Learning Overview

Here at St Catherine’s we believe that all children should have equal access to a broad, creative and engaging curriculum. We have developed a creative based approach to the new National Curriculum 2014. There is a strong focus on skills as well as the knowledge based requirements of the New Curriculum. Our curriculum aims to link subjects together purposefully and creatively.  This year we decided to implement the new Cornerstones Curriculum to deliver excellent cross-curricular learning opportunities for children at our school.
The projects begin with an experience or activity to inspire and engage the class.  Children carry out an extended project that culminates with a public exhibition of some description e.g. a display in a local supermarket or presentation at another school.
Children will cover six themes or projects within a year. We think it is important that the children know which subjects they are being taught. To ensure that this does happen (in plans and lessons) we make it clear to the children which subject is being taught within the overall theme. Whenever appropriate some subjects are taught as ‘stand-alone’ sessions for example; maths skills sessions, spelling and grammar and R.E.

Maths and English are taught through the new curriculum 2014 with natural links made to the ‘theme’ or ‘project’ for the half term. We follow the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus for RE and Computing throughout the school.
We use a variety of reading schemes throughout the school to meet the needs of all children. These are grouped according to ability and skill level
Spelling in KS2 is a school programme which is based on the Silcock scheme with elements of Read,Write Inc.and we follow the Letters and Sounds DfE publication for phonics in KS1.

Please click on the links to find out about the curriculum in your year group(s).


What is the Cornerstones Curriculum?

The Cornerstones Curriculum is a creative and thematic approach to learning that is designed to cover the new 2014 Primary National Curriculum and delivered through Imaginative Learning Projects (ILPs) which will provide a rich menu of exciting and motivating learning activities that make creative links between all aspects of our children’s learning.


How It Works


Children will progress through four stages of learning in each project: To find out more about these stages please click on the link through to Cornerstones website:

Cornerstones Learning Philosophy


How will all of the subjects be covered

At St Catherine’s learning is driven by a thematic approach, builds on previous learning, links to real-life contexts and promotes partnerships within the local community. Children’s interest and needs are integral in developing our curriculum and they are given opportunities and encouraged to explore their own ideas further.
Our teaching aims to develop children who are

  1. Eager to learn and achieve
  2. Confident, hardworking and motivated
  3. Happy, co-operative and independent
  4. Responsible, respectful and resilient citizens, equipped for their future

From the first day in EYFS to the day we say goodbye in Year 6, Growth mindset is modelled, taught and encouraged.  We encourage children to develop an understanding of their own learning styles in order to achieve. Learners at St. Catherine’s expect work to be challenging, persevere, know how to access support when needed and are reflective about their own work and that of their peers. Discussion is an essential part of the learning process and embedded within every lesson.

Every aspect of our curriculum is underpinned by the five British values of:

  1. Democracy
  2. The Rule of Law
  3. Individual Liberty
  4. Mutual Respect
  5. Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs


Reading and writing are hugely important and are the keys to unlocking learning across the curriculum.  As such, our aim at St Catherine's is to make 'every lesson a Literacy lesson' by incorporating reading and writing skills across the curriculum.
Quality phonics teaching is delivered daily in KS1 and children are taught as a whole class, meaning that every child has exposure to all phonics phases and the rich phonic knowledge of their teacher and classmates.  Phonics continues to be covered in KS2 as part of the spelling curriculum to enable children to become confident and competent spellers.  Within these lessons children also learn the origination of words with reference to the Latin root when appropriate.
Children across the school have reading sessions daily and all children will read in a teacher-led group at least once a week.  They are taught the skills of reading comprehension and inference and they use their reading to inform their writing.  During their reading sessions, children will also have the opportunity to read simply for pleasure at least once a week.  Children are expected to read at home at least three times per week.
Writing at St Catherine's is developed through exposure to quality texts and is underpinned by the teaching of grammar.  Children use grammatical terminology to discuss their own and others' writing and use this knowledge to edit and improve their writing.  In fact, the skills of editing and improving are taught regularly and are an integral part of the school's teaching of the subject. Children will cover all of the different text types specified in the National Curriculum during their time at St Catherine's.  We also run whole school writing events termly, which use an engaging stimulus event or activity as a basis for a piece of writing.  The children's progress over time can be seen through these activities.



At St Catherine's we want to ensure that every child enjoys maths and comes to the subject with a "can do" attitude. We use the Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach which means that all children use concrete objects, pictures and numbers to help with their understanding. The latest research tells us that this is the most effective system and that by using this approach children are able to deepen and apply their understanding; thus making them more competent and confident mathematicians. After a great deal of research and discussion we have invested in the "Maths No Problem" scheme. This is one of only two schemes that have been recommended by the National Centre for Excellence in Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) and uses some of the best research to inform teachers in the most effective and inclusive ways to teach maths. 
At St Catherine's we truly believe that everyone is a mathematician! 

If you would like to discuss how maths is taught in the school and how you can support your child please do not hesitate to come and speak to Mrs Burt who is the maths leader in the school. 



Six principles underpin our teaching of Science. We believe that the teaching should be relevant to the children’s world, practical and enjoyable, inspiring and inclusive. The teaching always helps the children to use their own knowledge to further their skills, aiming high in all they do.
At St Catherine’s school we believe that all pupils should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. We encourage them to reflect on their learning so that they can use prior knowledge as the platform from which to launch their success. Thus we work hard to make sure that the science they learn is relevant and practical to their world. We help all pupils to succeed so the learning is inclusive, inspiring pupils of all abilities to participate in the activities. By actively working, thinking and understanding their way through practical enjoyable activities that stretch their ideas and concepts the pupils are able to achieve our school motto of aiming high in al that they do.



In addition to whole school singing and class music lessons, children have the opportunity to take part in a variety of musical activities such as learning to play the Ukulele.  All children in Years 2 learn how to play the recorder as part of the curriculum.  There is a variety of specialist music lessons, including violin, piano and guitar. Details of the cost of lessons and free tuition for families receiving income support are available from the school office.


Design and Technology

Design and Technology is taught using the Cornerstones Schemes of work. The subject is addressed through a topic based approach every term. Within the topics, children will have the opportunity to develop a creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks. Apply knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users. Critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products. Understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.



Geographical themes form a major part of the curriculum, and include food, weather, the world, rivers, settlement, and the environment. A study of places is included in a number of the other topics, as are the skills of map reading, investigating geographical features and using geographical tools.



Work in art will sometimes develop a particular skill e.g. colour mixing, or the study of a particular artist. Other work will complement other areas of the curriculum eg their topic or language work. Children will have the opportunity to develop their skills in painting, drawing, printing, collage work, modelling, pottery and needlework.  Much of their work is displayed at the termly exhibitions and on occasions their special commissioned artwork can be purchased for a small fee (which is later deducted from the cost of trips and visits).



Historical themes are a major focus of much of our topic work. The teaching of history aims to develop a sense of chronology and the abilities to enquire, organise, interpret and understand.


Physical Education (PE)

At St Catherine’s we are very fortunate in having a wide variety of indoor and outdoor PE equipment, which includes our excellent on-site swimming facility. This enables us to offer a wide range of sports, from Football and Netball to less traditional sports such as Softball and Dodge ball. In addition to this we also offer Dance and Gymnastics across the whole school. We try to ensure that all children have at least 2hrs a week of physical activity. We have a specialist PE Teacher who delivers our PE curriculum in Years 1-6. Teaching of PE in EYFS is delivered by class teachers. The progression for Physical Education in our school is important. During Key Stage 1 the children learn the fundamentals and skills of many different sports, including balance and movement. As they progress through the school into Key Stage 2, activities become more sport specific, this includes competitive and tactical elements of games.

In addition we encourage all pupils to take part in as many sporting activities as they can through our many additional extra-curricular clubs including netball, football, softball, dance, athletics, cricket, rugby etc, as well as through active lunchtimes and by encouraging pupils to participate in competitions, matches and tournaments against other schools and compete in our own Sports Day held annually.  
Throughout their time at St Catherine’s we uniquely offer all children the exciting opportunity to have swimming lessons on-site. 



At St Catherine's School, the Herts for Learning computing scheme is used to support planning and help us ensure that during their time at school children experience a wide range of computing programmes, resources and skills that will support them throughout their lives. In addition to regular computing lessons, computing skills are used regularly to support learning in other subjects; for example: research skills using the iPads to help support writing. 
In all computing sessions, eSafety is a real focus and children are taught about its importance and how they can ensure that they stay safe whilst using technology. 


Personal Social Health Educational (PSHE)

We aim to give children the time and opportunity to explore important ideas such as ‘what it means to be me’ and ‘community’. PHSE is taught as a whole class. Discussion and the willingness to listen to others and share ideas are key to our teaching of PHSE.  PHSE provides a framework which allows teachers to deal with issues which can affect the class such as relationships and Rights and Responsibilities. It also provides a forum to address individual needs as well.


Religous Education

At St. Catherine’s we follow the Hertfordshire Agreed Syllabus for teaching RE. Across EYFS, KS1 and KS2 children are taught about the 6 main religions practised in the UK: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. The 2 main aims of our teaching are that children should know about the beliefs and practices of these religions and also that they should begin to develop an understanding of themselves. We use a variety of resources including artefacts and visits to places of worship in our teaching of RE.  Each half term, assemblies and classwork help us to understand more about our Christian values. Some children in KS2 are part of our Worship group and they lead us in hymns, songs and drama during assemblies.


Sex and Relationship education

At St Catherine relationship education permeates throughout the school and is included in the PSHE curriculum at age appropriate levels.  Children are taught that people are different from each other and to show respect and tolerance for each other as part of our Christian ethos. During Key Stage 2 discrete SRE lessons take place.  Some of these sessions will involve mixed and some will involve single gender teaching groups. 

Parents are invited into school to look at the content of the lessons delivered to Year 5 and Year 6 and to discuss any issues that might arise.  Parents may withdraw their children from discrete SRE but not when taught as a Science lesson.



Children from Year 3 to Year 6 learn French as their language part of the National Curriculum. Each week Ms Farringdon leads the class through Games and activities that lend themselves naturally to language learning.
Language learning is more than just learning to speak and write in a different language. Learning about festivals and traditions from countries where the language is spoken helps children appreciate other cultures so that they can take a place in our global society.