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Colehill First School


Curriculum and Learning

Our Curriculum

At Colehill First School, children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum in their Reception year, and the National Curriculum from year 1 onwards. The basic skills of literacy and numeracy are given appropriate emphasis in English and mathematics teaching respectively, and the children follow learning ‘themes’ each term or half term to provide a focus and context by combining learning meaningfully across a range of curriculum subjects. These themes have been adjusted to take into account the requirements of the revised National Curriculum from September 2014. For more information, please click on the link below.

Primary National Curriculum from 2014

Initio Learning Trust's Curriculum Vision

VALUES: Our three core Trust values are excellence, collaboration and respect.

VISION: Our pupils develop character through a love of learning to achieve and thrive. They are prepared to be lifelong learners and responsible citizens with a global perspective.

OUTCOMES: Every child will leave our schools with the best possible character - resilience, confidence, aspiration, integrity, compassion for others, respect, curiosity, spiritual awareness and team working.

Our Curriculum Statement - January 2022

At Colehill First School we are transforming our curriculum. Leaders are designing a curriculum that maximises every pupil's academic, physical and emotional learning and promotes and upholds their well-being.  The curriculum is planned to be sequential and coherent. It is progressive, building step by step on pupils’ previous skills and knowledge. Skills are underpinned by secure knowledge and are embedded, enabling them to be transferred in a variety of contexts. The curriculum is designed to secure key knowledge in pupils’ long term memory. The curriculum relates to the local, regional and national context of the school.  The cultural capital we develop ensures that we will not only inspire but also challenge our pupils in their learning. 

We believe that children learn most securely through a thematic curriculum in which individual subjects are combined meaningfully in age appropriate contexts and interwoven into daily learning. We also plan learning so that children’s interests can mould and shape the experiences we provide. Each curriculum subject, and its associated knowledge and skill set, is respected as a discipline and afforded appropriate coverage. Basic skills in English, mathematics and other disciplines are regularly and systematically applied across the whole curriculum. We strive for pupils to achieve mastery across a wide range of subjects.

Core Subjects

Basic skills in English, mathematics and other disciplines are regularly and systematically applied across the whole curriculum. We strive for pupils to achieve mastery across a wide range of subjects.


In KS1 our approach teaches the conceptual understanding needed to become an effective reader:

  • that letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language

  • that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters - examples are: s a t, f i sh, n igh t and w eigh t

  • that there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound 'ae', spelt as in 'name', can be represented as in 'table', in 'rain', in 'eight', in 'play', and so on

  • that many spellings can represent more than one sound: can be the sound 'e' in 'head', 'a-e' in 'break', or 'ee' in 'seat'

Within this conceptual framework, we teach the factual knowledge required to become an effective reader and speller: the approximately 176 spellings that represent the 44 or so sounds in English, starting with the most simple one-to-one correspondences.

Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:

  • segment, or separate sounds in words

  • blend, or push sounds together to form words

  • manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words

Phonics Scheme 

We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021. 

Phase one is the beginning of the systematic learning of phonics and will take place predominantly in Nursery and Pre-School. It falls primarily within the Communication and Language and Literacy area of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. This crucial phase is the exciting first step on every child’s early reading journey and forms the bedrock of developing children’s early reading. In this phase children will experience a wealth of listening activities, including using their listening skills to hear sounds in the environment, recognise instrumental sounds and use body percussion. Children will enjoy playing with sounds and words as they develop their language skills, spotting rhythm, rhyme and alliteration in songs and stories they hear. They will begin to explore the skill of oral blending and segmenting. ‚Äč 

A more structured approach to the teaching of reading will begin in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception where children will begin to learn sounds and decode words, they will make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.

See attachments at the bottom of this page: 

Unlocking Letters and Sounds Actions, Images and Handwriting – Phase 2

Unlocking Letters and Sounds Actions and Images – Phase 3

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.

In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps. For further details please see our phonics progression. 

See attachment at the bottom of the page for our English Progression Map.

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact. 

Reading Scheme 

At Colehill First School we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books, children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading. In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics, to ensure complete fidelity to the phonics progression we follow. Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.

Alongside their fully decodable home book, we will be sending a weekly 'reading for pleasure' book home too. Your child will not necessarily be able to read their 'Reading for Pleasure' book independently. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together. In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. This sharing book will be a book they have chosen from their school library or classroom book corner for you to enjoy together.  Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters; explore the facts in a nonfiction book. The main thing is that you have fun! 

Helen Self (Phonics and Early Reading Lead) 

Reading in Key Stage 2 is taught through whole class reading lessons teaching specific reading skills; allowing pupils to access extracts of high quality texts and teaching all pupils to analyse texts in depth. 

Writing is taught through high quality texts and learning experiences. Discrete grammar and spelling lessons are taught in every class. Pupils apply their learning independently, sometimes with an element of choice, for example writing from the perspective of a chosen character. Following both personal and general whole class feedback or discussion pupils are encouraged to edit their writing

Mathematics is taught using a mastery approach with Maths- No Problem! as a core resource from Year 1 - Year 4. This approach is based upon the research from Bruner (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract approach), Vygotsky (rich discussion & peer talk), Piaget (thinking processes rather than outcomes), Dienes (exploration before structure and a variety of methods) and Skemp (making links). Each topic is studied in depth and the teacher does not move to the next stage until all children demonstrate that they have a secure understanding of mathematical concepts.

Pupils are given time to think deeply about the maths and really understand concepts at a relational level rather than as a set of rules or procedures. This inclusive approach, and its emphasis on promoting multiple methods of solving a problem, builds self-confidence and resilience. 

Pupils who grasp concepts quickly are challenged with rich and sophisticated problems within the topic. Those children who are not sufficiently fluent are provided additional support to consolidate their understanding before moving on.

Enrichment Through Visits and Visitors

Annually, the school arranges a significant number of visitors, projects and class trips. This includes a residential trip for Year 3. Enrichment activities are an important aspect of the school’s curriculum provision. 

Pupil Voice

Pupil voice is fundamentally important in all the decisions made regarding the curriculum. The school council, sports leaders and eco team all make decisions regarding relevant aspects of school life. Pupils also take part in partnership work with other schools in Initio Learning Trust and beyond; this includes WASP sporting events, an annual Maths Day at St Michael's Middle School and joint events such as supporting Wimborne Food Bank. Whole school questionnaires and subject specific pupil voice also inform decisions regarding the curriculum.

Early Years Foundation Stage

Our children benefit from a programme that involves appropriate emphases on play and child initiated, exploratory learning, balanced with a programme of adult led sessions, guided support and independent opportunities to read, write and solve problems.  Our Reception pupils develop as confident and capable readers, writers and problem solvers. We are able to provide a strong foundation enabling pupils to thrive as they enter Year 1 and throughout the rest of their school years and beyond.

Monitoring Activities

To evaluate the impact of our provision, senior leaders and subject leaders undertake book scrutinies, observe the quality of teaching and learning and undertake pupil voice interviews. As part of the process, whole school areas of strength and areas for development are identified. Whole school action plans are created and implemented as a result, and then the impact of any intervention is evaluated. ACM also undertake regular visits to monitor the effectiveness of school priorities and curriculum areas.


  • Assessment is used not only to inform teachers of progress, identifying gaps in pupils’ knowledge and skills, but also to reflect on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the taught curriculum, its design and implementation.

  • Senior leaders maintain a strong focus on the curriculum and are accountable for its design and implementation. However, all teaching staff make valued contributions towards the planning, delivery and review of the curriculum, both as subject leaders and as classroom teachers.

  • We believe that our broad, rich curriculum will prepare pupils effectively for internal and external tests and assessments, and the outcomes of these should reflect the success of the curriculum.

Please follow the link to read the National Curriculum in full:  National Curriculum 2014

Click the link for information about the curriculum across all Initio Learning Trust schools.

For more information about the school's curriculum, please consult our parents' handbook or contact the school via phone or email (details here), marking your email 'Curriculum query'.

Policies for Curriculum Subjects:

Please click below on links to each curriculum policy. 


We aim to provide annual written reports to parents about their children’s progress which are detailed, accurate, wide ranging and jargon-free! Click below to see the report templates for key stages 1 and 2