Curriculum Information - Intent

Ethos and Building Blocks of our Curriculum (INTENT)

Our school curriculum is broad and balanced in order to promote children’s intellectual, physical, personal, social, spiritual, moral and cultural development.  This includes the areas of learning when children begin school and the subjects of the National Curriculum, as they become older, including religious and health education.  Our curriculum is well planned and structured to meet the different abilities and learning needs of all children.  A programme of assemblies and a range of exciting extra curricular activities enrich the curriculum further.  Opportunities are provided to extend children’s experiences through day visits to places of educational interest.


Teaching organisation and methods

Teachers use a variety of strategies and methods to help children to learn.  A blend of whole class, group and individual teaching is used to suit the purpose of the lesson and the needs of the children.  Our teachers use a range of skills including demonstrating, explaining, instructing, questioning, evaluating and providing feedback.


Mixed Ability Classes and Ability Grouping

In the first instance, children are organised into registration classesIn all year groups parallel classes are formed. Children are predominantly taught in their classes for most of the curriculum, however there is 'set' teaching in some subjects/year groups. These groups are based on prior attainment and enable focused teaching within a defined range of abilities. This enables teachers to meet the different needs of children more fully.  Children’s attainment and progress is continually monitored and the composition of the ability groups is reviewed regularly and adjustments made. Most classes benefit from the support of Teaching Assistants who work alongside teachers and children.


The Early Years and Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum

The Early Years and Foundation Stage includes children who are of nursery age (2 to rising 4s), and reception age children who will become of statutory school age during that academic year. Children work towards the Early Learning Goals and their progress is tracked and reported to parents at the end of Reception.

We aim to help children learn through practical experience and play, both in and out of doors.  High priority is given to supporting language development and promoting positive attitudes towards learning.


The National Curriculum

The National Curriculum sets out what children between the ages of 5 and 16 should be taught.  The National Curriculum for children aged between 5 – 11 years is organised into two key stages:

Key Stage (KS)

Child Ages

Year Groups


5 – 7

Y1 and 2


7 – 11

Y3, 4, 5 and 6


Within each Key Stage, the National Curriculum sets out which subjects children should study. At Castlefield, English, Mathematics, information and communication technology (ICT) and Science are considered the core subjects.  Art, design and technology, geography, history, music, a modern foreign language and physical education are known as the foundation subjects.  Religious education is compulsory in both Key Stages but because local education authorities decide what is taught, it is not part of the National Curriculum.  The school follows Buckinghamshire’s Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. This has been established in consultation with representatives of all the main faiths.  In addition children follow a programme of personal, social, health education and citizenship.


Phonics (early Reading & Writing)

In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, phonics is taught in small, focused, ability groups. The school follows the 'Read, Write Inc' programme with fidelity.  This continues into Key Stage 2 for children who still require support with early reading skills.

Maths Mastery
We follow a Maths Mastery Curriculum which focuses on developing a deep understanding of the subject through a concrete, pictorial and abstract approach (see the diagram below for an example of this approach). This allows our pupils to visualise and explain clearly the mathematics which they are being taught.

Children count in many different ways such as: practising odd and even numbers; times tables; crossing hundred and thousand boundaries; and much more.  Encourage your child(ren) to become fluent counters by practising regularly at home counting in different amounts, starting at different numbers.  For example, practise counting in 3s, starting from 11, or count in 500s starting at 3200.

Mental Maths
Children should be able to explain their thinking about maths topics that they have learned in school.  They tackle questions like: ‘Explain how you know?’; ‘Do you agree or disagree with this answer?’; and ‘Which is the odd one out and why?’.  Help your child(ren) at home by asking them questions to solve in their heads in a short time limit.

Number Facts
It is important that children know a range of number facts appropriate to the level that they are working at.  This is because knowledge of number facts enables children to concentrate more on applying their knowledge to solve problems.  Examples of number facts that could be practised at home are: pairs of numbers that make 10, 20, 100, or 1 whole; times tables; equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages; and special numbers like prime numbers. 

Using objects, models and images 
In mathematics lessons, children use a range of equipment and diagrams to help them to understand how numbers work. We

Maths in the real world
Children will be shown how the mathematics that they learn is used in real life.  Talk to your child(ren) about the maths that you use in your day to day business, such as estimating how much a shopping bill will be.

English - Writing (post Phonics)
We use Talk 4 Writing, which is an approach that broadens children's range of experiences, develops oracy and vocabulary and provides a clear structure to 'hang' their own writing on.
Children learn to write for a range of different purposes (e.g. to persuade, inform, entertain, discuss) and are provided opportunities to practice these throughout their time at school.
Each unit, the children start their unit of writing with a ‘hook’ that brings the context of their learning to life. This might included experiences such as the redecoration of classrooms to transport the children to ‘another world’, augmented reality videos of the Tiger who was trying to find his smile, teachers dressed as crayons who were going on strike or a collection of artefacts relating to the text.
English - Reading (post Phonics)
Pupils have a dedicated 30 minute taught reading session, every day.  This follows the Master Readers approach, providing children with exposure to a range of carefully selected, high quality texts which typically complement the topics pupils are studying within the foundation subjects or the genre pupils are learning about in English lessons.
To further develop a love of reading, teachers read to their classes at the end of most days for 10 minutes.

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