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We believe children learn better when they are encouraged to use their imagination and apply their learning to engaging contexts. Our curriculum provides lots of learning challenges throughout the academic year that require children to solve problems, apply themselves creatively and express their knowledge and understanding effectively across the curriculum.

Since September 2019, our wider curriculum is delivered through the Cornerstones Curriculum. ‘Cornerstones’ is a vibrant and creative curriculum that puts children at its heart.

The Cornerstones Curriculum is a thematic approach to learning that is mapped to the new 2014 Primary National Curriculum to ensure comprehensive coverage of national expectations. Our curriculum is delivered through Imaginative Learning Projects (ILPs) and Knowledge Rich Projects (KRP) which provide a rich menu of exciting and motivating learning activities that make creative links between all aspects of our children’s learning. Cornerstones excites children’s imaginations, inspires them to learn, extends their horizons, deepens their understanding and meets their intellectual and personal needs.  Every ILP and KRP has a focus subject, as well as covering a wide range of curriculum areas.  These include Science, History, Geography, Art and Design, Design Technology, Music, PE, PSHE and Computing.

The Four Cornerstones

The most important underlying principle of a curriculum is to help children learn. We believe that a successful curriculum is brought to life by high quality teaching, inspirational learning activities and opportunities to listen and plan for the developing interests and motivations of children.  That is why the Cornerstones Primary Curriculum is built upon a four stage teaching and learning philosophy…


At the ‘Engage’ stage, children:

  • gain memorable first-hand experiences, such as going on a visit or inviting a special visitor into school
  • enjoy ‘WOW’ experiences
  • get an exciting introduction to a topic or theme
  • begin researching and setting enquiry questions
  • get lots of opportunities to make observations
  • develop spoken language skills
  • take part in sensory activities
  • have lots of fun to fully ‘engage’ with their new topic.

At the ‘Develop’ stage, children:

  • improve their knowledge and understanding of the topic
  • develop and practice their new skills
  • compose, make, do, build, investigate, explore, write for different purposes and read across the curriculum
  • research their own questions and those set by others
  • follow new pathways of enquiry based on their interests
  • complete homework projects that support their learning.

At the ‘Innovate’ stage, children:

  • apply skills, knowledge and understanding in real-life contexts
  • solve real or imagined problems using everything they’ve learnt
  • get inspired by imaginative and creative opportunities
  • re-visit anything not fully grasped at the ‘Develop’ stage.

At the ‘Express’ stage, children:

  • become the performers, experts and informers
  • share their achievements with parents, classmates and the community
  • evaluate finished products and processes
  • link what they have learnt to where they started
  • celebrate their achievements through class assemblies, parent workshops and sharing completed projects through school displays.

If you need anymore information on how the school splits it curriculum please speak to Mr Woodward or Mr Ford.

2021/2022 – Curriculum Overview

Y6 Peonies curriculum map 2021-2022

Y5 and 6 Orchids curriculum map 2021-2022

Y5 Azeleas curriculum map 2021-2022

Y4 and 5 Honeysuckle curriculum map 2021-2022

Y3 and 4 Tulip curriculum map 2021-2022

Y2 and 3 Aloe Vera curriculum map 2021-2022

Y1 and 2 Daisies curriculum map 2021-2022

Y1 Snapdragons curriculum map 2021-2022

YR and 1 Buttercup curriculum map 2021-2022

YR Bluebells curriculum map 2021-2022

Phonics/Early Reading

At Whitfield St James’ we use letters and sounds to teach phonics as we know that using one scheme consistently produces good or better readers.

We teach the children as a whole class so that every child is exposed to the phonemes and graphemes which are at the expected level for their age.  Children in Nursery receive phase 1 teaching.  Children in Reception are taught phase 2 up until Christmas.  From January they begin working on phase 3 and then they spend the second half of the summer term working on phase 4.  Children in Year 1 begin working on phase 5 and children in year 2 begin working on phase 6.

We regularly assess children using phonics tracker.  This data is used to help us identify children who need a little bit of extra help to catch up.  Interventions are carefully planned to meet the needs of individual children.

Children are taught how to break down words into their individual sounds in order to read and how to segment words into their individual sounds in order to spell them in their writing.

KS2 children who still require phonics input will be taught in very small groups with their peers.

Year 1 children will take a phonics screening check in June.  Parents will be informed of the results with the annual school report.

Please see below a letter to parents with a phonics and reading books update.

Letter to parents – phonics and reading books March 2021

RE Curriculum

2 year planning programme RE (incorporating Understanding Christianity and the Derbyshire Agreed Syllabus for RE)

RE Long term plan

PSHE Curriculum 

We follow the Derbyshire’s recommended PSHE Matters Scheme.

2020/2021 – Curriculum Overview

Snowdrops Nursery Curriculum Plan

Bluebells YR Curriculum Plan

Sunflowers YR and 1 Curriculum Plan

Poppy Y1 and 2 Curriculum Plan

Water Lillies Y2 and 3 Curriculum Plan

Aloe Vera Y3 and 4 Curriculum Plan

Forget me nots Y4 Curriculum Plan

Honeysuckle Y4 and 5 Curriculum Plan

Daisies Y5 and 6 Curriculum Plan

Wildflowers Y6 Curriculum Plan