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St Paul's C of E Nursery & Primary School



Northgate at St Paul’s Primary School is a unique model tailored specifically for the needs and learning styles of our children. Although pupils are predominantly taught in distinct Nursery or Reception groups, there is flexibility built into our model, which allows children to be taught in either Nursery or the Reception class, dependent on current needs. We also deliberately plan opportunities to work together as a Phase. 


What happens in Key Worker time and why is it so important?

During Key Worker time, the children have increased opportunity for oracy development. Language is promoted through discussion around stories and circle time activities. There is also a focus on the Early Years Foundation Stage ‘Prime Areas of Learning’ which leads to pupils having greater self-confidence, being able to manage their emotions and develop meaningful relationships. We believe that these strong foundations in the Prime Areas and in Communication skills are the foundations for future learning.


What are the benefits of the phased model?

A phased approach ensures a smooth transition for all children from Nursery to EYFS by meeting the needs of all learners efficiently. This model of teaching and learning enables us to target pupils’ individual learning and social needs according to their stage, not by their determined age. Every child is unique and therefore, we believe that their educational provision should reflect each child, rather than taking a “one size fits all” approach. Children are more prepared for their next step of learning; any ‘gaps’ in their key skills or childhood development are closed at an earlier stage and we ensure that each child is able to THRIVE with personalised challenge and support that leads to a deeper understanding of the curriculum.


What is the approach to the curriculum in Northgate?

Confident, articulate and resilient children are able to communicate their learning with others. Our pupils are taught through planned and purposeful play, with a balance of adult led and independent continuous provision activities to cover the Prime and Specific areas of learning. Free-flow outdoor provision can be accessed at any point of the day during pupils’ time in their classroom.

The curriculum is underpinned by the Early Years Foundation Stage principles and, where appropriate, follows the whole school approach to the wider curriculum, building pivotal foundations for future learning. 


What is the approach to the teaching of Early Reading?

Reading is a focus for Northgate, occurring daily in the form of shared or guided sessions within Key Worker time. Phonics lessons are taught discretely every day, with pupils who are at risk of falling behind identified and rapid support put into place to catch up. Individual children are heard read regularly by teachers and TPs, with key children identified as priority readers.


The teaching of phonics begins straight away. Further information about phonics can be found here.  We use a highly structured, phonics programme called Sounds-Write. This is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme. It teaches all key elements of conceptual understanding, factual knowledge, and the three essential skills of blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation necessary for learning to read and spell. Northgate children are grouped by ability, these groups are fluid according to need.

Consistent use of the Sounds-Write language by all staff is reflected in all areas of Northgate for the teaching of reading and writing. Writing is taught through many different methods, such as:

  • Story telling
  • Teacher modelling
  • Talk for write model - children learn a teacher written text off by heart with actions
  • Independent writing


What is the approach to the teaching of Early Mathematics?

We believe that it is fundemental that children gain a secure grasp of number, shape and problem solving from an early age. Children in Northgate take part in daily Maths learning following the Mathematics Mastery approach. During these lessons, the children will take part in a variety of learning methods, such as teacher lead activities, independent activities and learning through play involving maths, for example a shop role play.


How are the children assessed in Northgate?

Throughout the day staff members are making regular assessments of how the children are learning and developing. Some of these assessments are recorded through photographs using Tapestry, which all parents have a log in to, so they can enjoy seeing their child’s achievements too.