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The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is based on four overarching principles –

A Unique Child – Every child is constantly learning from birth and can be resilient,capable, confident and self assured.
Positive Relationships – Enabling children to be strong and independent from a base of secure relationships.
Enabling Environments – The environment plays an essential role in children’s learning and development, particularly when there is a strong relationship between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
Learning and Developing – Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

In the EYFS there are seven areas of learning and development including three ‘prime’areas and four 'specific' areas.

Prime areas are:

Understanding of the world

Communication and Language

Physical development

Personal, social and emotional development

Specific areas are:



Expressive arts and design

Also central to the EYFS is the different ways in which children learn effectively. Therefore the following characteristics are essential to the curriculum we provide.

Playing and Exploring – children are enabled to investigate, experience and ‘have a go'  in a safe, supportive environment.
Active Learning – children are able to concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties and enjoy achievements.
Creating and Thinking Critically – children develop their own ideas, make links between ideas and develop strategies for doing things.

We aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum within a safe and stimulating environment.  This provides the foundation upon which future learning will rest. We recognise and value the need for a close home-school partnership and together work towards developing the full potential of each child.



Speaking & Listening

A tremendous amount of learning goes on through talk.  Children are encouraged to speak and listen in pairs, as part of a group, to the class and whole school.  They are given opportunities to express their viewpoint and their opinions are valued.  They are also taught the skills to listen carefully with much importance being placed on their ability to be a proactive group member, expressing their ideas in addition to listening to those of others.  We also aim to incorporate drama into the curriculum, through explicit teaching of skills and by giving children lots of opportunities to speak to an audience in assemblies and productions. 


Reading should be a pleasurable experience for all children.  The early stages of learning to read are crucially important and children need to be supported at school and home alike.  Your child will be encouraged to bring books home and we expect that they will be heard by an adult for at least a few minutes a day.  It is also important that children are read to and talk about what they are reading.  We believe it is vital that children enjoy reading a wide range of material, for instance story books from the local library, magazines and comics, labels and packaging, websites and so on.

The teaching of reading skills is an integral part of every lesson in school and children develop their reading ability in a wide range of contexts through all curriculum areas.  Adults in school will develop children’s reading skills through ‘Guided Group Reading’ sessions and there may be times when they are heard on an individual basis, as appropriate for their age and stage of development.

Which reading schemes do we use at St Ippolyts?

We use a range of publishers at St Ippolyts School, to ensure children experience a variety of texts. The main scheme which we use is by Oxford Reading Tree, which features the characters of Biff, Chip and Kipper.  The stories are carefully created, to link closely with your child’s phonics teaching and are well loved by the children.  As well as these, we also have a large range of alternate reading schemes such as Rigby rocket books, PM benchmark, Bug Club stories and Rigby Star books for your child to choose from.

The school ensures that we cater for a range of genres of books and we have a large selection of both fiction and non-fiction stories, to motivate every child. All books are carefully grouped into coloured bands, which link to your child’s progress in reading.  Teachers regularly assess within class, to ensure that each child receives a book which meets their individual learning needs. 

Children are encouraged to show independence when selecting their book from their respective book band and on completion of the coloured reading scheme, children are then able to choose from a large range of ‘free reading’ books.

Our School Library

reading4To extend children’s reading opportunities we have a well stocked school library with a hundreds of books available for loan in a wide range of genre, both fiction and non-fiction.  Children use the library for researching topics and can choose books to share at home with parents. 

Our school library also houses our Guided Group Reading stock; sets of books used in class for the teaching of specific, targeted reading skills.


Children are encouraged to write for themselves from the start of school; it becomes a vital part of their communication skills.  Children write for many purposes and in virtually all areas of the curriculum.  There are many opportunities for creative writing in the forms of poetry and narrative in addition to learning about and writing in a wide range of non-fiction texts, including recounts, reports, explanation and instructional writing.

The expectation is not that children must write during every literacy lesson, but that there are a series of lessons involving reading, speaking and listening which build up to a final piece of good quality writing.

We believe that through this approach the children are provided with the opportunity to practice their skills and be confident about how to approach the genre in question, allowing them to eventually produce a piece of work of which they are proud.

We use a wide range of cross curricular opportunities to enhance children’s writing experiences to ensure they learn to write for an extensive variety of purposes and audiences.

As children progress, they learn to spell more difficult words through a range of approaches, starting with phonological awareness (phonics).  They learn how sounds are blended to create words and how sentences and paragraphs are put together.  As their writing develops they will be expected to draft and edit their writing and are taught to use a dictionary and thesaurus to widen their vocabulary.

reading3Your child’s teacher will talk with you about your child’s progress in all elements of English.  Each child will have individual targets which will be shared with you at Parent Consultation Evenings.

We believe it is important that children are involved in setting their own targets for development so that they know how to improve their work in order to progress.

How do we teach phonics at St Ippolyts?

The school has adopted the Letters and Sounds document to teach phonics, with some resources in the Foundation Stage supplemented from the Jolly Phonics program. 

Letters and Sounds is a structured approach to the teaching of phonics, reading and writing, which is used by teachers across England in primary schools.  The content of Letters and Sounds scheme is organised into 6 phases.

Children will be ready to progress to each stage at different ages and teaching is organised to best meet individual children’s needs. The teaching of phonics within the EYFS and KS1, is taught daily at a discrete, dedicated time.

Here is a brief outline of the various phases your child will cover, throughout their time with us…

Phase 2-4

This is when systematic, high quality phonic work begins. Children learn how to represent each of the 42 sounds by a letter or sequence of letters, how to blend sounds for reading and how to segment words for spelling.

Set 1: s a t p

Set 2: l m n d

Set 3: g o c k

Set 4: ck e u r

Set 5: h b f ff l ll s

Phase 3

The final letters are introduced, 15 digraphs and 2 trigraphs

j v w x, ch, ar, ee, sh, ear, or, igh, th, ur, oa, ng, ow, er, ai, oi, air, oo (both the long sound as in hoop and short as in took)

Phase 4

Children consolidate their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes and

begin to blend more complex words.

Phase 5

Children learn new phonemes and investigate how the same phoneme

can be represented by different graphemes. ay, oy, wh, a-e, ou, ir, ph, e-e, ie, ue, ew, i-e,  ea, aw, oe, o-e, au, u-e.

Phase 6

Children focus on spelling strategies and begin to learn the rules for when to apply various suffixes and prefixes to words such as un____, dis___, ___ed, ____est.

Tricky Words

The English language is complex and early on children find that not all written words can be segmented. We call these words the ‘Tricky Words’ and they are introduced though each phase. Tricky words have to be learnt. Tricky word bingo games and flashcards are useful ways you can help your child to remember them.

Resources to support the learning of phonics:


http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/games/alphablocks-games    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/literacy/phonics/play/    http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/wordsandpictures/index.shtml

Family Learning:    http://www.familylearning.org.uk/phonics_games.html

Phonics Play    http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/

Jolly Phonics    http://jollylearning.co.uk/

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

The statutory Year 1 Phonics Screening Check takes place in the summer term of each academic year.

The check is a list of 40 words which children will read one -to-one with their class teacher.  It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1.

It will check that your child can:

  • Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words e.g. n-igh-t
  • Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
  • Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as ‘pseudo words’.

The result of this check will be published at the end of Year One, in your child’s report.  


Mathematics requires an understanding of the number system, different methods of calculating answers using the four operations used in problem solving, measures, 2D and 3D shape and handling data in a variety of different ways and contexts.

We endeavour to make sure children are developing this proficiency by guiding and teaching them at an appropriate level for their ability and that children are given support where necessary.maths1

Maths is taught daily at St. Ippolyts and will cover oral and mental work, where a key emphasis is put on using correct mathematical vocabulary and the ability to explain processes, as well as rapid recall skills, written work and the use of ICT where appropriate.

Our children use a wide variety of strategies to solve calculations, aiming to be able to use a variety of the most efficient methods by the time they leave St. Ippolyts at the end of Key Stage 2. 

All children are encouraged to take an active part in lessons by contributing to discussions and demonstrating methods to their peers or an adult.

As a core subject science is an important part of the school timetable.  We aim to promote excellent scientific understanding and thinking through a variety of engaging activities.

Scientific enquiry is a key element of science and the children are encouraged to develop these skills such as:

• Designing and completing investigations
• Choosing relevant equipment and using it correctly
• Planning and predicting
• Making observations
• Interpreting result and findings
• Concluding their findings
• Use of scientific vocabulary to explain key ideas


Computing includes learning to use a variety of technical equipment such as tape recorders, CDs, televisions, computers and a range of digital tools such as cameras, microscopes, BeeBot and camcorders.

We use a multi-point laptop trolley for whole class computing lessons enabling all pupils to participate together.  All pupils have their own individual user accounts, allowing them to access their work from any location in the school.  

In addition, every classroom has a number of class laptops or desktop computers which are used to support all areas of the curriculum.  Interactive whiteboards are in place across the school.

Design Technology (D.T.)

Children work to develop skills in designing and making a variety of objects and artefacts.  They are taught to understand health and safety procedures needed during this work and will be introduced to a range of materials, structures, products, mechanisms and ways of controlling these.

The work covered in class seeks to introduce and develop some of the progressive skills also necessary

for problem solving.

These are: 

Investigative skills
Focused practical tasks
Design and make assignments.

Consideration of quality at all stages will be featured; planning and evaluating the final design is very much part of this investigative work.

Food Technology

Thanks to a generous charity donation we also recently built a children’s kitchen to greatly enhance the technology curriculum that St Ippolyts has to offer.

Children of all ages use the kitchen for food preparation and cookery sessions throughout the year, providing valuable opportunities to learn about food hygiene, healthy eating and balanced diets.

The kitchen is also used to provide a very popular after school cookery club.
All our staff have been trained in food safety and hygiene.

Art is a high profile part of the curriculum at St Ippolyts, both as a discreet skills-based subject and a creative medium for cross curricular learning.

We aim to foster children’s potential in art through a progression of investigation and study in line and pattern.  They also look at the work of a wide range of traditional and contemporary artists and crafts people and learn to work expressively through a wide range of media.

Art is also used to enliven and enrich other curricular areas such as History, Geography, RE and English.  We hold annual ‘Arts Days’ on a given theme and draw upon the arts of a wide range of in international cultures and artistic techniques.

Modern Foreign Language (M.F.L)

All children in Classes 3 - 5 learn French; this is delivered weekly by a specialist language teacher and reinforced by class teachers.


At St Ippolyts we are committed to providing children with skills for life, including those for sustainable living.  We have recently completed work on our school vegetable garden.   It consists of a potting shed, greenhouses, a rain collection system and five raised beds, one for each class, which the children will be able to grow a range of vegetables in throughout the year.

Our aim is for children to experience the full cycle of 'seed to table' by growing and harvesting their own produce and then, using our lovely children's kitchen, cooking and eating it too.

Physical Education (P.E.)

At St Ippolyts we are committed to actively encourage healthy lifestyles.  PE lessons will include:
• games skills;
• gymnastics using both floor and apparatus;
• movement;
• dance - variety of types;
• swimming;
• inter school rallies;
• sports day

As the children move through the school the children will have the opportunity to learn the skills to aid them in a variety of sports, including netball, football, hockey, rounders and cricket.  Our older children currently also learn lacrosse skills.  Children who attend our popular football and netball clubs will also have the chance to play for the school teams. Matches are organised against other schools in the area and our teams participate in the Rural Schools' rallies as well as the Hitchin Schools competition.

St Ippolyts is part of the School Sports Partnership and as such we benefit from a wide range of additional sporting opportunities and coaching expertise.  For example, specialist dance teachers and sports coaches have all delivered regular sessions.  We also have the opportunity for children to take part in large inter-school events such as Mini-Olympics days.

All children are required to have appropriate P.E. kit and footwear in school at all times.  For safety reasons children must not wear any jewellery during PE lessons. Earrings which cannot be removed must be covered by micro-pore tape provided by parents. (See School Uniform list).

All children in classes 3, 4 and 5 attend swimming lessons at the Hitchin indoor pool once per week for one term per year.
Parents are asked for a donation towards the cost of this to cover entry to the pool, lessons and coach fare.
Children take a number of proficiency awards; these are organised by the County and there is no charge.
Children also participate in swimming activities and water sports on the annual residential School Journey.

Humanities: History and Geography

Our History and Geography teaching takes the form of termly ‘topics’. We endeavour to weave these into our whole school curriculum planning so that there is progression through the school and pupils can build on existing knowledge to extend and widen their skills, concepts, attitudes and understanding.

We enliven the curriculum through a wide range of hands-on and ‘real-life’ activities, such as handling historical artefacts or carrying out practical environmental activities in Geography.

In addition children have the opportunity to participate in regular trips and themed days to bring topics alive, for example, ‘Vikings Day’, being WWII Evacuees at Duxford and taking part in a Tudor re-enactment at Kentwell Manor.

Personal, Social and Health Education and Citizenship (PSHE&C)

PSHE&C is both taught explicitly and delivered through links with a wide variety of curriculum areas such as Geography, Religious Education, PE, Science, DT and ICT.  Equally, high quality PSH&C is embedded in the daily life of the school, where we put excellent relationships and a happy environment at the forefront of our school ethos.

At St Ippolyts we provide a caring community in which children can learn to respect themselves and others and take responsibility for their own actions.  Every child is valued and is in turn expected to value and show respect for the school environment and the wider community. (see School Code of Conduct).  We place pupil’s spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development at the centre of all we do.  

Ensuring that our pupils stay happy, safe and healthy are a core priority of PSHE&C. Internet, Road, Firework, Sun, Water, Personal and Kitchen Safety are all topics covered when appropriate in the school year.  Children in Years 2, 5 and 6 take part in age appropriate Sex And Relationship Education.

Religious Education

St. Ippolyts is a Church of England Voluntary Aided School.  As a Church School we have a duty and responsibility to educate children in an understanding of the Christian faith and its values.  The teaching of Religious Education is based on the Governors' policy for RE which is available in school for parents to read. 

Part of our Christian commitment is that we also promote a respect for and an understanding of the major religions in the world. The curriculum includes teaching children about a variety of different faiths, alongside a strong emphasis on Christianity.  Children are encouraged to think about their own beliefs and use this knowledge to help interpret the similarities and differences between different faiths.  

Our aim is for all children are able to understand why people have different faiths, or indeed no faith, and to show respect and empathy for them.

Collective Worship

Various kinds of Christian collective worship take place each day, as a whole school, sometimes in different age groups, and occasionally as an individual class.  Visitors are also invited to some of our assemblies including members of the clergy. Class Assemblies are held throughout the year and parents are invited to attend.

The Church is used for special services at Harvest, Christmas, Easter and the end of the school year for our Year 6 ‘Leavers’, to which parents and families are invited to join us. In addition a whole school Collective Worship is held in the school each month.
Children will experience key elements of the Anglican faith through our acts of worship.

Parents have a legal right to withdraw their children from collective worship or RE.  Please consult the Headteacher about this.


Music is an important feature of school life at St Ippolyts.  All teachers provide weekly whole class music lessons which cover listening to, composing and performing a huge variety of musical styles and elements.  Children throughout the school are encouraged to take part in various extra – curricular musical activities.

Since September 2007 we have been participating in the Wider Opportunities scheme for music; children in Years 5 and 6 take part in weekly keyboard lessons.
The school also benefits from visiting instrumental teachers. Tuition is offered in recorder, violin and brass from the Hertfordshire Music Service (fee payable). Tuition can be offered on an individual basis or group approach.

Children from Year 4 and up have the opportunity to join our high profile school choir. As well as performing at school events and services, children also take part in musical activities in the wider community such as Hitchin Festival and at bigger venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and the O2 Arena. 

Valuable drama and role play opportunities for all children are built into our curriculum in a range of areas such as English, RE, PSHE, and History.

We pride ourselves on our ability to instil confidence in our pupils for speaking aloud in front of an audience through drama opportunities, speaking in assemblies and preparing presentations for the class.

One of the highlights of the school year is the Summer Production in which all children from Classes 3 -5 participate.

Recent productions include ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘The Evacuees’, Wind in the Willows’, ‘Cinderella Rockerfella’, 'Olivia' and 'Go for Gold'.

Home Learning (Homework)

In Key Stage One children are expected to share reading books at home with an adult daily.   Additionally they will bring home phonics and spellings to learn and other activities e.g. maths at various times. We encourage parents to fully encourage their child’s learning at home and support with this is provided through Curriculum Leaflets (termly) and Information Evenings for parents.

In Key Stage Two, three pieces of homework are set each week.  These will be in English, Maths and another subject based on the topics currently being covered by the class. See Home Learning Policy for full details.

Extra Curricular Activities and After School Clubs

These activities will vary from season to season and with the interests and expertise of the staff involved.  The constant clubs are typically Netball and Football which take place after school and are open to all children, regardless of gender, in Classes 4 and 5.  Matches will be arranged regularly with other schools.  Athletics/Quick Cricket/Rounders Clubs are run in the summer term. 

We aim to provide a mixture of activities for children in Years 1-6; typical clubs include Art, Cookery, ICT, Multi-sports, Science and Music Fun. After school clubs are provided voluntarily by our teaching staff and are not a child care facility; parents must be available to collect their children in the event of unforeseen cancellations.

School Visits

At St Ippolyts we place high importance on enabling children to participate in a wide range of learning opportunities out of the classroom.  Many educational trips and visits are organised during the school year to enliven the curriculum and enrich children’s learning. 

Examples of recent day trips and visits to enhance the curriculum include:

• Roman Verulamium, St Albans
• Wood Green Animal Shelter
• Welwyn Roman Baths
• Kentwell Manor: Tudor re-enactment
• Hitchin British Schools – Victorian school day
• St Albans Abbey
• Sikh Gurdwara
• Natural History Museum
• The National Gallery
• London Theatre visits
• Wimpole Hall
• Hatfield House
• Duxford: WWII Evacuees
• The Living Rainforest

Residential School Journey

Children in Years 5 & 6 participate in our annual school journey spending several nights away at a PGL outdoor adventure centre.  These trips are an excellent way for children to develop independence and confidence, as well as experiencing a wide range of outdoor pursuits and team building exercises.

Currently we go to Osmington Bay in Weymouth or Barton Hall in Devon.

Typical activities include:
• climbing
• abseiling
• raft-building
• fencing
• quad-biking
• zip wire
• canoeing
• survival skills
• dry slope skiing

Parents are asked to contribute towards the cost of educational visits in line with our Charging Policy.  There may be assistance available to families experiencing significant financial difficulties; parents are asked to contact the school at the earliest possibility to discuss this.  If, however, insufficient contributions are received, a trip may not go ahead as planned. 

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