The National Curriculum consists of the three core subjects English, Mathematics and Science, together with the foundation subjects: History, Geography, Design Technology, Computing, Music, Art, Physical Education, Personal & Social Health Education (PSHE), Religious Education and Modern Foreign Languages (for Key Stage 2).
Religious Education - All children
As a Catholic School, we attach the greatest importance to Religious Education in the life of our School. This not only applies to specific R.E. lessons but in the everyday interaction of school life, assemblies, meal times, play times and all the relationships that exist within St. Joseph’s. We try to help children to find a personal faith in God and to enjoy a sense of awe and wonder at His creation. We teach tolerance and respect for other faiths, races and cultures.
Through the teaching of Religious Education and provision in all areas across school life we follow the Westminster Diocesan requirements:
- To provide for a lived faith experience through worship, retreats, assemblies and action for social justice.
- Classroom Religious Education is to be resourced as a core subject and allocated 10% of teaching time.
- Teaching Religious Education in accordance with the general norms laid down by the Bishops’ Conference: Religious Education Curriculum Directory (3-19) (2012); Statement on Religious Education (2000) and any Diocesan guidelines.
- Assessing Religious Education in accordance with the general norms laid down by the Bishops’ Conference: Levels of Attainment in Religious Education in Catholic Schools and Colleges (2007).
- Evaluating the teaching and learning in Religious Education according to the current Diocesan Inspection Framework.
The Eucharist, worship and prayer are central to the life of our school. There is strong provision for school-based celebrations which are complemented by visits to our Parish Church and the invaluable support of our chaplain, Father Jeff Steel. Charitable outreach (Macmillan, The Passage, The Catholic Children’s Society, St. John’s Hospice and Mary’s Meals) and the call for social justice (Peace and Justice Society) are also integral to our curriculum.
We use the ‘Come and See’ Scheme to teach Religious Education to our pupils and supplement this with resources from the Framework for Catholic Schools produced by Dr Margaret Carswell. Both of these schemes implement the requirements of the Curriculum Directory and other expectations of the Bishops’ Conference.
Early Years Foundation Stage – 3 to 5 Years of Age
The Early Years Foundation Stage covers the period of learning for children in Nursery and Reception. The curriculum is presented in a rich, stable, caring and effective environment that enables each child to realise their full potential.
The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is taught in ways that build on a child’s curiosity and interests, enabling them to learn through planned worthwhile play activities. Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.
There are 7 areas of learning and development that comprise the curriculum’s framework; however every aspect of the curriculum is interrelated. Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are: Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning. As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.
All 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities and are designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow each child’s unique needs and interests. Although young children do not separate learning into curriculum areas, and every aspect of the curriculum is interrelated and interdependent, the 7 areas form the framework on which the Early Years Foundation Stage is built.
The principles which guide the work of all early years’ practitioners are grouped into four themes:
- A Unique Child – every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Positive Relationships – children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
- Enabling Environments – children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners, parents and carers.
- Learning and Development – children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all the children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development.
In English, during Key Stage 1 pupils learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. They begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm. They use language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds. Teaching should ensure that work in ‘speaking and listening’, ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ is integrated.
During Key Stage 2 pupils learn to change the way they speak and write to suit different situations, purposes and audiences. They read a range of texts and respond to different layers of meaning in them. They explore the use of language in literary and non-literary texts and learn how language works.
More information about English in the National Curriculum can be found here.
Spelling and Phonics - Early Years Foundation Stage
The emphasis at this stage is multi-sensory with the linking of the teaching and practising of letter shapes and patterns with the development of pupils’ ability to listen to, and discriminate between sounds which make up a word. Much of this occurs through games and activities which encourage focused listening. Pupils learn at an early stage how to discriminate and make connections between letter sounds used in reading and letter names used in spelling. Developmental writing is encouraged to give pupils confidence. They use their emerging knowledge of phonics to write words. Support is given to spelling by providing aids such as letter charts and simple word banks.
Children should be able to: blend and segment sounds easily, learn that segmenting words into their constituent phonemes for spelling is the reverse of blending phonemes into words for reading, spell words accurately by combining the use of grapheme-phoneme correspondence knowledge as the prime approach and also morphological knowledge and etymological information. Children are also encouraged to use a range of approaches to learn and spell irregular words.
Pupils have access to a range of phonics opportunities that include at Early Years and KS1:
- Whole class teaching of specific spelling patterns and phonics teaching using the Read Write Inc. Programme.
- Dictation using the Read Write Inc. Fred Fingers to sound out and spell.
- Daily discrete phonics teaching including 1:1 Toe by Toe
- Using phonics knowledge in real life contexts
- Applying skills in cross curricular contexts
- For more information see our Phonics Policy
During Key Stage 1 pupils develop their knowledge and understanding of mathematics through practical activity, exploration and discussion. They learn to count, read, write and order numbers to 100 and beyond. They develop a range of mental calculation skills and use these confidently in different settings. They learn about shape and space through practical activity which builds on their understanding of their immediate environment. They begin to grasp mathematical language, using it to talk about their methods and explain their reasoning when solving problems.
Once they are in Key Stage 2 pupils use the number system more confidently. They move from counting reliably to calculating fluently with all four number operations. They always try to tackle a problem with mental methods before using any other approach. Pupils explore features of shape and space and develop their measuring skills in a range of contexts. They discuss and present their methods and reasoning using a wider range of mathematical language, diagrams and charts.
Find more information about our Calculation Policy here.
More information about Mathematics in the National Curriculum can be found here.
During their Science lessons the children are encouraged to think and work scientifically – devising their own questions and considering how they might answer these using their scientific skills of fair testing, predicting, observing, measuring and identifying patterns in data before presenting their findings and drawing conclusions.
In Key Stage 1 the children learn about: plants, animals including humans, habitats, everyday materials and seasonal changes. This learning is extended in Key Stage 2 when the children continue learning about the topics they studied in Key Stage 1 and some other scientific topics are added to the curriculum: rocks, light, forces and magnets, states of matter, sound, electricity, properties and changes of materials, Earth and space and evolution.
More information about Science in the National Curriculum can be found here.
Find out more about the following subjects by visiting these links.