Our Curriculum

The School Curriculum Intent at St Matthew’s RC Primary School.

The school mission statement below is a constant source of reference when defining our curriculum:-

Welcome to our happy school, where everyone is valued and given the opportunity to ‘let their light shine’. With Jesus in our hearts, we encourage love and respect for all. We strive to reach our goals, as we learn, and grow, in a safe and enjoyable environment.

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. Our curriculum is progressive and sequential and is regularly reviewed.

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 Catholic Primary 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.

Sounds-Write is a quality first phonics programme. Its purpose is to provide a scheme to teach reading, spelling and writing.  

The Sounds-Write programme teaches the children to understand the way the alphabet (referred to as ‘code’) works. Because of the complex system of the alphabet code in the English language, often, in the early stages of learning to read and spell, pupils will not be able to spell some sounds using the correct spellings. However, pupils taught using Sounds-Write are more likely to be able to write almost anything they want using plausible (phonetic) spellings for sounds. As they progress through Key Stage 1, pupils learn systematically how words are spelled in English. The ability to express oneself in writing from the start of school gives children enormous confidence, which naturally feeds back into the other kinds of learning taking place within the school curriculum.

Sounds-Write teaches children that:

  • Letters are symbols (spellings) that represent sounds.
  • Each sound may be represented (spelled) by a 1, 2, 3 or 4-letter spelling.
  • The same sound can be spelled in more than one way (goat, slow, note, toeover).
  • Many spellings represent more than one sound (ea in read and bread).


The following skills are taught throughout the Sounds-Write program:

  • Blending – the ability to push sounds together to build words (c-a-t = cat)
  • Segmenting – the ability to pull apart the individual sounds in words (pig = p-i-g)
  • Phoneme manipulation – the ability to insert sounds into words and delete sounds out of words. This skill is necessary to test out alternatives for spellings that represent more than one sound.

It is important to note that speed and accuracy need to be achieved for all three of the above skills in order for them to become automatic.

  • There is a short 20 minute, online course that parents can complete that is aimed specifically at parents and carers and will further your understanding of the Sounds-Write program and teaching. You can find the course by going to: https://www.udemy.com/help-your-child-to-read-and-write/

Reading Books

Each week the children will be following systematic phonics teaching.  In EYFS they will be learning the Initial Code.

From Y1 and in Y2 the children will continue following the systematic phonics teaching but will work through the Extended Code – looking at ‘same sounds different spelling’ and ‘same spelling different sounds’  this will be when the children learn how to read and spell words using a variety of different alphabet code.

Reading at Home

Children from EYFS to Y2/Y3 will take home a variety of reading books to share at home including

  • A phonic book matched to the phonic code that they have previously been taught

This will be a book that the children can read independently using their segmenting and blending skills. This may be a book the children have previously read. This is vital for repeat reading and confidence in reading.

  • A reading for pleasure choice

A book to share with an adult as either a shared reading experience or a bedtime story. Listening to someone else read is just as important in the children’s learning.

How Can Parents Support children at home?

Reading at home, every day, has the biggest impact on your child’s learning and progress.  Please find below some suggestions that will support you with supporting your child.

  • Use letter sounds rather than letter names with their children at home. This will avoid confusion for the children and will reinforce the learning being done at school.
  • Avoid adding an extra vowel when pronouncing letter sounds eg ‘buh’ ‘duh’
  • When listening to your child read encourage them to have-a-go at unfamiliar words by encouraging them to: “Say the sounds and read the word”.
  • Visit the Sounds-Write website for further information, support and resources: http://www.sounds-write.co.uk/
  • Attend the Sounds~Write Parent Workshop
  • Learn more about how we teach phonics and how you can support your child at home using the online course by going to: https://www.udemy.com/help-your-child-to-read-and-write/

Click below for curriculum information supplied at the annual parents’ curriculum evenings at the start of each academic year.

Please see the following document for information about how we timetable our curriculum across the year to ensure full coverage of the National curriculum:

Primary Curriculum Coverage (Curriculum Continuity)