At Northern Saints, we develop pupils’ ability to speak, read and write with fluency, master the mechanics of both reading and writing and develop a love and a true interest for English. This is so pupils can communicate their thoughts, ideas and emotions effectively. The learning of key skills in English are essential in order to access all curriculum areas. The curriculum is focussed on making English inspiring and exciting, engaging pupils with the joy and wonder of books and piquing their imagination and creativity.
Writing is strengthened by instilling a love for reading. Reading is prioritised with dedicated time to share a diverse reading spine and to learn essential skills for reading. Introduced in reception, the highly structured Sounds-Write synthetics phonics programme is a multi-sensory, incremental and code-oriented approach to the teaching of early reading and spelling. Books are assigned to promote the practice of current literacy skills and to improve confidence with reading fluency. From Year 2, Accelerated Reader provides a broad reading scheme used to track and challenge pupils. Reciprocal guided reading sessions provide a structured approach to improve comprehension skills through the teaching of key questioning, clarifying, summarising and predicting strategies. Embedding a culture of reading, provides opportunities to read both independently and aloud as well as allowing book talk and instilling a passion for storytelling, literature and vocabulary. Reading of quality literature is implicitly interwoven into our curriculum using key quality texts of varied genres and famous authors. This is enhanced by hosting multiple events, such as World Book Day and Shakespeare Week.
At Northern Saints, we recognise the importance of Science in daily life. For example, children will discover how our bodies work and apply this knowledge to keeping ourselves healthy and making good choices. Scientific learning will encompass expanding the children’s knowledge and understanding of the world, and the development of skills associated with Science as a process of enquiry. It is our intention to develop the natural curiosity of every child, to give them the courage to investigate new concepts and encourage respect for living organisms and the physical environment developing a passion to pursue Science roles in years to come.
Through Science, our children will study and examine the world around them. They will explore and observe what is happening in the local environment. They will notice and identify real life problems, in which to apply their learning, thinking like Scientists. Children will discover answers independently by making predictions and testing their theories. Children will practice measuring, counting, and comparing to develop their analytical thinking skills. They will consider and conclude new things they have learned. By analysing data and findings, children will develop their higher-level thinking skills. By observing, questioning, predicting, experimenting and concluding, children will apply their understanding and learning as Scientists to solve real life problems.
Children will study significant scientists such as Jane Goodall, Isaac Newton and Carl Linnaeus. They will learn about key scientific events, for example the Moon Landing, the development of vaccines and the invention of the telephone. This is to inspire them to develop a passion and enjoyment of scientific learning and discovery, which they pursue in future years to come.
Mathematics is an essential creative discipline that helps us to understand and change the world. We want all pupils at Northern Saints CE Primary School, to not only have a clear understanding but also to experience the beauty, power and enjoyment of mathematics and develop a sense of curiosity and an inquisitive mind about this subject. This is captured in the words by famous Mathematician, Georg Cantor, who said: “In mathematics the art of proposing a question must be held of higher value than solving it.” It is therefore our belief that all children can achieve in mathematics. We use mistakes and misconceptions as an essential part of learning and provide challenge through rich and sophisticated problems and encourage our children to question the world around them.
At Northern Saints, fluency, reasoning and problem solving are embedded within daily mathematics lessons and are developed consistently overtime through our spiral based mastery curriculum. Recognising that children can find maths difficult, due to it being abstract, our curriculum is also delivered through a highly engaging Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract approach (CPA). CPA methodology builds on children’s existing knowledge, by introducing abstract concepts in a concrete and tangible way. It involves moving from concrete materials, to pictorial representations, to abstract symbols and problems. This develops a deep and sustainable understanding of maths in pupils.
We are committed to ensuring that children can recognise the importance of mathematics in the wider world and that they are able to use their mathematical skills and knowledge confidently, in their lives, in a range of different contexts. We want all children to enjoy mathematics and to experience success in the subject, with the ability to reason mathematically and solve increasingly complex problems. We strive to develop children’s curiosity about the subject, as well as an appreciation of the allure and charm of mathematics and its supremacy within an increasingly digital society.
In Geography, the curriculum is designed to inspire pupils with a curiosity and fascination about the evolving world, that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. The curriculum provides children with a rich knowledge about people, places and the human and physical environments around them. The teaching of Geography in school starts in the Early Years, where children are provided with the chance to interact with their environment, and how it influences them. From Year 1, pupils learn about their locality (street, school, home city). Knowledge then extends to other areas of the country, building up to other parts of the world.
At Northern Saints, pupils learn to think and work like geographers, through becoming competent in using their geographical knowledge and skills. For example, map drawing, geographical writing, analysing numerical data and taking part in geographical discussions and debates.
The curriculum enables pupils to understand how they can help to sustain and have an impact upon environmental issues such as: plastic pollution, global warming and endangered species. David Attenborough stated, “Surely, we have a responsibility to care for our planet. The future of humanity and indeed all life on earth, now depends on us.” Children need a deep understanding of how to protect our eco system and planet and show respect on a global scale.
The curriculum is distinctive to our school and our five Northern Saints. For example, a fieldwork exercise that spans 12 miles between St Paul’s in Jarrow, to St Peter’s in Sunderland, in which pupils learn about different geographical features such as terrain, physical and human features and map work. Pupils follow in the footsteps of St Bede himself in a journey he will have travelled numerous times as a young boy.
Art and Design can engender an appreciation of human creativity and ignite innovation. The Art curriculum introduces pupils to a wide range of incredible art and artists. From local artists such as Norman Cornish, or great British artists such as Banksy, to the finest of international art, pupils develop technical knowledge of styles and vocabulary used. Pupils develop an understanding of how art shapes and enhances societies.
Alongside an appreciation of public art, the curriculum provides a wealth of opportunities for pupils to explore and develop their own artistic knowledge and skills. From pencil drawing to digital art, painting to printing, the curriculum has been carefully crafted to provide pupils with the opportunity to master a progression of skills, building expertise year on year. For example, beginning in EYFS, pupils begin their drawing education by investigating lines and patterns. Then, as pupils move to Year 1, they add a wider range of patterning techniques to their drawing repertoire, which are then used to create tone and shade in Yr. 2. This forms the foundation of an awareness of dimension, which is introduced and explored in Year 3. As pupils move into Year 4, mixed media is added and blended with an awareness of perspective in Year 5. In Year 6, pupils create a mixed media piece with a single 3-D focal point, using tonal contrast. This carefully planned progression of skills enables pupils to be working in a continuously upward spiral of mastery within their current proficiency levels.
The final strand of our Art curriculum is guided by the words of Matisse, `creativity takes courage`. At Northern Saints, pupils are encouraged to take risks with their own designs, to innovate, to think critically and to explore their own unique creativity; In short, to think, act and create like true artists.
At Northern Saints we encourage our pupils to develop investigation and exploration skills, embedding learning from all areas of the curriculum, our community and our heritage. The curriculum is designed to provide opportunities for pupils to explore existing products and gain technical knowledge from famous engineers, designers and inventors. For example, the famous inventor Joseph Swan (1828-1914, Inventor of the first incandescent light bulb) who was born in Bishop Wearmouth, Sunderland and attended Hylton Castle Boarding School. As Joseph Swan, we want to encourage children to foster, ‘A desire to improve the world around them’.
The curriculum has a sharp environmental dimension. Pupils use recycled materials wherever possible. For example, in Key Stage 1 pupils make bird feeders and Lacewing shelters using plastic bottles and recycled paper. In Year 4, pupils learn how to make hedgehog houses using plarn (yarn made from plastic bags) and other recycled materials. In Year 5 pupils use their imagination, creativity and technical knowledge to design mini beasts (ants, ladybirds, grasshoppers and butterflies) using plastic bottles.
The curriculum is flexible and can be adapted to maximise local opportunities and events. For example; pupils made models of local bridges during the construction of New Wear Bridge. They worked with architects to help design the regeneration of Hylton Castle.
The curriculum is strengthened by strong links with local engineering and manufacturing companies. Participation in competitions is encouraged. For example, the Little Inventors Pioneers Competition, organised by local Inventor Dominic Wilcox. In which, pupils designed an invention that uses renewable energy. Pupils participate in the Primary Engineers Programme, which actively promotes careers in engineering, in collaboration with Unipress, Nissan, and Liehberr.
Regular STEAM events are threaded throughout the curriculum. For example, coding, green screen, stop motion animation and virtual reality headsets with Graham Bowman. Science experiments, for example, ‘Screaming Jelly Babies’ with scientist Mike Fletcher. Working with local artists; Paul Carney and Paul Merrick and dance workshops to improve health and well -being with Dance North East and Castleview. Pupils also have opportunities to experience welding with Liebherr and virtual welding and work board with Unipres, all of which help to deliver vital life skills and possible career choices
At Northern Saints, the PE curriculum is designed to develop pupils who are passionate, engaged and enthusiastic about sport. Pupils are given the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities covering invasion, racket, striking and fielding, aesthetics and athletics. The curriculum extends beyond traditional sports to encompass the benefits that an active lifestyle can have for an individual. This is to promote the enjoyment of sport and develop positive attitudes and habits for fitness in later life.
The curriculum enables pupils to cooperate and collaborate with others, as part of a team. Pupils develop transferable life skills such as leadership. They learn about our school values of respect, compassion, wisdom and courage, through sport. Pupils are taught to be aspirational and ambitious in their outlook. This is exemplified by the study of local and national sports stars: Jordan Henderson, Jordan Pickford, John Robertson, Jill Scott, Amy Tinkler, Steph Houghton and Tony Jeffries who have all been successful in their sporting careers. Their achievements span from captaining England, winning an Olympic medal, representing their country at a major sporting event and winning the Champions League.
Pupils take an active role in the development and delivery of the PE curriculum. For example, the after-school programme is tailored to pupil interest to increase the level of participation. The School Sports Crew develops leadership skills, as pupils are given additional responsibilities within after school clubs and other school events. PE specialists and coaches within school are raising the level of pupil performance in competitive school events. Participation in competitions and festivals is high. The curriculum is adapted to ensure pupils are prepared with appropriate knowledge and skills for these events. Prior learning is revisited, and skills extended.
Northern Saints has strong links with outside agencies to enhance sporting opportunities and develop community cohesion. Pupils develop a sound understanding of different sports, their origins, including British and world-wide sporting role models.