Catkins (Year 1)

How we teach in Year 1

A Negotiated Curriculum 




At Bradley Stoke Community School we teach KS1 according to the ethos of the EYFS.  We embark on a play-based ‘Negotiated Curriculum’; the curriculum offers children a mix of adult led and child led learning opportunities.  This is in response to a number of aims:

  • A desire to build on the quality of independent learning children acquire through their time in the foundation stage;
  • A desire to create life-long learners with the intrinsic motivation to engage in learning opportunities;
  • A desire to create systems that accurately assess the acquired knowledge, skills and concepts of our children so that planning can reflect the individualised learning needs and styles of the children;
  • Inclusive practice that helps every individual child to meet their learning potential regardless of gender, belief system, culture or language;


Our ultimate aim is outstanding progress and outcomes for all of our children.



  • In KS1, Phonics, Maths and some elements of English skills are taught discretely. Every other subject is taught through a play-based, negotiated curriculum, which is linked to a carefully chosen topic. Play provides opportunities for children to experience learning in a meaningful and purposeful way, allowing them to develop the skills needed to become effective learners.
  • Each day, children learn through either a small group adult led activity, child-led investigation, or by choosing from a planned ‘Rainbow of Challenges’, in Year 1, and ‘Sunshine Challenges’ in Year 2.
  • Challenges consist of independent activities initiated by the teacher (linked to curriculum coverage and progression) and the children (through ongoing discussion and during the planning stage.) Children manage their own time, to ensure they have completed all activities on the ‘menu’ by the end of the weekly cycle. ‘Planning time’ and ‘Review time’, each day, play an important role in developing good thinking habits and independent learners.




  • A Negotiated Curriculum has many benefits. Our children enjoy learning and are active the whole time. They are totally involved in their learning as they have choice about the activity they want to focus on and are consulted on activities and resources that could go into the different areas of learning.
  • However, teachers retain a very tight control over the curriculum and subsequent outcomes for the children, through ongoing formative assessment to set challenging targets through to discreet group teaching and interventions. The inclusion of the basic skills of reading, writing and mathematics as integral within the system surrounding the negotiated curriculum, not only gives children the opportunity to develop and use these skills on a daily basis in addition to the planned focussed English and Maths teaching, but the integrity of these skills ensures they are viewed by the children as relevant to their lives, with meaning and purpose.

A Typical Day in Year 1 





Children start the day by self-registering and making their dinner choice.  They then have a period of linked provision – this is an activity linked to a theme.  Linked provision could be have a maths focus, for example, a range of shape activities, or could be linked to an individual target, for example, working on fine motor skills or handwriting.  Children will know what activity they are expected to be completing during linked provision with the focus lasting for a minimum of a week.


After linked provision, children start the day with an adult input that has an English skills focus.  All curriculum themes have a quality key text at the centre and English skills work uses the key text as inspiration for writing and the practising of skills.


Children will then move to a period of self-initiated learning.  During this time, the class teacher and Teaching Assistant will either work with a small focus group or support the rest of the class during their child initiated learning. 

Children have the choice to work on the Rainbow/Sunshine Challenges or be working on a self-planned activity - the children know they will be asked to talk about the learning they have been engaged in at the end of the session.

During the morning, the classes do not stop for a timetabled break; children can choose to take a break from their learning and access the snack bar when their learning comes to a natural break. 


The children have a daily maths lesson of between 30-45 minutes. We follow a mastery approach to maths teaching and learning, using the ‘Maths No Problem’ scheme as the framework for our curriculum delivery.  

The children take part in a daily ‘mile’.  The whole class will go out to the field for two laps which they can choose to run or walk.

The children will spend time, as a class, reviewing the morning’s learning.  The children may share examples of work completed as well as looking at photographs and observations, taken by the adults, of children engaged in learning.  Children are asked to explain what they have learnt as well as what kind of learners they have been – with a focus on purple learning and ELLI learning powers.


Lunch time


The afternoon starts with phonics – a discreet phonics lesson following the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme.

Children then move to the second main learning session of the day.  Again, they can choose to complete a Challenge or work on their own planned learning.  The Teacher and Teaching Assistant will work with a small group or support children working on child initiated learning tasks. 


The children have a daily assembly.  Some days this will be in the main hall and led by the Head of Primary Phase.  Other days this will be within the class, as a Keystage, and led by the class teacher. 


School finishes at 3.00pm


As the children move through KS1, they also have opportunities for extended writing – this will be a ‘special writing’ time, where children all sit down to write at the same time.  They are then able to concentrate and develop the stamina and ability to write for a sustained period of time. 

Children also have discreet lessons in PE, Forest School, RE and PSHE at different times throughout the school week.



Developing Effective Lifelong Learners

The skills that children develop are significant. Every day, children are given the opportunity to manage information, solve problems and make decisions, make connections, be creative, self-manage, work with others and value others ideas, resulting in independent and resilient children.


Home Learning Jigsaws


Term 1

Term 3



Term 5


  m 3



Curriculum Map

KS1 Curriculum Map



Catkins Newsletters


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