Our schools provide a distinctively Christian setting where we work in partnership and all are valued; a setting which is secure, caring and inclusive.

As custodians of their future, we are fiercely ambitious for our children.

We believe that individuals learn in many different ways and that our teaching should reflect this. We provide a rich and healthy learning environment that fosters physical and emotional well-being for everyone at the school and that offers our children and staff every opportunity to succeed and flourish, now and in the future.


Our curriculum aims to acknowledge and reflect the diversity of our school community and provide the cultural capital to enable them to succeed in the next stages of their lives.

Outcomes in all subjects utilise age-appropriate opportunities to make links between prior and new learning. The school’s intention is for children to enjoy their learning, develop enquiring minds and grow in the personal qualities they need to be good citizens of the world.

We aim to provide a curriculum that focuses of knowledge, skills and character.


We want our children to be literate and numerate with an appropriate understanding of the world around them. Ofsted talk about developing a deep body of knowledge, not isolated information in pupils’ minds.

‘the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’

The design, and delivery, of our curriculum is sequential and builds on prior knowledge towards clear objectives at the end of each year or key stage.


We want our children to be able to communicate effectively; we want them to be collaborative and creative; we want them to think critically, be digitally literate and recognize the opportunities, and dangers, of social media and having an online presence.


We want our children to be humble and tolerant, compassionate and forgiving. We want them to be self-confident, independent and supportive of each other. We want them to be resilient, have high self-esteem and to be happy.


We recognise that for students to aspire and be successful academically, and in the wider areas of their lives, they need to be given rich and sustained opportunities to develop their cultural capital, i.e. their knowledge, behaviours, experiences and skills.

The range of activities prior to the Coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, can be seen from our Cultural Capital Map. We are currently rebuilding this provision, through a cautious approach to visits, workshops and other activities. These will be added to our Cultural Capital Map as they develop.



Reading is at the heart of the curriculum. A love for reading is encouraged and nurtured as soon as our children begin school. Our school library is the first thing that pupils, families and visitors to the schools see when they walk into the school.

Synthetic phonics is taught systematically using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme, and pupils make good progress. By the time pupils enter KS2, the majority can read fluently and decode unknown words using phonic cues. Pupils are able to access their guided reading lessons with a greater emphasis on taught reading skills to support their comprehension.

Our school works with a number of local businesses whose staff volunteer their time to come into school and hear children read once a week.

The school embarked on an ambitious Oracy project in 2019, with a strong focus on talking fluently and accurately, expressing ideas and developing pupils’ confidence, self-esteem and communication skills. We see these as vital to equip children for the demands of the 21st century. The oracy framework enables students and teachers to understand effective communication and puts strategies in place to improve speaking and listening skills. This is woven through the whole curriculum and each class has a set of discussion guidelines as we look to embed high quality oracy. Although this initiative was disrupted by the impact of Covid-19, we have relaunched this term (Autumn 2021) and are inducting our new staff.


We believe that mathematics is best learnt through the children having a deep, conceptual understanding of a range of mathematical ideas. It is important for children to be not only able to find the answers to problems, but to also be able to explain the reasoning behind their lines of enquiry using accurate mathematical vocabulary., We aim to inspire the children to increase their fluency in mathematics and to become increasingly sophisticated problem solvers.

We follow the ‘White Rose’ curriculum and a mastery approach is being implemented. Pupils build their understanding, competence and confidence through careful planned ‘small steps’ to progression.  Children are encouraged to use and apply their number knowledge and taught skills to high quality reasoning and to problem solving activities that challenge them further. Children enjoy the challenge that mathematics provides and achieve at a good standard.


Science, which was previously covered in IPC, is now taught separately through the ‘Switched-on’ scheme. There are new topics each half term and each includes an investigative activity.


Religious Education

Religious faith and practice is given a high profile, both in the school as a community, and through the curriculum. Because St. John’s is a Church of England school there is a particular focus on the Christian faith, but we also recognise the value and richness of a multi-faith community and endeavour to draw upon this community in order to promote a positive school environment. RE is delivered using a version of the Discovery scheme adapted to our needs and is supplemented by visits to places of worship and visits from speakers of different faiths.

Right to withdraw from RE and Collective Worship: Although the Education Reform Act (1988) gives parents the right to withdraw their child from Religious Education and Collective Worship, it is unlikely that parents who have chosen St. John's School should wish to do this. However if you do wish to do so, you must consult the Executive Headteacher.

Topic (History, Geography, Art and Design Technology)

In 2018 the federation committed to designing its own broad ‘Topic’ curriculum to replace the ‘International Primary Curriculum’ (IPC) for history, geography, art and design technology. Long term and medium-term curriculum planning has been structured to ensure the progression of a broad range of knowledge and skills from Year 1 to Year 6, with clear milestones, building on early learning goals. High-quality texts are at the core and vertical links are identified to show where topics build on prior learning.

Our Topic curriculum ensures children have specific learning experiences relevant to them. It is designed to be ambitious and accessible to all, to include the most disadvantaged, SEND and high needs pupils. It provokes curiosity and provides opportunities and experiences which are diverse, rich and aspirational. Thematic approaches to learning bring learning alive and build a sense of reason and purpose. Each topic begins with a dynamic start to build interest and ends with an exit event to consolidate and celebrate what has been learnt. Originally introduced in 2020, Covid-19 disruption means that this year (2021-2022) will be its first full year of implementation.

Philosophy for Children (P4C)

The school uses P4C – an approach to teaching and learning which, research has shown, enhances children’s thinking and communication skills, boosts their self-esteem, and improves their academic attainment. Education Endowment Foundation research shows SAPERE P4C boosts literacy and numeracy, particularly for disadvantaged children. The school has been successful in attaining its silver award for P4C


The school has two sets of laptops and a set of iPads used to support the teaching of computing and the wider curriculum. The computing curriculum content is covered using ‘Switched on Computing’ and pupils are encouraged to use computing skills across the wider curriculum, with a focus on staying safe in the digital world at school and at home.

Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE)

All year groups are taught PSHE on a weekly basis. It covers the DfE programmes of study including Health and Wellbeing, Relationships, and Living in the Wider World

As well as weekly lessons, there are additional theatre workshops that cover themes such as anti-bullying or drug education. We have a school council that meet regularly and talk about current issues that affect their life at school. PSHE uses the Jigsaw resources.

Physical Education PE

Each class has in-school PE sessions covering dance, or gymnastics, and games skills along with a programme of external coaches who come in to teach specific sports, such as rugby, judo and hockey. We follow the PE Hub programme for P.E. and games.

Time is allocated to swimming, which includes changing time and walking to the pool (although this has temporarily ceased because of the pool closures due to covid-19).


THAMES (Tower Hamlets Arts & Music Education Service) provides specialist teachers for lessons in African drumming (Years Nursery, Reception, 1, 2, 3 & 6) and ‘more able’ drumming (all classes).

We take part in projects such as those provided by the Concordia Foundation.

Modern Foreign Languages

French is taught in Key Stage 2 at St John’s and we follow the DfE’s Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages, the National Curriculum Non-Statutory Guidance using the Language Angels scheme. Each year we hold a French Day where we celebrate the language and culture of our nearest neighbour.

Relationships & Sex Education (RSE)

The Governors have agreed that sex education should be taught in the school and that questions are answered by teachers when they arise.  RSE is taught in Years 1 to 6 following the ‘Living and Growing’ curriculum. 

Parents/ carers are invited to view the material to be taught, if they have any concerns or questions. The Education Reform Act (1988) gives parents the right to withdraw their child from the non-statutory elements of Relationships and Sex Education. If you do wish for this, please consult the Executive Headteacher.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The Early Years Foundation Stage follows the ‘Development Matters’ curriculum. This supports our practitioners in being child-centred, so that all children can make progress at their own level and ability.  Within the framework, the Prime areas are: Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Communication and Language; and Physical Development. There Specific areas are: Literacy; Mathematics, Understanding of the World; and Expressive Arts and Design. 

The Early Years environment encourages children to explore, to play and to be active, as independent learners. We provide a range of stimulating activities that cover all areas of learning and children are given opportunities to solve problems and be challenged in a fun, interactive way.

Special Educational Needs (SEND)

Our school is committed to offering an inclusive curriculum to ensure the best possible progress for all of our pupils; whatever their needs or abilities. Our aim is to ensure high quality provision for all children with special educational needs and/ or any disability - SEN(D) - so that they can achieve their full potential.

We know that not all children with disabilities have special educational needs and equally, not all children with a special educational need meet the definition of disability, but our policy covers all of these pupils. We feel that all children’s contributions to school life should be valued and we seek to develop the self-esteem of every child.

See our SEND Policy

Educational Visits

Whenever possible the school encourages class teachers to take their class out on Educational Visits to broaden the curriculum and to enhance the curriculum covered in the classroom. For each trip a Risk Assessment must be completed and approved by a senior leader. Generally, classes walk or travel by public transport.


Formative assessment is used to check understanding and inform teaching. Teachers give high quality feedback in core subjects providing good opportunities for pupils to make next step improvements. As a result, pupils show an enthusiasm for learning and are able to articulate how teachers help them to improve. Progressively, pupils take ownership of their learning through self-evaluation and peer marking, as they move up the school.

There are national assessments for children in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 6.

Anonymised class results are reported to Governors and the local authority.


Each week teachers give each child in Years 1 to 6 a piece of homework. This work is to be completed at home with an adult and handed back in the following week. This is in addition to reading at home.

Teachers may still give out additional targeted work. For this to be a success it is essential that there is an effective partnership between the school, pupils, parents and carers.

See our Homework Policy

Equal Opportunities and Race Equality

St John’s School is committed to equal opportunities for all its children, staff and other stakeholders, whatever their ethnicity, culture, national origin or national status, whatever their gender and gender identity, whatever their religious or non-religious affiliation or faith, whatever their sexual orientation and whether they have a disability.


See our Equal Opportunities Policy


November 2021