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Rockland St Mary Primary Schoolrockland-st-mary .norfolk.sch.uk Sunbeams Pre-Schoolsunbeamseast.co.uk


Respect; Resilience; Resourcefulness and Reach

Our aim is to encourage and support our pupils to enjoy their childhoods and reach their full potential, as confident, inquisitive and successful learners and as fully rounded individuals. Our small, caring communities and our inspiring environment, within the South Norfolk Broads, make a huge impact on our children’s development and our essential values.

We want children to leave school as successful learners who;

  • Have respect for all
  • Have the resilience to be strong, keep trying and finish what is started
  • Are resourceful and can use what is learned confidently and creatively
  • Reach as high, wide and as deep in learning as possible …to be the best you can be

We believe that children learn well when they are deeply engaged and involved with their activities. We want children to come school every day excited by the prospect of new discoveries and new skills to learn. We plan our curriculum to appeal to the children’s interests and to help facilitate their learning in a wide range of areas.

This is supported and underpinned by an ethos in which all individuals are valued and where our children can flourish in a safe, calm, caring and enabling environment in which each child’s well being is paramount and their developing independence is encouraged and celebrated. Our learning environment is supportive and purposeful – but also stimulating, challenging and engaging with a clear focus on promoting positive behaviour and our principles for learning

Our curriculum also specifically offers rich and diverse learning experiences and opportunities drawn from and inspired by our unique local environment.

Approaches to Teaching

We want children to enjoy learning through involvement in a meaningful, purposeful and relevant curriculum that develops lively, enquiring minds and gives children skills for life.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum is used to guide and support teaching and learning within Reception. This is gradually and appropriately replaced by the new National Curriculum within Year 1 to guide and support teaching and learning from this point through to the end of Year 6.

The National Curriculum includes:

Core Subjects

English, Maths, Science, Computing

The Foundation Subjects

Careful planning ensures that these subjects are matched with the age, ability and experience of each child. IT is used throughout the curriculum, both as a teaching resource and as a tool for recording, collecting and sorting information.

Inquiry Maps detailing potential learning experiences are provided for parents regularly. Weekly Learning Objectives are also available to inform parents about what the children will be learning during the week and to suggest how they might support their learning at home.

We aim to ensure that:

  • All pupils have equality of opportunity through the encouragement of positive self-esteem and the provision of an appropriate and differentiated curriculum
  • Pupils learn through an active curriculum with involvement in practical and meaningful activities
  • Pupils are encouraged to think for themselves and become increasingly independent and responsible for their own learning
  • Pupils have opportunities to cooperate and work with others as well as by themselves
  • Everyone in the school community develops an understanding of and sensitivity to the rights, responsibilities and respect of others as well as themselves
  • The curriculum provides continuity and progression as pupils pass through the school
  • The curriculum provided is linked across subjects, as and when appropriate, through year group and whole school themes to promote meaningful in depth learning experiences
  • We monitor the progress and achievements of pupils throughout their time at our school and share this information with parents on a regular basis.

The new National Curriculum is knowledge rather than skills based. However, we feel that whilst acquiring a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding is important for children, we also believe that they are capable of deep thinking and applying a range of cross curricular learning skills and should be encouraged to do so.

The Importance of Language

Language is key for children to gain greater understanding and enjoyment of the world around them and greater participation in it. When language is richer it leads to deeper understanding and ability to communicate needs, feelings, ideas and knowledge successfully. We offer rich opportunities to practise and develop language skills through discussion, drama, storytelling and philosophy for children.

In addition to this we use a highly structured, progressive synthetic phonics programme in Reception and Years 1 and 2 to support development of key skills in their reading and writing.

Learning to Read

Children are encouraged to take books home regularly to share with their families from their earliest time in school. Sharing books with an adult helps enrich children’s vocabulary and more exciting worlds beyond reading scheme books. Children can often be turned off reading by being made to plod word-for-word through a book that limits their ability and imagination. Any books that children do take home have been chosen so that the child can enjoy them with confidence. Once children become fully fluent readers, they can choose from a wide variety of books to take home. Research shows that when books are shared with adults at home, they increasingly develop their comprehension and expressive skills. So this is very important.

Children in Reception, Year 1 and 2 are taught a system of synthetic phonics through the use of Letters and Sounds
Phonics teaching starts in reception with phase 2 Letters and Sounds. Children learn both the sound and the grapheme at the same time, building up on knowledge of sounds, practicing blending and segmenting to decode and understand the meaning of the words on the page.

Phonics teaching continues into year 1 and year 2. At the end of Year 1 children take the statutory Phonics Screening Test, retaking it in Year 2 if they have not already achieved the threshold pass rate the previous year.

Within KS2 phonics support continues for those in need of this intervention, using Read, Write Inc to complement the later phases of Letters and Sounds.

In addition we teach the skills of comprehension and literary appreciation through regular Guided Reading Sessions. In these sessions children explore reading texts with the teacher through a range of questions and activities to deepen understanding and breadth of reading experience. To find out more about the importance of Guided Reading please go to www.theschoolrun.com/what-is-guided-reading

All children’s reading experiences are able to be documented through their Reading Journal. Parents/Carers and children are encouraged to take time to record their responses to their chosen books in a variety of ways.

Further Information

You can find all sorts of helpful information on both Phonics and the curriculum by following this link:









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