Wider Curriculum Opportunities & Cultural Capital
Our curriculum extends beyond the National Curriculum and includes a wide range of enriching experiences and opportunities both within and beyond the school day. This includes an extensive programme of after-school clubs, that support the core curriculum offer, as well as those which develop specialist skills, such as French and music, whilst also extending the range of children’s experiences. A primary focus of our curriculum is to raise aspirations, engender a sense of personal pride in achievement, and provide a purpose and relevance for learning.
The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and make very good progress across the curriculum. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth and those who can struggle are encouraged and given targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs.
In addition to our exciting and stimulating cross-curricular themes, we also provide further opportunities to enhance children’s learning wherever possible. These include:
Whole School Theme Days/Weeks
Throughout the year, themed days/weeks are woven into the curriculum to extend the breadth and balance of opportunities we offer our pupils. These include, Anti-bullying Week and E-Safety Day, Creative Arts Week, World Book Day, Black History Day, Sport & Health Week, Mini-enterprise Week, Fair Trade Fortnight, Science Day, Cultural Day, Community Day, European Day of Languages, RE Days and others.
Big Question Learning
Children across the school engage in a whole-school enquiry-based learning experience on an annual basis, as well as part of their curriculum theme which is driven by a process of discovery and enquiry. This provides exciting opportunities for children to explore, develop and acquire new skills in a direction in which they are interested. Research shows that children from the whole spectrum of abilities find learning in this way to be fun and motivating, and outcomes are positive for every child. This is our experience at St Paul's; pupils tell us they value the opportunity to lead their own learning.
Forest School & Outdoor Learning
Forest Schools is a Scandinavian initiative designed to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment. As a school we are very fortunate in having our own woodland area and a teacher trained to deliver the Forest Schools programme.
Forest Schools is offered to our younger children and also as an half term holiday activity with Hawthorn Forest School. Sessions are designed around the needs of the group to ensure that they are learner-led. Sessions are designed around a theme, themes are sometimes subtle such as evolving or exploring the site or more obvious such as butterflies, spies, fairies or nature investigators. Many areas of the National Curriculum are intrinsically covered, in the Forest Schools experience without the programmes needing to be curriculum led. Teamwork skills are developed through games and activities. Individual skills and self-esteem are heightened throughout activities such as hide and seek, shelter building, tool skills, lighting fires or environmental art, the list is endless. Each activity develops intra and inter-personal skills as well as practical and intellectual skills.
We are an Eco school - GREEN FLAG AWARD and value the benefits of outdoor learning. Children are stimulated by the outdoors where they can undertake a range of practical activities to support and enhance learning across the curriculum. Our pupils also benefit from tending their own growing beds to produce fruit and vegetables to use in cooking activities, with our own gardener.
Further up the school, opportunities are built into the curriculum for children to continue learning beyond the classroom including undertaking fieldwork and enquiry based-work in the local area.
Educational Visits and Residentials
School trips and visits are an integral part of the education of children at St Paul's. We value the opportunities such visits offer our pupils and the commitment of staff and adults undertaking them. Trips include class visits aimed at bringing learning alive and providing first-hand experience and bringing learning alive; extra-curricular outings such as activities with the school choir or sporting events; and attending or taking part in performances or competitions. Blenheim Palace is on our doorstep and provides a rich and inspirational learning resource.
Children in Year 6 take part in residential visits.
Visitors into School
Visitors have a valuable role to play and can contribute to many aspects of the life and work of the school. They deliver talks, workshops and full day activities across a wide range of subjects, giving pupils access to outside experiences and expertise. Visitors provide a link with the wider community – children have the opportunity to work alongside artists, musicians, authors, health professions and others.
As a school we offer pupils opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities after school. At any time, a wide range of clubs is on offer – our programmes of clubs and activities available is revised termly depending on the time of year and other commitments children may have.
PE & Sport
At St Paul's we are using our PE & Sport Premium to part-fund a qualified sports coach. Andrew Evans who is already known to many pupils across the school, provides high quality instruction during PE lessons; he also runs sporting activities at lunchtimes; and promotes increased pupil participation in PE & Sport beyond the school day.
In the summer term we reviewed the school’s approach to the delivery of swimming lessons. Children across the school will benefit from a whole term swimming.
Music, Art & Drama
St Paul's School provides opportunities for children to take part in a wide range of musical activities and performances where they are encouraged to sing, compose and work creatively with sound. Through active listening, pupils’ awareness, understanding and appreciation of a wide variety of music are developed. A range of opportunities are provided within and beyond the curriculum for children to showcase their musical skills and talents, for example we actively are involved with Make the Sunshine, a local theatre group. Visits to the theatre further enriches pupils’ cultural development.
As a school we appreciate and understand the importance of drama within our curriculum. Research reveals that drama had a positive impact on children’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development.
Opportunities to Volunteer
Volunteering is an activity that everyone can get involved in and benefit from. At St Paul's we promote and encourage pupils’ active citizenship and positive contribution to the school and wider community. We offer lots of opportunities for pupils to take on new responsibilities and be involved in successfully supporting the life and work of the school. These include elected representatives on our Children’s Council, Eco Committee, Digital Leader, PE & Sport Committee, Collective Worship Ambassadors and Rights Respecting Rangers to name just a few. Older pupils can also apply and be interviewed for positions such as Librarians, House/Vice Captains, and within classes children can volunteer to take on various responsibilities ranging from lunch duties, to collecting and distributing registers, to helping with the organisation of equipment in assemblies.
Pupils tell us that they enjoy the opportunity to volunteer to help make their school an even better place to be and rising to the challenge that additional responsibility brings.
A rounded programme of daily Collective Worships helps to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and provide clear guidance on what is right and what is wrong. Once a week, worship are led by a member of our local clergy, and at least once a term child participate in a service at St Peter & Paul's Church. At the end of the school day on a Friday a Celebration is held. Once a term, specialist Collective Worship are held to inspire children and celebrate with the parents our Christian Theme for that term.
Homework can make an important contribution to a child’s progress at school. As well as reinforcing learning in the classroom, homework helps children to develop the skills and attitudes they will need for successful independent lifelong learning.
Homework is set in-line with the school’s policy, with tasks planned to appropriately challenge all pupils - Doodle Classroom is our main focus. Weekly activities focus on literacy and numeracy to reinforce and consolidate skills taught. Often whole-school homework is set which provides an opportunity for children to think creatively and produce their own form of response for example a model or piece of art work, a project, an IT presentation, a recount following a family visit.