The Primrose Hill Curriculum
Our Curriculum Intent
At Primrose Hill Primary School we provide a holistic and creative curriculum which maximises opportunities for meaningful cross-curricular links and purposeful learning experiences. We introduce our children to a breadth and wealth of subject specific knowledge and support them to develop the cognitive skills and expertise required to map out, manipulate and extend that knowledge in an ever-changing world. Our teachers are responsive to their individual children’s needs and interests, whilst working within a detailed progression framework of knowledge and skills based on the National Curriculum.
Below is an overview of our curriculum ethos and vision, though you can find subject specific information here (including our approach to early reading).
Holistic & pastoral/ physical and mental wellbeing
We place great value on the development of children as well-rounded, informed individuals,with an emphasis on emotional wellbeing and social and moral development. Central to our ethos is an emphasis on diversity and tolerance, learning about and celebrating our diverse community and beyond for a local and global perspective. We see children holistically, with an emphasis on family and community – we have a lead for PSHE/SEMH/Nurture, and a strong emphasis on pupil voice and representation. We also promote healthy living, and our children all benefit from weekly lessons with our specialist PE coach and impressive playground & sports facilities.
Immersive, motivating & purposeful
We provide hands-on and experiential learning opportunities to all of our children, ensuring that those with different backgrounds and starting points are given an immersive experience to draw inspiration from and to provide. We take advantage of local links such as the Zoo, Royal Academy of Music, The Crick, CLC and Purple Mash, and a range of trips including residential trips in upper KS2.
Topic/theme-based & cross-curricular
Each class has an overarching theme over a half-term, contextualising their learning within a meaningful topic and ensuring that children transfer skills and make connections across their learning. Within these cross-curricular topics – for example The Egyptians in Year 3, or The Wonder of Water in Year 1 – children learn subject specific knowledge and skills as well as learning about their learning foundation subjects reinforced through reading and writing.
Skills progression & key knowledge
We plan our curriculum experiences and learning carefully to ensure that learning builds on prior learning and paves the way for future learning. Each subject has a detailed sequence of knowledge & skills – science and foundation subjects are taught through our Skills Progression Map, which details the specific skills required in each year group. Our Knowledge Keys detail key subject specific knowledge and vocabulary and form the basis of end of unit assessments. Here is an example of in history of a Knowledge Key for the Year 4 unit on the Romans, along with the History Skills Progression Map that it sits within.
Breadth, balance & creativity
Our curriculum is broad and balanced, with a high emphasis on creativity within a carefully sequenced framework. Through investment in specialist teachers – Music, PE, Nurture Group – and in specialist Subject Leaders, and making use of London’s cultural resources, we aim to provide the children with an enriched curriculum that grows their cultural capital. We have a dedicated art room that classes and groups of children use for extended art projects, as well as a Music room and a specialist music teacher who teaches across the school each week.
Independence & self-regulation
We aim to develop independent, confident, curious learners, who are able to self-regulate their learning behaviour and have good collaborative learning skills. We do this through explicit teaching of PSHE, Growth Mindset strategies, opportunities for children to independently steer and evaluate their learning, whole school Mental Health/Wellbeing events, and a transparent and consistent behaviour system underpinned by a Trauma Informed approach. Our learners have a shared set of spiritual, moral, social and cultural values and a sense of collective responsibility and moral purpose.
Growth mindset, challenge & inclusion
We pride ourselves on being an inclusive school, catering for every child in our community. For some children who struggle to make sustained progress in a mainstream setting, we offer Nurture Group, a part-time small group provision for identified Year 1 & 2 children, offering high levels of support and differentiation. We also provide specialist support in our Autism Resourced Provision to 2 ASD children who are not yet able to thrive in a mainstream setting, offering a fully differentiated curriculum. Our whole school uses a Growth Mindset approach, recognising that with effort and perseverance, every child can make excellent progress.
For further information on Science and the Foundation Subjects, please follow this link.
You can find further information on English, Early Reading and Maths here.
Organisation of Learning
For information about the stages and ages across the school and how the learning is organised, see the below. Classes are named after British woodland creatures (remember, you can find information specific to each year group / class here).
Early Years Foundation Stage
In the EYFS we follow the new 2021 ‘Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum’ document. The children’s learning experiences are planned to enable them to develop and achieve in the early learning areas through play and investigative learning experiences. The EYFS curriculum is planned for the inside and outside classrooms and equal importance is given to learning in both areas. The curriculum is planned in a cross-curricular way to enable all aspects of the children’s development.
All EYFS classes, Tadpoles, Froglets and Ladybirds, follow a 2 year rolling cycle of topics as the basis for learning experiences.
Class groups can, however, follow topics that are more suitable to their cohorts or that the children themselves show an enthusiasm and fascination in. Teachers ensure that there is an equal balance across the areas of learning when they do this during their PPA time. The EYFS teaching staff share a weekly PPA session where learning pathways can be discussed and modified as required. The characteristics of effective learning are viewed as an integral part to all areas of learning and are reflected in our observations of children. The half termly topics are also enriched through the following of whole school initiatives such as ‘Everybody Writes’ events and Anti-Bullying Week as they occur during the academic year. Nursery and Reception’s Physical Development experiences are enriched through weekly specialist sessions led by the PE team. Ladybirds have specialist input from our music specialist each week and all of EYFS have singing assemblies each week led by the Phase Leader.
Key Stage 1
This consists of Year 1 and Year 2. From Year 1 we, as all schools, follow the New National Curriculum. This comprises eleven subjects: English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Design and Technology, Physical Education and Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education.
In Key Stage 1, we introduced an integrated and creative approach to planning the curriculum, as we understand that young children learn best through experiencing a curriculum which is relevant and meaningful to them. This is based on good early years practice and in encompassing the National Curriculum requirements. There are whole class English and Maths sessions which continue to include recommendations of the strategies. The children will be involved in directed and independent cross curricular activities related to the week’s learning objectives, throughout the day, either with an adult or independently.
KEY STAGE 1
We aim to ensure that children have a gradual and supportive transition into Key Stage 1, building on the mix of self-directed and adult-initiated learning in EYFS. In Year 1, classrooms replicate the EYFS rooms (with role play corners and sand trays for example). Through an integrated approach, children learn across the eleven subjects of the National Curriculum: English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Design and Technology, Physical Education and Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education.
Teachers use an Integrated Curriculum based on strong EYFS practice, wherein a range of activities are provided and children are increasingly responsible for completing these “learning jobs” independently. Children also complete a guided activity with their teacher, ensuring each child is intensively supported to make excellent progress. The learning is planned to meet the weekly learning objectives. It is expected that each child will carry out an independent Maths and English task each day. This should be cross-curricular wherever possible, and differentiated as appropriate to meet the children’s individual learning needs.
Our Key Stage 1 topics include – Space, Who am I and who are you?, The Wonders of Water, Superhero Changemakers, London Now & Then, India, Puppetry and Explorers! Subjects are woven into these topics to make meaningful links.
Phonics and the Reading Process
We use a mixture of ‘real’ and ‘levelled’ books to teach reading and phonics from the outset. Whole class Phonics is taught systematically across Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1 every day following the government recommended programme of Little Wandle. This promotes a fun, pacey, multi sensory, rigorous and systematic approach to teaching phonics along with regular guided reading and carefully levelled books. You can see our approach to Early Reading here.
Guided reading is prioritised across YR – Y6, including elements of reciprocal reading in Upper Key Stage 2. From Y4 onwards, we have introduced the Reading Challenge, where children work their way through a range of high quality texts which will consolidate the many reading skills needed to achieve well and to be a confident and successful reader.
The investment of high quality and rich texts to teach the English Curriculum across the school. In addition, the promotion of grammar and technical accuracy through our ‘List of Magic’ and and a focus on drama, oracy and presentation.
Key Stage 2
This way of teaching evolves in Key Stage 2. We continue to follow a topic based approach in Key Stage 2, making links between subjects, being more creative with topic choices, following children’s interests or events which are happening locally, nationally and globally; and further developing work on oracy and speaking and listening and incorporating elements of Integrated Learning.
In Key Stage 2, we introduce Reading Challenges to enrich children’s reading range and vocabulary, Maths challenges to accelerate children’s mental recall, as well as having a greater focus on home learning and in celebrating children’s achievements. The pace and challenge increases at Upper Key Stage 2 with the introduction of Streamed Maths Classes (x2 mixed ability and x1 more able group in Y6) which have seen a significant upwards shift in our attainments.
For more detail please see our Curriculum page in the School Information section.