Junior Curriculum

Junior Curriculum

We provide a knowledge-rich, broad and balanced curriculum in the junior years, with children experiencing a wide range of subjects as part of a carefully planned programme of study. The junior curriculum is designed to stretch and challenge, with pupils working beyond National Curriculum expectations and being prepared for their onward journey into our senior school in Year 7. The curriculum is designed to enable progression through the year groups, using the subject knowledge of specialists from across the school where appropriate.

There is a particular focus on  Maths and English in the curriculum.  In lower school phonics is taught using an effective systematic synthetic phonics programme, 'Little Wandle - Letters and Sounds Revised', a first step towards acquiring the knowledge to develop a love of reading. A variety of approaches are used to help pupils progress, including regular peer mentoring and partner-working, as well as teacher-guided instruction and individual exercises

Opportunities to enhance cultural capital are an important feature of the curriculum. Pupils develop their creativity and have scope for self-expression through a focus on the arts. An innovative instrumental scheme in collaboration with the Yehudi Menuhin School forms a central part of the music curriculum at Key Stage  2, running alongside specialist class music tuition.

PE lessons are also provided by specialists delivering carefully planned programmes, enabling progression across the year groups.

Reception - areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum for reception pupils focuses on the seven areas of learning outlined below. All areas of learning and development are important and interconnected. They are divided into three Prime Areas:

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.

The children are also supported in four specific areas through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied:

Within the areas, there are seventeen early learning goals which together form the EYFS profile. At the end of the year pupils are assessed in all seventeen areas with a judgement made about whether their skills are ‘emerging’ or ‘expected’ .

Phonics is taught using the Little Wandle phonics programme.

What to expect in the EYFS

The Department for Education has published a new guide for parents, produced by Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre – ‘What to expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (formerly ‘What to expect when’) which guides parents through what to expect in their child’s development. It aligns with the new Development Matters to help practitioners engage with parents about their child’s development. Please click on the link below to view this useful document. 

What to Expect in the EYFS

Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)

In Years 1 and 2 we adopt a broad and balanced curriculum covering Key Stage 1 material, but we also work well beyond the boundaries of The National Curriculum wherever possible and appropriate. Pupils are well prepared for national tests and undertake the phonics screening check in Year 1 and Key Stage 1 National Curriculum Assessments in Year 2. 

While there is a strong focus on Maths and English, pupils are also taught a wide range of subjects, including Science, History, Geography, Art, Spanish, Computing, Music, RE, PSHE and PE. The curriculum is enriched with outings, workshops and cross-curricular opportunities.

Upper School (Years 3 to 6)

In upper school pupils have a subject-based approach in line with the National Curriculum. As in Key Stage 1, it is hoped that knowledge extends beyond the boundaries of the current guidelines wherever possible and include opportunities for development of individual interests.

Pupils in Years 3 and 4 are taught English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Art , PSHE, Computing, Spanish and RE by their class teachers and receive specialist teaching in  Music, PE and Games. Thus, there is  a greater focus on the skills, knowledge and understanding required in each subject discipline. However, despite this subject-based structure teachers draw strands of learning together and make connections between the different subjects, adopting a cross-curricular approach when appropriate.

English is taught using a range of methods and there is a strong focus on extended writing. Big Write sessions, dedicated writing days and participation in short story competitions help to promote creativity and improve technical understanding. A love of reading is encouraged through Book Week, Share a Story assemblies, cross-curricular activities (such as a Roald Dahl inspired concert), library time and regular and varied opportunities to read within the class.

All pupils follow the White Rose Maths mastery programme which includes preparation for national curriculum assessments in Year 6. Pupils are stretched and challenged to go beyond the expectations of the National Curriculum .


Cobham Free School has chosen Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as our systematic, synthetic phonics (SSP) programme to teach early reading and spelling.

The children in Foundation Stage and Year 1 have daily phonics sessions where they are taught four new sounds a week that are reviewed on Friday.  Bi - weekly  reading practice  supports phonic lessons giving children the opportunities to apply their knowledge in a range of activities.

Reading books are matched closely to the children's secure phonic knowledge. We use Big Cat books for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to ensure they follow our phonics teaching. These books contain taught phonic sounds and tricky words to allow children to develop their reading fluency.

Further information about the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme  can be found on their website:


You can also contact our Little Wandle Reading Leader Mrs. Roberts  KS1 Phase Leader


Junior Instrumental Scheme

In Year 3 pupils receive free violin lessons led by our own Head of Strings, working in collaboration with the world-famous Yehudi Menuhin School (YMS) outreach department. Students from YMS support the teaching in small groups, with lessons carefully planned to ensure each child has a high quality experience, with is enjoyable while also developing correct technique from the start. Pupils are able to continue with small group violin or cello  lessons during their time in the junior school for a small parental subsidy.

Religious Education

Although not a faith school, Cobham Free School considers Religious Education very important. Pupils learn about different world faiths as part of the curriculum. Their studies are given context through visits to religious buildings, special themed lunches, assemblies and celebrations which reflect cultural festivals.

We welcome pupils from families of all backgrounds and beliefs, religious or secular, to join our school; cultural diversity serves to enhance and enrich our community.

Formal Assessment

Teachers across the school use both summative and formative assessment techniques (see All-Through Model Assessment for further details).

Examples of summative forms of assessment in the junior department