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 St. Stephen's Infant School Curriculum

'Striving, Supporting, Inspiring, Succeeding'


'Our diverse and engaging curriculum promotes outdoor play, curiosity, creativity and independent learning.'

[SSIS Vision Statement 2018-21]



The SSIS Curriculum

At St. Stephen’s Infant School (SSIS) our whole school curriculum comprises of all learning experiences that the school offers the children. A new National Curriculum was introduced in September 2014 with the main aim of raising standards in education. The National Curriculum sets challenging expectations for all year groups from Y1 to Y6, focussing on essential core subject knowledge and skill development.

Our core values and principles inform how we design and implement our SSIS Curriculum. The SSIS Curriculum links clearly to the school’s vision statement which places children at the centre of learning and has been designed to 'truly engage all children and inspire them to succeed'.' [SSIS Vision Statement 2018-21]

Our aims form the intent for The SSIS Curriculum:

We will:

  • Nurture every child to be a happy, caring and responsible member of our school community.
  • Motivate the children to embrace challenge, learn from mistakes and to realise their dreams and goals.
  • Plan a rich and varied curriculum that truly engages all children and inspires them to succeed.
  • Teach the children to be effective, independent learners who are creative, imaginative, curious, reflective, resilient and supportive of each other.
  • Create indoor and outdoor learning environments that excite, energise and enable children to play, explore and learn.

Our vision and aims shape the strategic direction of the school. As such, we are in the process of evolving The SSIS Curriculum ready for 2019+.


The Teaching of Phonics and Reading is prioritised 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:

  • high quality children's literature to plan learning e.g. Journey, Whatever Next, 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 e.g. PM readers.
  • 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 a challenging phonics progression document in conjunction with the Letters and Sounds document and Read, Write Inc. resources (alphabet frieze, handwriting formation cards) linking with the National Curriculum statutory spelling requirements for Year 1 and Year 2. Whole class 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/whole class 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.
  • whole class chapter book/picture book reading 
  • 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. The home reading schemes encourage children to use their phonic skills taught in class.


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


Mathematical fluency and confidence in Numeracy is a precondition of success at St. Stephen's Infant School.

The National Curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions

At SSIS, our Maths teaching has evolved to suit our learners. 'Chunking' of units of work continues to work well across key stage 1 (programmes of study are taught over a typical period of 2 or 3 weeks). This allows teachers the opportunity to extend/repeat or shorten units of work depending on the classes’ fluency and confidence.When planning a unit of work we identify a 'challenge for all' model which identifies age-related expectations that will be covered. A clear big picture/purpose for learning sets out the learning/practise of skill ahead. Lessons include a pre-assessment task for the beginning of each unit. The use of pre-assessment tasks allows the classteacher to create flexible groups  with a personalised teaching and learning approach.  We use a range of manipulatives ( e.g. Numicon, base10) throughout the teaching sequence. 

We are linked with The Boolean Hub with the intention of improving the teaching of mathematics, the leadership of mathematics and the mathematics curriculum. This year (2018/19) we will be developing a clearer assessment system that establishes SSIS milestones  in maths progression. We will also be producing an updated SSIS calculation policy.


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 in EYFS

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)


Please click here for Reception SSIS curriculum overview

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. 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. 'Our diverse and engaging curriculum promotes outdoor play, curiosity, creativity and independent learning.' [SSIS Vision Statement 2018-21]

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

Our key stage 1 curriculum is mapped alongside the National Curriculum to ensure subject coverage and breadth.

The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.

Please click here for Year 1 SSIS curriculum overview 

Please click here for Year 2 SSIS curriculum overview


Y1 and Y2 parents and carers receive a termly plan (see year group page).