Our Nursery and Reception class provide opportunities for children to learn through play and first hand experiences. Both classes provide an interactive environment with both inside and outside provisions that allow children to explore and engage with the world around them. Through independent and adult lead activities we provide opportunities for thinking and creating. Children’s progress is monitored by playing alongside children in addition to observation and parental contributions.
Children follow the National Curriculum for all areas of learning. Subjects are taught through topics which ensure children can link aspects of their learning.
Children are taught phonics using Letters and Sounds. Phonics is taught in daily discreet lessons. The skills children learn are then applied in every aspect of the curriculum. Reading is taught through guided reading sessions with the class teacher and through individual reading.
At the end of Year one pupils are assessed using the Phonics Screening Test.
At the end of Year 2 pupils are teacher assessed using SATS.
Children enjoy a wide and diverse curriculum with rich enrichment opportunities along the way.
Years 3 to 6 follow a broad and balanced curriculum which allows children to progress in each subject and build on prior learning. All subjects are carefully planned for and the school has recently updated every topic in order to provide a range of experiences and contexts for children to explore and to apply their skills across the curriculum.
Each curriculum leader is responsible for ensuring that their subject provides good continuity and progression. Class teachers are responsible for teaching and assessing the children and informing each subject leader about the progress of their children at the end of each unit of work.
Within each lesson the work is differentiated to address the needs of all the children with natural extensions for the more able and support and structure for the less able. Each topic also has essential learning objectives that are made clear to the children at the beginning of the topic. Each lesson has a specific learning objective and children are asked to assess their own performance against this with some indication of what they need to do to improve. (‘two stars and a wish’). Children are also asked as often as possible what they would like to see in the topic and these ideas and questions can be addressed as the work progresses.
Maths and Literacy are taught in accordance with National guidelines and all other subjects are taught in line with the National Curriculum. Children’s progress is tracked through the school in the core subjects of Maths, Reading, Writing and Science. Children not making the expected progress are supported through intervention groups and individual education plans. The school is also looking at ways in which it can improve the provision for the more able in the school.
For information on the topics of each individual class please try to get to our special curriculum evenings in the Autumn Term or make arrangements to talk to the class teacher.
Reading and Phonic Intent
At St John’s, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to not only achieve academically but also to have a lifelong love of books and take pleasure from reading. To ensure we teach reading successfully we implement the following across the whole school:
- Children take part in daily Guided Reading sessions. For EYFS and Year 1 pupils this is during phonic sessions with some reading of a real text. In Year 2, 3 and 4 children are taught Guided Reading through a carousel of activities. In year 5 and 6 children take part in whole class Guided Reading sessions.
- Each child from Nursery to Year 6 has access to the school library or class readers and can take a book home to share with family.
- Each classroom has a reading area which contains a selection of books which are changed regularly. A selection of books are directly linked to the class topic; this offers opportunities for children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum.
- Children are read to each day by their class teacher; some of the choices during this time will come from the class recommended text list.
- Children in Year 2 have reading buddies within Year 5, enabling them to practice reading skills and gain confidence and fluency.
- Children who are not yet free readers will work through our school reading scheme. These books are levelled books that match the child’s current reading age.
- Reading is part of homework which is set weekly. Children are required to read and add comments to their reading records. There is clear guidance about the type of comments expected.
- Children in EYFS and KS1 will have daily, discreet phonics sessions. These sessions follow the phases of letters and sounds, blending for reading and segmenting for spelling is covered. They also look at reading focus phonemes within the context of real books.
It is our intention that children leave St John’s as fluent readers with a passion for knowledge and a love of literature. We aim for them to be able to confidently discuss an author’s use of language for effect and be able to understand different genres and texts.
Teachers use their PPA to plan their reading and phonic curriculum. During the course of the year some staff meetings are used for planning, moderation and professional development.
Staff are expected to plan the following:
- Daily Guided reading sessions using a wide range of different genres and authors.
- Exposure to a range of excellent texts through daily sharing of a book by an adult.
- Daily phonics sessions in EYFS and KS1.
- Discreet grammar and punctuation sessions that encourage children to analyse text and language.
- Prepare and share knowledge organisers linked to topics that encourage children to build vocabulary and knowledge into long term memory.
- Ensure each class has a display that celebrates new vocabulary that is regularly referred to by staff.
In EYFS pupils are assessed against ELG’s. (Early Learning Goals) Assessment is ongoing and mainly completed through observations by staff. For Year’s one to six, children are assessed using the reading KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) available on the school website.
Teachers will assess children regularly using a selection of: NFER, past SATS papers or other testing materials and Salford reading tests. These tests are used to identify gaps and areas for development. This information is then used to inform planning and next steps for children.
It is our intention that all children from their individual starting points will make at least good progress in reading and phonics. This will be assessed using the phonic screening test at the end of year one, SATS at the end of Year 2 and 6 and EYFS framework at the end of Reception. In all other years we are expecting children to meet KPI’s ensuring they make good progress across key stages.
As they make good progress children will become fluent, confident readers that read for pleasure and enjoyment. They will use their skills to access information and build a wealth of knowledge across the curriculum with deep understanding.
At St John’s we endeavor to instill a love for literacy. We wish for every child to leave our school with the skills of a writer who:
- Has the ability to write with fluency and has an author’s voice.
- Thinks about the impact their writing will have on a reader and knows how to achieve this.
- Has an extensive range of vocabulary and a secure knowledge of writing techniques enabling them to extend details or descriptions.
- Can structure or organise their writing to suit the genre and include a variety of sentence structures.
- Displays excellent transcription skills ensuring their writing is well spelt, punctuated and presented.
- Is able to re-read, edit and improve their writing ensuring every piece is their best and an improvement upon the last.
Whilst children attend St John’s we ensure they experience a range of genres carefully planned with a focus on exploring a range of models of excellence and using these to support the drafting and editing stages. We ensure that writing opportunities are rich and varied not only in literacy lessons but also in all subjects across the curriculum.
Teachers use PPA time to plan their weekly lessons often with a cross curricular focus.
- We use text real texts to model writing and demonstrate grammatical structures and features.
- We use strategies including oral rehearsal frames (such as talk for writing) to promote and support writing development.
- When appropriate we use real life contexts to stimulate writing for a purpose; this is supported through the use of different media and stimuli.
- The school follows Nelson handwriting scheme as well as the national Curriculum spelling scheme.
- Spelling patterns are tested weekly.
- When appropriate grammar is taught discreetly however it is often taught within a context.
- Teachers model the writing process through lessons focusing on the development of initial ideas, planning, drafting and editing and final publication.
It is our intention that all children from their individual starting points will make at least good progress in writing. This will be assessed using SATS at the end of Year 2 and 6 and EYFS framework at the end of Reception. In all other years we are expecting children to meet KPI’s ensuring they make good progress across key stages.
As they make good progress children will become fluent, confident writers that use their developing secretarial skills and vocabulary knowledge to write for a variety of audiences with flair and developing maturity.
Mathematics equips pupils with the uniquely powerful set of tools to understand and change the world. These tools include logical reasoning, problem solving skills and the ability to think in abstract ways.
Mathematics is important in everyday life. It is integral to all aspects of life and with this in mind we endeavour to ensure that children develop a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards mathematics that will stay with them.
The National Curriculum order for mathematics describes in detail what pupils must learn in each year group. Combined with the St. John’s Community Primary and Nursery Calculation Policy, this ensures continuity and progression and high expectations for attainment in mathematics.
It is vital that a positive attitude towards mathematics is encouraged amongst all of our pupils in order to foster confidence and achievement in a skill that is essential in our society. We intend for our pupils to be able to apply their mathematical knowledge to science and other subjects. We want children to realise that mathematics has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. We want them to know that it is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. At St. John’s we use the National Curriculum for Mathematics (2014), supported by the White Rose maths scheme, as the basis of our mathematics programme. We are committed to ensuring that all pupils achieve mastery in the key concepts of mathematics, appropriate for their age group, in order that they make genuine progress and avoid gaps in their understanding that provide barriers to learning as they move through education. Assessment for Learning, an emphasis on investigation, problem solving and the development of mathematical thinking and a rigorous approach to the development of teacher subject knowledge are therefore essential components of the St. John’s approach to this subject.
We aim to provide the pupils with a mathematics curriculum and high quality teaching to produce individuals who are numerate, creative, independent, inquisitive, enquiring and confident. We also aim to provide a stimulating environment and adequate resources so that pupils can develop their mathematical skills to the full.
Our pupils should:
- have a well-developed sense of the size of a number and where it fits into the number system
- know by heart number facts such as number bonds, multiplication tables, doubles and halves
- use the mathematics they know by heart to calculate mentally
- calculate accurately and efficiently, both mentally and in writing and paper, drawing on a range of calculation strategies
- recognise when it is appropriate to use a calculator and be able to do so effectively
- make sense of mathematical problems and investigations and identify the operations and strategies needed to solve them
- explain their methods and reasoning, using correct mathematical terms
- judge whether their answers are reasonable and have strategies for checking them where necessary
- suggest suitable units for measuring and make sensible estimates of measurements
- explain and make predictions from the numbers in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables
- develop spatial awareness and an understanding of the properties of 2D and 3D shapes
Pupils are provided with a variety of opportunities to develop and extend their mathematical skills, including: Group work, including interventions, paired work, whole class teaching and small group support.
Pupils engage in: the development of mental strategies, written methods, practical work, investigational work, problem solving and mathematical discussion.
We recognise the importance of establishing a secure foundation in mental calculation and recall of number facts before standard written methods are introduced. We use accurate mathematical vocabulary in our teaching and children are expected to use it in their verbal and written explanations.
Mathematics contributes to many subjects and it is important the children are given opportunities to apply and use Mathematics in real contexts. It is important that time is found in other subjects for pupils to develop their numeracy skills, e.g. there should be regular, carefully planned opportunities for measuring in science and technology, for the consideration of properties of shape and geometric patterns in technology and art, and for the collection and presentation of data in history and geography.
We endeavour at all times to set work that is challenging, motivating and encourages the pupils to think about how they learn and to talk about what they have been learning. Additional enrichment opportunities are provided for pupils to further develop mathematical thinking e.g. through cooking, music, and maths investigations and games.
Teachers plan problem solving and investigational activities every week to ensure that pupils develop the skills of mathematical thinking and enquiry.Teachers use a range of teaching strategies to engage the children in maths and ensure progress is made by all children within a class; no set formula is used. A typical lesson would include:
- Both teaching input and pupil activities,
- A balance between whole class, guided grouped and independent work, (groups, pairs and individual work)
- effectively differentiated activities/objectives and appropriate challenge.
Sometimes the focus for the session is new learning, at other times pupils may be practising, to master the application of a concept they have learned earlier. The focus of the session may vary for different children depending on their learning needs.
At times there may be opportunities to develop skills and understanding of mathematics through additional activities, some of which may take place at home. The school has invested in the ‘Times Tables Rockstars’ and ‘Sumdog’ websites which are accessible learning platforms that can be used to set differentiated homework for pupils.
Teachers plan learning that is differentiated to meet the needs of all pupils, whether they have a specific learning difficulty in maths or whether they are particularly able.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
We follow EYFS curriculum guidance for Mathematics. However, we are committed to ensuring the confident development of number sense and put emphasis on mastery of key early concepts.
Teachers integrate the use of formative assessment strategies such as effective questioning, clear learning objectives, the use of success criteria and effective feedback and response in their teaching.
Children are expected to edit their work, based on the comments in their book, using green pen.
Using half termly tests, pupils are assessed against NC levels every half term. The school’s progress tracking system is updated termly.
National Curriculum tests are used at the end of KS1 and 2; teachers use past and sample papers to inform their assessments as they prepare pupils for these assessments.
All assessments and teaching informs teachers understanding of a child’s ability in maths
The school’s Assessment and Marking Policies inform high quality feedback and pupils’ response to it in Mathematics.
The 2014 National Curriculum for Science aims to ensure that all children:
- develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
- develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
- are equipped with the scientific skills required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future. We understand that it is important for lessons to have a skills-based focus, and that the knowledge can be taught through this
At St John’s Community Primary School, we want to encourage children to be inquisitive and naturally curious, asking probing questions and not being afraid to explore to find the answers. Science at our school fosters curiosity in children about our universe promoting respect for the living and non-living. We strongly believe that science is routed in the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills and positive attitudes. The National Curriculum Science Programme of Study outlines what skills and knowledge children will acquire and develop throughout their Primary years. We passionately believe that not only should children have a sound knowledge and understanding of the concepts covered in the National Curriculum but also that the Working Scientifically skills are built-on and developed throughout their school career so that they can use equipment, conduct experiments, build arguments and explain concepts confidently and continue to ask questions and be curious about their surroundings. Children and St John’s will leave knowing that they possess the skills to be the next Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking or Tim Peak!
Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following;
- Science will be taught in planned and arranged topic blocks by the class teacher and were possible will link to the overarching year group topic for each term/half term. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge as children will use and apply their skills across the curriculum as well as revisiting key knowledge to ensure that it is embedded.
- Through our planning, we involve problem solving opportunities that allow children to find out for themselves. Children are encouraged to ask their own questions and be given opportunities to use their scientific skills and research to discover the answers. This curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, and assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all children keep up.
- We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, and they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.
- Working Scientifically skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s school career. New vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching and are reinforced through home learning and our use of knowledge organisers. This is developed through the years, in-keeping with the topics.
- Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various Working Scientifically skills in order to embed scientific understanding.
- Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts.
The successful approach at St John’s Community Primary School results in a fun, engaging, high-quality science education, that provides children with the foundations for understanding the world. Our engagement with our local area (Norfolk Broads) ensures that children learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them. So much of science lends itself to outdoor learning and so we provide children with opportunities to experience this. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts as well as through links with our local High Schools, children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Children learn the possibilities for careers through connections with our local University learning from and working with professionals from a range of different scientific backgrounds. Children at St Johns enjoy science and this results in motivated learners.
It is our aim at intent at St Johns when teaching PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) to start where children and young people are: find out what they already know, understand, are able to do and are able to say. We will always aim to involve them in the planning of the PSHE education programme, changing units when needed to teach when most relevant to co-horts. As part of PSHE children will be taught RSE following a set scheme of work provided by Educator Solutions. Staff will be trained to ensure all staff feel confident and secure to deliver this content.
We will plan a ‘spiral programme’ which introduces new and more challenging learning, while building on what has gone before, which reflects and meets the personal developmental needs of the children and young people.
We will take a positive approach which does not attempt to induce shock or guilt but focuses on what children and young people can do to keep themselves and others healthy and safe and to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
We will offer a wide variety of teaching and learning styles within PSHE education, with an emphasis on interactive learning and the teacher as facilitator.
We will provide information which is realistic and relevant and which reinforces positive social norms.
We will encourage young people to reflect on their learning and the progress they have made, and to transfer what they have learned to say and to do from one school subject to another, and from school to their lives in the wider community.
We will recognise that the PSHE education programme is just one part of what a school can do to help a child to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding they need to fulfil their potential. Link the PSHE education programme to other whole school approaches, to pastoral support, and provide a setting where the responsible choice becomes the easy choice. Encourage staff, families and the wider community to get involved. We will do this by mapping our provision carefully to ensure coverage is robust. Our PSHE teaching will be supported by assemblies, visitors to school, trips, residentials, sporting events and whole school experiences
We will embed PSHE education within other efforts to ensure children and young people have positive relationships with adults, feel valued and where those who are most vulnerable are identified and supported.
We will provide opportunities for children and young people to make real decisions about their lives, to take part in activities which simulate adult choices and where they can demonstrate their ability to take responsibility for their decisions.
We will provide a safe and supportive learning environment where children and young people can develop the confidence to ask questions, challenge the information they are offered, draw on their own experience, express their views and opinions and put what they have learned into practice in their own lives.
Schools are required by law to provide all registered pupils with Religious Education. In Norfolk this includes the Reception Year of the Foundation Stage who should follow the Programme of study for Foundation. At St John’s Community Primary School, we meet the legal requirements for Religious Education by following the EYFS, KS1 and KS2 breadth of study as outlined in the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus 2012. As a school we use the Discover RE Scheme of work to ensure that the requirements outlined in the Norfolk Agree Syllabus are met.
At St John’s, Religious Education aims to reflect the overarching values of the school curriculum, actively promoting the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, physical and intellectual development of the individual and, as a result, enhancing their wellbeing. We emphasise the importance of: pupils valuing themselves and others as well as the role of families and communities; on the celebration of diversity in society through understanding similarities and differences; on care for the environment. Religious Education promotes and critically evaluates the values of truth, justice and respect for all. It also recognises the changing nature of society, including changes in religious practice and expression, the influence of religion in the local, national and global community and the critique of religions from non-religious groups and individuals.
Religious Education lessons at St Johns aim to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding by learning from and about different religions in a way that stimulates their interest and enjoyment in learning, encouraging the best possible progress and attainment for all. We aim to promote an enquiring approach to RE through challenging questions which enables children and young people to think for themselves, to process information, reason, question and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics as well as developing an understanding of the big ideas and events that have shaped - and continue to shape - our world. RE at our school develops children and young peoples’ awareness of themselves and others, offering opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development as well as promoting religious understanding and respect, to promote understanding between those of faith, and to promote understanding between those who are religious and those who are not. It aims to challenge prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping. It is concerned with the promotion of each pupil’s self-worth, enabling them to reflect on their uniqueness as human beings, to share their feelings and emotions with others and to appreciate the importance of forming and maintaining positive relationships within their communities and as citizens in a diverse society and global community.
Teachers at St Johns are encouraged to use a range of pedagogies and teaching strategies, whilst following the Discover RE scheme of work, in order to fulfil the requirements of the Norfolk Agreed syllabus. An ‘enquiry based approach’ is applied to the teaching and learning of with each enquiry focuses on a concept or question taken from one of the areas of study and is rooted in both learning about and learning from religion and belief.
Learning about - Pupils enquire into:
- the beliefs, teachings and practices of Christianity and other principal religions
- other religious beliefs and worldviews
- the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, society and the world
- the nature and demands of ultimate questions relating to religious and moral issues
Learning from religion and belief - In the light of their studies, pupils respond to, analyse and evaluate:
- the fundamental questions of life raised by human experiences, and how religions, beliefs and worldviews may provide answers to them
- the truth claims, beliefs and practices of different religions and worldviews, and the nature of religion itself
- their own beliefs, values and experiences
Teachers at St John’s create a climate for effective learning in RE with enquiry at the heart The enquiry process is to be set within a climate for effective learning in RE where:
- the learning is set in a real and authentic context, with a clear purpose, meaning and relevance
- a safe environment is created where all pupils are valued, so that they can confidently agree to disagree and express themselves freely
- an appropriate level of challenge is provided for all pupils
- all pupils know they can achieve and there is an expectation of success
- pupils have a sense of ownership over what is being learned and how they are learning it
- there is a clear learning journey and identifiable outcomes
- there is space and time for reflection and spiritual development
- assessment for learning is at the heart of teacher planning.
Teachers follow the Discover RE ‘4-step enquiry’ plan which outlines the key principles in the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus’ - Framework for Enquiry
A key question for the enquiry requires children to find an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself. Sequences of lessons focuses on critical thinking skills, require children to personally reflect on their own thoughts and feelings.
Step 1 - Engagement (1 lesson) The key question is explored here within the children’s own experience, whether that includes religion or not. If they can relate to the human experience they will be better able to understand the world of religion into which the enquiry takes them. Their personal resonance with this underpinning human experience acts as the bridge into the world of religion (which may be very much outside of their experience).
Step 2 - Investigation (3 lessons) The teacher guides the children through the enquiry, studying subject knowledge (the factual base about the religion), carefully selected to assist their thinking about the key question. Some of the enquiries have a lot of relevant content so teachers do need to be selective and not try to cover too much. Depth is more important.
Step 3 - Evaluation (1 lesson) This lesson draws together the children’s learning and their conclusions about the key question of that enquiry. This is an assessment task which the teacher can assess by using the Level descriptors at the end of each enquiry. The levels are exemplified and tracking and record sheets are included, as are pupil self-assessment sheets.
Step 4 – Expression (1 lesson) Children are taken back to Step 1, their own experience, to reflect on how this enquiry might have influenced their own starting point/beliefs, etc.
Experiences and Opportunities
Teachers also aim to ensure that children encounter religion and worldviews through:
- planning visits to places of worship, where possible, and where not, making use of video, Internet and e-mail
- meeting, in action and dialogue, people who are religious believers and considering a range of human and religious experiences and feelings
- encouraging children to express and communicate their own and others’ insights through art and design, music, dance, drama and ICT
- developing ICT use, particularly in enhancing pupils’ awareness of religions and beliefs globally
The successful approach at St John’s Community Primary School results in lessons which:
- provoke challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, what is right and wrong, the nature of reality and the being of God
- develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other principal religions, other religious beliefs and worldviews that offer answers to such questions
- develop pupils’ awareness and understanding of religious beliefs, teachings, practices, forms of expression and the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures
- encourage pupils to learn from the diversity of religions, religious beliefs and worldviews while affirming their own faith or search for meaning
- challenge pupils to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to communicate their responses
- encourage pupils to develop their sense of identity and belonging and enable them to flourish individually within their own communities, and as citizens in a plural society and the global community
- help prepare pupils for adult life and employment by enabling them to develop respect and sensitivity to others - in particular those with different faiths and beliefs - and equipping them to combat prejudice and negative discrimination.