Curriculum at Runwell

Curriculum maps

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2017-18 is Year A.

Year A
Year B

Early Years Foundation Stage

Joining Runwell in the Reception Class Prior to attending Runwell School the children are visited by Reception class staff in their pre-schools or nursery setting as well as at home. The children and their parents also visit the school on a number of occasions during the summer term to find out more about the school, meet the teacher and other staff and get used to their new surroundings. This helps to ensure a smooth transition into school life. The Early Years Foundation Stage All children in the Reception classes follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. Early years learning concentrates on seven areas split between prime and specific areas of learning. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. These three areas, the prime areas, are:

• communication and language;
• physical development; and
• personal, social and emotional development.

There are also four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:

• literacy;
• mathematics;
• understanding the world; and
• expressive arts and design.

Independent Learning is actively encouraged through the children’s participation in structured play activities.

Foundation Stage Profile

The Foundation Stage Profile is an on-going assessment which is carried out during a child’s time
in the Reception class. The children are assessed through various observations against the prime and specific areas of learning to identify where a child is in his or her development. The purpose of the profile will be discussed during the parent consultation meetings and each child’s final results will be given to parents at the end of the year. At the end of the academic year when a child turns 5, the practitioner records each child’s development by watching the child playing and in the classroom. The completed assessment is known as the ‘early years foundation stage profile’. This is used to help the year 1 teacher plan lessons for the children.

Basic Skills

Basic skills are the building blocks for learning that every child must master if they are to be successful learners. In English such things as: being able to hold a thoughtful conversation with other people; learning the sounds (phonics) that make words so that children can read and write confidently; understanding how to write meaningful sentences by using verbs and adverbs, adjectives and nouns, prepositions and connectives; knowing how to punctuate written sentences.

In maths knowing how to count up and down from specific numbers; being able to count in 2s, 3s, 4s etc.; knowing strategies for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing and being able to do these in your head as well as in a book or on a calculator. At Runwell these are critical aspects of learning that we work on every day and that parents can help their children learn. Once children have mastered these key ideas learning becomes much easier and every encouragement from home and school helps motivate children to learn them.

Please click on the button below to view our Approach to Phonics document.

Approach to Phonics


English at Runwell Community Primary School encompasses specific teaching of reading, writing, spelling, punctuation, grammar, speaking and listening which we apply in a wide range of real life contexts.

When children first enter the school, we use a phonics scheme called Read Write Inc. to ensure that these skills are rigorously taught, step-by-step. Children have daily sessions working on Read Write Inc. which covers reading, spelling and writing. In addition to this, children have reading and writing activities that are linked to the topics or themes being taught for each half term. We use rich texts and inspirational stimuli to ensure a purposeful approach that motivates children. We also plan many opportunities for speaking and listening in a wide range of contexts, including role-play and drama. Children have talk partners to enable them to discuss their thoughts and ideas. This helps the children to think through their ideas in an interactive and positive way, and it also enables them to develop their listening skills and to respect the views of others.

To encourage a life-long love of reading, our children take home a reading book every day which can be selected from class reading areas or the school library. In class, targets for next steps in reading skills are identified through assessments and are taught in daily guided reading sessions throughout the school.

In writing, children learn the basic skills, such as: how to start sentences in different ways; how to add description and detail in sentences; how to punctuate correctly; how to use interesting vocabulary; how best to link ideas together. We teach the children to always have a clear audience and purpose in mind. Children are also taught to assess their own work and identify next step improvement targets with the help of the teacher so that they become very skilled at identifying how to improve their own work. We love writing at Runwell and it is our job to make sure every child has the skills and knowledge to write in a wide range of genres for a variety of audiences.


Mathematics teaching at Runwell School is founded on the three key principles of the National Curriculum: fluency, reasoning and problem solving. This is to provide them with the basic skills and knowledge every primary child needs to be fully numerate by the time they leave Runwell as well as a deep understanding and passion for maths.

The children have a daily maths lesson. We use a range of practical resources and activities within lessons so we can address all learning styles and engage every child in maths learning. Children have broad and varied experiences in maths to ensure a depth of learning and understanding.

Our curriculum has rigorous teaching of basic skills, such as times tables and mental maths skills, to develop mathematical fluency. We regularly use real-life contexts because we want all children to understand the relevance of mathematics in our daily lives. Some of this may be linked in a cross-curricular way to the themes they are studying. This enables children to develop their problems solving skills through purposeful learning opportunities. Another element of our curriculum is investigations into mathematical concepts where children make discoveries and make connections while developing their mathematical reasoning.


There are many opportunities across all key stages for children to observe, explore and investigate a wide range of scientific ideas. Scientific knowledge is important, and at Runwell we believe the best way to acquire this is through practical exploration and investigation. It is essential that children develop the skills to investigate, so they can carry out work in the same way a scientist would.

In EYFS, much of the science is based on children exploring the world around them, finding out why things happen and how this affects their lives.

In Key Stage 1, the children develop their investigative skills so that they are able to test their predictions, using fair testing. These skills are developed further as children move through Key Stage 2; they plan fair-tests, hypothesise, investigate, learn different ways to record their results and finally draw conclusions and make generalisations from their findings.

Science is an area of the curriculum with links to many other subjects. For example: children will explore how to build electrical circuits when designing a new invention or grow their own vegetables in the school allotment when studying plants. They will also apply the scientific knowledge they have learnt when working in other subjects, such as Design Technology.


Computing plays a significant role in all teaching and learning at Runwell. The children are taught specific skills relating to: word processing, desk top publishing, data handling, control technology, modelling ideas, programming and use of the internet, including e-mail, e-safety and how to stay safe online. The children use a range of technologies, which prepares them fully for the next stage in their education and life outside school. This includes working with Bee-Bots and Probots, which are programmable floor robots. We also use a range of programming software such as Scratch and Kodu. Children also use iPads to support their learning in many subjects.

We are keen to embed technology into every subject of the curriculum and therefore computing is used in many subject areas at Runwell, including in their thematic work where they can use their computing skills on purposeful, relevant tasks.

To enable children to access their work from home they can use our Virtual Learning Environment, or VLE called DB Primary. The VLE is a safe online area that can only be used by children (and parents) from our school. This allows us to teach children the fundamental e-safety skills and online etiquette needed for the modern world. It also encourages online communication with their friends in a safe and appropriate manner. We also offer support and advice to parents with this and include a weekly e-safety memo in our newsletter which we welcome parent input.


History is about the lives and lifestyles of familiar people in the recent past and about famous people and events in the more distant past. For example in Year 2 children study a theme of space and find out about astronaut Neil Armstrong.

In Key Stage 2, history is about people and important events and developments from recent and more distant times in the locality, in Britain and in other parts of the world. Subjects covered include: The Egyptians, The Greeks, The Romans, The Vikings, Tudor Times, The Victorians and Britain since 1930, including the events of World War II.

One theme studied in Year 3/4 is called ‘Visit from the King’. The children find out about Henry VIII, what life was like in Tudor times, and the theme is concluded by holding a Tudor feast attended by Henry VIII himself (well OK, it’s a look alike!), so that children can apply all they have learnt in a ‘real’ situation. This approach brings history to life for the children and they can see how events in the past have helped to shape what society is like today!

We encourage children to have curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world by providing meaningful experiences through our thematic learning.


Geography helps to stimulate children’s interest in their surroundings and in the variety of human and physical features on the Earth. We encourage children to develop an informed concern about the quality of the environment, both in our immediate locality and beyond. We seek to enhance our children’s sense of responsibility for the care of the Earth and its people and have a strong Fairtrade and eco ethos.

In Key Stage 1 the children investigate the geographical features in their own environment and compare them to features found in other places. They ask questions such as: “Where is it?”, “How did it get like this?” They begin to develop enquiry skills including fieldwork and using simple maps.

In Key Stage 2 geography is about studying places and themes and about investigating how people are suited to their environment and how they relate to the wider world. For example in Year 3/4 the children start their own Global Guides company to discover information about India, focusing on questions such as: “What is it like?”, “How and why is it changing?”. We continue to develop and use geographical skills both in and around school and when undertaking fieldwork. In Year 6 children take part in a residential trip to Yorkshire and the Lake District so they can further their understanding of the range of geographical features found in England and how they may differ to the area around Runwell.

Art and Design

Art contributes to the perceptual aesthetic, intellectual and personal development of all children. Through the teaching of art at Runwell we aim to develop their creativity by using a range of skills in a wide variety of contexts. At Runwell, pupils are able to communicate and express their ideas and feelings through:

Drawing ¤ Textiles ¤ 3D form ¤ Painting ¤ Printing ¤ Collage

Pupils explore and share their ideas, and so develop confidence and independence in their learning. Art, craft and design enables children to be excited and inspired by both the natural and man-made worlds. By engaging in purposeful, imaginative and creative activities pupils learn to take and try out new ideas and ways of working without fear of failure.

Using their imagination, experience and issues in the real world they can explore and interpret ideas and emotions, and develop understanding of others. By evaluating their own and others’ work, pupils are able to become more confident in their own opinions and abilities. Pupils understanding and appreciation of fine art, design and craft will enrich their lives now and in the future.

Design and Technology

Design and Technology is another subject that has many links to other areas of the curriculum and is essentially practical. We provide our pupils with opportunities to work with a variety of materials such as wood, textiles and food. They will be taught to use a range of tools safely, and will also be taught the skills they will need to create a high quality product, such as: finishing techniques, strengthening structures and joining materials. We also give children the opportunity to use their own creativity and to solve problems as they encounter them. As they progress, they will be taught to evaluate their work and identify areas for improvement.

In DT the children will develop:

  • their ability to think about the made world and how we live and work within it;
  • their ability to initiate ideas, propose, plan and develop innovative designs and make high quality products;
  • their understanding of technological processes, products, and their manufacture, and their contribution to our society;
  • designing and making skills and their knowledge and understanding of the design process;
  • manipulative skills so they can create their designs;
  • critical awareness, so they can comment meaningfully on their own and others’ designs, as well as responding to the designs around them in the man-made world.


PE at Runwell is valued as an important part of the curriculum. We believe that PE plays a vital role in keeping all the children healthy and well. A rich curriculum of games, dance, gymnastics, swimming, athletics  and OAA (outdoors and adventurous activities, including two residential trips in Years 4/5 and 6) enables the children to develop an enjoyment in sport whilst practicing essential physical and teamwork skills that are needed to become fit and healthy.   We are very lucky to have ample space and resources to teach PE on the playgrounds, the field and in the two halls. We aim to provide high quality PE education every week and ensure children of all abilities are able to develop their skills across a variety of sporting disciplines.

Runwell is part of the William De Ferrers Sports Partnership and has developed strong links with our School Sports Co-ordinators at our partner secondary schools (Bromfords and Beauchamps), who regularly work alongside Runwell’s P.E. co-ordinator to plan and deliver PE lessons. As part of such a strong partnership, we hold regular competitions both in school and against other schools in the local area. A significant number of our extra-curricular clubs for both Key Stage 1 and 2 are sports and activity based.

We have had considerable success during inter-school sports competitions and regularly qualify for the area finals in a range of sports. We also have a Sports Council, which ensures that all sports maintain their important profile in the school.


Music is an important part of life at Runwell. Each class has a weekly curriculum music lesson.  The lessons follow the national curriculum and involve the children in a range of activities to develop children’s listening, composing and singing skills. We have visiting teachers for piano, keyboard, recorder, flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, violin and guitars. These popular lessons are provided at school for a termly fee.  The school choir and instrumentalists perform in community events, including: the church bazaar, Light Up Wickford, the Salvation Army carol service, old people’s homes, as well as numerous school concerts.

All the children in the school perform in a musical concert at Christmas, which is one of the highlights of the year. If you do not feel the true spirit of Christmas during these concerts then you never will! Years 5 and 6 also perform a musical every summer to which everyone is invited to attend.

PSHE – Personal, Social and Health Education

At Runwell, we attach great importance to the need for each child to build self-esteem and develop the confidence to understand themselves and others around them. Children at Runwell are encouraged to participate in discussion about emotions and develop their understanding of the different range of feelings within emotions such as fear, happiness and sadness. Many of our lessons are discussion based, as we believe that all children have a voice and their opinions should be heard and valued, plus this also gives us an excellent opportunity to develop the children’s speaking and listening skills. Emotional ladders are displayed in every class to support children in explaining their feelings and understand the range of feelings that can be found in each emotion.

Every year at Runwell Anti-Bullying Week is celebrated to raise awareness and remind children how we conduct ourselves and look after one and other. During this time we watch shows, use drama and have discussion or give advice, and we also take opportunities to recap E Safety rules with the children which include raising awareness of cyber bullying.

We use a wide range of stories from different cultures and perspectives to teach the six key areas of our curriculum. These are: My Healthy Lifestyles; Keeping Safe; Medicines and Drugs; Making a Positive Contribution / My Relationships; My Feelings; and Growing and Changing. The theme of Growing and Changing is based on the Channel 4 Scheme of Work “Living and Growing”. Other resources relevant to the programmes are used to support teaching and learning in this area. We believe that each child has a voice.


French is taught throughout the school from the Reception class through to Year 6, so children have a very thorough grounding in learning a modern foreign language by the time they leave Runwell for secondary school. Lessons are based on the national curriculum and children learn how to speak, read and write in French. They are taught how to greet each other, how to ask questions and respond, as well as the vocabulary needed for everyday living. Children are also taught about the culture of France (and other countries around the world), so they develop a view of life beyond Wickford.

Religious Education

Essex has an agreed syllabus for Religious Education called “Open Worlds” which is followed by the school.

In RE children are taught about a range of religions, with an emphasis on Christianity. The teaching is aimed at helping the children understand the different beliefs held by people across the world, and which events, places and rituals are important to each religion.

Assemblies and collective worship

Assembly and collective worship is held every day. Three times a week, whole school assembly provides the opportunity for pupils to consider spiritual and moral issues, to explore their own beliefs and to become aware of how they can make the world a better place through their own actions. It also helps to develop community spirit, and promote a common ethos, shared values, and reinforce positive attitudes. This is also achieved by presenting awards to children who have worked particularly hard at something during the week.

In the majority of assemblies there is the opportunity for pupils to consider ideas that reflect the broad traditions of Christian belief. As part of each assembly there is an act of reflection, by singing a song or saying a prayer or by thinking about something quietly to themselves. Children do not have to pray, but they are expected to behave in a calm, respectful way throughout the assembly.

Withdrawal from all or part of the religious education and collective worship provided

Parents may withdraw their children from all or part of the religious education and collective worship provided. Please contact the Headteacher if you wish to do this. Alternative arrangements will be made for your child following discussion with the Headteacher or Deputy.

How can I find out more?

Classes produce regular newsletters outlining what they will be studying in the following term. You are very welcome to speak to your child’s class teacher if you want any additional information.