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Our Curriculum



At St. James', we strive to provide engaging and purposeful English lessons, to explicitly teach the skills necessary for reading, writing and speaking and listening making use, where necessary, of a range of Computing and Multimedia skills. We aim to deliver engaging lessons that are both dynamic and interactive. There is a heavy focus on using Talking Partners as part of a wider ethos of collaborative learning.

We pride ourselves on our passionate commitment to teaching Literacy effectively and with relevance to the child.

  • We strive to ensure that the learning environment is stimulating and fun;
  • We celebrate all children’s work;
  • All our lessons have a purpose through our through planning;
  • We are aware of the pace of learning in all areas of literacy;
  • We teach children the purpose, audience, genre and tone of all pieces of writing;
  • Through our literacy lessons, we celebrate The Arts to enhance our learning;
  • We are committed to the teaching of Phonics every day in Early Years and KS1

Phonics at St James 

At Key Stage One, we use Read Write INC. to help us learn and practise our phonics. We know the importance of the early acquisition of phonological knowledge, and we embed our sounds throughout our learning from the early years of Reception. We complete phonics every day in fun ways, linking our sound of the day with to stories we are reading. 


Reading at St James

At both sites, we have extensive libraries, with a wealth of literature for all ages. We try to keep up with current books in the top charts and enjoy sharing these with the children. We have created a book culture where children and adults talk openly about the books they have read, enjoyed and not enjoyed. This is then transferred into our Reading Lessons. We discuss the text we are exploring using our 'book talk' but also incorporate and embed the necessary taught reading skills.  We have introduced a new online library known as Epic Books. It has an extensive amount of literature, with a range of different genres. The teachers can see what is being read and can keep a tab of how many books have been read - some classes have read over 500 books in just 3 months. 


Here are some of our wonderful class reading areas - designed by the children to be welcoming, engaging and peaceful areas where they can enjoy reading and discussing books:

We are lucky to have a fantastic relationship with Blue Anchor Library and each class visits every half-term to borrow books and listen to stories. The children love these visits and are always so excited to change their books and discuss what they have read.

Writing at St James

Writing is such a big part of the curriculum at St James', and we are very fortunate to use our writing skills across a number of different subjects. All our writing is centred around a high-quality children's text, which we read as a class. Within our writing lessons, we embed grammar and use it effortlessly within our writing to add detail for the reader. We pride ourselves on focusing on the Audience, Purpose and Tone of our writing. This ensures that we add the key and appropriate details to our piece of work. At St James', we love to celebrate writing. Children who work hard on the content of the writing, their use of grammar features, spelling, handwriting etc. are presented with a literacy certificate on a Friday and a wonderful headteacher's sticker. You might even see their picture and work on our Instagram. 


Word Aware

We are committed to improving the vocabulary of all our children and incorporate explicit vocabulary teaching across the whole curriculum. We use Word Aware as a practical, structured whole-school approach to the teaching of vocabulary. The principles of Word Aware are that children will benefit if they:

  • are exposed to enriched vocabulary in an environment where the spoken and written word are appreciated;
  • have opportunities to enjoy words;
  • experience explicit teaching of useful words;
  • learn strategies for independent word learning.

At the bottom of this page there are some excellent Word Aware resources for helping enrich children's vocabulary at home.

Spelling Shed 

At St James, we use Spelling Shed to help practise our spellings -  a fun and jazzy way to make spellings enjoyable. Each week, we have a rule or group of words to practise, and we can compete against the clock to earn honeypot points. The more points we collect the higher rank our bee becomes; always aiming for that royal bee status. We compete in Spelling Shed Competitions each half-term, and the winner is awarded with a very special Spelling Shed band. This shows the other children who are the top spellers, if they need help or support with their spellings. 

   Spelling for Android  

National Poetry Day 

In conjunction with National Poetry Day, every October, St James takes the opportunity to learn, create, experience, share and recite poetry through our topics. Each year, there is a national theme that is set out, and we incorporate this theme into our learning.


World Book Day

Every year at St James, we come to school dressed as our favourite character to celebrate World Book Day. We take the time from our learning to celebrate books and share with our friends some of our favourite literature. Teachers think of fun and creative ways to observe World Book Day. We then come together at the end of the day to share how we have celebrated World Book Day and hear some of the adults' favourite book. 



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