The School Curriculum at St Matthew’s RC Primary School.
The school mission statement below is a constant source of reference when defining our curriculum:-
We provide a broad, balanced and inclusive curriculum to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of all pupils with the aim of preparing the pupils at St Matthew’s for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. Our enhanced school curriculum has the national curriculum at its core to provide pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.
We believe that our teaching develops exciting and stimulating learning experiences in and beyond the classroom to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum. We promote universal human values encompassing equality and respect for all, enabling our pupils to value their British status and traditions within an inclusive multi-racial society.
Each year group has a curriculum overview which is shared with parents at the Curriculum Evenings early in the Autumn Term. All families receive a curriculum handbook pertinent to their child’s year group.
We provide a wide range of experiences to enhance learning through the use of visits outside of the school and welcoming visitors into school to share their knowledge, skills and expertise. This includes residential experiences in upper Key Stage 2.
We promote global citizenship within our curriculum which has enabled us to achieve the International School Award 2012 – 2015 as we were accredited with ‘outstanding development of the International dimension in the curriculum’. Our curriculum has included the teaching of French in all year groups since 2006.
As a Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided School we teach Religious Education in line with the expectations of the Bishops’ Conference and the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. We also provide opportunities across the curriculum to develop the understanding of Catholic Life, Collective Worship and other World Faiths.
Teaching Reading in Reception and KS1.
Reading in Reception class has its foundations firmly rooted within the systematic teaching of phonics.
To prepare children for reading they are first taught the different grapheme (letters) and phoneme (sounds) correspondence so that when they see a letter they know which sound it makes.
Once the children are confident with this, they progress to blending the letter sounds which is their first step to reading. They begin by blending simple CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words; for example ‘cat’, and then move on to blending trickier CCVC/CVCC (consonant, consonant, vowel, consonant/ consonant, vowel, consonant, consonant) words; for example ‘flag’ or ‘tent’.
In Foundation Stage and throughout Key Stage 1, each child is involved in a daily phonic session aimed specifically at their ability to ensure progress. The sessions provide the children with the chance to revisit their existing knowledge, learn new grapheme/ phoneme correspondence as well as words that aren’t phonetically decodable, practise using the sounds and words and also apply their new knowledge into an activity.
In Reception class we develop these skills by playing different sound games with the children so that they receive maximum opportunities to progress with reading, and this is done several times throughout the day, in adult-led activities, child-led activities and specific blending homework activities.
It is vital that the children are competent with the skill of blending before they are provided with the opportunity to apply it to a reading book. This means that the children can read the book independently, and know how to tackle any words which arise that they can’t sight read immediately, with minimal support from an adult. This, in turn, builds their self-esteem and self confidence in their own abilities.
The children then take part in weekly guided reading sessions which allows them to continually practise and apply their progressing skills, as well as developing their proficiency in understanding and discussing what they have read.
We have invested in the Phonics Bug Club range of books published by Pearson and use a wide range of supporting materials to encourage a love of reading for pleasure and learning.
Click below for curriculum information supplied at the annual parents’ curriculum evenings at the start of each academic year. Apart from Reception Class there are two documents (PDF) for each year group.