Curriculum

At St. Joseph's, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum that is creative, fun and full of interesting and exciting learning experiences for all our pupils.

We ensure that our curriculum is enriched with visitors, visits, events and activities to inspire in each child a joy for learning, and fulfils the requirements of the National Curriculum. Underpinning our entire curriculum is our Catholic faith, which is the centre of our school life.

The keystones of our school curriculum are the values that we hold dear at our school. The curriculum is the means by which the school achieves its objective of educating children in the knowledge, skills and understanding that they need in order to lead fulfilling lives.

The main principles are to develop a positive attitude to learning, responsibility, tolerance and self-respect through areas of the curriculum. We emphasise the need for children to develop a sense of Citizenship; to be responsible for their actions and have awareness of their place within our community.

We aim to teach children how to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and co-operate with others while developing knowledge and skills, so that they achieve their true God-given potential.

At St Joseph's, we believe that making the curriculum fun and enriched with different experiences is essential to a child's learning. With Christ at the centre of our curriculum, the National Curriculum is taught as part of a termly topic. Recent topics have included the Arctic and Antarctic (Jesus as Water/Light of Life) and World War One (Peace and Reconciliation). We also look at seasonal aspects of our faith such as Lent and Advent.

We place a high value on the importance of parents and carers input into their child's learning and run regular workshops for Maths, Phonics and English. We also hold regular 'Inspire' workshops, which give the children an opportunity to take part in art and craft or sports activities with their parents or carers in school. These are very popular with our families and we always have a high turnout.

At St. Joseph's we have a selection of fantastic opportunities in IT for our children. We have thirty laptops available to each Key Stage and these are used in a variety of lessons. The children also make use of Kindles and iPads and we have various other equipment available such as movie-making equipment, Bee-bots, visualizers and USB microscopes. Every classroom and teaching area has an interactive whiteboard.

Children have weekly 'singing for pleasure' sessions with a pianist who comes into school from the Music Service. Across the academic year, every child from Year 1 to 6 has the opportunity to take part in a Choral outreach project from St. Chad's Cathedral. Some children have taken part in the Young Voices concert at the NIA and the 'Joy of the Lord' concert at Symphony Hall.

We offer a wide variety of sports experiences for the children, including Multiskills, dance, gymnastics, netball, football, Karate and Zumba. Children can take part in sessions at lunchtime and also after school. Some classes also take part in a 'Dance Track' project with the Birmingham Royal Ballet as part of their PE sessions, which has led to children being selected to join the Ballet school. We hold regular Inter-house competitions.

Throughout the year, we offer many enriching experiences for the children to tie in with their topic work. These range from visitors and theatre groups in school, to trips to various relevant places. Years 1 and 2 have visited the Sea Life Centre to see the penguins, and we have had visits from a World War One Soldier and Nurse to talk about life in the trenches. We strive to offer valuable experiences for the children, in order for them to enjoy and enhance their learning.

As part of this we also have themed days such as:

  • Dance Days
  • Art Days
  • Science Days
  • Whole School Retreat Days
  • Regular International Weeks
  • Super-learning Days
  • Spanish/Chinese/Italian/Polish Days

On these days, school meals are also tailored to fit in with the theme where possible.

Reading and Phonics

We use a wide range of books for Guided Reading throughout the school including Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, Treetops and many others. Children have a 'Reading for Pleasure' session at the end of every day, where their teacher reads a book to them over a number of days.

We provide daily speaking and listening activities that are well matched to children's developing abilities and interests, drawing upon observations and assessments to plan for progression.

In EYFS and Key Stage 1 we follow the Letters and Sounds Phonics Scheme. This includes daily phonic teaching sessions so that children become familiar with the sounds that letters make and can use these to blend and segment to improve their reading skills. Children are taught for this session in ability groups, to ensure that they have focused and specific lessons.

Further information can be read in the DfE document below:

Foundation Stage

When a child starts at St. Joseph's they usually join our Reception Class. In the Foundation Stage, we offer a wide variety of experiences and opportunities for pupils. Our pupils' personal, social and emotional development is key and our dedicated EYFS team ensure that all pupils' needs are catered for. Child-initiated learning is a fundamental part of our EYFS practice.

Your child will be learning skills, gaining new knowledge and demonstrating understanding through seven areas of learning and development.

The three prime areas are:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

Your child will also develop skills in four specific areas. These are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design.

You can find out more about the Foundation Stage by visiting the link below:

Key Stage 1

At Key Stage 1 a high emphasis is placed on the development of reading and Phonics, which are both essential to future success in school. We follow the Letters and Sounds programme to deliver our phonics and pupils achieve well by the end of Key Stage 1. Last year, our children scored highly in the Phonics test, beating Birmingham national statistics.

Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2 we focus on developing our pupils' skills across the curriculum and in English, Maths and RE in particular. Our fundamental aim is to ensure that all of our pupils are given the skills to learn effectively throughout their lives. When they leave our school, our pupils are always well prepared for the future.

You can find out more about our curriculum by visiting the individual class pages, where you will find curriculum maps.

You can find out more by visiting the National Curriculum page on the gov.uk website (external link).