From the moment pupils arrive at St. Gabriel’s they experience a rich and stimulating education offering both breadth and depth where the aim is to inspire, intrigue and challenge pupils’ thinking. Every child is immersed in knowledge-rich experiences with opportunities to work with experts to enquire and create knowledge. The golden thread throughout our school experience is to equip pupils with the skills to become life-long independent learners. Your child will develop a deep understanding of the wider world, their own community and how they will be able to make a positive difference.
At the heart of our curriculum lie three core values: pursuit of academic excellence; the explicit development of metacognition; and crucially, character education.
Academic excellence is fundamental within our curriculum model. The children’s acquisition of a deep body of knowledge within subject disciplines, will enable them to express their learning to the highest standard. When children achieve excellence, this gives them the confidence to challenge themselves further. Through this process of experiencing success, they will develop character, for example grit, determination, self-efficacy and courage.
Character Education Whilst academic success remains a core priority, developing character is also an essential element of our curriculum model. Our curriculum gives children opportunities to make a positive impact on society. We want them to grasp the possibilities and opportunities of life beyond the classroom, to enable them to thrive at each and every challenge they face in life and make a difference to themselves and those around them.
Metacognition Our curriculum not only focuses on achieving character whilst pursuing academic excellence, but also emphasises deep learning through developing the skills of metacognition. We use an enquiry approach to drive our learning experiences, making the reflective learning process explicit. In addition to this, tools for thinking will be taught to support children’s higher-order thinking, synthesis of knowledge and creating of new thinking. However, metacognition can only be developed within a knowledge-rich curriculum.
Science stimulates and excites children’s natural curiosity about living things, materials and the physical world around them. Through scientific activities, we develop the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding to help them to make sense of familiar events, everyday things and their personal health. Our children are encouraged to investigate questions using a variety of approaches, such as research, exploration, observation, prediction, critical thinking, decision making and discussion. They also learn how to evaluate evidence, explain things and communicate their ideas and findings in a variety of ways.
As a Devon school we follow the Devon Agreed Syllabus.
Children are taught about a range of faiths and denominations through a range of experiences. Children are provided with opportunities to share their own beliefs in school.
Under the provisions of the Education Reform Act 1988 all parents have a right to withdraw their child from the School’s daily ‘Collective Act of Worship’ or from religious education.
Computing assumes an important role as a key curriculum subject and as an essential tool to retrieve and present information across all curriculum areas. All children have access to a variety of technology as an integral part of their studies. Interactive whiteboards support learning across the full curriculum and are used in every classroom. Children are always supervised when using ICT. The school has rigorous safeguarding procedures in place for use of the internet. Details of internet safety are incorporated into our e-safety policy and available to view in the school office or on our website.
All children study music as part of the National Curriculum. They have opportunities for participation in and appreciation of a wide range of music and have the opportunity to sing and play a wide range of instruments. They create music from an early age and learn elements of reading music. At KS2 Children have the opportunity to learn a range of other instruments. Peripatetic music teachers give lessons in a variety of instruments including piano, clarinet, trumpet, violin, drums and guitar as required. These are additional and optional activities for which parents have to meet the costs of tutoring and, possibly, purchase and hire of instruments. Details are sent out each year or may be obtained from the office.
Physical Education, Outdoor Pursuits and Extra Curricular Sport
Children are taught a range of sporting activities by their class teacher or a sports coach both during and beyond the school day. In addition to the statutory PE curriculum, (striking and fielding, gymnastics, dance, athletics, net and ball games and swimming) pupils are offered additional opportunities through clubs and after-school activities such as football, netball, and cricket and through local leagues and festivals. Children will have the opportunity to swim with us during the summer term in KS2. In addition to PE lessons that develop teamwork, children experience activities such as orienteering and problem-solving in an outdoor setting.
Children in Years 4/5/6 have further opportunities during residential programmes.
Personal, Social and Health Education
The school also uses SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) materials.
Health education is a cross-curricular aspect and overlaps with social education. Our children’s health is given a high priority in school. As well as considering diet and exercise, our health education programme includes a programme of sex education, which has been drawn up in accordance with the Local Authority’s guidelines and has been approved by the school governors. The school uses a range of personalised programmes to support individual children with social and emotional development and has a dedicated Nurture room and a qualified counsellor.
The school grounds include a Forest Schools area where Forest School activities are taught by specifically trained staff. This provides an opportunity to learn outside in a range of curriculum areas and alongside others.
Visitors and Visits
We welcome a range of visitors into School to support children in their learning. These include writers, artists, scientists and musicians etc. We also encourage the involvement of parents. We invest in as many visits as we can so that children learn from real and exciting experiences.
We carefully monitor and assess our children, keeping records on our planning after each lesson, so that we can plan for future lessons based on what pupils need to know next. We use a special online tracker to record end of term assessments, meeting regularly to discuss progress and ensuring that early intervention is put in place where further support is needed.
Children are assessed on entry using the Development Matters Age Banding and a Foundation Profile is completed at the end of your child’s first year in School. There are Statutory Assessment Tasks/Tests (SATs) at the end of each Key Stage (Year 2 and Year 6) and a Year 1 Phonics assessment, and year 2 phonic retest. These assessments are shared with parents on the end of year school report. Children in other school years take nationally recognised end of term test, the results of which are shared with parents on end of year school reports and parents’ evenings.