School Curriculum

 

Rationale

Our Mission Statement says: St John’s Church of England Primary School provides a caring, inclusive and supportive community where every child is a valued member. We have high expectations and are ambitious for our children to succeed. We believe that people learn in a variety of different ways and that teaching should reflect this. We provide a rich and varied learning environment that enables our children to succeed and flourish now, in their next stage of education and in the wider community.

The school’s aims include a commitment to: ·

  • offer a broad and balanced curriculum catering for individual needs regardless of race, creed, gender or disability within the National Curriculum requirements
  • recognize and develop each individual’s strengths and talents
  • help children grow into reliable, independent and positive citizens

 

Time Allocations

The amount of time allocated to curricular subjects at St John's is based on statutory requirements and guidance, our Mission Statement aims, and our pedagogical knowledge of our children’s general and specific needs, backed up by our analysis of qualitative performance data.

 

English

St John’s is a school that is passionate about reading. It is at the heart of our curriculum, as we know that the children who read well, are children who excel in all curriculum areas: it is the cornerstone to their education. We also strive to nurture life-long readers who take pleasure in searching out new books to read, exploring the unexplorable and discovering the undiscoverable.

When a child first starts to learn to read, we focus on children’s decoding skills using Read, Write Inc. Children take part in daily phonics lessons, which teach them the sounds to enable them to read specially written phonetic books (for further details see http://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/parents).

Once children have learnt their sounds (by year 2 for most) they will have daily half-hourly guided reading lessons where they will work in groups, with teachers and independently, to deepen their understanding and love of books. In addition to this, all children are read to frequently and are encouraged to practise their reading at home.

All children have a reading book to read each night and are encouraged to take books from their class book corners. Our new library is open after school for bookworms: all are welcome!

We teach children to write so they can communicate their ideas. With this in mind, we ensure that writing is included across our curriculum in a meaningful and purposeful way. We carefully plan writing units in literacy thinking about the purpose for writing and our audiences. Each year group has a number of core books that form the basis of their English curriculum. From these the teacher plans for good quality writing opportunities across a range of genre: providing models of the structure, features and language of a given text. Story-telling and role play are wonderful opportunities to learn new vocabulary and practise performance skills. Through storytelling, we make sure children know how to say what they want to write before they put pen to paper. This means that they have had time to develop their ideas and order their thoughts before they start to write. We take the editing process very seriously, as this is an important part of the writing process, to ensure a final piece of work that the children are proud of.

 

Spelling

The school follows the No Nonsense spelling programme. This offers a clear progression of skills for each year group from year 2 to 6. The children will build up their knowledge of spelling patterns and rules so that by the time they leave St John’s they will have fully completed the national curriculum programme for spelling.

 

Numeracy

The 2014 National Curriculum for Maths aims to ensure that all children become fluent in the fundamentals of Mathematics, are able to reason mathematically and can solve problems by applying their mathematics.

In order to achieve this at St St John’s Church of England Primary School, teachers in KS1 and KS2 employ the White Rose Maths resources to plan their lessons. 

Our learners will develop a deep and secure knowledge of mathematics at each stage of their learning so that at the end of each year group they will have acquired the mastery of mathematical facts and concepts they have been taught before moving on to more challenging material.

Children develop a concrete, pictorial and abstract understanding of the curriculum and use a range of manipulatives to support their understanding of mathematical concepts. 

More information can be found here:

https://whiterosemaths.com/resources/primary-resources/primary-sols/

Children in the Early Years explore mathematical concepts through play and are given the opportunity to develop these skills through both guided and child-initiated tasks. Children develop an understanding about number, shapes and measures through developing their understanding of key mathematical vocabulary and exploring concepts through everyday play both indoors and outdoors. We want children to recognise the importance of maths in the wider world and that they are also able to use their mathematical skills and knowledge confidently in their lives within a range of different contexts. We want all children to enjoy Mathematics with the ability to reason mathematically.

 
Topic

At St Johns we teach the subjects History, Geography, Art and Design Technology through 'Topic'.

We are in the process of tailoring our topics to reflect our learners in terms of their cultural capital​and what is meaningful to them.

At St John's we believe in enriching learning through experiences in the arts and want to place greater emphasis on creativity across our foundation subjects.

The emphasis on oracy (skills in spoken language) means we want to equip our learners to speak with fluency about the topics they have been taught.

We want our topics to reflect the times we live in and cover current global issues, as well as ensuring that we cover the knowledge and skills outlined in the 2014 National Curriculum.

Year

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

1

Toys

Our School

Significant Individuals:

Artist

Sonia Boyce

Significant Individuals:

Explorer

David Attenborough

Growing Food

The Great Fire of London

2

Time Travellers: The Victorians

Asia
 

Fables & Cultures
 

Our World

Colour
 

3

Active Planet

The Vikings

Stone Age to Iron Age

Fantasy and Surrealism

Chocolate

4

Pictures, Paintings & Photogrpahs

 

Explorers & Adventurers

Saving the World

Egypt

The Romans
 

5

The Greeks

Early Islamic Civilisations

 

Kenya

Architecture & Homes Project (Open City)

Messages in Art

6

Champions for Change

 

WW2
 

Myths & Legends
 

London as a Tourist

Anglo Saxons & Scots

 
Computing

At St John’s Primary School, we believe that Computing is central to the enhancement of education of all children. We want every St John’s child to feel confident at using computing not just in ICT lessons but throughout the whole curriculum. It is our intention that all St John’s children will move onto secondary school with a good understanding of the computing curriculum and its benefits and that they are equipped with effective and transferrable life skills.

Computing Strands:

The Computing Curriculum is divided into 3 strands:

1. Computer Science: This is the core of computing, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.

2. Information Technology: pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content

3. Digital Literacy: Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology.

We use the Purple Mash scheme of work to develop our programming and digital literacy skills. You can find out more about Purple Mash on the 2simple website:

https://2simple.com/purple-mash/

E-safety

A large part of Digital Literacy is also E-Safety; something very important at St John’s. We promote its importance every year in line with Safer Internet Day.

We also follow an online safety curriculum which is progressive from Early Years to the end of Year 6. Our online safety policy, (part of our safeguarding policy), clearly states how monitoring of online safety is undertaken and any incidents/infringements to it are dealt with.

 
Religious Education

St John’s is a Church of England Primary School, therefore the provision of Religious Education is in accordance with the trust deed of the school.

Our Aims of Religious Education are as follows: 

  • To enable pupils to encounter Christianity as the religion that shaped British culture and heritage and influences the lives of millions of people today.
  • To enable pupils to learn about the other major religions, their impact on culture and politics, art and history, and on the lives of their adherents.
  • To develop understanding of religious faith as the search for and expression of truth.
  • To contribute to the development of pupils’ own spiritual / philosophical convictions, exploring and enriching their own faith and beliefs.

At St John’s, we pride ourselves in developing a nurturing and safe community, where pupils feel empowered to ask questions about their faith and spirituality through weekly R.E. lessons, assemblies and in-class discussions. We believe that the teaching and delivery of Religious Education is of paramount importance, as it is concerned with the personal and spiritual development and an understanding and appreciation of faith amongst our pupils. Within this area of the curriculum, acknowledging our multi-faith context, our pupils enquire, ponder and learn about a variety of religious beliefs and world views, and are subsequently empowered to express their understanding about faith and their personal values in a range of ways.

We follow the Discovery RE Scheme of Work with additional units from the SACRE and Tower Hamlets R.E. Schemes, to ensure that 2/3 of our teaching is focussed on Christianity. We deliver additional R.E. Activity Days for Advent, Easter and Pentecost. Our Religious Education Curriculum adopts an enquiry-based approach, beginning with the children’s own life experiences and moving onto learning about and then from religion. This framework provides a vehicle for an open dialogue about faith and beliefs amongst all our pupils, whether they have a faith no faith.  Over the years, within our diverse community, our curriculum provokes challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs, the self, issues of right and wrong, commitment and belonging. In each classroom, our R.E. Working Walls reflect the current half-term focus and shows pupils’ ideas as they evolve over time.

At St. John’s, we encourage a holistic approach to the learning and teaching of R.E. through development of creative links between R.E. and the wider curriculum. In planning, teachers  thoughtfully plan links with Philosophy for Children, Art, Maths and provide opportunity for Extended Writing opportunities to ensure that pupils’ knowledge and understanding is expressed in a range of different forms.

Alongside our R.E. Curriculum, our ongoing work on Christian Values -displayed on the School’s R.E. Working Wall- ensure that our pupils grow and thrive in an environment which is explorative, non-judgemental and encourages respect for all. We hope that enabling our pupils to embrace these values of compassion for others; forgiveness for all and endurance in times of adversity, will ensure that they are ready for the sundry challenges of our world and will ultimately ‘experience life in all its fullness.’

 
Music Education

At St John’s it is our ambition that pupils access an exciting and inclusive Music Curriculum. Music plays a key part in the life of St John’s and it is something that we take great passion and pride in. The phrase ‘Every Child a Musician’ encapsulates the vision for all our pupils from Year 1 through to Year 6, who work alongside experienced music tutors from Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Service. Our aim is that children:

  • Build progressively on their instrument skills over the years and gain the opportunity to experience playing different instruments.
  • Listen, evaluate, and perform a variety of music from a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use their voices with confidence as an instrument to create music with others.

Our provision for each year group is as follows:

Year 1: Drumming and untuned percussion       Year 2: Tuned percussion/ introduction to notation

Year 3: Recorder                                             Year 4: Recorder or Ukelele

Year 5: Ukelele or Flute                                   Year 6:  Flute or Guitar

Despite the challenges of learning a new instrument, all children can take home their instrument to develop their skills. Importantly, all classes have an opportunity to showcase their work in mini presentations to the school community in the Autumn and Spring Terms, and in a Musical Showcase in the Summer Term.

Supplementing our Instrument Tuition, we have Weekly Singing Assemblies, where our children passionately sing a wide range of songs, from traditional hymns to more popular songs and melodies with a moral content. The children learn to sing cannons, in parts and in harmonies, sometimes accompanied by the choir. We are proud that four of our children have gone off to become choristers at Southwark and Westminster Cathedrals.

Over the years, we have worked closely with professional musicians, so that our pupils see high standards of musicianship and get the opportunity to work alongside a professional or perform with a live band. Examples of these are ST Pauls Cathedral, Sacred Voices 4 Schools, VOCESS  and Mindful Music to name a few.

We have a Musician of the Week which is often linked to an ongoing theme, from Celebrating Black Musicians, to Christmas Composers, to Female Artistes. As part of our Extra-Curricular provision, we have a G&T Flute Club, an African Drumming Club and School Choir. Our active choir has a strong membership of 45 and regularly sings in our church services and Summer and Winter Fayres. This enthusiastic group are regular performers at Russia elderly care home; they have sung at events at York Hall, local supermarkets and even the local hotel! 

We believe that music enables our children to develop and realise new skills beyond the parameters of the regular curriculum, and we have seen many of our SEN children flourish in this area of their learning. Music enables our children to use their oracy skills to describe or critique a piece of music; it enables our children to practise their skills of resilience and endurance as they face challenges and try to make things right. We believe that it encourages our children to ‘shine’ without inhibitions and show their true colours.

 
Oracy

At St John’s we use oracy as a powerful tool for learning; by teaching students to become more effective speakers and listeners we empower them to better understand themselves, each other and the world around them.

Put simply, oracy is the ability to articulate ideas, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language. This may sound simple, but there are many strands to successfully expressing yourself.

Throughout our curriculum, teachers plan oracy opportunities that enable children to develop their ideas and deepen their understanding of concepts. Each half term the school identifies a focus role, such as ‘instigator’, ‘challenger’ or ‘builder’, and we teach the children the skills and sentence starters that provide the building blocks for good discussion, questioning and debate. We take every opportunity to use these skills in all aspects of the school day, for example having a question of the day during lunch time for children to consider and discuss with peers.

As a school, we are really passionate about teaching the skills needed for good oracy because evidence shows that on leaving school, children with poor verbal communication skills are less likely to find employment and more likely to suffer from mental health difficulties. In schools where oracy is taught as a discrete skill it has been proven to improve academic outcomes and increase confidence and wellbeing. Having begun our oracy project at St John’s in 2020, we are already seeing a positive effect around the school.

Philosophy for Children (P4C)

Philosophy for Children, or P4C, is an approach to teaching and learning, in which children take part in philosophical enquiry. It enhances thinking and communication skills, boosts confidence and self-esteem, and improves behaviour and well-being. Research has shown that pupils who take part in regular P4C enquiries achieve significant gains in verbal and non-verbal reasoning, as well as improvements in listening, communication, behaviour, questioning, reading and understanding.

P4C and oracy require many of the same skills and compliment one another. As with oracy, P4C is not taught as a stand-alone subject, but is used as a tool for debate and enquiry within our other subjects. For example, in a year one topic about David Attenborough, children were asked to consider the question: ‘Should animals live in a zoo or the wild?’ By discussing this line of enquiry, not only did children deepen their understanding of the conservation aspect of David Attenborough’s work, they also utilised their oracy and P4C skills to express their thoughts and have a thoughtful discussion with their peers. 

Teachers at St John’s carefully plan P4C enquiries once each half term in all subjects and recognise the value of time spent talking without feeling the need for pupils to produce written evidence. The benefits of these solely verbal lessons can be seen in the quality of children’s written work later on in the topic.

Four types of thinking are central to the values and practice of P4C.

  • Caring thinking: this is all about respect for others in the community of enquiry.  Students can display caring thinking by showing that they are listening well to others and that they value their contributions.
  • Collaborative thinking:  this is about helping the community as a whole to progress.  Students show that they are thinking collaboratively when they communicate well with each other and build on each other's ideas.
  • Critical thinking: this is about questioning and reasoning well.  Good critical thinking involves giving good reasons, looking for evidence, testing out ideas, seeking understanding and making valid judgements.
  • Creative thinking: this involves making connections and suggesting ideas. A good creative thinker makes comparisons, provides examples and suggests alternative lines of thought.
 
PSHE

At St John’s Primary School, we want to encourage self-worth and equip children to go on to lead confident, healthy and independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens. We do this by providing personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, which aims to give our pupils a useful toolkit of knowledge, skills and attributes that will help them to manage their life in a positive way and be able to cope well with challenges they may meet.

Children in years 1 to 6 are taught PSHE in weekly lessons using the Jigsaw scheme of work. This consists of six units across the school year and the pattern of learning is the same from year 1 up to year 6, however, as children get older, the concepts become more complex and require a greater depth of consideration and understanding. Units called ‘Being Me in My World’, ‘Relationships’, ‘Celebrating Difference’ and ‘Dreams and Goals’ centre on helping children to reflect on where they ‘fit in’ in the different spheres of their lives: family, school, class, wider community. They are encouraged to consider what makes a caring and fulfilling friendship and to think about their aspirations for the future and how they might plan to achieve their personal goals. ‘Healthy Me’ and ‘Changing Me’ have close links with science and PE, teaching children to understand how their bodies work, the value of making healthy choices and how their bodies will grow and change.

Every child’s voice is valued at St John’s and we aim to nurture their mental and physical health, not only through PSHE lessons, but by having a whole school approach to emotional literacy. Children and families can share any worries and get support from Place 2 Be counsellors who are able to help with anything from worries about friendships to help with building self-esteem. In addition, we have embedded the Zones of Regulation into our school culture. This has really empowered even our youngest pupils to be better able to communicate their emotions and to find effective strategies to reach a sense of wellness which underpins their future ability to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society.