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Ruswarp Church of England Primary School Think for Yourself and Act for Others


Curriculum Overview


A new National Curriculum was introduced into all state schools in September 2014.  Our KS2 children have been following the new computing curriculum since September 2013 and from September 2014 the new programmes of study for all subjects were introduced for all subjects.  Children in Y2 and Y6 will take the new KS1 and KS2 assessments in 2016.



The School Curriculum at Ruswarp Church of England School

We provide a broad range of learning experiences designed to motivate a desire to learn and to develop confidence, alongside social skills. We try to foster independence and to nurture a caring and responsible attitude to each other and to our surroundings.  We emphasise personal achievement and provide positive feedback to the children by way of verbal praise, certificates and through marking their work.


The curriculum is organised under four main components:


  • Learners - Early Years (Reception)

  • Explorers - Key Stage One (Years 1 &2)

  • Discoverers - Lower Key Stage Two (Years 3 & 4)

  • Adventurers  - Upper Key Stage Two  (Years 5 & 6)


Parents will receive a termly class newsletter giving information about the current topics being studied.Copies of the latest Curriculum newsletters can be found on the Class pages. If you would like any further information on the curriculum followed in school, please speak to your child's class teacher.


If you have any questions regarding the curriculum we teach please contact the school directly.


Our long-term planning for each class is available here:

Learners - Early Years (Reception)

Explorers - Key Stage One

Adventurers - Upper KS2

Teaching & Learning


At Ruswarp Church of England Primary we provide a learning environment which is positive, rich and challenging to stimulate all children.


Literacy and Numeracy are taught daily. We also provide a broad and balanced curriculum that meets the requirements of the National Curriculum. Other subjects taught in the school include Science, RE, ICT, PE, Design and Technology, Geography, History, Music, Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education, Art and Design and Modern Foreign Languages, currently predominantly French. Where possible learning is approached through cross curricular themes. We encourage creative thinking across the curriculum.


In recent years, a great deal has been discovered about how we learn, not least in the developing knowledge of how our brain works. We recognise learning styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic, and ensure that lessons are planned and delivered in a way to engage all learners. It is important that we develop children's understanding of how they learn best as well as continuing to encourage self-motivation and high self-esteem and personal responsibility and interest in learning.


We maintain high standards of achievement through continuous assessment and tracking of children’s learning. Through this on-going process we build a picture of all aspects of each child’s development. Assessment takes many forms; we assess through discussion and observation as well as using more formal procedures such as short tests.


Parents receive information about progress in their child’s annual school report, but discussions regarding progress form a significant part of our parent consultation meetings which are held in the Spring and Summer terms.  We also hold half termly Open Classroom events when parents/carers are invited into school by their children.  These are opportunities for the children to showcase their work and share their hard work with parents/carers.



Our aim at Ruswarp Church of England Primary School is that all children will develop a love and enjoyment of reading. We aim to do this by providing a stimulating learning environment that is rich in language and also through exposure to a variety of high quality texts. This is in addition to the teaching of daily phonics sessions across the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. At Ruswarp Primary School, we follow the Letters and Sounds document from the Primary National Strategy supplimented by the Jolly Phonics scheme.


What is Phonics?

There has been a huge shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in UK schools. This is having a big impact and helping many children learn to read and spell. Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading and Shared Reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.

So what exactly is phonics?
Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words

In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:

They are taught GPCs. This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p.

Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.

Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.


What makes Phonics tricky?
In some languages learning phonics is easy because each phoneme has just one grapheme to represent it. The English language is a bit more complicated than this. This is largely because England has been invaded so many times throughout its history. Each set of invaders brought new words and new sounds with them. As a result, English only has around 44 phonemes but there are around 120 graphemes or ways of writing down those 44 phonemes. Obviously we only have 26 letters in the alphabet so some graphemes are made up from more than one letter.

ch th oo ay (these are all digraphs - graphemes with two letters)

There are other graphemes that are trigraphs (made up of 3 letters) and even a few made from 4 letters.
Another slightly sticky problem is that some graphemes can represent more than one phoneme. For example ch makes very different sounds in these three words: chip, school, chef.


How is phonics taught?
Some people worry that phonics is taught to children when they are too young. However, those people might be surprised if they stepped into a phonics lesson. Phonics sessions are entirely made up from games, songs and actions and these sessions only last for 15-20 minutes per day. 


Reading Scheme

We use the Oxford Reading Tree scheme and a range of banded books using the Cliff Moon guidance to develop children's reading.


At Ruswarp children learn to develop their word reading and comprehension skills in order to become fluent and reflective readers, enabling them to foster a long term love of reading.



Comprehension skills are developed in guided reading sessions through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction within English lessons. Within guided reading and English, children read widely a range of fiction and non-fiction texts to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.


Recommended Reading lists

Our recommended reading lists contain 40 age-appropriate books for children in each year group. We have taken the time to carefully choose books that will hopefully capture your children's imagination. The lists contain colour-bands and a description of the books so that the children are able to 'cherry-pick' their favourites according to their book-band level and their personal interests.


Teaching Religious Education


We believe at this school that RE both supports and strengthens what we aim to do in every aspect of school life. Our caring ethos and the value which we place on the development of the whole child; spiritually, morally, socially, culturally and intellectually is reflected in the RE curriculum.


Specifically, the teaching of RE at Ruswarp aims to enable pupils of whatever ability and level of development to:


  • acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of principal world faiths practised in Great Britain. These include Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, each of which is represented in North Yorkshire;

  • develop an understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, societies and cultures, including the local community;

  • develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues with reference to the teachings of the principal religions;

  • enhance their own spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by:


a. developing awareness of the fundamental questions of life arising from human experiences, and how religious beliefs and practices can relate to them;

b. responding to the fundamental questions of life in the light of

their experience and with reference to religious beliefs and practices;

c. reflecting on their own beliefs, values and experiences in the

light of their study;

d. expressing their own personal viewpoints in a thoughtful,

reasoned and considerate way;


  • recognise the right of people to hold different beliefs within an ethnically and socially diverse society.

Religious Education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It challenges pupils to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to communicate their responses.


We hope that the teaching of Religious Education at Ruswarp Church of England Primary School will encourage all learners to reflect on their own beliefs and values and to acknowledge that others hold beliefs different from their own.


Early Years Foundation Stage


Children in our Reception Class form our Foundation Stage and are taught by Mrs Stainthorpe. There is a separate curriculum for the children in this stage of school. It is planned to enable each individual child to explore the world in the ways that best suit them. Our recently improved outdoor learning environment is a fantastic resource, which enriches the children’s experiences and provides a lovely start to the children’s learning journey with us.


EYFS is made up from seven areas of learning which are all inter-connected and dependent on each other:


Prime Areas:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development


As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in four specific areas. These are:


  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design


We believe that children are active learners who learn through their senses, through investigation, experimentation, listening, watching, social interaction, questioning and exploring. Your child is a special and unique individual and will be encouraged to develop their confidence, skills and talents in these early years of education.


Key Stage One


This is where we start to develop our children even further, establishing even greater independence and the basis for study skills. They become independent thinkers and we expand their naturally explorative minds.


Years 1 and 2 are taught by Mr Cockerill. The transition from Foundation stage is made really easily, as the Autumn Term is spent combining familiar activities from Foundation Stage whilst gradually introducing new activities.


The classroom is a familiar environment with lots of areas of continuous provision such as a Writing area, Maths area and a Construction area which helps the children settle in really quickly. We continue to focus on Phonics, Literacy and Numeracy and we also begin to sit on the carpet for longer periods of time.


As well as Literacy and Numeracy we explore some exciting topics such as Fantasy worlds in Literacy, old toys and castles in History as well as creating some healthy foods in DT. Where possible, links are made with our topic during our studies in other subjects.

Key Stage Two


Our aim here is to develop real independence, creativity and flair. Children set the basis for their adult life here and that is why it is so important to help them feel confident about who they are, build on their natural talents and teach them the resilient skills required for the next phase of learning. We take great pleasure from watching them fly!


Our Lower Key Stage Two class is taught by Mr Austin.  As the year progresses we hope to develop learners who are able to work with increased independence while learning lots of new things.  As well as studying the core subjects, during Year 3 we study some exciting topics. Our history based topics are the Ancient Greeks and the Egyptians, whereas our topics with a geography focus are volcanoes and Greece. Where possible, links are made with our topic during our studies in other subjects. 


Our Upper Key Stage Two class is taught by Miss Robson.  Years 5 and 6 is all about learning, being creative and having fun!  We work really hard to learn new things every day and to help and support each other in our learning. We get on together, we help each other when we are stuck or don't know what to do.  We study several different topics in Years 5 and 6 which help to make our learning interesting and creative.


Year 6 is our final year of Primary School and an extremely busy one. We continue to develop the independent working skills which have been fostered throughout Key Stage 2, taking on increasing responsibility for our own learning in preparation for secondary school next year. We love taking on extra jobs and responsibilities around school and for our teachers and we are super organized!


The National Curriculum in England

Parents Guide to New Curriculum