Our Curriculum -Learning means the world
St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School is a medium sized school located in Borehamwood, close to Watford. It currently has 210 pupils on roll in single form classes. Whilst the school is surrounded by housing and is close to the town center, it does have a surprising amount of outside, green space. There is space for sports, forest school and quiet, reflective places for prayer and collective worship. The school is made up of families from a range of backgrounds and some children have a wide variety of needs. The local community is strong and supportive with the Parish Priest of St Teresa’s church playing an active role in both the school and the wider area.
At St Teresa’s, we want a curriculum that is exciting and inspiring. We need it to help our pupils develop their knowledge and skills in all subject areas whilst making connections between the subjects and remembering what they have learnt through, linked learning. We are passionate about Catholic Social teaching being at the core of our curriculum and we feel that centring our curriculum around four World Issues will support us significantly in achieving those links. At St Teresa’s, we want our curriculum to be meaningful as we recognise that a curriculum for human flourishing has a focus on the importance of human creativity and achievement and how this leads to the development of responsible educated citizens who go out into the world and make a positive difference.
Rationale for Implementation
We use Dimensions ‘Learning Means the World’ Curriculum as the main vehicle for achieving our outlined intent. We use Dimensions as the basis for teaching History, Geography, Art, Design Technology and PSHE. This curriculum is underpinned by four highly relevant world issues, known as the four Cs:-
Communication is at the heart of everything we do; we wouldn’t have the other four world issues without it! We recognise that communication can be expressed in many different ways, some of which are conventional and some are not. There are members of our school community at St Teresa’s who are non-verbal and it is important that they have just as many opportunities to communicate as those who communicate in more conventional ways. The Gospel teaches us that Jesus communicated to others through his actions and this is something we aim to achieve through our curriculum too. At St Teresa’s, we want our pupils to be able to use good communication skills to support one another and help to avoid disagreements by building on their emotional literacy. It will also help our pupils with building resilience and finding ways to help themselves by being clear about what they need or the help they require. We believe that being able to communicate effectively with others can improve the opportunities and chances that life offers as our pupils move through school and beyond.
It is deeply important that our curriculum represents the community that we are educating and there are opportunities for inclusivity. By educating our pupils about culture, we reinforce our sense of community, belonging and building the Kingdom of God. We also want our curriculum to break down assumptions and misconceptions relating to cultures and backgrounds both historically and in the modern era. Our pupils, however, are very accepting of others and recognise that everyone is unique. We want to continue to broaden their horizons and be able to question the world around them effectively and respectfully.
The area and community around St Teresa’s are wonderfully diverse and that is regularly celebrated. We will continue to hold our International Evening which not only brings current families together but opens doors to the wider community and past pupils. At this event, our pupils can explore and enjoy food, dance and music from a broad spectrum of cultures and this is something we aim to continue in our classrooms through our curriculum.
Our school is unique in that it has a world-renowned TV and film studio on its doorstep and many of our families are connected with it. It is important that our pupils know that the work done there and within the school has cultural significance and is a way of bringing people from varied backgrounds, cultures, religions and ethnicities together through the work it produces.
The conflict world issue permeates many aspects of Catholic social teaching. There will be a focus on solidarity, the common good and dignity for the poor and vulnerable throughout. We want to continue to give our pupils opportunities to be part of our Pupil Parliament so that they can see how they can be influential in keeping the peace and making life within the school fair and just for all and hence strengthen their understanding of rights and responsibilities. Our curriculum will support our children in understanding that the actions and decisions they make can have an impact on others both positively and negatively. Negative actions can lead to conflict, therefore having a strong emotional literacy can ensure that these can be resolved. In a more global sense, our pupils, from an early age, can identify some wider conflicts and issues but we aim to teach them that these problems do not exist in isolation and that they are often part of a bigger picture, just like themselves in their class or in their community. Through our curriculum, we want our pupils to see that knowledge is power; by understanding what is going on in the world around them, pupils can be a voice for activism. They can use their voices to speak up for others who cannot and can be catalysts for change, resolution and peace.
At St Teresa’s, we know the importance of ethical stewardship and caring for God’s creation. Our pupils are aware of global conservation issues but we want our curriculum to teach them ways in which they can be more active in tackling them. We want to teach our pupils more about recycling, how to use energy more effectively and reduce food waste in school. We also want to give all our pupils the opportunity to access our forest school space so they can learn about the nature around them and what they can do to conserve it for future generations. We also aim to use the book ‘Teaching Kids to Care for God’s Creation’ to support the teaching and learning around conservation on a day to day basis. The book offers ideas for quick and effective conservation opportunities. Just as in conflict, we recognise the importance of giving our pupils a voice so that they can be active in conserving the environment, cultures and heritage both in their local area and in the wider world.
Our curriculum narrative begins with Communication, as we believe everything we do in everyday life stems from this. It is important that our pupils develop strong communication skills so that they can speak, listen and make clear actions and therefore, they can be understood by others as well as comprehend what is being communicated to them. By starting our academic year with this world issue, our pupils can build on their understanding, tolerance and acceptance towards others. It is through this work on positive connections that we will then look at Culture. Our diverse community is something that we are deeply proud of and we want to celebrate it. We want our pupils to learn more about their local culture, as well as expand their horizons to cultures, ethnicities and traditions that are much further afield. Our next world issue will be Conflict because we want our pupils to understand that whilst their links with culture are positive and harmonious, it can be poor communication skills and a lack of tolerance of people from different backgrounds that can lead to conflict. It also will fall at a prominent time in our Liturgical year as Lent and Easter are celebrated; it was intolerance and prejudice that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. We will finish our school year with Conservation, after Easter as we celebrate Eastertide and the hope the Resurrection brings for the world. Our pupils will have opportunities to look after their environment and be active in their green spaces, again linking with the concept of rebirth. We also want to finish the year with this world issue as we feel it is important that our pupils either move on to their next year or leave St Teresa’s with a strong sense of ethical stewardship and as being well-rounded global citizens.
We also encourage our pupils to have high aspirations by teaching them about human creativity and achievement through additional Competency Units about famous figures and groups of people that focus on Creativity, Commitment, Courage and Community.
Learning Means the World Skills and Concept Maps for Y1 to Y6
Subject Knowledge, Skills and Progression Maps