Curriculum Statement 2021-22

Curriculum Statement 2021-22

“In a democratic society which prizes equality of opportunity, the curriculum should be based first and foremost on the knowledge we consider all young people should have the access to and begin to acquire during their school years.”Mary Myatt


St Aidan’s is a Catholic learning community in which all individuals are provided with the opportunity to flourish as a whole and complete person in a way that is rooted firmly in the values of the Gospel.

By placing Christ at the centre of all that we do and recognising learning as the fundamental focus of all our work we are achieving our mission objective to ensure that each person can ‘celebrate life to the full’. St Aidan’s is a place where all in the community ‘encounter’ a ‘transforming love and truth’ and where all are equal in the eyes of the Lord.

We have the highest of expectations for every individual and our practices and routines demand and nurture a strong sense of moral purpose, personal responsibility, integrity, honesty and respect for others within our pupils.

Our aim, in partnership with respective parents and carers, is to support pupils in their formation: spiritual and social; intellectual and emotional; aesthetic and physical through the provision of a broad, balanced and aspirational curriculum, a rigorous, vibrant curriculum which responds to needs, and at its heart recognises justice, liberty, peace and human freedom, whilst fostering intellectual curiosity and academic achievement.

We truly believe that every individual is capable of excellence and we encourage each individual to work hard, fulfilling their potential to pursue their next steps in life, whether it be their choice of University or a high quality career.

Curriculum Intent

“The perfect, diverse mixture of literature, or the perfect diverse history curriculum” is “almost impossible”. The “most crucial truth” however, is to make sure pupils understand that “what I’m teaching you now is not all there is”. Christine Counsell

  • Every child or young person’s journey into adulthood is a journey of faith: one that recognises that true justice, peace and human freedom require, first and foremost, respect for the dignity of human life.
  • To deepen pupils’ understanding of Gospel values, developing young men who not only achieve academic excellence but also develop spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, so that they are fully prepared for life and make a positive contribution to the world and their local community.
  • To promote fundamental British Values and Citizenship: including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
  • To deliver a broad and balanced education with a strong focus with regards to EBacc and facilitating subjects such as Maths and Science. Mathematical and scientific knowledge empowers pupils to choose among the most competitive and selective vocations such as Medicine, Finance, Engineering, Technology. Teaching the Arts, Humanities and Law develops awareness in pupils of how the world works.
  • To provide a continuous progression model with seamless transition between key phases of education taking pupils on a journey of acquisition: an acquisition of vital knowledge, skills and experiences.
  • All learners, including the most disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND, are provided with the knowledge, skills and cultural capital they require for future learning and employment.
  • Learners have access to a vibrant, broad and balanced curriculum for as long as possible, narrowing the curriculum for subject specialisms only when it is appropriate to do so.
  • Educational enrichment opportunities, including experiences, visits and visitors are central to our curriculum vision.
  • Ensure that the fundamental skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening and numeracy are well established from an early age and academic rigour stretches and challenges as appropriate to each pupil
  • Exposure to the richness of English language so that pupils can access the pleasure of reading, the excitement of writing and to explore new subjects and concepts, unlocking the potential to learn and grow as individuals.
  • Metacognition, debate and critical thinking are planned for and taught across the curriculum.
  • Teaching for mastery is promoted across all subjects and disciplines; “Learning as a change in long term memory”. Sweller

Curriculum Implementation

“It doesn’t matter how great an educational idea or intervention is in principle; what really matters is how it manifests itself in the day-to-day work of people in schools.” Sir Kevan Collins

  • The curriculum is compatible with the key requirements of the National Curriculum and robust collaboration occurs between primary and secondary phases ensuring it is progressive.
  • Staffing and resources are deployed effectively to meet the aims of the curriculum.
  • Individual subject disciplines are explicitly taught ensuring pupils become experts.
  • The curriculum is mapped to demonstrate the component knowledge and techniques essential to retain (residual knowledge). The curriculum is sequenced coherently to support the acquisition of key concepts.
  • Curriculum components are repeated over time, ensuring all pupils practise retrieval, master skills and concepts, develop long term memory and make progress from starting points.
  • Accurate assessment strategies enable an informed and systematic judgement to be made about a pupil’s knowledge, understanding, skills and attitude.
  • Teachers use ongoing assessment to evaluate the learning of all pupils and ensure that next steps are specifically planned to develop deep understanding.
  • Pupils experience regular opportunities for complex application once knowledge and techniques that are required have become fluent.
  • Metacognition plays a pivotal role in the sequence of the curriculum with a specific focus on evaluating, reasoning and deeper thinking. Much of this is linked intrinsically to the school’s Literacy programme which encourages deep thought on contemporary issues.
  • Quality assurance processes are robust and developmental, ensuring professional development enhances teaching and learning and impacts positively on progress and learning.
  • Specialist provision exists for literacy and numeracy at point of need. Carefully considered and time-measured intervention programmes are utilised to ensure pupils quickly develop confidence with literacy and numeracy thus allowing access to the demands and rigours of GCSE.
  • Data is purposeful and used effectively to enhance school and individual provision.
  • A rigorous approach to the teaching of reading develops learners’ confidence and enjoyment; the St Aidan’s Reading Canon ensures all pupils are provided access to the highest quality texts.
  • Regular opportunities to engage with numeracy are built into the school week to develop learners’ confidence and enjoyment of number (Drop Everything & Reason).
  • Teachers provide a language-rich environment; explicit teaching of the word in context is essential in relation to the different tiers of vocabulary.
  • Enrichment (Co-curriculum) ensures that learning connects to purpose, context and real-life application; pupils provided a wealth of varying experience, aligned highly to the CLIMB initiative, to develop independence, leadership and communication skills.
  • Careers Education Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) will be central to curriculum design, enabling all pupils to make informed choices about which subjects to study, and understanding established pathways into education, careers and independence.
  • International links, through ‘connecting classrooms’ project, provide cultural development and understanding.
  • Summit rooms enable pupils to develop communication skills, synoptic knowledge and application in areas that stretch beyond their curriculum.
  • All pupils participate daily in ‘Morning Meeting’ to reinforce and consolidate the broad, deep subject knowledge and participate in community prayer and reflection.

Additional points:

Specialist support for pupils with a Specific Learning Difficulty

  • Pupils who have a specific learning difficulty have access to a wide range of additional support via Mountain Rescue.
  • Details of the arrangements for specialist support are contained in the Special Educational Needs Policy.

The above curriculum information may be slightly different between key phases of education due to changes in curriculum and qualifications offered as a result of government changes. If you would like any further information about any curriculum area, please contact the school.


Knowledge is something that “escapes its origins; it’s there for everybody. It isn’t just the preserve of the people who hold it.” Michael Young

Enjoyment of the curriculum promotes achievement, confidence and good behaviour. With this, pupils will become inquisitive learners who are motivated to excel and who have a thirst for learning. St Aidan’s Catholic Academy considers the greatest impact of the curriculum to be high rates of pupil progress.

Progress in:

  • Pupils’ physical, moral and intellectual God given talents: enabling all pupils to flourish as a whole and complete person, preparing them fully to enter the world as active citizens.
  • Values, motivation, aspirations and the moral imperatives that inform their choices and actions as people.
  • The development of knowledge: progress in knowing more and remembering more. The future requires the acquisition and application of a wide range of knowledge. Only when pupils acquire this knowledge will they be ready to lead and participate as active citizens.
  • The ability to apply knowledge: progress in knowledge being applied in more challenging, relevant and engaging ways.
  • The acquisition of 21st century skills to translate knowledge into actions for success.
  • Pupil understanding of how well they are doing, both in relation to themselves and others.

The importance in ensuring all pupils are provided with the opportunity to flourish as a whole and complete person:

A Catholic School loses its purpose without constant reference to the Gospel Values and the teachings of Christ. At St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, we place Christ at the centre of everything we do and fulfil our call to be sanctuaries of ‘Good News’, integrating the Gospel values of: Faith and Integrity; Dignity and Compassion; Humility and Gentleness; Truth and Justice; Forgiveness and Mercy; Purity and Holiness; Tolerance and Peace into every aspect of our curriculum and work.

In order to achieve our mission objective, we must ensure the young men in our care develop values and morals that inform choices and actions which promote respect for and tolerance of the rights of every human person regardless of faith, contributing positively to the common good of society and its culture, aiding authentic social cohesion.

Working with parents we equip our pupils to lead full, active, vibrant lives where the child not only survives, but thrives and makes tangible contributions by serving others and their community, ensuring the journey to adulthood is a journey of faith.

The importance of developing a focus on knowledge to help improve the rate of progress:

Pupils from a wide range of backgrounds arrive in school with different levels of knowledge acquisition, hence a well-rounded, knowledge-specific curriculum is required to overcome inequality of opportunity. At St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, we have given careful consideration to the sequence of knowledge so that it is pedagogically coherent and reflects the specific ideas and language in each discipline being taught. It emphasises knowledge to be remembered and constantly built upon, not merely encountered and fleetingly experienced. This systematic and cumulative knowledge includes:

  • Knowledge of vocabulary (and literacy in general)
  • Knowledge of events, people and places.
  • Knowledge of ideas and concepts drawn from subjects.
  • Knowledge of procedures.
  • Knowledge of interconnected webs of concepts.

The importance of applying knowledge in increasingly more challenging, relevant and more engaging ways:

Pupils naturally compartmentalise what they learn according to the specific context in which that learning occurred. This makes it difficult for pupils who haven’t fully mastered the material to:

  • Recognise when they have applicable knowledge that they could use in the current situation.
  • Recall and apply that knowledge accurately and appropriately.

Helping pupils appreciate that their knowledge and skills can be effectively applied in multiple contexts is a fundamental component of our teaching process. The curriculum is designed to provide situations and opportunities for pupils to draw on the knowledge and skills they have already learned, and apply them to a new or unfamiliar situation.

The importance of the acquisition of 21st century skills:

St Aidan’s Catholic Academy will work extensively with local and national employers to provide real life experiences of the world of work reinforcing the transferable nature of knowledge from school to the world of work. To prepare for a wildly uncertain future our pupils will need not just academic qualifications but above all emotional and mental flexibility and resilience; they will be young people of character and strength who work hard to have a positive impact on their local community and world around them.










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