In the Early Years Foundation Stage children learn through structured play planned around the seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three prime areas are:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
We also support our children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied, these are:
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
As our children move into Key Stage 1 (Years 1 & 2) and Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) children follow an engaging, broad and balanced curriculum covering the 11 statutory subjects set out by the Department for Education and RE curriculum in line with Bristol Diocese expectations. These are:
- English, Maths and Science, which are allocated the most teaching time.
- Computing is taught as a discrete subject as well as used as a vital tool for learning across all other curriculum areas.
- History, Geography, Music, Art, Modern Foreign Languages, Design Technology and Physical Education make up the remainder of the school week.
- Children study Religious Education following the Bristol agreed syllabus.
- Personal Social Health Education is also taught (though now non-statutory), including sex and relationships education and drugs education, which is taught across KS1 and KS2. All classes hold regular circle times/check-ins to discuss how we behave, respect and care for each other.
English: At St. John’s we teach phonics using the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme. For teaching the spelling of alternative phonemes we use aspects of the Letters and Sounds Phase 5 programme. We use a mixture of reading schemes, predominantly Oxford Reading Tree and Project X, however we also complete our reading books with a range of other books from other publishers. We have a well stocked library on each site that children enjoy visiting on a regular basis.
Maths: We focus on both developing a strong sense of number and computational ability, combined with the deeper application of these skills. We use a wide range of resources to ensure that children are able to solve maths presented in different ways. Throughout the school there is a focus on developing children's mathematical reasoning and we use an adaptation of 'Number Talks' as a key strategy for this.
At St. John’s we firmly believe that fun and enjoyment play a large part in children’s learning. Learning is organised into cross-curricular topics which begin with an engaging start (a wow). Next children develop their learning via experiences, enquiry and collaboration. Towards the end of the topic, children apply their learning in a celebratory activity. We strive to ensure learning is engaging, relevant, purposeful and practical, and that children learn through a variety of experiences.
We work hard to make sure that children have plenty of opportunities to work in different ways, for example: individually and collaboratively; using the spoken and written word or more creative mediums; using pencil and paper or using technology. Our philosophy is such that all children are able to succeed, there is a real focus on teaching children ‘how’ they learn and that mistakes are a vital part of this learning process. Visits and visitors are a vital element of our teaching and really help to bring learning alive. All our children have access to i-pads and laptop computers to aid their learning. Our teachers plan interesting lessons and activities around using technology across the whole curriculum.
Our exciting day-to-day curriculum is also enhanced in a number of ways:
- Specialist teachers enhance our provision in music, French and P.E.
- We have many visitors to the school and have regular visits to places in and around Bristol to explore and experience the curriculum beyond the classroom and bring learning to life.
- Residential visits in both Year 4 and Year 6 allow pupils the chance to try new activities; while developing self-esteem, teamwork and independence.
- Five focus weeks a year allow pupils to look in detail at a particular author, artist, composer, culture or a range of sports. These are always very engaging and memorable experiences for all the children.
- Regular house events provide a chance for the whole school to learn together in house teams. Here children from both sites work together on ‘challenges’ in small groups, these are held termly during our focus weeks.
- Sports’ Week provides children with opportunities to try new physical activities, either off-site visits or visitors on site. We hold our Sports Day at Clifton College.
- As a school we spend the school’s sports premium highly effectively to increase participation, overcome barriers to engagement and develop healthy competition in physical activity. Our pupil premium funding allocations are spent in line with government requirements to raise academic achievement and aid progress. For more details of these click here.
- We have a strong link school in Uganda and support the Fingerprints charity that supports our link school in Kyabirwa . Previously we have developed links with St Vincent and Kenya. We are involved in partner school activities with a French school in Bordeaux.
- Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities are well supported, for further details click here.
- We support children with English as an additional language (EAL).
- Our provision is enhanced by a large range of sporting, creative and academic activity clubs that take place at lunchtime and after school.
We also believe that the children’s personal, social and moral education is just as important as the academic. Our school worship focusses on promoting our core values of respect, positivity, determination, collaboration, equality and friendship. Our Year 6 children are all members of our School Council. They represent the younger classes, hold meetings and act as a mechanism to allow two-way communication to improve different aspects of school life.
For more detailed information on our curriculum please look at our Year Group pages under Classes or contact our Worrall Road Deputy Headteacher and curriculum lead Mr. Tony Weir,