The school uses a variety of teaching methods, involving whole class, group and individual approaches, but always with the abilities and capabilities of the children in mind. Teachers endeavour to cater for the preferred learning styles of pupils by varying the approach they take. Children may be primarily auditory, visual or kinaesthetic learners and we have to be aware of this to exploit fully their learning potential. The school has invested in excellent classroom support staff whose work is directed by teachers to maximise the opportunities for learning in the smallest possible groupings. Children who find learning challenging in any area are offered an increase of this support teaching.
The school aims to ensure that the requirements of the National Curriculum are presented in an interesting and challenging way. In developing programmes of work that are appropriate to the children’s ability and experience, we seek to advance the knowledge and skills that they require for lifelong learning.
Religious Education permeates across daily life and learning at St. Matthew’s. Children learn about their faith, developing an understanding of the Bible and the teachings of the Anglican Church, as well as actively participating in a variety of worship.
As part of Religious Education, children also learn about Judaism and Islam. It is our aim that children will recognise and value all people with their diversity of gifts, cultures and faiths and develop a consideration for others, learning to work together with a sense of social responsibility and compassion.
At St Matthew’s, we ensure that literacy skills are taught throughout all curriculum areas. In the KS1 and EYFS classes, speaking and listening activities form an essential part of the literacy teaching. Within these classes, there are also phonics sessions which follow the letters and sounds programme. Many forms of writing are experienced throughout the Academy including story writing, instructional writing, persuasive writing, recounts and poetry.
EYFS and KS1 Reading Scheme is Oxford University Press (Project X) and Oxford Reading Tree.
KS2 reading scheme is Oxford University Press (Project X) and past SAT papers for more able year Yr5 and all of Yr6
Phonics for EYFS and KS1 is Phonics Sounds and Letters and Sounds (Oxford Reading Tree) and the CGP spelling book.
KS2 have adapted and extended the phases from Letters and Sounds book, the CGP spelling books and Statutory word lists.
The Oxford University Press books for EYFS and KS1 link into the Letter and Sound phonic phases.
Numeracy is taught through a daily numeracy lesson which follows the principles of the White Rose approach. This ensures a broad and through coverage of the main aspects of numeracy: number, shape space and measure, data handling and using and applying mathematics. There is also a strong emphasis on mental calculation, mathematical fluency, reasoning and problem solving.
In order to develop mathematical skills and concepts, children may be grouped in class according to ability but these groups are often changed according to individual strengths and areas of development across the main aspects of maths. Considerable importance is attached to the children achieving and understanding mathematical processes and it is our aim to ensure children feel confident and encouraged about their learning in numeracy. Class teachers also plan for opportunities to develop and apply key mathematical skills in other subjects throughout the year and to real life situations.
Science in St Matthew’s gives children the opportunity to be inquisitive, to explore and find out about the world around them. As they progress through the Academy, the children carry out practical investigations with a greater degree of independence and have the opportunity to research information, use a variety of equipment and resources. In their work children develop a variety of strategies to analyse what they have found out and are encouraged to record their findings accordingly. The Science units can also be linked to other areas of the curriculum such as Computing, Numeracy and Art and topics covered include Light and Sound, Changing Materials, Forces In Action, Life Cycles, habitats and Healthy Living.
Computing is taught as a discrete subject, as well as being used to support cross-curricular learning. Pupils are taught a range of knowledge, skills and understanding through four areas of learning: finding things out; developing ideas and making things happen; exchanging and sharing information; reviewing, modifying and evaluating work as it progresses. They use word-processing, multimedia, graphics, data handling and modelling software. Children have good access to laptops and IPads. All classes are fitted with interactive whiteboards and has internet connection. Each child has their own school account with Purple Mash.
EYFS and KS1 are introduced to history through sequencing, listening to stories and looking at photographs or exploring artifacts. Then as the children travel up the Academy the children go on to study the Romans, invaders and settlers, Exploration and Encounters, Tudors and Victorians, Ancient Egypt and Greece. All the children have the opportunity to visit museums and we also have visitors come into the Academy to present workshops and performances.
Geography is presented to the younger children with the focus of themselves. They explore their home, Academy and the local environment. They continue to focus on what is familiar to them by looking at journeys and transport, and why people decide to make journeys.
In KS2 children develop their map skills and how to read and create various maps, they study settlements, and land use. They look at environmental issues by comparing and contrasting areas around Britain and locations around the world.
Children have the opportunity to work with a wide range of media and materials to develop their skills and techniques in Art and Design. These include the use of paint, pastel, charcoal, textile and clay. They are encouraged to express themselves creatively in both 2D and 3D, indoors and outdoors. Often, children study the work of another artist, considering how a piece was made and how it made them feel. They discuss and evaluate their own work and that of their peers. Children’s art work is valued and displayed prominently throughout the Academy.
At St Matthew’s the content of the music curriculum includes using sounds and music to make responses, singing in parts as well as unison, playing a whole array of percussion and other instruments; composition and music appreciation.
Music plays a major part in Academy through assemblies, masses and performances and children have many opportunities to participate by singing or playing their instrument.
Children are encouraged to develop their skills in D.T. through practical tasks and projects. They are invited to find solutions to a range of problems. Children are engaged in their own designing and planning, testing of ideas, and product creations. They discuss, evaluate and amend their solutions/ products throughout the project, and support each other to improve upon original ideas.
Physical Education is an essential part of Academy life at St Matthew’s and children have the opportunity to develop a variety of skills, confidence and self-esteem through a wide range of sporting activities such as gymnastics, dance, tennis, multi-skills and basketball. We employ specialist sports coaches (Premier S[ports) to enhance the curriculum in EYFS, Key Stage 1 and 2 and deliver the requirements of the National Curriculum. The PE curriculum extends beyond the Academy day and a varied selection of extra-curricular clubs are offered during the Academy week. Swimming is also an integral part of the curriculum and is offered to KS1 and KS2.