Our wonderful children and teaching team here at Belchamp St Paul are really proud of our lovely little school and we rightly keep our school values of courage, hope, respect, compassion and wisdom very close to our hearts. We are inclusive of all faiths, and respect all faith choices, whilst retaining and promoting our Christian distinctiveness as part of the Diocese of Chelmsford and the Vine Schools Trust.

Our curriculum is broad and balanced yet ambitious; it is regularly reviewed and adapted and is designed to support not only academic success but also to foster open-mindedness, creativity, problem-solving and resilience, as well as a growth mindset. We believe in empowering our children to be proud of themselves, whatever their strengths and skills. This is achieved not only by focusing on appropriate subject-specific knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the ‘national curriculum’ but by consistently providing different ways in which our young people can develop a sense of self-worth, self-confidence and resilience.  We aim to provide both individual and collaborative learning experiences, encourage a sense of responsibility and provide challenges that take them beyond the classroom.

As a small rural school, we have small classes of mixed-age groups from Reception. The school’s curriculum is therefore designed to be taught over two yearly cycles ensuring coverage and progression of skills. Our school is centrally located in our village and we benefit from taking part in community events and church celebrations at St Andrews, our village church. As well as this, our curriculum encourages children to be both curious about and appreciative of the wider world to which they belong and to explore opportunities in the natural environment through Forest Schools.

Building confidence and equipping children with the skills they need to develop a growth mindset are our primary aims both in and outside the classroom. We encourage our children to be open about their feelings and emotions and good mental health is a top priority for both our children and our teaching team. Mindfulness is practised in different ways throughout the school including through prayer. We also promote physical health and wellbeing through a variety of initiatives and embedded practices including a range of exciting Adventurous Outdoor Activities, P.E., swimming and weekly Forest Schools sessions.  At the heart of our curriculum is the belief that through encouragement and the right opportunities, children of all abilities will learn to be curious about, and respectful of, our natural world.

Phonics at Belchamp St Paul.

At Belchamp we teach phonics daily to children from EYFS to Year 2 and beyond if necessary by following the ‘Little Wandle’ programme. Each session follows the same sequence of recapping sounds already taught, teaching new sounds, practicing the new sound and applying their knowledge of this new sound (for example ai as in rain). Alongside learning which letters of the alphabet make the sounds, they will need to be able to read and spell specific letter combinations such as ‘igh’ or ‘ure’. The children also learn ‘tricky words’ such as ‘was’ which they will encounter when they begin to read.

Children practice saying new sounds orally and are taught to segment (split up) words into their individual parts and blend (put together) these sounds to say the whole word. These vital skills allow pupils to be able to read and spell words using the sounds that they have learned.

Each session is planned to be exciting and memorable for pupils using a mixture of practical indoor and outdoor games, use of interactive on-line games and the exploration of engaging resources. Children also have opportunities to apply their learning in a written manner and the dictation of simple sentences helps our youngest learners begin to be able to write sentences using their phonic knowledge.