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 Numeracy and Literacy in the curriculum. In lower school phonics is taught using an effective systematic synthetic phonics programme, 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 and French lessons are also provided by specialists delivering carefully planned programmes, enabling progression across the year groups and the aquisition of strong technical knowledge.
Reception - areas of learning in the Early Years
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:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
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:
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
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’, as ‘expected’ or ‘exceeding’ outcomes.
Phonics is taught using an effective systematic synthetic phonics programme.
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 Numeracy and Literacy, pupils are also taught a wide range of subjects, including Science, Humanities (as part of a topic), Art, French, Music, RE 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. In addition to the subjects specified in the National Curriculum pupils have French lessons twice a week.
Pupils in Years 3 and 4 are taught English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Art and Religious Studies by their class teachers and receive specialist teaching in French, Music, PE and Games. Thus, there is be 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.
Literacy 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, cross-curricular activities (such as a Roald Dahl inspired concert), library time and regular and varied opportunities to read within the class.
Upper school pupils have a specially designed Maths 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 and high achievers may be taught alongside children in older year groups.
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.
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.
In our school, Religious Education is a part of a broad and balanced curriculum. All pupils receive RE in accordance with the Surrey Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education (2017-2022). This can be viewed here >
Within our website, you will find details about the RE that is taught in each year group.
We expect all pupils to experience the full breadth of our curriculum, but should parents or carers wish to exercise the right of withdrawal for all or part of RE, they should consult the headteacher.
Collective worship (often known as an assembly) is part of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
Assemblies are an important part of our school community life, so we hope that all pupils participate. Any parents or carers wishing to exercise their right to withdraw their child(ren) from all or part of collective worship should consult the headteacher.
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.
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
Reception - pupils have baseline assessments on entry to Cobham Free School. Their progress is charted through evaluation of their experiences in the Foundation Stage six areas of learning. At the end of the year the statutory EYFS profile is completed for each child.
Year 1 - pupils take the statutory phonics screening test.
Year 2 - all pupils undertake internally marked statutory Key Stage 1 national curriculum assessments. Some pupils may be required to re-take the phonics screening check.
Year 4 - all pupils take the statutory multiplication tables check.
Year 6 - all pupils take externally marked, statutory national curriculum assessment papers in Numeracy and Literacy. Science is assessed internally.