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St Matthew’s
Church of England Academy

Together we work, play, learn and pray with Jesus

St Matthew's Church of England Academy, Stoke on Trent - Welcome to Our New School Website!
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St Matthew’s
Church of England Academy

Curriculum

Our Curriculum has been developed through our Christian Vision:

We aim to be a family community rooted in equality where everyone feels safe, happy and valued as a cherished member of our Christian academy and create resilience, hope and aspirations for the future.

We will provide a caring environment where children and staff are given opportunities to flourish through inspirational learning, love and laughter.

 

And our core values:

Friendship  Hope  Perseverance  Courage  Creativity  Love

Academy Curriculum Information

Approaches to Teaching

 

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 (RE)

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.

 

English

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 Lern Fonix programme. Many forms of writing are experienced throughout the academy including story writing, instructional writing, persuasive writing, recounts and poetry.

 

Phonics Information for Parents

Phonics is the method of teaching we use at St Matthew's to teach your child how to read.

 

Children are taught to recognise the sounds (phonemes) made by letters (graphemes)

Initially, children learn to recognise single letter sounds a-z.

 

It is important that the sounds the children use are ‘pure’ sounds.  Pure sounds can be seen in this link below.

Phonics: How to pronounce pure sounds | Oxford Owl

 

They then learn to blend the letter sounds (Phonemes) together to read words. Your child might refer to this as ‘Sound it out’

 

Example

c-a-t = cat

 

Phonics: How to blend sounds to read words | Oxford Owl

 

Next, the children are taught that some sounds can be made by two or three letters together. These are called digraphs (Two letters) and trigraphs (Three letters)

 

For example

ai  –   as in snail

igh – as in light

 

Finally the children are taught about split digraphs. A split digraph is a digraph that is split by a consonant. Usually a long vowel sound, e.g. ‘a-e’ (cake), ‘i-e’ (five), ‘o-e’ (code), ‘e-e’ (sphere) and ‘u-e’ (rule).

 

At St Matthew's, we follow the Lern Fonix Scheme. The overview can be viewed by clicking on the link Lern Fonix

 

Not all words are phonetically decodable.  Some words children need to learn through the ‘sight words’ method of learning. Sight words is when you learn to read by memorising 1,000’s of words individually.  Your child may refer to these as ‘Tricky Words’

 

We will offer Reception parents the opportunity to attend a phonics meeting  in Autumn  and Year 1 parents a meeting in Spring to discuss the National Phonics Screening Test which takes place in June of each year for all Year 1 pupils.  Please see the PowerPoint below for additional information about the National Phonics Screening Check.

 

Parents guide to the National Phonics Screening Check

 

Reading

The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading)

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (ie unskilled readers) when they start school.

Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

 

Writing

The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)

It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these 2 dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.

Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.

 

Maths

Maths is taught through a daily lesson which follows the principles of the White Rose approach. This ensures a broad and thorough 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 maths. 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

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, maths and art and topics covered include Light and Sound, Changing Materials, Forces In Action, Life Cycles, habitats and Healthy Living.

 

Computing

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.

 

History

EYFS and KS1 are introduced to history through sequencing, listening to stories and looking at photographs or exploring artefacts. 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

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.

 

Art & Design

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.

 

Music

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 worship and performances and children have many opportunities to participate by singing or playing their instrument.

 

D.T.

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 (PE)

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 (LMA) 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 KS2.

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