As a totally independent small school we are in a unique position to offer a curriculum that is both relevant and specially tailored to address the educational needs of the whole child.
We work with children’s natural learning tools to develop their confidence rather than teach them all in the same way. We can do this because we know the children well!
Dame Catherine’s is not a school with a specific specialism eg. music, outdoor learning, but is one which champions all creative and practical areas of learning and builds in basic maths and English skills in a creative way, still ensuring academic rigour. We spend quality time outdoors – learning and playing. We have a strong tradition of science and technology and offer language learning opportunities provided by teachers who are specialists in their field. These opportunities are incredibly important to us at Dame Catherine’s.
At Dame Catherine’s we have developed our own curriculum. We listen to ideas suggested by our children and families in developing our curriculum, ensuring that we provide engaging activities which capture the interest of our children. For example by asking the children what knowledge, understanding and skills they already have around a theme or question, asking for their ideas about what they would like to learn and asking for ways in which parents might support, we can build on prior learning, share strengths and develop a real sense of ownership for our children.
We have adapted the National Curriculum to provide a richer and more thorough educational environment for our pupils whilst ensuring that the school’s philosophy is not compromised. Recognising the importance of transition for children, for the core subjects of English and Maths, we largely follow the National Curriculum. For English we have integrated small parts of other curricula and we feel that it is important to emphasise interaction in speaking. Our science focuses heavily on investigational science and working scientifically. We provide children in school with the opportunity to learn and explore other languages and cultures. Our headteacher has a specialism in languages teaching and spent several years supporting primary schools to develop modern languages provision. The main languages are German and French but we love to dip into others! Other subjects such as history, geography and art are largely taught through our curriculum themes or questions, which respond to children’s interests.
We embed Social Moral Spiritual and Cultural provision and British Values within our curriculum and use our Friday afternoon whole school session to support PSHE. RE is also integrated into the curriculum to enable the children to support children learning about a wide range of faiths and beliefs and in context.
We listen to ideas suggested by our children and families in developing our curriculum, which ensures that we provide engaging activities which capture the interest of our children.
Outdoor learning is a strength at Dame Catherine’s and one of our teachers is a Forest School Leader.
We are proud of the unique approach we have to our curriculum. We base this around themes which are posed as questions and split into smaller questions or challenges. We send overviews of these to our parents 3 or 4 times a year. We love to go ‘off piste’ in order to respond to children’s interests, current events or just because something crops up ( for example when we found a little bat in the school.) So we develop coverage and progression documents to help us to make sure that the children learn everything we would want them to, but in our own unique and wonderful way.
To give a flavour for how our curriculum currently works click on the links below. Or for fuller information please get in touch with the school office.