Curriculum Rationale

The Catholic Faith remains at the heart of life here at St. John Fisher Catholic Academy.  With God’s guidance and the support of parents and the parish community, we support our children to develop a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ and a deep understanding of the values and the practices of the Catholic Church.

We provide a safe, secure and stimulating environment for all, having the highest aspirations for all and creating a culture of intellectual curiosity.  We strive to nurture each child as an individual fulfilling their potential and talents, emotionally, socially and academically.

The aim of our ambitious curriculum is for the children to have an understanding of their own heritage and backgrounds as well as equipping them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that supports them in readiness for their next stage of education and life in modern Britain. The curriculum is underpinned by the teaching of the Gospel Values, Catholic Social Teaching and our Mission Statement.

We offer a curriculum that is language-rich, knowledge-rich, broad and balanced to build on children’s previous experiences, whatever their starting points. We build in knowledge and skills-driven experiences and opportunities which reflect the local context and guide the children to know their strengths and to take risks/challenge themselves to develop resilience, confidence and independence.  We aspire to motivate the children to gain a love of learning through relevant and inspirational topics and cultural capital.  We intend our curriculum to be empowering – we encourage our children to be critical thinkers, researchers, authors, scientists, historians, artists, geographers etc through the daily curriculum and through carefully chosen extra curricular opportunities.

Curriculum Intent

Basic Principles

  • Learning is a change to long-term memory.
  • Our aims are to ensure that our students experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long-term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge.

Curriculum Intent Model

  1. Curriculum drivers shape our curriculum breadth. They are derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our children, our beliefs about high quality education and our values. They are used to ensure we give our students appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities.
  2. Cultural capital gives our children the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British values.
  3. Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum driverscultural capitalsubject topics and our ambition for children to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.
  4. Our curriculum identifies composite knowledge for each year group that we aim for our children to learn. Within these composites, we plan components that provide children the building blocks to achieve the composite knowledge.
  5. We use a ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ approach to the curriculum, so that children return to the same composites over and over and gradually build understanding of them.
  6. Our knowledge maps help students to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema.
  7. Cognitive science tell us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if students are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long-term memory. Cognitive science also tells us that in order for children to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, which taken time.
  8. Within each Milestone, children gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. The goal is to display sustained mastery at the ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the end of each milestone and for the most able to have a greater depth of understanding at the ‘deep’ stage.
  9. As part of our progression model, we use a different pedagogical style in each of the cognitive domains of basic, advancing and deep. This is based on the research of Sweller, Kirschner and Rosenshine who argue to direct instruction in the early stages of learning and discovery based approaches later. We use direct instruction in the basic domain and problem based discovery in the deep domain. This is called the reversal effect.

For more information about the curriculum your child will follow, please click here.