The curriculum is very carefully planned by all staff to ensure we provide children with a broad and balanced education. The foundation subjects are taught through topics which last for around 6 weeks. Because we know that children learn in a variety of ways, we plan topics that will enthuse and engage. The topics often start with an exciting visit, visitor or activity which gets the children involved and eager to find out more.
Staff also ask children what they would like to find out about and ensure that the ideas they suggest are included.
Children map out what they already know about a topic before generating questions about what they would like to find out about next. Links between subjects are made, so if the topic is history based, 'What was life like for Viking raiders?', the children will develop their learning through drama, writing, art, design-technology, ICT, geography etc. Activities are designed to be stimulating and engaging so that all children can take part. We are aware that children learn in different ways and so ensure that what we provide is varied, active and engaging.
Please see each 'class curriculum' page to explore the curriculum for your child's year group.
Early Years Foundation Stage
The Nursery and Reception class work to the EYFS programme of study :
- Communication and Language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
- Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
- Personal, Social and Emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
- Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
- Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
- Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
- Expressive Arts and Design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology.
Key Stage 1 and 2
Maths is taught using the objectives from the 2014 National Curriculum, with teaching sequences adapted by teachers to provide an assessment-based curriculum where appropriate. Teachers have the freedom to teach these objectives in any order to meet children’s needs at the earliest opportunity and make cross-curricular links to engage all learners.
Half-termly assessments inform planning, teaching and learning, with targeted interventions implemented as necessary. Year group non-negotiables (including knowledge of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts) are prioritised to enable children to access the next steps in the Numeracy curriculum.
Literacy is taught using the objectives from the 2014 National Curriculum, with teaching sequences adapted by teachers to provide an assessment-based curriculum where appropriate. Teachers have the freedom to teach units of work to meet children’s needs at the earliest opportunity and make cross-curricular links to engage all learners.
Half-termly assessments inform planning, teaching and learning, with targeted interventions implemented as necessary. Year group non-negotiables (including use of punctuation, spelling of high frequency words, use of a range of connectives) are prioritised to enable children to access the next steps in the Numeracy curriculum.
Reading is taught through the Letters and Sounds synthetic phonics system. Children are grouped by phonics phase in EYFS, with Nursery and Reception combined into phase appropriate groups to ensure targeted teaching and learning that maximises progress.
Key Stage 1 children are also grouped by phonics phase with Year 1 and 2 children working alongside each other in phase groups. Although the vast majority of children will leave Key Stage 1 having progressed up to and beyond phase 6, children in Key Stage 2 who have gaps in their phonics knowledge are supported by a phonics intervention group until their understanding is secure. Phonics is assessed and monitored to enable progression through the phases and learning matched to learner’s needs.
We follow the Oxford Reading Tree and Rigby Star reading schemes for individual and guided reading across the school.
Foundation subjects: The Learning Challenge Curriculum
Foundation subjects are taught through our thematic ‘Learning Challenge Curriculum’. This approach provides a relevant, engaging and key skills-based curriculum that engages, inspires and challenges all children whilst raising standards in Foundation subjects. The National Curriculum statutory programme of study is mapped across the school, with specific subject-curriculum areas allocated to year groups (For example, the KS1 Design and Technology curriculum is divided so that ‘Food’ and ‘Use of materials’ that are covered in Year 1 can be linked with the Year 1 Science curriculum areas of ‘Humans and other animals’ and ‘Grouping Materials). Teachers use the Focus Education ‘Key Skills Progression’ document to inform ability-appropriate planning and assess pupil progress accurately within lessons and across the academic year.
Underpinned by the National Curriculum breadth of study and subject-specific knowledge, skills and understanding, the Learning Challenge Curriculum enables teachers to provide pupil-led teaching and learning, with topics such as ‘Is Shrek a real person?’, ‘Why did the Ancient Egyptians make mummies?’ and ‘Is there anything out there?’
These overall topic questions are divided into smaller questions (For example, ‘Where would Shrek live?’ to make cross-curricular links with the ‘Habitats’ Science unit).
Pre-learning tasks (completed before planning) are used to assess prior knowledge and inform targeted planning, teaching and learning. This also identifies pupils’ personal interests about the topic to enable pupil-led learning. The curriculum is enriched with memorable experiences, such as a Year 6 ‘invasion’ as part of Year 3’s learning about the Vikings, an archaeological dig as part of Year 5’s learning about Tudor housing and a visit to the Imperial War Museum as part of Year 6’s learning about WW2.
Basic skills and empowering learning through the Learning Challenge Curriculum: Year group ‘Non-Negotiables’
The Learning Challenge Curriculum is also underpinned by year group key objectives for academic non-negotiables in Reading, Writing, ICT and Mathematics designed with age-appropriate expectations in mind. In writing and mathematics especially, these include areas of common misconceptions in learning and basics identified that most powerfully help children to access, advance and secure their learning in all areas, as well as to enhance their future employability and prosperity. These non-negotiables are frequently, but not exclusively, the focus of targeted interventions to ensure access to the next steps of learning. The year group non-negotiables also include the skills for ’Empowering Learning’, taught and nurtured across all areas and ages. These can be viewed as the ‘Learn to Learn’ or ‘Communication’ skills; Independent Enquirers, Resourceful Thinkers, Team Workers, Reflective Thinkers, Effective Participators and Self-Managers. The basic expectations for oracy are, in many ways, both the key to unlocking access to many other areas of learning, and also central to developing the ability of learners to assimilate, enjoy, voice and reflect on their learning.
Parental support and cooperation is needed in this area to enable the school and teachers to work together to develop the child’s religious education. During their time at Milton St John's CE, the children will learn about the other major world faiths.
Information and Communication Technology
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) encompasses the use of computers, photographic and recording equipment. At Key Stages 1 and 2 there are four aspects of its study:
- Finding things out
- Developing ideas and making things happen
- Exchanging and sharing information
- Reviewing, modifying and evaluating work in progress
These are developed within ICT skills lessons and integrated into all other subjects wherever teaching and learning is enhanced by its use.
In addition to a well-equipped ICT suite, we also have group and class sets of Ipads. Our aim is for pupils to become as confident and skilled in the use of ICT, in order to fully empower them in our increasingly technological age.
Science is an exciting active part of the curriculum. All lessons aim to have skills developed by using enquiry methods. Science has three key areas of knowledge in the curriculum; `Life Processes and Living Things’, `Materials and their Properties’ and `Physical Processes’. These are taught through a range of activities. There are many cross-curricular links in science and ICT can take a key role in enquiry methods, e.g. electrical sensors and electro-microscopes. Mathematical understanding is developed as children interpret data and collate results on graphs whilst children may also write a list of instructions as part of their English.
Art and Design
The Art curriculum offers children the opportunity to develop their understanding and use of a variety of media and processes in order to record, communicate and express their own ideas in many different ways.
Through Art and Design our children are encouraged to develop and express their creativity and imagination. The children take part in activities which allow them to explore, enjoy, discuss and respond to Art in its many forms that has been produced by a range of artists, including themselves and their peers.
Design and Technology
Design and Technology draws from and contributes to all other areas of the curriculum and is essentially practical. Pupils will learn to work with a variety of materials to create high quality products through combining their designing and making skills with knowledge and understanding.
They will be taught to use a range of tools safely and explore techniques for problem solving. As they progress they will develop an understanding of technological processes, products and their manufacture. Finally the children will be encouraged to develop a critical awareness of their own and other’s responses to their work as well as responding to designs around them in the man-made world.
History is a very powerful subject in our curriculum as it sparks curiosity of the past in Britain and the wider world. Children find out about past lives and societies and how these have influenced the present. Pupils learn skills of chronology to help place significant events and people over time. Pupils also learn enquiry skills – how to gather and interpret evidence from a wide range of sources.
We seek imaginative ways to bring history to life for our pupils by organising a range of trips to museums, historical sites, visitors who have lived in historical times and re-enactments which allow pupils to live as others would have in the past.
Children have a natural interest in the world around them and this curiosity is used to develop their knowledge and understanding of not only their locality but of contrasting localities in the United Kingdom and the wider world.
As well as the study of places, children are taught the essential skills of using resources such as maps, atlases and photographs as a means of gathering information. They are encouraged to ask probing questions, make relevant observations and develop a good geographical vocabulary. Links with current world events are made whenever possible and displays are used to encourage children’s interest.
Music lessons allow children to listen to a range of music thus developing their music appreciation skills, to sing a variety of songs and to compose and perform music with a wide range of musical instruments. The use of ICT is a growing feature of music with older pupils. Music is a key feature of our assemblies providing children with the opportunity to listen to many different types of music and to perform their songs and compositions to an audience. We have specialist teachers that come into school and teach whole class brass, drumming, choral singing and flute lessons in Key Stage 2.
Modern Foreign Language
Spanish is taught in Years 3-6 by a specialist language teacher from our partnership high school.
Personal, Social and Health Education
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) is a highly valued subject within the school. It holds a precious place within the schools ethos and is a subject that is delivered carefully in each class. The children are very much encouraged and helped to develop the skills necessary to listen to and value the views of others.