Our Curriculum

At St Joseph’s we have introduced a Mastery curriculum for all children. Mastery means a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of a subject. Among the by- products of developing mastery, and to a degree part of the process, are a number of elements:

  • Fluency (rapid and accurate recall of facts and concepts)
  • A growing confidence to reason
  • The ability to apply knowledge to solve problems, to conjecture and test hypotheses.

Mastery of maths, which is built gradually as child goes through school, is a tool for life, and is underpinned by a fundamental and unbending belief held by our staff that all children are capable of achieving. Instead of learning mathematical procedures by rote, we want pupils to build a deep conceptual understanding of concepts which will enable them to apply their learning in different situations. This approach is being embedded throughout school, with Reception through to Year 6 following the Mathematics Mastery Programme.

Once the children graduate from the RWI phonics scheme, they enter the English Mastery programme. This approach is built around six high quality class texts per year, through which all reading, grammar and writing is taught. Children are given a physical copy of the book to take them through their learning journey.

A complete Mastery English curriculum taught through immersion in high quality, whole class texts, which develops young learner’s fluency and depth of understanding in the key reading, writing, grammar and punctuation skills has been introduced across school from Year Two to Year Six from the Autumn term.

As a Catholic school, a minimum of 10% of the teaching timetable is dedicated to formal religious education through the Come and See Programme supplemented with Discovery RE for the multi-faith aspect of RE teaching. In reality, the Catholic teaching goes way beyond the 10% because the Christian values underpin every aspect of learning in our school. The children learn about faith and learn to live the faith. Throughout the school week, children are involved in daily acts of worship, liturgy and opportunities for deep, spiritual reflection.

At St Joseph’s, the curriculum is our entitlement to an excellent, well rounded education for all of our children. Our approach to designing the curriculum is rooted in current research into creating the best possible conditions for all children to be successful. We recognise by designing a curriculum which provides exceptionally well for the lowest 20% of our pupils ultimately means that we will get it right for all pupils.

Ofsted’s Focus on the Curriculum

The Curriculum is at the heart of the Ofsted Framework

  • The curriculum is a framework for setting our the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage (intent).
  • For translating that framework over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional context (implementation), and for evaluating what knowledge and skills children have gained against expectations (impact/ achievement).

Developing Our Curriculum

We aim to make sure that all children experience ‘expert’ teaching, where learning is deep and profound, allowing pathways and connections in the brain to be made and retained. Every member of staff is constantly looking for ways to develop in order to give the children the absolute best.


At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, our curriculum is designed to build happy, confident, lifelong learners that are ambitious, resilient and not afraid to try new things.

We build upon prior learning through themes that are planned and delivered to create curiosity, awe and wonder as well as provide many opportunities to get involved with a wide range of life experiences. With high expectations, nurture and high quality teaching, we shape the children to be good citizens that leave with the skills required for the wider world. We encourage children to enquire, self-reflect, and make connections in order to give them the confidence to make decisions, try new things and enhance their cultural capital.

At St Joseph’s school leaders and teachers have explored each subject carefully and taken time to consider the agreed end points, how learning should be sequenced for in order to create the best chances for all our pupils to learn effectively. The most important knowledge has been carefully selected and consideration has been given as to how we will ensure pupils will know more and remember more.


We aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which also promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of every child. Our curriculum is planned according to the statutory guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculum. The curriculum is implemented through themes mainly in a cross- curricular approach however, main maths lessons and some skills will be taught discretely in order to reach mastery and not weaken the depth of teaching to make links to topics. Our belief is that learning should begin with curiosity or a question allowing time for children’s thinking and freedom to act according to their ideas. Children will go on an educational visit or have a professional come into school at least every term in order for children to experience a wide variety of learning environments and hook their learning. For example, children at St Joseph’s go on archaeological digs, participate in Stone Age tribal skills day, enter space domes, travel back in time, hunt for escaped dinosaurs, visit the theatre and meet all kinds of creatures during their time with us.

At certain points throughout the year, children will experience Enterprise Weeks that develop their knowledge of the wider world, money and business in order to build their cultural capital.

Ark Curriculum Plus

For history, geography and science, St Joseph’s follows the carefully designed Ark Curriculum Plus programme.  

What kinds of knowledge, attitudes and values should be prioritised?  

Different authors have proposed different responses to this question, depending on what they conceive the purpose of education to be. However, it does seem that most of the justifications that have been made for education can be grouped into four broad categories.

1.Firstly cultural transmission. A key reason given for educating young people is, in Matthew Arnold’s words, to pass on from one generation to the next: “the best that has been thought and known in the world. Those who do not know what people are expected to know are regarded as ignorant – not stupid, but simply lacking the knowledge expected of them.

2.Secondly, personal empowerment. Arguably the most important aim of education is to allow young people to take greater control of their own lives. The idea is that rather than simply enculturating young people into the existing systems, education is the means by which people: ‘deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.’ 

3. Thirdly, preparation for citizenship. Democratic citizenship arguably works only if those who are voting understand the choices they are given, and so education therefore has a vital role to play in preparing citizens so that they can make informed decisions about their participation in a democratic society.

4. Fourthly, preparation for work. As a number of reports from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have shown, educational achievement is inextricably linked with economic prosperity. Those that do better academically, tend to go on to get better paid jobs.


Our children will be able to discuss their learning with good level of knowledge using subject specific, technical vocabulary across all subjects. By the time they leave school a vast majority have sustained mastery with some greater depth. Summative assessments as well as standard tests will help us monitor children’s development of mastery however Teacher’s Assessment will be the main evidence of academic attainment. Pupil, staff and parent surveys with a big focus on pupil’s voice will aid us knowing the children’s social and emotional well-being

Religious Education

Children follow the ‘Come and See’ scheme of work, as prescribed by the Catholic Diocese of Hallam.  We teach RE through cross-curricular activities through Art, Dance, Music, ICT and Literacy.  ‘Come and See’ includes scripture, doctrine and liturgy as well as spiritual and moral development, within the traditions of the Catholic Church, but with the chance to study other world faiths. 

When learning about other world faiths we also use the Discovery RE teaching materials. Click here to see the RE programme for the Spring term.

To find out more about “Come and See” follow the link to the Diocese of Hallam Schools page.


We use the phonic programme Read, Write Inc. to teach reading in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.

Read Write Inc. is a method of learning centred around letter sounds and phonics, blending them together to read and write words and using these learnt sounds in their reading and writing.  Using Read Write Inc. children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell accurately so that they can put their energy into composing what they write.

Children are grouped according to their ability and work with a teacher or teaching assistant on the Read Write Inc. programme every day Monday to Friday. They are assessed every half term and then regrouped according to their phonics knowledge and fluency when reading.  

If you want to find out more about Read Write Inc. the following website has lots of information for parents.


For a quick summary of the  Read, Write Inc. programme, click here.

The Foundation Stage and Year 1 Read Write Inc material shown at the parents meeting is below for you to download. Just click on the links.

Slideshow Presentation

Letter Formation Chart

Set 2 and 3 Grapheme Rhymes

Set 2 and 3 Sounds 

Miss Jenkinson is our Early Reading Lead in school. If you would like to talk to her about your child’s phonics and how you can help at home please contact the school office on 01909 550123 and they will arrange an appointment for you to speak to her.

Mastery English

Mastery English is taught with fidelity across from Year 2 . It is based on children having access to high quality, age appropriate reading materials and access to thier own individual copy of the class text they are reading. The complete immersion in high quality, whole class texts, will develops young learner’s fluency and depth of understanding in the key reading, writing, grammar and punctuation skills has been proven to have an impact on the quality of literacy teaching and learning.

Texts chosen for the spring term are:


Mathematics Mastery is now being taught with fidelity throughout school from Reception to Year Six. Every class starts the day with a daily Maths Meeting designed to reinforce maths facts and build on those core arithmetic knowledge foundations that help in all areas of mathematical understanding: number bonds, table facts, measurements, telling the time, reinforcement of geometry properties, days of the week, months of the year, ordinal numbers.

Reception through to Year 6 following the Mathematics Mastery Programme.

Each year group also has a BIG picture which is designed to develop maths talk and promote the use of accurate vocabulary and speaking in full sentences whilst reasoning and problem solving.

Below are links to the images for this term. Have a look at the image for your child’s year group and discuss possible mathematical questions with them based on the images.

All mathematics mastery teaching is based on developing a secure concrete, pictorial, abstract approach with children and ensuring that they have the necessary tools to be able to build a deep conceptual understanding of key themes which will enable them to apply their learning in different situations and become able mathematicians for life. Through a structured six-part lesson and access to high quality teaching materials and manipulatives the introduction of mathematics mastery at St Joseph’s will undoubtedly benefit all learners across school.

Curriculum Maps Reception to Y6