The curriculum is the vehicle through which we ensure that all our children receive broad, balanced and exciting learning opportunities. We provide a stimulating and challenging environment where children are encouraged to develop lively, enquiring minds, together with qualities such as imagination and creativity. We wish to foster, within children, a desire to learn, the motivation to apply themselves to tasks and the self-discipline necessary to complete them successfully.
As defined by the National Curriculum 2014, we teach the Core subjects: English, Maths, Science and Foundation subjects: Computing, Languages, Design and Technology, Geography, History, Art & Design, Physical Education and Music as well as Religious Education and Personal, Social and Health Education. Most subjects are taught in thematic topics and learnt in a ‘cross curricular’ way to make learning more relevant to our children.
To meet our aims and pursue our vision, the St John’s curriculum goes above and beyond the National Curriculum. To make it personalised to St John’s, we have established four ‘drivers’ which appear in every topic in every year group. This ensures there is always a focus on these four areas.
Using our environment to support and inspire learning we will:
Maximise opportunities for activities concerned with living, moving and learning in the outdoors.
Develop our sense of adventure and our respect for the natural environment.
As contributing members of a community we will:
Gain an understanding of, and encourage respect for, democracy, public institutions and services in England.
Understand our role within, and how we can make a difference and contribute positively to, the school and wider community;
Local, National, Global.
Challenge and Risk Taking
As learners ready to take risks and be challenged, we will:
Be confident and show perseverance when applying different strategies to problem solving tasks.
Understand and assess risk in order to make better decisions
Experience setbacks in a safe environment to develop resilience.
Spiritual and Cultural
To develop our sense of who we are and how we respond to others, we will;
Experience awe and wonder and develop qualities and attitudes to make us feel good
Distinguish right from wrong, taking responsibility for our own behaviour and respecting the civil and criminal law of England.
Encourage tolerance and harmony by appreciating and respecting our own and other cultures.
Topics and themes are taught in phases– Reception, Years 1 and 2 (Key Stage 1), Years 3 and 4 (Lower Key Stage 2), and Years 5 and 6 (Upper Key Stage 2). This allows teachers to work collaboratively and provide the children with opportunities to work alongside others where appropriate, as part of the learning process.
The beginning of each topic involves a ‘hook’, which is an activity that is planned to excite the children and engage them .Throughout the topic the children will be provided with activities that build on the hook. At the end of the topic the children will be involved in a high quality outcome, which involves them using their new knowledge, skills and understanding.
We provide a wide range of learning situations i.e. individual, paired, supported, independent, groups and class work so that differing needs can be met, ensuring access to the full curriculum for every child. We ensure our children understand that they are an integral part of making the learning process effective through our ‘Secrets of Success’ focus.
We also arrange numerous special events which stimulate the interests of the children. Visits from storytellers, musicians, themed weeks such as book week, creativity week and class outings are all encouraged and carefully planned.
Click on each subject to expand its contents.
The Foundation Stage
Children in the Reception class follow the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ curriculum. This details the characteristics of learning, and prime and specific areas that support all children to learn new skills, acquire knowledge and demonstrate their understanding. Learning is planned through meaningful contexts inside and outside the classroom enabling the children to develop in these areas. The three prime areas in the EYFS Framework are:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
These prime areas work together and support development in all the other areas. The four specific areas are: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. These include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.
Developing a good use of English is a fundamental part of primary learning. By providing a language rich environment, children are encouraged to develop good communication skills and express their ideas both orally and in written form. Reading is given a high priority, not just as a vital skill to be acquired but as a pleasurable activity to be valued for its own sake. A range of published schemes are used including Oxford Reading Tree. Books are grouped in developmental and progressive stages using the Book Band system. Parents are encouraged to share reading books with their children from the earliest stages. Phonic skills are taught daily throughout the Infant phase using Jolly Phonics and are developed with a range of games and activities from Letters and Sounds. Children participate in a Big Write lesson every week where they improve their use of vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation; they also improve work through a process called ‘up levelling’. High quality writing is encouraged across all curriculum areas showing the development of children’s punctuation and grammar to a high level within different genres.
At St John’s we teach children the fundamentals of mathematics within meaningful real-life contexts, so that children develop a good mathematical understanding as well as the ability to recall and apply their knowledge to different situations, investigations and problem solving activities. The children are encouraged to use mathematical vocabulary to support their work while testing their ideas. They learn to solve increasingly complex problems and to persevere in finding solutions. Children have the opportunity to develop and apply their maths skills while working both indoors and outdoors, and through playing different maths games. Cross curricular maths work enables children to see the relevance of maths and provides frequent opportunities for application.
An emphasis on practical scientific activity at St John’s helps to encourage children to understand the world in which they live. Drawing on their own experiences and natural curiosity, children are encouraged to observe, study, question, plan, investigate and experiment. The scientific method of investigation is developed over the primary years and children are expected to relate their findings and draw their own conclusions from a variety of experiments. This enables them to record how things are and ways in which they may change. This is achieved by giving as much practical experience as possible.
All children are given the opportunity to develop their computing capability through a range of curriculum activities. We have a network of multimedia PCs, all accessible to e-mail and Internet facilities within classrooms. We also currently use laptops, ipads, digital cameras, Beebots, talkpoints, Wedo Lego and data logging equipment. Computing in school spans all curriculum subjects and is continually reviewed and developed in order to keep pace with the latest technology.
Pupils from Year 3 onwards learn French and have regular lessons with a fluent French speaking member of staff. Children learn vocabulary and phrases and are encouraged to speak both formally and informally, putting into practice what they have learned. We have developed good links with a school in Lille and Year 5 and 6 pupils spend a week in France on a residential trip using their language skills.
Design & Technology
Design & Technology provides practical learning experiences and offers opportunities for children to develop and refine the skills associated with designing, making and evaluating different products. DT allows children to actively participate and respond to the changing technological world around them; as users, consumers, designers and inventors. The children have the opportunity to apply scientific skills, mathematical skills and information technology skills.
History and Geography
These subjects enable children to gain an understanding of people in society through time and place and at St John’s they are integrated into topics where possible. In addition to acquiring knowledge about other times and other places, our children develop general and investigative skills, through looking at artefacts and documents from the past. These skills are also developed in geography through activities such as interpreting plans, maps and diagrams, appreciating the chronology of time and finding information from a variety of relevant sources, including atlases and encyclopaedia as well as from other non-fiction material. The local environment is frequently used as a learning resource, with children looking at how the Redhill area has changed and some of the problems that local, national and international areas face, both at present and in the future. We are hugely fortunate in having two WW2 Air raid shelters under the common with access from within our school site. St John’s is committed to being environmentally friendly. We are proud to have been awarded Bronze Eco Status and are currently working towards the Silver level.
Art & Design
The aesthetic development of children is encouraged at St John’s through music, drama and art. Art gives children the opportunity for practical, creative activities and the means to express their ideas in a visual form. Children enjoy painting and sketching, using a variety of media, observational drawing, collage, pattern making, modelling, pottery and printing. Our children are provided with opportunities to expand their art skills using a range of ICT programs and digital equipment, as well as exploring and using the outdoors to influence their work. In addition to illustrating their own work, the children study the work of different artists to support and influence their ideas.
St. John’s provides a well-balanced programme of games, gymnastics, athletics, swimming and dance as well as an increasing number of competitive opportunities – both within school and inter school. Children learn to develop control and co-ordination through P.E. lessons. They learn to cooperate with others in small-sided competitive games which develop strategies and team work. We aim to introduce children to a wide variety of sports, allowing them to know the rules and develop the skills so they have an understanding and enjoyment of each sport. The opportunity develop swimming is currently provided in Years 3 and 4, whilst years 5 and 6 use the specialist sports facilities at Reigate Secondary School. There are a variety of extra-curricular sports activities which take place after school for all ages and the school takes part in the local schools’ football and netball leagues as well as other schools’ competitions including cross country running, gymnastics and athletics. We have been awarded the Bronze Sport mark for the second year.
Children are given the opportunity to explore and work with sound, as well as use an extensive range of instruments. Singing is used to introduce many aspects of music making. Children are encouraged to compose and perform, thereby providing a further means of communication. They are encouraged to listen to a variety of music and actively participate in movement and drama linked to music. Children are given a range of musical experiences from various countries around the world including African drumming, Recorders and Sea shanty songs.
Visiting peripatetic music teachers offer tuition in a wide range of musical instruments and both the Infant and Junior choirs have an active role in the school, participating in competitions and concerts throughout the year.
For young children, R.E. is best related to children’s own experiences. Relationships with others, exploration of the natural world, celebrations, customs and festivals are all meaningful and relevant in our children’s moral, spiritual and cultural development.
At St John’s there is a daily act of collective worship, which is Christian based but is nondenominational. We also introduce the children to special days that are important to other principal world religions. Visits to places of worship are part of the programme of study and are important aspects in teaching children to live in a multi-cultural country. During Key Stage 2 children study the development of Christianity and the life of Jesus Christ, as well as parts of the Old Testament. Comparisons and contrasts are made with the other major world religions. A programme of Religious Education based on the Surrey County Council Agreed Syllabus is followed in class lessons.
Although religious education must be taught in all maintained schools, any parent has the right to withdraw his or her child, wholly or partly from such religious education.
PHSE and Citizenship (Personal/Health/Social/Emotional)
There are many aspects of children’s learning which are not exclusive to a particular subject area.
Personal development, Promoting British Values, Health and safety, caring for others and developing self-esteem are part of many of our school core subject areas. At St John’s, our PHSE curriculum is incorporated into topic work and includes a range of visits and interactive experiences with external bodies and agencies.
We also undertake a programme of PHSE and Citizenship sessions with the children where various aspects of growing up and living together are covered. Circle Time helps develop children’s social, emotional and behavioural skills. It enables them to appreciate the importance of respecting each other’s feelings and develops class support for those who may have difficulties with their feelings and emotions.