0151 922 1216
Head Teacher: Mrs Mairead O’Neill Dowell
Telephone: 0151 922 1216
If you have any questions concerning the curriculum please contact the Headteacher.
“We are God’s work of art.”
At St Robert Bellarmine we are passionate about ensuring every child fulfils their potential and becomes an all-round exceptional citizen with the skills needed to succeed in life. We design our curriculum to ensure it is fully inclusive of every child and that it addresses each aspect of how a child develops, progresses and grows both academically and emotionally.
The aims of our curriculum are:
Our curriculum is therefore inextricably linked to our Mission to ensure we provide the knowledge, skills and character development to enable our children to fulfil their dreams. We provide an environment in which the dignity of each person as a child of God is recognised and developed and promote the full potential of each child through a curriculum which develops spiritual, academic, social and emotional growth.
Here at St Robert Bellarmine Catholic Primary School, we have endeavoured to develop a curriculum that not only engages our children but also reflects their needs. We have a diverse community, who have dreams and ambitions. So, we have collaborated as a staff to create a curriculum that is rich in cultural capital, founded in knowledge and that enables us to broaden the children’s horizons as far as possible during their time in the school, enabling us to consider social justice and provide the best for our children moving forwards. Our aim is that the best learning opportunities will be provided regardless of ability, race, gender or age. With diverse families and different levels of socio-economic status, the staff at St Robert Bellarmine ensure enrichment is at the heart of the curriculum we teach. Enrichment is woven into the very fabric of our planning, teaching and assessment process in each and every subject. Our children come to school with different life experiences, which impacts on their vocabulary, reasoning and understanding throughout all key stages. We intend to provide a wealth of opportunities, visitors and experiences to improve learning both inside and outside of the classroom and to create links between learning, in meaningful contexts wherever possible; whilst making sure it is relevant for our children. We want the learning gained from these experiences to be invaluable as to how our children develop understanding about the world in which we live and how it can help learning inside the classroom become more tangible. We want to prepare all our children for the next stages in their educational careers as well as allow them to develop their aspirations for adult life. Our curriculum will build knowledge on prior learning, engage and enhance natural curiosity and develop the attitudes to be a lifelong learner, as highlighted in our learner profile.
As a school, we place a great deal of importance on academic learning, and we take the progress and attainment of each child achieving the very best they are capable of very seriously. However, we also view each child as a complete person, and our curriculum has been tailored to ensure that each child grows as a person, and recognises their place in our community, our city and in our ever-changing world. Our curriculum has been designed to reflect that life at St Robert Bellarmine is rich, varied, caring, inclusive, interesting, challenging, inspiring, but, above all, rewarding. This runs through all subject areas, including our quality text-based approach to English and our Maths curriculum which is based upon Bruner’s theory. We ensure that Maths is taught through the three modes of representation: Concrete (action based), Pictorial (Image based) and Symbolic (language based). Knowledge is gained over time and applied into reasoning, problem solving, and investigations.
Staff subject knowledge and confidence is vital to ensuring that children receive the best possible quality of education. As a school we have invested in bespoke continuous professional development with external consultants for many years which has significantly improved our curriculum design and supported high standards across the curriculum.
Our approach to teaching across the whole curriculum puts children at the heart of their own learning, taking an active part in lessons and ensuring that the children are rich in language and cultural capital by the time they leave us to continue their educational journey. We recognise that children have a thirst for knowledge and we are committed to nurturing young: writers, performers, readers, speakers, mathematicians, scientists, historians, geographers, artists, designers, musicians, sports persons, computer users and so much more. We aim to provide the building blocks of knowledge that enable the children to progress and follow their dreams through fostering the qualities of resilience and inquiry as well as planning opportunities for the children to know about keeping safe. In order to allow our children to fully develop these aptitudes, language is a key focus for us, both to develop the children’s communication abilities, and also to provide them with the rich and specific vocabulary from across the curriculum that underpins their knowledge and understanding of different subjects.
Our curriculum is built upon knowledge, and looks to develop the children’s skills and understanding as they progress through the school. Learning is further enhanced by a carefully planned range of educational experts, visits, PSHE and R.E. themed-weeks and a wide selection of extra-curricular activities, which allow the children to further develop their skills and understanding as they progress through the school.
We recognise the importance of helping our children develop fluency in all subject areas. This fluency is the basis upon which our children can be guided to master skills, develop their thinking and broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding. We have developed a range of strategies which support our children in realising their potential.
Underpinning our curriculum is our belief that everyone has immeasurable ability to enhance their learning aptitude and heighten their emotional intelligence. Meta-cognition, how we help children in learning how to learn, underlies our delivery and implementation of the curriculum and the way our staff explicitly mediate and promote the process of learning.
Alongside teaching of curriculum subjects and assessment of attainment and progress, we ensure that our children’s talents and successes are celebrated throughout school. High expectations of all our children leads to high aspirations and the belief that they can achieve in all they do.
With the understanding that a proportion of our children enter our school below age related expectations, we believe that family and community engagement is key to breaking down the barriers of any possible, pre-existing negative school experiences and to welcome families in to our happy, vibrant school. The Early Years team focus on play-based learning, which is informed by topics and children’s interests and complemented with a balance of explicit adult directed tasks. This approach to teaching ensures high level engagement for all children throughout their Early Years’ education and creates positive learning experiences in readiness for Key Stage 1. Throughout all stages of learning, teachers use this holistic approach to mould and shape the curriculum in order for it to fit the needs of the children in their class.
The impact and measure of implementation is to ensure children not only acquire the appropriate age related knowledge linked to the curriculum but also skills which equip them to progress from their starting points. In shaping our curriculum this way, progress can measured and evidenced for all children, regardless of their starting points or specific needs.
Teachers and staff work hard to plan a broad and knowledge rich curriculum which is expertly delivered to ensure a child’s entire school experience enables them to develop a deep body of knowledge which will see them through to further study, employment and a successful adult life in whatever they choose. We pride ourselves on quality of education, not just a narrow diet of SAT’s driven English and Maths curriculum, where their creativity is stifled and well-being is compromised.
When our children leave us, as well as being ready for a KS3 curriculum, they have a wealth of transferrable skills which have been developed throughout their time at primary school in an inclusive and nurturing environment. We are proud that once the children from St Robert Bellarmine Primary School have left, they have been supported through their transition; have been exposed to rich vocabulary and have high aspirations and self-belief through the teaching of an interesting and engaging curriculum.
We shall assess the impact of our curriculum by high quality teacher assessment, effective intervention and support, the use of regular nationally standardised tests, professional reflection and external support and consultation with pupils and parents.
As a school we recognise the importance of helping children to master skills and concepts and deepen their understanding at all developmental stages through a variety of pedagogical styles and strategies that are underpinned by our understanding of meta-cognition, enabling children to maximise their potential as a learner.
When creating units of work for the foundation subjects, teachers carefully plan for progression using the Chris Quigley philosophy of cognitive domains which are based on the research of Sweller, Kirschener and Rosenhine who argue for direct instruction in the early stages of learning and discovery-based approaches later. This means the nature of thinking and the way it is used and applied changes as pupils progress through each topic. These cognitive domains demonstrate a basic, advancing and deep degree of understanding, with more direct instruction used in the basic domain and problem-based discovery in the deep domain.
Basic tasks involve a lower level of cognitive demand and involve the acquisition of fundamental knowledge that can be built upon and revisited as the topic progresses.
Advancing tasks require a higher level of cognitive demand beyond recall. Such tasks involve application of the fundamental knowledge acquired during the basic tasks.
Finally deep tasks are planned for where appropriate and require the greatest cognitive demand. These tasks involve non-standard, non-routine, inter-connected, multi-step thinking problems with more than one possible solution. They require pupils to apply the fundamental knowledge they have acquired in inventive ways.
The table below illustrates how teachers are able to change the nature of the task as pupils progress through the topic and move through the three cognitive domains of basic, advancing and deep understanding.
Types of thinking.
Nature of tasks and questions.
Types of tasks and questions.
Low level cognitive demand. Involves following instructions.
Acquiring fundamental knowledge.
Name, describe, follow instructions or methods, recall, use, match, list, label, repeat, arrange, recite.
Higher level cognitive demand beyond recall. Requires application of the fundamental knowledge.
Applying fundamental knowledge.
Apply, solve, explain methods, classify, infer, categorise, identify patterns, organise, predict, interpret, summarise, compare/contrast,
High level of cognitive demand that involves non-standard, non-routine, inter-connected, multi-step thinking problems with more than one possible solution.
Inventive application of fundamental knowledge.
Appraise, explain concepts, investigate, design, create, prove, judge, justify, generalise, find evidence for, recommend.
Based on Chris Quigley’s document Planning for Fundamental Foundations to Greater Depth.
“The cultural knowledge that serves as currency that helps us navigate our culture and alters our experiences and the opportunities available to us,” Pierre Bourdieu
What is Cultural Capital
Cultural Capital is something that we all possess, but in different amounts. It is an accumulation of a pupil's knowledge, skills and behaviour and it is one of the key ingredients a pupil will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work. Cultural capital gives power. It helps children achieve goals, become successful, and rise up the social ladder without necessarily having wealth or financial capital. Cultural capital is having assets that give children the desire to aspire and achieve social mobility whatever their starting point. It is the golden thread that ties all aspects of a pupil's school life together, making our children better people when they leave St Robert Bellarmine.
Cultural Capital at St Robert Bellarmine
Every child and family who joins our setting will have their own knowledge and experiences that will link to their culture and wider family. This might include: languages, beliefs, traditions, cultural and family heritage, interests, travel and work. At St Robert Bellarmine we strive hard to ensure that we add value to our pupils' Cultural Capital both inside and outside of the classroom. Our pupils realise that being successful is not just about their academic performance, therefore we have a range of opportunities and experiences for pupils to get involved in throughout their time with us. In addition to pupils’ academic success, we actively recognise and celebrate qualities we see in our pupils which are essential to be educated citizens and to succeed in life.
Here at St Robert Bellarmine, we have carefully constructed our curriculum by putting children at the centre. We want our curriculum to help to support and address the potential barriers the children in our school may meet. We understand that cultural capital is important in underpinning some of the areas we need to help support the children in our school context. children benefit from a curriculum that builds on what they understand and know already. . This means our children have a deep and connected knowledge and understanding of where they came from, who they are and what they might become. We believe that exposure, not only to culture but also to situations in which the children might not have previous experiences of, is of paramount importance to their ongoing successes. Gradually widening children’s experiences as they progress through school is an important step in providing rich and engaging learning across the curriculum. We plan carefully for children to have progressively richer experiences in nursery and beyond.