Gotherington Primary School

The Lawns, Gotherington, Cheltenham, GL52 9QT

Our School  »  Our Curriculum

Gotherington Primary School Subject Progression

Welcome to our curriculum page. Here you will find our progression maps for every subject and curriculum overviews for every year groups. Our overviews also highlight the thoughtful and wide-ranging promotion of pupils spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Paper copies of our curriculum are available on request from the school office.

Our Curriculum - A Guide for Parents

'Our school family provide a purposeful curriculum for all which is experiential, creative and memorable. We inspire a life-long love of learning by encouraging our children to be independent, resilient and curious. Success for our children means that they are happy, confident and responsible individuals who aspire to be the best that they can be wherever their journey through life may take them.'

Using the National Curriclum, we have spent a great deal of timerr reviewing our curriclum  -  a clearly sequenced curriculum which is creative, fun and focused upon building children's skills and knowledge so they know more and remember more. This is our ‘Creative Curriculum’.

In every year group throughout the school  teachers plan a series of theme based approaches to learning which are firmly rooted through skills and knowledge that are progressive. Wherever possible, the theme will be used to link together subjects in a meaningful way. This helps children commit learning to their long term memory. 

By linking the separate subjects under the umbrella of a theme we believe the learning becomes more exciting and memorable for our children and our teachers and each theme has a high quality text which is at the very heart of it.

To add the ‘wow’ factor to these themes, each year group also plans a hands-on experience to introduce the theme or a really exciting visit to bring their learning to life.  This may be in the form of a visit from a subject specialist to bring to life the themes or an educational visit.

The success of our creative curriculum has led to extremely high standards in both the core and foundation subjects and the development of excitement, curiosity, a growth mindset and above all a life-long love for learning. 

Curriculum Content
We believe that the unique curriculum we deliver at Gotherington is balanced and broadly based. It plays an integral part in that it:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
  • enables all pupils to develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.
Forest School 

We are developing outdoor learning at Gotherington through Forest School – our wonderful site was funded by our FOGS team. Forest School is invaluable in developing and raising children’s self- esteem through child-led activities which support and encourage them to achieve. These activities give children memorable experiences in an outdoor setting that they can then apply in all of their learning across the curriculum. Through small achievable tasks, children begin to build resilience and have the confidence to take risks in a supportive yet challenging environment.

We are extremely fortunate to have such a fantastic outdoor setting. Our own site, within the school grounds has a variety of mature trees as well as a nature area that we will be using for Forest School throughout your child’s school experience.

All classes will access Forest School throughout the year and will also have opportunities to visit other outdoor settings such as Overbury Estate and  Cranham Woods.

Curriculum Structure
Art & Design
Design and Technology
Languages (KS2 only)
Physical education
Religious education


Phonics at Gotherington Primary School

At Gotherington Primary School, we are committed to the delivery of excellence in the teaching of phonics. We aim to develop each child so that they are able to read with fluency as well as develop a love of reading that will stay with them all their lives.

We use a systematic and structured phonics programme: Floppy’s Phonics. This is in line with the Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) teaching principles described in the ‘English programmes of study: Key Stages 1 and 2 – National Curriculum in England’ which was statutory from September 2014.

The Floppy’s Phonics programme teachers the letter/sound correspondences of the English alphabetic code explicitly and comprehensively for reading and spelling. It includes the characters of Floppy the dog, Biff, Chip and Kipper and their family and friends which engages children fully in the process of phonics teaching and learning, vocabulary enrichment and language comprehension.

Initially, children’s listening skills are developed through the use of music, environmental sounds and rhyme. During their journey through the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, they are taught the 44 phonemes (sounds) that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made up of just one letter e.g. ‘b’ as in ‘bed’ and those made using two letters e.g. ‘ai’ as in ‘rain’ or three letters e.g. ‘igh’ as in ‘high’.

Children are taught the key skills of blending sounds together for reading and segmenting (breaking up) words for spelling. As the children grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound, e.g. ‘ee’ can be represented as ‘ee’ as in ‘bee’, ‘ea’ as in ‘tea’, ‘e-e’ as in ‘theme’ and ‘e’ as in ‘we’. They also learn when to apply simple spelling rules and to use verbs in the correct tense.

We ensure that our teaching of phonics is rigorous, structured and enjoyable. From Reception to Year 2, children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, explore, practise and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have.

We use a range of multisensory strategies to enthuse and engage the children, including the use of interactive whiteboards, magnetic letters, grapheme tiles, speaking and listening, and practical activities. Children work with pace and are encouraged to apply their knowledge across the whole curriculum.

The 44 Sounds (Phonemes) in the English Language

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another. Since sounds cannot be written, we use letters to represent of stand for those sounds. A grapheme is the written representation (a letter or cluster of letters) of one sound. It is generally agreed that there are approximately 44 sounds in English, with some variation dependent on accent and articulation.

The 44 phonemes are represented by the 26 letters of the alphabet individually and in combination. Phonics instruction involves teaching the relationship between sounds and the letters used to represent them. There are hundreds of spelling alternatives that can be used to represent the 44 phonemes. Only the most common sound/letter relationships need to be taught explicitly. The 44 sounds can be divided into two major categories – consonants and vowels. The 44 phonemes represented below are in line with the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Please see alphabetic code attached.

Phonics Screening Check

What is it?

Children in Year 1 throughout the country take part in a phonics screening check during the same week in June. Children in Year 2 will also take the check if they did not achieve the required result in Year 1 or they have not taken the test before.

The phonics screening check is designed to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding and blending skills to an appropriate standard.

What happens during the check?

The test contains 40 words. Each child will sit one-to-one and read each word aloud to their class teacher (or another member of staff who your child knows well and feels comfortable with). The test takes approximately 10 minutes per child although all children are different and will complete the check at their own pace and there is no time limit.

The list of words the children read is a combination of 20 real words and 20 pseudo (alien) words.

Through Reception and Year 1, they will have been taught all the sounds they need to be able to complete the test.

We report to you as parents or carers on whether your child was successful or not in the Phonics Screening Test in their end of year report.

How can I help my child at home?

  • Play lots of sound and word games with your child.
  • Read as much as possible to, and with, your child.
  • Read words in the environment with your child – signs, shopping lists etc.
  • Encourage and praise – encourage your child to use their phonic knowledge to decode the words before telling them the word.
  • If you child is struggling to decode a word, encourage them to say each sound in the word from left to right.
  • Blend the sounds together by pointing out each one e.g. s-i-ng. Segment the word into the separate sounds and move your finger under the whole word as you read it.
  • Discuss the meaning of words to help with comprehension.

There are many games to play that make learning to read fun and engaging. Below are a few examples:

Listening Walk – go for a walk around the house, garden or local area and encourage children to listen attentively to sounds around them. Talk about different sounds they can hear. When talking and teaching phonics it is so important to use the pure sound as in ‘a’ not 'aaaaaaa’. This enables your child to segment and blend with success.

Sounds a Day/Week – Write out the sounds to practise on lots of bits of paper and stick them around the house. Encourage your child to practise spotting and saying the sounds throughout the day/week.

Matching Pairs – play snap with phonemes and words which contain the phoneme – e.g. play/stay, flight/right.

Phonics Detective – finding words with a certain phoneme in a book.

Phonics Fishing – use homemade letter flashcards, add a paperclip to each, tie a magnet to some string and a stick and ask your child to fish for a particular phoneme or word.

Phonics Pop – write phonemes on bubble wrap and then, as you call out each phoneme, your child can pop the correct bubble.

News – ask your child to highlight all the phonemes/words they know in a newspaper or magazine. Do this as a team – you could highlight in a different colour and your child could highlight words they know in a different colour.

Simon Says – play a game of Simon Says by saying: “Put your hands behind your b-a-ck”, or show the word on a card for your child to read in order to complete the action.

I Spy – use phonemes children are learning at the middle/end of a word instead of the initial phoneme, e.g. “I spy with my little eye something which ends in the sound ‘ay’ (tray)”, or “I spy with my little eye something which contains the sound ‘ai’ (rain).”

Car Park – write a phoneme in a car parking space (draw out simply on paper or card) and challenge your child to park the car in the right place.

Phonics Bingo – create a grid on a sheet of paper and write down various phonemes. Next, take or make your own flashcards and mix them up. Pull out a card at random and say the phoneme out loud. If your child has the correct sound written down, they can cross it off. Once they have crossed them all off the shout “Bingo!”. Some phonemes have more than one spelling e.g. r, rr, wr, rh. These are alternative graphemes for the phoneme ‘r’. This game will help your child make the connection between letter sounds and shapes in a quick and enjoyable way.

Phonics Splat – write out phonemes/words on bits of paper and stick them on a wall. Say a phoneme/word at random and your child can splat it with their hand or a plastic fly swatter.

Phonics Vocabulary

Phoneme – The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in the English language. Phonemes can be put together to make words.

Grapheme – A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up of:

                    1 letter – a

                    2 letters – sh

                    3 letters – tch

                    4 letters – ough

GPC – This stands for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. A GPC means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.

Digraph – A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound, e.g. ‘th’ as in ‘thing’.

Trigraph – A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound, e.g. ‘ing’ as in ‘night’.

Blending – This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to read a word.

Segmenting– This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and them writing those graphemes down in the right order to spell a word.