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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Slimbridge School Curriculum

 At Slimbridge Primary School we follow the 2014 Primary National Curriculumusing a thematic approach. We a skills-based framework that is mapped to the 2014 Primary National Curriculum, thus ensuring comprehensive coverage of national expectations. To deliver this curriculum, our teachers plan imaginative topics to provide a rich menu of exciting and motivating learning activities that make creative links between all aspects of our children’s learning. We use the Focus Education Progression materials to ensure that skills build as the children develop.

We believe children learn better when they are encouraged to use their imaginations and apply their learning to engaging contexts. Our curriculum provides lots of learning challenges throughout the academic year; these require children to solve problems, apply themselves creatively and express their knowledge and understanding effectively across the curriculum.

The children is planned to first engage children:

  • gain memorable first-hand experiences, such as going on a visit or inviting a special visitor into school;
  • get an exciting introduction to a topic or theme;
  • begin researching and setting enquiry questions;
  • get lots of opportunities to make observations;
  • develop spoken language skills;
  • take part in sensory activities;
  • have lots of fun to fully ‘engage’ with their new topic.

At the ‘Develop’stage, children:

  • improve their knowledge and understanding of the topic;
  • develop and practise their new skills;
  • compose, make, do, build, investigate, explore, write for different purposes and read across the curriculum;
  • research their own questions and those set by others;
  • follow new pathways of enquiry based on their interests;
  • complete homework activities that support their learning.

At the ‘Innovate’stage, children:

  • apply skills, knowledge and understanding in real-life contexts;
  • solve real or imagined problems using everything they’ve learnt;
  • get inspired by imaginative and creative opportunities;
  • re-visit anything not fully grasped at the ‘Develop’ stage.

At the ‘Express’stage, children:

  • become the performers, experts and informers;
  • share their achievements with parents, classmates and the community;
  • evaluate finished products and processes;
  • link what they have learnt to where they started;
  • celebrate their achievements!


The National Curriculum provides an outline of core skills and knowledge, and under the 2014 Primary National Curriculum, this is supplemented by the Local Curriculum.This uses a school’s local environment to make the children’s learning relevant to them. Ourcurriculum will be delivered, where possible, through topics that link to the children’s own experience and locality.

The key questions that decide ‘Our Local Perspective’ are:

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

We plan topics to reflect our children’s interests, local history, places of interest and specific needs. (These needs and interests may change as we regularly reflect upon our teaching as part of our school evaluation process.) We aim to provide a broad and challenging curriculum that promotes spiritual, cultural, mental and physical development and that prepares our pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.  Slimbridge Primary School 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 giving them a chance to ‘aspire’ for the future. Children’s aspirations can be as simple as becoming a ‘free’ reader or as ambitious as becoming a future Olympic Champion!  Finally, we are committed to developing the children’s resilience and perseverance through our outdoor learning at Forest Schools and during playtimes (See Forest Schools and OPAL)

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


The Skills Based Curriculum


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

An ability to read confidently is a key life skill, but also brings personal enjoyment and pleasure.  The essential characteristics of a 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 can present their ideas to an audience and require a myriad of skills:  spelling, handwriting, composition and imagination.  The essential 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 are 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.  Essential characteristics of excellent 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 support and nurture good communication, Slimbridge Primary is a ‘Philosophy for Children’ school.


Mathematics is a creative and interconnected subject and enables us to communicate in many different parts of our 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. Essential characteristics of 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 the number system;
  • 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.


Science is largely taught through class topics, although some areas in Year 5 & 6 are taught discretely or as science events.  We plan to ensure that the children develop skills in observation, questioning, formulating hypotheses, measuring, comparing and interpreting.  We aim to develop scientific and conceptual knowledge through biology, chemistry and physics.  Essential characteristics of 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 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 which 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 commitment to, the subject.


Most children are confident users of technology and regularly use tablets, laptops, smart TVs etc.  Within topic work, we use Word, Powerpoint and Excel. 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. 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.  Essential characteristics of 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 to 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 in our children a curiosity about the world, knowledge of places, seas and oceans, questioning of how and why the world is changing and the communication of their findings. The essential characteristics of 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.  Essential characteristics of 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 accurate 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, their culture and communities.  The ability to express ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond when spoken to, or in writing, enhances children’s confidence in all communication.  Essential characteristics of 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 different 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.  Essential characteristics of 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 music history.

Personal, Social and Health Education

We aim to enable children to explore their emotions, relationships and how they change.  Opportunities to reflect 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 in advance 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, orienteering and swimming in Yr 2 & 3. At Slimbridge, we bring in 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. Essential characteristics of physically active pupils are:

  • 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, 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. However, it is the only one that is decided locally.  Therefore, Slimbridge School follows the Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus. This covers two aspects ‘Learning about religion’ and ‘Learning from religion’ and 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 principal 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 and between religions 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.

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


British Values

In the 2011 Prevent Strategy, the government set out a definition of ‘British values’.  The Department for Education have recently reinforced the need ‘to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.’  At Slimbridge Primary School, these values are regularly promoted and reinforced and in the following ways:



Democracy is an important part of the culture of our school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council. Pupil questionnaires and pupil conferencing ensure that pupils are a part of the development of our school. The election of school councillors is based solely on pupil votes.

Our behaviour system involves rewards and sanctions that are reinforced through all aspects of school life. The behaviour system was created, understood and supported by pupils and the outcomes are shared with pupils, parents and carers.


The Rule of Law:

The importance of laws is taught to children from as early as reception class. Our behaviour system empowers pupils to make the right choices and shows them there are consequences to acting against the accepted rules. Pupils are taught the value and reason behind laws, that they govern and protect us; visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.

Robust reward systems are in place for pupils who demonstrate a commitment to following the school rules. Our Values are taught consistently across the school and are fundamental to our behaviour policy; these values are: Care, Support, Aspire, Achieve.


Individual liberty:

We teach children about freedom of choice and pride ourselves on providing them with a safe and supportive environment within which to do so. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through E-safety and PHSCE lessons.

We provide contextually relevant role-models to the children within our assemblies and encourage them to think about their role in a global society. We empower children in their learning through our ‘traffic light assessment for learning’ system, plus self and peer marking, where pupils are able to participate in the decision relating to the level of understanding and success in their learning.

We also offer pupils a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities that they are able to choose to participate in.


 Mutual respect:

Our core values of care, support, aspire and achieve are taught alongside other important values, such as courage, forgiveness, friendship, hope, justice, service, thankfulness, trust and truthfulness. These values are embedded into our curriculum. Pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what these mean and how they can be demonstrated. School values are shared with home through newsletters, website information and special assemblies.

All members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect and be accepting of those with different faiths and beliefs: We believe that our pupils need to see themselves as part of a global, diverse community. Assemblies and visitors to the school reinforce work in class through our RE, PHSCE and themes. We seek to allow every child in the school to identify with their own culture and where possible invite visitors from different faiths and cultures to talk to the children to enhance learning.

Assemblies and discussions about prejudices and prejudice-based bullying are followed and supported by our learning in RE and PHSCE lessons.

At Slimbridge we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values.