St. Philip's Catholic Primary School, Messenger Road, Smethwick, West Midlands, B66 3DU

Messenger Road
West Midlands
B66 3DU

Tel: 0121 558 1643

Our Curriculum

Termly Curriculum Overviews

Find out what the children will be learning each term for 2016/17:

Annual Curriculum Maps

See our long term planning for each year group for 2016/17:

All curriculum maps and overviews are in pdf format.

Learning Challenges – The Principles

At St. Philip's we have worked together with Focus Education to deliver our new curriculum. Below are the four over arching principles of how our children will be learning through the curriculum.

What are the main principles?

  • The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work. It requires deep thinking and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point.
  • In designing the curriculum teachers and learners are using a prime learning challenge, expressed as a question, as the starting point. Using the information gained from pre-learning tasks and the school's context a series of subsidiary challenges are then planned. Each subsidiary learning challenge is also expressed as a question. See how this works in the schemes of work provided.
  • The subsidiary learning challenge is normally expected to last for one week but this does not need to be the case. However, initially it may be useful for the learners and indeed the staff to get used to the weekly learning challenge. The important point is that the learning challenges need to make sense to the learners and it is something that is within their immediate understanding,

How do the Pre-Learning Tasks Work?

  • Pre-Learning Tasks ensure that learners are directly involved in the planning process. Well planned pre-learning tasks should help to bring out what learners already know; what misconceptions they may have and what really interests them.
  • Teachers should take account of the outcomes from pre-learning tasks to plan the subsidiary learning challenges for each major area of study. It should help teachers recognise which transferable skills learners have already developed that could be used to initiate new learning with a level of confidence.
  • Pre-Learning tasks could take many different forms and can last for as long or as short as required. Some may be written tasks others oral. Mind mapping is one method that has been used successfully by many schools. Using pre-learning tasks as part of a school's programme of home learning will help to get parents and carers directly involved in their children's learning.

How do we ensure that pupils are improving their knowledge and understanding and developing appropriate skills?

  • Continuity and progression in the curriculum will be built around a set of matrices known as essential knowledge, understanding and key skills within subject disciplines. These are broken into Year group expectations and have additional challenges for able learners. The 'Key Skills and Essential Knowledge and Understanding' matrices within the Learning Challenge Curriculum will allow school to guarantee that the learners' essential skills are being developed, alongside National Curriculum requirements (where appropriate), whilst allowing individual schools to have a great deal of autonomy with their methodology.
  • In addition, there is an expectation that teachers apply English, mathematics and ICT skills where it is appropriate to do so. An overview of the skills likely to be adopted is presented as part of the planning structure which appears 'on the Learning Challenge website'.
  • The final part of the skills structure is the year group 'engagement or empowerment' skills. These are presented progressively under the headings of: team workers; effective participators; reflective learners; independent enquirers; resourceful thinkers; and self-managers.

How are learners presented with opportunities to reflect on their learning?

  • Time for learners to reflect or review their learning is central to the whole process. This is in keeping with the 'Learning to Learn' principles where reflection is seen as a very important part of individuals' learning programme.
  • Within the Learning Challenge Curriculum it is suggested that the final subsidiary learning challenge is handed over for learners to reflect on their learning. The idea is that learners present their learning back to the rest of the class making the most of their oracy and ICT skills to do so. Initially learners may require a great deal of direction so the reflection time may need to be presented in the form of a question which helps them to review their work.
  • Although reflection is seen as a concluding part of the prime learning challenge it is hoped that that there will be continual opportunities for learners to reflect frequently, especially as each subsidiary learning challenge comes to an end. Ideally, there should be a good deal of learner autonomy evident during reflection time.