Our Values and Ethos
The Aims of St Helen’s Catholic Primary School and the Place of the Curriculum
The aims of our school take account of the fact that our school is a catholic school. This is both a title and a mission. The title conveys that our roots are embedded in the teachings of Jesus. The mission conveys that by being a catholic school we are active in Jesus' teaching.
The distinctive nature of a catholic school is shown through five key areas. They are;
- the search for excellence, as an integral part of the spiritual quest;
- the uniqueness of the individual, made in God’s image and loved by Him;
- the education of the whole person, based on the belief that the human and the divine are inseparable
- the education of all, with the particular duty of care for the poor and the disadvantaged;
- moral principles, put into practice within a Christian community
The curriculum consists of all activities planned by this catholic school to promote the intellectual, personal aesthetic, religious, moral, social and physical development of our pupils in order to prepare them for the opportunities and responsibilities of everyday life.
The curriculum is central to the process of education and thus of learning. The curriculum must therefore be a planned programme of learning experiences.
The learning experiences are there to help pupils:
- develop lively, imaginative and enquiring minds, that enable children to ask questions, think through problems and apply themselves to tasks and physical skills
- use language and number effectively
- develop personal moral values, rooted in the gospel values of the catholic faith, whilst having respect for other cultures and religions and ways of life
- appreciate human achievements and aspirations
- begin to develop a concern for the environment and an understanding of the world in which they live.
The curriculum has also to reconcile two seemingly contrary requirements in that it must:
- cater for the uniqueness of the individual, in terms of differences in abilities, aspirations and general development, and
- provide a common educational foundation which will enable young people to contribute positively to society.
The Principles of the Curriculum
Our curriculum is to be so designed that it secures for every pupil an entitlement to:
- the full range of learning encompassed in the National Curriculum and the Religious Education Curriculum Directory published by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
- continuing growth in self-awareness, self-reflection, and a deepening understanding of inner feelings and beliefs.
Delivering the Curriculum
The aims of our curriculum are most likely to be met when the conditions for effective learning are created. Through careful planning and the deployment of available resources we aim to:
- equip children with the tools for learning, giving a high priority to numeracy, literacy, oracy and investigation, taught through a wide and practical range of experiences
- make learning purposeful, challenging and pleasurable
- encourage children to be self-confident, self-disciplined, courteous and co-operative
- develop in each child a positive self image
- provide an emotionally secure environment
- recognise that activity and experience are the precursors of knowledge and skills
- encourage children to ask questions
- give children a sense of success
This is a challenge and could not be achieved unless:
- children can build stable, trusting yet challenging relationships with their teachers
- all staff have opportunities to learn from each other and a range of other sources
- the school aims to use the whole school community as a way of sharing the responsibility of contributing to the children's learning
Children with Additional Needs
To ensure that children with special needs are provided for, the school places particular emphasis on:
- effective initial identification
- provision of resources and their application
- the monitoring of children with SEN
As a Catholic school, St Helen’s exists to provide a Christian community "that is permeated by the gospel spirit of freedom and love" (Second Vatican Council) in which all children may grow and develop in a secure and happy atmosphere and in which all may have equal access to learning opportunities.