Please visit our Class Pages to see our curriculum in action!

 St. Stephen's Infant School Curriculum

'Inspiring excellence - achieving together'


'Imagine a school that embraces the uniqueness, curiosity and creativity of all children

A school that prepares children to invent the future and to achieve their goals'

[SSIS Vision Statement 2015-18]



At St. Stephen’s Infant School our curriculum comprises of all learning experiences that the school offers the children.  We ensure our curriculum meets all statutory requirements and engages the children.

Our curriculum links clearly to the school’s vision statement which places children at the centre of learning and has been designed to 'inspire excellence and enable all children to realise their potential'.


The Teaching of Phonics and Reading at St. Stephen's Infant School

At St Stephen’s Infant School we strive to ensure all children become fluent readers by the end of

Key Stage One.

We encourage all children to reach their full potential through the provision of varied opportunities to access phonics and reading. Our provision includes:

  • encouraging a love of reading and literacy through the use of high quality children's literature to plan learning e.g. Beegu, Handa's Surprise and Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch. Our main reading scheme is the Oxford Reading Tree.  We also compliment these texts with books from a range of different publishers.
  • daily phonic sessions in all year groups.

    Our phonics planning allows pupils to gain a progressively deeper understanding of the phonetic structure of the English language as they move through the school to ensure all children are provided with the key tools needed to become a fluent reader.

    The school uses the Letters and Sounds document in conjunction with Read, Write Inc. resources (alphabet frieze, handwriting formation cards) linking with the National Curriculum statutory requirements for Year 1 and Year 2. Whole group teaching of phonics is planned on a format which includes the revisit/ review- teach- apply- assessment sections. We differentiate the phonic groups to ensure children are reaching their full potential. 

  • application of reading skills across the curriculum. Children are encouraged to use their phonic skills across all curriculum subjects. All teachers and teaching assistants model the correct articulation of the phonemes and children are given opportunities to articulate individual phonemes. We have a strong emphasis on the application of phonic knowledge at the point of learning. 
  • weekly guided reading sessions. This involves reading in a small group with children of a similar reading ability and can all read similar levels of texts. The text is chosen carefully so that the children can read fluently with support.  Guided reading gives children the chance to apply the strategies they already know to new texts and to use skills of comprehension to understand what is being read.  Books are chosen from a variety of reading schemes (Oxford Reading Tree, PM readers and real texts), supporting the home reading books. 
  • 1:1 reading with adults
  • intervention programmes for children who need additional support
  • Reading Assistant support in Y1 and Y2. Children read daily for ten minutes with trained Reading Assistants on a 1:1 basis.   This gives them a boost to read at the expected reading levels for their age.  Reading Assistants are part-funded by Pupil Premium. All Pupil Premium children receive Reading Assistant support.
  • home reading programme It is important parents/carers are supporting reading at home. As a school we recommend that parents/carers:

- read with their children at least five times per week (this does not mean your child needs to change their book five times each week. The book can be read in parts or re-read)

- ask a few questions about what you have read (Did you enjoy the book? Have you read a similar book? What would you tell a friend?)

- record comments in reading record books (this will be used and looked at regularly by teaching staff)

- should ensure their child brings their book bag everyday (with Reading Record and Reading Books). We have different community members coming in to support children read as well as Reading Assistants, so extra reading time may be available

- engage with the ‘reading at home challenges’ throughout the school year

  • provide access to e-learning websites to support children's reading development
  • celebrate World Book Day

Please click here to read our policy on the teaching of Phonics and Reading.


 Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) – The Reception Curriculum

The EYFS is based upon four principles:

  • A Unique Child – developing resilient, capable, confident and self-assured individuals.
  • Positive Relationships – supporting the children in becoming strong and independent.
  • Enabling Environments – where opportunities and experiences respond to the individual needs of the child by developing a strong partnership between practitioners, parent/carers/carers and the child.
  • Learning and Developing – An acknowledgement that children learn in different ways and at different rates


The seven areas of the EYFS curriculum aim to promote the development of the 'whole child': 

Three Prime areas: Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social & Emotional Development. 

Four Specific areas: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts & Design.


Planning Learning

Teaching staff adhere to the EYFS principles by planning a balance of adult-led and child-led learning opportunities.

Ongoing assessment through observations and talking with children are recorded in each child's individual 'Learning Journey.'  

Learning opportunities are planned for through play, in order for children to work towards their ‘next steps’ in learning.  Planning ensures learning opportunities which are both  Life-long learning skills (characteristics of effective learning) and attitudes (linked to Elli characters) are developed through whole class, guided group sessions and ILOs.  These are;

  • playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
  • active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and
  • creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

(Taken from statutory framework for the EYFS 2012)



Key Stage 1 Curriculum.

We use the National Curriculum and the children's interests and ideas as starting points for planning learning in Key Stage 1. (KS1) We employ a termly topic-based approach to planning learning in KS1.

Topic learning allows us to use an area of interest to the children to channel their natural curiosity, creativity and enthusiasm.

KS1 teaching staff maximise cross-curricular links between English, Maths, Science, Computing, RE and the Foundation Subjects to plan engaging learning opportunities for the children.

e.g. One of the Y2 topics is 'Space'. As part of their learning the Y2 children undertook research to find out facts about planets in our Solar System. The children then prepared a short presentation to share their learning. Please visit the Term 2 Y2 Class Pages - Pegasus Class, Draco Class and Leo Class to see examples of their Space learning. Go to Home Page then Class Pages drop down  menu.


Please click here to see an overview of our Reception & KS1 topics for 2014-2016.


Over the academic year 2014-2015, we have developed our key stage 1 curriculum and mapped the National Curriculum to ensure subject coverage and breadth.

 Please click here for Year 1 curriculum overview 2015-2016

Please click here for Year 2 curriculum overview 2015-2016

September 2015: Children throughout the school have started to learn cursive handwriting. 

Please click here to read the 'Cursive Handwriting' letter from our new English Subject Leader, Ms. Bradburn.


Planning Learning

Teaching staff begin their termly planning by asking the children some key questions linked to the topic.

The questions are used:

- to gauge the children's current level of knowledge and understanding

- to identify points of interest i.e. what else would the children like to learn about 'Space'? 

A set of 'key questions' are then created to provide a weekly/short term plan for the term.

The teaching staff ensure appropriate coverage of the National Curriculum  subjects when planning.


'Imagine a school equipped with resources and facilities that enable all learners to enjoy and succeed

A school in which every child has part of the day to play and lead their own learning'

 [SSIS Vision Statement 2012-15]


We value the importance of KS1 children having opportunities to lead their own learning.

This helps the children practise, apply and develop their skills and understanding across different curriculum areas. KS1 teaching staff facilitate this process by planning Independent Learning Opportunities (ILOs).

ILOs are often linked to prior learning and the termly topic. Children are also involved in planning ILOs. 

ILOs give the children time to develop our Elli learning skills.

Please click here for more info: Elli characters.  


National Curriculum -  September 2014 onwards

A new National Curriculum was introduced in September 2014 with the main aim of raising standards in education.

The curriculum has been designed to develop productive, creative and well-educated students.  The new curriculum sets new more challenging expectations for all year groups from Y1 to Y6.

The content has been reduced and focuses on essential core subject knowledge and skill development.

During 2013-14 the staff, children and governors have been working hard to revise our curriculum to meet the raised expectations and new programmes of study.

Whilst we have made sure we will meet our legal duty to teach the new National Curriculum we have kept the school’s vision statement at the forefront of our thinking. The Y1 and Y2 children will still be involved in planning their learning opportunities, both independent and directed, and they will still be given time to ‘lead their own learning’.

We have changed the topics children learn to allow for greater coverage and to continue to promote a cross-curricular approach to learning.

We will still use creative starting points and out of school trips to engage and excite the children.

Y1 and Y2 parents and carers will still receive a termly plan outlining the core knowledge and content that will be taught at school.


All Infant and Primary schools have to follow this timetable when implementing the new National Curriculum:

Year 1 children will be embedding the new National Curriculum for all subjects during 2014-2015. 

Year 2 children will be using the old National Curriculum for English, Maths and Science during 2014-2015 and the new National Curriculum for all other subjects.  Y2 are preparing/linking in the new National Curriculum expectations for English, Maths and Science.

This will help prepare the Y2 children for the ‘raised expectations’ as they move into Y3.


The main changes to the National Curriculum


What’s new?


Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling (for example, the use of commas and apostrophes will be taught in KS1)

Handwriting – not currently assessed under the national curriculum – is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy

Spoken English has a greater emphasis, with children to be taught debating and presenting skills


Five-year-olds (Year 1 children) will be expected to learn to count up to 100 (compared to 20 under the current curriculum) and learn number bonds to 20 (currently up to 10)

Simple fractions (1/4 and 1/2) will be taught from KS1, and by the end of primary school, children should be able to convert decimal fractions to simple fractions (e.g. 0.375 = 3/8)

By the age of nine, children will be expected to know times tables up to 12x12 (currently 10x10 by the end of primary school)

Calculators will not be introduced until near the end of KS2, to encourage mental arithmetic


Strong focus on scientific knowledge and language, rather than understanding the nature and methods of science in abstract terms

Evolution will be taught in primary schools for the first time

Non-core subjects like caring for animals will be replaced by topics like the human circulatory system

Design & technology

Afforded greater importance under the new curriculum, setting children on the path to becoming the designers and engineers of the future

More sophisticated use of design equipment such as electronics and robotics

In KS2, children will learn about how key events and individuals in design and technology have shaped the world



Computing replaces Information and Communication Technology (ICT), with a greater focus on programming rather than on operating programs

From age five, children will learn to write and test simple programs, and to organise, store and retrieve data

From seven, they will be taught to understand computer networks, including the internet

Internet safety – currently only taught from 11-16 – will be taught in primary schools

Other subjects

Minor changes, for children to acquire subject knowledge, facts and vocabulary.

If you would like further information please visit the following websites: The School Run, a website dedicated to parents packed full of resources to support learning at school. A government website explaining the new National Curriculum in detail.

Useful guides for parents/carers:

Y1 Parent/Carer Guide to new National Curriculum

Y2 Parent/Carer Guide to new National Curriculum