The Charles Dickens Primary School curriculum consists of: the National Curriculum core and foundation subjects, which are taught through a relevant, contextual and inspiring creative curriculum, RE, PSHCE, Unicef Rights Respecting School aims, an enrichment programme for each year group including art classes with our resident artists, dance lessons with practitioners from Rambert, opportunities to create and perform music at the highest level with a range of resident musicians, teachers and collaborative local projects, regular visits to ensure learning is always first hand where possible and a programme of extracurricular activities that includes creative and physical opportunities

Each term we also provide a detailed outline of the topics and focus to be covered in each subject by each year group.

English and Maths

These are given the highest status in our curriculum to help learners to improve their learning and performance in education, work, and life. These are embedded in the school’s curriculum. You can read about our maths curriculum here.

Reading at Charles Dickens Primary

English literacy is at the heart of our learning and teaching and essential to every area of the curriculum. It is through literacy that concepts are formed and we are able to make sense of the world and our place in it. Children are taught to read in a variety of ways. Each week children read individually and in groups during guided reading lessons; they are also given regular opportunities to share a book with others. Guided reading focuses on the skills of comprehension and critical appreciation. Teachers read a huge variety of written material regularly with the children, fiction and non-fiction, stories, reports, diaries, poems etc. We believe in the importance of exposing children to classic texts at all ages but most importantly upper Key Stage two.

We have a home-school reading system (up to Year 6), which requests that children read for at least ten minutes each day.


We place a strong emphasis on phonics (letter sounds) in the early years of learning to read because we believe this lays the foundations for successful reading. At Charles Dickens Primary, we use the DFE Letters and Sounds guidance to teach interactive lessons and we use Jolly Phonics resources in the Foundation Stage. Children remain with their class teacher for phonics learning who provides the appropriate level of challenge for each attainment group. Children do not learn phonics in streamed groups but all children are given the opportunity to acquire new learning at an age-expected level or above. In. addition to phonics pupils learn sight words by repetition and retrieval.

Systematic Phonics Teaching

The teaching of phonics begins in Nursery and Reception, where sounds are introduced at a rate of one a day throughout the autumn and spring term. Sounds are consolidated in the summer term. This knowledge is built upon in Year 1; more complex sounds are introduced and reinforced throughout Year 2.

Phonics Screening

During the summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps us to identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and may need support in Year 2 to develop reading and writing skills. The test is very low-key and the children are not aware that they are being tested. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation within the child’s end-of-year report.

Additional individual and group tuition in phonics will be given to those children in year 1 and Year 2 who find reading difficult. Year 2 children will be tested again in the summer term.

Maths Curriculum

We teach Maths using the Maths No Problem scheme, an approach to teaching maths developed in Singapore. Problem solving, fluency and relational understanding are at the heart of the scheme. It uses the Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach and allows pupils to spend enough time to fully explore a topic, reinforcing it with practice, before moving onto the next one. All ideas are built on previous knowledge and pupils have ample opportunity to develop relationships between topics.

Lessons typically are broken into four parts:

  1. Anchor Task – the entire class spends time on a question guided by the teacher. The children are encouraged during this time to think of as many ways as possible to solve the question as possible.
  2. New Learning – the teacher introduces and explains the new learning for the lesson.
  3. Guided Practice – children practice new learning in groups, pairs or individually guided by the teacher.
  4. Independent Practice – practice on your own. Once children have mastered the concept they use their reasoning and problem-solving skills to develop their depth of learning.

Key points:

  • A highly effective approach to teaching maths based on research and evidence
  • Builds students’ mathematical fluency without the need for rote learning
  • Introduces new concepts using Bruner’s Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach
  • Pupils learn to think mathematically as opposed to reciting formulas they don’t understand
  • Teaches mental strategies to solve problems such as drawing a bar model

Find out more at the Maths No Problem website.

We also use Times Tables Rockstars as a tool to help pupils develop fluency in multiplication tables.

Have a look at the programmes of study for each year group;