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Whole School Curriculum

Whole School Curriculum Statement

Key Changes from September 2020

1.  Scope
                breadth and ambition The St John’s Creative Curriculum has been carefully designed so that children learn and retain key subject disciplinary knowledge and vocabulary from all foundation Subjects within the National Curriculum.  This is different to old ‘skill based curriculums’, where children were taught skills before or in replace of knowledge.  Our aim is to provide children with a deeper understanding so that they can say “I KNOW this so I can DO this.” allowing them to become independent learners and thinkers who can direct their own lines of enquiryThe key themes that children will come across in all subjects within the creative curriculum are:
                                                        *Time lines and dates
                                                        *Rulers and Empire
                                                        *The lives of children (then and now) 
2.  Sequencing
       Units of work are taught in an order that allows children to repeat key knowledge, vocabulary and concepts throughout their primary career.  Where knowledge is repeated, it is done so at a deeper level each time so that children make links to previous learning whilst building on the natural learning progression that takes place year on year.  This is done to promote and exercise the use of the long term memory with a focus on retrieval and recall.  Subject Leaders and Teachers purposely make links between previous units of work, as much as possible, so that children are reminded of previous learning.  This is always done with an end goal in sight.  The goal of children leaving Year 6 and entering Year 7 with a deep and secure understanding of the primary national curriculum and a wide range of vocabulary enabling them to easily access the key stage 3 curriculum.  Similarly, Early Years Leaders and Teachers plan their curriculum alongside the key stage 1 units of work to ensure that children leave the foundation stage completely prepared to access and thrive in Years 1 and 2.          




The curriculum at St John’s is designed to enable children to ‘’ become their best versions’ by providing a broad and balanced education that meets the needs of all children. It provides opportunities for children to develop as independent, confident and successful learners, with high aspirations, who know how to make a positive contribution to their community and the wider society. The curriculum ensures that academic success, creativity and problem solving, reliability, responsibility and resilience, as well as physical development, well-being and mental health are key elements that support the development of the whole child and promote a positive attitude to learning. The curriculum celebrates the diversity and utilises the skills, knowledge and cultural wealth of the community while supporting the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, ensuring that children are well prepared for life in modern Britain.


The curriculum incorporates the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014 and other experiences and opportunities which best meet the learning and developmental needs of the children in our school. Core subjects of English, maths, science and RE are taught through discrete lessons which can incorporate cross curricular themes. Phonics and reading have high priority as the primary gateway to learning, with the use of Read Write Inc to deliver highly effective phonics learning. Core subjects including RE are also seen in the cross curricular, creative learning.  A cross curricular, creative, theme based approach, that has a subject specific focus is used for delivery of foundation subjects. This approach enables project based learning, fostering each child’s curiosity and interest throughout each topic and also enabling the achievement of depth in knowledge and skills. Opportunities for child voice are planned at the beginning of each new topic and this is used to inform the learning for each topic to ensure relevance. Further details of the subject content for each year group, broken by term, can be found in the 'classes' area of the website.  

The curriculum provides children with memorable experiences, in addition to diverse and rich opportunities from which children can learn and develop a range of transferable skills.  The children’s own community, its heritage and traditions are frequently used as a starting point for engaging interest and to enrich children’s learning experiences.

The school’s curriculum has been developed by practitioners in school and is designed to be broad, balanced, engaging, promote resilience and supported by a variety of resources and experiences. The school makes a conscious effort to engage with drivers that will enable further development and excellence in specific areas. It has achieved the Primary Quality Mark, The Active Mark, and is working towards the Arts Mark, RE Quality Mark and the Primary Science Quality Mark (with EEF). The outdoor environment and the local community are considered an opportunity for active learning for all our children. The school grounds have been developed so they can enrich different curriculum areas, particularly spirituality, mental health and wellbeing, reading and science. The school has also developed ‘St John’s Wood’ where forest school related activities are undertaken. Learning outside the classroom is important and a developing area for the school. This is to ensure that all learners have access to good quality educational experiences beyond the classroom walls, and for engaging in an ongoing process to ensure frequent, continuous and progressive learning outside the classroom opportunities are integrated into the curriculum.

Music and performance have a high profile in the school and the school uses Barnsley Music Service to provide a  weekly music lesson for the year when pupils are in Y5. This is in addition to opportunities to participate in music lessons through a small tutor group approach. The school has a choir and also hosts the Penistone area band/orchestra, where children undertake solo and ensemble performances both within the school and beyond it. School also makes full use of the skills of a wide range of professionals; throughout their time at the school, children will work with specialist coaches as they learn cricket and gymnastics.  The school holds the ‘Active Award’ and competes very successfully in competitive sports.

A varied timetable for extra-curricular activities is offered by the school, with clubs that support the core curriculum offer, as well as those which develop specialist skills, such as dancing and baking, whilst also extending the range of children’s experiences. A primary focus of our curriculum is to raise aspirations, engender a sense of personal pride in achievement, and provide a purpose and relevance for learning.

The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education and most make very good progress in most subjects and areas of learning. Children at all levels are helped to achieve their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through being offered tasks which provide opportunities for greater depth and those who struggle are encouraged and given targeted support to embed skills, to develop at their own pace or simply to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs.

Subject leaders and curriculum groups play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review and the celebration of good practice contributes to the ongoing commitment to evolve and improve further. Staff are given training and the opportunity to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding, so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school.


The innovative practice across the school provides a strong foundation and opportunities for children to collaborate and develop social skills both indoors and out. This curriculum design ensures that the needs of individual and small groups of children can be met within the environment of high quality first wave teaching, supported by targeted, proven interventions where appropriate. In this way it can be seen to impact in a very positive way on children’s outcomes. Enjoyment of the curriculum promotes achievement, confidence and good behaviour and children feel safe to try new things. High quality visits and visitors to the school enhance the curriculum and provide opportunities for writing for a purpose.

Children have opportunities to share their learning with each other, their parents and carers and other learners through school-based and sometimes performances, competitions and events involving other schools. Developing their independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future citizens is at the heart of all our teaching and learning. It is designed to be relevant and meaningful for all our children, while at the same time both stimulating and challenging them. Once we have excited children and have their attention we know that they will learn in all subjects and develop interests that can last for a long time.

To meet this aim we fill the curriculum with visits, visitors, wonderful resources and lively teaching. Our facilities are excellent and the school is now fully developed to fulfil its role. Schools are also required, throughout the curriculum, to promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

Teaching methods

Various teaching approaches are adopted which include whole class, group and individual learning. We follow the national frameworks for Numeracy and Literacy and these are woven into themes and topics studied. First hand experience, practical, investigative and problem-solving work, feature prominently.


Contact Us

St John the Baptist Primary School

High St, Penistone, Sheffield S36 6BS

Infant Site:

Chapelfield Lane, Penistone S36 6FS


Tel: 01226 762496 | Fax: 01226 766623

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