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Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Intent

At the heart of our curriculum is a fundamental belief in the value of every individual. Therefore, our intent is to deliver parity of education, opportunities and experience for all pupils, regardless of their circumstances, including their background, ability, or prior education. Our ambitious curriculum provides all of our pupils with a meaningful and rich experience in a broad range of subjects, which widens opportunities for pupils, both in school and in their future education and employment.

A central characteristic of our curriculum is ensuring that all pupils are equipped with a deep body of knowledge and skills, that exceeds the demands of the National Curriculum, in every subject. By planning and delivering a broad, balanced, and well-sequenced curriculum, we ensure that all pupils acquire and demonstrate the composite and component knowledge in each subject scheme of work. By exceeding the National Curriculum, we ensure that both the substantive and disciplinary knowledge of our curriculum is tailored to meet the individual needs of pupils, and teaching is adapted to ensure pupils successfully reach the ambitious end points set for them.  

We seek to create life-long learners with a greater understanding of the world around them, creating educated citizens with a clear grasp of both their future rights and responsibilities. Our core and extended curriculum goes beyond the academic, technical and vocational nature of subjects to create a community which, together in one body, teaches pupils how to become the best people and learners that God intended them to be. Throughout our curriculum, but in particular through our Citizenship and PSHE programme and our Extended Learning Days, we shape our pupils into responsible, respectful and active citizens who have a deepened understanding of the fundamental British Values and the Cardinal Virtues which underpin every aspect of our school community.

Aims

Our curriculum aims to provide our pupils with a broad, balanced and well-sequenced programme of learning for all pupils. We achieve this for all pupils at Corpus Christi by:

  • studying a wide variety of subjects which does not narrow their experiences or life chances;
  • being supported in meeting and overcoming their own challenges in learning, especially those with special educational needs;
  • developing essential skills for learning through reading, literacy and numeracy;
  • enhancing pupils’ classroom learning with purposeful extra-curricular experiences which are open to all;
  • equipping pupils with strong habits to become successful learners in school and beyond.

Core Curriculum

Through the core curriculum pupils study a broad range of subjects, all of which deliver a rich body of knowledge and skills which moves beyond the expectations of the National Curriculum. Each curriculum delivers a logical and systematic progression from Key Stage 2, which builds on pupils’ learning, and addresses any missed learning or misconceptions. We firmly believe that all new learning is built on the understanding of prior learning, therefore revisiting knowledge and concepts from previous topics, years, and key stages is essential before pupils move on through the curriculum. This ensures pupils will be successful in reaching the end points of the intended curriculum at Key Stage 3 and 4, which secures their future as educated citizens.

All pupils have access to a range of academic, practical and vocational subjects. The EBacc is at the heart of our Key Stage 3 curriculum which means that, regardless of their ability, all pupils are able to study a foreign language. The spiritual development of all pupils is delivered through the RE curriculum and is enhanced further by an extensive and purposeful CPSHE programme and extended learning days.

The core curriculum at Key Stage 3 is comprised of the following subjects:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • RE
  • French
  • German
  • Geography
  • History
  • Computing
  • Art
  • Design Technology
  • Graphics
  • Food Technology
  • Music
  • Drama
  • PE

To ensure a broad and ambitious curriculum is provided for all, pupils select their options for GCSE at the end of Year 9. Our open options process allows all pupils to choose from the complete range of subjects including the E-baccalaureate, guaranteeing the curriculum is not narrowed for any pupil and providing a programme of study which prepares them for the next stage of their lives. Pupils are provided with advice and guidance in the options process at key points in the year, through whole school events and assemblies, as well as meetings with parents and the extended curriculum. Through this thorough process we are able to provide pupils with a Key Stage 4 pathway which meets their needs and is most appropriate for them as individuals.

Extended Curriculum

During the school year, we hold five Extended Learning Days (ELDs), providing experiences which build upon and broaden learning from the core curriculum. These include opportunities for external enrichment for all pupils such as educational visits, projects and competitions. There are also opportunities to target areas of the core curriculum which require learning beyond the classroom. We engage extensively with external providers to deliver meaningful learning, as well as providing guidance in a number of curriculum areas.

Citizenship and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (CPSHE) is predominantly taught on a rolling programme once every two weeks. Pupils are taught in their form groups in six discrete themed blocks throughout the year, which are Citizenship, Healthy Mind and Body, Personal Safety, Financial Capability, Careers and Study Skills and Healthy Relationships and Sex Education (HRSE). HRSE lessons and some Healthy Mind and Body lessons are taught in single-gender groups due to the specific nature of the content.

Extra-curricular provision at Corpus Christi is provided through educational visits and clubs. These widen our ambitious curriculum further through day visits, such as to UCLan (in partnership with Future U), field trips to the Lake District and Liverpool, as well as Duke of Edinburgh residentials, retreats to Castlerigg and European residentials.

All departments offer at least one activity, for example: sports clubs, science academy, medical and veterinary, performing arts club and Spanish club. There are also chaplaincy groups which facilitate the achievement of the Faith in Action award.

The school’s commitment to ensuring that all pupils receive the highest standard of careers education is underlined by the fact that we have achieved all of the Gatsby benchmarks for the second consecutive year. Furthermore, we also fulfil the Baker Clause by ensuring that all pupils in Years 8 to 11 are afforded a variety of experiences with employers, trainers and further education providers.

Teaching and Learning Approach

There is no prescribed teaching approach adopted in Corpus Christi, but rather a range of core principles which are implemented effectively to ensure pupils build substantive and disciplinary knowledge in each subject. Teachers continually reflect on their practice and take steps to improve further through internal and external CPD.

All schemes of work at Corpus Christi provide granular detail within the teaching sequence, outlining best practice, highlighting common misconceptions that may occur, and recommends highly effective assessment strategies.

Explanations

High-quality explanations are the starting point for all new learning and therefore, for maximum impact on learning, teachers reflect on how an explanation can be broken down, following the sequence in the scheme of work. These explanations are discussed with colleagues through whole school and departmental development time to ensure the effectiveness of delivery has been validated. We a place strong emphasis on the importance of storytelling, so that pupils can connect learning well over time as teachers communicate the ‘story’ of how the curriculum content is connected.

Questioning

Questioning is the primary strategy for assessing learning and levels of understanding. Teachers pose questions, provide thinking time, and use paired discussion, to ensure high-quality responses are received and the whole class is engaged in thinking. As a result, teachers can assess levels of understanding and adapt teaching where necessary. A mix of mastery and developmental questions are essential for all pupils. Teachers use these throughout sequences of lessons to encourage explanations, analysis and evaluation, which provide the most opportunities for assessment of learning.

Modelling

Modelling is applied to learning and behaviour, which we believe is a critical part of education for all pupils. Modelling how each pupil should listen, discuss in pairs and answer questions both verbally and in written form, is essential. Modelling and scaffolding of both content and literacy and oracy, including possible language to use, is modelled by teachers and sets a standard to which pupils are held to account for the quality of their responses. Modelling and scaffolding is provided although teachers will gradually reduce this, dependent on level of ability and age range, until pupils can produce work and demonstrate secure understanding, without any adaptive support.

Challenge

Teachers take responsibility to ensure that all pupils meet the learning outcomes and objectives set out in the scheme of work. Subtle differences highlighted in the scheme ensure that the level of challenge is appropriate for all pupils and that limits are not placed on them, regardless of their ability. However, even for the most able, teachers will ensure pupils master sub-concepts and component knowledge, before moving onto more challenging or comprehensive concepts and composite knowledge, so that learning is effective and secure over time.

Marking and Feedback

Effective task selection ensures that marking can be productive and supports pupils in improving their learning. Written work provides opportunities for pupils to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding based on the learning outcomes provided in the scheme of work. When written feedback is provided in line with the whole-school policy, learning outcomes and teacher modelling are used as the benchmark for identifying strengths and areas for improvement. Pupils are then able to follow teacher intervention and use the time they are provided with to respond to action points, including literacy targets. Expectations for the quality of pupil responses are also modelled for pupils to ensure they make marked improvements and rapid progress.

Teaching for Long Term Memory

Consistent recapping of prior learning, including of recent lessons and of historic learning, is used regularly to ensure that the content is not only understood, but remembered. This is supported by a summative assessment system which tests learning over significant periods of time. Where appropriate, links between learning, which provide opportunities for recapping prior learning and making connections between concepts, are highlighted within schemes of work.

Homework

Homework is set in line with the school homework policy and weekly timetable. Teachers ensure that homework always has a learning focus which can prepare pupils for future learning, enable practise of skills or application of prior learning. The most effective homework enables teacher assessment and subsequently informs teacher intervention. Therefore, homework tasks in most cases are decided based on the current position within the scheme of work and the depth of pupil understanding. Teachers model what constitutes a high-quality piece of homework to improve the clarity and usefulness of homework tasks.

Reading and Literacy Strategy

The reading strategy is an evidence informed approach designed to support all pupils in improving their reading capabilities throughout their time at Corpus Christi Catholic High School.

The explicit teaching of reading is led by the English department, all of whom are specialists in the subject. In Key Stage 3, every lesson begins with a ten-minute reading activity using an age and ability appropriate text intervention. This provides every pupil with a focused reading intervention in every English lesson. The class teacher employs a number of strategies, from reading aloud, which is modelled to pupils, to paired pupil reading and pupils reading to their class. These strategies teach key reading skills of fluency, accuracy, intonation, reading to punctuation, comprehension and vocabulary, as well as building pupil confidence. In Key Stage 4, these skills are similarly taught, but through the reading of texts stipulated in the GCSE curriculum. The strength of this approach ensures that pupils are consistently supported by a subject specialist throughout the academic year and their time in school.

In order to support pupils in their reading consistently, the strategies utilised by the English department are replicated across the school in the whole school reading and literacy strategy. This ensures that every teacher can support pupils reading in a way that is appropriate in their subject.

The reading strategy is based on four key principles: 

  1. Pupils should be read to and read with.
    This is a whole-school model. Teachers of all subjects model accurate, fluent reading skills. They use phonics to assist pupils to decode unfamiliar words and explicitly teach the pronunciation of new, complex vocabulary.
     
  2. Key or complex language is pre-taught before a text is read independently. 
    As teachers have access to pupils’ reading ages and specific weaknesses in reading skills that individual pupils may have, they can determine which words in the text need to be pre-taught much more effectively. They can also use a tool within Microsoft Word to establish the exact suitability of any text in relation to the reading age/s in their class. 

  3. Reading ages are used to plan and to inform assessment. 
    Pupils’ reading ages are tested three times each year and are shared with staff, along with specific weaknesses (decoding, encoding, fluency, accuracy and comprehension). Staff use reading ages to inform their planning and delivery of any textual content, as well as the suitability of assessments being given to individual classes. Texts and assessments are adapted accordingly. This information is also used to inform seating plans, targeted support and homework. 

  4. Agreed expectations for reading are consistent department-wide. 
    Each department has taken into consideration the curriculum intent for reading, as well as the whole-school strategy. Heads of department have included how texts should be taught in their SoWs. Each Head of Department has met with the reading and literacy lead in order to review how reading is taught within their individual curriculums.  

Reading abilities and intervention

On arrival in Year 7 our highly sophisticated testing programmes screens all pupils to measure a number of different reading skills, mainly vocabulary knowledge, accuracy, fluency, comprehension, diagnose any weaknesses. Along with prior data from primary schools, and cognitive ability testing, we are able to identify pupils who may require immediate intervention upon starting school, in order to close gaps from previous key stages. A significant number of our pupils speak English as an additional language and so our intervention programme immediately identifies and plans bespoke reading and language intervention for pupils to ensure they are able to access the curriculum immediately upon joining our school.

At the start of every academic year, all pupils complete a diagnostic reading test which identifies any gaps in their reading abilities and calculates a reading age for pupils. The test is reactive in which questions are suited to the ability of the pupil and get progressively more difficult or simple, depending on whether the previous question was answered correctly, which provides an accurate measure of a pupil’s reading ability. All pupils are tested three further times throughout the year to measure and monitor pupil progress and help to identify pupils who may benefit from further intervention to improve their reading. Interventions are delivered by highly skilled support assistants which target specific gaps in pupils’ reading abilities and competencies. Interventions include phonics and writing interventions, the Wolf Hill reaching scheme, and reading buddies, in which pupils are paired with confident pupils from other years groups. All teachers are made aware of pupils receiving intervention, so they are able to plan for this in their own teaching to ensure pupils are supported throughout their lessons. Results of the reading tests, including reading ages, are shared with all teachers to enable them to plan for the specific needs of pupils where required and inform their planning. Reading ages are also shared through termly reports home to inform parents and carers of the progress being made by pupils.

Numeracy Strategy

We believe that all pupils should be equipped with functional numeracy as a life skill, and to support their understanding of different subject disciplines. All pupils at Corpus Christi are supported to develop a high level of numeracy capability. To achieve this, Heads of Department are supported in identifying and planning core numeracy skills within their subject and planning for the delivery of these in their curriculum. Each subject and Head of Department is linked to a member of the mathematics department in order to support the precise planning and delivery of agreed numeracy skills.  Heads of Department ensure that they and teachers in their department utilise their subject link colleague regularly in the planning and delivery to ensure consistency and familiarity for pupils to support their progress.

Special Educational Needs

We believe that all pupils, including those with SEND, should access a broad and balanced curriculum. This is achieved by providing an exceptional level of support, in various forms, for pupils in all subject areas. Heads of Department work to establish departmental expectations and strategies for the teaching of all pupils, including those with SEND. Creating an accessible curriculum for pupils with SEND should be based on scaffolding, appropriate language and resources, and use of additional adult support where it is necessary. This will enable pupils with SEND to demonstrate a deeper understanding of each subject, in line with departmental expectations.

Each pupil with SEND has a Pupil Passport document, which is reviewed by the Learning Support team on a termly basis. Pupil Passports place each young person at the centre of their own provision by clearly outlining how they are specifically affected by their barriers to learning and the supportive measures that they require in order to access learning in the classroom. By establishing clear, personalised strategies, we ensure that the support in place for each pupil is consistent across all subject areas. Heads of Department ensure that the strategies stipulated in the Pupil Passport documents are implemented by their teams to support pupils with SEND to meet the demands of their subjects.

Assessment

Our ambition for all pupils is that they know more, remember more and can do more, therefore can achieve more, in all their subjects. For this reason, formative assessment is a cornerstone of our assessment of pupils’ learning and a measure of their progress. Pupils are continually assessed formatively, throughout their lessons in the first instance, through answering questions and explaining the substantive and disciplinary knowledge they have gained. Teachers are able to continually identify how pupils are making progress through the intended curriculum, and make adaptations within individual lessons and sequences of lessons, to ensure misconceptions are corrected and pupils’ knowledge and understanding is transferred to long-term memory.

Building from regular formative assessment, we believe that high quality summative assessment is essential in enabling pupils to demonstrate their substantive and disciplinary knowledge acquired throughout the implementation of the planned curriculum over a significant period of time. Subsequently, this will allow teachers to measure the progress made by pupils through the different composites which make up the curriculum, and are set out in the schemes of work. In measuring the extent to which pupils have acquired substantive knowledge and developed a secure disciplinary understanding, teachers will be able identify gaps in learning to inform future teaching and planned interventions.

All assessments are suitably challenging whilst meeting the needs of all pupils. Suitable points for summative assessment are chosen by each Head of Department ensuring that they are embedded into the planned curriculum. Assessments are adapted to ensure all academic groups can demonstrate their understanding and have the opportunity to make outstanding progress through the curriculum. Teachers ensure their classes are suitably ready for assessments and all content has been covered thoroughly, considering the needs of all pupils.

Heads of Department provide a clear, shared rationale to ensure that assessments are suitable for all pupils as they progress through the curriculum. Heads of Department also ensure that there is a clear and shared rationale for the awarding of progress grades. This incorporates the use of formative assessment, enabling teachers to use their daily feedback through questioning and marking, to inform decisions related to progress grades.

A Guide to Reports for Parents

  • All pupils have a target to achieve 100% in their overall progress score.
  • Progress of pupils is reported three times per year and each teacher provides judgements on the four areas of homework, behaviour, effort and progress through the curriculum. Grades of 1-4 are awarded, 1 being outstanding and 4 being inadequate.
  • The judgements are combined to calculate a percentage which is a pupil’s overall progress score.
  • Pupils who are achieving a score above 80% are making progress which is good or better. Pupils whose score is below 80% are not making as much progress.
  • The report shows the average overall score for the year group so parents can see how their child is performing in relation to his/her peers.
  • The report clearly shows where pupils can make the most improvements. Areas awarded grades 3 or 4 are clearly a concern and are affecting the progress of the pupil. These are target areas for improvement.

Key Stage 3 Overview

Throughout Key Stage 3, Corpus Christi pupils access a varied curriculum which develops and builds their understanding of specific subject disciplines. Each subject not only meets the requirements of the National Curriculum, but go beyond these to ensure all pupils are provided with an ambitious programme of study.

Hours per fortnight

SubjectYear 7Year 8Year 9
English87 (2 classes)
8 (3 classes) 10 (1 class)
7 (2 classes)
8 (3 classes) 10 (1 class)
Mathematics777
Science666
Religious Education555
Geography333
History333
German42 (3 classes)
4 (3 classes)
2 (1 class)
3 (2 classes) 4 (3 classes)
FrenchN/A3 (2 classes)2 (2 classes)
Art222
Drama222
Computing222
Music222
PE444

Hours per fortnight (pupils rotate between all four disciplines throughout the year)

SubjectYear 7Year 8Year 9
Resistant Materials222
Food and Nutrition222
Textiles222
Graphics222

Key Stage 4 Overview

Corpus Christi provides an extensively broad and balanced curriculum in Key Stage 4, supported by our mission to develop the God-given abilities of all pupils. When selecting subjects to study at GCSE pupils have the opportunity to choose from a range of subjects which supports their personal aspirations and future pathway.

Core subjects – Hours per fortnight

SubjectsYear 10Year 11
English88
Maths88
Science99
Religious Education55
PE22

Option subjects – Hours per fortnight

SubjectsYear 10Year 11
Art66
Business Studies66
Child Development66
Computer Science66
Construction66
Drama66
Food and Nutrition66
French66
Geography66
German66
Graphics66
History66
Music66
PE (GCSE)66
PE (Cambridge National)66
Photography66
Resistant Materials66
Separate Sciences66
Together In One Body
Corpus Christi Catholic High School
St. Vincent’s Road, Fulwood, Preston PR2 8QY
Telephone: 01772 716912 Fax: 01772 718779 Email: admin@ccc.lancs.sch.uk