Curriculum

At St. Christopher’s The Hall, we believe that the School Curriculum should be broad and balanced, offering children the opportunity to achieve success in many different areas. To develop the appropriate subject specific knowledge, skills and understanding, our personalised curriculum ensures that children can flourish and reach and exceed their potential.

We aim to lay a firm foundation for future learning and prepare pupils for the challenges they may face in each phase of education and growing up in today’s society. We seek to provide a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum which offers a wide range of exciting, challenging activities and experiences to all pupils, irrespective of ability, background, ethnic origin or gender, so that every child can be the very best they can be.

English

English

At our school we are passionate about ensuring the highest quality of education in English and believe that developing a love of reading is the key contributory factor for children’s educational success.
There are two key dimensions to reading:

  • Reading fluency (word reading)
  • Reading comprehension (understanding of the text)

We are proud to say that we have invested into and use the most successful and highly regarded teaching schemes to support both dimensions.

Reading Fluency begins with phonics, which is typically taught daily from Pre-School until the end of Year 2. We use Ruth Miskin’s Read, Write, Inc (RWI). In Preschool, the focus is on learning to recognise and learn initial sounds. RWI progresses into Pre-Prep with a ‘Stage Before Age’ homogeneous approach, whereby all children receive pacey and structured daily phonics and handwriting sessions in groups according to their ability. Colour-banded scheme books are sent home each day from the start of Reception, along with a reading record to promote a dialogue between home and school. Once a child reaches grey in the colour-banded reading scheme, their phonic knowledge is solid. This means they no longer need daily phonics teaching or books from the colour banded scheme and can become a ‘free reader’. For these children, daily phonics sessions will be replaced with enrichment sessions throughout their time in the Pre-Prep. We understand that learning to read does not come naturally to everyone, and that some children require further support in the Prep School. For these children, we provide a discreet RWI intervention programme. For more information about RWI, please visit https://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/

Reading Comprehension and Writing English is taught daily using a diverse range of texts from different genres using The CLPE’s Power of Reading (POR), from Preschool until the end of Year 6. Each sequence is taught through a high-quality text and lasts between 3 to 6 weeks, dependent on the text. Every area of the National Curriculum is covered thoroughly throughout the programme. Careful planning ensures a progression of skills across objectives for reading, writing, grammar and spelling. POR promotes inquisitive and imaginative thinking, whilst instilling a love of reading and writing through a mixture of thought-provoking and challenging texts. For more information about POR, please visit https://clpe.org.uk/books/power-of-reading/ about Independent Reading, 1:1

Reading and Whole Class Reading
Built into each child’s daily timetable, from Reception until the end of Year 6, is 20 minutes of Independent Reading. This is time for each child to relax and enjoy a book of their choice, usually in the classroom or the library. During this time, the teacher/teaching assistant can hear individual children in their class read (1:1 Reading). During 1:1 reading, the child will always read their scheme book, until they have completed RWI and are a free reader. Most of the time, Pre-Prep children will read 1:1 twice a week, and the Prep School children will read 1:1 once a week. At the end of each school day, from Pre-School until the end of Year 6, 20 minutes is allocated for the whole class and teacher/teaching assistant to share a text together.

 

Science

Science

We are all Scientists at St Christopher’s! Through the teaching of science, we encourage a life-long interest in and enjoyment of Science. We recognise the importance of Science in everyday life. As one of the core subjects, we aim to give Science the prominence it requires.

There are four main areas of learning in Science, comprising of:

  • scientific enquiry
  • life processes and living things
  • materials and their properties
  • physical processes

Learning in Science prioritises the increasing of children’s knowledge and understanding of the world. Skills are developed through a process of enquiry, and we aim to develop the natural curiosity of our children, to encourage respect for living organisms and the environment. We also provide opportunities for children to critically evaluate the evidence presented to them or because of their own enquiries.

Our Science lessons, throughout all year groups, give opportunities for children to:

  • Develop scientific knowledge and understanding of concepts, answering scientific questions about the world around them through different types of enquiries.
  • Develop and use a range of skills including observations, planning and carrying out investigations.
  • To evoke an enthusiasm and enjoyment for scientific learning and discovery, creating independent learners who are eager to explore scientific questions.
  • Be equipped with the knowledge needed to understand the breadth of Science through both its uses and the implications of it, today and in the future.
  • Use a range of methods to communicate their scientific findings and present it, including written explanations, technology, diagrams, graphs and charts. These latter methods allow the children to apply their mathematical skills, in the areas of measure and data handling.
  • Enhance their learning in Science through regular, planned experiences in Forest School where appropriate.

Mathematics

Mathematics

Our Mathematics Curriculum aims to provide children with the opportunity to develop a curiosity for Maths, develop enjoyment and passion for the subject, allow them to understand the world around them, and reason mathematically.

Our curriculum is based upon a Mastery approach to teaching and learning. This approach means, regardless of their starting point, pupils strive to acquire a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of Mathematics. Throughout their learning children will use concrete manipulatives (e.g. Numicon, counters etc) and pictorial examples to build a deeper understanding of the concepts before moving on to the abstract formal methods.

As well as practising their fluency in Mathematics, children are given the opportunity to deepen their understanding by applying mathematical concepts to problem solving and investigations in real life contexts. Through discussion they will learn to explain their thinking and justify their answers. We want children to do more than be able to get the answer right. They should be able to explain their work because, as Dr Jo Boaler professor of Education at Stanford University says, “explaining your work, in Mathematics, is what we call reasoning, and reasoning is central to the discipline of Mathematics”. At St Christopher’s The Hall, we want to develop mathematicians, not just little computers for sums!

Computing

Computing

At St. Christopher’s The Hall we embrace the 21st century learning needs of children and believe that teaching Computing helps children become better learners, innovators and creative problem solvers.

Our curriculum encourages curiosity, exploration, independence and problem solving. Some of the many topics we cover include; computer science, computational thinking and programming. We educate children on digital literacy, fake news and social media use. Computer aided design, computer art and games design are also very popular with our students.

The world is constantly changing and technologies are advancing to new levels and we aim to move with the advances and incorporate these into our teaching.

Computing is integrated into other subjects to enhance the pupils’ learning and development across the curriculum.

Online safety is paramount and this is taught from a young age. We ensure that all pupils know what they can do to stay safe when using the internet and make informed judgements about how to use technology responsibly.

Humanities

Humanities

We use both History and Geography to give children the opportunity to advance their knowledge of the world whilst learning more about the diverse cultures that make up our school community. History and Geography are taught through an enquiry-based approach. Our lessons provide cross-curricular links with other subjects being taught.

Through the teaching of History, children gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We aim to inspire curiosity, equip pupils with the skills to ask insightful questions and develop a judgement based on the sources and arguments available to them. History helps children to understand the differences in people’s lives, the process and impact of change and the challenges of their times.

Through the teaching of Geography, children are interested and curious about the world around them. We equip children with knowledge about diverse places, resources, and both natural and human environments. We develop a deeper understanding of the Earth’s physical and human processes and the formation of different environments. The children’s geographical knowledge allows them to examine the connections between the Earth’s features and how these too change over time.

The children enjoy exciting trips and workshops throughout the year to provide real life experiences that enhance their classroom learning.

Religious education (RE) is not part of the National Curriculum, but it is compulsory for all primary schools to teach.

Our RE curriculum offers pupils the opportunity to explore the diverse beliefs, ethics and opinions which exist in the world today. Its aim is to develop understanding and hence promote tolerance of the religious traditions and practices which have shaped our world and continue to be of relevance today.

Art and DT

Art and DT

“Art is not just a subject to learn, but an activity that you can practise with your hands, your eyes, your whole personality.” Quentin Blake

The purpose of Art at our school is to help our children to:

  • understand that everyone can progress and develop their artistic flair and skills
  • understand that anyone can be a creator
  • understand that being a good artist is about the process and not always the outcome

Art and Design stimulates creativity and imagination. It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences and a special way of understanding and responding to the world. It enables children to communicate what they see, feel and think through the use of colour, texture, form, pattern and different materials and processes. They learn to make informed judgements and aesthetic and practical decisions. Self-evaluation is encouraged and children are encouraged to be resilient to achieve their goals. Children are encouraged to explore ideas and meanings through learning about art, artists, architects and designers. They will study a huge variety of artists, from the greats to the modern day, from all cultures and corners of the world. The appreciation and enjoyment of visual arts enriches all our lives. We want our students to understand that Art can be a powerful form of personal expression.

At St Christopher’s The Hall, we want Art and Design to enable the children to develop their imagination and creativity and give them the skills to record their imagination and ideas. We want to ensure that Art and Design is embedded in our whole curriculum, using cross-curricular links and enhancing through Art. Through learning about the roles and functions of Art, children can explore the impact it has had on contemporary life and that of different times and cultures.

Our Art lessons are a hive of activity, children are allowed to experiment with their ideas, line, shape, colour, texture, form, pattern, composition as well as different materials and processes. The children build on their skills as they progress through the school. Sketchbooks will be introduced from Reception and on Friday afternoons, at the end of the day for 20 minutes, the whole school will be sketching, developing their observational and pencil skills and working on ideas from their Art lessons.

Music

Music

Music is an important part of the daily life of the School and every child’s education, with all pupils taking part in weekly or twice-weekly class Music lessons, singing Assemblies and regular concerts which are interspersed throughout the year.

A large majority of our children learn a musical instrument in school with one of our nine visiting Music Teachers and many enjoy taking part in our Choirs, Orchestra and Recorder Ensemble. Instrumental lessons offered in school include piano, guitar, drums, singing, violin and various woodwind and brass instruments; lessons are arranged through the Director of Music. For more information please click on the following link:

Music. Individual Instrumental Lesson Policy & Information 2023 2024

To support children learning an instrument, we run an instrument hire scheme and host an ABRSM Examiner in school each term. Our choirs take part in various community events and external festivals as well as performing at school events such as our Christmas Carol Service.

Our facilities in school include 5 pianos, 2 school halls for concerts and a Music and Drama room which opens out into a larger space for rehearsals. The Music and Drama Departments work together to produce annual shows including a Lower School Nativity play, Year 3 and 4 Music and Drama production and a Year 5 and 6 Musical play.

Physical Education

Physical Education

Physical Education is an extremely important part of every child’s education, and an especially big part of school life at St. Christopher’s The Hall. Our aim is to foster a love of Physical Education (PE) allowing pupils to experience the enjoyment of learning new physical skills and playing competitive sports. Pupils take part in twice-weekly PE and games lessons, as well as many fixtures, festivals and tournaments, in the many sports, throughout the year. We are very fortunate to have access to large sports grounds on site, and can utilise a local pool for our swimming lessons, which take place for a term for everyone in Year 1-6.

PE and Sport lessons are underpinning the values of the A, B, C’s (Agility, Balance, Coordination and Speed) and we also look to promote positive attitudes, including the importance of fair play and honest competition as well as the ability to cope with success and failure. We aim to be inclusive while providing opportunities for pupils to pursue their sporting interests and to achieve their full potential; this includes encouraging pupils to investigate team sports as part of our wide variety of extra-curricular activities, including various morning squad training sessions, as well as opportunities outside of school. Often pupils who show the required skills are invited to trial for external Borough and District teams in Football, Cricket, Athletics, and Swimming.

Highlights of the year is our Sports Day and the Swimming Gala at the end of the academic year.

Drama

Drama

Drama at St Christopher’s The Hall is taught as a stand-alone subject by our Specialist Drama teacher. Lessons take place in our Drama Studio, with all children, throughout the School, attending a weekly lesson.

We believe Drama is an essential part of our Arts-Rich curriculum, unlocking imagination, empathy and courage. Through Drama, children are enabled to express and communicate their ideas and feelings. Its collaborative nature provides opportunities for pupils to develop key skills of communication, negotiation, compromise and self-assertion. Pupils develop confidence when speaking and their vocabulary is extended when they adopt roles and characters. Links across the curriculum are included to support learning, especially with English Literature. Pupils also acquire a critical and subject-specific vocabulary through reflecting on and appraising their own work in Drama and the work of others.
Pupils move from make-believe dramatic play, predominantly for themselves, in the Early Years to a more consciously planned form of Drama in Key Stage 1 and 2. They work with Teacher in Role, enacting their own stories for others through small group playmaking, using symbolic ‘costumes’ and props to stimulate narratives. Pupils become increasingly aware of their audience and act out stories using voice, movement, gesture and basic sound effects. Increased control of voice and body means that they portray more precisely defined characters. Termly projects including puppet shows in Year 4 and writing original fairy tales in Year 5 are performed within lessons to younger classes.
A Pre-Prep Nativity play is performed every year, by Reception, Year 1 and 2 pupils. In Year 3 and 4, children are involved in a Drama and Music presentation evening, which focuses on performing poetry and presenting a devised piece of Drama with a musical element. In Year 5 and 6, children prepare a large-scale Summer production in conjunction with the Music department.

MFL

MFL

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
Nelson Mandela

At St. Christopher’s The Hall, we believe that languages enrich the curriculum and are an essential life skill. Children have the opportunity to learn both French and Spanish through weekly, well-planned 40-minute lessons, taught by Mrs Dubeck, a highly experienced specialist language teacher. We offer a high-quality, vibrant and ambitious foreign languages curriculum that inspires and excites our children, using a wide variety of age-appropriate topics and themes. All children are expected to achieve their full potential by encouraging high expectations – the ultimate aim being that children feel passionate and able to continue learning languages beyond Key Stage 2.

Children learn French from Reception to Year 4 and Spanish in Years 5 and 6. Through exciting and interactive lessons, there is a real emphasis on having fun with the new language, and we help children to foster a genuine interest and positive curiosity about foreign languages. Learning a language offers children the opportunity to build their cultural capital by developing a deeper understanding of other cultures and the world around them.

The four key language learning skills; listening, speaking, reading and writing are taught and all necessary grammar is covered across the primary phase, giving children the confidence and understanding needed to communicate spontaneously. By using and applying their learning in a variety of contexts, we lay down solid foundations for future language learning and help the children to improve overall attainment in other subject areas, particularly literacy.

We believe in an immersive approach to learning a language; children are given ample opportunities to listen to authentic material and take part in real-life experiences. They are encouraged to problem-solve by working out language for themselves in a supportive context where risk-taking and creativity are encouraged. Target language is used consistently in lessons to aid fluency, communication, pronunciation and understanding. We are proud to facilitate a whole-school approach to language learning and to be able to offer the children a variety of enrichment activities to bring languages alive. In Year 6, children take part in a residential trip to Spain, and we also offer an MFL club and run a successful French café morning. This allows children to practise their language skills in a meaningful way and make links across the curriculum, which in turn, helps to build their confidence and consolidate their learning.

PSHE

PSHE

Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education.

At St Christopher’s The Hall we follow the Jigsaw PSHE programme which provides a time-tabled slot every week for children to receive personal, social, emotional and health education with a big focus on emotional literacy and mental health.

Why Jigsaw PSHE?

Designed as a whole-school approach, Jigsaw establishes consistency that gives all teachers confidence to deliver high-quality lessons. Not only does Jigsaw meet all statutory RSHE requirements, but it also elevates educational outcomes together with mental health and safeguarding.

Jigsaw nurtures children to be confident and successful, increasing their capacity to learn and preparing them for the challenges of the modern world. Jigsaw provides children with opportunities to develop their emotional intelligence and life skills.

Open Mornings

Our next open event:

Tuesday 19th March from 10.30-12.00am

Wednesday 1st May from 10.30-12.00am

Thursday 23rd May from 10.30-12.00am

Tuesday 11th June from 10.30-12.00am

Please book in for one of our Open Mornings. There will be a talk from the Head, a tour by current pupils and a chance to chat over coffee with governors, staff and other parents.

Find out more

The Reception and 7+ Assessment

We are taking applications for places in our Reception classes and Year 3 classes for September 2024,

For further details please contact our Admissions Registrar via admissions@stchristophersthehall