Our school curriculum is driven and shaped by our school vision, which informs everything that we do.
St Nicholas provides a welcoming, inclusive and aspirational learning environment at the heart of its community. We nurture, encourage and support all children, adults and their families to be the best as God intended. Following God’s example of love and trust, we develop resilience and creativity in all we do.
Learning, loving and encouraging through Christ.
An uncompromising focus on pupils’ personal development has made St Nicholas Church of England Primary Academy a place where pupils always come first. Ofsted 2019
At St Nicholas Church of England Primary Academy, we teach a curriculum that is exciting, fun and imaginative. You can walk into any of our classrooms and find children who are engaged in thinking, questioning and learning and most importantly enjoying learning. We want to foster a love of learning through thoughtful, well-planned and exciting lessons which aim to stimulate the children’s imagination. Through carefully planned lessons, which are designed to meet the learning needs and styles of all the children, teachers aim to promote independence and develop resilience ensuring that progress is made by all.
In order for our pupils to be well-prepared for the next phase of their education and life, we believe our curriculum and its implementation must develop pupils who are enquiring, resilient, independent and have high aspirations. Alongside these qualities needed for academic success, our Christian values pervade our approach; developing a sense of community, ambition, perseverance, friendship, trust and respect and recognising that these are just as important as academic endeavour.
At St Nicholas Church of England Primary Academy, it is our fundamental belief that every child should feel valued and experience the feeling of success in a wide range of curriculum areas. We believe that through the curriculum we can impact on what is in children’s heads and how they feel about themselves, so that they feel capable, confident, empowered and ready to tackle any challenge they may face.
“Everybody Matters” within our school and we nurture our children to love and value each other as well as everybody within our school community and beyond. Recognising and understanding everyone’s unique and special talents and enabling ALL children to believe that anything is possible is at the heart of all we do. The children see each other as one big family and strive to work cooperatively to enable everyone to succeed. All children are welcomed into the St Nicholas family from their first day at our school. Pupils in Early Years Foundation Stage immediately feel part of the school community through a carefully structured induction. We believe in the importance of developing strong relationships with our parents from the beginning of their child’s journey at St Nicholas. They are welcomed, nurtured and this is then built upon year on year.
At St Nicholas Church of England Primary Academy, we place high priority on ensuring children’s physical and mental wellbeing are met. We understand that children will not be successful learners unless they are emotionally secure; therefore we carefully design our curriculum and adopt a flexible approach to timetabling to ensure that we can meet and respond to any issues which may arise. Children’s physical and mental wellbeing are as much of a priority as academic development.
We carefully monitor children’s progress with their personal development and our well planned and thoughtful approach to SMSC helps to ensure that every child is well cared for and supported and when a child needs additional support, they are helped by our learning mentor and nurture programmes.
Our balanced approach to the curriculum is not at the expense of high standards in core subject areas. High standards and enabling children to reach national expectations and above is of vital importance if they are to succeed at the next stage of their education and go on to achieve full and happy lives and careers.
Our full and rich curriculum, with its excellent range of experiences, that are planned around the needs and interests of the children, ensures that every pupil St Nicholas Church of England Primary Academy makes excellent progress both academically and personally. Our unique curriculum ensures that every child is given the opportunity to shine and flourish and that these successes are celebrated to the school and the wider community. We have developed close links with the Marsh Academy and the school makes good use of the facilities and the expertise they provide.
Our local area provides a fantastic resource for teaching our curriculum. By the time our pupils leave us they will have visited the beach, the wildlife centre, Dungeness Power Station and have explored Canterbury Cathedral. They will understand why New Romney is so important to local history with visits to the Royal Military Canal and the Hythe, Dymchurch and New Romney Railway. We also expect our children to have a good understanding of history, culture and geography beyond New Romney to enable them to have a wider understanding of the world; opportunities to visit London are planned, as is a trip to France to meet up with their pen-pals. Environmental issues greatly underpin day to day life at St Nicholas. Children care considerably about their environment and champion change.
We aim for our curriculum to be relevant to each child in the school, regardless of their age, gender, individual circumstances or academic ability. We think carefully about how curriculum skills develop as a child grows older, and the key knowledge they need to learn at each stage. The subject leaders team take responsibility for overseeing this. The content of each subject is sequential, building on prior learning. Alongside this, we intend the implementation of our curriculum to have some fluidity – this means that pupils with special educational needs may access the curriculum in different and often very practical ways, whilst ensuring those who attain ‘greater depth’ standards are challenged, inspired and curious.
Reading has a high profile at St Nicholas. In addition to being taught phonics and reading skills, children are encouraged to read for enjoyment and we aim to instil a love of reading in all of our pupils. Teachers read aloud high-quality texts in every class as well as providing library challenges and author visits. We have recently developed a new school library and run library sessions at lunchtimes in addition to classes being timetables throughout the week.
High academic standards are an important goal for the school, and our focus on whole class reading, promoting maths fluency, supporting children to acquire a broad vocabulary and providing meaningful cross-curricular writing opportunities are some of the ways we have deliberately focused on ensuring pupils leave our school literate and numerate.
At St Nicholas, you will see a connected curriculum which allows children to make links between subjects and for knowledge to be revisited. Our curriculum is under constant review in response to developments in education, our local context and our intent for the children. We carefully consider, through regular staff and smaller team meetings, how our curriculum will meet the needs of all our pupils, changing the content to focus on specific knowledge and key skills or to make the learning accessible to our pupils' range of abilities and interests.
At St Nicholas, you will see pupils embracing the curriculum in a variety of ways. For some, a local specialist or a school trip provokes a deep interest and pupils will choose to explore aspects of the curriculum in great depth. Throughout the school year, the school delivers a variety of themed weeks which motivate and enhance the learning experienced by the children. We do national themed days and themed weeks that are influenced by the school development plan or national and international events. For others, the curriculum is simplified with very practical and physical experiences so that learning is memorable.
In consultation with Parents’ Council, we have recently changed the way that home-learning is done. Children have a home learning task to complete each fortnight and work is then celebrated at school. In addition to this research, children are expected to read daily (either a book or Reading Plus), learn spellings and times tables for regular tests.
We work in partnership with our parents as we recognise the importance and contribution that they make to a child’s education. Because of this, we run regular parent workshops to help support parents support their children. The teaching of phonics is explained to all parents including RWI resources being given to parents of new children at the Early Years induction evening. Phonics workshops are delivered for each year group in key stage 1. Copies of the presentations are then published to all parents. We deliver reading workshops to help support parents when they listen to their child read every evening. We recognise that for many of our parents, maths is an area that they feel less able to support their children with particularly as they get older. As a result of this, we run regular maths workshops that address the learning and methods taught in all year groups to enable parents to support their children more effectively and in-line with the school’s calculation policy. At school, we work hard to ensure that children are able to keep themselves safe on-line but we know it is also necessary to give parents the same information so that they can protect their children and have a greater depth of knowledge. This information is also on the website should any parents not be able to attend the training. At the end of each term, the children and teachers love to share what they have been learning so friends and family are invited into class at the end of the day to see their fabulous work or some classes may even put on a special assembly. We encourage all parents to come along as we recognise the partnership between parents and school is vital to the success of a child’s education. Teachers operate an open-door policy at the end of the school day, so if parents have questions about how they can support learning in school, they are able to have an informal talk with the class teacher. Regular parent consultations happen throughout the school year and provide a valuable opportunity for teachers and parents to discuss attainment and future targets.
The impact of our curriculum can be seen in the standards our children attain at the end of primary school. Children at St Nicholas Church of England Primary Academy make good progress and attain in-line with national expectations at the end of 2. Our phonics screening results improve year on year and pupils achieve in line with, and in some areas above national expectations at the end of KS1. In addition to our success in reading, writing and maths, our provision of enrichment opportunities enables pupils to achieve high standards across all areas of the curriculum. The school achieves very well in sport particularly and has the Activemark Gold Award for the 3rd consecutive year. In 2018, the school was awarded Shepway Primary School of the Year by the Shepway Sports Trust. All children access and experience a wide range of sporting activities, with all children competing in intra and inter-school competitions.
Our pupils also demonstrate the impact of our curriculum through their behaviour for learning; children are confident and successful learners. St Nicholas pupils feel motivated and are not afraid of ‘having a go’. They have a growth mindset philosophy and understand that when they can’t do things, they can’t do things yet! They enjoy sharing their learning with each other and visitors. As a school, we place huge importance on all areas of the curriculum not just the core subjects. Children learn the recorder, the ocarina and the ukulele and love to put on a performance either to the school, parents or even a wider audience when they perform in local music shows like Jam on the Marsh or Party in the Park. Singing is highly valued and all children perform in shows in-front of friends and family (often vying for the solo roles) and local residential homes. The school choir sing for visitors, at school open days, in residential homes and even at Canterbury Cathedral. Children are also keen to show their talents in dance, drama, sport and art where they regularly enter local art competitions. Many of the children successfully enter poetry and writing competitions, with large numbers recently reading their winning poems in church at the Romney Festival of Lights this year.
Visitors to St Nicholas Church of England Primary Academy often comment on the behaviour of the children. “The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development, welfare and behaviour is outstanding” OFSTED 2019. They are caring and supportive of each other. Our pupils have a voice and know they are not too young to make a difference. Children value school council and the worship leaders and the work these children do promotes the well-being of all children and develops the children as caring, pro-active global citizens.
The impact can be seen in the way our pupils make the transition to their next school. Feedback from secondary schools that St Nicholas children attend, is overwhelmingly positive about their behaviour and attitudes to learning. Many of our ex-pupils cannot wait to do work experience with us when they reach Yr 11 and tell us how well the school prepared them for their further education and their life.
Teachers will publish detailed termly overviews and homework tasks on the class pages in the first week of every term. These outline what the children will be taught, which topics they will cover and allow parents to see the progression year on year.