Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact
Curriculum Intent at St Martin’s
To inspire and empower all our students to Be The Best You Can Be.
Our whole school curriculum is designed to ensure our students make excellent progress and are proud to come to St Martin’s. Our knowledge rich curriculum is designed to ensure students enjoy a wide range of subjects and experiences. We provide an accessible, enjoyable and rich educational experience that is academically ambitious for all students to ensure academic success and develops life-long skills.
“THRIVE” symbolises the personal skills and attributes we develop in our students throughout their time at St Martin’s so that they truly can Be The Best They Can Be. THRIVE is delivered in all areas of the curriculum so that our students are acutely aware of the need for not only outstanding personal achievement, but core skills that will enable them to learn for the future, choose their own path and make a positive difference in the world.
Students leave us as well equipped responsible, extremely well-rounded young people who are able to choose their own future and are ready to make a positive difference in the world. The individual development of our students is woven into every aspect of our curriculum.
Our curriculum underpins the 3 strands of the school vision and ethos: Traditional Values, Learning for the Future and Outstanding Personal Achievement. Curriculum intentions for each of these strands are detailed below:
Learning for the Future
Outstanding Personal Achievement
Our curriculum is planned and sequenced so that each year is designed to build to the next so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before. It remains as broad as possible for as long as possible. Curriculum planning focuses core and subject content knowledge and skills to aid our students’ knowledge recall, build their subject fluency and deepen their understanding. The curriculum is expertly planned across all subjects as well as wider curriculum aspects such as PSHE and Fundamental British Values. This ensures we clearly define what children learn across each year and throughout their time at St Martin’s in order to achieve the desired end point for the curriculum. Our knowledge rich curriculum supports our students to access their next steps in education at every level as we believe the longer one continues in education and/or training the greater the reward and future success.
Our ambitious curriculum is broad and balanced and matches the demands of the National Curriculum at each stage so that our students can meet and exceed age related national expectations and progress well to their next phase of education. Much of what we do is linked closely to cultural capital. It really matters that students learn and enjoy things they will not necessarily experience at home or with their peers. We also pride ourselves on producing students who understand British values, respect diversity, equality, democracy and the rule of law.
Across our curriculum we clearly map our expectation of the rich knowledge, skills and understanding that are required in each subject. Teachers effectively adapt schemes of learning to meet the needs of students in their classes.
Across the wide range of subjects offered we robustly plan our progressive delivery to best secure our students’ learning and academic progress. We value the importance of a strong academic base of core subjects and the EBacc pathway in KS4. We review and bespoke our curriculum model balancing breadth and depth with context each year. Creative subjects are an important part of the curriculum for all years which is reflected in our option process where all our students have full access to all subjects in KS4 and KS5. This approach ensures flexibility whilst taking into consideration any local or regional influences alongside parent and student choice and needs within our offer and design.
The school’s strong commitment to inclusion and pastoral support means we have a range of provision to support all students’ needs to ensure they access the curriculum and all the school has to offer. Students who have Special Educational Needs who require additional help and support have personalised plans to ensure they can fully access their learning. St Martin’s provides these students with targeted support using a variety of resources within school whilst working closely with external third parties and agencies. We are committed to ensuring all our students have full access to everything on offer at St Martin’s including an extensive extracurricular provision. There are a plethora of trips and visits which enables our students to broaden their horizons beyond the classroom, developing their social skills and cultural awareness.
St Martin’s is able to access pupil premium funding to ensure that no child is deprived of theses life enriching experiences. Alongside this, the school’s extensive extracurricular programme further enhances every student’s own personal school journey with sports clubs and fixtures, drama clubs, shows, music clubs and concerts to name a few. Many learners follow the EBacc pathway providing a broad and balanced curriculum and we also tailor our curriculum accordingly with some students able to take a different pathway by completing the Prince’s Trust programme which has a real focus on developing essential life skills and preparing them better for the social and working world. As a school we place huge importance on social and emotional aspects of learning and understand that this can be a barrier to learning that needs rapid interventions. Students benefit from a range of support mechanisms such as the Risk Avert Programme, anxiety groups, commissioned counselling and parenting courses.
Curriculum Implementation at St Martin's
A shared Language for Learning underpins effective teaching and learning at St Martin's School. The aim is to enhance effective teaching and support students' learning and independent study to ensure our students are the best they can be. We believe that shared Learning intentions, Retrieval Practice to recap and recall, opportunities for Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time (DIRT) and Questioning for Understanding are the key elements to highly effective teaching and learning.
Learning Intentions: The curriculum for each subject is carefully planned and sequenced into learning journeys towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment. These curriculum journeys are shared with both students and parents at the beginning of each academic year and lesson intentions are shared as part of each lesson delivered. Progress towards meeting these intentions will be assessed periodically through the lesson and during a plenary at the end as part of our questioning for understanding pedagogy.
Retrieval Practice: Over the course of study, teaching is designed to help students to remember long term the content they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger ideas. For example, teachers will start the lesson with an opportunity to go back over prior learning to ensure key information can be recalled and skills can be remembered.
Effective Assessment: Teachers and leaders use assessment well. Teachers use assessment to check students' understanding to inform teaching, and to help students embed key concepts, use knowledge fluently and develop their understanding.
At St Martin's this is achieved through a feedback loop, which checks for and affirms student learning of what has been taught, in two main ways:
1. Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time (DIRT)
Teachers provide regular, timely feedback both during lessons and in written feedback. This focuses on what has been done well, addresses misconceptions and provides opportunities to stretch and deepen knowledge and understanding. Time is built into lessons through DIRT activities to allow students to reflect on their performance in homework and assessment tasks and identify the next steps in their learning journey.
2. Questioning for Understanding
Teachers present subject matter clearly, promoting appropriate discussion about the subject matter being taught. Teachers use a variety of questioning techniques to check students' understanding, identify misconceptions accurately and measure and deepen the understanding of their students. Examples of this are no hands up rule, think, pair, share and asking students to improve upon the answers of their classmates.
Teachers' subject knowledge: Our teachers have expert knowledge of the subjects that they teach. Leaders provide effective support, including for those teaching outside their main area of expertise.
Personal development in curriculum implementation: Teachers will focus on the personal skills and attributes identified in the different elements of THRIVE in their lessons. They will explicitly share with students the core skill needed to be successful in a given task or piece of work.
Our PSHE programme is delivered by a specialist team teaching in a dedicated lesson each week. A range of social and health topics are taught as well as tasks that develop the core skills that will enable our students to learn for the future, choose their own path and make a positive difference in the world.
British Values are taught throughout the curriculum to reflect the diversity of the St Martin's School community. Extended opportunities such as assemblies, school trips and specialist workshops support our students in their understanding of their role in multicultural Great Britain.
Curriculum Impact at St Martin's
Students at St Martin’s School acquire the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life through excellent teaching by specialist teachers in the vast majority of subjects. A vast array of trips both at home and abroad and an extensive extra-curricular programme extend and enrich learning beyond the classroom. Competition is encouraged through both the house system and a programme of fixtures both locally and nationally. A lower and upper school production run each year, and our musical concerts involve students beyond those taking academic qualifications. As a result of our high expectations and the range of opportunities we offer, our students achieve high standards in a wide range of areas including sports and the arts. Student leadership groups for all areas of school life further develop the skills and qualities they need to be fully active members of the school community and beyond.
Our students make progress in that they know more, remember more and are able to do more and learn what is intended from the curriculum. As a result, they achieve well. This is seen during our extensive programme of lesson observations, subject reviews and learning walks. They produce work of high quality, which is displayed around the school and achieve well in national examinations. The sixth form is consistently within the top 25% of A-level providers.
Students are well prepared for the next stage of their education, employment or training. They have the knowledge and skills they need to gain the qualifications that allow them to go to destinations that meet their needs, interests and aspirations. Progression to university, including Russell Group, and apprenticeships from the sixth form is strong. In year 9, students attend a drop-down careers day to assist them with option choices. All KS4 students benefit from personalised careers guidance from a specialist careers advisor. In the sixth form, trips are offered to specialist high performing universities and guidance given by the sixth form team with applications for the UCAS process and drop down days inform students of options beyond university; modern apprenticeships and entering the world of work.