Curriculum

At St. Mark’s we continue to work together to regularly review and develop our curricu-lum so that it can better meet the needs of all of our children.

Curriculum Intent

It is our intent at St. Mark’s to provide our children with an engaging, exciting and empowering curriculum that equips them with the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to be life-long learners.

We want our children to know that there is no limit to what they can achieve and we work hard to ensure that all of St. Mark’s children fulfil their God-given potential.

Our school mission statement 'Proudly and Joyfully, we love, live and learn as God’s children' is at the heart of everything we do. The Gospel values and Catholic social teaching is heavily featured in our curriculum because we believe our children must learn how to live as responsible global citizens, treating people with dignity, regardless of their culture, ability, background or religion and to know that they have a voice and they can make a difference in the world.

Our curriculum intent includes giving children a range of opportunities and experiences to not just learn about the Catholic faith but more importantly; how to use their faith to help make the world a better place.

Every child at St. Mark’s is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate and welcome differences within our diverse school community. The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values with a vision to prepare our children for life beyond primary school. We constantly provide enrichment opportunities to engage learning and foster a love of learning.

Find out more about the national curriclum in the documents below:

Rationale for Curriculum

It is our belief at St. Mark’s that we have a duty to deliver excellence in learning and teaching and expect all learners to be actively engaged in their own learning. We recognise that this is only made possible when the curriculum focuses on the child as the learner, and allows breadth and depth of learning, offering challenge and enjoyment, personalisation and choice. We also recognise that the children’s learning must be closely monitored and tracked to ensure progress is made.

Regular curriculum review meetings are held with Mrs. Linley, our Headteacher and of-ten a school governor. At these meetings, children review the learning that has been recorded in books and review what has worked well and what could be improved further to develop children’s learning and knowledge of the curriculum. At curriculum review meetings, children offer their ideas for improvement and hold leaders of St. Mark’s school to account by reviewing what progress has been made since the last curriculum review meeting.

We are working towards a ‘Knowledge Rich Curriculum’ where children acquire a depth of knowledge in all areas of the curriculum.

We have a cross-curricular topic approach and, alongside this, we build in enriching and enlivening topic weeks which immerse the children in a variety of relevant themes and skills. We believe that a curriculum that is literacy rich and language rich is a must for our school if we are to open doors for our children’s futures. We, therefore, place a high focus on developing the children’s vocabulary and spoken skills and use quality texts to do this. Reading is at the heart of our school and central to the children’s learning.

Skills Progression across the Creative Curriculum


Mrs Linley, Mrs Picart and children discussing the creative curriculum books.

At St. Mark’s we recognise the importance of children learning and using a range of skills in each subject across the curriculum. To ensure children learn and use a range of age-appropriate skills, each class teacher plans their Creative topic incorporating the skills children will acquire.

The termly Creative curriculum overviews (please see below) contain just some of the skills that children at St. Mark’s will learn and use.

As each topic progresses the children will learn and use a wider range of skills outlined on the curriculum overview. As each topic progresses, the teacher will often find new opportunities and activities that can be incorporated into the topic to further engage and develop the children’s learning. Evidence of all the sills children use and learn in their Creative topics can be found in their Creative books.

Killer Questions

At St. Mark’s we use Killer Questions to support children to fur-ther demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have learned and applied during the Creative topic.

Every topic has a 'killer question' and the children answer their topic’s killer question in the very last session of the topic. This is a form of assessment as the killer questions are designed and written so that children can draw on every lesson taught in the topic to answer the killer question. Therefore, every lesson has a purpose for children’s learning!

Here are some examples of killer questions our children have answered:

  • What would it be like to live in a different country? (Reception)
  • Why do people visit the seaside? (Year 1)
  • If you went on an expedition, who would you take with you and why? (Year 2)
  • How is land used in the UK? (Year 3)
  • What was life like as a Viking? (Year 4)
  • Why should I visit South America? (Year 5)
  • How did the Mayans affect us today? (Year 6)

Inspiration Days

Every term, we celebrate an Inspiration Day at St. Mark’s. These are fun, inspiring days dedicated to our creative topics, which have a great impact on learning.

Children and staff are invited to dress up in the theme of their class topic and engage and learn in new ways. Inspiration Days are one of the ways we create memorable lessons and moments for the children, whilst building on key skills. They provide an excellent opportunity for children to gain curriculum knowledge in all subject areas, alongside reading, writing, maths and R.E.

 
 
 
 

What our children say about Inspiration Days:

  • "We get to learn fun things about our topic." Dawid, Year 6
  • "I like to get dressed up as different characters and last time we made a volcano." Kian, Year 4
  • "I was a queen and we painted different kings and queens." Prabhkirat, Year 1
  • "We dressed up as an adventurous astronaut such as Neil Armstrong." Taisha, Year 2
  • "It was fun and interesting learning about the Vikings." Arya, Year 3
  • "Ancient Greece Inspiration Day was amazing because it was so unique." Kai, Year 4
  • "For our WW2 Inspiration Day everyone dressed up as an evacuee. It was great fun." Melody, Year 5

Curriculum Overview 2019/20

Annual Topics

For 2019/20, the following topics will be studied across the school. Each topic has either a strong focus on either History or Geography. Our subject leaders have ensured that all the topics studied ensure that children at St. Mark’s gain a broad and balanced curriculum that is inline with the National Curriculum.

  Autumn 1 Autumn 2 Spring 1 Spring 2 Summer 1 Summer 2
Reception Magical Me 999, what is your emergency? Once upon a time in a land far away... Old Mac Donald had a farm Under the sea Around the world
Year 1 Terrific Toys Remember, Remember The Royals Queens Great Britain Holidays
Year 2 Expeditions Great Explorers Fire, Fire! The Great Fire of London Continents Africa
Year 3 The Roman Empire European Countries Stone Age to Bronze Age Bronze Age to Iron Age UK Land uses World War 1
Year 4 Ancient Greeks Vive La France Rivers Coastline and the Water Cycle Vikings Anglo-Saxons
Year 5 Walk like an Egyptian Raging Rivers World War 2   Amazon Rainforest Brazil
Year 6 William Shakespeare Terrifying Tudors Epic earthquakes Marvellous Maps Mysterious Mayans Café Project

Termly Overviews

Spring Term 2020:

Autumn Term 2019:

All Overviews are pdf files.

Working with our Parents

At St. Mark’s, we encourage parental involvement in the school curriculum as we feel this will further support and benefit our children to not only develop a love of learning but also a range of skills.

We hold a variety of parent workshops throughout the year focused around the curriculum. In addition, parents are invited to performances, assemblies, presentations, meetings and a range of other events.

At the end of every parent workshop, we request feedback and this is used to further improve future workshops. If you are a parent and have suggestions on how we can further improve our cur-riculum. Please contact the Headteacher, Mrs Linley.

 
 
 
 
 

Educational Visits

Educational visits are when learning takes place off the school site. These are often led by external providers. At St. Mark’s, we provide the children with a stimulating curriculum and opportunities to engage in learning outside of the classroom.

The benefits of educational visits include:

  • They widen children’s experiences.
  • They offer learning, skills and experiences which cannot be taught in the classroom.
  • Opportunity to have fun/enjoyment away from the classroom.
  • Off site visits develop awareness skills.
  • Provides experience of new environments and learning new things.
  • Exposure to new cultures and experiences.
  • Engagement with a topic.
  • Promotes a love of learning.
  • The learning can be delivered by a provider with expertise in the subject area.

Safeguarding:

To ensure that our children remain safe when offsite we:

  • Carry out thorough risk assessments.
  • Conduct a preliminary visit to assess that the site is suitable and accessible for the children.
  • Read the venue’s own risk assessment.
  • Consider the needs of the children.
  • Take into consideration the needs of the adults.
  • Complete risk assessments for the mode of transport.
  • Risk assessments are shared with all adults on the visit.

Following the completion of a risk assessment, they are read and approved by the Educational Visits Coordinator and the Headteacher.

Whilst on the visits, visit leaders continuously assess the risks and act accordingly.

In the event of an emergency, procedures are in place where staff act to ensure everyone is safe and then inform the emergency services and school.

All visit leaders have, high standards and expectations for behaviour.

Please have a look at some of our class trips on our Special Events page.