St Michael’s Primary School
Our School Vision: Let Your Light Shine
At St Michael’s School we provide a safe, happy and inspiring learning environment based around our core values of love, joy, hope and forgiveness. We celebrate the uniqueness of every child, and encourage them to shine in all they do, preparing them for life’s journey.
Our School Vision underpins our curriculum, which focuses on the past, the present, and the future.
Through learning about the past, both recent and distant, children develop a strong understanding of people, community and values. Our curriculum is organised mainly through topics which are exciting and motivating, inspiring a love of learning and a desire for enquiry. Learning is grounded in the present, helping children develop the key skills they need to develop their potential, as well as giving them many additional opportunities to shine in their chosen way. Finally, we want our children to go forward with confidence to the future; to have a strong sense of personal identity; to look forward to leading safe, healthy and fulfilling lives. We want them to develop into responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to our local, national and global community.
The Aims of the school
Our aims are centred around our four core values: love, joy, hope and forgiveness
We aim to:
- Have a strong caring ethos based on Christian principles of love and compassion.
- Celebrate all children’s achievements
- Teach learners to understand and respect the beliefs and cultures of others
- Encourage responsibility in our children for themselves, those around them, and the wider world.
We aim to:
- Provide a stimulating, meaningful curriculum which inspires our pupils to enjoy their time in school.
- Provide exciting opportunities to develop learning outside school hours
- Ensure that learners are happy, healthy and active.
We aim to:
- Challenge all children to realise their potential
- Be a highly inclusive school at the heart of the community
- Develop effective learning skills and so equip children for lifelong learning.
- Have a close and effective partnership with parents
We aim to:
- Teach children that accepting each other and forgiving each other are at the heart of positive relationships
- Provide positive opportunities for spiritual and moral development.
The National Curriculum
Our curriculum incorporates the National Curriculum: however, the way we deliver this is by having our vision, aim and values at the heart of everything we do (see above).
Our starting point is the uniqueness of every child, and the need for our curriculum to challenge and support all our pupils. It is about giving every child the opportunities to develop their own skills and potential so that their own light will shine.
Our Curriculum principles: organisation and key features
Topic-based approach: developing enquiry and other learning skills
Much of the children’s learning is organised around topics, which generally last one term (sometimes two). There will be a central theme (eg ‘Romans’ in Year 3), and much of the children’s learning will revolve around that theme. Other aspects of learning –such as maths, PE, some science and some RE – is likely to be discrete: ie not linked to the theme, but following their own programmes of study.
An essential part of our topic approach is the importance of developing learning skills. This means that children are encouraged from the start to ask their own questions and to carry out their own research, exploring their own lines of enquiry. There will be a core content of knowledge and skills which all children need to acquire, but they are also taught to become independent and resourceful learners.
Topics are enhanced in many ways. Full use is made of the school grounds; the local environment, and trips to Bristol and beyond. Visitors often come into school to talk about aspects of a topic, and children are encouraged to share experiences from home – including parents coming in to school.
Our core learning skills are:
- Aiming high
- Being imaginative and questioning
- Being brave in the face of adversity
And finally, knowing when and how to use these skills (being wise). These are linked to animals, and children learn about these skills right from the outset in Reception.
Creativity, Enrichment and additional opportunities
There are many creative opportunities within the curriculum: through written work; art; DT; music; drama - all of these areas provide children with rich and varied experiences. We employ specialist art and music to help ensure children get the best possible creative experiences. There are many opportunities for making music and taking part in performances, and these are reflected throughout our school environment and on the school website. We also provide many additional opportunities beyond the curriculum through a wide variety of clubs.
Spiritual, social, moral and cultural development
Embedded throughout the curriculum is the development of values and attitudes. There are many opportunities for children to develop their spiritual side, whether more directly through RE and Collective Worship, or through the wider curriculum. Our PSHE teaching is linked closely with our Assembly programme, and children are encouraged to reflect, have quiet times, and develop a personal sense of spirituality. Social and moral development is based on our four core values: love, joy, hope and forgiveness, which are rooted in Christian teaching reflecting our Church of England foundation. There are numerous charitable events during the year for children to learn about and express their care and commitment towards others.
Cultural Development and British Values We are very proud of the cultural backgrounds of all our pupils, and seek to utilise these strengths to create a cohesive environment where all feel valued and respected. Our rich and varied curriculum provides a multitude of opportunities for children to experience and explore art, music, literature and performance.
French is taught throughout the school, and there are also opportunities to learn about the languages and backgrounds of children in the school through regular sharing days and whole-school events. The teaching of British values is woven through the curriculum, and we place a high priority on teaching children to be good citizens, to show tolerance, respect and understanding towards others, and to be active participants in the school and local area.
Sustainability, global citizenship and STEM activities
We are strongly committed to the development of global citizenship, which aims to give children the understanding and skills to play a full part in an increasingly interlinked world. The school has gained ‘Fairtrade School’ status, reflecting our commitment to a fairer world. We encourage sustainability in all areas of school life, and we are developing a programme of STEM actives (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) throughout the school, utilising our strong links with local companies such as Rolls Royce and British Aerospace.
At St Michael’s we are passionate about the provision of sporting opportunities. All children take part in at least 2 hours high quality physical activity during the school week, and there are numerous sporting clubs at lunchtime or after school every day. Year 4 children go swimming. We have a number of school teams that participate in competitive events, including football, netball, cricket, tag rugby and cross-country. There is an annual sports week, which includes a dance competition; a cross country competition; tug of war; and a sports day with both team and individual competitive and non-competitive events.
Beyond the Curriculum
There are many ways where children can extend and develop their learning beyond the immediate curriculum. We offer two residential visits (‘camps’): in Year 5 for 3 days and in Year 6 for 5 days. Both provide fantastic opportunities for children to develop a range of skills in different challenging situations.
Clubs We offer a very large number of clubs, run by a mixture of school staff and outside agencies (some of these may involve a charge to parents). These clubs cover a whole range of sports, including gym; football (clubs for every year group from Y1 upwards); cricket; girls’ football; table tennis; judo; tennis; basketball, netball, tag rugby, rounders. Other clubs include: orchestra; recorders; science; DT; art; school magazine; ICT; any many more.
Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and drugs education are taught as an integral part of the curriculum through our Personal, Social and Health and Economics Education (PSHE) programme and within the science curriculum, as set out in our Sex Education and Drugs Policies. Sex Education forms part of a cross - curricular theme which is covered in our normal classroom teaching. Parents have the right to withdraw children from certain parts of the sex education programme.
The curriculum and inclusion: challenge for all
All of the curricular and extra-curricular activities at St Michael’s are fully inclusive for all children, whatever their needs or abilities. Careful differentiation and additional support where appropriate ensure that all types of special need receive appropriate teaching, and there is a programme of development and challenge for pupils who show particular aptitude for certain subjects (including music and sport as well as core areas of maths and English).
Foundation Stage Curriculum
In the Reception year, the children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum. This builds on the child’s previous experiences, with a strong focus on learning through structured play.
There are 6 areas within the Foundation Stage Curriculum:
- Personal, Social and Emotional
- Communication, Language and Literacy
- Knowledge and Understanding of the World
- Physical Development
- Creative Development
All of these areas have equal weighting, and during the year children’s progress against these is carefully monitored. Each child builds up their own learning profile, which is shared with parents regularly during the year. Parental involvement is very much encouraged, either through parents coming in to school, or through home-school activities.