St Michael's
Church of England Primary School

Header image

Enabling every child to flourish in their potential as a child of God



Our approach to teaching and learning

“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.“  Dr Seuss

At St Michael’s our aim is to provide a caring, exciting and inspiring place to learn, where children feel safe and nurtured. We want our children to become resilient learners, with a growth mindset, who are willing to try new things, learn from their mistakes and reflect on their learning. We want our children to grow into independent, confident and ambitious young people, well prepared for the next stage in their education.

Our curriculum is evolving and designed to equip our children to thrive in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world.  Whilst studying the curriculum, we want to build the habits of ambitious capable learners by:

•    Setting themselves high standards and expectations (be ambitious)
•    Learning from mistakes and when faced with challenges, have the growth mindset of “I don’t know it yet.”
•    Developing a body of knowledge and have skills to connect and apply the knowledge in different contexts
•    Being curious and motivated to ask questions
•    Enjoying the challenge of solving problems and using logical and rational skills to build critical thinking (reasoning skills)
•    Communicating effectively; explaining succinctly the ideas and concepts they are learning about and listening to other’s view points (Kagan strategies)
•    Being ready to learn throughout their lives (life-long learning)
•    Using imagination and intuition to explore possibilities and look at things in different ways (creative thinking)

Collaborative learning opportunities are encouraged at our school. ‘Kagan’ strategies are embedded to promote engagement in learning and instill the values of sharing and co-operation. Mixed ability groupings are used as far as possible and children have the opportunity to work with different learning partners throughout the year.

One of the central aims of the curriculum is to ensure that our children are both "interesting and interested". We want them to be 'interesting' to talk to, because they know a great deal about the world and 'interested' in finding out more.  We want the children to deepen their understanding of the world and build up their knowledge over time, as we understand that knowledge is 'sticky', in other words, the more children know the easier it is for them to know more.  Therefore we have designed our curriculum with knowledge at its heart.  We make use of knowledge organisers (KO) to ensure children know exactly which information is expected to be learned over the course of their study in a particular subject.   

Our bespoke 'Knowledge Organisers' include:

  • essential facts about the topic
  • key vocabulary or technical terms and their meanings
  • images such as maps or diagrams

See Bespoke St Michael's Curriculum Map


Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit

“For everyone well-being is a journey.  The secret is committing to that journey and taking those first steps with hope and belief in yourself.”  

At St Michael's, we have a bespoke 'Healthy Body, Mind & Spirit Curriculum' (HBMS).  Some aspects of the curriculum we cover in our collective worship, but we also make sure that we have opportunities in class to have age appropriate discussions.  Therefore we have built into our timetable weekly  'Let's Talk’ sessions, in which we cover the following four core themes:

1.  Health and well-being

2. Being safe in the school and beyond the school gate

3. Relationships

4. Living in the wider world

Within these themes, the lessons include discussions about British Values, global citizenship, personal safety, health and mental well-being.

See Collective Worship overview

 See our BMS (Body, Mind & Spirit) overview

English

“You can find magic wherever you look.  Sit back and relax, all you need is a book."  Dr Seuss

Why do we teach English?

English sits at the heart of the primary curriculum and at St Michael’s we value our children’s right to be literate and to enjoy literature. We teach the children to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and be able to listen and respond when others communicate with them. Reading in particular, helps children to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Reading not only enables pupils to acquire knowledge but develops knowledge, as it helps the children to build on what they already know.

All the skills of language are essential to fully participate as a member of society and therefore we aim to equip our pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, as well as develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

What do we teach?

Spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting:

A consistently high standard of joined up handwriting and neat presentation are promoted across the whole school, which all children and staff recognise, understand and follow. In Reception, letter formations are taught alongside phonics and once the children have learned their letter formation and sounds, joined up handwriting is encouraged. From Year 1 onwards, all classes begin the day with handwriting practice.

We follow a structured spelling scheme. In Early Years and Key Stage 1, phonics lessons are planned using the Letters and Sounds framework and delivered using the Tower Hamlets approach. In Key Stage 2, a spelling rule is introduced at the beginning of each week. The children practise their spellings for the week by writing these words in the daily handwriting sessions, using the ‘Quiz, Quiz, Trade’ strategy, and revising at home. At the end of the week, the learning is assessed by a spelling test and dictation.

Grammar and punctuation learning opportunities are weaved into the literacy lessons, but also taught discreetly at times.

Writing

Writing is taught through the ‘talk for writing’ (T4W) approach, which gives the children the opportunity to learn quality texts off by heart so that they can internalise and embed rich language, sentence structures and vocabulary and build upon these skills every year. This approach also helps the children to learn key story plot patterns, which makes it easier for them to generate their own stories because they know where the story is going. As a result of this approach, the children can focus on their vocabulary choices, structuring their sentences, punctuation and making sure they include essential grammar elements so that their writing makes sense.  A range of fiction and non-fiction genres are taught, as well as poetry, to ensure children are aware of the features of different text types. Once children have imitated a quality text, they move to the independent application - planning and produsing their own writing.  Alan Peat’s ‘exciting sentences’ are taught as a writing strategy in our aim to meet the expectations set out in the national curriculum.  This approach equips the children with a bank of varied sentences, as well as punctuation used in context.

Reading

To develop their reading skills in Early Years, a structured phonics approach is embedded and every child receives 1:1 reading opportunities. In Year 1 and Year 2, daily guided reading sessions are held, with a focus on word reading and comprehension. We implement a whole class reading approach in the Spring Term in Year 2, with similar features as in Key Stage 2.  From Year 3 upwards, reading is taught using a whole class teaching approach. In dedicated reading slots, the teachers use a range of strategies to aid comprehension and encourage reading with meaning. The sessions incorporate whole class modelling prior to the children applying these skills through partner and independent work. The children are frequently reminded that to be a good reader, they should read each day. Therefore, in addition to the dedicated teaching of reading, opportunities for ‘reading for pleasure’ are built into the timetable and children are always encouraged to read at home.

Our expectations (Impact)

Click here to see the checklists we are using in Reading and Writing to track how well children are doing against age-related expectations:

Reading expectations

Writing expectations


Maths

“Maths may not teach me how to add love or subtract hate, but it gives me every reason to hope that every problem has a solution”  Albert Einstein

Why do we teach Maths?

At St Michael’s, we believe that a high quality education in Maths not only provides vital tools for understanding the world around us, but also helps develop broader problem solving skills. It also stimulates a curiosity that allows children to thrive in all areas of their learning.

Maths is all around us - we use maths skills and capabilities every day, from estimating and making calculated choices, telling time, handling money to following a recipe and measuring accurately. Everyone requires some level of specific mathematics knowledge! In most professions a sound understanding of maths is a key requirement and the stronger it is, the better the individual is able to perform in their role. The children of St Michael's are encouraged to develop their mathematical understanding to its full potential to prepare them for their future in the world.

What do we teach?

We teach the Maths as set out in the National Curriculum. To ensure we embed the fundamentals in Maths, all Maths lessons begin with the structured approach of ‘CLIC'  which provides the children with basic number skills appropriate for their age. These skills focus around Counting, recall (Learn its), making links (It’s nothing new) and Calculation strategies. Through embedding these basic number skills, children develop their mathematical competency and as a result they have greater freedom to explore more complicated mathematical concepts through problem solving and reasoning. We encourage children to learn from mistakes and develop the values of perseverance and resilience, as well as recognising the importance and advantages of working collaboratively.

STM Maths Overview

Our expectations (Impact)


RE

“All religions, cultures, and beliefs deserve the same amount of respect, even if they are different from your own.” “If you are unable to love and respect someone because they don’t believe as you do, maybe you need to have another look at what it is that you believe in.”

Why do we teach RE?

Religious Education (RE) plays an important role in reflecting and conveying the distinctively Christian character of the school. With the school’s vision statement of 'enabling every child to flourish in their potential as a child of God', the child’s sense of own identity and worth as well as their personal beliefs and values are developed through the teaching of RE. Embedding core values will help the children to make reasoned and informed responses to life issues and moral choices. The RE curriculum helps children to develop both knowledge and understanding of Christianity as well as the other major world religions, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. We want to give the children a platform to develop deeper thinking and reflect on truth, belief and faith. Religious Education is also an opportunity to foster children’s feelings of awe, wonder, joy and mystery and to extend their natural curiosity in God’s world.

What do we teach?

Our expectations (Impact)

Expectations in RE - information to follow soon


Science

“Science is simply common sense at its best”  Thomas Huxley

Why do we teach Science?

  • To provide a framework of knowledge so that all of our children will become educated citizens.  Science is a way of helping the brain grow by discovering new knowledge and developing an understanding of how the world works.
  • To learn how to solve problems and make informed decisions: Scientific experiments follow a structured method: 1. Combining a scientific question with research; 2. Conducting experiments to test the hypothesis and 3. Evaluating the results to draw conclusions. Every decision we make in everyday life is based on the structure of a scientific method: curiosity leads to asking questions (what is the problem?), constructing a hypothesis (how do I solve it?), testing it with evidence and evaluating the result (did the solution work?), and making future decisions based on that result.
  • To develop and maintain curiosity: We believe that studying science will help to spark imagination, fuel curiosity and nurture inspired and confident young scientists. Without curiosity and wonder, children lose their natural inclination to observe the world, ask questions of it and investigate to find answers.

What do we teach?

Our Science curriculum covers the three main areas of learning as set out in the national curriculum:  life & living processes (biology); materials (chemistry) and physical processes (physics). We want to give the children the opportunity to explore for themselves and therefore much of our science learning is undertaken through investigations.

We have designed a knowledge organiser for each unit of study, which gives the children and teachers the 'bigger picture' of the topic they are learning about. 

Content of learning in Science:

Y1:  Everyday materials; Animals, including humans; Plants; Seasonal changes

Y2:  Living things and habitats; Use of everyday materials; Plants & animals, including humans

Y3: Light; Rocks; Forces and magnets; Plants & animals, including humans

Y4: Electricity; Sound; States of matter; Animals including humans; Living things and their habitats

Y5:  Forces; Earth & Space; Properties of changing materials; Animals including humans; Flowering plants (living things and habitats)

Y6:  Light; Electricity; Evolution & inheritance; Animals including humans; Living things & habitats

Our expectations (Impact)

We start each unit with a diagnostic assessment, which gives teachers an idea of where the children are in their learning and what prior knowledge they have.  Our bespoke knowledge organisers sets out what we want the children to know by heart by the end of the unit of study.  We expect the majority of children to be able to recall many, if not all, of the key facts. 

At the end of the unit we assess the children's knowledge and understanding in relation to the content of learning.

Through their learning about the range of topics in Science and developing their scientific knowledge, the children of  St Michael's have the opportunity to develop a strong set of skills in working scientifically.  These skills are developed throughout the year and throughout the key stages by building upon previous skills.  

See Science skills expectations by year group.



History

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell
“People without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”

Why do we teach History?

  • To provide a framework of knowledge so that all of our children will become educated citizens (cultural capital).
  • To develop our sense of identity: We learn who we are and how we came to be; History develops the children's understanding about themselves as individuals and members of society and helps them to see the diversity of human experiences.
  • To motivate and inspire: History inspires us through bravery and courage of our forefathers. History teaches us that a single individual with great convictions or a committed group can change the world. It is from numerous acts of courage that human history is shaped. Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the life of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
  • To learn from it: History has the largest reference of mistakes. As we learn from the successes of our ancestors, we can also learn from their mistakes to prevent us from making them again.
  • To develop critical thinking: History helps us to look beyond the headlines, to ask questions properly, and to express our own opinions. History trains our minds and teaches us to think and process information.
  • To help children to sense of the world and to develop the concept of historical time and chronology.

What do we teach?

To develop children's knowledge and understanding of Britain's past and that of the wider world, we deliver our History curriculum through topics.  With the topics we have chosen, we aim to inspire children's curiosity to know more about life beyond their living memory and equip them to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement. We also make make meaningful links to other subjects. 

Content of learning in History:

  • Y1: Toys; Kings & Queens
  • Y2: Great Fire of London
  • Y3: Stone Age; Ancient Egypt
  • Y4: Romans
  • Y5: Benin; Vikings & Anglo-Saxons; Anglo-Saxons & Scots; Ancient Greece
  • Y6:World War I & World War II

We have designed a knowledge organiser for each unit of study, which gives the children and teachers the 'bigger picture' of the topic they are learning about. 

Our expectations (Impact)

We want our children to leave St Michael's with an understanding of how their lives are effected by the events of the past; a knowledge of the sequence of key events; an understanding of historical concepts; an ability to question sources and accounts and an enjoyment of history. 

Our bespoke knowledge organisers sets out what we want the children to know by heart by the end of the topic.  We expect the majority of children to be able to recall many, if not all, of the key facts.   At the end of each unit we use a 'pop quiz' to assess the children's knowledge and understanding in relation to the content of learning.



Geography

“I began studying geography because I wanted to learn more about the world I live in.”Alice Hyde
“It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it.” Isaiah 45:12

Why do we teach Geography?

Geography is more than learning about maps; it is the study of places, landscapes, environments and people - and how they have affected each other over time to become what it is today. 

We teach Geography to develop a better world view – it helps the children to gain an appreciation for the world that goes beyond the borders that they live within and develops their understanding that they are part of a global community.

We want to

  • Provide the children with a framework of knowledge so that will become educated citizens (cultural capital).
  • Inspire in our children a curiosity and fascination about the world they live in.
  • Develop an understanding of place within space.
  • Develop and appreciation that the world goes beyond their border; that they are part of a global community.
  • Encourage children to reflect on our key question weaving through our geography curriculum - "How can we improve the quality of people's lives?"

“The study of geography is about more than just memorising places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it’s about using all that knowledge to help build bridges and bring people together.”  Barack Obama

What do we teach?

To develop children's knowledge and understanding of locational knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical geography and geographical skills and fieldwork, we deliver our Geography curriculum through topics.  With our chosen topics, we aim to inspire children's curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. The children are also encouraged to reflect on the key question, weaved throughout the topics, of  'How can we improve the quality of people's lives?'  

Content of learning in Geography:

  • Y1: Our local area, country, continent & world
  • Y2: Rainforest & Seaside
  • Y3: Oceania & Extreme Earth
  • Y4: Asia;  North America
  • Y5: Africa & scarce resources
  • Y6:  Antarctica; Changing landscapes, changing world

We have designed a knowledge organiser for each unit of study, which gives the children and teachers the 'bigger picture' of the topic they are learning about. 

Our expectations (Impact)

We want our children to leave St Michael's with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth's key physical and human processes. We want to educate our children to know how to improve their life chance and the quality of people's lives. 

Our bespoke knowledge organisers sets out what we want the children to know by heart by the end of the topic.  We expect the majority of children to be able to recall many, if not all, of the key facts.   At the end of each unit we use a 'pop quiz' to assess the children's knowledge and understanding in relation to the content of learning.



PE

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live”. Jim Roh

Why do we teach PE?

Physical Fitness is not only one of the most important keys to healthy body, but it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity’ John.F.Kennedy

We teach PE to encourage children to become actively involved in sports as well as to recognise the benefits of health and fitness. Physical Education gives us the perfect chance to build on children’s ability to be part of a team and additionally to support the building of individual character. Physical Education is also the ideal opportunity to solidify our school rule of respect as children learn the values of fairness and respect within sport.

An opportunity to succeed and excel in competitive sport , learn how to deal with the highs and lows of winning and losing is also a reason for teaching PE. It is of great importance to s that children experience the enjoyment of PE and how it can help us to feel good about ourselves , consequently gaining skills that last a lifetime.

Lessons involve a range of team work predominately in houses -led by House Captains in upper juniors-paired work and some individual activities.

At St Michael's we are committed to provide opportunities to learn to swim. Swimming is the only sport which can save a child's life... drowning is still one of the most common causes for accidental death in children, so being able to swim is an essential life-saving skill.  Swimming also keeps children's heart and lungs healthy, improves strength and flexibility and it increases stamina, balance and posture.  Another great thing about swimming, other than the fact that it is lots of fun, is that children of any age or ability can take part in this form of exercise.

Click here to see more information about our 'Walk-a-Mile' initiative.

Click here to see our inter-school festival overview for this year

Click here to see more information about our PE and Sports Premium funding

What do we teach?

At St Michael's we want children to succeed and excel in physical activities as well as competitive sport.  Children are encouraged to join school sport's clubs and signposted to clubs outside of school.  In Physical Education (PE) we focus on making sure that all the children are active and engaged throughout the lesson. Our varied programme includes:

  • Autumn I: Multi-skills
  • Autumn II: Dance
  • Spring I: Gymnastics
  • Spring II: Invasion games
  • Summer I: Net games
  • Summer II: Athletics 

We are committed to the national expectations that all children learn to swim at least 25m and therefore Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 children visit our local swimming pool each week, all year long. The children have the opportunity to develop their skills and confidence during these years.

St Michael's is part of a network of schools and teams which attend sports tournaments where we compete against others. Children of all ages compete in multi-skills tournaments, football, cricket and sports-hall athletics.

The highlight of the year is the Sports Day which is held at The Bridge in the Summer Term. This is a chance for the children to take part in fun events as well as to show off their skills in both field and track events.  Parents, carers and family members are encouraged to come and watch their children compete at this lovely sporting event.

Our expectations (Impact)

In PE, the children will develop fundamental movement skills and are encouraged to become increasingly competent and confident in their physical abilities, agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others.  Further on in the school pupils continue to apply and develop a broader range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways , find ways to to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They will be taught to communicate, collaborate and compete with each other. The children will evaluate and recognise their own success.

Click here to see progression in multi-skills (Autumn I)

Click here to see progression in dance skills (Autumn II)

Click here to see progression in gymnastics skills (Spring I)

Progression in invasion games (Spring II) to follow

Progression in net games (Summer I) to follow

Progression in athletics (Summer II) to follow



Art & Design

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Scott Adams

Why do we teach Art & Design?

  • To develop imagination, creativity and expression:  Art allows children to explore, build upon and record their own creative and imaginative ideas. Making pictures allows children to express their feelings and ideas, both as a means of self-expression and to communicate to others. Older children may use pictures for more conceptual purposes, expressing their concerns and worries.
  • To develop visual thinking and observational skills:   Pictures encourage us to think about and understand the world visually, instead of restricting learning and the acquisition of knowledge to words and numbers alone. Making pictures helps children observe more closely and therefore become better observers of detail in the world around them.
  • To develop critical thinking, problem solving and analytical skills:  Children gain an understanding of art and design. Pictures enable children to explore and test out ideas, while making decisions on how they choose to depict them.
  • To develop confidence and self-esteem: A child’s picture is his or her own. It has worth in its own right, without having to be measured or judged by others as right or wrong.

What do we teach?

Autumn Term

Art Theme:  'God's wonderful world', which links well with our Geography topic of 'Seven worlds, one planet'.
  • Skills:  Drawing & painting
  • Artists:  Wassily Kandinsky; Henri Rousseau; J Vincent; Alan M Hunt; Georgia O'Keeff
DT project: Fabric Faces (Y1,2); Mechanical posters (Y3,4); Automated animals (Y5,6)

Spring Term

Art Theme:  Sculpture.  We link our art with the history topics.
  • Skills:  Drawing & 3D work
  • Artists: Barbara Hepworth; Marc Quinn; Michelle Reader;  Eva Rothschild; Brendan Jamison
DT project:  Food technology (linked to healthy food)

Summer Term

Theme:  Patterns.  Pattern awareness has been described as early algebraic thinking, which involves noticing mathematical features.  
  • Skills:  Drawing & Printing
  • Y1: pattern in the environment (artist - Andy Goldsworthy)
  • Y2: pattern as landscape in nature (artists - David Hockney & Metzinger & Van Gogh
  • Y3: pattern as repetition (artist -  William Morris)
  • Y4: pattern as landscape in cities (artists -  LS Lowry & Monet)
  • Y5: pattern as repetition - Pop Art (artist - Andy Warhol)
  • Y6: pattern as contrast (artists - MC Esher & Banksy)
DT project:  Fabric bunting (Y1,2); Let's go fly a kite (Y3,4); Felt phone cases (Y5,6)

Our expectations (Impact)

We expect our children to make informed judgements, aesthetic and practical decisions. We want them to explore ideas and meanings through the work of artists and designers. By experiencing appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts, we want to enrich their lives.

The skills we are focusing on in art this year are drawing, painting, 3D work (sculpture) and printmaking.  Click on the link to see the progress drives for each skills:

Drawing skills progression

Painting skills progression

3D work skills progression

Printmaking skills progression

Design & Technology progression in skills



Music

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Victor Hugo

Why do we teach Music?

Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity – it is a key part of our lives and therefore we recognise its value at St Michael’s. We believe it offers children something that is emotional, imaginative and fun.

We also teach music to:

  • Develop creativity: It builds imagination and self-confidence.
  • Improve academics: Music helps the body and the mind work together. Research has shown that it develops areas of the brain that pertain to language and reasoning. Learning songs can improve children’s memory skills.
  • Develop children socially, culturally and spiritually: Music teaches children a variety of cultures and helps people to connect. Children are naturally very social, and it's important to encourage them to build relationships by providing them experiences to share with each other.

What do we teach?

In addition to our weekly singing assemblies, drumming lessons in KS2, guitar lessons and Christmas and Summer performances, we also have weekly music lessons. 

This year we introduced the Charanga scheme of work.  By teaching this scheme of work in our weekly lessons, we enable our pupils to meet the expectations set out in the National Curriculum. 

Click here to see an overview of the Charanga music scheme

We believe music can play an important part in spiritual development - music 'instructs the mind, inspires the emotions and challenges the will'  and therefore music is an integral part of our Collective Worship.  During Collective Worship, children have the opportunity to listen to a range of beautiful songs and they also take part in singing songs, which our children have said to be a 'very uplifting' experience.

Our expectations (Impact)


Computing

“Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you just want to purse a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.” Stephen Hawking

Why do we teach Computing?

  • To prepare our pupils for today's world and the future.  It is a key skill required in their future workplace and to be active participants in a digital world.
  • To provide a framework of computing knowledge: The core principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to utilise this knowledge through programming.
  • To teach analytical and problem solving skills in computational terms: It allows pupils to solve problems, design systems, and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence. 
  • For pupils to become digitally literate: enabling children to use technology, to express themselves and develop their ideas through information and communication technology, teaching children to be responsible digital users and to understand how to keep themselves safe online.

What do we teach?

We are very excited about our new class set of i-pads we have just purchased!  We are looking forward sharing with you the learning of computing on our blog, so watch this space.

We teach the National Curriculum and we have organised the content of learning as follows:

Autumn Term - Online Safety & internet

Spring Term - Computer Skills

Summer Term:  Programming

The objectives for each unit of study are outlined on our STM computing overview document

Our expectations (Impact)


MFL (Modern Foreign Languages)

“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things. (Flora Lewis)”

Why do we teach a different language?

There are many good reasons for learning a second language; research has proven the cognitive benefits, such as memory improvement and longer attention span. The world is changing quickly and learning a second language could potentially improve an individual's employment prospects. More companies than ever are managing business in several – often dozens of – countries around the world, but they are unable to do this without hiring globally-minded people able to speak at least one foreign language. If an individual makes the effort to learn another language, rather than expecting the world to accommodate their own language, then it shows the ability of that individual to adapt and cope to different situations as well as to have a wider interest about things.

In September 2019, we introduced the teaching of French in Key Stage 2.  French is in the top 10 of most spoken languages in the world, and with France being so close by and a popular destination when traveling, it makes it a relevant language to learn for the children growing up in Britain.  It will also allow them a head start in Secondary School.  In addition to French, the children in Key Stage 1 are also exposed to the foreign language of Italian, as we have a teacher from the Italian Embassy visiting the school once a week. 

What do we teach?

French:

Previous years we offered Italian as a modern foreign language, however from this academic year we are teaching French in Key Stage 2.  We have purchased quality resources to support the teachers with the teaching and delivery of lessons. We do our best for the lessons to be enjoyable and fun,  so that the children develop a positive attitude to learning a Foreign Language.

Italian:

We have an Italian teacher, from the Italian Embassy, exposing our younger children (Reception and Key Stage 1) to Italian.

Our expectations (Impact)

Teachers assess children's progress informally during the lessons.  They evaluate progress against the national attainment targets of:

Listening & responding;

Speaking; Reading & responding;

Writing.  

Click here to see the French progression in skills


RSE (Relational & Sex Education)

“Relationships are like birds, if you hold tightly they die, if you hold loosely they fly, but if you hold with care they remain with you forever...”

Why do we teach ?

Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) is a lifelong learning process of acquiring information, developing skills and forming positive beliefs and attitudes about sex, sexuality, relationships and feelings. Parents/carers have a major responsibility to help children cope with the physical and emotional aspects of growing up, however, the intent of the school is to support parents in this task. We believe effective RSE could make a significant contribution to the development of the personal skills needed by pupils if they are to establish and maintain healthy relationships. It also enables young people to make responsible and informed decisions about their health and well-being. Consistent with the Church School ethos, we base the teaching of RSE on the premise that all life is from God and we are created in the image of God.  We are called to love, as God is love.

What do we teach?

Our RSE curriculum is weaved into our Body, Mind and Spirit Curriculum... see overview


Values Education

“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.”

Why do we teach Values?

Even though the world is changing, the values that children need to develop do not really change over time - it is the application of these values that changes. ‘Values’ are the long-term underlying principles used in deciding what is right and wrong, good or bad and helps children learn and practice healthy attitudes and behaviour, such as respect, trust and resilience. Our values education underpins everything we do and encourages the children to make a positive contribution to the development of a fair, just and civil society.

What do we teach?

Our one school rule is respect.  We expect children to demonstrate the value of respect by respecting themselves and their learning, respecting their peers, respecting the staff and community, respecting the school environment and ultimately respecting God. In addition to the value of respect, the school has adopted 6 further key values we actively teach and promote - love, hope, peace, joy, trust and resilience.

We teach the British Values to nurture our children on their journey through life so they can grow into safe, democratic, tolerant, responsible and respectful individuals who make a positive difference to British society and to the diverse world we live in.  We encourage our children to be creative and open-minded, respectful of themselves and of others in our school, our local community and the wider world.


EYFS

"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning.  But for children, play is serious learning."  Mr Rogers

Prime Areas of Learning

The EYFS  curriculum into prime and specific areas with the prime areas forming the foundation of all learning that follows.

The prime areas of learning are:-

  • Personal Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development
  • Communication and Language Development
Personal Social and Emotional Development:


The activities and experiences offered in the Early Years are designed to enhance the all round development of the children and help them to make sense of the world. The children have a mixture of discrete learning time and free flow activities, with plenty of opportunities for challenge.  The discrete learning time is planned from a vibrant curriculum and tailored to the needs of the child. In the free flow areas there are adult-led activities, which are linked to the development matters. Throughout their time at St Michael’s, the children will learn through active and investigative play both inside and out. Through this the children explore and develop learning experiences, which they practise and build up ideas and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems, making and testing predictions and they develop an understanding of and respect for the needs and emotions of others.

The children in Reception have free access to our outdoor environment for most of their session, whatever the weather. We have embraced the Swedish saying; “there is no such thing as bad weather…just bad clothing” and encourage children and families to dress appropriately for the changeable British weather.   We plan for the children’s learning outside in the same way that we plan for the indoor learning experiences, drawing on the children’s interests in order to really excite and motivate them.  

Emotional Development:  We aim to help all the children become more adaptable and confident. We want them to believe in themselves and their own abilities and to develop a growth mindset where if they can’t do something, it just means they can’t do it yet.  We know that high self-esteem and confidence within the children is a very important key to success. We know that the relationship we build with children and parents is an essential part of this and that is why, in addition to the daily contact and communication, we also have ‘Stay & Play’ opportunities for parents. The induction of families into school is also managed carefully. The process includes an induction meeting at school, as well as a home visit - prior to children starting in Reception.

Social Development:  This is a very important area. It includes being socially aware of the needs of others, e.g. sharing and being fair, reasoning out disagreements rather than using physical measures, co-operating with others, forming relationships with other children and adults, and helping to care for God’s nature. The beginnings of independence are fostered in the children, by encouraging them to cope with their own clothing, cleanliness and toileting needs. This idea of doing as much as possible by themselves encourages them to be aware of the needs of others too e.g. an older or more able child helping a younger less able child. Another aspect of social development is that the children are encouraged to leave a piece of equipment, or an activity as they would wish to find it. They are also encouraged generally to help with the preparation and clearing away of activities, and everyone helps at “tidying up time”! Children tidy – adults support!  At St Michael’ we are very proud of our buddy system, which plays an important role in helping the younger children to feel safe and cared for, whilst the older children feel valued and respected.  At the beginning of each year, every Reception child gets paired with a Year 6 child and over the year they have many opportunities to develop that relationship, for example the Year 6 children accompany their buddies for their ‘Walk a Mile’.  The buddy system give children the opportunity to practise the important values of respect, valuing difference, responsibility, friendship and it contributes to the caring ethos in the school.

Physical Development :

This is a crucial area in the children’s development, as many children learn best through physically active play. We plan activities inside and out that will develop the children’s coordination, balance, control and movement. Activities that will raise their confidence and ability to take safe, manageable risks and that will help the children to feel the positive benefits of being healthy and active. Outside the children will develop confidence in climbing, balancing, running, skipping, maneuvering and steering etc. They will also develop body co-ordination and spatial awareness. The fine motor skills necessary for controlling tools and manipulating objects are developed through construction toys, cutting, threading, sewing, woodwork and cookery experiences as well as through tactile materials like dough and clay. Communication, Language and Literacy Development

Communication, Language and Literacy:

In addition to our discreet teaching and focused activities of literacy, we plan an environment that is rich in signs, symbols, notices, numbers, words, rhymes music and songs.  We also provide lots of relaxed time for sustained conversation between adults and children, both in small groups and individually.  Through informal discussions, focused activities and discreet sessions such as RE and Circle Time, we ensure that children have time to initiate conversations and we respect their thinking time and silences. If children are learning English as an additional language, we respect and value this, developing the children’s awareness of different languages and different scripts.

We want our children to become healthy, independent, reflective and responsible members of society, who will make a positive contribution in the wider world.  Our fully planned and resourced 'Let's Talk' program develops the children's knowledge and skills which they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.  The children have the opportunity to learn how to stay safe and healthy, build successful relationships and develop the attributes they need to prepare them for life and work in modern Britain. 

Specific areas of learning

The specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society.  They grow out of the prime areas, and provide important contexts for learning. 

The specific areas are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematical development
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

See EYFS curriculum map


Homework

Why do we give homework?

The children's days are filled with ample, quality learning opportunities at St Michael's.  Therefore, when children go home, we would like them to be active and have time to play in the garden/park, participate in sport and socialise with friends (... and preferably not via a video game!).  However, it is also important that children develop skills in using their time wisely and extend their learning beyond the school gate.  Home learning improves children’s thinking, memory and study skills which will serve them well in secondary school and throughout their life.

What homework do we give?

In addition to daily reading and termly projects, here are the weekly home learning expectations that we have at St Michael’s:

  • Reception: Phonic sounds strings, learn its
  • Year 1: Phonic sound mats, learn its, weekly spelling test, mathletics
  • Year 2: Phonic sounds strings, learn its, weekly spelling test, mathletics,  reciting their timestables (x10; x5; x2) (SATS practice closer to May)
  • Year 3: Weekly spelling test, mathletics, reciting their timestables (x3; x4; x8)
  • Year 4: Weekly spelling test, mathletics,  reading comprehensions fortnightly, reciting their timestables (x6; x11; x12)
  • Year 5: Weekly spelling test, mathletics, reading comprehensions fortnightly; reciting their timestables (all)
  • Year 6: Weekly spelling test, mathletics,  weekly mental maths, weekly reading comprehensions, reciting their timestables (all); SATS practice.
  • Please remember to sign your child’s reading log at least three times a week in Key Stage 1 and once a week in Key Stage 2 as a record that they are reading at home.