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St John's CatholicPrimary School

At St John’s we grow and learn in the footsteps of Jesus.


What does your child learn at school each day? Find information about our curriculum subjects here.


Also see details about Growth Mindset used throughout the school.

Religious Education


Religious Education is the very core and essence of our existence as a Catholic School and plays a key part in the curriculum. It is expected that the children admitted to the school will take a full and active part in the religious life of the school. Religious Education is undertaken according to the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.


Our aim in Religious Education is to lead the children to a living faith through prayer, the Mass, the RE Programme, school assemblies and the liturgical life of the Church. The school currently uses the ‘God Matters’ Scheme of Work and resources. Regular whole school or class assemblies take place each week and each class is involved in preparing and taking part in class Masses or Liturgies during the year. Our children also study other faiths to create an understanding and tolerance of other peoples’ beliefs.

Collective Worship

Assembly and class time is used for collective worship, and to support and encourage Christian values. Assembly time is also used to share and celebrate success, special occasions, e.g. birthdays and achievements – presentation of certificates and awards.


Parents are invited into school on regular occasions to share Class Masses, Liturgies and Whole School Masses. They are also invited to specially prepared productions and to services for special occasions e.g. Christmas, Easter and Harvest. Notice of such events is given in advance, either by a general letter of invitation, or through individual class invitations. The children are taught and say each day the traditional prayers and also write and read their own prayers on different topical themes.


Children are also invited to write reflections on different aspects of the liturgical year and children are actively encouraged to lead class prayers, acts of worship and class liturgies. There is a close co-operation between the school and the Church. The Parish Priest visits the school on a regular basis for assemblies, Class Masses, Whole School Masses and other liturgical celebrations to which everyone is welcomed.

The Sacraments

The children of St John’s School start preparing for their First Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Holy Reconciliation when they are in Year 3. The preparation is done in the Parish in partnership with the School and with great involvement from the parents. The Sacrament of Reconciliation takes place during the season of Lent and Advent and the First Holy Communion Service usually takes place in May.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum has seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in the early years. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. These 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;

*Personal, Social and Emotional Development.


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


*Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World, and Expressive Arts and Design.


Each area of learning and development is implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult led and child initiated activity. Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Each child's level of development is assessed against the early learning goals indicating whether children are meeting expected levels of development or if they are exceeding expected levels of development or not yet reaching expected levels (emerging). This is ‘The Early Years Foundation Profile’ which will be completed for each child at the end of F2. The profile provides a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their progress against expected levels and their readiness for Year 1.

Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

St John’s School is following the New National Curriculum from September 2014.



The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the written and spoken word, and develop a love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure all pupils:


  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often for both pleasure and information
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, and understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.




In Reading the Programmes of Study consist of two dimensions:

  • Word reading
  • Comprehension (both listening and reading)


Pupils are taught skilled word reading incorporating the working out of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. The teaching of phonics is emphasised in the early teaching of reading and is taught

throughout KS1. In KS2, children are encouraged to use their phonics knowledge for decoding and spelling unfamiliar words.

There are a variety of complementary reading schemes used as a foundation in both Key Stages to provide a structured vocabulary and basic reading skills through stories to which the children can relate; supplementary books, poetry and plays are also used. There are a variety of phonic based reading materials used which link directly to Letters and Sounds teaching in KS1.


The home/school reading programme is initiated in the FS class and continued throughout the school. It is designed to extend basic reading skills through reading for pleasure and parental involvement and encouragement: this is vital for developing a positive attitude to books and to reading for a variety of purposes. As the children progress through the school a variety of reading materials are used to develop comprehension, prediction and sequencing skills. Older children are taught to discriminate between factual reporting and editorial comment and to use inferential reading skills. They use reference books as a resource for writing in a variety of styles and for a variety of purposes. The children are encouraged to express their thoughts and ideas in poetry as well as prose, and also in different art forms. Guided reading groups support reading skills throughout the school.


Pupils have an opportunity to develop good comprehension skills through their from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. Pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live and to establish an appreciation and love of reading.



The Programmes of Study for writing are constructed similarly to that for reading:


  • Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)


We aim to develop pupils. competence in spelling, handwriting and composition. In addition, pupils are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. They are taught to spell quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphological (word structure) and orthographic (spelling structure) patterns of words. Pupils are also taught fluent, legible and eventually speedy handwriting. Effective composition skills are taught involving articulating and communicating ideas and then organising them coherently for a reader. The School follows the “Talk for Writing” approach.

Spoken Language


The National Curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils. development – linguistic, cognitive and social – across the whole curriculum. Teaching ensures the continual development of pupils. confidence and competence in spoken language. The whole school uses storytelling and ‘talk for writing’ as a way to link coherent speaking and listening skills to writing. Each Programme of Study is set out year-by-year for Key Stage 1 and two-yearly for Key Stage 2 in English and by the end of each Key Stage pupils are expected to have the knowledge, skills and understanding of matters taught in the relevant Programme of Study.



The National Curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure all pupils:

  • Become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics so that they are efficient in using and selecting the appropriate written algorithms and mental methods, underpinned by mathematical concepts
  • Can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of problems with increasing sophistication including in unfamiliar contexts and to model real-life scenarios
  • Can reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry and develop and present a justification, argument or proof using mathematical language.

Pupils are taught the quick and accurate mental recall of facts, precision and confidence in using mathematical concepts, properties and symbols and the competent and flexible selection and application of methods in different contexts. Pupils are

taught problem solving skills requiring analysing information presented in different forms, recognising what is given information and what additional information is needed; identifying and conjecturing patterns, relationships and generalisations; testing, inducing, deducing and proving and communicating ideas effectively. They are also taught to break down problems into a series of simpler problems or steps.


The Programmes of Study are organised in a distinct sequence and structured into separate areas. Each Programme of Study is set out year-by-year in Mathematics and by the end of each Key Stage pupils are expected to have the knowledge, skills and understanding of the matters taught in the relevant Programme of Study.



The National Curriculum for science aims to ensure all pupils:

  • Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
  • Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through practical activity
  • Are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand its uses and implications today and for the future.

The Programmes of Study describe a sequence of knowledge and concepts. Pupils develop secure understanding of scientific concepts and are able to describe associated processes and key characteristics in common language, they become familiar with, and use accurately, the technical terminology appropriate to such concepts. They build an extended specialist vocabulary and learn to use this with precision as they progress. They also learn to apply their mathematical knowledge to their understanding of science. Each Programme of Study is set out year-by-year for science. By the end of each Key Stage pupils are expected to have the knowledge, skills and understanding of the matters taught in the relevant Programme of Study.



French is taught, for one lesson per week, to pupils from Reception to Y6.




Computing plays an important part in the education of our pupils. At all ages, the children are able to use the computer as an integral part of the lesson. There are a number of computers linked to the Internet both in the Computing suite and in the classroom. During Key Stage 2, pupils use a wider range of ICT tools and information sources to support their work in other subjects. They develop their research skills and decide what information is appropriate for their work. They begin to question the plausibility and quality of information. They learn how to amend their work and present it in a way that suits its audience. Skills of word processing, data storage and retrieval, problem solving, compiling newspapers, PowerPoint presentations etc. are developed at the appropriate level. The school has an E-Safety Policy.


Historical, Geographical and Social Understanding

Historical Understanding


Historical studies are concerned with an awareness of the past. We aim to provide our children with a sense of time and sequence (Chronology). We aim to show our children that life has not always been as it is today, but that some elements do remain the same and to encourage an understanding of the lives of everyday people, lives of famous people in the past and notable past events in Britain and the wider world. Children use different sources of information and skills to help them investigate the past including role play, hot seating and collaborative group activities.


Geographical Understanding


This is organised through a series of broad themes encompassing specific topics timetabled throughout the number of terms in each Key Stage; this is planned in accordance with the National Curriculum requirements for Geography. Many aspects of the environment, past and present, are explored. Whenever possible, the school grounds and the immediate local area are used, as well as a contrasting geographical area in Britain and another area in a developing country. Children are encouraged to ask geographical questions and use geographical skills and resources such as maps, atlases, aerial photographs and ICT.


The Arts



Our pupils experience a broad and enriched ‘Arts’ curriculum incorporating: music, drama, art and design. Children are encouraged to listen to and play a range of musical instruments. They learn to sing with confidence and perform to an audience. Later the children learn to use musical structures and notation. The children study the history of music; its composers and traditions. Pupils can develop skills in school lessons and also with peripatetic music support. Music is used for assemblies, liturgical celebrations and concerts and often as an aspect of themes and topics in other subjects. Musicians of all abilities have opportunities to perform in front of an audience in plays, concerts and larger scale musical performances.


Art and Design


During Key Stage 1 pupils develop their creativity and imagination by exploring the visual, tactile and sensory qualities of materials and processes. They learn about the role of art, craft and design in their environment. They begin to understand colour, shape, space, pattern and texture and use them to represent their ideas and feelings. During Key Stage 2 pupils develop their creativity and imagination through more complex activities. These help to build on their skills and improve their control of materials, tools and techniques. They increase their critical awareness of the roles and purposes of art, craft and design in different times and cultures. They become more confident in using visual and tactile elements and materials and processes to communicate what they see, feel and think. Cross-curricular opportunities are used to promote creativity and enjoyment in pupils’ learning.


Design Technology


During Key Stage 1 pupils learn how to think imaginatively and talk about what they like and dislike when designing and making. They build on their early childhood experiences of investigating objects around them. They explore how familiar things work and talk about, draw and model their ideas. They learn how to design and make safely and could start to use ICT as part of their designing and making.


During Key Stage 2 pupils work on their own and as part of a team on a range of designing and making activities. They think about what products are used for and the needs of the people who use them. They plan what has to be done and identify what works well and what could be improved in their own and other people’s designs. They draw on knowledge and understanding from other areas of the curriculum and use ICT technology in a range of ways to enhance learning.


Understanding Physical Development, Health and Well-being

Physical Education


At St. John's we are continually investing in improving our P.E. provision to provide opportunities for pupils to be imaginative, competitive and face up to different challenges. All children are encouraged to develop their sporting potential in activities that focus on fundamental skills: agility, balance and co-ordination. Staff deliver this through a progressive and challenging programme. In addition learning fundamental skills, children will also learn to participate in a variety of sports including: gymnastics, dance, tag rugby and swimming.


We aim to develop the children's confidence, leadership and cognitive skills through high quality P.E. lessons, which will embed a positive attitude towards life-long participation in sport. Our staff are highly skilled and confident in delivering P.E lessons, and receive on-going to training to support their expertise.


We have been awarded a School Games GOLD kite-mark in recognition of our sporting success, sporting opportunities for all, after-school clubs and leadership development for the Y5/6 children and Sports Council.


We run a range of after-school sports clubs for those children who wish to take part, once they reach a suitable age.


The P.E. and sport premium is designed to help primary schools improve the quality of the P.E. and sport activities they offer their pupils.






Relationship and Sex Education


Sex education is integrated into the curriculum and is not treated as a separate ‘add on’ subject. It is taught through wider ‘health’ and ‘ourselves’ topics and teaching is set within the context of not only the children’s physical and emotional development but also within that of their spiritual and moral growth, recognising the Church’s guidelines. We aim to weld together aspects of the curriculum into a coherent structure which will emphasise living and growing, new life and personal care, God’s love and teaching and the way we love God and our neighbour. The children are taught respect for themselves, for others and for life. The object is to produce children who are aware of themselves, of others and the goodness of God’s creation. If children ask questions of this nature at any time these will be answered honestly and in a factual manner appropriate to their age. The school has an RSE Policy.


In Years 5 and 6 the children receive specific teaching in sex education following "A Journey in Love" curriculum. Parents can withdraw their children from all or part of sex education, except that which is part of the National Curriculum Science requirement.


Health and Safety

The safety of the children in school is of paramount importance to all staff. The need for care both inside and outside the school is emphasised frequently. Teaching about health and safety is incorporated in the curriculum. The road safety team visit the school regularly. The school accesses other resources eg. fire safety, police when they link with topics. Pupils in Years 6 have specific bike safety training through the Bikeability programme. The school has a Policy and Scheme of Work for Drugs Education (EPR).


The school has extensive risk assessments for areas used for play and physical activity.  full Health and Safety Risk Assessment is carried out on an annual basis. The Fire Risk Assessment and Health and Safety Policy are reviewed annually.


The Importance of Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship


Personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship help to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding that they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active, responsible citizens. Pupils are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, contributing fully to the life of their school and communities. In doing so they learn to recognise their own worth, work well with others and become increasingly responsible for their own learning.


They reflect on their own experiences and understand how they are developing personally and socially, tackling many of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up. They also find out about the main political and social institutions that affect their lives and about their responsibilities, rights and duties as individuals and members of communities. They learn to understand and respect our common humanity, diversity and differences so that they can go on to form the effective, fulfilling relationships that are an essential part of life and learning.


Our Mission Statement
The mission of St. John's Catholic Primary School is that of Jesus Christ - to build a teaching and learning community where we show due regard for the development and understanding of the uniqueness and dignity of each person, based on the Gospel values of love, justice, mutual respect, acceptance and forgiveness.
Displayed around the school are symbols of this mission to which the whole community have contributed. They identify the values we promote together with the statement: "We learn and grow in the footsteps of Jesus."

The environment provided for the children should be reassuring and supportive as possible in order that the children are happy, willing to learn and sufficiently confident to demonstrate their relative autonomy. The children will need the support which can only come from consistency of approach. The following notes will help fulfil our mission in our daily routines.


  • Building and open and welcoming community where each person feels valued
  • Recognising and valuing children’s achievements
  • Making sure the physical environment of the school, classrooms, and entrance hall give appropriate witness that St. John's is a Catholic school
  • Working together in a supportive way, basing our relationships on mutual respect
  • Relating to the children in a friendly and professional manner


  • Making sure St. John’s is a clean, safe, secure and attractive learning environment
  • Helping to create a school climate that is supportive of all members of its community
  • Recognising that the staff are the most valuable resource within the school.
  • Having a system of communication in place covering all staff, children, parents, Governors, the parish of St. John's and feeder parishes and the wider school community
  • Deploying resources in a fair and effective way within the constraints of the school budget
  • Involving all staff as much as possible in decision making and school development
  • Providing job descriptions, which clearly define duties and responsibilities


  • Ensuring that our attitudes and values are transmitted through the curriculum are consistent with the Catholic faith
  • Delivering a curriculum that is relevant, varied, interesting, stimulating, balanced and appropriate to their needs
  • Recognising that R.E is not only a core subject but an integral part of the curriculum
  • Developing sound teaching and effective classroom management strategies
  • Fostering positive attitudes to learning, having realistic high expectations of all children and expecting high standards of work
  • Using a variety of teaching approaches that show respect and acceptance of each child's needs
  • Participating, as a school, in projects which focus on the needs of others e.g. Cafod, Action for homelessness and Diocesan charities

Liturgy and Worship

  • Having planned opportunities for pupils and staff to:
    • Participate in the Mass within the school and St John's Church
    • Participate in other liturgical services
    • Receive the sacrament of reconciliation
  • Including prayer in assemblies, at the beginning and end of each school day and at any other appropriate time
  • Promoting knowledge, experience and understanding of various prayer forms and liturgical worship
  • Using the school chapel for regular class reflections


  • Ensure that St John’s has a positive Christian image in the town
  • Encouraging the involvement of the children in the monthly children’s Masses in St John's Church and in the wider life of the parish
  • Encouraging the children to exercise care and concern for the school environment and for their town
  • Having links with other schools in Trowbridge and with local Catholic schools

Pastoral Care

  • Taking a personal interest in all the children at the school by listening to them and showing concern for their well being and progress
  • Having an effective behaviour policy
  • By creating an environment where acceptance and forgiveness are an integral part of daily life
  • Promoting equal opportunities for both children and staff
  • Giving help and advice to children and their parents/guardians or carers
  • Giving support to each other in times of difficulty

Apprentices celebrate success on community project

As part of the Brathay Apprenticeship Challenge 2017 our apprentices took on the community challenge and built an outdoor classroom for St. John's Catholic School in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. The project was a great success with the classroom now being used as an environmentally friendly learning centre for children and our chief executive Colin Skellett joined the school for the grand opening.

Wildlife Area at St John’s