and emotional well-being of the children very effectively.
The Learning Environment
We believe that children learn best in an environment, which is well cared for, which clearly shows we value the learners within it and which fully supports the curriculum. We aim to offer an exciting, stimulating environment for learning. Each classroom contains high quality displays celebrating the work of children of all abilities. Children are provided with quality up-to-date resources including access to the latest IT equipment. We also have a range of rooms dedicated to specialist teaching. Outside we have the wildlife garden, the edible forest garden, an astro-turf sports area and extensive climbing equipment for physical play. The playground is managed by children and adult play leaders. We have developed and will continue to develop the playgrounds greatly, recognising the immense value of play.
Talking does not just involve speaking. At St. Luke’s we also use gestures and signs which promote and stimulate speech development and give extra information which can be seen.
Peer Massage is proving to be an enormously beneficial programme within the school. The children take part in regular 15 minute massage sessions. They are seated in chairs and wear their normal clothes. Massage is given to each other on the back, head, arms and hands. A protocol of mutual respect lies at the core of Peer Massage. Peer Massage encourages calm behaviour, enhances self-confidence, and develops concentration and well-being; respect for themselves and for other children grows.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education
At St. Luke’s we take a whole school approach to the promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural education as we recognise that it plays a significant role in children’s ability to learn and achieve. We therefore aim to provide an education that provides children with opportunities to explore and develop:
- their own values and beliefs; their own spiritual awareness;
- their own high standards of personal behaviour;
- a positive, caring attitude towards other people;
- an understanding of their social and cultural traditions and;
- an appreciation of the diversity and richness of their cultures.
- Development of SMSC is supported through our school ethos, our behaviour policy and through all areas of the national curriculum. A significant contribution is made by Religious Education, Philosophy for Children and through assemblies.
Pupils’ spiritual development involves the growth of their sense of self, their unique potential, their understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, and their will to achieve. As their curiosity about themselves and their place in the world increases, they try to answer for themselves some of life’s fundamental questions.
Pupils’ moral development involves pupils acquiring an understanding of the difference between right and wrong and of moral conflict, a concern for others and the will to do what is right. They are able and willing to reflect on the consequences of their actions and learn how to forgive themselves and others. They develop the knowledge, skills and understanding, qualities and attitudes they need in order to make responsible moral decisions and act on them.
Pupils’ social development involves pupils acquiring an understanding of the responsibilities and rights of being members of families and communities (local, national and global), and an ability to relate to others and to work with others for the common good. They display a sense of belonging and an increasing willingness to participate. They develop the knowledge, skills, understanding, qualities and attitudes they need to make an active contribution to the democratic process in each of their communities.
Pupils’ cultural development involves pupils acquiring an understanding of cultural traditions and the ability to appreciate and respond to a variety of aesthetic experiences. They acquire a respect for their own culture and that of others, an interest in others’ ways of doing things and curiosity about differences. They develop the knowledge, skills, understanding, qualities and attitudes they need to understand, appreciate and contribute to culture.
Teaching Values at St Luke’s Primary School
At St. Luke’s, we teach pupils about British values which are defined as:
The rule of law
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
These values are taught explicitly through the curriculum and experienced implicitly through our school relationships, our pedagogy and our celebration of diversity and the promotion of equalities and inclusion. We do not see these values as uniquely British so they are not taught explicitly as such. They are seen as universal human values which underpin our society and our learning community. Other key values such as kindness, fairness, trust, responsibility, honesty and citizenship are also seen as central to our work to build a cohesive school community and support children’s growth and development as active citizens.
Our non-behaviourist approach means we are continually talking about individual liberties and the consequences of our actions on the liberty of others. We have high expectations for adults’ and high aspirations for children’s learning and social behaviours. Without rewards (which promote a ‘What’s in it for me?’ culture) and with a major reduction in sanctions, we have created a learning community where it is imperative adults and children all treat each other with respect, listen to each other carefully and make decisions collaboratively.
We believe that a strong sense of attachment to / sense of belonging within our school community is key to supporting positive behaviours. This sense of belonging needs to be built on a bedrock of strong relationships founded on mutual respect and appreciation (not tolerance) of different beliefs (between children, between adults and between adults and children).
Alongside this sense of belonging, we believe that developing / maintaining emotional wellbeing also rests on children being given opportunities to be generous; to achieve; to be trusted and to be independent (to enjoy individual liberty). In working with vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils, we consider and proactively plan to ensure the children’s needs are being fully met in each of these areas.
Our Rights and Responsibilities
Each class has a Charter on display in the classroom. Each Charter is based on 3 universal rights: the right to be safe; to be heard and to learn – but each class will personalise and develop these statements over time to show how children will behave responsibly to respect and protect these rights. To support these rights, routines will also be agreed by the class: strong routines support positive behaviour. Involving children in developing these agreements and routines supports ownership and understanding.
The use of a Charter (in place of school ‘rules’) is a deliberate choice. We want to place the children’s responsibility for their actions/behaviour as central and key to their development into self-controlled, mindful and respectful citizens.
Over the year, the Charter is reviewed regularly and children and adults evaluate how well the class is showing responsible behaviour; vote on which aspects should be targeted and how the class community will support each other to make progress.
St. Luke’s as a Learning Community
A learning community, as developed by St. Luke’s, is one in which everyone has responsibility for their own and other pupils’ learning and for the governance of the classroom. Learning is seen primarily as a social experience, where children co-construct knowledge together and develop a mutual respect for each other’s skills and knowledge. They quickly grow to appreciate the value of the range of beliefs and ideas around them. Child agency is central to the maintenance and enrichment of this learning culture. The strong learning and teaching of metacognition supports a self-improving system – individually and collectively decisions are made for the good of all. Weekly learning reviews, where democratic decisions are regularly taken, show them the importance of having a choice just as importantly as respecting the voice of the majority.
The 4Cs of Thinking
Caring, collaborative, creative and critical thinking threading through learning in the curriculum and taught through P4C, nurtures children who frequently reflect on :
· the importance of mutually supportive and agreed rules to guide our decisions,
· the importance of democratic structures so everyone has a voice and common agreement can be reached,
· the many beliefs and faiths held by the community and through caring thinking they foster a deep appreciation of this diversity.
It is our Equality Act duty to eliminate discrimination. It is also our duty to promote community cohesion. We have reviewed our equalities work across the curriculum and across our everyday practice in order, wherever possible, to challenge stereotypes and show positive stories and images of people reflecting a range of protected charcteristics i.e. ethnicity, gender, disability
Global Citizenship and our Climate Change Curriculum
Through the general curriculum, assemblies and the climate change curriculum, children learn about how to be positive global citizens, reflecting on their actions/choices and their impact on others – how their individual liberties also bring with them significant responsibilities and how laws are developed to protect individuals and the environment.
The values are threaded through the curriculum content and its implementation e.g.
In History – children learn about the attack against democracy in the Gunpowder Plot; the development of democracy through the Greek states; fundamental challenges to our values systems and liberties in the Second World War and the battle for the rule of law during Tudor times
In Geography – children learn how different cultures live and work throughout the world e.g. India ; they learn about the choices we make in terms of development in Brighton and Brazil, the laws governing developments and the positive and negative impacts they can have on people’s liberties/quality of life..
In RE – children learn about the three main religions’ ideas and beliefs in ways which highlight common themes and values which bind us together, whilst celebrating the diversity in faiths. Children consider how beliefs affect choices and actions when thinking about what is good and right and how we know how to live.
In DT – children learn they must take different views and opinions into account but still have the right to make their own choices. They understand that it is not always possible or right to have their own way and understand the value of compromise. They understand the importance of safety rules when using tools.. They can appreciate ideas different to their own and understand that many great design ideas originate from other cultures. They offer supportive comments in evaluations that will improve learning outcomes in a way that is objective but sensitive to the listener.
In PSHE- children learn about all forms of equality and develop greater understanding of and respect for people of all faiths (and those of no faith), races, genders, ages, disabilities and sexual orientations (and other groups with protected characteristics).
In Art – children learn to talk about and appreciate art and design work from different cultures and religious beliefs.
In Computing – children learn about rules and responsibility in E-Safety: about mutual respect in communication and the strength but also the dangers inherent in individual liberty expressed through the internet
In PE – children learn how to follow rules to ensure fair-play and safety. They make their own choices with regard to level of challenge. They experience and talk about sport/dance from different cultures. Use dance to learn about different faiths and cultures around the world. They learn how to behave appropriately to allow all participants the opportunity to take part effectively. They review each other’s work respectfully.
In Science – children learn through an enquiry-based approach which allows for choice and often gives them the freedom to explore ideas in ways they see fit. It teaches them about the importance of the scientific laws governing fair testing.
A rolling programme of assemblies covers all of these values – the P4C structure/organisation of assembly allows for in-depth discussion with a range of children from many different backgrounds ensuring a rich range of viewpoints.
The Wider Curriculum
Our pupils have the opportunity to express their views through the school council (where children are selected by a class vote), pupil conferencing and active pupil voice through such roles as Learning Leaders, Arts Ambassadors, Peaceful Problem Solvers, the Equalities Team and the Eco Council. Children frequently lead campaigns for change through a curriculum which encourages consideration of local and national issues. They are also encouraged and taught how to construct a fair and persuasive argument around topic themes such as rainforests and marine development. At each General Election, we run our own election within school in which we choose the party and leader to represent the ideas and values of our own school community.
The Rule of Law:
Children develop their own class charters, they review their behaviours in class and in the playground and suggest new guidelines where there are issues. They devise plans for effective collaborative learning, peer tutoring, dialogue and listening. Children are taught from the outset that they are responsible for themselves and for others and the effect of non-compliance on others.
Our school ethos and personal and social education emphasize our freedom to be who we want to be and to be proud of who we are as long as our actions or thoughts do not infringe the freedoms of others. Our school culture is safe and supportive and encourages children to express themselves. Children are encouraged and supported to present to their peers, teaching others about their identity (for example children teach children about autism or dyslexia if these conditions form part of their identity). Children are told that we trust them to make decisions but with that comes responsibility to others. They understand our ‘right to be heard’ and opportunities to have a voice. In lessons, children often lead their own learning through choice of challenge and lines of enquiry. Often they can choose how to present learning.
‘Respect for and appreciation of each other’ is a key value at the centre of our school ethos. As a multicultural and inclusive school, we nurture understanding and appreciation of our diversity through our curriculum but also through our work with other stakeholders/agencies.
Through projects and presentations, we work closely with:
· Parents/carers to share knowledge and understanding of their heritage
· Parents/carers to celebrate the variety of family-types in the school
· Carousel, Wellingon Road and Brighton Table Tennis Club to help community understanding of physical and learning disabilities
· We encourage adults with learning difficulties to work alongside the children to challenge stereotypical views and fears.
· Allsorts to promote understanding of transgender identities
· Stonewall to develop understanding of sexuality and gender
· The children themselves often give presentations around their own disabilities such as autism, visual impairment or cerebral palsy or about gender identity or homophobic behaviour.
· Diversity weeks have focused in the past on family diversity and ‘Good to Be Me’ (which had a focus on all our many skin tones and cultural heritages).
Appreciation of those of different faiths and beliefs:
As a multicultural and multi-faith school, it is part of our school ethos to respect and understand pupils’ faiths and beliefs. This is achieved through teaching children about world faiths beyond the classroom curriculum with visits/visitors and through celebrating special days and festivals from our children’s religious backgrounds and others. Our assemblies celebrate and explain festivals from all religious backgrounds: Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism.
To support these values, high quality training develops staff’s knowledge and understanding ; ensures vigilance, confidence and competency to challenge and develop pupils’ views/values and encourage positive citizenship.