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St James CofE Primary and Nursery School

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St James CofE Primary and Nursery School


Our Curriculum Intent


We pride ourselves at St James Church of England Primary and Nursery School in providing a safe and happy atmosphere where children's learning and well-being are at the centre of everything that we do and that everyone of our children is cared for as a child of God.  Our Vision of IGNITE, EXPLORE, BELIEVE is at the centre of all curriculum decisions and provides the basis of our termly Learning Narratives.


Our priority is to foster our children's excitement for learning through enabling our children to take an active part in the EYFS Framework, the National and Wider Curriculum; our teachers are expected to take a creative approach to their practice.  We want to IGNITE a passion for learning that is within our children by starting with the children's own needs and interests.


We have developed a whole school "language of learning" that is derived from the characteristics of an effective learner identified within the EYFS Framework.  Children are asked to think about the process of learning in terms of "playing and exploring", "being an active learner" and "creating and thinking critically".  This enables an innovative approach to our curriculum design through our Curriculum themes and Learning Narratives and also ensures the children are able to understand how they learn rather than just focusing on what they learn.


We have 5 guiding principles when considering our Curriculum for pupils at St James:


(1)  Our Curriculum is a carefully planned, thematic approach to teaching and learning which is designed to support children's natural curiosity and stimulate their creativity.  It offers children the opportunity to work in depth, giving them the time they need to reflect, consolidate and make links in their learning.  The opportunity to be creative, both indoors and outdoors, is vital in terms of developing life skills for the future - problem solving, critical thinking, risk taking and persistence are all developed by being immersed in the creative process.


(2)  Direct experience is placed at the centre of the curriculum so that teachers draw out and develop children's thinking and capacities in meaningful contexts,  We encourage children to access learning in a variety of ways and EXPLORE the world around them.  Children discover that learning is not passive and that it is an active process.


(3)  Knowledge, skills and understanding are gained in a range of different media and ways, often making effective use of the creative arts and learning through play.


(4)  Children, adults and parents work with each other, drawing resources from the school, the local, national and global community to create a challenging, distinctive and exciting curriculum.


(5)  All children have an entitlement to a well-resourced and rich learning environment that promotes their sense of responsibility and autonomy and their sense of themselves as a creative and self-motivated learner.  Children deserve a learning environment and learning opportunities that engage them and also develops children's excitement and enthusiasm for learning.  In addition, we encourage children to develop self-belief, as well as having opportunities to BELIEVE in their family, their school, their community and their spirituality to support them on their journey through life.



How we implement our Curriculum


The staff at St James Church of England Primary and Nursery School are committed to raising standards and providing the best education for the pupils in the school.  In our school we aim to have:

  • Effective planning that takes account of the learning needs of all pupils, whilst supporting and encouraging our teachers to be responsive within lessons and when assessing next steps for learning, by which we ask them to adapt their planning when necessary;
  • Effective teaching that motivates and inspires all pupils to achieve their best work;
  • Relevant opportunities for pupils to engage in a wide range of challenging learning experiences including an outdoor ethos across the school;
  • Appropriate continuity and progression in the learning of all pupils from EYFS to the end of Key Stage 2;
  • A combination of the best features of educational practice whilst implementing the Early Years Foundation Stage (2012) and the National Curriculum (2014).  We follow the National Curriculum to ensure that children are well prepared for the next stage of their education. 


You can see some examples of how we do this on the class pages of the children section of this website.


Structure: a systematic approach


The curriculum at St James is underpinned by HIGH QUALITY TEACHING AND LEARNING OF SPEECH, LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION and ORACY SKILLS.  As St James is primarily a mono-diverse culture, our curriculum is also underpinned by HIGH QUALITY TEACHING AND LEARNING OF EQUALITY, DIVERSITY and INCLUSION.

Foundation Subjects are planned for and taught either individually or as part of a connected curriculum project.  Links are made only when there is a meaningful connection and should not be forced.  Connected curriculum projects will be for 1 - 4 week blocks in length and they must be clear to allow a strong focus on the learning of key facts related to the required subject content stated in the National Curriculum.


There should be opportunity for those children who are quick to grasp facts to explore in more depth and find out more (which links to Home Learning opportunities).


Links to English, Mathematics and Science:  Teachers should ensure explicit reference to these skills are made to the class and are noted on the planning documents.  There are clearly strong benefits from linking subjects, especially developing subject content for English and these links must continue.  However, there is an opportunity for teachers to decide not to link English with a foundation subject, each can stand on its own.


At St James Church of England Primary and Nursery School depth of understanding is a priority alongside our high expectations for every child.


  • The philosophy is to create deeper understanding rather than to accelerate pupils into new content.
  • The whole class teaching model has a key feature of teaching for mastery - we focus on the depth of pupils' learning - the impact of the teaching.
  • Tracking attainment is measured across the curriculum.



To enhance our curriculum, we offer a Curriculum Guarantee to all of our children and their families.  This is our promise, our Intent, influenced by the National Trust's, "50 things to do before you are 11 and 3/4" and the DfE's "My Activity Passport".

Our Curriculum Guarantee

Please see below specific subject area sections to give you more information about our Intent for each subject taught within our school.  If you require any further information about the Curriculum offer at St James, please email or call the main office on 01837 52341.