Curriculum Statement

Our Curriculum

Here at St John the Divine we believe that children learn best when:

  • There is a safe and secure environment which promotes good relationships and encourages self-control and self-esteem in all
  • Cultures, values and beliefs are respected and reflected in the curriculum and in the daily life of the school
  • What children can do is taken as a starting point and they are encouraged to make attempts which are valued in the context of high expectations
  • The learning environment is rich, relevant and stimulating
  • Children are interested, motivated and confident in their individual abilities, show enthusiasm and an eagerness to progress and have a range of strategies that enable them to succeed
  • There is provision for a wide variety of learning opportunities and experiences that allow freedom to develop ideas that actively involve the learner in appropriately differentiated and challenging activities
  • Adults work alongside children, sharing and developing their experiences as well as their skills and enabling them to reflect on their learning
  • Clear boundaries and patterns of behaviour are set
  • There is a positive, true and effective partnership between school, home and the community.

At St John the Divine we aim to provide children with a broad and balanced curriculum which develops curiosity and fosters a life-long love of learning. We follow the National Curriculum, finding as many opportunities to enrich children’s learning. We aim, where possible to base learning around a topic or a theme, as we believe that this enables children to make logical connections and deepen their understanding.

Through the curriculum we aim to:

  • Develop inquisitive, enquiring minds and a passion for learning
  • Equip children with the skills to interact in an ever changing world
  • Teach respect for all, for the environment and all God’s creations
  • Encourage children to set high expectations for themselves and foster an understanding of the importance of the children fulfilling their God given potential.
  • Develop reflective children, who seek to extend themselves; who persevere and learn from their mistakes
  • Empower children to have the courage and confidence to take calculated risks
  • Uphold the Christian ethos of the school whilst respecting the cultures and beliefs of others

Religious Education and Collective Worship

The RE curriculum document provided by the Southwark Diocesan of Board Education is the basis for the teaching and learning of RE. Staff work very closely with the church community and ensure that pupils have the opportunity to learn about the Church as a family. Participation in worship is much valued; each day begins and ends with a prayer. Through cross curricular work, children develop a sense of awe and wonder and are taught to work collaboratively and share experiences. They learn to take responsibility and develop an enquiring mind in the context of their religious beliefs and practices.

The Early Years and Foundation Stage

Here at St John the Divine Primary School we believe that children learn best in an environment where they feel secure and valued, where there is a partnership between school and home and where children can learn by doing rather than being told. We believe that children need to experience a wide variety of first hand, practical learning opportunities to enable them to achieve their full potential. We endeavour to build on each child’s previous experiences, ensuring equal access to the curriculum, through offering children opportunities to experiment through well planned, appropriate activities and quality play, both indoors and outdoors.

Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage learn through play based activities that are fun and enjoyable.  These activities are supported by caring adults who will work closely with you to ensure your child makes progress.  We keep careful progress records for each child, which are linked to the Development Matters in the Foundation Stage Guidance.  Parents are actively encouraged to contribute to their child's learning journals

In the Early Years we follow the Foundation Stage curriculum in which there are seven areas of learning and development. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. The first three area of learning are known as ‘Prime Areas’ and they are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive in school. These are Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Physical Development and Communication and Language Development. The following four areas of learning are known as ‘Specific Areas’ through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. These are Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.

Maths

Our mathematics curriculum equips pupils with tools that include logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, and the ability to think in abstract ways.  We make every effort to develop a love of the subject in our children. To achieve this we:

  • Endeavour at all times to set work that is challenging, motivating and encourages the pupils to talk about what they have been learning. 
  • We recognise the importance of establishing a secure foundation in mental calculation and recall of number facts before standard written methods are introduced. 
  • We have a newly revised Calculation policy which highlights the progression through the stages of calculations in the four operations, in-line with the New Curriculum.
  • Teach maths daily as a discrete subject and the programmes of study from the New Curriculum directs our planning.
  • Teach maths through other curriculum areas; our children are given opportunities to apply and use Mathematics in real contexts, especially in science. 
  • Set maths challenges once a term, and hold an annual maths week, to promote and explore, as a whole school, an area of mathematics in an interesting and relevant way.

Literacy

Here at St John the Divine School we promote a rich diet of language, literacy and communication to ensure that all our pupils develop the necessary language skills to equip them well throughout life and also to foster a love of literature and reading.

We teach an enriched curriculum using stimulating real texts so that our pupils can:

  • Read with fluency, expression and with good understanding. A variety of reading strategies are taught so children can achieve this, including phonics, and a wide range of reading opportunities are offered throughout the curriculum.
  • Speak clearly and confidently in order to state their thoughts and opinions and also to be able to listen well and speak appropriately in all social situations. Across the curriculum, speaking and listening opportunities are offered as well as drama, role-play and small world activities.
  • Write independently, coherently, accurately and with confidence in a variety of genres and throughout the curriculum. The progressive teaching of phonics, handwriting, spelling, grammar and enriched vocabulary support our children with this process.
  • Bug Club is used, alongside Letters and Sounds, to develop children's phonological awareness through games, books and a range of online resources.

Science

Science should stimulate and excite children. We believe that the teaching of science should be based on practical, hands on experiences that allow children to satisfy their curiosity and make links with their existing knowledge of the world around them. Through science children learn to understand and appreciate the world and to recognise where ideas contribute to change. Children learn to question and observe and as a result develop their own knowledge base from which to assess the world we live in. Children are taught about Key scientific milestones in history, the impact such events have on our lives today and how they might progress in the future. 

History

The teaching of history should inspire children and make them what to find out more about the past. It is our aim, in teaching the new history curriculum to enable children to ask questions, to think critically about the past, to weigh evidence and examine different interpretations of the past.

As the saying goes:

    

I keep six honest serving-men

(they taught me all I knew)

Their names are What and Why and When

and How and Where and Who.

- Rudyard Kipling

 

Geography

Places have great significance and meaning for our children. We aim, to recognise value and celebrate children’s geographical experiences and interests as a starting point in our planning. The teaching of geography is very much a part of our broad and balanced curriculum and is taught alongside other subjects to enable children to develop a full understanding of the world around them.

During their time here at St John’s, children will learn about our local area, the nation we live in and the wider world. Key skills will be taught so that children come to understand the physical processes and human geographical features of the world. Our aim is that children will be able to interpret information from a range of sources and communicate their understanding in a variety of ways.

Art and Design

We believe that creative experiences provide children with the opportunity to express themselves in a variety of ways and, this in turn, enables children to develop their understanding of the world around them. We value the arts so highly that we have a fully equipped art room where children from Year 2 to Year 6 enjoy their lessons. Opportunities are provided for children to explore a variety of media, to learn about artists and to recognise the role that art and design plays in our lives.

Physical Education

For a number of years now we have been working with Fit for Sport coaches to provide high quality PE lessons that enable our children to understand the role of exercise in sustaining a healthy lifestyle. During the lessons children are taught the skills and techniques required to compete in sporting events, as well as the importance of collaboration and of good sportsmanship. Children in all year groups have the opportunity to participate in borough-wide competitions and events. In addition, children from Year 3 to Year 6 take part in weekly swimming sessions.

Music

Music at St John’s is taught by a specialist music teacher. Through weekly music lessons we aim to develop each child’s musical potential.  Children are given the opportunity to join St John the Divine Church Choirs – the girls’ choir and the boys’ choir. The children rehearse weekly in the Parish Hall and take part in church services. At the end of the academic year the children in the choir take part in a residential summer school to improve their choral skills.

Languages

Many of our children, here at St John the Divine, already speak more than one language. We believe that, through the learning of a language, children are able to develop their understanding of culture and gain a greater awareness of the world. Our specialist Languages teacher delivers whole class teaching as well as individual support to children new to the country.

Children are taught French from Key Stage Two upwards, and experiences are provided for the children to develop their language skills both orally and in writing. We also provide an after school Spanish Club.