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Curriculum

As in other state schools, all the children of statutory school age at St Michael’s Church of England Infant School follow the National Curriculum.  This means they follow nationally agreed programmes of study in Maths, English, Science, Computing, Art, Music, PE, History, Geography and DT.  In addition to the subjects specified in the National Curriculum, the school curriculum also includes religious education and cross-curricular issues such as personal and social education, health education, environmental education, equal opportunities and multi-cultural education.  In our school prospectus more information can be found.

How We Organise Learning

During the school year, each class’s work is planned around a series of topics or units of work, lasting half a term or a term.  The topics are organised so that all areas of the National Curriculum are included over the year.

The Creative curriculum

 Each term we focus on a different topic and embed our learning by integrating Science, Geography, History, Art, Design Technology and Computing within the topic. We feel that this gives our children the freedom to learn in a creative and exciting way. This also allows our teachers to be flexible within their teaching methods and gives the children ownership of their own learning. We have a specific overarching topic each term. Click here for this years topic plan.

Our school motto is ‘Be The Best You Can Be’.

To achieve this with all of our children we believe that there are certain rules we need to adhere to–

  • Children feel cared about and are happy, secure, motivated and stimulated
  • The learning environment promotes learning and is well organised, attractive, stimulating and positive.
  • Children should always be told what it is they are going to learn and set a Key Question to be able to answer
  • Children are told what they need to do to be successful learners
  • Children are helped to be able to assess their own learning and the learning of others
  • Learning tasks are well differentiated and organised into small steps
  • Children experience a variety of learning situations both in and outdoors
  • Lessons are interesting, stimulating and fun.
  • Children often have the opportunity to learn through first-hand experience.
  • Expectations of the children’s behaviour and abilities maintain high
  • Children receive positive feedback and focused marking enabling them to identify what they need to do next
  • Children are given time to reflect on their learning
  • The learning environment promotes learning and is well-organised, attractive, stimulating and positive.
  • Children are given time to explore learning via extended and home based tasks.

 Classroom displays focus on aspects of the topic and we try hard to make classroom work interesting and meaningful to children.  Children are also encouraged to bring items from home into school in order to enrich their topic work.  We hope children will experience memorable learning activities each week of the social life.

As well as work related to the class topic, children also work on specific subject areas.  In particular there will be ongoing activities in Maths and English – talking, listening, reading and writing.

Within the classroom, different activities will often be taking place at the same time.  One group of children might be carrying out a scientific investigation, whilst other groups are predicting the outcomes.  At other times of the day all children will be doing a similar activity at the same time – for example PE, music or reading.  When a variety of activities is taking place, teachers will normally be working with groups of children or individual children.  Children are encouraged to work both independently and collaboratively in a group, according to the task in which they are involved.

Children progress through the objectives of the National Curriculum at their own pace.  Their progress is carefully checked by teachers through the ‘Learning Journey Assessment programme’.  Teachers also assess on a daily basis through work scrutiny, marking for improvement and verbal feedback to individual children and groups. Response to teachers’ marking is also covered at the beginning of the next learning session. 

Please see our topic webs on the class pages and newsletters for more curriculum information.

Phonics

At St Michaels we follow two programs that integrate to allow each child to learn their letter sounds, phonemes and blends at their own pace. When children join our school at Reception level, or for children joining in Y1 and Y2 with limited English Skills, we follow the Jolly Phonics programme. This allows the children to learn the sounds of the alphabet alongside an action so that the children are confident in using sounds to begin to blend words. In Year 1 we begin the Letters and Sounds programme to allow the children to extend their knowledge and begin to learn the more complex combination of the English sounds. We also offer the Phonics Count program, for children who would benefit from some 1:1 phonics teaching to further develop these skills.

Reading Schemes

We encourage children to begin reading as soon as they join our school. We use Oxford Reading Tree as our main scheme, however we entwine real life stories and non- fiction texts with the story books to allow the children a comprehensive overview of reading. Children make excellent progress with their reading at St Michaels and we are proud that our strong partnership with parents allows every child to reach their full potential with most being able to read fluently by the time they move on to Key Stage 2.

Extra-curricular activities

From time-to-time, teachers will arrange for pupils to experience exciting activities and learning experiences outside of the classroom. These can take place both at school or off-site. Some of these will be free of charge, whilst others will cost an affordable amount of money. These experiences broaden the children's knowledge and understanding of the world around them and inspire further learning. Each year group will go on at least one major trip per year. The following is a list of some of the likely trips:

  • A whole school trip will take place in July. The destination changes each year.
  • Year R: Trip to the local park
  • Year 1: Kent Life
  • Year 2: The Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux

Permission for all off-site activities will be sought at the very start of the year. For trips that require a donation, a letter will be sent out in advance. Please note, it is down to each individual teacher to decide whether they place groups of children with their own parents; each teacher will make that clear in the letter when requesting help for the trip.