Our curriculum is what characterises life at St. Helen's. The school's curriculum is everything the children experience in and around school both planned and incidental - 'taught and caught'. Our curriculum is driven by our vision LOVE - LEARN - SERVE which focuses on ensuring that children learn to love, love to learn and aspire to serve. Our vision and curriculum are inextricably linked and are inspired by the Church of England Vision for Education and underpinned by Hebrews 10:24 ‘Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.’
We believe in empowering learners by developing 'courageous advocacy' across the curriculum. We aim for children to develop character virtues such as wisdom, courage and compassion so they become aware and responsible people who aspire to serve and use their learning to make a positive difference in the world as exemplified in 1 Peter 4:10 ‘Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.’
Each term there is a different theme for learning - Stewardship, Social Injustice and Health & Well-being. All of our themes work towards providing service and developing courageous advocacy.
All of our themes have a theological basis and begin with BIG questions.
Stewardship - 'Caring for Our World' - lends itself to geography and science and is the focus of learning in the Autumn term.
Social Injustice - 'Caring for the People of Our World' - offers fabulous opportunities for historical investigation, RE and PSHE and is the learning theme in the Spring term.
Health and Well-being - 'Caring for Ourselves' - is a perfect vehicle for science, PE and the Arts and is the focus of the Summer term.
Curriculum planning for the term begins with an elicitation activity. Teachers, through careful questioning, gauge children’s understanding, interests and views. The children’s ideas are then skilfully shaped into learning projects that weave together the school’s Curriculum Aims with content from a variety of subject areas and take children’s learning about relevant issues from the personal to local, national and global, and beyond.
A spiritual journey
Each project will contain opportunities for spiritual development following the ‘Candle, Window, Mirror, Door’ approach. At St. Helen’s we have an agreed definition of spirituality: ‘We touch spirituality when we encounter an experience on life’s journey that causes us to reflect on the deeper things of life, its meaning, and our purpose within it, and as a consequence our lives are transformed.’
We understand that children’s spiritual learning journey moves between thinking about:
Self - being a unique person and understanding self-perception;
Others - how empathy, concern, compassion and other values and principles affect relationships;
World and Beauty - perceiving and relating to the physical and creative world through responses to nature and art;
Beyond – relating to the transcendental and understanding experiences and meaning outside the ‘everyday’.
Pupils’ spiritual development may be shown by their:
Beliefs, religious or otherwise, which inform their perspective on life and their interest in, and respect for, different people’s feelings and values;
Sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them, including the intangible;
Use of imagination and creativity in their learning;
Willingness to reflect on their experiences.
The starting point - Reflection and elicitation: Thinking about current beliefs and practises.
~ What do I know?
~ What do I believe?
~ How do I act on my beliefs?
~ What is going on in the world?
~ What do I feel about that?
~ Does it affect me? How? Why?
Learning about - Encounter: The ‘learning about life in all its fullness’.
Opportunities to look out at the world to learn, to gaze, to wonder and become aware of the world in new ways; to wonder about life’s ‘WOWs’ (things that are amazing) and ‘OWs’ (things that are worrying or upsetting).
~ What are the issues?
~ Which issues matter most? Why? (Theology)
~ What matters to others?
~ What do others do? Why? (Other Religions and World Views)
~ What is the world like?
~ What was it like in the past?
~ How has it changed? Why?
~ What can we learn from that?
~ Is it the same everywhere?
~ How is it changing?
~ What is the same? Different?
~ What are the causes? The effects?
~ What is the future?
~ Who is doing something? Why?
~ What is their motivation?
Learning from - Reflections: The ‘learning from life’ by exploring their own insights and perspectives, and those of others.
Opportunities for children to look inward and reflect on their experiences, to consider some of the BIG questions of life and consider some possible answers. To explore their own insights and those of others.
~ What do I believe?
~ How do I act on my beliefs?
~ Can I do anything?
~ How have my beliefs changed?
~ What do other people feel about this? What do they do?
~ What have we learned?
~ How has it changed us?
~ How have our fundamental beliefs, views, understanding etc. changed as a result of what we have learned?
Transformation - Putting thoughts and ideas into action: The ‘ learning to live by putting into action what you believe’. (Courageous advocacy/Social action/Service).
Opportunities for children to respond, to DO something, to go through the ‘door’ of a creative expression of their own thoughts and convictions. The aim is to develop and nurture children who have the confidence to truly believe that they can make a difference in the world. To foster in them a spirit of agency and engagement with the world.
~ What impact will this learning have on my actions?
~ What can I DO now?
~ How will I do it?
~ What difference will it make?
~ How can we maximise the impact?
The National Curriculum and St. Helen's Curriculum Aims
The National Curriculum divides the curriculum of every school into two distinct parts; the School Curriculum and the National Curriculum. The document states that:
"The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. The national curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum." (National Curriculum 2.2)
Below is a link to an overview of the National Curriculum subjects taught throughout the school. However, these are taught within the framework of St. Helen's Curriculum (or the School Curriculum) also available via a link below.
The objectives for core subjects (English, Maths and Science) are presented in year groups whilst all other subjects are presented in Key Stages - Key Stage 1 (Year 1/2), Lower Key Stage 2 (Year 3/4) and Upper Key Stage 2 (Year 5/6). The objectives for Religious Education are outlined in the Devon & Torbay Agreed Syllabus.
The school's Curriculum Aims are the primary driver for cross-curricular planning (see below). The National Curriculum subjects are embedded uniquely within each individual project as appropriate. Each teacher will be able to explain further if required.St. Helen's Curriculum