Feckenham C. of E. First School

A passion for learning, a love of life, in a school that cares

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Feckenham First School

Throughout the following document the National Curriculum is referred to; as a maintained school, we adhere to the statutory requirement to follow the guidelines in that publication. The full National Curriculum can be found on the Department for Education website.

National Curriuclum Framework

At Feckenham CE First School we value our freedom as professionals to react to what our pupils need right now in order for them to succeed, progress and thoroughly enjoy their educational experiences.

We are a Church of England school and our Christian values are promoted actively through a half termly focus. This is not only recognised in Acts of Worship but also in the everyday life of the school, in and out of the classroom. 

In collaboration with staff and pupils the value for each half term is discussed and decided upon.

From our own observations and that of visitors in school, we know our p

Our Early Years team in Reception use a themed approach to learning which changes when the children are ready for a new ‘learning journey’. 

We deliver an Early Years curriculum that focuses on the three prime areas of learning (Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development) which are essential for children’s readiness for future learning and healthy development as well as delivering high quality learning experiences in the four specific areas of learning; Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding of the World and Expressive Arts and Design.

Our pupils have free, unlimited access to the outdoor classroom as well as Forest School sessions (led by a fully trained Forest School Leader) each and every week they are in school.

Although pupils enjoy choosing their own learning opportunities, we also have discrete sessions in Phonics, Maths, Reading and Writing as well as P.E and R.E. 

ICT is available in the classroom with standalone computers as well as a class I-pad plus a set of I-pads that can be used for the development of IT skills and to supplement the early years curriculum.

Our curriculum themes are a movable feast as we like to react to what is happening topically or what the pupils find interesting and exciting, therefore making our curriculum organic in its design. Some examples of themed led learning has been through:

Going on Holiday

Fairy Tales/Castles

People who help us

Hot and Cold

Rumble in the Jungle


Key Stage 1

The themed approach to learning is carried on from Reception and becomes ‘Mantle of the Expert’ when they enter Year 1 onwards.

Mantle of the Expert teaching gives the children a ‘real’ purpose for their learning and helps them develop a wide range of skills both curriculum based and wider in terms of cooperation and adaptability. Most foundation subjects from the National Curriculum are taught through the themed mantles, however each class will have discrete lessons in phonics, reading, writing and maths as well as PE, RE and ICT and PSHE. Where purposeful links to Maths and English are evident, children will develop skills linked to their mantle.

As in Reception, themes for learning develop over the school year but will cover the statutory requirements in the National Curriculum.

Topics last year were:

Year 1                                   Year 2

Pirates                                  Pirates

Chocolate                             Chocolate

Problem Solvers                    Problem Solvers

Nocturnal Animals                 The Great Fire

Help the Hedgehogs!             Space

As well as learning in core and foundation subjects, years 1 and 2 also attend Forest School each week.

Key Stage 2

Mantle of the Expert continues in years 3 and 4 but with discrete lessons in grammar, spelling, reading, writing and maths, along with PE, RE, ICT, PSHE and French. Where purposeful links to Maths and English are evident, children will develop skills linked to their mantle.

Years 3 and 4 work together as lower key stage 2, their themes for learning last year were:

Kensuke’s Kingdom

Little Red Rescue

Monet Art Gallery

Again, teachers will ensure that the statutory elements from the National Curriculum are covered in all areas.

As well as learning in core and foundation subjects, years 3 and 4 also attend Forest School each week.

Phonics in Reception Years 1 and 2

Phonics is taught from Reception and until a pupil has secured the knowledge and skills required to secure them as a competent reader and decoder as well as being able to spell accurately words appropriate to their age.

Reception begin teaching phonics through Jolly Phonics, a multisensory scheme that allows children to quickly experience a range of sounds that they can apply in reading and spelling.

Parents of Reception children are invited in to school for an information evening so they are equipped to assist their child at home.

In Years 1 and 2 children move through the phonics programme learning and becoming secure in phases 5 and 6. This will allow them to move forward into key stage 2 with confidence and develop their language skills further, learning more complex grammar rules.

At the end of Year 1 pupils take a phonics test provided to schools by the Department for Education. Parents will be informed of the outcome of this test. Any child who has not met the threshold will retake the test at the end of year 2 and in addition will be provided with targeted support in year 2 or beyond where necessary.

Grammar/Spelling in Years 3 and 4

Children will have discrete lessons in grammar and spellings each week when they are in lower key stage 2. Sessions may involve formal learning tasks or games aimed at developing a secure understanding of how our language works and how they can manipulate words and phrases to create a desired effect.

Pupils are taught the spellings from lower key stage 2 word list provided from the National Curriculum as well as very subject specific spellings.


Reading is taught through whole class and guided groups with some children having more 1:1 attention if they require it e.g. through our intervention programme Rapid Readers.

We want all our pupils to read well for their age and to really enjoy reading. All pupils have access to a free choice of books to take home and share with parents/carers for pleasure and also a book to guide them through the various stages of development. Adults are encouraged to read with their child especially in the early stages of reading.

Guided reading sessions in class are designed so the teacher can assess and instruct a pupil in their technical reading ability and also guide them to a good understanding of what they have read and how to interpret the text whether fiction or non-fiction. Children are encouraged to engage in conversation about the book they are reading; listening and learning from each other and challenging views constructively.


Writing is also taught as a whole class and through guided sessions. In the early stages pupils are encouraged to speak in sentences before attempting to write anything down and as they move further through the school a sequence of teaching and learning is developed so pupils are ready and equipped to write in whatever genre is being studied.

In Reception and the beginning of Year 1 pupils work closely with the teacher in focused sessions to encourage them to ‘have a go’ and be successful writers. Free writing choices are always available inside and outside the classroom (writing on the playground in chalk is encouraged!).

We view writing as a real work in progress with plenty of drafting until the piece is what you want it to be. By the time children are in lower key stage two they are used to being peer/teacher assessed and to making improvements to their work.

Children are given direct instruction in writing in different genres but there is always an emphasis and expectation that the secretarial skills of handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammar are age appropriately accurate.


Maths, like Reading and Writing is taught through whole class teaching and guided groups. Sometimes 1:1 interventions may be necessary to address misconceptions or gaps in a pupils learning.

We want all our pupils to develop excellent mental maths skills as we believe this instils confidence as well as efficiency in working out maths problems and calculations. Children work towards gaining stickers and bracelets to celebrate their achievements in knowing their number bonds to any number (e.g. in Reception all number from 1-10) as well as times tables and the corresponding division facts.

Children are taught that learning is ‘messy’ therefore mistakes are not rubbed out but identified, addressed and left there as a reminder to children that they are learning and making progress.

Number skills and knowledge is taught solely in maths lessons for at least the first term, with other areas of maths such as shape space and measure taught through mantle topics where there is an appropriate link, e.g. lower key stage 2 were taught measuring length and angles through a DT project connected to making a safe environment for an elderly person to live in.

The whole school follows are calculation policy that has been agreed by our local pyramid of schools.

As in all sessions the time spent on each learning activity will be determined by how well the children are working, we do not stick to a rigid timetable other than adhering to lunchtime and a PE timetable for the use

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