The Loreto Curriculum
Loreto High School Curriculum Intent
The design of the Loreto curriculum, whilst confirming to statutory requirements, is centred on the development of the whole person as a member of the human community. The curriculum drives aspirations, it takes students to places they did not know they could reach and it is central to our desire to enable our students to meet with confidence the challenges of a changing world.
The curriculum is dynamic, flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the individual and of society. It is based on a realistic grasp of the needs of students who live in the 21st century. Programmes and courses are inclusive and respond to the needs of young people across the widest possible ability range that local circumstances and resources allow. Schemes of work are aspirational: they are designed with the highest expectations of personal and academic achievement in mind. The curriculum takes account of the whole person. Its aim is the fullest possible development of every dimension of the person. Particular attention is paid to the ethical dimension of the curriculum. Where possible teachers choose curriculum themes that engage students in intellectual analysis of, for example, justice and peace issues and environmental challenges which threaten the survival of the planet. Time is set aside for students to ‘engage in practical action and be agents of social change in their local communities and beyond.’ Loreto Education in England, Vision Values and Philosophy
As a nurturing and ambitious community our curriculum is designed to challenge students to achieve the very highest standards in academic subjects, physical education and the arts, with carefully curated learning experiences throughout. We are a learning community. As a Loreto school our curriculum is based upon the Ignatian paradigm of experience, reflection and action. Loreto Educators are skilled practitioners who believe it is important to meet students where they are on their learning journey and who are trained to accompany them in their learning.
Our curriculum design seeks to provide powerful knowledge for all, which we believe is a tool for social justice. We recognise how important it is for our children to acquire the knowledge that may take them beyond their own lived experiences and to become their best selves. Equipped with such knowledge our pupils can begin to predict, explain and enable alternatives to be envisaged, thinking the unthinkable and the not yet thought! Our curriculum is designed with long term learning in mind, skilfully sequenced by subject specialists to allow pupils to know more and remember more; taking what they have learned into adulthood and equipping them to become global citizens. Our curriculum journeys are sequenced to include regular opportunities to develop Skills for Life and prepare them for the world of work.
We believe it is axiomatic that powerful knowledge can only be acquired by recognising disciplinary subject boundaries and specialisation of knowledge. We recognise and encourage each discipline to pursue its own tradition of enquiry, with its own distinctive pursuit of the truth.
Reflecting on how each subject is taught is key to this process and we aim for skilfully sequenced, systematic teaching and assessment for all students in all year groups. Through this design we aim to eliminate any ad hoc approaches that can lead to loss of the sense of systematicity and to significant gaps in knowledge. The design process is a collaborative affair with subject specialists working together to provide the richest narrative for our students; considering the balance between breadth and depth, idea sequencing, factual and conceptual knowledge and choice of texts, within and across subject areas. This in turn creates the opportunities amongst our students for argument, comparison, for weighing up evidence and for comparing and contrasting whilst nurturing a joyful love of learning. We place great emphasis on the continuous development of our teachers and the sharing of disciplinary and pedagogical knowledge and expertise.
We recognise the importance of taking time to continually evaluate and review curriculum design and learn from evolving best practice via our Quality Review process and programme of continuous professional development. We have forged strong links with our partner primary schools and our Sixth Form College because we believe it is important to have a full appreciation of what the children have learnt before and what they will go on to study.
We recognise that the design of the school curriculum is not simply that which is taught. Our curriculum is extended to encompass a wide extra-curricular offer and carefully planned opportunities and experiences which are designed to build cultural capital. ‘Cultural Capital is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement’ National Curriculum
A Knowledge-Rich Curriculum
Each curriculum area has devoted time to establish the core concepts which flow throughout the study of their subject. Our team of subject specialists have skilfully identified and distilled the core concepts within their curriculum area which, when mastered, enable a firm foundation for lifelong understanding and enjoyment of a subject. These core concepts have been deliberately and coherently sequenced, taking into account key research in the field of cognitive science to enable pupils to regularly revisit core information, therefore committing this to long-term memory so that they can later build on it, forming even wider and deeper schema and enabling lifelong success in the subject. Our approaches to curriculum planning and delivery build in space for retrieval practice, formative, low-stakes testing, and repeated practice for automaticity and fluency.
Each child receives a booklet of Knowledge Organisers each half term which are designed to provide them with the essential core knowledge they need to have in each subject they study. Once students have mastered this core knowledge they will be able to access the richer content and discussions they have in the classroom. Homework retrieval quizzes and mini ‘Know it’ tests are set based on the Knowledge Organisers and successful revision and retrieval practice will prepare the students well for their End of Topic and Big Tests.
Assessment is designed with our curriculum principles in mind with regular formative, low-stakes ‘know it’ retrieval practice, end of topic ‘Grasp it’ tests and summative ‘Big Tests’. ‘Big Tests’ take place twice a year and they are designed to draw on a range of learning from the entirety of the course studied with a particular focus on the identified Core Concepts within the subject area. ‘Big Test’ assess students’ mastery of knowledge, understanding and application in a formal assessment environment. The ‘Loreto Test’ includes other areas which we feel are important for our students such as poetry, literacy, local culture, Loreto History & heritage, careers information, wellbeing information, politics and key word spellings.
Classrooms at Loreto are learning environments which support accessibility to the curriculum. All teachers create data rich seating plans to promote physical accessibility and ensure that students can access the learning in a range of formats (audio, visual and digital). Laptops are provided for learners who require them and assistive technology is available in the form of Read Write Software. Students are encouraged to learn through use of dual coded information (pictures and words). Key vocabulary is visible on classroom walls, lesson PowerPoints and knowledge organisers to support fluency and automaticity of learning. Students are encouraged to access subject reading through the written word and ‘Bookshare’ – audio books. Additional resources are available to students who require them, for example
• Coloured markers, pens and highlighters
• Coloured paper and acetate filters
• Whiteboards and pens
• Triangular pencils and grips
• Line Trackers
All students are expected to attend school in line with Loreto High School attendance policy. Where a student is absent from school due to illness, access to learning is provided via the learning portal. Students are directed to access lessons which are scheduled in line with the academic calendar and schemes of work for each year group. Students accessing remote learning are encouraged to email completed work to their subject teachers for marking and feedback. If required, Loreto will loan laptops to students to ensure they are able to access learning through the portal, removing barriers to curricular dysfluency.
For further information about our Curriculum please contact Mrs T Wilkinson (Deputy Headteacher Teaching, Curriculum & Standards) or the relevant Department Head
Email Telephone: 0161 881 9448