We want our curriculum to challenge, nurture and support every child at their own level. We want each individual to reach their potential and develop a love of learning so that skills and knowledge grow during each stage of their educational journey.

We aim for our broad and balanced curriculum to be led by high-quality texts and stimulating educational visits which enable all learners to make appropriate cross curricular links.

At Middleham CE (VA) Primary School we follow the National and Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. This includes the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, Religious Education and the additional areas of Design Technology, Art and Design, Geography, History, Physical Education, Music and Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE). In the EYFS these areas are all covered under the headings of Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, Physical Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.

Our approach aims to provide a stimulating environment which encourages proactive learning and inspires each child. We do this by developing a child-centred curriculum that is innovative, broad and varied, using a variety of teaching methods and learning styles. Examples of topics explored recently are: Hedgerow Harvest, In the Bleak Midwinter and Space exploration. Using cross-curricular topics like these enables our children to learn creatively.
In EYFS and Key Stage 1, we follow the Letters and Sounds Teaching Program to deliver high quality phonics lessons. The children are taught to use the correct vocabulary to describe phonics; phoneme=speech sound; grapheme=spelling choice; digraph=2 letter spelling choice. They are also taught the letter names as well as synthetic phonic sounds. Blending and segmenting skills are taught as an important basis for reading and spelling.
At school pupils are given access to a wide range of reading material and books are regularly taken home. Pupils will read a mixture of ‘real’ books and those from our reading schemes (including some Oxford Reading Tree books and songbirds phonic readers). We are currently using a range of books which are “colour banded”. This is a well used system of grading books on the difficultly of their text and content. We allow children to select a home reading book of their choice from a selection within a colour band. We may sometimes “guide” choices to ensure children are reading a variety of texts and not repeating books.

Your child will read at least once per week to their teacher and we aim to read with children twice a week. This focused teaching of reading skills will be as part of group guided reading sessions once per week. If your child needs additional reading support, your child’s class teacher will inform you of this and your child will read more often during the week.
As children become more confident with reading they will select their own books beyond colour book banding, some schools call this “free reading”. The teachers and teaching assistants will, however, use their professional knowledge to ensure that the reading matter is appropriate.

We emphasise first hand experiences and benefit from the rich history and geography of our local area, by embedding our curriculum in the children’s own environment. Exciting and memorable experiences are developed for each topic, such as residential visits, enrichment days and activities including a Diwali day, Harvest day and our stall at Leyburn Market.
Wherever and whenever possible, we take our learning outdoors, engaging in fieldwork, outdoor pursuits and hands-on scientific and mathematical enquiry. We plan opportunities to practice and consolidate mathematical knowledge and writing through our cross-curricular approach to learning.

As a Church of England School, our curriculum is distinctive in promoting Christian values and the teachings of the Anglican Church. Lessons are supported by first hand experiences such as visiting our local village church and visits to other places of worship to widen pupil’s knowledge and understanding of the wider world.
Additional information can be obtained by contacting us at school.


Long Term Plans

pdfEYFS/Year 1 Long Term Plan

pdfYear 2/3/4 Long Term Plan

pdfYear 5/6 Long Term Plan


The National Curriculum

The National Curriculum, which was revised in 2014, requires that children should be taught:-

  • three core subjects - English, maths and science;
  • seven foundation subjects - geography, history, technology, art, music, information technology and physical education. Religious education must also be taught to all children unless exempted.  
  • Personal, social and healtheducation and citizenship is taught from Reception to Year 6.
  • Sex and Relationshipis taught from Reception to Year 6.
  • French will also be taught at Key Stage 2.

Full details of the National Curriculum documentation can be obtained from the DfE website. The main subjects of the National Curriculum are listed in the school brochure with a brief summary of our aims.  Many of these subjects will be taught in a thematic way using a variety of teaching strategies which will include whole class, ability group and individual tuition.

At Middleham Church of England Primary School staff deliver a ‘Creative Curriculum’.  The whole school studies half termly or termly topics. .

The new National Curriculum has set out clear expectations for what children should achieve by the end of each key stage and, for English, Maths and Science, has provided guidance as to when in each phase this content should be covered.  These expectations have been developed into a set of statements for each subject and each year group. These statements are used by teachers to help define and guide next steps in learning. Through their targets, pupils will be aware of specific statements they are working on to improve their learning.

To track pupil attainment and progress we use a system of steps. This performs the function of tracking and communicating progression and attainment in a simple format.  Each year band (set of statements) has been broken down into six steps:

beginning, beginning +, working within, working within +, secure and secure +

A child will be deemed to have met the year group expectations when they are “Working within +” which is the expectation by the end of the academic year.

Our most able children will have opportunities to apply their understanding in a range of challenging real life contexts, and to demonstrate their mastery of a particular skill at a deep and thorough level before moving on to the next year group’s expectations.  These children will be assessed as Secure or above.

National Statutory Assessments take place in the following years - Year 1: phonic screening assessment; Years 2 and 6:  English, Maths and Science.  It is expected that an average pupil will working at the expected level for their year group.

Note: As of September 2014, we have been delivering the new National Curriculum and following the new step assessment strategy.


The curriculum is designed to provide children with the basic skills they will need.  During their time in our school the children will learn to the best of their abilities:

  • to read fluently and accurately, with understanding, feeling and discrimination;
  • to develop a legible style of handwriting and good standard of spelling, syntax, punctuation and usage;
  • to communicate clearly and confidently in speech and writing, in a wide range of styles and formats;
  • to listen attentively; to learn how to acquire information from a number of sources, and to record information and findings in different ways;
  • to build up a mental model of how numbers work;
  • to develop a familiarity with numbers and a suitable vocabulary;
  • to apply computational skills with speed and accuracy;
  • to understand and use mathematical ideas in real life situations;
  • to observe living and inanimate things, and to recognise characteristics such as
  • pattern and order;
  • to master basic scientific concepts;
  • to investigate solutions and interpret evidence; to analyse and to solve problems;
  • to become familiar with a range of information technologies and develop the skills to use them;
  • to know about geographical, historical and social aspects of the local environment and the national heritage; to be aware of other times and places and
  • to recognise links between local, national and international events;
  • to help children gain an insight into the nature of religion, to foster a sense of awe, respect and wonder and encourage attitudes of openness and sensitivity towards people whose religious beliefs and customs may be different from their own;
  • to acquire sufficient control of self and of tools, equipment and instruments to be able to use music, drama and several forms of arts and crafts as means of expression;
  • to develop agility, co-ordination and confidence through physical activity;
  • to develop awareness of self and sensitivity to others; acquire a set of moral values and the confidence to make and hold moral judgements and develop habits of self-discipline and acceptable behaviour;
  • to respect and value the richness and diversity of our society;
  • to lead independent lives by taking responsibility for their own health and well being.


Please find guidance below to help you understand the government and school expectations for our children. We hope you find this helpful.

The following two booklets show what children have to be able to do by the end of Year 2 in reading, writing, maths and science to achieve the nationally expected level.

The frameworks have been interim documents for the last 2 years. The government has not as yet announced any changes for the next academic year. 

As stated in the document,

 'Each of the three standards within the interim framework contains a number of ‘pupil can’statements. To demonstrate  that they have met a standard within this interim framework, teachers will need to have evidence that a pupil demonstrates consistent attainment of all of the statements within that standard and all the statements in the preceding standard(s).'

pdfKey Stage 1 Teacher Assessment Framework

pdfKey Stage 2 Teacher Assessment Framework

Pitch and Expectation in Maths

The Local Authority have produced the following booklet to show expectations in maths for years 1-6 with examples for each area. 

pdfYear 1 Expectations and examples

pdfYear 2 Expectations and examples

pdfYear 3 Expectations and examples

pdfYear 4 Expectations and examples

pdfYear 5 Expectations and examples

pdfYear 6 Expectations and examples

pdfMission Maths Booklet for Parents

Our Approach to Phonics

At Middleham CE VA Primary School, we follow the Letters and Sounds programme, supplemented by the Jolly Phonics scheme and Read, Write Inc. In Foundation Stage, children are introduced to phonemes (sounds) linked to the letters of the alphabet, as well as one way of spelling each of the other 16 phonemes used in the English language, such as 'igh' and 'ch'. Children are taught to blend or sound out phonics to read a variety of words and segment or break down the sounds in simple words for spelling. Jolly Phonics gives children an action for each sound, which supports children who learn in an active way.

In Year 1, children learn more about the variety of ways in which each phoneme can be spelt and they also learn about the different pronunciations made by different letters or groups of letters, such as 'a' in 'ant' and 'was'. At the end of Year 1, children will be tested on their phonics knowledge, using a national test featuring 20 real words and 20 pseudo-words.

From Year 2 onwards, children consolidate their phonics knowledge, learning when to apply different spelling rules as well as how to spell plurals and different verb tenses.

Click here to watch a short video What is 'Phonics'

Our Approach to Reading

At Middleham CE VA Primary School, children are encouraged to read at home every day. In Foundation Stage, children begin by taking home wordless books, to allow them to spend time talking to a parent about the book, without being constrained by the necessity to read words. Once children have a good understanding of how books work and have gained some phonics knowledge, they begin to read books containing simple words which can be blended or sounded out.

The reading books are colour banded and, as children become more confident and able readers, they will take home books from different colour bands. The books in the first few colour bands are primarily phonics based, allowing children to apply their phonics knowledge. Once children become fluent readers, a range of books are provided to allow children to engage in more lengthy discussions about the content of the book.From Year 2 onwards, the reading scheme is supplemented with books from our well-stocked library.

We do not follow any particular reading scheme but use a variety of books matched to our children’s needs and interests.

Becoming a reader is not only about phonics though - we teach children to read in teacher led guided reading sessions with a group of children at a similar level. Guided reading offers not only the opportunity to become confident and competent decoders but also to explore meaning, characterisation and settings and to develop the skills of inference and deduction. Teachers keep detailed records during these sessions and use their observations to make their termly assessments and to feed back to you about your child’s progress.

Helpful links for parents...

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Spennithorne Site

The Federation of Middleham VA and Spennithorne VC CE Primary Schools

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North Yorkshire


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Middleham Site

The Federation of Middleham VA and Spennithorne VC CE Primary Schools

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01969 623592

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01969 623474

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If you require a paper copy of any of the information contained within this site, we provide these free of charge. Please contact the School Office.


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About Us

Welcome to a federation of two schools ( Middleham VA and Spennithorne VC CE Primary School). We are proud of our smalls school which cater for children aged from 4 – 11 years old.

We work hard to create an environment that nurtures the whole child and allows them to grow in all aspects of their personality.