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Our Curriculum at William Rhodes

Please note this page is currently under development.
 The Early Years at William Rhodes
Extending the teaching of Prime Areas into Key Stage 1



Our English work is fundamental to our success as a school because it underpins so many other curriculum subjects. Our prime objective is to make our children fluent in reading and fully literate at the earliest opportunity as this will allow them to get the most out of the wider curriculum and set them up for all their future learning.


Early reading/ phonics

Children learn to read using the Letters & Sounds Phonics programme. They are taught as a whole class or half-class (in Reception) mixed ability group every day from 9.00am-9.30am in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Badgers Class. If a child is struggling to keep up, they are supported by our highly trained TAs for a short personalised session in the afternoon. Infant children are encouraged to read at home each day and take home a fully decodable book which has been chosen based on the current sound being taught. They have an additional ‘reading for pleasure’ book that they are familiar with from class reading.


Reading in EYFS & KS1

Our reading in Early Years & Key Stage 1 is tightly linked to our writing as we use the Talk for Writing approach. The children hear a story being read to them. They learn to orally recite the story (using story maps co-created as a prompt) and they act out the story. Once the children know the text really well they 'read it as a reader'.  This involves in depth discussions around the text, focussing heavily on vocabulary and oral comprehension. They are encouraged to express opinions on their likes and dislikes regarding the text in order to improve their own writing.  Reading comprehension strategies such as: summarising, imaging, predicting and making connections are taught explicitly. 

Texts taught in this detail are:

Term/ Year Group


Year 1

Year 2

Autumn 1



Billy Goats Gruff


Autumn 2

Little Red Hen



Hansel & Gretel

Spring 1

Jack & the Beanstalk

Farmer Duck

Meerkat Mail

Spring 2

We’re going on a Bear Hunt

The Tiger who Came to Tea

Traction Man

Summer 1

The Hungry Caterpillar

Peace at Last

The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch

Summer 2

Dear Zoo


Whole class text transition into juniors:

Fantastic Mr Fox





Reading in KS2

We teach reading through whole class books and occasional extracts. Each class has set texts and we have 30 copies of each. These have been carefully chosen for quality and appeal.

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

The Tear Thief by Carol Ann Duffy

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

Holes by Louis Sach

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

The Witches Tears by Jenny Nimmo



The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo

Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

Shadow by Michael Morpurgo

The Hundred Mile an Hour Gog by Jeremy Strong

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Charlotte’s Web by EB White

Diary of a killer cat by Anne Fine

The Hodgeheg by Dick King Smith

Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley





Throughout the year we also use extracts, non-fiction texts and poems.


We focus on teaching children to understand the vocabulary within the text, how the text relates to them and teach them explicitly the reading skills of inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval & summary.


Our vocabulary teaching offers rich information about words and their uses. We want our teaching to provide frequent and varied opportunities for children to think about and use words that will enhance their language and comprehension.


It’s much more effective to learn about words orally because of the body language and the intonation.


Reading aloud and regularly discussing words will add much more than simply relying on incidental exposure to words through the whole class reading book.


Day 1. Vocabulary day


Day 2. Text to self / text to text / text to world


Day 3. Skills teaching (VIPERS)


Day 4. Reading Comprehension (VIPERS)


Day 5. Reading Comprehension (VIPERS)


The daily class reading book (in addition to whole class reader):

Each class has a book on the go that the teacher reads at the end of each day. This could be a novel with chapters, picture book, non-fiction book or poetry. It should be a relaxed time where children unwind at the end of the day, listening to a book being read really well.


English – Writing at KS1

Children begin the ‘Talk for Writing’ process by internalising a text. This is done in a range of ways including text maps, inventing actions for parts of the text and drama. The children learn the text by heart. They are able to identify key features of the text, sometimes independently and other times as a group or class.

Following on from this, the children then have to imitate the text they have learnt. They may make simple changes to the original text to alter it slightly. Once they have internalised the reworked text, they then have to ‘box up’ with a simple innovative change e.g. change of setting. Boxing up helps them to organise their ideas and acts as a plan for their writing.

The final part of the Talk for Writing process is ‘invention’. By now the children will have been equipped with the skills required for inventing their own text from beginning to end. They will come up with their own ideas and be able to box them up. They will then be able to produce an independent piece of writing showcasing their text.


English – Writing at KS2

We draw all our writing from the whole class text. We let the text guide us in terms of genre bearing in mind that many genres can be drawn from one text e.g. a diary extract, newspaper report, non-chronological report, instructions.

Children are taught how to write well by looking carefully at good examples (WAGOLLS) and considering how the author has phrased things and chosen words to create specific effects. The teacher will often demonstrate the writing process through shared writing, making her thoughts explicit throughout. Pupils are further scaffolded through working walls, spelling lists, dictionaries and thesauri. They are sometimes individually guided by the teacher and also have time to work with a writing partner to edit and improve their work. 

We would expect children to be writing in a range of genres across the year and evidently using their literary skills across the curriculum.


English – Grammar & Punctuation:

Grammar and punctuation is always taught through the context of the whole class book.


English - Spellings:

In KS1, spellings are taught as ‘encoding’ through the daily phonics programme. High frequency (common exception) words are taught using single letter names, syllables and segments using look, cover, write, check.

For Y3-Y6 spellings are taught using the Read, Write Inc. spelling programme. It is taught every day for 20 minutes.


English - Handwriting:

Throughout the school, from EYFS to Year 6, pupils are taught to write using the cursive script. In Reception and Year 1, teachers and children use pre-cursive writing (letters have lead-ins and lead-outs). In Y1 we use wide lined books for the children to practise their handwriting. In Y2, the teacher uses her judgement about whether children should be using wide or narrower lines depending on the individual. In Y3 & Y4, the children use handwriting books with additional lines to support the children develop correct sizing in ascenders and descenders. In Y5 & Y6, it is anticipated that children will have mastered fluent, cursive writing and no longer specifically practise their handwriting.


Maths YR to Y6:

We use Power Maths Programme across the school. This mastery programme is created in partnership with White Rose and includes detailed planning & guidance (including online tutorials) as well as text books and practice books.

  1. The lesson begins with a Power Up fluency task to sustain prior learning, consolidate number facts and establish the lesson’s confident, can-do tone.
  2. Next, children share, explore and learn from a Discover problem, presented with some focused questions to guide their thinking.
  3. After the Discover stage, children discuss their learning in a Share activity. During this whole-class, interactive learning phase, children share their thinking and look for the best ways to solve the problem.
  4. The lesson then moves into a Think Together section.
  5. In the Practice section, children use the cleverly devised Practice Books to apply and rehearse what they’ve learned.
  6. Finally, a Reflect section brings each lesson to a conclusion. Not a traditional plenary: it involves everyone looking back on what they feel they’ve each learned, and it’s a great way of helping each child to understand and consolidate their learning.

Teachers are provided with a range of age-appropriate concrete maths tools (manipulatives) to help children to really grasp the mathematical concepts they are dealing with.


Maths – Fluent in Five & X tables:

Fluent in Five is an essential daily programme for developing fluency in the number operations from Y3 upwards (before then children do the Power Up only). It is essential that it is marked together as that is where the teaching of efficient methods and the addressing of misconceptions happens. We also have 2 or 3 slots a week set aside for TimesTables Rock Stars. We need to test children’s mental arithmetic weekly and specifically teach areas requiring improvement.



Science is taught for 2 hours each week from Y1-Y6. We closely follow the National Curriculum and we cover all content within the year. The curriculum is organised in the most appropriate way e.g. plants in summer, seasonal changes across the whole year and light in the summer when shadows can be seen. We have developed a progressive bank of ‘working scientifically’ vocabulary that is used in every class.  


As a school we are measuring progression in the ‘working scientifically’ objectives. We are also assessing the knowledge children have acquired in each unit through the use of mini-tests or through concept mapping.


Foundation Subjects:

We are in the process of writing schemes of work to ensure our foundation curriculum is well planned with small sequential steps of learning.


PE: All our staff have received Real PE training and closely follow the programme to ensure continuity of skills teaching from Reception through to Y6. The progressively mapped skills are: social, health & fitness, cognitive, physical, creative and physical.

We also teach gymnastics and dance using Val Sabin teaching materials. Objectives are clearly mapped out and progress developmentally across the year groups.




Art & Design:







PSHE: We follow the ‘ASK about life’ curriculum from Y1 to Y6 Derbyshire Children & Yound People’s Health Promotion programme. ASK is a flexible approach to personal well-being, health & citizenship education. It is a flexible scheme of work that is age appropriate and ensures progression and continuity of learning.  



Prime Areas in KS1

We’ve thought deeply about the barriers to learning our children face and identified that even on entry to KS2 children still have significant gaps in the Prime Areas of Learning of PSED, Physical Skills & Communication & Language. This means that they struggle to fully access the KS2 curriculum. Therefore, we have put a Prime Areas Curriculum into KS1 as well as Early Years and spend time each day helping the children to master these important skills.


Special days:

This year RE is taught as a whole school themed day. We sometimes celebrate festivals of a specific religion such as Diwali or Eid. At other times we learn about prayer or giving across different religions. We also celebrate diversity through special days learning about disabilities and difference. British values and online safety as well as being embedded in our practice are taught explicitly on these days throughout the year.



All children throughout the school have homework every day. This is set weekly so that parents can choose how they complete it. Work set should always be something the children have already worked on in class and are fully familiar with.



Reception approx. 5 minutes per night

Y1/ Y2 approx. 10 minutes per night

Y3/ Y4 approx. 20 minutes per night

Y5/ Y6 approx. 30 minutes per night.


Parents will need a weekly sheet setting out expectations – see below


KS1 example:

Monday: Please read to an adult for 10 minutes and record in your reading record book.


Tuesday: Spelling practice for Friday test - words are:


Wednesday: Please complete the maths sheet in your homework book.


Thursday: Find all the missing capital letter & full stops in the sheet in your homework book and put them in using a different colour.


Friday: Times table practice for Monday test focusing on the 5x & 10x. These will be tested in any order.


Sometimes we may choose to set a project for homework or offer a pick and mix.