Children join the Nursery when they are three years old. They start Reception class in the year that they turn five. All children follow the EYFS 2012 Framework which is split into three prime areas: Communication and Language, Physical Development and PSED, and four specific areas: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Art and Design.
Our Catholic faith underpins the whole curriculum and children in the Foundation Stage follow the `Come and See` religious education programme. They learn simple prayers and hymns as well as taking part in Prayer Services, assemblies, and Christmas and Easter celebrations.
Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
All children follow the 2014 National Primary Curriculum, which includes the subjects outlined below.
Religious Education is a core subject at St. Joachim’s and as such 10% of the curriculum is allocated to it.
For religious lessons the children follow the diocesan-approved programme ‘Come and See’. This programme of work enables children to become religiously literate and learn about the teachings of the Catholic Church, Sacraments and Scriptures. As with other subjects, RE is assessed and progress and attainment levelled.
English and Drama
Children’s skills in English are developed specifically through a timetabled daily lesson; which includes a weekly extended writing session (although core skills of English are implemented across the curriculum). English lessons (in line with the 2014 National Primary Curriculum) contain a balance between reading (including comprehension), writing, the spoken word, and grammar and punctuation skills.
In addition to the English lesson, every class has timetabled Reading sessions each morning for 30 minutes. The children experience and explore a range of different books and text types including: narrative, non-fiction, poetry and plays – building (not exclusively) skills of inference, understanding of language choices, and enunciation. The sessions also include independent reading for pleasure.
Drama plays a significant role in our school, and is used not only to support reading and writing outcomes (and as a class outcome for our English projects), but to build skills of acting, develop our children’s confidence, self-esteem, and bonds of friendship and peer support. Every year, the school’s KS2 Drama Club presents a Christmas, Easter and Summer production (all of which parents are invited to attend).
EYFS and KS1 have daily timetabled sessions of Phonics; following and teaching letters and sounds through the scheme ‘Jolly Phonics’. At the end of year 1, pupils are tested by completing the official Phonics Screening Test.
All children follow the 2014 National Primary Curriculum, which promotes an emphasis on mental calculations and interactive work delivered through a daily maths lesson. We aim for the children to leave us with basic life skills, confidence and competence with numbers. The children will be taught to have an understanding of the number system, a range of computational skills and an ability to interpret and solve problems. They will also have the opportunity to acquire a range of practical skills in measuring, weighing, using money and telling the time.
Through timetabled lessons, annual field trips and Science Days our children are introduced to the world of living things, materials and energy. Practical investigations are incorporated into our curriculum, and our children are encouraged to plan and undertake a variety of investigations to widen their knowledge and understanding. Children use the subsequent observations to draw and explain their conclusions.
Children in Years 1-6 at St Joachim’s have access to their own laptops to use during school hours. Children are taught the 2014 Computing curriculum through the ‘Switched On’ scheme of work. The curriculum is split into three areas in KS1: Algorithms and Programmes, Data Retrieval, and Organising and Communicating Safely. In KS2, the curriculum is broken into six areas; the three listed in KS1 and the additional: Using the Internet, Databases and Presentation.
In line with the 2014 Curriculum, children are taught historical knowledge and periods in chronological order. Topics covered include: the Romans, the Mayan Civilisation and WW2. Every year, the whole school studies a specific time period linked to the English projects, and in the summer four weeks are dedicated to a focussed history project. Pupils are encouraged to use different research skills, analysis and exploration of artefacts and field trip opportunities to further their understanding. They are also encouraged to find similarities and differences between ‘then and now’ and suggest reasons for these.
At St. Joachim’s we aim to instill within our children a natural curiosity for the world around them. In line with the Primary Curriculum, coverage will include teaching and learning of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, including an understanding of the Earth’s physical and human processes. On a bi-yearly basis, during the summer term there is a dedicated focus on geography, through a four week project on the Thames.
All children cover a programme that includes games, gymnastics and dance and have two PE lessons a week, one inside and one outside. Every KS2 class has an allotted term for swimming once a year, and all children in KS2 receive weekly tennis lessons from a professional coach. In year 6, parts of the curriculum are covered through a residential visit; in which the children do a variety of outdoor activities, including: sailing, rock climbing, canoeing and orienteering. Team building is a key aspect of this visit.
KS1 children receive weekly football lessons from a professional football coach as part of their PE programme of study.
Throughout the year, numerous sporting events and competitions are held, and children are actively encouraged to take part.
All children throughout the school have the opportunity to learn French on a weekly basis. In addition to this there are extra-curricular Languages clubs for children in KS1 and 2.
In the summer term, an annual French Day is held; complementing a KS2 day visit to Paris. Every year, children in Year 5 are given the opportunity to go on a four day visit to Rome, where they are actively encouraged to use Italian.
All children in KS2 have weekly music lessons, either playing a string, woodwind or percussion instrument. Through these lessons, they are given the opportunity to play, compose and perform music and appraise a wide variety of music from different times and cultures.
In KS1 the children use whole class lessons to explore musical instruments, songs and compositions.
All children throughout the school take part in a weekly hymn practise, and termly assemblies where skills are showcased.
In our art lessons, children are given the experience of using a variety of different media such as paint, clay, collage and textiles.
Every summer, a yearly Arts’ Project is launched, with all children from Nursery to Year 6 taking part.
In classrooms, displays are designed to reflect all aspects of learning. Children are encouraged to value their own and others’ work and to present it neatly and attractively.
Design and Technology
All Design and Technology lessons combine design with practical elements. The children learn to plan, design and make a variety of items such as puppets, biscuits, slippers and cars as they use a range of media such as textiles, food and wood.
In order to encourage creativity and challenge, children are provided with different tools when realising their designs; including using G-Saws, clamps and baking utensils.
Personal Social and Health Education
Although PSHE finds itself covered everyday due to its very nature, there are timetabled sessions specificially designated for this area of the Curriculum, on a half-termly basis. In such instances, the children cover a range of issues including: feelings, peer pressure, environmental issues and behaviour in social situations.
Once a year, a 2 week Citizenship Project takes place, with different outcomes planned for each project.
Year 6 complete a series of lessons on Sex Education where the focus is on valuing themselves and their relationships with others. More information is given to parents before this takes place.