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At Norton St Philip learning is an adventure not just a journey!
Our curriculum is innovative, creative and dynamic and is taught through our whole school themes. We plan collaboratively with the staff of Rode School, share ideas, resources and skills in order to provide the very best learning experience for all children. We are now teaching from a new national curriculum whilst maintaining our emphasis on the 4Cs of Creativity, Communication, Collaboration and Critical thinking.
The Curriculum includes the following areas:
English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, Design and Technology, History, Geography, Music, Art, Physical Education, Religious Education, Foreign Language and a number of cross-curricular issues. These include subjects such as Personal and Social Education, as well as the social, moral, spiritual and cultural aspects of learning.
We recognise that not all teaching can be done through project work, such as Phonics and Times tables and so a careful balance of subjects, requiring basic skill development and progression, is also included in our curriculum at Norton St Philip. Teachers keep careful records, tracking each child’s individual progress and ensuring each child reaches his/her potential. A strong partnership with parents is essential and regular contact enables everyone to share in the progress of each individual child.
To assist in our planning, we use Chris Quigley Essentials as a framework for our standards based curriculum. For each subject, the essential characteristics for learning are listed below.


Essential Characteristics of Writers
•The ability to write fluently and with interesting detail on a number of topics throughout the curriculum.
•A vivid imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing.
•A highly developed vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description.
•Well-organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures.
•Excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented and punctuated, spelled correctly and neat.
•A love of writing and an appreciation of its educational, cultural and entertainment values.
Essential Characteristics of Readers
•Excellent phonic knowledge and skills. We use Phonics Bug, Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics in Key Stage 1 and EYFS
•Fluency and accuracy in reading across a wide range of contexts throughout the curriculum.
•Knowledge of an extensive and rich vocabulary.
•An excellent comprehension of texts.
•The motivation to read for both study and for pleasure.
•Extensive knowledge through having read a rich and varied range of texts.
Essential Characteristics of Excellent Communicators
•An exceptional talent for listening attentively so as to understand what is being said.
•A rich and varied vocabulary that gives clarity and interest to conversations.
•Clear speech that can be easily understood by a range of audiences.
•An excellent grasp of the rules used in English conversation, such as tenses and the grammatical structure of sentences.
•A highly developed ability to tell stories that capture the interest and imagination of the audience.
•A delight in initiating and joining in conversations.
•Respect for others when communicating, even when views differ.
Much emphasis, particularly in the early years, is placed on communication skills. We encourage children to listen carefully, talk, discuss, debate, reason and report.
Phonic work is introduced in Flintstone Class and continues until the child is a confident reader. Throughout the school we encourage a love of reading and we provide a wide range of books and e-books, both fiction and non-fiction. With your help, we aim for children to use and read books confidently, both for pleasure and information. We use Phonics Bug on-line resource and e-Books to help teach reading skills as well as the Literacy Strategy. Other reading schemes are used as a supplement, arranged in stages to ensure steady progress.
Independent writing is encouraged from the very beginning and a variety of stimuli will be used to develop different writing skills, i.e. creative, descriptive and factual writing.
Spelling, punctuation and general grammar are taught at the appropriate stages and handwriting receives regular practice.
Click here for our medium term English planning at a glance.


Essential Characteristics of Mathematicians
•An understanding of the important concepts and an ability to make connections within mathematics.
•A broad range of skills in using and applying mathematics.
•Fluent knowledge and recall of number facts and the number system.
•The ability to show initiative in solving problems in a wide range of contexts, including the new or unusual.
•The ability to think independently and to persevere when faced with challenges, showing a confidence of success.
•The ability to embrace the value of learning from mistakes and false starts.
•The ability to reason, generalise and make sense of solutions.
•Fluency in performing written and mental calculations and mathematical techniques.
•A wide range of mathematical vocabulary.
•A commitment to and passion for the subject.
We use a number of approaches. The mathematics scheme in use throughout the school is 'Abacus Evolve' . However, as mathematics is all around us, we try to use everyday practical experiences and situations to encourage mathematical understanding. We are continually developing new activities and games to extend, develop and consolidate numerical concepts. To meet with the new requirements of the curriculum 2014, we have been working on our progression in calculation and developed our calculation policy.
Medium term Maths planning at a glance:


Essential characteristics of Science
The ability to think independently and raise questions about working scientifically and the knowledge and skills that it brings.
•Confidence and competence in the full range of practical skills, taking the initiative in, for example, planning and carrying out scientific investigations.
•Excellent scientific knowledge and understanding which is demonstrated in written and verbal explanations, solving challenging problems and reporting scientific findings.
•High levels of originality, imagination or innovation in the application of skills.
•The ability to undertake practical work in a variety of contexts, including fieldwork.
•A passion for science and its application in past, present and future technologies.
As parents you will be aware that young children are extremely interested in so many things. We aim to encourage the children's natural enjoyment of exploration and develop their ability to observe, compare and classify.
Children are given practice in undertaking their own experiments and they learn to record the findings in various ways.


Essential characteristics of Computing
•Competence in coding for a variety of practical and inventive purposes, including the application of ideas within other subjects.
•The ability to connect with others safely and respectfully, understanding the need to act within the law and with moral and ethical integrity.
•An understanding of the connected nature of devices.
•The ability to communicate ideas well by using applications and devices throughout the curriculum.
•The ability to collect, organise and manipulate data effectively.
The children are taught specific computing skills and are encouraged to become as proficient as possible in computer usage. The computers in school are also used by the children to support the rest of the curriculum.

Religious Education

Essential characteristics of Religious Education
An outstanding level of religious understanding and knowledge.
•A thorough engagement with a range of ultimate questions about the meaning and significance of existence.
•The ability to ask significant and highly reflective questions about religion and demonstrate an excellent understanding of issues related to the nature, truth and value of religion.
•A strong understanding of how the beliefs, values, practices and ways of life within any religion cohere together.
•Exceptional independence; the ability to think for themselves and take the initiative in, for example, asking questions, carrying out investigations, evaluating ideas and working constructively with others.
•Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity, which are shown in their responses to their learning in RE.
•The ability to link the study of religion and belief to personal reflections on meaning and purpose.
Religious Education is an integral part of the life within Norton St Philip First School. For our full SIAMS Report for February 2014 click here. Parents have a right to withdraw their child from R.E. but should consult the head teacher to discuss any implications.


Essential characteristics of Geography:
•An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
•An excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.
•An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
•Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
•The ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings.
•Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter.
•Highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
•A passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there.
•The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.


Essential characteristics of History:
•An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events, and contexts from a range of historical periods and of historical concepts and processes.
•The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas very confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.
•The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources.
•The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry.
•A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways.
•A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgments.
•A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.

Physical Education 

Essential Characteristics of Physical Education:
•The ability to acquire new knowledge and skills exceptionally well and develop an in-depth understanding of PE.
•The willingness to practise skills in a wide range of different activities and situations, alone, in small groups and in teams and to apply these skills in chosen activities to achieve exceptionally high levels of performance.
•High levels of physical fitness.
•A healthy lifestyle, achieved by eating sensibly, avoiding smoking, drugs and alcohol and exercising regularly.
•The ability to remain physically active for sustained periods of time and an understanding of the importance of this in promoting long-term health and well-being.
•The ability to take the initiative and become excellent young leaders, organising and officiating, and evaluating what needs to be done to improve, and motivating and instilling excellent sporting attitudes in others.
•Exceptional levels of originality, imagination and creativity in their techniques, tactics and choreography, knowledge of how to improve their own and others’ performance and the ability to work independently for extended periods of time without the need of guidance or support.
•A keen interest in PE. A willingness to participate eagerly in every lesson, highly positive attitudes and the ability to make informed choices about engaging fully in extra-curricular sport.
•The ability to swim at least 25 metres before the end of Year 6 and knowledge of how to remain safe in and around water.
Part of P.E. learning involves Health Education, Personal and Social Education and deals with a wide variety of matters including relationships with others, taking care of ourselves and Sex Education in its broadest sense.
P.E. lessons are held regularly outside, on the school playing field, at Creative Aquatics hall in Tytherington and at Rode School. Fridays are "Sports Friday" when children come to school in joggers, shorts and trainers.
Swimming lessons take place on Thursday in a heated pool at Creative Aquatics Pool at Tytherington. All children will have an opportunity to swim during the year.

Design and Technology

Essential Characteristics of Design and Technology:
•Significant levels of originality and the willingness to take creative risks to produce innovative ideas and prototypes.
•An excellent attitude to learning and independent working.
•The ability to use time efficiently and work constructively and productively with others.
•The ability to carry out thorough research, show initiative and ask questions to develop an exceptionally detailed knowledge of users’ needs.
•The ability to act as responsible designers and makers, working ethically, using finite materials carefully and working safely.
•A thorough knowledge of which tools, equipment and materials to use to make their products.
•The ability to apply mathematical knowledge.
•The ability to manage risks exceptionally well to manufacture products safely and hygienically.
•A passion for the subject and knowledge of, up-to-date technological innovations in materials, products and systems.
We are very aware of living in a technological age and therefore aim to present the children, from a very early age, with problem-solving activities. Our Egg Challenge at Easter provides children and parents with an eggcruciating IT challenge every year!

Art and Design

Essential Characteristics of Art and Design:
The ability to use visual language skillfully and convincingly (for example, line, shape, pattern, colour, texture, form) to express emotions, interpret observations, convey insights and accentuate their individuality.
The ability to communicate fluently in visual and tactile form.
The ability to draw confidently and adventurously from observation, memory and imagination.
•The ability to explore and invent marks, develop and deconstruct ideas and communicate perceptively and powerfully through purposeful drawing in 2D, 3D or digital media.
• An impressive knowledge and understanding of other artists, craftmakers and designers.
•The ability to think and act like creative practitioners by using their knowledge and understanding to inform, inspire and interpret ideas, observations and feelings.
•Independence, initiative and originality which they can use to develop their creativity.
•The ability to select and use materials, processes and techniques skillfully and inventively to realise intentions and capitalise on the unexpected.
•The ability to reflect on, analyse and critically evaluate their own work and that of others.
•A passion for and a commitment to the subject.


Essential Characteristics of Music:
•A rapidly widening repertoire which they use to create original, imaginative, fluent and distinctive composing and performance work.
•A musical understanding underpinned by high levels of aural perception, internalisation and knowledge of music, including high or rapidly developing levels of technical expertise.
•Very good awareness and appreciation of different musical traditions and genres.
•An excellent understanding of how musical provenance - the historical, social and cultural origins of music - contributes to the diversity of musical styles.
•The ability to give precise written and verbal explanations, using musical terminology effectively, accurately and appropriately.
•A passion for and commitment to a diverse range of musical activities.
Music plays a crucial part of the life of our school and is led by our Performing Arts specialist teacher. Activities include singing, listening, composition, percussion and music reading. Children have the opportunity to learn to play a variety of instruments including the recorder, ocarina, fife, guitar, ukelele and drums.


A small amount of homework is given in each class to consolidate or extend learning. This varies from class to class but includes reading, spelling, maths activities and games as well as mini-projects related to our themes.

Environment Education

We are committed to developing in children an understanding and appreciation of the natural and constructed world, locally, nationally and internationally. We encourage them to develop a sense of responsibility for looking after, and improving, the environment around them. The school has its own garden and allotment.

Personal and Social Education

In all aspects of school life, we aim to promote the personal and social development of children. We aim to develop an understanding of how to look after ourselves, basic life skills and interpersonal skills. We help children to understand, and come to terms with, growing up. "Sex Education" is taught in school as an aspect of Personal and Social Education and is taught in a way appropriate to the age of the children. Copies of the Sex Education Policy are available for parents to read.

Foreign Languages

Essential characteristics of Languages
•The confidence to speak with good intonation and pronunciation.
•Fluency in reading.
•Fluency and imagination in writing.
•A strong awareness of the culture of the countries where the language is spoken.
•A passion for languages and a commitment to the subject.
•The ability to use language creatively and spontaneously.
•An independence in their studies and the ability to draw upon a wide range of resources.

Special Education (see SEN Local Offer)

Many children experience some difficulty in learning during their school career. Some problems are easily identified and dealt with by the class teacher. Sometimes it may be necessary to give a child particular help through a specific learning programme.
The school aims to give special help to children with specific or general learning difficulties. The work set will match individual pupil's needs and abilities. A member of our teaching staff who takes responsibility for special needs education throughout the school, guides our Special Needs Learning Support Assistant in the implementation of programmes. Children with particularly severe learning or behavioural difficulties may, with their parents' consent, be referred to the Educational Psychologist. We also try to give extra challenge to children who are particularly able.
At Norton St Philip learning is an adventure not just a journey! Why not join in?