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St Pancras Catholic Primary

St Pancras
Catholic Primary School


This section is in five parts:

  • Curriculum primacy, design and organisation
  • The EarlyYears Foundation Stage curriculum
  • The curriculum content followed in each National Curriculum academic year for each subject
  • Phonics and reading schemes used at Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)
  • How parents can find out more about the school’s curriculum

Curriculum primacy, design and organisation

What are the statutory requirements?

The St. Pancras School curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that the school         plans for its pupils.


Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
  • prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life


The statutory National Curriculum forms a core part of the totality of the St. Pancras curriculum.     It is from this that the school’s Milestones derive.


The school is statutorily bound to comply with the new (September 2014) National Curriculum (Years 1 to 6) but, along with English, Mathematics and Science as core subjects, includes Religious Education (which is not a National Curriculum subject) as a central study area in accordance with its faith status. The key foundation subjects are Physical Education, Music, Art and Design, Geography, History, Computing and French. Aspects of Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE), Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education (SMSC) are embedded into teaching and learning programmes across the curriculum.


Programmes of study are organised into key stages: Key Stage 1 is Years 1 and 2; Key Stage 2 is Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.


All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach Religious Education to pupils at both key stages.


Maintained schools in England are legally required to follow the statutory National Curriculum which sets out in programmes of study, on the basis of key stages, subject content for those subjects that should be taught to all pupils. All schools must publish their school curriculum by subject and academic year online.


All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.


What does the Bishop require and how should the curriculum reflect the school’s faith status?


(See Policy Statement on Religious Education, Relationships, Prayer and Collective Worship)


In the faith life of the Catholic school, Religious Education plays a central part. At the heart of Catholic education lies the Christian vision of the human person. This vision is expressed and explored in Religious Education. Therefore Religious Education is never simply one subject among many but the foundation of the entire educational process. The beliefs and values studied in Catholic Religious Education inspire and draw together every aspect of the life of a Catholic school. Pupils have the right to receive an overall education which will enable them, in the light of the faith of the Church, to engage with the deepest questions of life and find reasons for the hope which is within them. Religious Education is, then, the core subject in a Catholic school.


Section 48 legislation enables the Catholic school to teach a Catholic Religious Education programme, together with Catholic Sex and Relationships content.


“The curriculum as a whole, and every part of it, is religious, since everything ultimately relates to God. All aspects of the curriculum and its delivery must reflect the fact that Christ is the foundation of the educational enterprise in a Catholic school. The religious character of the curriculum is ensured in the respect shown by teachers and students for the truths appropriate to each curriculum area. It is not part of the Catholic vision of education to introduce religious truths into curriculum areas where they do not naturally or appropriately belong. As well as the subjects of the curriculum, students learn from the values and principles which underpin it, from other activities offered by the school and from the quality of relationships which they experience. The overall purpose of the school is ‘to prepare young people for their life as Christians in the community’ and to enable them ‘to serve as witnesses to moral and spiritual values in the wider world.’” 


What do we mean by the primacy of learning?

Learning comes first. We set out what it is that we want our children to know, understand and be able to do; then we design a curriculum to promote that learning.


This might appear to go without saying. However, the logic has not always been manifest in practice, even during the decades since the introduction of the National Curriculum in 1988.

What are our curriculum aims?

To ensure that Religious Education is at the curriculum’s core


So that Religious Education is truly at the heart of the curriculum

To prioritise the incremental building blocks of literacy and numeracy competence

So that pupils’ local needs are met in a context in which a majority have restricted academic support at home

To reflect statutory requirements


So that the curriculum is wholly compliant

To promote singing and Physical Education and sports across the school

So that pupils with restricted academic support and aspiration at home have the opportunity to realise potential in other fields

To place a particular value on the acquisition of knowledge

So that the curriculum reflects the needs of boys as well as girls and builds confidence in all pupils

To make drama a specialism

So that the curriculum may be enhanced for performance, promoting high standards of oracy, building confidence for all pupils

To ensure that teaching and learning is enhanced at every turn by positive messages which promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and develop pupils' awareness of - and capacity to contribute to - fundamental British values


So that pupils are prepared to make a positive contribution to British society


How is our curriculum distinctive, what priorities does it have and how does it reflect local needs and aspirations?


Distinctiveness starts with the curriculum aims (set out above) and the emphases they bring. This is a curriculum that has religious faith, theology and philosophy at its heart, knows the importance of a thorough grounding in basic literacy and numeracy, values knowledge – without which a problem-solving curriculum has no reference base – and prioritises drama, music and physical development.


The school’s faith status adds to the distinctive mix by placing at the curriculum’s heart Bishops’ Conference R. E.


However, distinctiveness is apparent in the detail too. The Milestones – the building blocks of the curriculum – are detailed, specific, unambiguous and incremental. In English, Mathematics, R. E., Science, French and the other subjects key learning is expressed as essential detail to a greater extent than in most other primary curricular.


Distinctiveness is evident in content too, especially where the National Curriculum offers options. This is particularly the case in Geography and History.


The enriched and extended curriculum adds another dimension to the curriculum’s distinctiveness, whether through the faith-based visits programme or through visits organised to support learning or as rewards.



St. Mary Magdalen Parish Church, Ipswich


The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Norwich


The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham


The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham


The Carmelite Monastery at Quidenham /

The Orthodox Community at Tiptree (other faiths)


Music, drama and sports are priorities. These are spheres in which pupils in highly advantaged socio-economic circumstances typically have great opportunities. Our aim is to do all that we can to level the playing field, whether through extra-curricular provision or during the school day. So, we sing more – and at a higher standard – than most comparable schools. We participate in a wide range of sports –winning many of them – than most maintained primaries. And we offer drama – ambitious and inclusive – in lessons and in assemblies and for public performance.


The intention is for Art to attain the same status as music, drama and sports so that St. Pancras pupils have enhanced opportunities in this creative field too.


How is the curriculum organised on timetables?

It is a requirement for Religious Education to have priority timetable allocation, especially at Key Stage 2. For junior pupils there should be a minimum of two full lessons per week, one of which must be timetabled for a morning slot. This underlines R. E. as a core subject.

English and Mathematics (inclusive of reading, writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling, handwriting and x tables) are expected to dominate the primary curriculum in all year groups, particularly the morning sessions. This reflects their core importance for St. Pancras pupils. 

Two other subjects benefit from priority timetable allocation because they are taught by specialists whose timetables have to be carefully put together. These are French and Physical Education. Pupils at Key Stage 2 have one French lesson per week and all pupils in the school have two P. E. lessons per week.

Teachers are given a range of options in respect of allocating timetable space for Science, Music, Geography, History, Art / Design Technology and Information Technology. These include weekly lessons, blocked days (in which subjects are taught intensely for periods and are then absent from the timetable for a while) or half termly / termly allocations (where, for example, Geography may be taught in one term but is replaced by History the following term). There is an expectation that Science, as a core subject, will have more time allocated to it than the foundation subjects.

Other aspects of the curriculum are built into the teaching and learning content of core and foundation subjects – or into the school’s highly developed daily assembly programme. These include Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE), Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education (SMSC).