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St James' Catholic Primary School"We belong to the loving family of St James”

St James' Bespoke Curriculum



Our school is responsible for arranging the curriculum to fulfil the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum, in the context of government policies and initiatives.  As a Catholic school, we are responsible for delivering Religious Education through the Liverpool Archdiocesan approved ‘Come and See’ scheme and a daily act of collective worship.  All this needs to be taken in to account when designing a weekly timetable. A t St James’, the school’s curriculum needs to reflect this individuality.


Our educational aims


At St James, we:

·         Provide opportunities for the whole school community to fulfil their potential.

We do this by:

·         Offering a broad, balanced, differentiated and enjoyable curriculum, with a variety of extra-curricular activities;

·         Successfully communicating information to others;

·         Providing relevant training for the whole school community;

·         Celebrating all achievements and successes.


Living our lives through Christ

At St James, we:

·         Follow, as St James did, in the footsteps of Christ.

·         Witness the gospel values of:

o    Forgiveness, respect, tolerance, trust, care and compassion.

We do this:

·         Through different forms of worship;

·         By inviting guests to share their faith and beliefs;

·         By helping others through the support of CAFOD, the Good Shepherd and Shoebox Appeal;

·         By welcoming everyone to St James.


Being part of our community

At St James, we:

·         Develop and build upon positive relationships between our home, school and parish communities.

We do this by:

·         Inviting the parish into school and supporting church and community life;

·         Having an open door policy of welcome;

·         Developing and sustaining a vibrant and active PTFA.


Curriculum Organisation

Over the year, each class will cover topics to last either a full or half term.

Teachers choose their own topics at the start of the year and consider a number of factors: the children in the class, their likes and dislikes, current local, national, international events etc. We aim to provide topics that are meaningful – through relevant and clear cross-curricular links (tenuous links will not be made simply for the sake of making links) and a complete picture rather than pieces of a jigsaw puzzle – the whole to be more than just the sum of the parts.


When considering planning we look at what interests our children and the skills each child requires as they progress through the school.



Our RE teaching commitment is 2½ hours per week in KS2 and 2 hours in KS1.  Our collective worship commitment is daily and takes place as a whole school worship, as a key stage or within a class.


Literacy and Maths are taught daily, cross curricular reading, writing and mathematical development are encouraged wherever possible in order to enhance learning and give a deeper understanding of the topic focus.


We teach phonics throughout the school every day and the pupils are streamed according to ability. The older children in Key Stage 2 have lessons specifically in grammar and punctuation.


Foundation subjects are organised depending on the topic taught, they therefore, may not appear during every topic, but the overall yearly commitment will fall within the guidelines of the new National Curriculum issued to schools in 2014


School visits and visitors are planned into our curriculum to enhance topics.  From Y4 up, our classes go on a yearly residential trip to an outdoor centre owned by Lancashire County Council.  Pupils in KS2 have a minimum of one term of swimming lessons each year.  Y2, Y3, Y4, Y5 and Y6 pupils are taught in curriculum time a musical instrument including recorder, ukulele and brass instrument as well as whole school singing with Mr Cairns. Many of our own school staff offer a wide variety of extra-curricular activities for examples, Cookery, Reading, Sports, Chess, Singing and a Film Club. Curriculum PE is enhanced by inviting in qualified sport coaches and many of these coaches either support our extra-curricular activities programme or deliver their own after school activities.


The school day for Reception to Y6 begins at 8:55am with registration, although doors open to allow pupils to come in to the building from 8.45am.  The first lesson will begin as soon as it is possible after registration.


Our school Nursery times are slightly different so that we can offer 3 hour sessions. The morning Nursery starts at 8.30am and finishes at 11.30am. When the morning sessions fill up, we offer afternoons too. The afternoons run from 12.15 to 3.15pm. Lunch time provision is also available between 11.30am to 12.15. This can mean that some children can stay all day. Availability varies through the year due to demand. Please call into the school office or ring school for further information.


School day for Foundation Stage 2 to Y6

Doors open




Lessons begin


*Morning break

10:30 – 10:45

Lesson begin



12.10 – 13.10



Lessons begin


Home Time



*There is no formal morning break time in the Foundation Stage due to continuous provision and the access to outdoor provision.



Here at St James’, we plan our curriculum in three phases. We agree a long-term plan for FS, KS1 & KS2. This indicates what topics are to be taught in each term, and what coverage there is of curriculum areas, and to which groups of children. We review our long-term plan on an annual basis.


We incorporate the use of key skills to ensure that there is progression through the foundation subjects.  These skills have been drawn from the National Curriculum and we have used the Lancashire Skills to inform our planning.  These skills form the basis of all planning. We use the renewed framework for Literacy and Maths and incorporate these into our topics wherever possible. When the government release details of any changes to the curriculum, as a school we will adhere to them.


Planning takes place in two forms:


Long term overview - This will show a maximum of six topics (depends upon the length of a half term) and lists the curriculum coverage for each topic.


Medium term overview – The format for this is a “Spider gram” which This gives the detail for each individual subject, skills are referenced, outcomes decided and progression of learning is given in more detail.  Where a lesson is differentiated , this is identified in the planning. This plan is then annotated week by week by the class teacher as it is completed.



Where possible we deliver the ICT skills (taken from the Lancashire progression in ICT skills document) throughout all of our curriculum and as such it is referenced specifically on each medium term overview.  Where a specific skill needs to taught for example, use of logo then ICT may be planned as a discrete series of lessons.


Structure of lessons

We aim to be more creative with the structure of our lessons, some lessons follow the traditional three part plan, others may start with a whole class focus e.g. handling artefact session, piece of music, studying a photograph where pupils may have time to think independently, after which the teacher may use pupil response to plan the next step of the lesson.



The curriculum in our school is designed to provide access and opportunity for all children who attend the school. If we think it necessary to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of individual children, then we do so only after the parents of the child have been consulted.

If a child has a special educational need, our school does all it can to meet these individual needs. We comply with the requirements set out in the SEN Code of Practice in Curriculum Policy providing for children with special needs. If a child displays signs of having special needs, his/her teacher makes an assessment of this need. In most instances the teacher is able to provide resources and educational opportunities which meet the child’s needs within the normal class organisation. If a child’s need is more severe, we consider the child for a statement of special needs, and we involve the appropriate external agencies when making this assessment. We always provide additional resources and support for children with special needs.


The school provides an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) for each of the children who are on the special needs register. This sets out the nature of the special need, and outlines how the schools will aim to address the need. It also sets out targets for improvement, so that we can review and monitor the progress of each child at regular intervals.


The school identified children who are considered gifted (more able) and/or talented in relation to their year group – approximately 10%, through test results and teacher discussion. Extension activities are planned as appropriate within the class situation.


The Foundation Stage

The curriculum that we teach in the Reception and morning Nursery class meets the requirements of the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) framework. Our curriculum planning focuses on the Early Learning Goals and on developing children’s skills and experiences, as set out in this document.


Our school fully supports the principle that young children learn through play, and by engaging in well-planned structured activities. Teaching in the Reception class builds on the experiences of the children in their pre-school learning. We do all we can to build positive partnerships with the variety of nurseries, Children’s Centres and other pre-school providers in the area.


Throughout Nursery and Reception, staff collect data on all the children through observations which is analysed with the Senior Leadership Team. This data makes up each child’s individual profile kept both in a paper format and on the e-profile. The assessment forms an important part of the future curriculum planning for each child.


Involving parents

We are aware that all children need the support of parents and staff to make good progress in school. Strong positive relationships between school and every single family is crucial right from when each child sets foot inside our school. This is achieved by keeping parents informed about the way in which the children are being taught and how well each child is progressing. The year always begins with a “Meet your child’s new teacher”. We send our parents curriculum letters at the start of each half term giving detail on the topic and curriculum coverage for their child.  In these letters we share individual pupil targets and inform parents on their child’s progress according to age related expectations. We try to keep our families as informed as possible through weekly newsletters, text messaging & the school website. Our parents/carers are also invited to use ClassDojo; a communication platform between staff and carers.

We host assemblies based on class RE topics in front of the school and their parents, we also hold three formal invitations to meet the teacher to discuss each child’s progress. Every Friday morning, there is an open invitation for parents to join with the rest of the school to celebrate pupil achievement.


How Our Children are Assessed


·         Teacher observation

·         Questioning and discussion

·         Children’s work – exercise books, paper, posters, oral presentations, performances, photographs, videos

·         Self-assessment

·         Peer assessment

·         Formal assessments


To find out more about the EYFS and National Curriculum, click on the pictures below: