The curriculum at St Matthew’s is designed to meet the needs of our children and to foster a love of learning. It is set within our agreed Christian values.
Our curriculum is designed to support children to become confident and happy learners who have high levels of competence in both academic and life skills in order to thrive in the modern world. We combine rigorous teaching with many imaginative and creative opportunities for these to be practiced and applied, both independently and with others.
Each day begins with a familiar routine of “daily basics” where we consolidate and improve key learning such as number bonds, tables, mental maths agility, spelling patterns, punctuation, grammar and handwriting. This enables children to have a calm beginning to the day, and ensures that these important skills develop to high levels.
Children in EYFS and KS1 are taught all of the sounds in the English language and how to write them (phonics). This happens at the same time every day, for up to 40 minutes. Each child is shown how to apply these to their reading and writing so that independence in these skills develops rapidly. There is a high level of emphasis on developing speaking and listening, including the introduction of new and rich vocabulary. At St Matthew’s we follow Read Write Inc., developed by Ruth Miskin, which provides a structured and systematic approach to teaching phonics.
We are a Power of Reading School, https://www.clpe.org.uk/powerofreading which means we place books at the centre of our learning. An exciting, engaging and stimulating curriculum is then built around the text that has been chosen. All texts are carefully chosen by CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) as they are high quality books that alongside proven and creative teaching approaches, develop a love of reading for pleasure. The context of the key text gives a framework for providing engaging and motivating opportunities to learn. All areas of the curriculum can be brought naturally and meaningfully including music, dance, art, drama, maths, French and RE. Where appropriate though, some learning is delivered discreetly.
We have signed up to Accelerated Reader, which has over 29,000 books categorised to allow children to choose books suitable for them. The beauty of the programme is that when children have read a book, they complete an online quiz which tests their comprehension. The children earn points if they answer questions correctly and this in turn helps build their reading skills.
Parents and children can find books of suitable levels by using the following website; http://www.arbookfind.co.uk/usertype.aspx.
St Matthew’s uses Maths No Problem http://www.mathsnoproblem.co.uk/ to deliver the maths curriculum, which improves the standard of maths education by providing world-class textbooks, teaching resources and professional development based on the teaching developed in Singapore. The concept of teaching mathematics to mastery is to ensure that topics are well developed. Pupils will spend enough time to fully explore a concept before moving on to a different topic. Alongside this, teachers will set children independent tasks within the context of the key text they are studying, to give children the opportunity to apply their knowledge and to challenge and extend their learning.
All new texts start with an exciting beginning called a “Stunning Start.” This gets the learning underway and captures the children’s imagination. “Marvellous Middles” provide new drive, energy and direction during the learning. Frequently these are expert visitors, trips and visits and experiences that are new. Finally, all learning is celebrated with a “Fabulous Finish!” as the children deserve a huge “well done” for all their hard work, and the parents can find out all about the wonderful experiences that their children have been taking part in. All learning starts with the identification of what children know, and extends daily into new and challenging areas. This is then applied and consolidated.
Woven throughout learning are our Christian values of Kindness, Honesty, Responsibility and Respect, and these – combined with the essential skills for lifelong learning such as perseverance, collaboration, listening and managing distractions – enable our children to become highly competent and happy learners, working in a harmonious environment.
We adhere to the National Curriculum Programmes of Study and these can be read by subject in more depth via the government website;