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Our curriculum extends beyond the National Curriculum and includes a wide range of enriching experiences and opportunities both within and beyond the school day. This includes an extensive programme of extra-curricular clubs, that support the core curriculum offer, as well as those which develop specialist skills, such as cooking, sport and music, whilst also extending the range of children’s experiences (Cultural Capital). A primary focus of our curriculum is to raise aspirations, engender a sense of personal pride in achievement, and provide a purpose and relevance for learning.
St. Bernadette’s takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate enjoyment in their education. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth and those who can struggle are encouraged and given targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs.
In addition to our exciting and stimulating units of work, we also provide further opportunities to enhance children’s learning wherever possible. These include:
Whole School Theme Days/Weeks
Throughout the year, themed days/weeks are woven into the curriculum to extend the breadth and balance of opportunities we offer our pupils. These include, Anti-bullying Week and Internet Safety Day, Art and DT Weeks, World Book Day, Sport & Health Week, Career Networking, RE WOW Days and others.
We are an Eco School and value the benefits of outdoor learning. Children are stimulated by the outdoors where they can undertake a range of practical activities to support and enhance learning across the curriculum. Our EYFS pupils also benefit from tending their own growing beds to produce fruit and vegetables to use in cooking activities.
Further up the school, opportunities are built into the curriculum for children to continue learning beyond the classroom including undertaking fieldwork and enquiry based-work in the local area.
Educational Visits and Residentials
School trips and visits are an integral part of the education of children at St. Bernadette’s. We value the opportunities such visits offer our pupils and the commitment of staff and adults undertaking them. Trips include class visits aimed at bringing learning alive and providing first-hand experience and bringing learning alive; extra-curricular outings such as activities with the school choir or sporting events; and attending or taking part in performances or competitions.
Children in Year 6 take part in a residential visit. This is planned to provide new and exciting experiences of orienteering, climbing, abseiling, raft building, archery and lots more.
Visitors into School
Visitors have a valuable role to play and can contribute to many aspects of the life and work of the school. They deliver talks, workshops and full day activities across a wide range of subjects, giving pupils access to outside experiences and expertise. Visitors provide a link with the wider community – children have the opportunity to work alongside musicians, authors, health professions and others.
As a school we offer pupils opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities after and before school. At any time, a wide range of clubs is on offer – our programmes of clubs and activities available is revised half-termly depending on the time of year and other commitments children may have.
Mr. Scott Davies, who is already known to many pupils across the school, provides high quality instruction during PE lessons; he also runs sporting activities at lunchtimes; and promotes increased pupil participation in PE & Sport beyond the school day.
This year all the children in KS2 will benefit from at least half a term of swimming lessons.
Music and Drama
St. Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School provides opportunities for children to take part in a wide range of musical activities and performances where they are encouraged to sing, compose and work creatively with sound. Through active listening, pupils’ awareness, understanding and appreciation of a wide variety of music are developed. A range of opportunities are provided within and beyond the curriculum for children to showcase their musical skills and talents, for example KS1 children performed at Wigan’s Song Share, where schools from across the authority came together. We are always very proud of our children in the Joint Parishes Christmas Choir Service. Visits from theatre groups also further enriches pupils’ cultural development.
As a school we appreciate and understand the importance of drama within our curriculum. Research reveals that drama had a positive impact on children’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. In addition to our curriculum offer, Year 6 always impress us with their end of year production whilst KS1 children melt hearts in their annual Nativity performances.
Volunteering is an activity that everyone can get involved in and benefit from. At St. Bernadette’s we promote and encourage pupils’ active citizenship and positive contribution to the school and wider community. We offer lots of opportunities for pupils to take on new responsibilities and be involved in successfully supporting the life and work of the school.
Pupils tell us that they enjoy the opportunity to volunteer to help make their school an even better place to be and rising to the challenge that additional responsibility brings.
Class Worship and Assemblies
As a Catholic school, prayer and liturgy are at the core of school life. Our aim is that through the experience of prayer and liturgy, our school community should “become reflective, experience the presence of God and should develop a mature spiritual life.” Christ at the Centre Rev Marcus Stock, 2005.
At St Bernadette’s, Collective Worship is how we, as a community of faith, come together to give glory, honour, praise and thanks to God. It is through acts of shared worship, prayer and liturgy, that the Catholic identity of our school is shaped and sustained.
The school gathers together at least three times each week for Collective Worship linked to the liturgical season, Sunday’s Gospel, or other religions, PSHE (Personal Social and Health Education) or social justice themes.
During the weekly Praise Assembly, children who have ‘lived’ our school values are acknowledged and celebrated with certificates.
Twice a year each class prepares an assembly for the whole school. The children are actively involved in the selection of readings and the writing of prayers. They also use drama, art and music to engage and communicate their message. Parents, carers and governors are invited to attend class assemblies.
Mass and Liturgies
Throughout the year Father Joseph comes into school to celebrate Masses and work with the staff in the preparation of these and once a term KS2 child participate in Mass at St Bernadette’s Church.
Home learning can make an important contribution to a child’s progress at school. As well as reinforcing learning in the classroom, learning at home helps children to develop the skills and attitudes they will need for successful independent lifelong learning.
Home learning is set in-line with the school’s policy, with tasks planned to appropriately challenge all pupils. Weekly activities focus on literacy and numeracy to reinforce and consolidate skills taught. Our Learning Log is set each half term and provides an opportunity for children to think creatively to produce their own form of response for example a model or piece of art work, a project, an IT presentation or a recount following a family visit.