Northaw C of E Primary School

Northaw C of E Primary School


Quality of education

Please scroll down for:

  • Curriculum 
  • Religious education
  • Early Years curriculum
  • Forest school
  • Physical education
  • SEND information


Northaw C of E Primary School gives children full access to a broad and balanced curriculum, enabling them to achieve the highest academic and personal standards possible and providing them with the challenges and life skills they will need in order to take their place in modern British society. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural education is embedded throughout our curriculum and through our school values and ethos. Teachers plan lessons carefully to promote opportunities for the personal development of all children. All children are encouraged to succeed; gaining self-esteem and confidence to become independent learners who will develop a life-long love of learning. Equal value and recognition is given to children’s strengths in all areas of the curriculum and the experiences of children are enriched by a range of planned extra-curricular activities, including after-school clubs, off-site visits and outside visitors/speakers. Children have opportunities to develop their wider social awareness through our workshops, activity weeks and competitions. Online safety is taught strategically during half termly digital literacy sessions. Digital leaders develop confidence and leadership skills. They also provide meaningful support to teachers and peers throughout the school. The school strives to provide a curriculum that all children will find enjoyable and that helps them to understand the relevance of their lessons. This can only be achieved by using the experience, enthusiasm and specialism of individual teachers who provide interesting, relevant, purposeful and skilfully differentiated lessons. Wherever possible, lessons are based on real-life experiences, in a structured and well-ordered classroom environment. Northaw C of E Primary School supports Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child acknowledging that children should be encouraged to form and express their own views. This is encouraged through the appointment of house captains, school council representatives and worship team members as well as through our internal systems which encourage children to become self-disciplined and involved in the daily life of the school and to talk to adults about their views and ideas.


Here at Northaw C of E Primary School we want children to understand, rather than learn , how to manipulate numbers.  This is achieved through lots of practical opportunities to explore arithmetic.  Developing a sound understanding of both 1- and 2-digit numbers enables a real understanding of how calculations are executed.   Mental maths skills are also rehearsed on a daily basis, with the use of key number facts to aid calculating being highlighted in lessons. Of course, maths is more than just number so as part of this knowledge-building development, mathematical learning is contextualised through practical applications such as weighing activities or exploring capacity, area or perimeter.


Reading is a key skill and here at Northaw C of E Primary School we believe that children should develop a love of books and improve their reading skills. All children have reading opportunities throughout their week as part of English lessons. In addition to this, every child also reads to an adult individually or as part of a small group at least once a week in guided reading sessions. Finally, to further encourage a love of reading, children have an opportunity to visit and choose a book from the school library on a weekly basis. To ensure good communication between school and home about children’s reading, each child has a reading record book which is taken home every evening and returned every morning. Writing is taught systematically across the school daily according to National Curriculum expectations in terms of skills. Genre aspects of teaching are repeated throughout the year using different texts. Each unit of work focuses on developing: spelling, sentence construction, vocabulary, sense of audience, punctuation, grammar and organisation. Wherever possible there are strong links across other curriculum subjects.  At Northaw, we use the ‘Letters and sounds’ phonics programme.

Foundation subjects

Foundation subjects are studied through topic work. Each year group studies between 3 and 6 topics per year and topics are selected for the opportunities they provide for developing children’s knowledge, skills and understanding of subjects and for their potential to offer cross curricular links with literacy, numeracy and computing. Computing is taught using the Herts for Learning teaching resource. There is a regular emphasis on online safety to ensure children use the internet safely and knowledgeably.


Music covers all areas of the primary music curriculum and is taught by a specialist music teacher who provides opportunities for children to perform in public wherever appropriate. There are opportunities to take part in individual performances and children are encouraged to listen to and enjoy music of all genres.


Art is taught by our artist in residence who works collaboratively with the class teachers who link the art curriculum closely to the topic work. Children’s work is celebrated throughout the school in displays and some is published more widely such as at the local church and on the local railway station display boards.

Modern Foreign Language

A specialist French-speaking teacher coordinates the teaching of French and all aspects of MFL (Modern Foreign Language) teaching. Children are encouraged to use their French around school and to link it to other subjects, for example mathematics (numbers) and art (colours) and science (naming of body parts).

Curriculum information

Every teacher has responsibility for one or two areas of the curriculum and is accountable for standards in that subject. Teachers look for cross-curricular links to other subjects wherever possible so that learning is meaningful and children can make connections that enhance their understanding. The school is constantly reviewing its curriculum through a rigorous self-evaluation process and priorities for improvement are incorporated into whole school development planning.

Parents can obtain more information about the curriculum by visiting the school, by talking to teachers or by viewing the Looking at Learning leaflets available on the school website or in school. Class sections on our school website celebrate the variety and depth of learning experienced through our creative curriculum.  Lessons in English, Mathematics, Science, Religious Education and Computing are balanced with opportunities to learn about the humanities, physical development and well-being and the expressive arts. Cross curricular learning is encouraged so that the skills can be transferred and that learning is relevant. Most subjects are assessed termly using criteria based on both knowledge and skills. 

Click here to read our Teaching & Learning Policy.

Religious education

Religious education involves learning about Christianity as well as other religions. Comparative religious studies give children an opportunity to learn about other cultures and faiths in preparation for life in modern Britain. Diocesan and other planning resources are utilised. 
Teachers use a wide range of resources to make the learning age-appropriate, lively and engaging. 
For our RE policy please click here
To see how we celebrate RE please click here

Early Years Curriculum

At Northaw C of E Primary we support our children in EYFS in three prime areas of learning: 

Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development

These are the main focus throughout EYFS and support development in all other areas (specific areas of learning). The specific areas (Maths, Literacy, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design) grow out of the prime areas and provide important contexts for learning and include essential skills and knowledge.

The exciting activities and experiences we plan for the children cover different areas of child development. The following DFE explanations describe these:

• Communication and Language (CL) development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.

• Physical Development (PD) involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

• Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.

• Literacy (L) development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

• Mathematics (M) involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.

• Understanding the World (UW) involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

 Expressive Arts and Design (EAD) involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role- play, and design and technology.

At Northaw we work hard to deliver a personalised curriculum to all our children, that is linked to their interests, in each area of learning and development and we implement this through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults. We make ongoing judgements about the balance between activities led by children, and activities led or guided by adults. We respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction. As the children grow throughout the EYFS, and as their development allows, the balance gradually shifts towards more activities led by adults, to help children prepare for more formal learning, ready for Year 1. 

The teaching of phonics begins in EYFS.
What is phonics?

Phonics is simply the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language. When your child learns that the letter B has the sound of 'b' or your older child  learns that "tion" sounds like 'shun', they are learning phonics.

At Northaw School we use the 'Letters and Sounds' and Jolly Phonics phonic programmes. 

Why is phonics important?

Learning phonics will help your children learn to read and spell. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of letters and letter combinations will help your child decode words as they read. Knowing phonics will also help your child know which letters to use as they write words.

Play the below video for information on what phonics are and how to practice the sounds with your children. They will be learning about phonics from nursery and will be improving their phonic understanding all through their reading journey to year 6 and beyond. It is vital children have a deep understanding of phonics in order to advance with both reading and spelling.

For some phonic learning activities such as puzzles and games click here to go to the BBC Words and Pictures site. The Oxford Owl website provides further examples of how to ‘sound out’ and blend in order to decode words.

Forest school

Forest school is a long term, repetitive learning process that uses a natural outdoor space. During forest schools activities are provided for the children, these activities are not adult led but allow the child to tailor the activity to suit their own needs. Forest school helps to develop a child’s independence and also develop their passion forlearning. Children develop a strong sense of space through repeated contact with the natural world (ideally woodland but not always) throughout the year in different kinds of weather.Forest school empowers children and young people to take responsibility for their own learning and development. The ethos encourages child-led learning and learning through play. Choice increases enjoyment, participation and motivation. Children are set up to achieve and supported to take appropriate risks through developing trust in themselves and others.

Forest school develops many skills that can be harder to teach in a classroom environment. Children can be very active and also develop there fine and gross motor skills. Children learn to assess areas, appreciate and take manageable risks therefore making sensible and informed decisionsabout how to tackle the activities and experiences they encounter.

Forest school encourages emotional growth, self- esteem, confidence and independence. It gives learners time and space to be by themselves, find peace and communicate with others in a safe caring environment. Emotional literacy is activity practiced by adults and children within the Forest School. This instils a deep respect and awareness for the natural world and reconnects children to the environment. Being in nature allows children to observe real life, witness cause and effect and consider our roles and responsibilities towards it.

This promotes learning and development for all ages and abilities and its ethos is fully inclusive. It is most effective in smaller than class sizes with high adult to child ratio. The natural environment provides stimulus for all senses, all areas of development and all learning styles.


Physical Education, including swimming, is taught by specialist sports teachers. Games are taught with an emphasis on transferable skills, decision making, effort, team-work and fair-play so that children are well prepared for competitive matches against other schools. There is a variety of after-school clubs which are available to create opportunities for children to try different sports and activities; targeting all abilities and interests.

PE at Northaw C of E primary school is fun and inclusive. PE links with our health and emotional well-being curriculum and the 6Rs, enabling the children share rich experiences within the context of our caring, Christian community.

Children participate in a variety of sports throughout their time at the school including: swimming, gymnastics, dance, football, cricket, rounders, and netball.

Due to the increase in Sports Premium Funding, we have been able to extend children’s opportunities to engage in a wider range of sports.

Through the local sports partnership children get the opportunity to engage in a range of exciting activities including roller-skating, fencing, Nordic walking, ultimate Frisbee and volleyball.

In KS1 PE lessons are often based on skills, progressing through to small sided games at the end of the unit. Children are shown how skills from one sport are transferable to other sporting events and are encouraged to try a wide range of activities. They are assessed on these skills at the end of each unit.

In KS2 PE lessons also focus on the teaching of skills, however lessons and units of work are based on discrete sports. E.G. Invasion games unit might be based on football or netball.

All children take part in swimming lessons at Queenswood School. KS2 swim in the autumn term and KS1 and reception in the spring and summer terms.

Active Week 2019

We had an absolutely amazing “Active Week” this year! The children and staff were inspired by range of different activities to get their bodies moving. Between all the activities children also had lessons about the importance of keeping fit and how best to stay healthy. Have a read below to see exactly all the fun that we had.

On Monday Acorns and Apples and Pears class went on a trip to the park in the morning. In the afternoon they went swimming to Queenswood swimming pool. Also on Monday Willow and Oak tried out Orienteering and American football.

On Tuesday we had a circus company come in. They did a demonstration in the morning and then each class had a workshop. We tried stilts, scarfs, juggling, spinning plates and lots more. At the end of the day we got to show our skills in an assembly.

On Wednesday we had an Archery company come in. Each class got to have a go. Even some of teachers had a go too! In the afternoon some chosen children represented the school at District Athletics. They did very well placing 6th overall for our year 2, 3, 4 team and our Year 5 and 6 team came 4th.

On Thursday Willow and Oak class visited the snow centre in Hemel Hempstead. They tried skiing and snowboarding. Apples and Pears and Acorns classes had a go at dancing and meditating.

On Friday we started the day with a happiness assembly which made us feel great! Willow and Oak class then tried dancing and meditating, while Acorns and Apples and Pears class tried out American football and orienteering. In the afternoon we had a fantastic sports day. This ended the week on a high.

On Saturday brave Mrs Whales took to the sky to skydive for Cancer Research. We were very proud of her!

Celebrated dispositions and attitudes:

· Being resilient and not giving up when things are hard, but continuing to try.

· Taking responsibility for one’s self. Having respect for one’s self, others and the world.

· Taking risks and not being afraid of failing as this helps us to learn and move forward.

· Using others’ perceptions to inform our thinking.

· Recognising mutual supportiveness.

· Not being embarrassed to ask questions, admit to problems and to ask for help.

· Open acceptance of everybody so that everyone has a place in the collective.

· Finding ways forward when problems arise, avoiding blame and complaining when barriers to learning are encountered.

· Being willing to suspend judgement and find out more.

· Being self-motivated rather than responding to extrinsic motivation and rewards.

· Standing up for one’s own beliefs rather than going with popular opinion.

· Having a readiness for challenge.

· The freedom/capacity to imagine and try something new.

· Capacity to think of ways of overcoming limits, drawing on prior experience.

· Ability to be creative and think outside the box.

· A willingness to embrace the opportunity to work with different people.

· Being excited about learning something new.

· Understanding that the future is made in the present.

· Understanding that one can develop their own behaviours for learning.

· Holding the view that there is always more that can be done to reach a true potential.

· Believing that however challenging a situation, change is always possible.

· Understanding that a belief that everything is possible is needed to transform learning capacity.

· Having courage.

· Knowing that we do not have all the answers.

· Understanding that state of mind can affect the capacity to learn.

· Having the ability to reflect upon one’s behaviours, dispositions and skills.

· Using reasoning skills to think critically and creatively.

· Being resourceful – using what we have and finding what we need.

· A commitment to wondering, ‘Could I do this differently? Could I do this better?’ being reflective then taking action.