School Curriculum

The curriculum taught at St Matthew’s is broad and balanced, relevant and accessible to all pupils. 

A new National Curriculum for pupils aged 5 -16 in local authority schools was introduced in September 2014.  As an academy, independent of the local authority, St Matthew’s does not have to follow the National Curriculum.  However, the academy’s governing Trust, Chester Diocesan Academies Trust, has decided to adopt the National Curriculum as the basis for what is taught in the school.  The Trust believes this is best for the pupils in St Matthew’s so they will enter the next stage of their education having followed the same curriculum as those from other schools.  

The National Curriculum lays down the basic knowledge, understanding and skills the government expects all pupils to learn.  It is not the whole curriculum.  The school also teaches religious education, citizenship and personal, social and health education, so that pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is provided for and that they are prepared for life in modern Britain.  Also, the school seeks to enrich what is taught by after-school activities and in undertaking educational visits and residential experiences out of school.  

The National Curriculum has three core subjects of English, mathematics and science plus RE and nine foundation subjects: history, geography, music, art and design, computing, design technology, a foreign language and physical education.  All these subjects are taught at St Matthew’s.  They may be taught separately or along with other subjects as part of a theme or topic, designed to make learning relevant to pupils.  There is an emphasis on English and mathematics to ensure pupils move onto secondary school literate and numerate. 

Details of individual National Curriculum subjects for each academic year can be found here

Reading is especially important in the primary stage.  At St Matthew’s we use a reading approach called ‘Read Write Inc phonics’ from Reception onwards.  Nursery children learn early literacy skills through Letters and Sounds.

In the new National Curriculum, the emphasis has changed from moving pupils on from one ‘level’ to the next to making sure that pupils understand the key knowledge they must know before moving onto more difficult ideas. Teachers must judge how well each pupil’s understanding is developing in relation to that of pupils of their age.  More able pupils will be encouraged to tackle work from that intended for older pupils.  Pupils who find learning difficult, including those with special educational needs, will not be taught work that is too hard for them.  The teacher is responsible for matching work accurately to the stage of learning each pupil is ready for.  

Each school is responsible for assessing and reporting on pupils’ progress.  The National Curriculum is as new for St Matthew’s as it is for all schools and, along with other schools, during the first year, we will be developing new ways of assessing pupils’ progress and reporting it to parents. 

The curriculum for the children to the end of their Reception year is now called the Early Years curriculum.  There is an increased emphasis on children being ready for the National Curriculum in Year 1.  However, children’s development is assessed and reported as before in the Early Years Profile, which is shared with parents at the end of Reception.    


[1]More information about ReadWriteInc can be found at


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