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“Love one another, as I have loved you”

St Alban's Curriculum Design

“Love One Another As I Have Loved You” (Our Mission)

St Alban’s Catholic Primary school endeavours to offer a Curriculum that develops a well-rounded and happy pupil with a lifelong love of learning. We aim to provide opportunities that inspire our pupils and make them excited to learn and be ready for high school.

 Essentials Curriculum

Our curriculum is underpinned by the Essentials Curriculum by Chris Quigley. The Essentials Curriculum sets out the essential coverage, learning objectives and standards which are required for all subjects. Furthermore, it provides progress measures for all subjects including personal development.

One of the primary reasons St. Alban's chose this curriculum is because it emphasises the importance of developing the depth of children’s learning. In essence, this means providing children with increased cognitive challenge, allowing them to apply the skills which they have learnt independently in a range of contexts rather than moving them onto the next skill needlessly when they have not truly mastered it.

St. Alban's believe  this curriculum provides us with a coherent, progressive and appropriately sequenced curricular structure to enable our pupils to develop subject specific knowledge and skills to prepare them well for the next stages of their education. The Essentials curriculum, builds progressively on from the learning in the Foundation Stage. The milestones (1, 2 and 3) that. The curriculum is aligned to the National Curriculum.

Basic Principles 

           1. Learning is a change to long-term memory.

         2. Our aims are to ensure that our students experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long-term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge.


The breadth of our curriculum is designed with two goals in mind:

        A) To provide a rich “cultural capital”;

        B)  To provide a coherent structured, academic curriculum that leads to Sustained mastery for all and a greater depth of understanding for those who are capable.

  1. Cultural capital: Cultural capital is the background knowledge of the world pupils need to infer meaning from what they read. It includes vocabulary which in turn, helps pupils to express themselves in a sophisticated and mature way. Cultural capital gives our students the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British values.
  2. A coherently planned academic curriculum underpinned by our curriculum drivers: Curriculum drivers shape our curriculum breadth. They are derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our students, our beliefs about high quality education and our values. They are used to ensure we give our students appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities. As a Catholic School we are driven by a VALUES curriculum that holds Gospel values at its heart encompassing the importance of British values and Equality; a curriculum that  is BUILT ON POWERFUL KNOWLEDGE and gives children a systematic and progressively challenging and coherently planned broad  VOCABULARY ;  a curriculum that uses a knowledge rich curriculum to develop THINKING and helping children to learn how to think well - teaching explicitly thinking about thinking - research demonstrates children remember what they think about;  OVERCOMING DIFFICULTIES – a curriculum that seeks to remove barriers and instils aspiration in the children and a desire to do well; a curriculum that provides QUALITY EXPERIENCES where learning is at the heart of the experiences and these provide key moments of learning.
  1. Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital, subject topics and our ambition for students to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars. our academic curriculum sets out. a)  A clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered.   b)  The “threshold” concepts pupils should understand  c) Criteria for progression within the threshold concepts. d) Criteria for depth of understanding


The diagram above shows the model of the curriculum structure at St Alban’s Primary school. The structure also supports mixed age teaching and our assessment policy.

  1. The Curriculum Breadth for each year group ensures each teacher has clarity as to what to cover. As well as providing the key knowledge within subjects it also provides for pupils growing cultural capital. Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and ‘threshold concepts’. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied.
  2. Threshold concepts are the key disciplinary aspects of each subject. They are chosen to build conceptual understanding within subjects and are repeated many times in each topic. Threshold concepts tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, students return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build understanding of them.
  3. Milestones define the standards for the threshold concepts. For each of the threshold concepts three Milestones, each of which includes the procedural and semantic knowledge students need to understand the threshold concepts, provides a progression model.
  4. Knowledge categories in each subject give students a way of expressing their understanding of the threshold concepts
  5. Knowledge webs help students to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema.
  6. Cognitive science tell us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if students are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long-term memory. Cognitive science also tells us that in order for students to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, which takes time.
  7. Within each Milestone, students gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. The goal for students is to display sustained mastery at the ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the end of each milestone and for the most able to have a greater depth of understanding at the ‘deep’ stage. The time-scale for sustained mastery or greater depth is, therefore two years of study.
  8. As part of our progression model we use a different pedagogical style in each of the cognitive domains of basic, advancing and deep. This is based on the research of Sweller, Kirschner and Rosenshine who argue to direct instruction in the early stages of learning and discovery based approaches later. We use direct instruction in the basic domain and problem based discovery in the deep domain. This is called the reversal effect.
  9. Also as part of our progression model we use POP tasks (Proof of Progress) which shows our curriculum expectations in each cognitive domain
  10. Depth: we expect pupils in year 1 of the milestone to have a Basic (B) understanding of the concepts and an Advancing (A) or Deep (D) understanding in year 2 of the milestone. Phase one, (Years 1, 3 and 5) in a milestone is the knowledge building phase that provides the fundamental foundations for later application. LEARNING AT THIS STAGE MUST NOT BE RUSHED and will involve a high degree of repetition so that knowledge enters long term memory. If all of the core knowledge is acquired quickly, teachers create extended knowledge.

Sustained mastery

 Nothing is learned unless it rests in pupil’s long term memories. This does not happen, and cannot be assessed in the short term. Assessment answers two main questions. “How well are the pupils coping with Curriculum content? And “How well are they retaining previously taught content?”


 The Curriculum design at St Alban’s is based on evidence from cognitive science; three main principles underpin it,

  1. Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
  2. Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and long-term retention.
  3. Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.
  4. In addition to the three principles we also understand that learning is invisible in the short term and that sustained mastery takes time.
  5. Our content is subject specific. We make intra-curricular links to strengthen schema where appropriate.
  6. Continuous provision, in the form of daily routines, replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and, in other cases, provides retrieval practise for previously learned content Some of our content is subject specific, whilst other content is combined in a cross curricular approach. Continuous provision, in the form of daily routines, replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and, in some cases provides retrieval practice for previously learned content.


  1. Because learning is a change to long-term memory it is impossible to see impact in the short term.
  2. We do, however use probabilistic assessment based on deliberate practise. This means that we look at the practices taking place to determine whether they are appropriate, related to our goals and likely to produce results in the long-run.
  3. We use comparative judgement in two ways: in the tasks we set (POP Tasks) and in in comparing a student’s work over time.
  4. We use lesson observations to see if the pedagogical style matches our depth expectations
  5. The impact of the Curriculum is judged at the end of each milestone. The goal is for the majority of pupils to have sustained mastery of the content. We aim that the children remember and are fluent in the content. We aim for those that can to have a greater depth of understanding. We track carefully to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of the curriculum. We keep what we see what works for our children through evidence and we reflect adapt and change that which appears not to be working.
  6. In line with St Alban’s Assessment policy we review in depth at the end of each Milestone in Year 2, 4 and 6.


Our Curriculum


At St Alban’s Catholic Primary school we aim to offer a curriculum that develops a well-rounded, happy pupil. As a Catholic school our Mission underpins everything we do – Christ is at the Centre of our Curriculum.  We aim to provide rich and varied opportunities that inspire our pupils and make them excited to learn.


A broad and balanced curriculum is crucial to ensure our pupils are offered a wide range of life choices and opportunities.


We want our children to come to school filled with enthusiasm and eager to learn every day. In order to do this, we want to arrange for the children to visit interesting places, experience live performances and offer opportunities that they would never have the chance to be exposed to.


We know that this will impact on their learning and improve attainment in all subjects.

We want to enable students to understand the world around them and the skills that they hold within, so that they can become passionate, fulfilled individuals and pro-active, conscientious citizens of Liscard and the wider community.


In order to achieve our goal, we will teach engaging, inspiring lessons that cover a rich and varied curriculum that is Knowledge rich. We know that this will result in happy pupils with a thirst for learning that will see them reach their vast potential in whatever field they intend to pursue. We will make our Curriculum knowledge and vocabulary rich.


As a school, we place a great deal of importance on academic learning. We take the progress and attainment of each child achieving the very best they are capable of very seriously. However, we also view each child as a complete person and our curriculum has been tailored to ensure that each child grows as a person and recognises their place in our community and in our ever- changing world.


Our curriculum has been designed to reflect that life at St Alban’s  Catholic Primary School is rich, varied, caring, inclusive, exciting, challenging, inspiring, but above all, rewarding. This runs through all subject areas including the use of High quality texts in English and our Maths curriculum that builds upon knowledge gained over time and applied into problems and investigations.


Our approach to teaching across the whole curriculum puts children at the heart of their own learning; taking an active part in lessons and ensuring that the children are rich in language and cultural diversity.


We recognise that children have a thirst for knowledge and we are committed to nurturing young writers, performers, readers, international speakers, mathematicians, scientists,

historians, geographers, artists, designers, musicians, sports persons, computer users and so much more!


We aim to provide the building blocks of knowledge that enable the children to progress and follow their dreams through fostering the qualities of resilience and inquiry as well as planning opportunities for the children to know about keeping safe.


We also plan for and promote Gospel Values,  British Values, (Democracy, Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs) and good relationships and health Education. We ensure that children are aware of their rights and responsibilities as a UK citizen. They are values that give a simple message to our young people, ‘In Britain, no matter what your background, you can fit in, you can succeed and you can belong’.


While these values are not unique to Britain or British society, they are integral to our ethos.


Our implementation of ‘Prevent Duty’ within our curriculum focuses on tackling all points of the spectrum, from political extremism to religious fundamentalism, recognising how the use of online propaganda can prey on a sense of isolation and alienation.


 Our curriculum aims to help children understand the tensions that can arise between faith and other legally established rights, as well as understanding how their own faith relates to the wider world, both in terms of attitudes and the prevailing law.


In order to allow the children to fully develop these aptitudes, language is a key focus for us. We aim to develop the children’s communication abilities and also provide them with the rich and specific vocabulary (from across the curriculum) that underpins their knowledge and understanding.


High quality Continuous Professional development for all staff underpins the Curriculum offer at St. Alban’s.


We are a school that proudly embraces change and does not shy away from the increasing use and dependence on ICT in the world.


Everything that we do in ICT is geared towards removing the fear from using computers and the internet. Children use the internet and will continue to do so.


Therefore, our responsibility is to prepare them for the digital world and motivate them to become responsible digital citizens.


Staff members do everything in their power to stay up-to-date with the developments in this field and perpetually promote the importance of e-safety.

Learning is also enhanced by a carefully planned range of educational visits with their strong links to enhance the curriculum.

Our curriculum is also structured to use the wealth of local resources (including those further afield) to enhance the children’s learning experiences.


Our approach to assessment is built upon these milestones, looking to use assessment to monitor and support the children’s learning over a number of years.

The aims of our curriculum are:

  1. To provide the children with firm foundations founded in knowledge, skills and understanding; preparing them for a future of learning.
  2. To provide an environment in which the dignity of each pupil is recognised and developed.
  3. To promote the full potential of each child through a curriculum that develops spiritual, academic, social and emotional growth.
  4. To encourage our pupils to live and act according to the British values and to enable children to be positive global citizens in society.
  5. To promote a positive attitude towards learning and knowledge, so that children enjoy coming to school, and acquire a solid basis for lifelong learning.
  6. To enable children to be creative and to develop their own thinking and questioning.
  7. To provide the children with the opportunities to develop their critical thinking skills.
  8. To teach children about their changing world, including how their environment and society have changed over time.
  9. To fulfil all the requirements of the National Curriculum.
  10. To teach children to have an awareness of their own and other beliefs.
  11. To help children understand the importance of truth and fairness, so that they grow up committed to equal opportunities for all.
  12. To enable children to have respect for themselves, high self-esteem and to be able to live and work co-operatively with others.


At St Alban’s Catholic Primary School, our children develop respect and understanding of people who have different characteristics to themselves: whether that be age, gender, disability or race. A rigorous, well planned curriculum (delivered by inspiring staff in an ethos of love, care and support) enables our pupils to be well rounded, empathetic young people. We strongly promote self-respect for all in our school irrespective of race, creed or gender. Care will be taken to ensure that resources do not present stereo-typical images, rather role models from diverse backgrounds and cultures.


As the children’s first teachers, we aim to work with you to provide the very best learning opportunities for all pupils and ensure they continue to grow into happy fulfilled individuals. Parents/carers play a key role in our learning community and we look forward to sharing in the development of your children as caring, educated young citiz

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“Love one another, as I have loved you”

Contact the School

St Alban's Primary School

Ashburton Road, Wallasey, Wirral, CH44 5XB

Headteacher: Mr John McDonald

0151 638

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