Our Curriculum

Our Curriculum


We have designed a curriculum for the children at Manston St James that will help them develop a love of learning and activate their enquiring minds.  We fully support the children being involved in the design of their learning journey and favour an enquiry based, creative curriculum underpinned with basic skills.  Each half term the curriculum will be delivered through a literature focus, be topic-based or through a current topical issue.  We expect there to be lively and engaging learning experiences for all the children with visitors and first hand experiences to help bring the curriculum to life.


English is intertwined with our enquiry based curriculum; all teachers provide teaching and learning experiences using high quality texts which are accessible to all yet challenging.  Children ae taught English skills using objectives from the National Curriculum and these are used imaginatively be teachers to create unique unit plans, based around the requirements of the learners within the class.  Speaking and listening, reading, writing, phonics and drama feature in all units to ensure that children are meeting all requirements of the curriculum.

  • Reading – ​All children receive a daily reading lesson designed to develop fluency and comprehension skills. Children have access to a range of exciting, book banded texts which they are able to select from and take home.  All children are encouraged to read every day.  The school uses the Oxford Reading Tree scheme.  The school also uses Accelerated Reader (AR) to manage and monitor pupil progress in reading.  AR aims to foster the habit of independent reading among  pupils; the software screens pupils according to their reading levels, and suggests books that match their reading age and reading interest. Pupils take computerised quizzes on the books they have read and earn AR points related to difficulty. thus developing motivation and independence.
  • Writing – We ensure that all children have access to regular writing opportunities to constantly develop the skills that are being modelled to them.  Each child has writing targets to ensure that they are constantly aware of how to make progress and what their next steps are.  Handwriting and spelling is taught and practised every day across school.
  • Phonics – Phonics is taught daily across Reception and Key Stage One using the Letters and Sounds and Phonics Bug scheme of work.  When a child has been successful with each phase from 1 to 6, they then move on to developing their awareness of Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling, often referred to as GPS.
  • Children are regularly assessed so that they are working within the appropriate phonics phase.  When a child is in Year 1 (during the month of June) the undertake the ‘Phonics Screening’ assessment to determine if they are working within at least phase 5.  If they do not meet this requirement, they will retake the assessment the following year.

We aim to provide an English education at Manston St James where all children are fully literate and are able to read, write, speak and listen well.


At Manston St James we strive to provide daily teaching and learning experiences within maths which are practical, purposeful and will ultimately lead to progression.  Teachers plan such experiences using objectives from the National Curriculum and teach using active and inclusive strategies to ensure that maths is a fun and enjoyable learning experience for all.

Considerable importance is attached to the children achieving and understanding mathematical processes, concepts and skills.  For this reason, teaching only moves on when a child clearly understands and can demonstrate this practically, verbally or in a using and applying situation.  Daily assessment from pupils and staff ensure this occurs.  Teachers also make links across the curriculum so children have many opportunities to use and apply the skills they have learnt.  Structured and purposeful speaking and listening opportunities are used strategically to develop thinking and reasoning skills and to allow children to learn from each other.

Religious Education

Religious Education is taught following the ‘Leeds and York Diocesan Syllabus’.  The RE curriculum enables pupils to develop an overall understanding of Christianity and of some of the other principal religions in the UK. It also enables pupils to have confidence in who they are and what they believe and to engage in meaningful and informed dialogue with those of different beliefs which is essential in equipping pupils to live in a diverse and ever changing world.   All children participate in a daily act of worship with a broadly Christian content.

Enquiry Based Curriculum

Our science and foundation subject teaching is based on an enquiry approach that, where appropriate, makes links to our core curriculum. At the start of each enquiry pupils are ‘hooked’ into the learning experience through the creation of a powerful stimulus that engages and motivates learners.  The ‘hook’ is also designed to provide the context for learning and enable pupils to ask questions enabling the teacher to assess their prior understanding and find out the children’s interests and passions so they can feed into the teaching sequence as it progresses.  ‘Hooks’ may involve visits outside school, visitors coming into school, using drama or role-play as a stimulus, bringing in an artefact to stimulate curiosity or creating a scenario to get pupils thinking.

The teaching sequence goes on to teach facts that deepen understanding and enable pupils to develop new skills or deepen existing ones.  Learning enquiries are creative in their approach to appeal to the range of learning styles within the class and to provide opportunities for practical experiences that enrich learning.  Pupils are then set challenges that require them to apply their learning with the aim being that they have an end product called the ‘major outcome’.  At this stage in the teaching sequence pupils may work collaboratively or independently.  At the end of each enquiry pupils are encouraged to reflect and evaluate the learning journey and through sharing their major outcomes they can celebrate each other’s successes and consider their next steps in learning.


Science plays an important part in everyday life.  We aim, through challenging, exciting and well-structured learning enquiries, to make science interesting, accessible and enjoyable for all our children.  Enquiry is an important component of learning.  Skills of enquiry are developed through research, investigation, experiment and first-hand experience.


History develops children’s curiosity about the past and about the way things have changed over time.  Pupils learn about people’s lives and lifestyles, events and places from the recent and distant past and develop an awareness of time.  History is about people and helps children to understand past events and to make sense of the world they live in today.


Children are given opportunities each year to investigate their surroundings and develop geographical skills. We aim to help our children to understand the environment in which we live and the part they can play in it for future generations. We also believe it is important for them to develop an understanding of the world in which they live by studying a variety of different places at home and abroad.


Children are given opportunities to experience a variety of art materials and to use these effectively, with creativity and imagination. They will experiment and use visual elements such as pattern, texture, colour, line, tone, shape, form, and space. Pupils are taught how to compare ideas, methods and approaches in different styles and traditions and how to recognise ways in which works reflect the time and place they were made. They are encouraged to express ideas and opinions and to use knowledge to support their views.

Design Technology

Design and Technology is about children developing designing and making skills that they can combine with specific knowledge and understanding in order to make quality products. Children will be given opportunities to develop a greater awareness and understanding about everyday products. They will be taught skills to enable them to work safely with a wide range of tools and materials. They will also be given the opportunity to develop problem solving strategies to assist in the design process.


Computing skills are taught both discretely and throughout all areas of the curriculum.  Children develop basic computer skills in Reception and build on these each year.  Computing is used to enhance learning and teaching in all subjects and develop skills which children will need for lifelong learning.

We use various application, topic related websites and interactive software to enhance learning experiences.  We aim for each child to be confident in the use of technology for multimedia creation, programming, data logging and online research. Online safety is an important part of the pupils’ education and a programme is in place to support them to learn safely online.


The main focus of PE is to enable the children to be physically active, tis developing physical fitness, strength and agility. We aim to develop children’s enjoyment of physical activity through creativity and imagination.  During PE lessons, children ae taught how to move their bodies safely, carry equipment sensibly and work co-operatively with others.  The children are taught how to keep their bodies healthy by discussing the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle. Pupils in Year 4 attend swimming sessions allowing them to gain proficiency and confidence.


Music is an enjoyable, practical subject.  Children are encouraged to develop skills in singing, to appreciate different kinds of music, to compose and play a variety of musical instruments.  The music curriculum is based on listening and appraising, creating and exploring and singing and performing.

Modern Foreign Language

Children begin to learn French when they move into Key Stage Two.  The language is taught through songs, action rhymes, games, role-play, stories, ICT and art.  Children are also introduced to the written word by learning simple language structures and changing key vocabulary.


Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education is a school subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.  These skills and attributes help pupils to stay healthy, safe and prepare them for life and work in modern Britain.  At Manston St James we follow the Leeds PHSE scheme, ‘You, Me and PHSE’.  The scheme is into 7 different strands: sex and relationship education (SRE), drug, alcohol and tobacco education, physical health and wellbeing, mental health and emotional wellbeing, keeping safe and managing risk, careers, financial capability and economic wellbeing and identity, society and equality.  Within each strand, pupils are taught age appropriate topics.

For more information about the curriculum at Manston St James, email us at: info@manstonstjames.co.uk