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St John's CE First School



                                                                                                                            Curriculum Vision

At St John’s CE First School, we deliver a broad and balanced curriculum to all learners  in a loving, safe and inspiring environment. Our aim is to provide appropriate challenge in order to develop resilient learners who are aspirational for future learning and life endeavours. Children are guided on their learning journey by carefully building upon their prior knowledge and skills, to ensure a depth of learning.  Our core Christian values and vision are at the heart of all we do. 

 'The exemplary supportive culture of care and wellbeing for all pupils and adults stems from the inclusive love and respect for everyone in this nurturing Christian family.' - SIAMS excellence 2019

Our curriculum intent:

  • Reflects our Christian ethos as well as British and Rights Respecting Values

  • Is inclusive to ensure all children are understood and valued by placing emphasis on pupil voice

  • Is designed to build resilient learners who have an aspirational mindset for the future and self belief in themselves

  • Develops sequential learning where pupils know more and can do more due to interconnecting knowledge 

  • Relates children’s learning to our local and national context, as well as to the needs of each individual child

  • Focuses on subject specific skills within a creative topic approach 

  • Considers depth, breadth and balance of the curriculum content

  • Offers a mastery approach

  • Follows a progressive model where curriculum leaders often review continuously evaluate its design

  • Teaches our children to be respectful citizens of the community, celebrating diversity and reflecting on local and global issues

  • Provides enriching experiences and opportunities for all

Our Curriculum

At St John's First School, children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum in their Reception year, and the National Curriculum from year 1 onwards. The basic skills of literacy and numeracy are given appropriate emphasis in English and mathematics teaching respectively, and the children follow learning ‘topics’ each term or half-term to provide a focus and context by combining learning meaningfully across a range of curriculum subjects. These themes have been adjusted to take into account the requirements of the revised National Curriculum from September 2014. For more information, please click on the link below.

Primary National Curriculum from 2014

Please see our termly or half-termly year group curriculum maps for more information about what your child will be learning and how you can help at home.

We hold information sessions at different points in the year, for example, maths, spelling and phonics and an introduction to the year ahead. Please see further information below.

Long term curriculum maps are published on class pages. If you would like further details about our curriculum please contact us.

Core Subjects

Basic skills in English, mathematics and other disciplines are regularly and systematically applied across the whole curriculum. We strive for pupils to achieve mastery across a wide range of subjects.


In KS1 our approach teaches the conceptual understanding needed to become an effective reader:

  • that letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language

  • that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters - examples are: s a t, f i sh, n igh t and w eigh t

  • that there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound 'ae', spelt as in 'name', can be represented as in 'table', in 'rain', in 'eight', in 'play', and so on

  • that many spellings can represent more than one sound: can be the sound 'e' in 'head', 'a-e' in 'break', or 'ee' in 'seat'

Within this conceptual framework, we teach the factual knowledge required to become an effective reader and speller: the approximately 176 spellings that represent the 44 or so sounds in English, starting with the most simple one-to-one correspondences.

Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:

  • segment, or separate sounds in words

  • blend, or push sounds together to form words

  • manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words

Phonics Scheme 

We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021. 

Phase one is the beginning of the systematic learning of phonics and will take place predominantly in Nursery and Pre-School. It falls primarily within the Communication and Language and Literacy area of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. This crucial phase is the exciting first step on every child’s early reading journey and forms the bedrock of developing children’s early reading. In this phase children will experience a wealth of listening activities, including using their listening skills to hear sounds in the environment, recognise instrumental sounds and use body percussion. Children will enjoy playing with sounds and words as they develop their language skills, spotting rhythm, rhyme and alliteration in songs and stories they hear. They will begin to explore the skill of oral blending and segmenting. ‚Äč 

A more structured approach to the teaching of reading will begin in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception where children will begin to learn sounds and decode words, they will make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.

In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps. For further details please see our phonics progression. 

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact. 

Reading Scheme 

At St John's First School we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books, children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading. In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics, to ensure complete fidelity to the phonics progression we follow. Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.

Alongside their fully decodable home book, we will be sending a weekly 'reading for pleasure' book home too. Your child will not necessarily be able to read their 'Reading for Pleasure' book independently. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together. In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. This sharing book will be a book they have chosen from their school library or classroom book corner for you to enjoy together.  Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters; explore the facts in a nonfiction book. The main thing is that you have fun! 

Reading in Key Stage 2 is taught through whole class reading lessons teaching specific reading skills; allowing pupils to access extracts of high quality texts and teaching all pupils to analyse texts in depth. 

Writing is taught through high quality texts and learning experiences. Discrete grammar and spelling lessons are taught in every class. Pupils apply their learning independently, sometimes with an element of choice, for example writing from the perspective of a chosen character. Following both personal and general whole class feedback or discussion pupils are encouraged to edit their writing

Mathematics is taught using a mastery approach with Maths- No Problem! as a core resource from Year 1 - Year 4. This approach is based upon the research from Bruner (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract approach), Vygotsky (rich discussion & peer talk), Piaget (thinking processes rather than outcomes), Dienes (exploration before structure and a variety of methods) and Skemp (making links). Each topic is studied in depth and the teacher does not move to the next stage until all children demonstrate that they have a secure understanding of mathematical concepts.

Pupils are given time to think deeply about the maths and really understand concepts at a relational level rather than as a set of rules or procedures. This inclusive approach, and its emphasis on promoting multiple methods of solving a problem, builds self-confidence and resilience. 

Pupils who grasp concepts quickly are challenged with rich and sophisticated problems within the topic. Those children who are not sufficiently fluent are provided additional support to consolidate their understanding before moving on.

Enrichment Through Visits and Visitors

Annually, the school arranges a significant number of visitors, projects and class trips. This includes a residential trip for Year 4. Enrichment activities are an important aspect of the school’s curriculum provision. 

Pupil Voice

Pupil voice is fundamentally important in all the decisions made regarding the curriculum. The school council, ambassadors, play leaders and worship team all make decisions regarding relevant aspects of school life.  Whole school questionnaires and subject specific pupil voice also inform decisions regarding the curriculum.

Early Years Foundation Stage

Our children benefit from a programme that involves appropriate emphases on play and child initiated, exploratory learning, balanced with a programme of adult led sessions, guided support and independent opportunities to read, write and solve problems.  Our Reception pupils develop as confident and capable readers, writers and problem solvers. We are able to provide a strong foundation enabling pupils to thrive as they enter Year 1 and throughout the rest of their school years and beyond.

Monitoring Activities

To evaluate the impact of our provision, senior leaders and subject leaders undertake book looks, observe the quality of teaching and learning and undertake pupil voice interviews. As part of the process, whole school areas of strength and areas for development are identified. Whole school action plans are created and implemented as a result, and then the impact of any intervention is evaluated. ACM also undertake regular visits to monitor the effectiveness of school priorities and curriculum areas.


  • Assessment is used not only to inform teachers of progress, identifying gaps in pupils’ knowledge and skills, but also to reflect on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the taught curriculum, its design and implementation.

  • Senior leaders maintain a strong focus on the curriculum and are accountable for its design and implementation. However, all teaching staff make valued contributions towards the planning, delivery and review of the curriculum, both as subject leaders and as classroom teachers.

  • We believe that our broad, rich curriculum will prepare pupils effectively for internal and external tests and assessments, and the outcomes of these should reflect the success of the curriculum.

Please follow the link to read the National Curriculum in full:  National Curriculum 2014

Click the link for information about the curriculum across all Wimborne Academy Trust schools.

For more information about the school's curriculum, please contact the school via phone or email , marking your email 'Curriculum query'.


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