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Cotmanhay Junior School

Safe, Happy Learning

Curriculum Information

If you can't find the information you need by clicking on the documents below please contact the school and we can provide you with all the curricula information you need. Better still, book in to come and visit and see the awesome learning first hand. You will be wowed by our stunning art, our fabulous music and the wide range of PE and extra-curricular activities that also take place. Honestly, we rock...

Curriculum Policy


Welcome to our curriculum model…


Our curriculum has been written based on relevant and up to date research to ensure a clear logical rationale is used to create and develop the right curriculum for our pupils. We aim to design an effective curriculum, rich in knowledge to ensure learning develops over time and children retain information in their long-term memory. We want our students to experience a wide breadth of study, learning progressively, leaving Key Stage 2 with an ambitious body of knowledge which will prepare them well for their chosen careers and future lives.


Our curriculum is unique to us. It is driven by the following four key areas derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our students and our beliefs about high quality education:


Core curriculum


It is vital that our children excel in reading, writing and maths so they move onto secondary school in an excellent position to further their education. We know that if children leave primary school with a strong reading ability they are more likely to succeed at GCSE and beyond. Our school has an excellent reading culture: we tie reading into every curriculum area nurturing lifelong readers. Our whole school reading strategy is innovative and pioneering based around our motto ‘Reading is the only way to improve reading’. Our library is amazing! Come and look at our fantastic range of fiction and non-fiction books!

All children learn to write through Talk for Writing. This scheme enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. Our classrooms display washing lines containing modelled writing, awesome vocabulary and story maps. Pupils enjoy memorising and recalling texts. Our writing lessons are fun and creative!

Maths No Problem is a high-quality scheme which supports the teaching of maths mastery. Pupils master topics before moving on leading to a greater conceptual understanding. Struggling learners will be fully supported through accessing concrete equipment and use of visual models to support understanding.  Confident learners will be challenged through exposure to unfamiliar problems, development of reasoning skills and by exploring multiple ways to manipulate numbers and solve problems.



Community Curriculum


We give our students the vital background knowledge and skills required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British Values. We are committed to the development of positive community links and we are proud of the work pupils undertake within the community.  The Community Curriculum is an exciting opportunity for pupils to use and expand learning outside of school. We have selected ten areas where by the end of the academic year children will achieve a bronze, silver or gold award: resilience, enterprise, outdoor learning, culture, the arts, sport, science, digital media, environment and healthy living.


Knowledge of the wider world


Our curriculum is taught in subject topics with students returning to the same concepts over and over again gradually building and deepening understanding. Our curriculum is engineered to allow key concepts to be explored in a wide breadth of topics increasing pupils’ knowledge of the world. This is important in improving cultural capital (obtaining skills and knowledge which an individual can draw on to give them an advantage in social life).

We expand pupils’ knowledge of the world through well designed subject topics; carefully chosen reading texts; placing emphasis on non-fiction and providing a plethora of cultural experiences involving music, sport, drama, art and languages.



Pupil well-being


Well-being is the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy. The physical, mental and emotional well-being of every pupil in our care is essential. Our established Jigsaw program delivers weekly high-quality PSHE sessions. Regularly, pupils learn about healthy eating, fitness and have an age appropriate understanding of healthy relationships. It is important to us that our children are confident in staying safe from abuse and exploitation, and they have an excellent understanding of how to stay safe online. We enhance our curriculum by writing our own lesson plans to address key areas associated with the location of our school and on-going changes in society. School council are proactive in promoting pupil well-being.

Subject planning

In order for students to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, which takes time. Cognitive science tells us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if students are rushed through content. Our goal is for students to display sustained mastery by the end of each year group and for the most able children to have a greater depth of understanding. Each subject is specifically planned to ensure pupils move through the curriculum in a progressive and timely way. 



Foundation subjects are teacher assessed in order to evaluate what knowledge and understanding pupils have gained against expectations. Assessment is used by subject leaders to evaluate progress and drive improvement.

To help the transfer of information from working memory into long-term memory teachers use a range of fun retrieval practices including Kahoot quizzes, flashcards, memory games, self-testing, paired practice, summarising techniques and ‘tell the story’ explanations to name a few.


Curriculum monitoring

Each curriculum area has a subject lead. Staff are given the freedom to express their expertise and realise their passion for their subject. We have developed our own internal CPD program for subject leaders who are supported through monitoring and evaluating their area.


Pupils are involved in the shaping of their curriculum. Subject leaders regularly obtain pupil feedback to reshape and modify action plans in order to ensure that each subject is both meeting the needs of its learners and maintaining relevance and interest.


Overall curriculum design and monitoring is the responsibility of C. Bower (Head of School and curriculum lead). Together with S. Robinson (Executive Head Teacher) we are constantly looking at ways to progress and advance our curriculum.

Curriculum feedback 2018/2019


At Cotmanhay Junior School, we ensure that pupils are involved in the shaping of their curriculum. Subject leaders regularly obtain pupil feedback on the subject or area they are leading. Feedback from the children is used to reshape and modify action plans in order to ensure that each subject is both meeting the needs of its learners and maintaining relevance and interest.


Our school council meet each term to discuss points that have been generated by each class in order to improve the provision for children across the school.



Things that are going well:

Even better if:


  • Writing a range of story types
  • Use of apps (eg Chatterpix to support learning)
  • The Talk for Writing process
  • Getting ideas into the shared write
  • Improving grammar, spellings and punctuation
  • Drawing story maps to get a clear idea of the story
  • Learning actions to retell stories
  • Being pushed to the limits in writing
  • Seeing the difference between cold and hot tasks
  • Games (eg: feely bags to guess objects)
  • Learning to join handwriting neatly
  • Learning journey on the washing line to always see
  • Confidence in writing and sharing ideas
  • Confidence to write independently
  • Word challenges
  • Using magpie journals to keep great ideas


  • Do more independent writing, with freedom of style and topic choice
  • Handwriting exercises
  • Play more games (try some harder ones)
  • Typing up/writing up in best
  • More time to read through our work to make improvements
  • Trying a fantasy/fairy tale
  • More sentence work
  • English games for homework – like maths




  • Reading Avengers
  • Reading after lunch
  • New books all the time
  • Tom Palmer books
  • Range of magazines and newspapers
  • Wide selection of books to read
  • World Book Day
  • Enjoy comprehension through song
  • Mr Robinson’s Roy of the Rovers group
  • Library is full of books!




  • Thicker books for Lime book band
  • Go to the main library more
  • Can we have a reading competition?
  • More books on the ‘Extreme’ series
  • More class stories
  • Can we have story time in assembly?


Things that are going well:

Even better if:

  • MNP books and journals
  • MNP describes things better
  • Guided practice – we like that we can have a go as a class beforehand
  • More confident with bar models
  • Challenges and Mathsteasers
  • Deepening understanding tasks encourage perseverance
  • Times tables games
  • Maths games – shiny fish and dice games
  • Times tables game on iPads
  • Tables grid – seeing scores increase
  • 1stClass@Number
  • Keeping going over things again and again (continuous provision)
  • Maths is fun
  • Doing times tables every week has made me really confident and I can use them in my maths
  • Equipment
  • Darts games with Gary




  • More games, treasure hunts and tables challenges
  • Different maths games
  • Online maths like Mathletics/use iPads more
  • Maths mornings so we have more time to learn and finish an area
  • More group work
  • More practical lessons
  • Even harder challenges!
  • Use visuals to explain like in the text book
  • Maths dictionaries
  • Maths sheets or booklets for homework – we’d do it more if teacher monitored


Things that are going well:

Even better if:

  • The topics are really engaging
  • Lots of practical science opportunities
  • Chance to do experiments
  • Wide range of topics
  • Things get brought in to help learning (e.g. eyeballs in Year 6).
  • All the children can engage
  • Learn about things that are ‘unexpected’
  • Lots of ‘out of classroom’ learning


  • Whole school Science day
  • More experiments
  • Child-led investigations
  • More challenging ‘Deepening Understanding’ tasks
  • Science-based trips or an after-school club
  • Science homework projects

PE: sporting opportunities, playground provision, PE lessons, clubs and competitions

Things that are going well:

Even better if:

  • John McGovern visit
  • Sports variety on top yard
  • Enjoy PE lessons “It’s fun!”
  • Variety of sports in PE lessons
  • Mile runs
  • Funky fitness five
  • Dance club
  • After school sports clubs
  • Focus on getting fitter over the year
  • Not being alone – working with other children
  • More inter school competition – not just football
  • Variety of games/ equipment on bottom yard
  • More equipment on bottom yard
  • Rotation of after school clubs
  • More variety of after school clubs
  • More PE lessons to improve fitness
  • Switch lessons more regularly
  • Sometimes too much of a focus on football

Art and DT

Things that are going well:

Even better if:

  • Opportunities to learn how to paint and sketch
  • Using Papier Mache to make Greek vases
  • Learning how to sew and weave
  • Learning how to saw wood to make fairground rides
  • Using hydraulics to design and make a moving monster
  • If sometimes the whole art lesson was outside
  • Design and make things on a bigger scale


Things that are going well:

Even better if:

  • French Friday
  • Languages Week, including the ‘Hello’ challenge and French takeover
  • Salut! games and songs
  • It’s fun
  • Food tasting
  • Matching activities
  • Art/Colouring
  • Languages Assembly
  • Christmas assembly linked to other countries
  • More food tasting, songs, games and art
  • Learn words from other languages more
  • More French, especially in Year 6
  • French speaking visitor
  • More sign language
  • Have a book to write in words
  • Languages displays
  • Challenges
  • A languages club
  • Homework on languages


Things that are going well:

Even better if:


  • A wide variety of visits
  • Using maths and English skills in the afternoon lessons
  • Mayan topic
  • We can choose our activities
  • The work can be challenging
  • Our topics are really interesting
  • Used D&T to create volcanoes
  • Used art in geography (cave paintings)
  • Learning about America was great
  • Dressing up as characters from the past
  • Learning about different times from our past
  • Going out to draw historical structures
  • Lessons are fun and interactive 


  • Have specialists come into school to tell us about our topics
  • Create a year group fact book
  • Have artefacts in the classroom throughout the topic
  • More competitions
  • Learn more about animals
  • Even more trips
  • Sometimes there is too much writing
  • Go for walks around our local area to find out about our geography



Things that are going well:

Even better if:


  • We have fantastic equipment
  • We don’t have to share equipment
  • We love learning with the iPad
  • Programming using Scratch
  • We love creating and playing Kahoot quizzes
  • A wide variety of activities
  • Creating animation and films
  • Creating PowerPoint presentations and spreadsheets
  • Creating charts and graphs in maths lessons
  • The new coding books make things much easier
  • Using virtual tours
  • Using green-screen technology
  • Using iPads for maths games
  • Being able to record our work 


  • Sometimes the computers won’t log on to the server
  • Have time to play games
  • Write stories using technology
  • More computing lessons each week
  • Computer club
  • Link tasks with our humanities/science topics
  • More free access to websites
  • More coding lessons

Jigsaw PSHE

Things that are going well:

Even better if:

  • Calm me time
  • Games
  • Circle time
  • Able to share ideas
  • Assemblies are fun
  • Having Jigsaw Jaz to know who is talking
  • Teacher enjoys teaching Jigsaw
  • Range of fun activities
  • Learning about life and growing up
  • Books relating to topics 
  • More games
  • More information on growing up and changes
  • More assemblies
  • More books

Religious Education

Things that are going well:

Even better if:

  • Visits from the local Church and Vicar
  • Practical lessons/ acting lessons/ discussions/ video clips
  • Like how it is similar to Jigsaw - calming
  • Learning about different religions
  • Like having a key question to answer
  • Link to English (story mapping events) 
  • Off site visits
  • Artefacts


Things that are going well:

Even better if:

  • Playing rhythms together
  • Samba band around the school
  • Enjoyed the Music Partnership – learning different instruments including ukulele, flute and clarinet
  • Sing a variety of songs
  • Taking the instruments home to practice
  • African drumming is exciting and fun
  • We have a great choir
  • Learning about different musicians and composers
  • Opportunity to have a wide variety of music lessons including piano
  • Orchestra trip
  • More instruments in school
  • More singing assemblies
  • More music clubs