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Early Years Curriculum

Units of Work
A cross curricular thematic approach is used for planning all units of work, although the progression and integrity of each subject is planned for and the relevant skills and concepts for each subject are taught.

We place an emphasis on the social and emotional well being of children in the Foundation stage and the curriculum is planned to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to succeed.  The early years team are also involved in the development of singing in schools and the use of the outdoor environment to enhance education.

The Foundation Years


All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:physical development, personal, social and emotional development and communication and language. 



The specific areas are: 



understanding the world

expressive arts and design.


An Early Years Booklet is available from school if more information is required and we welcome visits to our Early Years Unit.

The start of school is an important time for any child and we are happy to discuss individual needs with parents.  We have a flexible approach to admission and will work with parents to make the transition into school a positive experience for you and your child.  Please contact the early years staff if you would like to discuss your child’s entry to school.

National Curriculum

Age Description Key Stage
3 – 4 Years                            Nursery                                 Foundation Stage                       
4 – 5 Years Reception Foundation Stage
5 – 6 Years Year 1 Key Stage 1
6 – 7 Years Year 2 Key Stage 1
7 – 8 Years Year 3 Key Stage 2
8 – 9 Years Year 4 Key Stage 2
National Curriculum Age Groupings
Key Stages 1 and 2 have been working from a new National Curriculum document since September 2014.  This consists of twelve subjects as follows:-
Core Subjects
  • English    
  • Mathematics
  • Science
The Foundation Subjects 
  • Computing
  • Design & Technology
  • Art
  • Physical Education
  • History
  • Geography
  • Music
  • Religious Education
  • MFL
Access to Documents
A range of curriculum documents and other policies are available in the lobby at the main entrance to the school.

Curriculum Statement
We believe strongly in a creative approach to the curriculum.  We value children’s differences and look for their strengths.  We try to use a range of teaching strategies to meet the needs of different learning styles and we introduce thinking strategies and encourage learning dispositions across the curriculum. We aim to provide a positive, questioning, reasoning approach to all learning to enhance children’s self-esteem and foster a true love of learning.

We aim to make our curriculum the very best it can be and at present are implementing new curriculum plans which enable teachers to be more flexible and creative in delivery and to focus on the development of skills that children need to become true learners.

Details of our curriculum planning and schemes of work are available in school.  A brief outline of our curriculum follows:

There are three interrelated skills areas in the teaching of English:-

English plays an important part in all school work, in every day life, and will play an important part in the children’s future world of work.  The children are given the opportunity to speak and listen in a range of situations including participating in a range of drama activities and group discussions.

Philosophy for children is introduced in Key Stage 2 and children are encouraged to discuss issues through circle time in Key Stage 1.

We aim to give the children the opportunity to write for a range of purposes and to develop the skills of self-editing.

We value the skills of handwriting and have a clear policy on presentation.  Handwriting is taught alongside word processing skills, which are considered equally important in education and the world of work.

It is our aim that the children use language effectively, and that they will develop an enjoyment of reading that will help them to become “Readers for Life”.

To further develop the children’s interest in literature, we have set up one of our rooms as a school library.  We find though that most children need little encouragement to develop an interest in books, to read and to discuss the books they have read.

In partnership with the school, we believe that parents have a major role to play in the development of their children’s reading skills and interest in books, that is why we encourage the children to take their books home to share with their parents.  Click here for more information about Read, Write, Inc...

We believe that science is a creative area of the curriculum that requires children to be flexible thinkers.  To encourage an interest in scientific enquiry we teach science through carefully planned topic based work.

During the Foundation Course, Nursery and Reception children will be given opportunities to solve problems,
predict, experiment and explore in a variety of contexts.  These opportunities continue throughout Key stages 1 & 2.

Scientific enquiry is taught through three areas of study:

  • Life Processes and Living Things
  • Materials and their Properties
  • Physical Processes

Children are encouraged through direct practical experience to plan and test their ideas, observe carefully and ask questions and to think about and interpret their findings.

The Mathematics curriculum is divided into three main categories:-

  • Number
  • Measurement
  • Geometry
  • Statistics

We aim to encourage an enjoyment of mathematics and to foster a strong and positive attitude towards the subject, so that the children will become confident in using and developing mathematical strategies.

The three areas of mathematics are taught in an interrelated way and are set in a variety of contexts, and, wherever possible, to make the subject more relevant to the children, the work is based on real life experiences.

The Computing curriculum is based on the National Curriculum Programmes of study.  Alongside this taught curriculum, children are encouraged to use IT safely and for independent learning.

Our aim is that the children become confident users of this technology to communicate and use data handling to support their problem solving across all curriculum areas.

The world of computing changes so quickly with new and faster systems coming on line each year.  At Stamfordham, we pride ourselves that computers/tablets are made available to all the children in the school through the dedicated IT provision in all classrooms.  We have interactive whiteboards in each of the key stages and eventually hope to make this technology available in all classrooms.

Design and Technology
Children will be given the opportunity to question, investigate and evaluate simple products, and to gain knowledge through the process of design and model making using a range of materials and tools.

With the National Curriculum as a framework we aim to give the children an opportunity to:-

  • Explore and develop ideas
  • Investigate and make art craft & designs
  • Evaluate and develop their work & gain a knowledge and understanding of the subject area.

Through the teaching of Art we aim to develop in the child an aesthetic and cultural awareness, both so important in their overall development.

To encourage the children to develop their own artistic confidence and competence, they will be provided with a range of appropriate stimuli, materials and conditions for learning.

The importance of creative work is recognised across the whole curriculum providing rich opportunities for the development of language, eg to describe, to plan, to explain, to imagine and to remember.

Physical Education
In Nursery and Reception children follow the Foundation Stage which is designed to improve their physical development.  During Key Stage 1, Y1 & Y2 children are encouraged to explore and  apply basic skills, actions and ideas through dance, games and gymnastics activities.  In KS 2, Y3 & Y4 children build on and extend their skills, and swimming, water safety, athletics and outdoor adventure activities are introduced.

The children are engaged in a programme which allows for progress throughout their first years at school and provides experiences and challenges which help to develop control, quality, tactics and compositional ideas, fitness and health.

Coaching sessions in rugby and football have a proved a great success as have sponsored events e.g. jump rope for heart. These have given children the opportunity to watch and work with and learn from professionals who pass on their enthusiasm and enjoyment of sports and help the children to become physically confident.

History is taught in an integrated way based on selected topics which cover the requirements of the National Curriculum.  The children will be given the opportunity to develop an awareness of the past and how it differs from the present. They will also be taught how to use a range of sources of information to find out about the past and to place events within a chronological frame-work.

In Geography we aim to build on the children’s own experiences,interests and capabilities.

Through fieldwork and classroom activities we will look at units of study based on a variety of localities and themes.

We aim to develop the children’s geographical vocabulary, skills of enquiry, observation and recording techniques through investigations of physical, human and environmental features.

The whole school is actively engaged in the development of singing and we are working closely with The Music Service to develop our practice.

In music lessons (taught by a music specialist), the children participate in practical activities which include singing, playing instruments, composing performing music, listening to and appraising music from different times and cultures.  We invite professional musicians into school to support our work and have a thriving musical tradition.

Peripatetic teachers are engaged by the school to teach keyboard and guitar to children in Years 3 and 4. 

Religious Education
Although the school is non-denominational, Religious Education plays an important part in the life of the school.

In accordance with the Education and Reform Act (1988), we aim to promote the spiritual, moral and cultural and social development of the child
Religious Education is usually taught as a separate subject and we look to Northumberland’s Agreed Syllabus for R.E. as a guide to our planning.
In accordance with the 1944 Education Act, parents may withdraw their children from Religious Instruction Classes.


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