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St Francis Xavier

Curriculum FAQs

The following information is designed to give parents/guardians an insight into what teaching and learning looks like at St. Francis Xavier School.

What is the SFX way? What makes us different?

St. Francis Xavier School is a very special place to be. Everyone here is known as an individual. Talents are recognised, fulfilled and celebrated, with our young people leaving their journey with us as the very best version of themselves.

We learn respect, forgiveness, humility and kindness and these are demonstrated in all our actions. In unity we worship and serve God, dedicating time for reflection and prayer. We are a family, a team, the heart of our community that cares for each other.

Encompassed by our school ethos Love of God and Love of Neighbour our students’ lives are enriched by endless opportunities, support and challenge.

Our GCSE results are exceptional, our sporting success is remarkable and our students’ strength of character is celebrated. 

What does teaching and learning look like at SFX?

High quality teaching and learning takes place in the classroom, with the classroom teacher expertly imparting knowledge and skills in an engaging and motivational way. We strive to ensure our students succeed and continually seek ways to improve our teaching and learning provisions. We use effective educational research to inform our practises and continually reflect on our on pedagogy. Our staff are subject specialists and experts in their field, with many being GCSE examiners.

We teach in such a way that students know more and remember more, gaining knowledge to understand key concepts and ideas. We build on prior knowledge, using regular and embedded recall and retrieval strategies to help students store learning in the long-term memory.

Students are all made aware of the big picture; to know where their topics fits in the curriculum, what is coming next and how their learning will be assessed. All students are challenged in their learning and supported appropriately.

Pupils of all abilities have individual needs, the more able as well as those with learning difficulties. However, some pupils require the provision of extra resources or support, in order to help achieve their potential. It is normal practice at St Francis Xavier School to use outstanding high-quality teaching to endeavour to meet the needs of all pupils as outlined in the SEND Code of Practice (2015).  Student voice is gathered regularly by curriculum leaders and members of the senior leadership team, to ensure we are meeting the needs of all learners in the classroom. In lessons, you can expect to see modelling and teacher demonstrations of new skills and knowledge followed by an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge to a variety of different contexts leading up to independent practise.

What is the learning environment like at SFX?

We have high learning expectations and a positive learning culture is the norm within lessons and school life, so that our children experience high quality teaching that instils a love of learning.

On any day, at any time when walking around our school you can expect calm corridors, classroom doors open, and students focused on learning. Relationships in classrooms are respectful and our teachers are encouraging, empathetic and inspiring.

Our classrooms are a safe space for students to confidently present their work to others, hands are always up to answer questions and their voices are heard. Students speak eloquently and use subject specific vocabulary that is impressive.

Students enjoy learning here; they are curious, inquisitive and happy. 

How is my child’s work marked?

We use marking, assessment and feedback to show students what they do well, the standards they have attained and enable them to understand what they must do to improve and make progress. Feedback is continually given in lessons. For practical subjects in particular, a lot of our feedback will be verbal.

AT St. Francis Xavier School we give our students DIRT work to complete regularly in lessons. DIRT is the acronym for Dedicated, Improvement and Reflection Time. Following teacher feedback the DIRT tasks they are given focuses on moving learning forward. DIRT work is completed in green pen so that students, teachers and parents can see the progress that has been made.

How much homework should my child be getting?

For all subjects at St. Francis Xavier School homework is an integral part of the learning process.  Homework is set on average once per week for all subjects. For practical subjects this frequency may vary. Homework may not be set according to a timetable, as this is not always feasible or appropriate.  

Teachers will suggest a recommended time period to be spent on each homework task and pupils will record this in their planner. Homework is used to further improve retention and understanding. More indirectly, homework improves students' study skills, and teaches students that learning can take place anywhere, not just in school buildings. It encourages our students to become more independent learners.

Where can I find more information about what my child is studying?

You can follow our curriculum at home by looking at the curriculum pages.

Here you will also find the GCSE courses students are studying. If you would like more specific information please contact your child’s classroom teacher, form tutor or head of year.  To do this, an email can be sent to contact@sfxschool.org.uk or please call the school on 01748 823414.

How can I find out about my child’s assessments and grades?

Details of assessment procedures, grading and reporting can be found here.

All reports and front covers for assessments are made available on My Child at School. 

What happens if my child is not meeting their target grades?

We work hard to identify and address any gaps in learning. Intervention will come in a variety of different forms.  Although not an exhaustive list, at St. Francis Xavier School this could involve; key learning being retaught, additional teacher support in the classroom, an invitation to join an intervention group, online learning platforms, further tasks or exam questions. Our intervention programmes are timely and effectively aim to narrow any gaps in learning, address any misconceptions and to ensure that students continue to make progress against their target grade.

How can I help support my child’s learning at home?

It is important that we have a collaborative approach between home and school to support students learning. The following websites are used regularly in school and can be used independently at home to practise and reinforce the learning that is taking part in the classroom:

Parents of year 10 students are given the opportunity in school to purchase the revision guides that have been specifically chosen by the curriculum leaders to support learning at GCSE. 

Parents of year 11 students can expect to be invited to attend our revision evening where we teach a range of revision strategies to parents and students together.