I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. - Psalm 32:8
At Mexborough St John the Baptist, we value all of God’s children, creating an inclusive environment that helps all to flourish. Our motivating and stimulating curriculum encourages children to become:
effective learners through a curriculum designed to build on progressive knowledge and skills;
responsible citizens who take responsibility for themselves and their actions, show compassion to others and are respectful.
Our curriculum has a sharp focus on the early language and literacy skills that our pupils need as well as a wide and inspiring set of experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. This ensure that our children dream big, become clear-thinking and enlightened citizens who are informed about the world.
‘Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind’
There is a clear rationale behind our curriculum, and careful thought and planning has gone into each of our areas of learning. Clear content sequencing, progression maps and knowledge organisers are used in each subject to set out the knowledge to be taught at each phase (see 'our subjects' section).
Reading, Writing, Mathematics
At Mexborough St John, phonics and early reading is at the core of our curriculum. In Early Years and Key Stage 1, pupils are taught using a systematic, synthetic phonics approach: ‘Little Wandle’ Letters and Sounds Revised. In the teaching of English, we use a novel study approach to expose children to high quality texts, widen their vocabulary and provide a purpose for writing. The Mathematics curriculum adopts a mastery approach using learning journeys that focus on sequential steps. This is so all children have secure basic skills in the subject and apply their knowledge in a range of ways.
Our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum and was designed with our children's needs and interests in mind. Over the year pupils will learn about four topics. Two of these are history focused and one is science led. This approach was taken because our children particularly enjoy these areas of learning (follow the 'Curriculum Overview' tab above for more information). Where learning is topic lead, we start with a key question to engage and focus learning. With an eye to the context of our community, we prioritise offering our children a wide and inspiring set of experiences, through drivers such as launch events, trips, visits, purpose and learning celebrations.
Teaching and learning follows a similar structure across all classes focusing on key concepts that support pupils to make rich connections. Intelligent repetition of key concepts enables children to strengthen memory over time, thus leading to deeper understanding. Knowledge organisers enable pupils to revisit their prior learning, gather new knowledge as well as introducing and embedding vocabulary.
It is essential that children remember the knowledge that they have been taught so that learning ‘sticks’ in order for them to understand new knowledge, make learning links and apply this in different contexts. The core skills of recall, understand, connect and apply are used to drive this.
Pupils’ learning over time, reflects the intended curriculum. The concepts and big ideas provide the schema through which meaning is made and helps to ensure long term knowledge growth. This in turn ensures pupils know more and can do more.
Research shows that repetition of course content leads to sticky learning; the transfer of knowledge from the short term to long term memory. At Mexborough St John’s, we achieve this through regular retrieval practise. Children can speak with confidence about what they have learnt and how they can apply this to other parts of their learning. The impact of our curriculum will be seen not only in measurable attainment and progress (see our school data) but that St John the Baptist Primary School creates polite, well-mannered caring members of our school community who understand and respect everybody’s differences and needs.
1. Myatt, M. (2020) Back on Track, fewer things, greater depth.
Reference to Willingham, DT. (2010) ‘the unifying ideas of discipline’- Daniel Willingham argues that pupils should learn the concepts that come up again and again.