At St Matthew’s, we aim to nurture every child through a high standard of infant education and a wealth of exciting learning experiences, including meaningful extra-curricular activities to complement and enhance our curriculum. As an Infant School, we cover the Foundation Stage (Reception) and Key Stage One (Years One and Two) and our curriculum is tuned to the infant learner’s needs and interests, with learning that is meaningfully structured year on year to build on previous knowledge.
We have designed our topic-based curriculum to foster a love and enthusiasm for leaning and to enable children to progressively learn core knowledge and skills that they can use in an interconnected way across subjects. Our broad and stimulating curriculum incorporates a wide range of opportunities that enables children to acquire key knowledge, understanding and skills by the end of Key Stage One. Our intent is to help children to develop to their individual potential both academically and personally and to be ready and confident to embrace their next steps in Key Stage Two.
As well as core knowledge and skills we provide learning experiences that promote children’s spiritual, moral, cultural, social and physical development. Our school values – Responsibility, Friendship, Justice and Wisdom – are an integral part of our St Matthew’s learning experience. Children learn responsibility for their behaviour, trying their best and being a thoughtful member of our community, both local and beyond. They explore and experience fairness and the place of justice in our local and global community, and consider wisdom while learning to understand the consequences of thoughts, words and actions; they learn about the importance of friendships and good relationships as they work and play together. Through our values-based curriculum and engaging learning environment, we promote growth mindsets and positive learning behaviours that foster skills for life-long learning.
Our curriculum aims are:
- to provide excellent teaching as well as exciting, and meaningful learning experiences in a broad and high-quality curriculum.
- to enable all children to have the opportunity to reach their highest potential academically and personally.
- to create a rich and engaging learning environment that offers a diverse range of learning experiences and that promotes positive learning behaviours.
- to foster skills for lifelong learning, growing motivation, learning character and ability to learn in different ways.
- to encourage children to begin to learn to be responsible in their learning, working together with teachers on their next steps in learning.
- to grow confident learners who have a love of learning and a growth mindset.
- To provide a curriculum that interacts with local community and environment and that radiates out to the wider community and world to nurture global citizens and thinkers for the future.
- to use our local resource fully, embracing outdoor learning that enhances and enriches the curriculum.
- to offer a wide range of enrichment activities and experiences, including after school clubs, inter-school sports, visitors and educational visits.
Our mathematics mastery curriculum focuses on mathematical language, and concrete, pictorial and abstract representations leading to learning that fosters a deep conceptual understanding and strong procedural knowledge. Through well-paced lessons pupils develop deep structural knowledge of key concepts and an ability to make connections as they learn to reason and follow a line of enquiry. We maintain a strong focus on mathematical fluency through practise and consolidation of learning, using variation to help build the ability to recall and apply knowledge. Our precise teaching and encouragement of a growth mind-set enables all children to engage successfully with mathematical tasks, and we use a problem-solving approach and precise questioning to develop deep thinking and understanding. Above all we develop an enjoyment of learning mathematics through our fast-paced interactive lessons where children do a lot of the talking; and we take every opportunity to apply mathematical knowledge and skills in other subjects, showing the relevance of maths in our daily lives.
Our English curriculum promotes high standards in language and literacy, both spoken and written, aiming to develop a love of reading and writing. The literacy skills that are developed provide access to our whole school curriculum and form an essential foundation to learning.
Children are immersed in a language-rich environment that helps to develop vocabulary and grammar for speaking and listening, reading and writing. They are taught to explain their thoughts and ideas to others, to listen when others are speaking and to ask questions. They learn to explain their understanding of books, take part in meaningful discussions and prepare their ideas for writing. They are given everyday opportunity to communicate their thoughts and ideas in a variety of situations, including discussion with a partner, a group or class. Children regularly take part in school assemblies and learn to speak with confidence to larger audiences.
At St Matthew’s we teach specific reading skills, building competence in speedy recognition of familiar words and decoding of unfamiliar words. Phonics is taught specifically as a tool to decode words and comprehension and vocabulary is developed through quality discussion of texts read, developing understanding and conveying meaning of texts. A love of reading and of books is fostered throughout the school with children learning to select, read and talk about a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Emphasis is placed on reading fluently, practising at school and at home. We follow the National ‘Book Band’ scheme to provide texts of appropriately graded difficulty that are matched to each child’s individual ability.
Children learn to write for a range of purposes, developing competence in spellings and communicating their ideas effectively. We maintain a strong focus on letter formation to develop fluency in cursive handwriting for careful presentation of work. Children have the opportunity to develop their ability in factual and creative writing, learning how to plan, revise and evaluate their work. We encourage increasing independence, teaching dictionary and thesaurus skills to aid this process.
Spellings / Vocabulary
Our carefully structured letters and sounds programme supports outstanding progress in reading and spelling. We use every opportunity to enhance children’s growing vocabulary, helping them to make links between new and known vocabulary and to understand shades of meaning in similar words.
At St Matthew’s we provide a science curriculum that enables children to explore and discover the natural and humanly constructed world around them, deepening their understanding of the world we live in. Children enjoy using exciting, relevant hands-on experiences that encourage curiosity and questioning. Our lessons take part both in the classroom and through outdoor learning on the Common – stimulating a love of learning science and extending scientific knowledge and vocabulary. Our children learn to carry out scientific enquiries, working scientifically, to ask questions, observe closely, perform simple tests, identify and classify, and use observations and data to suggest answers to questions. They begin to use scientific language to explain what they have found out, communicating their ideas in a variety of ways, also using mathematics where it fits in with the science curriculum.
Topic – History and Geography
We use cross-curricular creative themes for teaching and learning history and geography with exciting and engaging topics that teach and develop the skills of historians and geographers. In history, children develop an awareness of the past, learn to use historical vocabulary and develop their understanding of chronology while learning about significant historical events; in Geography they develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality, developing use of geographical vocabulary relating to both human and physical geography. Through studying significant people and events from the past, and through exploring different environments and landscapes, children learn and practise the key skills needed in history and geography. They undertake investigations and enquiries, using various methods, media and resources; they compare and analyse different types of evidence; and they present and communicate their findings in a range of ways.
We provide a high quality RE curriculum that is rich and varied and that enables our learners to use an enquiry approach and to develop their analytical and reflection skills. As a Church of England School, at the heart of our RE is the teaching of Christianity and as an inclusive community school, we also teach about other religions and world views, fostering respect for them. Our RE curriculum is rich and varied, enabling our children to gain knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith, and to have opportunities to understand and make links between beliefs and practices of different faiths. At St Matthew’s, we learn about the Jewish and Muslim faiths.
Links with our school Christian values and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development are intrinsic to the RE curriculum, enabling spiritual and personal growth.
Our RE aims are to
- enable children to know about and understand Christianity as a living faith and how it influences people worldwide.
- enable children to know and understand about other world religions.
- contribute to the development of children’s own spirituality as they explore their own beliefs and values.
- appropriate to their age, children give an informed and thoughtful account of Christianity as a living faith; show an informed and respectful attitude to other religions and views; engage in meaningful dialogue with those of other faith and none; be reflective about their own beliefs.
We use Purple Mash as a basis for our computing curriculum. From Reception through to Year 2, the children are taught the principles of information and computation as well as how digital systems work. They begin to learn the skill of programming, debugging, algorithms and coding. Each year we take part in Internet Safety Day. Using technology safely and respectfully is also addressed regularly.
Computing lesson do not always take place in our computing suite. It is also done in a hands-on, screen-off way too as part of the wider curriculum.
Our PE curriculum is lead by coaches from Sports Stars UK. All children receive 2 PE lessons per week and every Summer term, they receive swimming lessons which take place at Feltonfleet school. The children’s physical development is developed though a rich curriculum including football, hockey, tag ruby, dance, athletics, gymnastic and tennis.
St Matthew’s is an active school and the children are kept active throughout the day, not just in their PE lessons. We take part in the daily mile and offer regular brain breaks though mindfulness and guided dance.
Children are encouraged to take part in after school clubs. Those on offer include tennis, football, dance and multi sports.
PSHE, SMSC and RSE:
At St Matthews, teaching of the PSHE curriculum is supported by the Jigsaw scheme of work. Jigsaw brings together PSHE Education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development in a comprehensive scheme of learning. Teaching strategies are varied and are mindful of preferred learning styles and differentiation. Jigsaw is designed as a whole school approach with all year groups working on the same puzzle piece on the same theme at the same time. Mindfulness is also developed and practised through the ‘Calm Me’ time in each lesson – this consists of breathing techniques, awareness exercises and visualisations.
The six Puzzles in Jigsaw are…
Being in my World
Celebrating Difference (including anti-bullying)
Dreams and Goals
Each Piece has six lessons which work towards an ‘end product’ for example ‘The School Learning Charter’ or ‘The Healthy Café’. Each piece has two learning intentions: one based on specific PSHE learning (covering the non-statutory framework for PSHE Education) and one is based on Emotional Literacy and social skills (covering the SEAL learning intentions). Jigsaw is relevant to children living in today’s world as it helps them to be equipped to cope with issues like friendship and internet safety.
Wherever possible, Jigsaw lessons are linked to our school values – Responsibility, Friendship, Justice and Wisdom.
SMSC (Spiritual, Moral Social, Cultural) development
Each lesson (puzzle piece) contributes to at least one of these aspects of children’s development. This is mapped on each puzzle/lesson and balanced across each year group.
We also support the teaching of the PSHE curriculum through our Just Different Week, Feeling Good week, Fairtrade Week, Healthy Eating Week, Great Get Together Day, Beep Beep Day and Pants Day.
The specific SRE content is taught in the Changing Me Puzzle and enhanced through the use of the NSPCC Pants Campaign. However, teaching healthy relationships is also supported and enhanced in other puzzle pieces.