Curriculum and Assessment

Download our Curriculum Overview

Curriculum

Children come to school to learn and at St Matthew’s Primary School we work hard to provide opportunities for children to do their best. The staff plan learning opportunities that are varied, enjoyable and matched to the needs of your child.

In common with all community schools, we follow the National Curriculum.

English and Maths are taught each day. Other curriculum areas are covered weekly or termly. A curriculum newsletter will be issued to give families more information about what their child is learning.

Related link: National Curriculum (external links open in a new window)

Equipment

All equipment is provided by the school, therefore children do not need to bring pencil cases etc. to school. They cause ‘clutter’ in the classrooms and are at risk of getting lost. We would ask that children keep their pencil cases at home where they will be useful to complete homework.

How We Teach Reading

Reading Aims

Teaching children to read is one of the most important aspects of every child’s learning. Children need to be taught the knowledge and skills to become confident and effective readers, so that they can read for both pleasure and information. We want the children in our school to:

  • make choices about the sorts of texts they enjoy
  • read between the lines and behind the images
  • read fluently and with understanding a range of different kinds of reading material, using reading methods that are appropriate to the material and the reading purpose
  • use a full range of reading cues (phonics, grammar and context)
  • to gain library skills
  • to enjoy reading books
  • to use reading skills to search for information

At St Matthew’s Primary School we believe that when home and school work in partnership together pupils can benefit from this support to make more progress in reading fluency, confidence and understanding. Reading Skills:

PHONICS:

Phonics is taught systematically throughout the school. Pupils in Foundation Stage through to Year 3 have dedicated, discrete Phonics lessons using the progression document ‘Letters and Sounds’. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letters-and-sounds

Pupils in Year 4 to Year 6 follow the Letters and Sounds progression where needed, for example, pupils who arrive new to the school with no prior phonic knowledge.

Children who do not master phonics through Letters and Sounds are taught through alternative structured programmes such as Direct Phonics and Catch Up Literacy intervention.

We know that phonic understanding is only part of the process of developing reading and that here are additional skills that need to be learnt and practised. These include: summarising stories, clarifying understanding, predicting, skimming & scanning as well as inferring and deducing.

Guided Reading:

These skills are developed through daily Guided Reading sessions. Every class will complete a 20 minute Guided Reading session each day. The children are grouped according to reading ability so that the teacher can focus on their specific needs. Children are engaged in quality independent or group reading tasks. E.g. follow-on comprehension, poetry, newspapers, magazines, listening posts, kindles, topic books.

Reading Resources:

At St Matthew’s Primary School we source books from a range of schemes, choosing the most appropriate texts for the children. These are colour coded using a system called ‘Book Bands’. Children select their own reading books to take home. We encourage children to make independent book choices, which we hope will inspire and excite them to engage in reading independently, and read for pleasure in their own leisure time. Children in Foundation Stage to Year 3 use the Bug Club reading system to support their learning. The ‘Accelerated Reader’ Programme is currently being implemented into one class in Year 5 as a trial. This will be rolled out to all Year 5 pupils by Easter 2017 and all Year 4 children by Summer 2017.

Additional Approaches:

Pupils receive one to one pupil:adult sessions and reading comprehension intervention groups where necessary. At St Matthew’s Primary School we work with the charity ‘Beanstalk’ to support 1:1 reading in many year groups, which involves volunteers reading with children individually. We use teacher assessment and marking of work to identify areas in which pupils need additional support. In addition to class based reading, children can also develop their enjoyment for reading throughout school. They have the opportunity to access the school library to choose from a wider range of books to read in school. Every classroom has reading resources which further promote and encourage reading for pleasure. Pupils participate in trips to the local library and are encouraged to become members.

Physical Education

PE is an important subject. We are fortunate to have a team of sports instructors, plus support from Stopsley Sports College and access to a purpose-built sports hall. Each child will do at least two hours of PE each week. We have lots of opportunities available to pupils to do sporting activities before and after school.

All children must participate in PE. Careful records are kept and where PE kit is not available regularly we will telephone home and request that it is brought into school.

Religious Education
(as required by under the 1996 Education Act)

In our RE teaching we follow the Agreed Luton Syllabus. Children are encouraged to reflect on emotions, moral codes, relationships, the wonders of life and religious stories, beliefs and festivals. These experiences will help them develop thoughtful and sensitive attitudes to all aspects of religious life.

Parents may withdraw their children from religious education and/or collective worship. Parents wishing to exercise their right of withdrawal are invited to discuss the matter with the Headteacher before making a formal, written request for withdrawal.

Related link: Luton Agreed Syllabus on the Luton Learning Grid (external links open in a new window)

Homework

Foundation Stage:
Your child will get a mixture of sounds and words to learn as well as their home reading book. However, we give the children time to settle and time for us to make assessments before homework starts. Homework, when given, should last about ten minutes each evening.

Years 1/2:
Children in Years 1 and 2 are expected to do an hour of homework each week. We encourage children to read every day and complete the activity in their Learning Log.

Year 3/4:
Children in Years 3 and 4 are expected to do the equivalent of 20 minutes of homework each night. On the whole this is related to English and Maths, reading and their Learning Log activity.

Year 5/6:
Children in Years 5 and 6 are expected to do the equivalent of 30 minutes of homework each night. On the whole this is related to English and Maths targets, reading and their Learning Log activity.

Children need the support and encouragement of parents to complete homework and to encourage good habits for future life.

Assessment

Assessment is a continual process and is used by teachers to plan the next learning steps for your child. Teachers use observation of the children and evidence from their work to make assessments. The progress made by each child is closely monitored by the senior staff each term.

Foundation Stage:
Throughout the year the ‘Foundation Stage Profile’ is completed. This is a continuous assessment and is a statutory requirement. The outcomes are discussed with parents and reported to the local authority. It does not involve testing.

Year 2:
During Year 2 children have end of Key Stage 1 assessments. These are assessments made by the class teacher and backed up by relevant tests (SATs). The results are reported to parents.

Year 6:
At the end of Year 6, pupils will undertake end of Key Stage 2 assessments (SATs) in English and Mathematics. Their results will be sent home at the end of the summer term.

At the end of the school year you will receive a written report for your child.

Parent consultation meetings

There will be an opportunity for parents to meet the staff each term. At this meeting there will be an opportunity to discuss your child’s progress, to find out about the things your child needs to further develop and how you can help at home. If you have a concern between meetings please contact the class teacher who will arrange to meet with you.

Additional needs

We have a number of staff who support small groups and individuals so that all children can achieve all that they should. If we have concerns about your child’s learning or behaviour we will discuss this with you. The school has great experience in supporting children with a range of special needs and some staff have undergone specialist training.