Our Curriculum



The School curriculum is designed around our school ethos:

Care, Support, Aspire, Achieve


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The Power of Learning

Children are taught the importance of:

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Through these skills the children can investigate, explore, question and develop their ideas.  It is against these elements that the children can assess their work, attitude to learning and next steps.

  • To Persevere – work hard, be resilient, aspire and set targets and enjoy a challenge
  • To communicate – listen, question, discuss, negotiate, write, draw and act
  • To be Creative – to investigate, explore, work through a problem, magpie ideas, use their imagination, be different
  • To Reflect – think through a problem, discuss an issue, explore other solutions, consider other people’s views and talk about ways to improve, think how things could be different

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The Curriculum.

We teach from the National Curriculum (2014) if you wish to find out more about the primary curriculum follow this link : https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/335133/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_220714.pdf .

The Core Subject are:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science

The Foundation Subjects are:

  • Art & Design
  • Computing
  • Design Technology
  • Geography
  • History
  • Languages
  • Music
  • PE

Religious Education is planned from the Gloucester Diocesan Curriculum 2017.

 Our Local Perspective:

  • What can we learn from where we live?
  • How can we care for our environment?
  • What is our place in the world?
  • What can we learn from other?
  • Where will our learning take us?

We aim to provide a broad and challenging curriculum, that promotes spiritual, cultural, mental and physical development and prepares our pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. The National Curriculum provides an outline of the core knowledge around which we plan exciting and stimulating lessons. This is supplemented by the Local Curriculum that uses the school’s local environment to make the children’s learning relevant to them and how they fit into the wider world. Slimbridge will focus on the local history of our area, including Bristol, the Scott family, WWT and Edward Jenner, as well as looking at our local environment, particularly the River Severn and how it has impacted on the landscape. At Slimbridge, we believe in developing our children’s understanding of the wider world and nurturing their aspirations; these aspirations can be as simple as being a ‘free’ reader or as ambitious as being a future Olympic Champion. We are also committed to developing the children’s reliance and perseverance through our outdoor learning at Forest Schools and during playtimes (see Forest Schools and OPAL). In addition, it is important that the children understand the cultural and social diversity of the county and country they live in how it differs from Slimbridge but also the similarities.

Much of the children’s learning is delivered through topics (see the Topic Cycles); all subjects will be woven into their current topic and further information is available on the class page. Sometimes it is not possible to link all the skills and subject knowledge to the topics being taught and in this case we plan stand-alone topics or topic events, like the science and technology based Egg-drop Day.

All the ‘Essential characteristics’, detailed below, are taken from Chris Quigley Essentials Full Spectrum Curriculum.

Our Curriculum


English is the key to a child’s education and we split the subject into speaking, listening, reading and writing. English allows children the ability to communicate their emotions, ideas and opinions.

At Slimbridge we follow a structured phonics and spelling programme which is designed to enable all children to develop effective reading and writing skills. All children from Reception to Year 6 take part in a phonics/spelling session for the first twenty minutes of each day, working at a level appropriate for them.

We follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme throughout EYFS and KS1. During their time at Little Otters our youngest children are introduced to Phase 1 of the programme which aids them in developing their speaking and listening skills. Once the children start in our Reception class they begin Phase 2 as they are taught sounds using the interactive Jolly Phonics materials. As the children move through KS1, they progress through the Letters and Sounds programme, learning how to read and write a range of words and phonemes. They are taught in carefully chosen groupings to ensure every child can reach their potential, and they are regularly assessed to ensure that they are in an appropriate group.

Once a child is secure with Phase 5 of Letters and Sounds, they move onto our spelling programme (typically in Year 2 or 3). We use the ‘Read Write Inc Spelling’ programme to build on the phonics skills the children have developed and to introduce them to new spelling patterns and features, such as prefixes and suffixes. The children work in differentiated groups to complete Books 1-3 of ‘Read Write Inc Spelling’.

By Upper Key Stage 2 the children have an excellent grounding in the phonics and spelling skills they need, and this is built on by the Year 5/6 teacher. At this stage, spelling patterns are revised, more complex words are introduced and there is a greater focus on grammatical structures in preparation for the Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar test which children sit in Year 6.

Extra support with phonics and spelling is provided for children as necessary. Teacher Assistants work with children one to one or in small groups to deliver intervention programmes (these currently include Dancing Bears, Apples and Pears and Bear Necessities).

The ability to read confidently is a key life skill, but also brings personal enjoyment and pleasure. The essential characteristics of a successful reader are:

  • Excellent phonic knowledge and skills
  • Fluency and accuracy in reading across a wide range of contexts throughout the curriculum
  • Knowledge of an extensive and rich vocabulary
  • An excellent comprehension of texts
  • The motivation to read for both study and for pleasure
  • Extensive knowledge through having read a rich and varied range of texts

Confident writers are able to present their ideas to an audience and require a numerous of skills; spelling, handwriting, composition and imagination. The essential successful characteristics of a writer are:

  • The ability to write fluently and with interesting details on a number of topics throughout the curriculum.
  • A vivid imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing
  • A highly developed vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details and description
  • Well organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures
  • Excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented and punctuated, spelled correctly and neat
  • A love of writing and an appreciation of its educational, cultural and entertainment values

Speaking and listening form the basis of our ability to communicate. These skills need to be valued and nurtured. The children present their ideas and opinions in all areas of school life – having your opinion listened has a direct impact on a learner’s confidence. The essential characteristics of successful communicators are:

  • An exceptional talent for listening attentively so as to understand what is being said
  • A rich and varied vocabulary that gives clarity and interest to conversations
  • Clear speech that can be easily understood by a range of audiences
  • An excellent grasp of the rules used in English conversation, such as tenses and the grammatical structure of sentences
  • A highly developed ability to tell stories that capture the interest and imagination of the audience
  • A delight in initiating and joining conversations
  • Respect for others when communicating, even when views differ.

To encourage good communication, Slimbridge Primary is a ‘Philosophy for Children’ school.



Mathematics is a creative and interconnected subject and has important applications in many different parts of our daily lives. This subject is also closely linked to science and design technology. An understanding of number, including the relationships between numbers, computation, problem solving and data handling is developed alongside work on shape, space, measures and time.  We teach mathematics through a range of concrete, pictorial and abstract methods that include fluency, reasoning and problem solving. The essential characteristics of confident mathematicians are:

  • An understanding of the important concepts and an ability to make connections within mathematics
  • A broad range of skills in using and applying mathematics
  • Fluent knowledge and recall of number facts and number systems
  • The ability to show initiative in solving problems in a wide range of contexts, including the new and unusual
  • The ability to think independently and to persevere when faced with challenges, showing a confidence of success
  • The ability to embrace the value of learning from mistakes and false starts
  • The ability to reason, generalise and make sense of solutions
  • Fluency in performing written and mental calculations and mathematical techniques
  • A wide range of mathematical vocabulary
  • A commitment to and passion for the subject



Wherever possible, Science is taught through class topics, although some areas in Year 5 & 6 are taught discretely or as ‘science events’ such as science days. Our planning ensures that the children develop skills in observation, questioning, formulating hypotheses, measuring, comparing and interpreting, and aims to develop scientific and conceptual knowledge through biology, chemistry and physics. The essential characteristics of successful scientists are:

  • The ability to think independently and raise questions about working scientifically and the knowledge and skills that it brings
  • Confidence and competence in the full range of practical skills, taking the initiative in, for example, planning and carrying out scientific investigations
  • Excellent scientific knowledge and understanding which is demonstrated in written and verbal explanations, solving challenging problems and reporting scientific findings
  • High levels of originality, imagination or innovation in the application of skills
  • The ability to undertake practical work in a variety of contexts, including fieldwork
  • A passion for science and its application in past, present and future technologies


Art and Design

In Art, children explore, express and create using a wide range of materials. Work will include drawing, painting, sculpture, multi-media and print work and will be a creative part of class topics. The essential characteristics of confident artists are:

  • The ability to use visual language skilfully and convincingly (for example, line, shape, pattern, colour, texture, form) to express emotions, interpret observations, convey insights and accentuate their individuality.
  • The ability to communicate fluently in visual and tactile form.
  • The ability to draw confidently and adventurously from observation, memory and imagination
  • The ability to explore and invent marks, develop and deconstruct ideas and communicate perceptively and powerfully through purposeful drawing in 2D, 3D or digital media
  • An impressive knowledge and understanding of other artists, craft makers and designers
  • The ability to think and act like creative practitioners by using their knowledge and understanding to inform, inspire and interpret ideas, observations and feelings
  • Independence, initiative and originality that they can use to develop their creativity
  • The ability to select and use materials, processes and techniques skilfully and inventively to realise intentions and capitalise on the unexpected
  • The ability to reflect on, analyse and critically evaluate their own work and that of others
  • A passion for and a commitment to the subject



Most children are confident users of technology and regularly use tablets, laptops, smart TVs etc. The Computing curriculum aims to enable children to understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation. The essential characteristics of effective coders and users of technology are:

  • Competence in coding for a variety of practical and inventive purposes, including the application of ideas within other subjects
  • The ability to connect with others safely and respectfully, understanding the need to act within the law and with moral and ethical integrity
  • An understanding of the connected nature of devices
  • The ability to communicate ideas well by using applications and devices throughout the curriculum
  • The ability to collect, organise and manipulate data effectively


Design and technology

Design and technology is an inspiring and practical subject, using creativity and imagination. Children design and make products that solve real and relevant problems, using card, modelling materials, construction kits, resistant materials, textiles and food. The majority of Design and technology will be planned through class topics. The essential characteristics of confident designers are:

  • Significant levels of originality and the willingness to take creative risks to produce innovative ideas and prototypes
  • An excellent attitude to learning and independent working
  • The ability to use time efficiently and work constructively and productively with others
  • The ability to carry out thorough research, show initiative and ask questions to develop an exceptionally detailed knowledge of users’ needs
  • The ability to act as responsible designers and makers, working ethically, using finite materials carefully and working safely
  • A thorough knowledge of which tools, equipment and materials to use to make their products
  • The ability to apply mathematical knowledge
  • The ability to manage risks exceptionally well to manufacture products safely and hygienically
  • A passion for the subject and knowledge of up-to-date technological innovations in materials, products and systems



We learn about geography through our class topics. This gives the children a chance to make sense of our changing world. Importantly, our Local Curriculum ensures the children have an understanding of the area in which they live, and how it has developed over time. We aim to inspire curiosity about the world, so that our children have knowledge of places, seas and oceans, can question how and why the world is changing and communicate their findings. The essential characteristics of confident geographers are:

  • An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like
  • An excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated
  • An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary
  • Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques
  • The ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings
  • Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter
  • Highly developed and frequently utilised field work and other geographical skills and techniques
  • A passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there
  • The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment



History is taught through our class topic cycle and helps the children to develop a knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. The story of the past is often told through the eyes of individuals and the children will use their curiosity to question, think critically, examine evidence and consider their own judgements and decisions. The essential characteristics of successful historians are:

  • An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from a range of historical periods and of historical concepts and processes
  • The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas very confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences
  • The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurately historical evidence derived from a range of sources
  • The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry
  • A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways
  • A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgements



The ability to communicate in a different language opens up a greater understanding of other countries, cultures and communities. The ability to express ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to written and spoken language enhances children’s confidence in all communication. The essential characteristics of confident linguists are:

  • The confidence to speak with good intonation and pronunciation
  • Fluency in reading
  • Fluency and imagination in writing
  • A strong awareness of the culture of the countries where the language is spoken
  • A passion for languages and a commitment to the subject
  • The ability to use language creatively and spontaneously
  • An independence in their studies and the ability to draw upon a wide range of resources



In music the children will perform, listen to, review and evaluate music from different periods of history and countries. They will use their voices and instruments to compose music of their own and perform in front of others. The children will explore how music is created, including having an understanding of pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and notation. The essential characteristics of successful musicians are:

  • A rapidly widening repertoire which they use to create original, imaginative, fluent and distinctive composing and performance work
  • A musical understanding underpinned by high levels of aural perception, internalisation and knowledge of music, including high or rapidly developing levels of technical expertise
  • Very good awareness and appreciation of different musical traditions and genres
  • An excellent understanding of how musical provenance- the historical, social and cultural origins of music – contributes to the diversity of musical styles
  • The ability to give precise verbal and written explanations, using musical terminology effectively, accurately and appropriately
  • A passion for and commitment to a diverse range of musical activities


Personal, Social and Health Education

Through PSHE, we aim to enable children to explore their emotions, relationships and how they change. Our school teaches all aspects of PSHE through the ‘Jigsaw’ scheme of work; we also use the Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning ‘Pink (People in the Know) Curriculum’. Opportunities for reflection and discussion on personal and social issues are provided in Circle Time. We also run events on health promotion, drug prevention and citizenship during the year. Sex Education is taught as part of Health Education and Science; parents are notified and have the option to withdraw their child. The school promotes healthy eating.


Physical Education

All children experience a variety of competitive and non-competitive activities. These include gymnastics, multi-sports, dance, games, athletics, outdoor adventurous activities, orienteering, and swimming in Yr 2 & 3. At Slimbridge we employ specialist sports coaches to support children’s’ learning and to enhance the skills of the staff. We are part of the Dursley Sports Cluster and compete regularly in a variety of sports. We also promote a positive attitude towards maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. Daily ‘circuit training’ sessions are delivered by our Year 6 children. Essential characteristics of physically active pupils.

  • The ability to acquire new knowledge and skills exceptionally well and develop an in-depth understanding of PE
  • The willingness to practise skills in a wide range of different activities and situations, alone, in small groups and in teams and to apply these skills in chosen activities to achieve exceptionally high levels of performance
  • High levels of physical fitness
  • A healthy lifestyle, achieved by eating sensibly, avoiding smoking, drugs and alcohol and exercising regularly
  • The ability to remain physically active for sustained periods of time and an understanding of the importance of this in promoting long-term health and well-being.
  • The ability to take initiative and become excellent young leaders, organising and officiating, and evaluating what needs to be done to improve, and motivating and instilling excellent sporting attitudes in others.
  • Exceptional levels of originality, imagination and creativity in their techniques, tactics and choreography, knowledge of how to improve their own and others’ performance and the ability to work independently for extended periods of time without the need for guidance or support.
  • A keen interest in PE. A willingness to participate eagerly in every lesson, highly positive attitudes and the ability to make informed choices about engaging fully in extra-curricular sport.
  • The ability to swim at least 25 metres before the end of Year 6 and knowledge of how to remain safe in and around water.


Religious Education

Religious Education has a unique place as a subject in the school curriculum. It is part of the required curriculum for all children but, it is the only one that is decided locally. Therefore, Slimbridge School follows the Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus for 2017. This covers two aspects: ‘Learning about religion’ and ‘Learning from religion’. The key aim is ….’to engage pupils with key questions arising from the study of religion so as to promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.’ The children will develop a knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other principle world religions, other religious traditions and world views. The essential characteristics of religiously literate pupils are:

  • An outstanding level of religious understanding and knowledge
  • A thorough engagement with a range of ultimate questions about the meaning and significance of existence
  • The ability to ask significant and highly reflective questions about the meaning and significance of existence
  • The ability to ask significant and highly reflective questions about religion and demonstrate an excellent understanding of issues related to the nature, truth and value of religion.
  • A strong understanding of how beliefs, values, practises and ways of life within any religion cohere together
  • Exceptional independence; the ability to think for themselves and take the initiative in, for example, asking questions, carrying out investigations, evaluating ideas and working constructively with others.
  • Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity, which show in their responses to their learning in RE.
  • The ability to link the study of religion and belief to personal reflections on meaning and purpose
  • A wide knowledge and deep understanding across a wide range of religions and beliefs

If a parent wishes to withdraw their child from RE for religious reasons they will need to discuss this with the Head teacher.