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Finance information

A link to benchmerking information for St Michael's Primnary school may be found here 

The school employs no staff earning over £100,000 a year.

Our Curriculum


We have just completed a long term review of our curriculum.  All teaching is based on the National Curriculum  Should you require any additional information on the curriculum please contact the school office at

office@st-michaels.e-sussex.sch.uk You may also phone the school on 01892 770307

Our aim is that all pupils will secure firm foundations in English and Mathematics as having the appropriate skills and knowledge in these areas underpins a growing excellence in other subjects.

St Michael’s Primary School, Withyham aims to provide a curriculum that is engaging, balanced and relevant. While emphasis is placed on children learning core skills in English and Maths, we place great value on developing the ‘whole child’ and provide an engaging programme of study in all curriculum areas with a focus on imaginative play and outside learning. We have a two year  cycle of coverage.  Classes are arranged as follows:

Acorn Class -Reception

Elm Class - Year 1 and 2

Silver Birch Class  - Year 3 and 4

Oak Class - Year 5 and 6

Children begin their learning journey in our Reception class.  As part of the ensuring a smooth transition to school and firm foundations to learning this class is arranged in a single year group of around 15 children. All other classes are arranged in mixed year groups.

The class are regularly assessed throughout the year using Development Matters, with the aim of meeting the Early Learning Goals by the end of the Reception year. These assessments are used to identify key subject areas to inform planning and focus children who need to be targeted for specific activities. Pupils begin phonics lessons in Reception, and these continue through into Key Stage 1 and sometimes in to Key Stage 2 classes. There is a focus on exploratory play in Reception based around topics and core texts. In the morning all pupils take part in a Maths and a Phonic lesson as well as guided reading from Autumn 2. 

Our year 1 and 2 class continue their learning journey, taking part in maths, reading and writing lessons every morning. In Year 1, children continue to have daily phonics lessons whilst in Yr2, children access daily Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar lessons, which are linked to their learning in writing, to allow them to apply and deepen their basic skills. In the afternoon, children access the wider curriculum through carefully planned topics: Science, Religious Education Information and Communication technology Personal, Social and Health Education and Music are delivered as timetabled discrete lessons. 

In Years 3-6, our children and young people continue learning through rigorous teaching, taking part in maths, reading and writing lessons every morning. In Year 5 and Year 6, the focus gradually shifts to the end of Key Stage assessments as children and young people are prepared for tests at the end of this phase of their education and the transition to the next stage of their learning; entering Key Stage 3 in Year 7.

In the afternoon, children access the wider curriculum through carefully planned topics: Science, Topic work, Religious Education, Computing, Personal Social Health Education and Music are delivered as timetabled discrete lessons. 


Reading Teaching a child to read is vital. We use a range of strategies, in addition to phonics, such as a variety of decoding methods, teaching high frequency words through sight recognition, discussion through picture books and targeted interventions for any identified gaps.  We use Speech link to support the development of speech and language for those needing additional support.  We use letters and Sounds along with some resources from Read Write Inc.

From Reception to Year 2, reading is taught through a range of activities. These activities include reading with a teacher or teaching assistant and written comprehensions. Years 3-6 are taught through whole class reading.  One to one reading occurs in Reception and vulnerable readers are identified in each class to ensure reading progression and a love of reading. We also have two Therapy dogs who come into school to hear children read in a relaxed environment in the library. During any reading sessions, there is an emphasis on vocabulary, the retrieval of facts and inference. Novels are used to teach reading as well as a range of non-fiction texts. These texts are carefully chosen to ensure that there is progression and challenge across the school. We use resources from the Power of Reading so teachers always use a high-quality texts as the basis of their planning.  We aim to develop a love of reading, so children are encouraged to read for pleasure at home and school. Teachers read a variety of high-quality texts to the children on a regular basis. 

Reading Scheme -  In September 2021 we purchased the Little Wandle phonics scheme.

The school teaches reading successfully as can be seen from our results in the Phonics Screen. 82% of children in Year 1 passed  in 2018 and in year 2 in 2021 83% passed when school wer back and there was the first screen after COVID.  Those that did not undertook targeted work to ensure the skills needed to read are in place.  Phonic knowledge is a key part of learning to read successfully.

For those that are not progressing in reading we carefully target support and if it is felt necessary use the York Reading and Comprehension Assessment to specifically identify detailed needs over and above our regular assessments.

Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the worldMalala Yousafzai 

WritingIn Early Years and Key Stage 1, we incorporate the Talk for Writing model into the teaching of writing. Children are taught writing skills through studying a range of both fiction and non-fiction texts including teacher produced models. In Key Stage 1, picture books and topic work are used as a stimulus for writing. In Key Stage 2, children are taught to write through basing work on high quality texts. Challenging texts are chosen to ensure that children have excellent models for their own writing. 

During their time at school, children are exposed to a range of classic and contemporary poetry. They have the opportunity to use these poems as a model for their own writing. 

Phonics We follow the Letters and Sounds scheme of phonics teaching. Each child in Reception and Year1 has a daily, minimum 20-minute phonics lesson, following the teaching sequence of revisit/ review – teach – practise - apply. 

In Year 2, children access a balance of both phonic and spelling punctuation and grammar lessons based on their individual needs and attainment. Reception and Key Stage 1 children are either taught as a whole class or sometimes put into small groups, based on regular assessments so that children’s learning needs are accurately matched to the correct provision. Small phonic sessions or interventions are delivered by teaching assistants and overseen by the class teacher, to provide complimentary teaching. 

Sessions are lively, fast-paced and fun. In a session, children are taught either phonemes/ digraphs/ trigraphs, high frequency and/or tricky words and these are consolidated through reading and writing. There are lots of opportunities to speak and listen, as well as to read and write the sounds. 

At the end of Year 1 children have to take the national Phonics Test which tests children’s phonic knowledge. Here, they are required to read real and nonsense words, applying the skills they have learnt. Ideally children will have completed and consolidated Phase 5 during Year 1 and Phase 6 during Year 2, so that they can focus on higher-level comprehension using increasingly challenging texts. Any child that does not complete the phonics programme will continue learning phonics throughout Year 3/4 during interventions.

Maths Our curriculum is mapped by the White Rose Maths Hub scheme of work and we use a small steps approach, developed from the ‘mastery’ approach to Mathematics.  We focus on a progression from concrete resources, to pictorial representations and finally into the numerical abstract to aid our children’s conceptual understanding. As a result, we are seeing a growth in confidence in all our learners, especially in areas of problem solving and reasoning. 

Children begin each week using concrete resources to support their mathematical understanding. Each of our four classrooms are well equipped to support all of our children using concrete resources to further their mathematical understanding.  As the week progresses, children explore pictorial representations until they are confident enough to use the numerical abstract. Children in Years 2 to 6 have a book called ‘Power Maths’, which is used for the majority of their independent work.  We believe in same day intervention and will support children by pre-teaching or post-teaching lesson content. 

We also plan in separate sessions in fluency in addition to a daily maths session to continue developing children’s fluency. Times Tables Rock Stars is used from Year 2 to Year 6 to ensure children develop fluency in their multiplication table.

Nature is written in mathematical language.’  Galileo Galilei

Science We follow the National Curriculum for science ensuring all pupils develop their scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Science is hands on where possible; pupils are given the opportunity to experience science in the real world. Having a pond on site is an invaluable resource available to all Year groups, ensuring they have a real world setting in which to base their investigations.  

We use the Kent Science scheme of work which has a valuable component in helping teachers plan scientific investigations.  The expectation is that children will have a hands on experience of investigations in science and children do not just watch a teacher demonstrating investigations. Our aim is for all children to leave primary school with a solid understanding of the world around them. Children in Years 1 to 6 have a two-year rolling programme and so will be taught the whole of the science National Curriculum during their time at St Michael’s. 

Computing Curriculum Our computing curriculum comprises a number of different strands: digital literacy, coding, data handling and using technology in the wider world. Each year group builds on the skills taught during the previous year, to ensure that by year 6 students are confident using technology, including a range of different programs, apps and websites. 

We use Purple Mash as a learning platform to access coding and other aspects of the curriculum.

Online resilience and safety is woven through our computing curriculum. Children learn most effectively when they are empowered to be as safe and responsible users; and where they are enabled to make effective judgements about what they see, find and use

‘Children need to be empowered to keep themselves safe – this isn’t just about a top-down approach. Children will be children – pushing boundaries and taking risks. At a public swimming pool, we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim.’ Professor Tanya Byron

Personal, Social Health and Education (PSHE) and Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) PSHE education gives pupils the knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe and to prepare them for life and work in modern Britain.We follow the Jigsaw PSHE scheme.  This is broken down into the following areas:

  • Being me in my world
  • celebrating difference
  • Dreams and goals
  • Healthy Me
  • Relationships
  • Changing me

Jigsaw in a mindful approach to PSHE.  We use the following ground rules:

  • We take turns to speak
  • we use kind and positive words
  • We listen to each other
  • We have the right to pass (you do not have to contribute to a discussion if you do wish to)
  • We only use names when giving compliments or being positive
  • We respect each other’s confidentiality (privacy)

We also cover safeguarding themes through the following:

  • anti-bullying week takes place in the Autumn Term;
  • Sex and relationship education (S.R.E.) is included in the scheme that we follow through the changing me topic, following a spiral curriculum building on previous skills;
  • Online safety teaching and a link to safer internet day where we build a week of focusing on safety and resilience.  There are constant reminders through weekly assemblies the importance of staying safe on line.

Collective worship is delivered daily, covering religious festivals of world faiths and elements of current topics in the news or celebrations. In addition, the teaching of the core British Values and School Rules outline how these are exemplified in our own school values. One day a week is a singing assembly led by our music teacher.

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.’ Margaret Mead

Religious Education Mary Myatt believes Religious education is not part of the national curriculum but part of the basic curriculum. It is every pupil’s entitlement to have access to the key concepts underpinning religions and beliefs, whether they are of that tradition, or not. All state schools must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage. 

We follow the East Sussex Agreed Syllabus throughout the school. This provides a broad and balanced programme of Religious Education (R.E.) which reflects three key areas. It will,

  • include a study of the key beliefs and practices of religions and other world views.
  • provide opportunities to explore key religious concepts and common human questions of meaning, purpose and value.
  • enable pupils to investigate how beliefs affect moral decisions and identity, exploring both diversity and shared human values. 

We use Discovery RE resources which are linked to the East Sussex agreed syllabus for R.E. 

Mary Myatt quoting a pupil, ‘RE is like an iceberg. As you unpack ideas, you come to understand deepermeaning’.

History and Geography History and Geography form an important part of our curriculum. We follow the National curriculum and embrace a broad-spectrum of stimulating topics. As a school we aim to wholly develop each child's geographical and historical skills, understanding and knowledge. Consequently, our lessons are well planned, highly engaging and challenge all abilities. Other curriculum areas are incorporated into learning to ensure high levels of motivation and interest from the children.

We teach a knowledge rich curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners the skills needed to succeed in life. We teach through learning topics as opposed to themes. If a subject does not link meaningfully it is taught as a standalone subject. 

Art Art is highly valued as part of our creative curriculum. We weave art teaching throughout the curriculum.  We believe the opportunities that children have to make art are a key part in the development of well-rounded learners.

‘Creativity is making mistakes’ Grayson Perry

Subject SpecialismsThe following subjects are taught by subject specialist teachers across the school:

Physical Education (P.E.): This is taught weekly by fully qualified P.E. coaches from Brighton and Hove Albion in the Community.  Classes have another additional P.E. session in the week as well as participating in the daily mile.

Music: Our PTA funds a specialist music teacher. Our Children and young people learn to play a range of instruments and develop their rhythm and vocal control across the phases.  We also use online resources via Charanga Music School. We have whole class sets of the following instruments: ukulele, recorders djembe drums

We believe in using the countryside around the school and learning outside as key part of our learning. Children access the outside areas throughout the year.

Long Term Overviews

English Curriculum Overview

Reading Spines (age appropriate suggested texts)

Maths Curriculum Overview

Personal Social and health Education Curriculum

We firmly believe  Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) is an important part of our curriculum.  We use Jigsaw resources to support teaching in this area.  Jigsaw uses a mindfullness approach which we hope will help support children in their well being.

We consulted families about our curriculum in March 2021 sharing the information below

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