The Curriculum at Stoke Row

At Stoke Row we are following the requirements of the new national curriculum as from September 2014. When designing the personalised curriculum for our school, we had five key aims that we wanted to keep at the forefront of the Stoke Row Curriculum. We wanted our curriculum to be:

  • Nurturing
  • Local
  • Global
  • Fun
  • Adventurous

IMG_2832 (598x800)At Stoke Row, we are committed to an ethos of ‘growth mindset’ among pupils and staff where children understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and perseverance as opposed to a ‘fixed mindset’ whereby children believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. In line with this, we have also been focusing on developing children’s independent learning skills and at the start of each academic year we have our first week purely based upon ‘learning to learn’ activities to ensure all pupils are confident in their learning abilities.

As a result, we have chosen to follow the ‘Learning Challenge Curriculum’ to address the needs of the new national curriculum across a range of subjects.  The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of increasing the involvement of the pupil (the learner) in the learning process.  It requires deep thinking and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point. In designing the curriculum, teachers and learners are using a prime learning challenge, expressed as a question, as the starting point. Using the information gained from pre- learning tasks and the school’s context, a series of subsidiary challenges are then planned. Each subsidiary learning challenge is also expressed as a question.


Curriculum Subjects

At Stoke Row our curriculum is designed to develop the whole child and cater for the needs of all styles of learning. Each of our topics are launched by either a trip outside school or a visitor coming into the classroom.

The children are encouraged to contribute to their own learning as each topic starts with the opportunity to share their previous knowledge and develop questions that they would like to explore during their learning. Individual subjects are linked to the topic studied so children are able to make connections and develop a deep understand of the overall topic.

Every opportunity is taken to link Maths and Literacy into other subjects and make the children’s learning experience as real as possible. Whilst Literacy and Maths are taught every morning, a range of subjects are taught in the afternoons including: Geography, History, Science, Computing, Art and Design, Design and Technology (DT), Religious Education (RE), Physical Education (PE) and Music. French is also taught throughout the school from Foundation Stage to Year 6.

From September 2016 our topics will now be the same across the whole school and stretch across two terms (eg September to December) to allow for more in-depth learning, plus our numerous theme days and weeks throughout the year. This term we begin with ‘Can I be an explorer?’ which we will be launching with a visit from the space dome.

The topic for Terms 3 and 4 will be “Happy homes – What makes a dream home” and for Terms 5 and 6 “Rumbles in my tummy – why does food matter”. For more information on our topics please see the document below.



Phonics and Reading

The main phonics scheme used in school is Letters and Sounds supported by Jolly Phonics, while the main reading scheme is Bug Club.

R.E., PHSE and Citizenship

R.E. is taught weekly following the Oxfordshire syllabus providing the children with an understanding of a range of religions. PHSE (Personal, Social and Health Education) and Citizenship are taught in dedicated days at the start of each term following a programme of study which allows the children to learn about themselves and the relationships they develop with those around them.


Physical Eduphoto 1cation

Sport at Stoke Row is highly valued as the basis for developing children’s understanding of a healthy lifestyle and promoting team building skills and camaraderie. Pupils enjoy two P.E. sessions per week and experience a variety of activities including football, tag rugby, netball, rounders, cricket, tennis, cross country running, athletics, swimming, gymnastics and dance. When the opportunity arises these lessons are supported by specialist sports coaches such as London Wasps.

Children are also encouraged to take part in regular Sports Competitions across our Partnership Primary Schools such as: football, tag rugby, netball, tennis, swimming, cross country, gymnastics, dance and cricket.

Special Weeks

In addition to the children’s regular learning throughout the year, we also have specialist weeks or days dedicated to specific subject areas. These include a Maths week, Science Day, French Day and other days which are dedicated to inspiring the children’s learning through world events.

Day and Residential Trips

We believe it is important to inspire children’s learning inside and outside the classroom environment. Each class goes on several trips linked to their learning throughout the academic year. We have our own minibus which allows us to attend easily lots of sporting activities and take children on local trips.

In Year 5 and 6 the children have the opportunity to undertake outdoor adventurous activities on class residential trips;

Year 5 – one night overnight stay at Path Hill in Whitchurch on Thames

Year 6 – a week’s residential trip to Kilvrough Centre in Wales.

Extra-curricular activities

In addition to all of the above we offer specialist music lessons including clarinet, cornet, trumpet and guitar and wide variety of extra-curricular activities throughout the year. The school has a number of clubs, run by both staff, outside organisations and parents. These change from time to time and currently include: Choir, Netball club, Running club, Art club, Pottery club, Gardening Club, Fencing and Hockey


Homework for all year groups is set weekly. We run a homework club on a Friday for those wanting support at school but homework provides a link for parents with what their child is studying. As children approach secondary school we increase their homework to help prepare them for the next stage in their school career. All children are encouraged to read daily and we ask parents and carers to complete reading diaries, but it is important the quantity is appropriate for each child and may be a page or a whole short book.


The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

During their year in reception Class our children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and are assessed throughout the year using the Foundation Stage Profile. This is based on ongoing observation and assessment in the three prime and four specific areas of learning plus three characteristics of effective learning.

The prime areas of learning:

Communication and language

Physical development

Personal, social and emotional development

The specific areas of learning:



Understanding the world

Expressive arts and design

Characteristics of effective learning:

Playing and exploring

Active learning

Creating and thinking critically

Focusing on the characteristics of effective learning allows us to instil independent learning skills and perseverance at the beginning of our children’s learning journey, in line with our focus on growth mindset.

During their first term in school, children develop their social skills and an understanding of the expectations for good behaviour. They become involved in a wide range of practical activities, both indoor and outdoor. During this time the children also start to learn early mathematical and literacy skills. Reading skills are introduced, including book knowledge, letter sounds and sight vocabulary. Once confidence in letter sounds is established, the children are given books and a reading record to take home.

Below you will find the link to Department for Education (DfE) with all Primary Curriculum Subjects taught at Stoke Row School, which will give you better understanding of the National Curriculum for England at Key Stages 1 & 2. It includes programmes of study and attainment target level descriptions for all Key Stage 1 & 2 subjects.


2014 Curriculum Changes

The National Curriculum in England is currently in a process of transition. During the course of this academic year and beyond, the obligation to teach programmes of study from the existing national curriculum will be cease and new programmes of study and attainment targets will eventually completely replace the existing national curriculum.

Perserverance (1) (533x800)


Why the big curriculum change?

The main aim is to raise standards. Although the new curriculum is intended to be more challenging, the content is actually slimmer than the current curriculum, focusing on essential core subject knowledge and skills such as essay writing and computer programming.

The main changes: the table below summarises the main changes in the core subjects.

Subject What’s new?
English          Stronger emphasis on vocabulary development, grammar, punctuation and spelling(for example, the use of commas and apostrophes will be taught in KS1)

         Handwriting (not currently assessed under the national curriculum) is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy

         Spoken English has a greater emphasis, with children to be taught debating  and presenting skills.

Maths          Five-year-olds will be expected to learn to count up to 100 (compared to 20 under the current curriculum) and learn number bonds to 20 (currently up to 10)

         Simple fractions (1/4 and 1/2) will be taught from KS1, and by the end of primary school children should be able to convert decimal fractions to simple fractions (e.g. 0.375 = 3/8)         By the age of nine, children will be expected to know times tables up to 12×12 (currently 10×10 by the end of primary school)

         Calculators will not be introduced until near the end of KS2, to encourage mental arithmetic.

Science          Strong focus on scientific knowledge and language, rather than understanding the nature and methods of science in abstract terms

         Evolution will be taught in primary schools for the first time

         Non-core subjects like caring for animals will be replaced by topics like the human circulatory system

Design & technology          Design and Technology has become more important in  the new curriculum, setting children on the path to becoming the designers and engineers of the future

         More sophisticated use of design equipment such as electronics and robotics

         In KS2, children will learn about how key events and individuals in design and technology have shaped the world.

ICT          Computing replaces Information and Communication Technology (ICT), with a greater focus on programming rather than on operating programs

         From age five, children will learn to write and test simple programs, and to organise, store and retrieve data

         From seven, they will be taught to understand computer networks, including the internet

         Internet safety – currently only taught from 11-16 – will be taught in primary schools

Languages          Currently not statutory, a modern foreign language or ancient language will be mandatory in KS2. Children will be expected to master basic grammar and accurate pronunciation and to converse, present, read and write in the language

Assessment from September 2014

In March 2014, the Department for Education (DfE) published information for schools on the National Curriculum and assessment from September 2014. The document says that level descriptors will be removed from the National Curriculum and will not be replaced. Schools have the freedom to develop their own means of assessing pupils’ progress towards end of Key Stage expectations.