National Curriculum


English at Elmlea Infants’ School

‘Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.’ Benjamin Franklin

At Elmlea Infants’ school we inspire children equipping them with a strong command of the written and spoken word, and develop a love of books through widespread reading for enjoyment!


We view English as an ‘Essential Life Skill’ in which children use and apply their English skills confidently and competently in their learning and in everyday contexts. They convey ideas and opinions clearly, and respond creatively and critically to a wide range of stories, information and ideas.


Elmlea Infant school learners develop skills in:  * Spoken Language (speaking, Listening)  * Reading (word reading and comprehension)  * Writing -transcription (spelling and handwriting) * Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)


It enables them to express themselves creatively, imaginatively and communicate with each other effectively.  Pupils learn to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry, non-fiction, media and drama.



At Elmlea Infants’ School our creative curriculum encourages and motivates children to write for real purposes and audiences as much as possible. Exciting and imaginative stimuli are carefully planned into our English provision to develop successful writing. From Reception age, children learn a range of English skills in order to create a love of language, develop confident and effective oral communication and the necessary stamina required to apply writing strategies independently throughout our topic based curriculum.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) skills are mapped into the Elmlea Year 1 and 2 curriculum and children are given weekly opportunities to apply their writing skills independently, in a range of contexts in Key Stage 1. Spelling patterns and rules are taught and assessed weekly and handwriting taught in all classes to ensure all children are equipped with the skills become the authors of the future.


Phonics and Reading

At Elmlea Infants’ we teach phonics using the Letters and Sounds programme. It is vitally important that the children at Elmlea infants’ School spell as accurately and as fluently as possible. There are three main strands to spelling teaching: • Learning and applying the spelling of High Frequency Words (HFW) • Learning the sounds and spelling patterns of a collection of words • Learning how to be as accurate as possible with 'unknown’ words.

Through this guidance we can ensure a consistent approach to the teaching of spelling. Embed the teaching of spelling through a range of interactive games, whiteboard work and mnemonics. Take a consistent approach to the marking of spelling across the curriculum and ensure expectations are high, discussed with and communicated to all children. Phonics Progression (Letters and Sounds) Phase 1- preparing the ground and developing children’s phonological awareness; Phase 2 – knowledge of a small selection of common consonants and vowels, blending and segmenting CVCs, Phase 3 – knowledge of one grapheme for each of the 44 phonemes, blending and segmenting CVCs; Phase 4 –blending and segmenting adjacent consonants; Phase 5 – alternative graphemes and an introduction to spelling rules.

The phonemes and graphemes are taught through the RWI materials. We also use the RWI rhymes for letter formation and to help children remember the phonemes and graphemes. As children move through the early stages of acquiring phonics, they practice by reading texts which are entirely decodable for them from the Oxford Reading Tree schemes.

Once children have a secure knowledge of letter/sound correspondences and can blend words confidently, they access our Book Banded reading scheme which has books from various published schemes and is designed to give children experience of a variety of reading genres. There are fiction and non-fiction books within each level.  In addition, children access Bug Club e-books at home from a personalised selection made by the teacher. In Year 1 and 2 children have regular guided reading sessions in order to develop their comprehension skills and timetabled intervention groups are used to support and challenge children in all classes’.

All children are encouraged to select books from the classroom, our non-fiction based library to share with their parents to encourage a love of reading. When children can read fluently and with a good understanding, they self-select books for independent reading.

Speaking and Listening

We believe good speaking and listening skills are fundamental to a child’s learning in all areas of the curriculum and at all stages of their school life. At Elmlea Infants’ children are given the opportunity to talk for a range of purposes and in a range of situations. They are taught to listen carefully in order to communicate with and respond to the people around them.

Our Aims

• To ensure that the use of verbal language and the ability to listen are fundamental to every activity undertaken at school. • To give children a variety of opportunities and experiences to speak and listen, both as individuals and in group situations. • To emphasise the importance of clear diction and audibility and for the children to use Standard English.

Partnership with parents - Let's celebrate the efforts and successes in English of our children together!


Parents’ and carers’ co-operation, through a shared approach, is greatly valued and children are encouraged to enjoy and respect books and learn to use the school library. School bookshops are arranged when parents and children may look at, choose and buy books together. We celebrate events such as National Poetry Day and World Book Day with a variety of exciting activities to engage children in reading and writing. Each child has a reading record that they take home so that comments can be made by members of staff or family members so progress and achievements can be celebrated together.

A curriculum evening, held in term 1, informs parents’ and carers’ of how English skills are taught across the curriculum and helps form the tight partnership that is critical in the children’s development at Elmlea.


Mathematics is taught through a daily session with clear learning objectives taken from the Programmes of Study in the National Curriculum (2014). Oral and mental work gives children a sense of number and the number system and helps them to ‘become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics.’

At Elmlea Infants’ we have blocked the maths curriculum into themes, which are taught in termly blocks: Term 1 Place value and the number system Term 2 Addition and Subtraction Term 3 Multiplication and Division Term 4 Fractions, time and money Term 5 Shape, space and measures Term 6 Statistics

The National Curriculum states that at Key Stage 1 (years one and two): The principal focus of mathematics teaching in key stage 1 is to ensure that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value. This should involve working with numerals, words and the 4 operations, including with practical resources. By blocking the work in Maths, Elmlea children spend time on each area, have a deeper and greater understanding of the maths involved in order to achieve ‘Mastery’ in the subject. Children are taught to ‘reason mathematically’ and apply skills taught in all areas of the maths curriculum.

In Reception, the children work towards the Mathematics Development Early Learning goals: Numbers and Shape, space and measures. Mathematics development involves providing children with opportunities to practise and improve their skills in counting numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures. Work in maths is very much based on practical manipulation of numbers and equipment. Children experiment with quantities, using equipment such as tens frames to see patterns and relationships with numbers.

We use ‘RICE’ (Read, Illustrate, Calculate, Explain) to encourage children to explain their thinking and to talk about their methods and strategies. Calculations work starts with a practical experience. The children work with place value counters and Dienes blocks to ‘see’ the calculations in action. From this foundation they move to the more abstract idea of manipulating numbers.

Practical activities allow the children to practice and experience mathematical ideas and concepts and to become familiar and competent with equipment such as weighing scales, measuring jugs and rulers. They are encouraged to explore, experiment and record their findings and ideas using charts and graphs. We are constantly assessing the understanding of the children’s knowledge and adjusting the content of the work to meet the needs of the children. Work is planned weekly, so that any misconceptions or areas of weakness can be worked on and support given. Each lesson is differentiated into 3 levels, so that children who are fluent and show good understanding will be challenged, while other children may need work reinforcing or support from additional adults in the classroom.

At the end of each block Y1 and Y2 children are assessed in their knowledge and understanding of the work taught. Children are not given homework in Maths, although Y2 children take home a weekly challenge, linked to the weeks’ work. All children are invited to join an online membership for Maths games through DoodleMaths.

Information about the maths curriculum at Elmlea is shared during the curriculum evening in September each year.


We believe that a broad and balanced science education is the entitlement of all children. Building on children’s natural curiosity, and using children’s interests and prior understanding as a starting point, science teaching at Elmlea Infants’ School aims to develop: a sense of awe and wonder about the natural world; provide children with an enjoyable experience of science, so that they will develop a deep and lasting interest; and help develop and extend our children’s scientific concept of their world.

In Reception, scientific study is included as a core element of Understanding the World. Through the learning outcomes outlined in the EYFS, children are taught to: comment and asks questions about aspects of their familiar world, such as the place where they live or the natural world; talk about some of the things they have observed such as plants, animals, natural and found objects; and develop an understanding of growth, decay and changes over time.

In Key Stage 1, our scheme of work fulfils the requirements of the National Curriculum (2014). This sets out the scientific knowledge, conceptual understanding and technical vocabulary to be taught during Years One and Two. It outlines how, by the end of Key Stage 1, children will be taught to work scientifically and use spoken language to communicate and develop scientific concepts accurately. The subjects set out in the Year 1 and 2 programmes of study are: Plants; Animals, including humans; Everyday Materials and their uses; Seasonal Change; and Living things and their habitats.


Each classroom has a computer and further access to laptops and iPads that are stored centrally and available to each class on a timetabled basis.

All children are given the opportunity to use a range of software including data handling, graphics, multimedia packages and simple word processing programs to develop their computing skills and learning in all curriculum areas. Children use online educational resources and the Internet under adult supervision and after parental approval has been obtained.

All classrooms have Clevertouch boards which are used by teachers and children to enhance teaching and learning in all curriculum subjects.

Elmlea Curriculum

Elmlea Infants’ Curriculum Statement

‘A enriched curriculum with children is at its heart, developing understanding and personal skills for success in the 21st Century.’

The Curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning and personal growth and development. At Elmlea Infants’ we have developed a creative approach to our Curriculum. We provide an environment in which children develop and acquire skills in engaging and purposeful topic based learning across the school. The curriculum enables children to grow into positive, responsible individuals, who can work and co-operate with others underpinned by our Golden Values.


Our school curriculum promotes high quality learning that challenges and inspires its pupils. The curriculum is the means by which the school achieves its objective of educating children in the knowledge, skills and understanding that they need in order to lead fulfilling lives. The teaching of critical skills equips children with the tools they need to be successful learners allowing learners to participate in positive activities to develop personal and social skills, promote well-being and reduce behaviour that puts them at risk.


The aims of our school curriculum are: To enable all children to learn and develop their skills to the best of their ability in order to develop their knowledge and understanding of the world they live in; To promote a positive attitude towards learning, so that children enjoy coming to school, and acquire a solid basis for lifelong learning; To teach children the basic skills of literacy, numeracy, computing and science; Provide a broad and balanced education and meets the needs, aptitudes and interest of pupils so that it promotes high levels of achievement and good behaviour helping to promote a child’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development; Enable children to make a positive contribution to the school, local and wider community; Create reflective learners who have a sense of responsibility for their own learning and development; Build up confidence and motivation to learn through the use of a range of learning and teaching styles; Learn to value others, their views, cultures and beliefs in an inclusive manner; The above is a summative statement which is supported by our overarching Teaching and Learning Policy and subject policies.

Our Curriculum

Our Curriculum offers children a broad, balanced and relevant education, which provides continuity and progression. At Elmlea Infants’ children develop and learn a range of skills that equip them for a continually evolving 21st Century society. The curriculum uses the National Curriculum 2014 objectives which are mapped across each Year group. Teaches use these to plan topics based around their interests and every child’s next steps in their learning journey. These are shared with parents and carers at the beginning of each term in the form of topic webs. Objectives may be grouped together to from cross curricular links or taught explicitly. Regular opportunities are given for children to apply their literacy, numeracy, science and computing skills throughout our curriculum.

Raising Standards

At Elmlea Infants’ we ensure that all children are challenged in their learning by planning tasks according to an individual’s needs. Tasks are differentiated to support this and extension activities provide opportunities for children to apply their skills in different contexts. Topic planning also places on emphasis on allowing children to apply their literacy and math’s skills using the context of the lesson whenever the opportunity arises. Teachers assess children’s progress against each subjects National Curriculum objectives at the end of each unit of study. This is used to monitor progress and attainment in each subject and inform future planning, in order to ensure all children reach their learning potential.

The Enriched Curriculum

All year groups participate in a range of visits per year, which provide a stimulus for their learning as part of the terms topic. Our school is at the heart of the city, which we use to our full potential across the curriculum, providing relevant and meaningful learning opportunities. Visitors from the local community are also used regularly to ensure learning is purposeful and we use the range of skills available. This includes parents and carers who are vitally important in the engagement and feedback processes. Throughout the year curriculum theme weeks provide whole school focused learning experiences and the opportunity for skills development in a specific area, as well as an opportunity to promote school cohesion. In Key Stage 1 topic homework is set two times a year, based on the project being taught in a Year group, and children’s achievements are celebrated in a variety of ways. A wide range of after-school activities also gives the children opportunities to develop a range of skills and interests outside the classroom.

Information about the curriculum is shared in many ways. In years 1 and 2 there is a ‘Meet your new teacher’ evening in the summer term before children move to their new classes, which includes an outline of the curriculum. In the Autumn term there is a curriculum evening to explain how we teach Literacy and Maths and how parents/carers can support their children at home.

Every year we arrange two evening meetings when specific areas of the curriculum are considered. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend these events, as these are opportunities to see, and perhaps try out, the sort of activities their children are currently experiencing. Elmlea Schools' Trustees and the Governors of Elmlea Infant School are committed to providing all children with learning experiences of the highest quality, so that their time spent with us becomes the start of a lifelong learning process. 

View the Elmlea Infant Curriculum in the Policies Section.


A copy of our latest Ofsted report 2019 can be found at the Ofsted website.


Additional information