‘One of the areas that I think we sometimes lose sight of is the real substance of education. Not the exam grades or the progress scores, important though they are, but instead the real meat of what is taught in our schools and colleges: the curriculum.’ 

(Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector for Ofsted, at the Festival of Education 2017)​

National Curriculum

The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.

The Curriculum at OLSP

At Our Lady and St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, we aim to tailor education to individual need, interest and ability so as to fulfil every child's potential.  Every pupil will have access to a rich, broad, balanced, differentiated and, above all, stimulating and engaging curriculum. 

We are developing and delivering a curriculum that leads to high standards of attainment and progress across the school whilst also broadening children’s experiences, exciting them about learning and engendering curiosity and a desire to learn more. 

We believe in the importance of teaching children how to be good learners through personal learning and thinking skills, reflection, a growth mind-set approach, collaboration, motivation and aspiration. As a result, behaviours for learning are moving towards outstanding. We endeavour to enable children to become lifelong learners and face the uncertainties and challenges of our ever changing world.

Children’s progress is carefully monitored through the tracking of assessment and is tracked electronically using Target Tracker. Due to the new curriculum, changes to assessment have been necessary and more information about this is listed below.

Where monitoring demonstrates children need additional support, we have a range of interventions to help them. These include additional motor skills, phonics and precision teaching to help children with literacy difficulties. We also put additional activities into the curriculum where possible for children with a particular talent in a subject area to help them to reach excellence.

Sex and relationship education is taught in line with the Sex Education policy and Journey in Love scheme agreed by governors.

A growing range of extra-curricular activities are offered. These include football, netball, craft club, choir, ICT and coding clubs. The school is proud of its provision in this area.

Our Lady and St Patrick’s Primary School follows the National Curriculum and detailed curriculum maps have been published on this website. You can find out more about this by clicking on the links below



RE has the status of a core subject. We follow the 'God Matters' scheme of work.

Maths is taught in four key areas: Place Value & Number, Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Division and Shape, Data and Measure.

Non-foundation subjects are taught under termly topics and you will find more information about these on the below Curriculum Map. 

English is taught in sequences of writing and the school is currently embarking on a 2 year training programme called 'The Primary Writing Project'.  For more information, follow this link: www.primarywritingproject.org.uk

What is Growth Mindsets? Click for more information for parents

Phonics Teaching at OLSP


Phonics is taught in a daily 20 minute lesson. 

All lessons follow the Letters and Sounds teaching programme. The Phonics curriculum is organised into six teaching phases. Pupils start at phase one when they join the Foundation Stage and work through each phase developing their phonic knowledge and skills. Most pupils will be working at phase six in Year Two. When their phonic learning is secure, pupils begin to work on the Year 2 Read, Write, Inc spelling programme. 


Teachers plan phonics lessons using the Devon recommended planning format (Review prior learning, teach a new skill, practise, and then apply this skill). Although highly structured, phonics lessons are designed to be fun and engaging through the use of fast paced interactive activities and games. Phonics Play materials are selected to support pupils learning and parents are encouraged to use this resource at home. Pupils are taught all 44 sounds; strategies for blending and reading new and unusual words; the knowledge they need to make sensible spelling choices using the sounds they have been taught; and how to read and spell the first 200 high frequency words in the Key Stage One word list. Teachers encourage pupils to use and apply their phonic skills across the curriculum, for example when writing about what they have found out in a science or history lesson.


Phonics is taught in small differentiated ability groups dependent on the phase that pupils are working on and not on their academic year group. Pupils from Years 3, 4 and 5 who still need phonics teaching work in these groups each day. Each group is led by a teacher or teaching assistant. 


Pupils’ phonic knowledge and skills are assessed informally during each lesson. Assessment notes are used to help teachers plan subsequent lessons effectively based on the needs of their pupils. Summative assessments each half term check pupils’ knowledge and skills in the phase at which they are working. These include; blending and reading words using the sounds they have been learning; and reading and spelling ‘tricky words’. These assessments are then used to determine whether pupils should progress on to the next phonic phase or repeat the current phase in order to secure their learning.  


Pupils identified as not making rapid progress are given intensive additional support in intervention groups running each afternoon.


In June each year all Year 1 pupils complete the National Phonics Screening check. Pupils who do not reach the required standard retake the test at the end of Year 2. Mock phonic checks during the spring and summer term help teachers identify gaps in learning and track pupils’ progress against this national standard.



Reading at OLSP

Meet our Reading Dogs! Millie and Wren love to hear the children read in our quiet

area in the library.


During the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, pupils are taught the key skills they need to read during their daily phonics lesson. 

At Key Stage One each pupil reads at least twice a week in school either individually to an adult or as part of a guided group. During these sessions pupils are supported to develop a wider range of reading skills including, exploring the meaning of new words; reading for meaning; an understanding of characters and setting; prediction and inference from the text, as well as a love of reading and books.


Pupils are encouraged to read on a daily basis at home and reward systems are in place in Key Stage One classes to support this.


Pupils’ reading is assessed informally each week. Guided reading and individual assessment notes are used to help teachers plan reading activities effectively based on the needs of their pupils. Pupils decoding and comprehension skills are assessed at least once each half term using PM bench marking to track progress and check that they are working within the correct book band.


Pupils who are not making rapid progress are identified and given additional support based on their individual needs.


Teachers use daily story time to share a wide range of texts with their pupils and to encourage children to develop a love of reading and stories. 


Reading Schemes at OLSP


At OLSP we actively promote reading for pleasure and a love of books.


Early reading books are organised into fourteen coloured book bands based on their level of difficulty. Pupils start on Lilac band (picture books) in the EYFS and will progress through each colour band as their reading skills develop. When children reach the end of the colour book bands they are then able to choose from a range of young reader materials in the library. 


We use a wide range of reading schemes including Oxford Reading Tree (ORT), Phonics Bug, Rigby Star, Usborne Young Readers & Project X. 


As children progress through the reading schemes they are encouraged to experience a range of other texts in addition to their reading book including books from the school library in classrooms and at home. 


Assessment for Learning at Our Lady and St Patrick’s Primary School
The school has a clear policy for assessment for learning, using the “Tickled Pink” and “Green for Growth” system. To support children in making progress and being successful with their learning, all teachers use success criteria in their teaching and feedback to pupils according to the success criteria using the coloured highlighting. Success criteria may be visual for those children who cannot access the written criteria.

How do we assess learning at Our Lady and St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School?

We believe that knowing what each child has achieved and what their next steps are is crucial to helping them to succeed. In order to know this, we regularly assess the children. This happens in different ways

 Through questioning and discussion, teachers and support staff find out what children know each lesson

  • High quality written and oral feedback using success criteria (see above) help both the teachers to know how the children are doing and the children to understand their own learning and what their next steps are

  • Assessments such as benchmarking which find out which books children should be reading

  • More formal assessments such as optional SATs tests in Year 3,4 and 5 and reading age/spelling age tests

  • Statutory assessments such as KS2 SAT tests at the end of Year 6, use of SATs materials at end of KS1 and the phonic screening test in Year 1

  • Teachers regularly meet together to make sure their assessments are accurately moderated and helpful to the children.


This moderation also takes place with colleagues from other local schools to ensure consistency. As a result of assessment, teachers are able to adapt their lessons, pupil activities, homework and the curriculum to make sure they are fully meeting the needs of the children. Additional interventions would be put in place for any specific needs identified.

Key Stage 1:

At OLSP School, it is anticipated that the majority of children will reach assessment points at the end of Year 1 and Year 2 within the ‘expected bands’, a smaller number of children will reach Year 1 and Year 2 within the ‘exceeding (embedding) band’, and a small number will be Year 1 and Year 2 working within the ‘emerging band’. It may be that a minority of children with additional needs do not meet the emerging band for their Year group.  We will be assigning number values to these bands only to help us track and analyse cohort and group progress.

Key Stage 2:

Lots of you may have heard of the expression ‘Secondary Ready’ as the standard children must achieve by the end of Year 6. The DfE now talk about children reaching the assessment point of ‘Year 6 expected’.

Similar to Year 2 there will be some children who may be Year 6 ‘exceeding’ or 'higher standard' and some children who are Year 6 ‘emerging’ or 'below expected standard'.

There may also be a small number of children who are still working at a lower level e.g. Year 4/5 embedding/expected/emerging. As with Key Stage 1, we will be assigning number values to these bands only to help us track and analyse cohort and group progress for evaluation purposes (see below).


Assessing Without Levels

After investigating many different Assessment & Tracking systems, we have decided to continue to use our School Pupil Tracker Online system to record our data, which is used by lots of primary schools, including most Devon Primary Schools but will soon be moving to use Target Tracker in line with all other Plymouth CAST schools. How we give an end of year assessment is going to be almost identical to the description of assessing without levels above, but some of the language maybe slightly different as we use point’s scores to represent their progress towards the end of year objectives, rather than levels.

The biggest difference is how we will talk to you about how your child is progressing during the year. With the old National Curriculum levels, each year children were given a target for the end of the year, and during the year we would tell you what National Curriculum level your child was at.

For example:

Prior to this year, a child could finish Year 3 with a level 3a, and then in Year 4 would have a target of at least 4b for the end of the year.

At Parent’s/Carers Evenings throughout the year you may be told that they have moved to a 4c and then on to a 4b.

We could use the levels system this way because there was no correlation between a level and a child’s year group, and this can be seen in the way that in a Year 6 class there could be a range of levels, from level 2 to a level 6.

However, the new National Curriculum sets out expectations for each year group and children will be assessed against those every year, so a child in Year 4 will always be judged in the first instance against the expectations for the end of Year 4.

So how will the process in school work?

In each Autumn term, by October/November, the teachers will have had an opportunity to assess how the children are learning. At the start of each year group, every child will be emerging/low as they are being judged against the End of Year statements for the year they have just entered. By using their professional knowledge, the knowledge shared by previous class teacher and ongoing formative judgement, your child’s teacher will know what your child can already do and what they think he/she can achieve. They will then give a forecast as to where they think they will be by the end of the Year. So, for example, children in Year 3 could be given a forecast of 3Emerging, 3Expected OR 3Exceeding (Embedding). They will also be able to share with you what particular areas your child needs to develop to meet their end of year target position.

As the New National Curriculum expectations are so much more rigorous, only very exceptional children will have a forecast from a higher or lower year group. As far as we are currently aware Year 6 Exceeding (Embedding) (High) is likely to be the highest grading for the end of Key Stage 2. There will still be a system of testing pupils in Reading, Maths, Grammar and spelling at the end of the year. Examples of these new very challenging tests have just been published. This is a new system for all primary schools, and we will all be developing our learning and understanding together, but will always have maximising children’s progress at the heart of what we do .

During the year, when we have conversations with you about your child’s progress, you won’t be given an actual definitive position of where they are on this scale. Instead we will share with you whether your child is on track to meet their end of year target and what we can both do to support them in meeting it. It may well be that they are above or below where they need to be, in which case their end of year target may be adjusted.

National expectations for our children have changed.

As the New Curriculum is so much more challenging, a child who was at age related expectations at the end of year 2, e.g. a 2B, may not necessarily be on track to achieve a Year3 Expected result, this will not necessarily mean your child is not making progress. Similarly a child who was above age related expectations in Year 2 e.g. a Level 3, may not be on track to be year 3 exceeding pupil. It is important we understand what the changes mean for our children and ensure we are supportive in helping them achieve the very highest possible standards, as always.

2016 OLSP