St Matthew's Primary School & Nursery

Curriculum Overview

We aim for creativity within our lessons at St. Matthew’s and ensure that learning is interesting, relevant and vibrant for all of our pupils.

At St Matthew’s, EYFS follow The Early Years Framework and KS1 and KS2 follow The National Curriculum.

We use the Read, Write, Inc. scheme to teach phonics and the Big Cat Reading Scheme supports children’s independent reading skills across each key stage.  Our specialist Music and Spanish teachers provide specialist subject teaching to every year group every week.

Links to our subject curriculum maps for Key Stage 1 and 2 can be found in the table below:

ENGLISH Belonging MATHEMATICS
RELIGOUS EDUCATION SCIENCE
SPANISH Believing MUSIC
HISTORY GEOGRAPHY
COMPUTING Achieving ART & DESIGN
PHYSICAL EDUCATION DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY

English Curriculum - Reading

At St Matthew’s we strongly promote a love of books and reading. We provide a literature-rich curriculum, giving all children the opportunities to strive to reach their full potential as readers. The more we read, the more ideas and skills we develop for writing. Children who read daily are arming themselves with knowledge, understanding, skills and creativity across the curriculum and constantly building on these as they develop into confident, fluent and expressive readers.

 The curriculum map for English shows a range of rich and vibrant texts, to ensure the children have regular access to high order language and creative writing.

 Our Curriculum

We teach reading using the following strategies: phonics, which is the sounding out of letters using their phonic knowledge, using the pictures in a book as a clue, using the picture clues along with the initial letter and predicting what the word could be from the context. We use the ReadWriteInc. phonics reading scheme in Early Years and Key Stage One (and for pupils who need support in Key Stage Two). We have a very strong focus on early reading, as we know how accelerated the progress is through these early years.   The Big Cat Reading Scheme (Collins) is used across the school.  The scheme comprises of fiction and non-fiction books for children from Nursery up to Year 6.  It has a wonderful variety of genres, with extremely informative and inspiring texts accompanied by stimulating illustrations and photographs.   Children take a Big Cat Reading book home with them each week and they can also take a book from their class book corner.   The children - or parents of younger ones - are expected to log what they read with comments in their home reading log.   Re-reading is an excellent strategy for deepening understanding and there will be times when the children take a book home that they have previously read.

 In class, the children take part in a guided reading session where each child reads in a group with the class teacher at least once a week.   In this group, the children are taught specific reading objectives against end of year objectives. Records are kept in order to assess and plan future learning.  Children also have the opportunity to read individually with a teacher, teaching assistant or reading volunteer.  Individual reading logs are used in each class to record when a child has read to an adult - progress and next steps are recorded and shared with the children.  We have reading volunteers who listen to individual and groups reading, using questioning and discussion to allow the children to deepen their understanding, much like our guided sessions. Reading is planned for across the curriculum and many cross curricular links are made where relevant, to give more context.

 As well as assessing against the end of year reading objectives, we also use the Salford Reading Assessment three times a year.  This allows us to track the children’s reading ages and ensure progress is being made.

 Support and Challenge

Where a pupil may need additional support, strategies are discussed with the subject leader and senior leadership team.  Where a specific learning intervention may be required to support a pupil with their reading, plans are made with the Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion.

 Some pupils work beyond the objectives in their year group (working at greater depth, GDS).  Challenge and support for these pupils is planned by the class teacher, subject leader and Assistant Headteacher for Curriculum to ensure these pupils continue to make progress against their end of year targets.

 End of Key Stage Objectives

There are many reading objectives for each year group, covering many different areas of word reading and comprehension. Here are some examples of key objectives for the end of each key stage:

 End of Reception

‘Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.’

 End of Key Stage One

‘Children can explain and discuss their understanding of books, poems and other material, both those that they listen to and those that they read for themselves.’

 End of Key Stage Two

‘Children can explain and discuss their understanding of what they have read, including through formal presentations and debates, maintaining a focus on the topic and using notes where necessary.’

 Supporting Learning at Home

Taking an active interest in your child’s learning is one of the best ways to help them with school and life. Children are learning all the time – not just at school.   A little bit of reading goes a long way.

 When reading with your child, choose a quiet time to read when they are not too tired. Ten to fifteen minutes each day is usually enough for a younger child.  Older children may enjoy reading independently for a longer period of time. Be positive - praise the children for self-correcting or having a go and try to encourage your child to read with expression.  Talk about the book - rather than just concentrate on reading correctly – as this will develop their comprehension skills.

 English Curriculum - Writing

At St Matthew’s we strongly promote a love of the written word. We provide a literature-rich curriculum, giving all children the opportunities to strive to reach their full potential as writers. The more we read, the more ideas and skills we develop for writing and so, consequently, reading is also an absolute priority. Children who have opportunities to write daily are arming themselves with knowledge, understanding, skills and creativity across the curriculum and constantly building on these as they develop into confident, skilful and talented writers.

Our Curriculum

We teach writing through phonics, mark-making, letter formation, simple words and sentences moving on to more challenging vocabulary and varied sentence structure. The children are taught spelling, punctuation and grammar throughout their English lessons and across the curriculum where relevant; handwriting is also taught and practised daily using a cursive style. The teaching and learning of writing takes place in phonics group sessions (daily for EY and KS1), whole class teaching, guided writing sessions (small group teacher led), modelled writing (by the teacher), shared writing (teacher scribing with children’s ideas) paired writing (writing with a partner) and independent writing. Rich and challenging texts are used, daily, as models for the children, alongside daily opportunities to discuss and experiment with literary ideas and features.

The children are taught to write across a growing number of fiction and non-fiction genres, as they move up through the key stages. These include: stories, poems, diary entries, newspaper reports, play scripts, letters, explanations, non-chronological reports, discussion and argument. The children are taught to understand, identify and write using formal and informal language and to understand when to use the relevant register. Teachers plan writing across the curriculum, matching the subject with the appropriate genre. We plan for many opportunities for the children to write for a purpose, as this context has such a positive effect on attitude towards and understanding of the role and importance of writing. We know that where strong and meaningful cross curricular links are made, the knowledge and understanding are deepened. The curriculum map for English shows a range of rich and vibrant texts, to ensure the children have regular access to high order language and creative writing.

At the beginning of each term the children are given a set independent writing piece, which they then improve on at the end of each term. This is used to assess their progress over the term, alongside continuous formative assessment throughout the term. The children’s writing is marked – in their presence where possible – and they are then given time to respond to the teacher’s comments and next steps. This ensures all opportunities for progress are maximised. The children’s writing is assessed three times a year by: class teachers, the English Lead, SLT and moderated within and across keys stages with the school teaching team. Opportunities to moderate writing with other schools in the borough take place at least once a year. Every four years the writing at the end of each key stage is moderated by Bi Borough moderators. Moderation is a crucial part of teacher assessment. It allows teachers to benchmark their judgements, while helping to ensure that standards are consistent and outcomes are reliable (as agreed in local authority moderation sessions).

We encourage the children to write at home regularly, whether it’s the alphabet, a shopping list, a recipe, a letter to a relative or a poem etc. The more they write, the more confident they will become. Taking an active interest in your child’s learning is one of the best ways to help them with school and life. Children are learning all the time – not just at school.  A little bit of writing goes a long way.

 Support and Challenge

Where a pupil may need additional support, strategies are discussed with the subject leader and senior leadership team.  Where a specific learning intervention may be required to support a pupil with their writing, plans are made with the Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion.

 

Some pupils work beyond the objectives in their year group (working at greater depth, GDS).  Challenge and support for these pupils is planned by the class teacher, subject leader and Assistant Headteacher for Curriculum to ensure these pupils continue to make progress against their end of year targets.

 End of Key Stage Objectives

There are many writing objectives for each year group, covering many different areas of composition. Here are some examples of key objectives for the end of each key stage:

End of Reception

‘The children can write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others.’

End of Key Stage One

‘The children can, after discussion with the teacher: • write simple, coherent narratives about personal experiences and those of others (real or fictional). They can• write about real events, recording these simply and clearly’

End of Key Stage Two

‘Children can write effectively for a range of purposes and audiences, selecting language that shows good awareness of the reader (e.g. the use of the first person in a diary; direct address in instructions and persuasive writing).’

 

In Key Stage 1 and 2, we follow the Westminster Healthy Schools’ Partnership Curriculum Map for PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education) and the overview for each year group can be found here

As a school we ensure that our planning inside and outside of the classroom promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of pupils as well as preparing them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.  Our teachers have high expectations of all pupils and make excellent links between different subjects to promote children’s engagement and enjoyment of their learning.

Our themes for our curriculum are:

Term 1 Belonging New beginnings
Term 2 Celebrate
Term 3 Believing Welcome
Term 4 Changes
Term 5 Achieving Make a difference
Term 6 Moving on

Topics specific to Early Years are:

    2020-2021
Term 1 Belonging All About Me
Term 2 Light and Dark
Term 3 Believing Amazing Animals
Term 4  Moving and Floating
Term 5 Achieving People Who Help Us
Term 6 Travel and Transport

Throughout the school year, we also have curriculum focus days and weeks where particular subjects are celebrated.  Most recent examples of these curriculum enrichment days have included Book Week, Tudor Day, Science and Engineering Week, Arts Week, Friendship Week, World Languages Day and International Day.

Our excellent school choir is made up of about 50 pupils in Key Stage 2. They sing at a range of community events each year and have sung in Downing Street, the Department for Education and the Home Office. A small number of individual instrumental lessons are also available to pupils each term.

The Creative Arts (especially Music) is a particular strength at St Matthew’s. We achieved the Artsmark Gold Award in 2020, Sing Up Platinum (2010) and we have been judged by Ofsted to have Outstanding Music provision (2009).