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Our Curriculum

The Curriculum at Cotgrave Church of England Primary School


At Cotgrave Church of England Primary School we follow the National Curriculum (2014), as set out by the Department of Education. Within our school, children work within mixed year group classes, so in order to ensure full coverage of the curriculum, children across all year groups are taught programmes of study from the 2014 National Curriculum in a two year rolling programme.


Subjects within the Curriculum:


As a school we believe that children learn best when they can see links and have reasons for learning. Our curriculum promotes enjoyment of learning through debate, problem solving, creativity, purpose, opportunities to apply skills and relevance. Connections across subjects are integral to curriculum design. As such, within the new curriculum we have endeavoured to link our Literacy and Topic planning together to encourage a ‘whole-child’  learning approach as well as linking Mathematics and Science topics when we feel this is practical. Due to the structure of our classes within school, information about subjects is recorded within classes, rather than year groups as children are taught via a two year rolling programme.


Creativity within the Creative Curriculum:


I listen and I forget… I see and I remember… I do and I understand…


We endeavour to provide a skills-based ‘creative curriculum’ that provides our children with an exciting and stimulating learning environment. We aim to make the curriculum relevant to the children’s life experiences, inspiring and engaging them in their learning and enabling them to work in a flexible and collaborative way using imagination, problem solving, application and persistence.


Our curriculum is based wherever possible upon learning through cross-curricular topics, which are chosen to be both relevant and stimulating. Learning within topics is based upon the acquisition of key skills, which are recorded and assessed through ‘I can…’ statements. Prior to the start of a new topic, teachers provide the children with an initial stimulus activity, which we refer to as ‘the hook’. This stimulus allows the children to discuss the topic and generate questions which are then built into the planning for the unit. Through this ‘hook’ the children are listened to and involved in planning and decision making for the topic. Teachers outline the key skills to be covered within the topic, but the course of the topic is built around key questions generated in partnership with the class. Parents are often involved in supporting children during the ‘hook’ activity, helping them to explore and talk about the upcoming topic. Topics are, where possible, brought to life through visits, visitors and themed days. A flexible approach to timetabling gives space for depth of study.


Planning and Preparation:


In the Foundation Stage and across Key Stages 1 and 2 we adopt a topic approach to curriculum planning. We plan the curriculum carefully and progressively, so that there is coherence and full coverage of all aspects of the seven areas (three ‘Prime’ (Communication & Language; Personal, Social & Emotional Development; Physical Development) and four ‘Specific’ (Mathematics; English; Understanding of the World; Expressive Arts & Design)) of the Early Years Foundation Stage as well as the ten subjects of the National Curriculum, PSHE & Citizenship, Languages and the Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education.


We plan our curriculum in three phases. We agree a long term plan in the form of a two year rolling programme of topics, which have an element of flexibility as to focus as long as the relevant objectives of the National Curriculum are covered. The long-term plan indicates which topics are taught in each term, and to which groups of children. Our medium-term plans give an overview of each topic: core basic skills being taught, the context for learning, continuous provision and ‘fallow’ subjects (subjects routinely covered within topics, but not included in that particular topic).


Our curriculum within the Foundation Stage is guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage guidelines and principles. We endeavour to ensure that the Foundation Stage provides a firm foundation for progression through school. We adapt the 'Development Matters' statements at the 30-50 month and 40-60 month stages into ‘I can…’ statements, which build into the focus for learning for each subject (alongside the Level 1 statements) providing seamless continuity with the ‘I can…’ statements developed from the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2.


The documents below give you the two year rolling programme of study for the classes within school detailing the topics and subjects covered.

Personal Social and Health Education & Citizenship.


PSHE and Citizenship in our school follows our own Framework which endeavours to enhance children’s financial education, drug education and sex and relationship education (SRE) encouraging the moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school. This begins with the introduction of our school ethos, which promotes us as a ‘take care school’. This incorporates personal, social and health knowledge through ‘take care of yourself and others.’ It also supports learning of Citizenship through ‘take care of our community’ and ‘take care of our world’.

 Practically this is implemented as an integral part of our creative curriculum eg healthy living in Science, litter in our school environment in Geography,  democracy in history (Ancient Greece), fair trade in RE and Geography,  but also discretely through SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) lessons, DARE (Drugs Awareness Resistance Education) lessons, Level 1 and Level 2 Cycle Training (Bikeability with Nottinghamshire County Council providers), Risk Watch (Fire Safety), JRSO (Junior Road Safety Officer) led activities and SRE (Sex and Relationships Education) lessons. Further learning takes place implicitly through initiatives that have become part of school routines eg school water bottles, fruit provision for all children in school, Older children partnered with younger children, ‘Circles of Friends’/nurture groups and water safety teaching as part of swimming lessons.

Children are given opportunities to learn through responsibilities and experiences during their school career with an emphasis on taking care of each other. Children sit in family groups at lunch and partake in family service, meaning all children take responsibility for preparing and clearing the table.  Older children are also paired with a younger child for collective worship and school trips to encourage the ‘take care’ attitude and supportive environment across the school. Within class pupils also take on monitor roles, particularly in Year five and six, placing responsibilities such as laptop monitor with them. Finally, children are also encouraged to take on extra responsibilities such as sports leaders and school council to enhance their experience of enjoyment through responsibility.

We also develop PSHE and citizenship through a range of activities and whole-school events. For example: Community Lunch, visits to local Residential Homes and participation in the shoe box appeal. We offer a residential visit to children in Years 4, 5 and 6 where there is a particular focus on developing each child’s self-esteem and giving them the opportunity to develop leadership and co-operative skills. We also organise other visits that support PSHE and Citizenship eg visits to the houses of parliament, to a coal mine and the Year 6 Leavers Days at Southwell Minster.

In order to develop children’s understanding of the world, its religions and its history during children’s time at school, trips are arranged to the houses of parliament; down a coal mine (to allow pupils to experience an essential part of Cotgrave’s history); trips to Southwell Minster which include a Year 6 leavers day and visits to a places of a variety of religions places of worship (e.g. a synagogue).

To increase children’s financial education we endeavour to provide them with an understanding of the value of money. In order to do this children are given opportunities to handle money, discuss its worth and endeavour to make money through a variety of school projects. One such project is the ‘pound challenge.’ Bi-annually, school council provide the whole school with a pound each in order for them to complete the ‘pound challenge’. Children are introduced to their task through the parable of the talents story and encouraged to think of a project which enhances their talent and raises money for the school. This tends to take place over a time limit of two weeks and during that time children will have the opportunity to sell their products to members of the school community through both structured and self-motivated methods.  Each amount is individually celebrated and collected to motivate the children in understanding the value of each total. Children in school council are then given the chance to spend the money made by pupils upon resources that they feel are needed within school as well as choosing charitable causes for a proportion of the money to go to. Other opportunities for financial education include charitable fundraising throughout the school year, discussions and lessons about fair trade to give the children an understanding of why money should be fairly distributed. All of these factors aim to give children a rounded understanding of money along with how it can be used positively.

Overall, throughout a child’s time at Cotgrave C of E Primary, the  staff work to ensure that they take account of the ‘whole child’; supporting their learning through a variety of methods; giving them opportunities to be seized from all areas of the curriculum and allowing them to grow within their school and wider community. Each of the factors of the PSHE and Citizenship curriculum ensure that children can be nurtured to make educated decisions in the future and Cotgrave C of E is proud to promote these life lessons within its ‘take care’ ethos.

Reading Provision


At Cotgrave C of E we aim to encourage pupils to develop a love of reading. Without the ability to read, almost every other aspect of life becomes a major hurdle.  We strive for every child to master this basic skill in order to succeed and enjoy being a learner.

Our main reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree. We also have a wide range of other reading schemes and ‘real’ books to supplement Oxford Reading Tree to provide breadth and balance and to ensure pupils have experience of reading a wide range of texts. All books within early reading are colour coded according to reading levels to support them in reading at the right level for them. Children also have the opportunity to choose books from the classroom book shelves as well as the school library, particularly as they develop in fluency and progress from the reading schemes available.

At the start of a child's school life reading and phonics are taught alongside each other. In reading the children have picture only books, linked to phonics area, so that they can develop an understanding of telling stories. Once the children have grown in confidence they are given books with words (scheme books). They are introduced to the 42 sounds of the English language as well as the most common words found in simple reading books. This enables the children to use the phonics they have learnt, to help them read.

As a child's ability to read increases so does the level of book they read. At the same time the children are taught to expand their knowledge of different phonic spellings and word recognition. This knowledge develops through school with the expectation that children will move away from reading scheme books to develop wider reading choices through use of the classroom and school library.

At Cotgrave C of E the children have weekly Guided Reading sessions in class, using the ‘Badger Guided Reading’ scheme.  This enables them to be taught the many facets of reading; including decoding and comprehension strategies through discussion with their group and the adult guiding them.  

During their time at school children will have the opportunity to take part in weekly visits to Cotgrave Library and are encouraged to use the service to learn the benefits of using their local library. To develop the reading provision linked to children’s class topics the School Library Service is incorporated into the classroom book collections. 

To encourage the children to read school also incorporates a ‘Reading Olympics’ promotion which rewards children for reading both in school and at home. To help the above processes there is an expectation that parents will read regularly with their child and go through sounds and words that need to be learnt, particularly at the lower end of school.


Phonics Provision


Within Key Stage One ‘Floppy’s Phonics’ is used as the main phonics scheme, working through five stages in a systematic and structured approach to phonics teaching. The program is perfectly matched to Letters and Sounds and uses the characters Biff, Chip and Kipper from Oxford Reading Tree that the children are familiar with.

Floppy’s Phonics encourages the children to sound out words using their fingers then draw sound lines to represent each sound in the word, allowing strong links to be formed between both reading and writing sounds. The scheme is separated into 5 stages which the children work through in order. The beginning stages start with simple codes to lay the foundations for the more complex codes in stages 4 and 5.

The assessment of children’s phonic knowledge at the end of Year 1 is a statutory requirement. We report children’s attainment to parents at the end of Y1. Provision is made for children to receive additional support in Year 2 as necessary and any children who did not meet the threshold mark in year 1 then resit the phonics check at the end of year 2.

As children progress into Key Stage Two they will follow the national curriculum guidelines for spelling and continue to apply their phonics knowledge. If children need additional support within their understanding of phonics knowledge, relevant interventions will be used to support children’s reading, phonic and spelling knowledge.

For more information please feel free to ask your child’s class teacher or click on the links below: