"Outcomes in each school enable our children to reach their full potential as a child of God."
Birmingham Archdiocese Catholic Multi Academy Model Scheme of Delegation (2013):
The purpose of a Diocesan Catholic academy is to provide a broad and balanced Catholic education inspired by a vision of life with God, the creator, at its heart as the source and destiny of all human life.
The ‘object’ roots the Academy in its Catholic character and distinctiveness which gives rise the fruits evidenced in the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural growth and development, as well as their attainment and achievement as they grow and learn as a human person.
A diocesan Catholic multi-academy is also required to work as an ecclesial communion, in harmonious relationship with other Catholic schools and academies and local schools based on the call of the Gospel to serve those in need and contribute to the common good.
Lumen Christi schools strive to provide the highest quality Catholic education to all of the children in our communities. Lumen Christi schools are mostly located in the Northfield Constituency of Birmingham which has 31.5% of children living in poverty. (UK figure 25.1%). Although relatively close geographically, they are demographically diverse with the proportion of disadvantaged pupils ranging from 16-60%.
St Thomas Aquinas school launched their Knowledge Curriculum in September 2018. Extensive reflection and discussions around our primary curriculum offer began, following visits to St Thomas Aquinas and the Midlands Knowledge Hub. Principal discussions helped to shape our curriculum intent and our guiding principles. A close collaboration with the West London Free School began, including a pilot of resources based on the Core Knowledge Curriculum. A sustained period of research and planning across all primary schools with input, where possible, from secondary colleagues, followed.
‘Only a well-rounded, knowledge-specific curriculum can impart needed knowledge to all children to overcome inequality of opportunity’ E.D.Hirsch. Core Knowledge Chairman (2016)
Our intention is that the curriculum is ambitious and aims to give all children, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge, cultural capital and experiences they need to fulfil their potential and succeed in life: to be resilient learners and active citizens. This is to avoid the temptation to narrow the curriculum and focus disproportionately on the basics and narrow subjects driven by external accountability.
Careful planning across our schools has ensured that our schemes of work for each subject, starting with Foundation stage, are coherent and sequenced and designed to support all learners and equip our children with sufficient knowledge and skills for their transition, future learning and employment. Subjects are taught discreetly unless there are genuine links, but links are not made for the sake of it as we want pupils to think like historians and scientists, thus supporting their journey to GCSE and beyond. The curriculum is language rich and is designed so that the children learn more and remember more - careful spacing and deliberative repetition has been built in. The sequence of the learning is key at Saint Thomas More as knowledge is built - it is not about an individual lesson. We use Rosenshine's principles of effective teaching where each lesson starts with a recap of the previous lesson. There are assessment opportunities in each lesson and the use of knowledge organisers, mini quizzes and essay questions feature in every unit. The content is carefully focussed on our locality and dialogue with Diocesan advisors has ensured that our rich Catholic ethos and heritage is reflected. We ensure that we have a pupils' view of learning and that they have a sense of belonging to the community through the curriculum. We encourage questioning as to have a curiosity and a voice is essential to a love of learning
The decision to align staff meetings across all schools helps create regular opportunities for training and joint planning. This has facilitated consistency, enabled future resource preparation and consequently reduced staff workload. Staff regularly meet to make improvements and discuss strengths and areas of improvement.
Opportunities for reading and research, learning walks and joint work scrutiny help to build collaboration, communicate expectations and raise standards. Reference to cognitive development theory and pedagogical processes are encouraging evidence based practice and we spend time mapping genuine and relevant enrichment activities. Although the knowledge goals are the same across all schools, we personalise our curriculum so that the tasks get the best out of the particular cohort. We are very proud of our curriculum for all as it is ambitious for all.
"It's not the filling of the bucket, it's the lighting of the fire," William Butler Yeats