Central to our curriculum design is a focus on quality-first teaching and learning, delivered by all. Our curriculum is based on current educational research, effective pedagogy and practice, including a focus on Tom Sherrington’s WalkThru materials. Carefully sequenced curriculum progression documents are used to ensure that learning builds on prior knowledge, understanding and skills over time. ‘Key knowledge’ is clearly identified to ensure that there are a range of opportunities for the children to practise and apply this knowledge in a variety of different contexts. This is to ensure that the learning is deeply embedded into the long-term memory.
Our curriculum at St Mark’s C.E. Primary School has been designed to take account of the statutory requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and the Primary National Curriculum. It is organised and planned to ensure every child develops both academically and personally. Our curriculum is bespoke and provides our children with a range of rich learning experiences that are tailored to our locality and the school’s unique heritage. For example, as part of the Geography curriculum, the children explore our local and surrounding areas: Bournemouth Beach, the Jurassic Coastline and the New Forest. Moreover, in History, the children explore life during Victorian Britain and how this shaped the development of Talbot Village. Linked to our vision statement of ‘serving others’, the children will learn how Gospel values inspired the Talbot Sisters to build the Talbot Village community to serve those in need in the parish.
As a Church of England school, faith and belief play a key role in the life of the school and our curriculum is centred around our vision statement of ‘loving God’. We consider Religious Education a core subject and encourage an enquiry-based approach to learning about Christianity and other faiths. Gospel values permeate the ethos of the school and we have close links with St Mark’s Church. Our curriculum explores topical issues facing our society, such as climate change. The children are encouraged to show stewardship in order to care for God’s wonderful creation for future generations.
Our three core values: ‘respect’, ‘aspire’ and ‘rejoice’ underpin our curriculum and further act as our curriculum drivers. These have been deliberately chosen as verbs as we seek to ensure that our children demonstrate these during their time at St Mark’s.
- We seek to develop the children’s respect for our increasingly diverse society through exploring different cultures, faiths and beliefs through out taught curriculum and in Collective Worship. Our curriculum for Religious Education uses units from both the 'Discovery' and 'Understanding Christianity' schemes of work which are adapted to reflect the religious representation of our community.
- Our PSHE curriculum further embeds the importance of good morals and following in Jesus’ footsteps.
- We promote fundamental British values throughout our curriculum, Collective Worships, School Council discussions and our emphasis on Religious Education and moral, social, spiritual and cultural development.
- We aspire to achieve outcomes which allow for our children to make better than expected progress in all subject areas through removing barriers to learning and having consistently high expectations.
- As each subject area is taught discretely, children are taught to appreciate the distinctive uniqueness of individual subjects and aspire to become future scientists, computer coders, historians, etc.
- Children explore activists who have shaped our society and through this, we seek to encourage our children to strive to make a difference.
- We place a high priority on ensuring the physical and mental wellbeing of children is met, understanding that they will only be successful learners if they are emotionally secure.
- Exciting, memorable learning experiences are carefully planned which include a focus on enquiry-based learning.
- We enhance and enrich the curriculum through a variety of activities: educational trips and visitors, school performances, as well as extra-curricular lunchtime and after school clubs.
- We utilise our picturesque school grounds through a focus on outdoor learning.
- We endeavour to ensure that children see a relevance and a purpose to their learning, so plan for learning to build towards purposeful outcomes.
- We actively encourage children to rejoice in their successes and in the successes of others, whether academic, sporting, musical or in an area of individual focus.
We prioritise reading as we recognise the fundamental importance of becoming a proficient, fluent reader. We ensure high-quality phonics provision is delivered through our systematic, synthetic phonics programme: Little Wandle. The children’s reading books are carefully matched to the phonic sounds they are learning. We recognise that to be an effective reader, you need secure word recognition skills combined with the ability to comprehend what you have read. We seek to ensure that children develop fluency and comprehension. Across the school, children are exposed to a diverse range of high-quality texts to develop their vocabulary and promote reading for pleasure. Quality texts are integral to our curriculum approach, as we recognise that fluency in reading enables children to have access to the full curriculum entitlement. We believe it is our role to ensure children leave us being able to articulate themselves clearly, and read and write confidently and effectively.
Wider curriculum, mental health and wellbeing:
In order for the children to acquire the key knowledge, we teach the foundation subjects discretely. Timetables are carefully considered to ensure coverage of all areas. On some occasions, Art, Design & Technology and Computing may be taught as a block to enable this. As a church school, Religious Education is considered a core subject area and is delivered through two schemes of work: Understanding Christianity and Discovery. PSHE lies at the heart of our curriculum and as a school, we follow the Jigsaw scheme. This programme of learning covers the PSHE concepts that we wish our children to learn about and develop throughout their St Mark’s journey. It also includes the careful coverage of the new RSE curriculum.
We focus on the development of the whole child through ensuring their mental health and wellbeing is fostered through sports, music and art. At St Mark’s, all children engage with two curriculum lessons of Physical Education per week. Over the course of the year, all children have the opportunity to experience 6-12 lessons of swimming in the school pool. In addition to the curriculum P.E. provision, we also ensure children have access to a variety of sporting and other extra-curricular clubs, run by school staff, including activities such as musical theatre, athletics and mindfulness art.
We are continuing to embed our mental health initiative, Trick Box, across the school, teaching children how to use the ‘tricks’ to support resilience and problem solving with everyday worries and issues. We deliver Trick Box workshops for parents to share these skills to positively impact family life.