At St John’s, our curriculum is designed and tailored to equip our children with the skills they need to develop into independent and inquisitive learners.
Through an enquiry and research-based curriculum, we take a student-centred approach to learning, enhancing the students learning experience. We believe research skills and student-centred learning are fundamental to developing students’ self-reliance, independence and ability to identify, investigate and solve problems.
We encourage this through a number of philosophical ‘big questions’ which are linked to six of the core concepts of the bible.
Creation – The Fall – People of God – Incarnation – Gospel – Salvation
The key questions we have linked to each biblical concept are:
People of God
Why are we here?
Where did it all go wrong?
How can we make a change?
How will we get to where we want to go?
Can we lead the way?
At the beginning of each topic, in each year group, the big question is applied to generate discussions around it. Whether this be simply as a question or in the form of a problem to solve or investigate.
As educators, we will facilitate a safe space, which will allow the pupils the opportunity to make mistakes in the lines or enquiry they pursue, and to understand how these mistakes are vital in our learning journey.
Pupil voice will then take a lead in the way the learning progresses, with pupil’s initial discoveries, findings and questions, used to map out how the learning for the rest of the topic should take place.
We believe that this initial research stage enables the children to engage actively and creatively with questions and problems, often in collaboration with other students or with staff. The research tasks enable the exploration and investigation of issues and are open-ended so that different responses and solutions are possible.
To ensure that pupils receive a full and balanced curriculum, we teach our topic subjects in a cross-curricular way through ‘Enrichment Fridays’. We find that by dedicating a full day a week to our topic subjects, we can cover the skills and national curriculum objectives more concisely and efficiently, allowing for creativity to be weaved into these sessions. The ability to spend a whole day on a topic lesson, can allow for time to be spent preparing exciting experiments, memorable drama experiences, and cross curricular links with both art and DT producing exciting outcomes. All of which, bring an excitement and engagement in the lessons, as well as instilling a pure motivation and desire from children from children to learn. Having the freedom to break out of the mould one day a week, and moving away from the core subjects, also allows an aspect of mindfulness. A possibility to use subjects such as music, drama or art, whilst creating the appropriate setting, allows students to reflect and engage on a more spiritual level than what may be possible in a restricted timetable.
Learners develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum, which are built upon every year as they move through the school. As a result, they become inquisitive and motivated learners, who ultimately achieve well. This is reflected in both internal and external monitoring and data, as well as in both pupil voice and parent feedback.
At the heart of research and enquiry is discussion. Through our curriculum, pupils are given the opportunity to discuss, debate and challenge one another, scientific theories and historical findings. Speaking and listening skills are constantly being developed and the children are immersed in a rich level of both subject specific vocabulary and vocabulary of which is needed to in order for them to express themselves appropriately to one another.
Due to the implementation of curriculum, our pupils will leave St John’s with strongly developed generic skills, as well as subject specific skills, such as strong communication, interpersonal, learning, numeric and self-management skills. They will leave us ready for the next step in their academic journey as individuals who work independently and who high quality, transferable research skills.