The Middleton Curriculum

Through our Christian Faith, we acknowledge our responsibility to all, to enrich lives and show love and respect within our school family. We believe in lifelong learning aiming to equip our children to live life today and for tomorrow rooted in Christian love.


Ready, Respectful, Safe.

Together being the best that we can be in mind, body and spirit!


 “In everything, treat others the same way you want them to treat you”

Matthew 7:12


At Gayton Church of England Primary Academy we work together in a Christian community to be ready to learn, respectful of everyone and safe to flourish. We challenge and support each other to be the best that we can be in mind, body and spirit to achieve more than we ever thought possible.



Our Curriculum has been designed to ensure each and every child can ' live life in all its fullness' by offering stimulating and awe-inspiring learning experiences with Christian values at its heart.


It is bespoke to the needs of the pupils at Gayton Church of England Primary Academy, not only by focussing on appropriate subject specific knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the National Curriculum, but by developing individual and collaborative learning experiences, a positive growth mind set, a sense of responsibility and challenges that take them beyond the classroom.


We are a small rural school with a constantly evolving curriculum which responds to the needs of learners and their interests by enhancing learning experiences and raising awareness from the local area to national and global arenas. Thus, we will develop outward looking pupils who are able to engage in learning about themselves and have an understanding of the wider world and its complex cultures.


Ultimately our curriculum is:

  • a curriculum that is ambitious for all pupils;
  • a curriculum that is coherently planned and sequenced;
  • a curriculum that is successfully adapted, designed and developed for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities;
  • a curriculum that is broad and balanced for all pupils



Through quality teaching of knowledge, skills and vocabulary across core and foundation subjects, all children will be challenged to be inquisitive, compassionate, courageous and creative learners. They will have opportunities to influence their own learning through age appropriate and progressive themes and topics. Effective learning characteristics including being ambitious, reflective and imaginative will drive teaching and learning.



Our children will have a confident set of skills, knowledge, norms and Christian values which can be used to get ahead in education and life more generally. In short they will learn more, remember more, enjoy more and develop more spiritually, socially and emotionally. Thus enabling them to be ready for their next stage in education.

Reading and Phonics:

We teach phonics based on the Letters and Sounds sequence while incorporating Jolly Phonics actions. We use book banded books to practise and consolidate the skills acquired in phonics. The early stages of the reading scheme have been separated to ensure that we have texts which are completely phonetically decodable. For those pupils requiring additional breadth at the same level, we have books within the same band which may are not completely phonetically decodable but remain accessible to those pupils.

For further detail see the documents below.

Phonics Teaching at Middleton

Also see our Curriculum Plans page


Speaking and Listening
Communication and language development is key to all our children’s overall development and learning. We ensure teaching gives children opportunities to a rich language environment where their confidence and skills in expressing themselves is developed, enabling them to speak and listen in a wide range of situations and contexts. They are given opportunities to contribute to situations with different demands and are taught how to respond appropriately to others. They learn to use language in imaginative ways and express their ideas and feelings when working in role and in drama activities. We actively develop attentive listening and response.
We believe speaking and listening skills are an intrinsic part of the writing process and encourage children to say sentences before they write them.
Children are given opportunities to retell familiar stories and poems and are expected to learn them.

We are committed to developing confident readers who want to read for themselves.

Reading is taught systematically through the school. In the Foundation stage and KS1 a range of phonic approach reading books are used as our core resource initially, supported by whole class sessions. Children are taught to read mainly through a combination of structured teaching of phonics, individual and guided reading. Once they are confident with a range of common exception words and can decode they move onto a greater range of non-phonic based books. The reading scheme books provide a wide range of texts, including chapter books, fiction/non-fiction, plays and poetry. They are colour coded and children are encouraged to choose from a range of books with in the band for their year group. Children take their reading books home and are expected to read at home as part of their homework. Boxes of high quality texts are also available to encourage older children to read. This approach is built on by staff within the context of reading sessions.

Guided reading
Whole class guided reading lessons are timetabled. Children are taught skills they need to read and understand text. A variety of texts are used to encourage children with their interests, class topic or of a particular genre being studied.

Individual reading
Every child is heard reading one-to-one by a member of staff at least once a week.

Phonics is taught in discrete, systematic daily sessions from the Foundation stage through Key Stage 1, using a multi-sensory approach; we continue to teach phonics in KS2 according to the needs of the children.
The focus is on the children sounding and blending unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately.

Children are taught:
•  To discriminate between separate sounds in words
•  Grapheme-phoneme correspondences
•  To apply the skill of blending phonemes in order, all through a word to read it
•  To recognise sight vocabulary identified as tricky words (words that cannot be sounded out phonetically) and high frequency words

Comprehension skills are taught throughout the school. In EYFS children are taught how to use a range of texts to find information, how to form their opinions of a text and encouraged to share their ideas in a range of situations. From year 1 to the end of KS2 children are taught specific skills which enable them to decode the meaning of text and how to form and express their personal opinions and make comparisons. It is expected that teachers ask carefully planned questions during a reading session.

Writing is embedded across the curriculum. We are committed to a systematic approach that develops children’s enthusiasm for writing and ensures they are guided and supported. The key skills of composition, planning and drafting, punctuation, spelling, grammar and handwriting are taught explicitly in literacy lessons but also indirectly through cross-curricular writing in other subjects. We believe that for children to become successful writers they need to be immersed in good models before they begin writing. Close links are made between reading and writing and during this time children are encouraged to ‘steal’ language features and use them in their writing. Children are taught, through modelling, skills needed to write a range of non-fiction texts. In writing we follow the Pie Corbett model where children are taught through:
Imitating – rewriting a well-known story or model text
Innovating – keeping the same story structure but changing characters/setting/details
Inventing – keeping the same story structure but changing most details and incorporating their own ideas.
Children are taught to use a range of planning, including ‘boxing up’; skeleton models are often used to plan non-fiction. Children are asked to produce a piece of writing at the beginning of a unit and then at the end to produce a hot write task.
Where ever possible, links are made to topics and children are given opportunities to practise writing in relevant learning. We strongly believe that a child needs to be able to say the sentence before they write it. Therefore children are taught to rehearse saying sentences before they write. There is a focus on retelling familiar stories, nursery rhymes and poems from reception. Oral rehearsal is modelled by staff and weaved into literacy lessons.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar
Teaching of grammar and punctuation is, wherever possible linked to texts and children are given opportunities to practise skills before they apply them in their writing. Children are expected to learn key high frequency words and are taught strategies and how to investigate spelling patterns to spell words correctly. Phonics are taught and expected to be used from reception to year 6, plus additional strategies, such as learning to apply spelling rules.

At Middleton handwriting skills are taught regularly and systematically. Children are taught correct letter formation and then basic joins using an online learning system called Letterjoin. Children are made aware of the importance and expectations of good presentation at Middleton.

At Middleton Primary School we follow the National Curriculum. Teachers ensure children are taught mathematics at a level which is appropriate to their individual needs. We have a high expectation for all children, ensuring that there is challenge and support at all times.
Mathematics is taught daily. Each lesson that has a high proportion of whole-class and group focussed or individual teaching. Considerable importance is attached to the children achieving and understanding mathematical processes, concepts and skills.
A positive attitude is encouraged by presenting it in an interesting and enjoyable way, allowing the children to actively participate in the learning process, thus creating a sense of achievement and confidence. We make lessons fun, interactive and relevant.
There is a strong emphasis throughout the year groups for the development of mental arithmetic. We teach a wide range of written and mental strategies for the four rules and ensure progression for this throughout the school. Where appropriate every effort is made to use mathematics within other subjects in order to provide a cross curricular approach; children are given opportunities to use and apply mathematics in real life situations.
Children are encouraged to ask as well as answer mathematical questions and engage in discussions; learning from each other, misconceptions and mistakes. Opportunities are given to investigate and discuss ways to solve problems. Teachers may leave days free from planning to recap or consolidate concepts.

At Middleton we teach science through a topic approach, our framework taken from the National Curriculum to ensure knowledge and concepts are built upon. Children are taught the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science mostly through first hand, practical experiences and appropriate secondary sources such as books, photographs and videos. They are helped to develop their own understanding of science by using choosing the most appropriate type of enquiry to answer their own questions. Children learn to work scientifically through specific subject teaching following the programmes of study. They are taught (and expected to use and spell correctly) correct terminology and specialist vocabulary; given opportunities to develop methods of systematic enquiry (predicting, planning, doing, concluding); and explore science concepts by questioning, hypothesising and testing their ideas (often using fair testing).

Computing prepares our children to play an active part in the rapidly changing world in which education, work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to varied and developing technology. Children are taught how to use, express themselves and develop their ideas through information and communication technology .ensuring they become digitally literate. ICT at Middleton focuses on the application of taught skills, knowledge and understanding that children need in a variety of situations across the curriculum.
Each class has timetabled ICT lessons. Children are taught to use ICT to research, analysis and presentation and become responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information technology.
Cross curricular links are made within other subjects to enable children to:
– use initiative and independent learning to make informed judgements about when to use ICT
– build and apply a range of knowledge of the uses of ICT within school and home
– apply knowledge of a range of programmes to gather, present, manipulate and share ideas and information for a range of purposes
– create, test and improve sequences of instructions to make things happen and to use simulations to explore, evaluate and respond to a range of patterns, relationships and situations.

Through teaching history we want children at Middleton to gain a secure knowledge of Britain’s past and that of the wider world, inspiring their curiosity to know more about the past.

Following the programmes of study, we teach the key areas (historical interpretation, enquiry and being able to organise and communicate feelings) of history through: learning about themselves and their families; comparing lives of significant people and aspects of life in historical periods; significant events in living and beyond living memory in their own locality and further afield. Children develop a chronological knowledge and understanding of periods studied, learning that actions and events in the past have shaped and influenced our world today and how actions and events in the world today will shape and affect the future. We teach children to use correct vocabulary relating to the passing of time and an understanding of abstract terms such as ‘parliament’ and ‘empire’. The children are given opportunities to develop their reference and enquiry skills through the use of primary and secondary resources such as visitors to school, artefacts and visits to historical places and museum.

Geography is concerned with the study of places, the human and physical processes which shape the people who live in them. It helps children to gain a greater understanding of the ways of life and cultures of people in their own and other environments.
Geography is also taught through local investigations, studies of places outside the local area –visiting whenever possible.
They are taught about significant places and human and physical characteristics throughout the world; an understanding of how to use geographical information such as maps, globes and Geographical Information Systems; and communicate geographical information in a variety of ways.

Design and technology
Children develop creativity and imagination through designing products that solve problems within a variety of relevant contexts , considering the needs, wants and values of themselves and others; they have opportunities to work in pairs or in teams.
They are taught technical knowledge skills and develop understanding through a variety of practical tasks using a range of tools, equipment and materials.
At Middleton we see learning to cook as a crucial life skill. Children are taught how to cook a range of food, using a range of cooking techniques, applying the principles of healthy eating.

Art and design
We encourage children to be creative and to share their ideas, experiences and imagination. Children are taught to develop art and design techniques, including drawing, printing, sculpture, with a range of materials through using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space. They learn about great artists, designers, and architects; visits to galleries, links with ‘artists in residence’ and regularly displaying their own work in exhibitions give our children first hand experience of the work of artists.

Children learn a foreign language in KS2 at Middleton to enable them to make substantial progress in one language through a balance of teaching written and spoken language. It helps develop communication skills including key skills of speaking and listening and extends their knowledge of how language works.
At Middleton children are taught to develop and extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between the foreign language and English through engaging in conversations, speaking in sentences, reading and understanding and presenting ideas in the language studied. Children learn to broaden vocabulary, creating sentences from memory and adapting them to create new ones. Accurate pronunciation and intonation is taught and patterns and sounds of language are explored through songs and rhymes.

Physical Education
At Middleton we teach PE to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding so they can perform with increasing competence and confidence, fairness and respect in a range of physical activities. We provide opportunities for children to be creative, competitive and to tackle challenges as individuals, groups and teams through providing a minimum of 2 hours each week core provision which is enhanced with a number of extra-curricular opportunities and clubs. We work in partnership with a number of external partners, including the School Sports Partnership (SSP) and our feeder high school, to assist with the quality of provision and INSET. We support competitive activities with opportunities within school as well as across local schools and county competitions via our SSP. Children also have swimming lessons in termly blocks.
We work hard to encourage all children to realise the importance of leading a healthy, active lifestyle and offer a wide range of sporting experiences for our children.

Religious Education
At Middleton we follow the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus, which develops continuity and progression in Religious Education, and this forms the basis of our teaching supported by a scheme of work. Our teaching is non-denominational with a strong enquiry based approach to learning where they are encouraged to identify puzzling questions and suggest answers; considering questions concerning the meaning and purpose of life. Children are given opportunities to consider their own and others experiences, attitudes and values through learning from and about religion. Through developing a knowledge and understanding of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism they are taught to explore issues within and between faiths to help them understand and respect different beliefs, values and traditions, understanding the importance of religion to many people and how it affects their daily lives. We follow the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus recommended time for RE of 36 hours each year for KS1 and 45 hours for KS2.

We value music at Middleton as a powerful and unique form of communication that can change the way children feel, think and act but also believe it increases self-discipline and creativity, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfilment. We want our children to leave Middleton with an appreciation and understanding of how music is composed and performed.
As part of the Norfolk music hub, working with a county peripatetic music teacher, partnerships with our feeder high school and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment we provide activities that develop musical concepts and skills sequentially. Awareness is developed of different cultures and traditions and an understanding of a wide variety of styles through listening to music. Enjoyment of music is encouraged. Children are taught a range of songs, including hymns, traditional and modern songs.
All children in years 5 and 6 are taught to play a brass instrument. All children have opportunities to listen to and perform in solo or ensemble contexts by singing and playing instruments, with other schools, adults and professionals.