Our Curriculum Subjects

Here you can read all about the subjects that your child will study at St Andrews Primary. Click on the subjects name below to expand more information about it…

What is expected?
At St Andrew’s we believe in providing opportunities for children to explore their creativity through visual, tactile and sensory experiences, while developing a unique way of responding to and understanding their surroundings.
By looking at the work of artists, crafts people and designers, children are encouraged to discover the meanings and functions of Art within historical and contemporary society and culture.
Children will be able to communicate feelings, ideas and meanings through an awareness of colour, pattern, texture and form.
How do we teach art skills?
Children will have the opportunity to work with an extensive range of materials, which will include clay, wire, paint, and pastels. We stage an annual Arts week during the summer where the children use all of the skills they have learnt throughout the year on a topic linked to their learning.  Last year’s topic was ‘Life in Dorset’.
Children will learn to:
  • Record their work.
  • Observe, imagine and develop their ideas.
  • Investigate the possibilities and limitations of materials and processes.
  • Try out tools and techniques and apply these to materials and processes.
  • To reflect on their own and others work, and be able to offer and receive constructive feedback and praise.
How can parents support their child’s artistic development?
The support and collaboration of parents we believe is critical to children’s creative development. Parents are invited to be involved with Arts Week every Summmer.
  • We would encourage children to have experience of exhibitions and galleries both locally and nationally.
  • Involve children in open discussions about art, so that they can develop their own ideas about prejudice, assumptions and stereotypes in visual forms.
  • To encourage children to collect objects, pictures etc of interest to them and to create a sketch book to aid their visual and observational skills.
  • To help children learn to be responsible for the tidying up of activities.
  • Don’t be afraid to let your children make a mess!
Design technology enables children to design and innovate through practical tasks, using creativity and imagination. Children take everyday or familiar objects and investigate how they work, what they are used for, and who might use them.
Working with a variety of materials and learning new practical skills, children have the opportunity to design, make and evaluate a range of products from moving picture books to picture frames, money containers to musical instruments.
Design technology is a subject in which children have the opportunity to work both individually and as part of a team.

What is expected?

We believe that communication skills are fundamental to a child’s personal and academic development and always remain key aspects in their learning, impacting on performance in education, opportunities in work and enjoyment of life.
At St Andrew’s School we not only provide opportunities for developing these key skills through the focused teaching of English but also through pupils’ use of language across the whole of the curriculum (a major proposal in the QCA national primary curriculum review being undertaken this year).
The key skills of communication include speaking, listening, reading and writing. The key skills developed through an appropriate range of experiences in speaking and listening include the ability to speak effectively for different audiences, to listen, understand and respond appropriately to others and to participate effectively in group discussions.
In reading and writing, the ability to read fluently a range of texts and to reflect critically on what is read is regarded as fundamental, but we also encourage a confidence and enjoyment of reading for pleasure.
In developing all children’s ability to write fluently for a range of purposes and audiences, we encourage children to work collaboratively as well as independently.
How do we teach Communication Skills?
From the Early Years Foundation Stage, through Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 all of our children learn, practise, combine, develop and refine their communication skills so as to achieve and develop their potential.
Through early planned experiences such as role play, pupils learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. This is further developed as pupils use language in imaginative ways and express their ideas and feelings. When working cooperatively, such as in drama activities and class discussions, pupils become confident in speaking in a range of contexts, adapting what they say and how they say it to suit the purpose and audience and responding appropriately to others, thinking about what has been said and the language used.
Planned experiences in reading and writing build on what the child has already learnt and through the Letters and Sounds programme pupils begin to read and write with increasing independence and with enthusiasm. As they progress, pupils focus on words and sentences and how they combine to fit into whole texts.
By Key Stage 2, pupils are encouraged to read with fluency and accuracy, using inference and deduction. Pupils experience a wide range of text from  modern and classic children’s authors, playscripts, poetry, myths, legends and traditional stories, to diaries, autobiographies, biographies, letters and  newspaper and magazine articles, through this, pupils’ enjoyment and value of reading is fostered.
The same applies to our approach in teaching writing, where over time they learn to communicate meaning in narrative and non-fiction texts and spell and punctuate correctly. A personalised approach is adopted to ensure all pupils progress well and broaden their vocabulary, using appropriate language, employing features of layout, plan, draft revise, proofread, present and evaluate their writing.
Pupils experience for themselves the joys (and frustrations) of being an author as they write articles for the parish magazine, reports on events, and during our annual Book week (January 26th-30th 2009) have the opportunity to publish a book of their own.
We celebrate the fact that pupils learn at different rates and have particular needs and we strive to meet these with the support of not only professionals in the school but also the encouragement and help from home.
How can parents support their child’s learning and development?
We are committed to working with parents to not only ensure all pupils achieve well but also enjoy their experience at school. We believe every child really does matter.
At the start of every school year all parents are invited to meet with their child’s class teacher, to plan together how best, by working together, the child will do well.
We readily acknowledge the vital role parents and carers have had and will continue to have in developing their child’s communication skills. This partnership is built upon by parents supporting their child’s learning through:
  • Speaking with and listening to their child; encouraging them to talk about their experiences at school, days out, visits etc.
  • Helping their child with reading by pointing out words around them; make time to read with their child daily.
  • Encouraging their child to write for a purpose, e.g. a holiday diary, a thank you letter, invitations and cards.
  • Discussing settings, characters and story outlines of books,
  • Encouraging their child to write the opening of a story in the style of their favourite author.
  • Spending time helping their child to proofread their writing.
  • Establishing a conducive learning environment and routine and focus on the learning process not only the marks.
And most importantly of all if you have any worries, concerns or questions about your child’s development in communication skills do come and talk to us, we are here to listen to you.
Learning a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience in preparation for future life. At St Andrew’s, we aim to introduce our pupils to other languages in a fun and enjoyable way.
French, Spanish and Latin is taught from Year 3 through to Year 6. The emphasis is very firmly on speaking and listening, with the languages being taught primarily through songs, stories, rhymes and games. We also look at the geography, culture and lifestyles.
How you can help
  • Ask your child to recite a rhyme or song they have learned.
  • Encourage your child to use simple words and phrases at home (French – merci, s’il te plait, oh la la!).

‘What is our knowledge worth if we know nothing about the world that sustains us, nothing about natural systems and climates, nothing about other countries and cultures?’

 Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future
What is expected?
Geography develops the knowledge of places and environments throughout the world. The children are challenged to pose questions and find solutions, whilst being aware of different viewpoints. They develop map skills, refine communication skills including graphical and oral presentation, and practise problem-solving.
In addressing issues about the environment and sustainable development, the children learn to link the natural and social sciences. They learn about how different people, cultures and nations rely on each other.
The children at St Andrew’s are encouraged to think about their rights and their responsibilities to other people and the environment.
How do we teach geography?
During Key Stage 1 the children investigate: their local area in Year 1, and Kenya in Year 2. They find out about the area, the landscape and the people who live there. In Year 1 the children embark on a field study of Fontmell Magna, constructing a large model of the village which they then use to develop their mapping skills.
In Year 2 the children study Kenya. The school has a link with an orphanage in Kenya and have access to a wealth of photographs and artefacts which one of our teaching assistants and her family has gathered during her visits to the orphanage. The children have developed enormous empathy for the orphans and have embarked on numerous fundraising activities to help fund medicine and resources which are then distributed personally by Louise Cowling.
In Key Stage 2 the children are encouraged to make links between different places in the world by analysing information and drawing conclusions. Year 3 embark on a detailed study of ‘The Weather’. Year 4 trail the course of the River Stour whilst developing their knowledge of the features of a river, and the development of our locality along this historic river. Year 5 study ‘Trees and Woodlands’. This begins in our own school grounds as the children find about our own native trees. However, the project then broadens to look at the Rainforest, alongside issues relating to conservation and the future of our planet. In the Summer Term, the children study our Jurassic Coastline. The highlight of this is a residential field trip to the PGL Centre in Osmington. Year 6 start the year with individual research about a world city of their choice. In the Summer, the focus changes to a comparative study of the city of Bristol compared to Shaftesbury. This culminates in spending three days living in the centre of Bristol, experiencing the museums, zoo, ice-skating rink and public transport, amongst other exciting adventures.
How can parents support their child’s learning and development?
  • As in history, trips to museums, galleries and sites of geographic interest are invaluable. If you have a chance to visit one of these during the weekend or holidays, then please do so! Photographs and souvenirs are welcomed in school, so your child can share – and consolidate – what they have learned with their friends at school.
  • Many local tourist attractions provide a site map. Let your child have a go at pointing out and finding key features on these maps.
  • Compiling a scrapbook of a family holiday makes a fascinating memento for your family but can also be a valuable way of reinforcing interesting facts for your child and will give them lots to talk about on their return to school. If you are lucky enough to travel abroad please try to collect as much as possible as back at school we like to hear about it all – boarding passes, receipts and bags, leftover money as well as photographs of all of those exotic locations and the people who live and work there!

‘How do you know who you are unless you know where you’ve come from? How can you tell what’s going to happen, unless you know what’s happened before? History isn’t just about the past. It’s about why we are who we are – and about what’s next.’

 Tony Robinson, Actor and Television Presenter


What is expected?

Through studying history, children begin to understand a sense of chronology, as well as how different beliefs and cultures influenced people’s actions and lives. What they learn can influence their decisions about personal choices, attitudes and values.
In history, children find evidence, weigh it up and reach their own conclusions. To be able to do this they need to be able to research, sift through evidence, and argue for their point of view – valuable skills for adulthood.
How do we teach history?
During Key Stage 1 the children learn about people’s lives and lifestyles. They find about significant people and events from the past – such as Florence Nightingale and Guy Fawkes. In Year 1 the children look at how life for children was different in the past. To bring their topics to life we use role play and dress up as Victorian children for our trip to the Priests House Museum in Wimborne. There is a topic about ‘Toys’ which is an opportunity for children to bring in old toys that may have belonged to parents and grandparents. They learn how things have changed as well as the importance of valuing objects and evidence from the past.
In Year 2 the children study the Anglo Saxons – exploring the historical clues that can be found around our own village. In the Summer Term this topic culminates with a visit to The Ancient Technology Centre at Cranborne. Here the children have the opportunity to make rope, grind grain, produce felt, bake bread, and sit around a fire listening to stories from Saxon times in authentically reconstructed houses.
In Key Stage 2 the children’s knowledge is broadened as they study history in a variety of ways, for example from political, economic, technological and scientific, social, religious, cultural or aesthetic perspectives. They learn about change and continuity. The children are introduced to a wide range of historical sources and are expected to develop the correct historical vocabulary to describe events, people and developments. They are also taught about the important differences between fact, fiction and point of view – a highly relevant skill in interpreting both historical and contemporary sources of information.
The Key Stage 2 curriculum is also enhanced by the use of visiting experts, role play and field trips. For example, a Victorian Day in Year 3 (reconstructing a day at our own school in Victorian times, by using original photographs as the starting point): a Greek Day in Year 4, involving a local artist, mini Olympics and traditional banquet; a visit to view the ancient Egyptian artefacts at Kingston Lacy with a fascinating input from the education officer who demonstrates mummification on a real child and a trip to Montacute House to study the Tudors in Year 6.
Against this background of first hand experience the children develop their research skills by studying original artefacts, using the reference section in our library and by developing their ICT Skills.
How can parents support their child’s learning and development?
  • The children are fascinated with their own history and love to repeat stories of their own relatives and families. If you have any treasures at home, such as old photographs or heirlooms, share them with your child. If there is ever anything that would reinforce the current topic in class, please bring it in. We promise to be very careful!
  • Trips to museums, galleries, historic buildings and sites are invaluable. If you have a chance to visit one of these during the weekend or holidays, then please do so! Photographs and souvenirs are welcomed in school, so your child can share – and consolidate – what they have learned with their friends at school.
At St Andrew’s we strive to provide exciting and successful learning in mathematics which will enable our children to achieve their full potential. Maths lessons are planned to enable all children to learn and achieve at their own level, with opportunities to use apparatus, practical equipment and ICT to enhance their understanding.
We aim to provide children with a sound understanding of the number system, develop their mental strategies and encourage them to solve problems in a variety of contexts.
How do we teach maths?
The daily numeracy lesson follows the Revised Framework for Mathematics and emphasises the ability to use mental calculation strategies. Children are encouraged to learn number facts and tables and to use informal jottings to help them with their work. Areas of learning include counting and understanding numbers, knowing and using number facts, calculating, measures, shape and space and data handling, with the concept of using and applying skills in ‘real life’ contexts running throughout.
The maths curriculum is taught using a range of methods, all intended to enhance the children’s confidence and enjoyment of the subject. Children are given the opportunity to investigate problems and are encouraged to discuss their ideas and methods through the use of group or paired work, and with ‘Talk Partners’. With the help of parents, children are encouraged to learn and recall number facts, such as number bonds (addition and subtraction pairs) in Key Stage 1, and times tables in Key Stage 2. Practical apparatus and visual models are used to aid children’s understanding, and games, investigations and problem-solving activities help to consolidate and extend their learning in both the numeracy hour and in subjects across the curriculum.
How you can help
  • Whenever possible, help your child tell the time.
  • Let them have plenty of opportunities to handle and use money.
  • Help your child to learn number bonds (KS1) and times tables (KS2).

What is expected?

We believe that music is a unique form of communication that can change the way that pupils feel, think and act. It enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. The teaching of music develops pupils’ ability to listen and appreciate a wide variety of music and to make judgements about musical quality.
The teaching of music encourages active involvement in different forms of amateur music making, both individual and communal, developing a sense of group identity and togetherness. It also increases self discipline and creativity, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfilment.
How do we teach Music?
From the Early Years Foundation Stage, through Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, all of our children are given opportunities for self-expression through sound and music. They gain a progressive understanding of the musical elements and are given opportunities to perform vocally as individuals, in groups, classes and whole school situations.
Pupils experience a variety of musical traditions, cultures and periods and develop discriminatory listening skills, as well as their ability to discuss and evaluate musical compositions and performances.
Pupils are taught various musical structures to enable them to create their own musical compositions and are also taught how to record and read their own compositions. Every child in Year 3 learns a string instrument; the pupils are taught as a class by two specialist string teachers and are given the chance to perform as a group on a regular basis.
At St Andrew’s School we provide opportunities for developing the key music skills through focused teaching and through a structured, personalised cross curricular approach to ensure all pupils progress well and it reflects prior knowledge.
Dance and art are two areas that music naturally lend themselves towards an integrated approach. Other opportunities are also found, for example, Smetana’s Ma Vlast is the inspiration behind the composing of a piece of music to reflect a rivers journey and is taught simultaneously with a geographical study of river features.
The skills and objectives covered in curriculum time are extended through extensive extra curricular activities. All children are given the opportunity from Year 2 upwards to learn the recorder (currently 62 do so); the school choir is 31 pupils strong, whilst the orchestra has 22 pupils of grade 1 standard or above.
Pupils are also given the opportunity to learn musical instruments though private peripatetic music lessons; instrument offered 2008-2009 include violin, cello, (all pupils learning a string instrument are all so part of the string group which regularly perform for a variety of audiences) flute, clarinet saxophone, drums, and piano.
The collaborative nature of music-making activities develops social skills, self-confidence and a true sense of team work amongst pupils. We believe these skills are fundamental. It is this belief that drives forward the whole school recognition of the importance of music; many opportunities are given to celebrate achievements in Good Work Assemblies, church services, music concerts and festivals. All children are given the chance to be involved when the school produces a ‘musical’; at present Key Stage 1 produce a nativity annually and Key Stage 2 have produced an annual musical for the past three years. The school has an annual Arts Week where music plays an integral part.
Other musical events are available to children throughout the school year; these include concerts provided by the Dorset Music Service and trips to watch the BSO (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra). The Shaftesbury Pyramid of schools work closely together to provide additional opportunities where the children come together to participate in a wide range of musical activities.
We celebrate the fact that pupils learn at different rates and we strive, with the personalised curriculum to meet this needs and provide meaningful opportunities for all.
How can parents support their childs learning and development?
We are committed to working with parents to ensure all pupils achieve well and also enjoy their experience at school.
We acknowledge the vital role parents and carers have had and will continue to have in developing their child’s communication skills. This partnership is built upon by parents supporting their child’s learning through:
  • Exposing children to and discussing a wide range of musical styles from different traditions and cultures;
  • Developing children’s sense of rhythm, this may be through clapping games, dance or singing.
  • Encourage children to make music, be it singing or composing and valuing the process.
  • Encouraging children who learn a musical instrument to practise little and often.
Parents and carers are invited to numerous events through out the year. We try to vary the timings taking into account work and life commitments in order to reach a wide and supportive audience.

Personal well-being is a key factor in enabling learning and at St Andrew’s we ensure that ‘Every Child Matters’. It is our premise that socially and emotionally literate children access learning better and there is the expectation that PSHCE will permeate the curriculum and the rest of the child’s whole experience at school.

At St Andrew’s PSHCE and Circle Time are timetabled weekly and the programme is organised into the seven SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) themes:
  • New Beginnings,
  • Getting On and Falling Out,
  • Say No to Bullying,
  • Going for Goals,
  • Good to Be Me,
  • Relationships and Changes.
These themes are progressive and developmental and are taught half termly from the beginning of the academic year through to the end of it. Each theme is introduced to the whole school through a SEAL assembly and each class follows the related whole school weekly focus. Pupils are recognised in the Star Pupil Award special Friday assembly if they have made particular efforts in supporting the weekly focus. In class children are encouraged to nominate each other where they have seen evidence of good practice. For example, a classmate may have worked cooperatively, been a good friend, calmed down in a difficult situation or have been a good learner that week.
St Andrew’s is following the Jigsaw resource which combines the seven SEAL themes with the Every Child Matters and Rights Respecting Schools initiatives and includes the National Healthy Schools programme in its content.
Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and Drugs Education are also integrated into the Jigsaw resource in the appropriate themes. Classes also have visits from the Life Education van and the School Nurse and we use the Channel 4 Living and Growing DVD to help deliver the SRE curriculum. The school has a policy for SRE which is regularly reviewed. The policy, scheme of work and resources are available to all parents.
Through the Jigsaw lesson plans the children have access to an integrated PSHCE curriculum which provides them with their entitlement to receive this vital part of their education.
At St Andrew’s we are committed to providing a happy and safe environment to learn. We strive to ensure that children develop in confidence and responsibility and to make the most of their abilities. We value the children’s opinions and consequently they are represented on the School Council and various Every Child Matters committees including, Being Healthy, Staying Safe, Enjoying and Achieving, Making a Positive Contribution and Economic Wellbeing. Every child is encouraged to express their views and feelings in Circle Time groups and to find ways to manage their behaviour and think about consequences. They are expected to listen to other viewpoints, empathise and relate to others. Through the development of these social and emotional skills we can all enjoy the best climate in which to work.
We believe that PSHCE is vital to providing a healthy, rounded education and together with parents and carers can equip pupils with the emotional and social skills to become successful and happy learners.

What is expected?

The 1988 Education Reform Act (ERA)  identifies two components of the basic curriculum for every school. These are the National Curriculum and Religious Education. Unlike National Curriculum subjects, RE is locally determined and administered. At St Andrew’s the Governors, after consultation with the Headteacher and Salisbury Diocese, have decided to adopt the Locally Agreed Dorset Syllabus.
The Agreed Syllabus follows the recommendations of the ERA in reflecting “the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of the other religions in Great Britain.”
The purpose of RE is seen to be to prepare children for life in a diverse, multi-cultural society. It is different from the beliefs that are taught at home or within the faith community, because the purpose is not to primarily nurture the child in one particular faith.
Religious Education is about the influence that religion has on the lives of many people. It is about the holiness, the mystery and the power of religious material. It is about God and humanity and the ways in which that relationship has been, and continues to be revealed. It is about the inexplicable mysteries of life; it is about identity, a sense of purpose and meaning in life.
How do we teach Religious Education?
During the Early Years Foundation Stage children begin to explore the world of religion in terms of special people, books, times, places and objects and visiting places of worship. Children listen to and talk about stories. They are introduced to specialist words and use their senses to explore religious beliefs, practices and forms of expression. They reflect upon their own feelings and experiences. They use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation and wonder of the world in which they live.
During Key Stage 1 the children study Christianity and Judaism. They learn about different beliefs about God and the world around them. They encounter and respond to a range of stories, artefacts and other religious materials. They learn to recognise that belief can be expressed in a variety of different ways, and begin to use specialist vocabulary. They begin to understand the importance of religion for believers, especially other children. The children ask relevant questions and continue to develop a sense of wonder. They talk about what is important to them and others, reflecting on their own feelings and experiences and developing a sense of belonging.
During Key Stage 2 pupils learn about Christianity, Hinduism and Islam, recognising the impact of religion both locally and globally. They continue to consider aspects of Judaism. They make connections between differing aspects of religion and consider the different forms of religious expression. They consider the beliefs, teachings, practices and ways of life central to religion, learn about sacred texts and other sources and consider their meanings and interpretation. They begin to recognise diversity in religion, learning about similarities and differences both within and between religions and the importance of dialogue between religions. They extend the range and use of specialist vocabulary. They recognise the challenges in distinguishing between right and wrong, and in valuing what is good and true. They communicate their ideas clearly and recognise other people’s viewpoints. They evaluate their own beliefs and values and those of others.
How can parents support their child’s learning and development?
  • We value the support we receive from St Andrew’s Church and warmly welcome parents to share our school services with your child. We follow the calendar of the church and the traditions of the Church of England. We have a Harvest Festival, Carol Service, Nativity Play, Christingle Service and Easter Service. In addition, every term finishes with a service of celebration. Mothering Sunday and Education Sunday are also marked and supported by the school, in one of the six parish churches within our catchment area.
  • The development of vocabulary is an essential part of your child’s communication development. We encourage the use of correct terminology during visits to churches and religious buildings.
  • Children need to be taught to value and respect special places and objects.
  • That sense of awe and wonder that children develop is a precious part of growing up……but can’t always be left to chance. Take time to share magical, awe-inspiring, natural wonders with your child. We’re lucky to live where we do – we do not have to look far……

In KS1 we teach phonics following the structure of “Letters and Sounds”. This is supplemented by additional materials that teachers have found motivate the children or provide additional reinforcement when necessary (for example, the EYFS children love the Jolly Phonics songs and actions.)

We follow the Rigby Star Reading scheme, although again it is supplemented by other resources, such as The Oxford Reading Tree.

Read, Write Inc, is used with the children who require additional reinforcement  in both KS1 and KS2.

The school has a wide range of differentiated Guided Reading resources which are organised according to colour band and are used throughout the school.