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 Curriculum using a thematic approach. We use 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 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 curriculum is planned to engage children:

  • gain memorable first-hand experiences, such as going on a visit or inviting a special visitor into school;
  • to observe and question;
  • develop spoken and written language skills;
  • improve their knowledge and understanding of the topic;
  • develop, practise and apply skills;
  • investigate and explore, including in the written form;
  • celebrate their achievements and have fun!

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. Our curriculum 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?

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 a STEM 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.  Characteristics of a reader are:

  • phonic knowledge and skills;
  • Fluency and accuracy in reading across a wide range of text
  • Knowledge of an extensive and rich vocabulary;
  • comprehension of texts
  • The motivation to read for pleasure;

Confident writers can present their ideas to an audience and require a myriad of skills:  spelling, handwriting, composition and imagination.  Characteristics of a writer are:

  • The ability to write fluently, with imagination and purpose;
  • A well-developed vocabulary and knowledge of writing techniques to extend details and description;
  • Well organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures;
  • Writing that is well presented and punctuated, spelled correctly and neat;

Speaking and listening are the basis of our ability to communicate.  Having your opinion listened has a direct impact on a learner’s confidence.  Characteristics of communicators are:

  • Listening to understand what is being said;
  • A rich vocabulary that gives clarity and interest to conversations;
  • Clear speech that can be understood by a range of audiences;
  • A grasp of the rules used in conversation,
  • An ability to tell stories that are structured and engaging;
  • An ability to initiate, join and maintain conversations;
  • Respect for others when communicating, even when views differ.


Mathematics enables us to communicate in many different ways and provides links to Science and Design Technology.  It includes 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.  Characteristics of mathematicians are:

  • An ability to use and apply concepts, making connections;
  • Recall and fluency of number facts and the number system;
  • The ability solve problems in a wide range of contexts;
  • To think independently and to persevere;
  • The ability to reason, generalise and make sense of solutions;


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.  Characteristics of scientists are:

  • The ability to think independently and ask questions;
  • Confidence to use a range of practical skills, for example, planning and carrying out investigations;
  • Showing understanding through written and verbal explanations when reporting findings;
  • The ability to undertake practical work in a variety of contexts;

 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.  Characteristics of artists are:

  • The ability to use line, shape, pattern, colour, texture, form, to express emotions and make observations;
  • The ability to draw confidently from observation, memory and imagination;
  • The ability to explore materials and techniques in 2D, 3D or digital media;
  • A knowledge and understanding of other artists, craft makers and designers;
  • Independence, initiative and originality which they can use to develop and evaluate their artwork;


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. Characteristics of users of technology are:

  • Competence in coding for a variety of practical and inventive purposes;
  • The ability to connect with others safely, lawfully and respectfully;
  • An understanding of the connected nature of devices;
  • The ability to communicate ideas, using applications and devices across the curriculum;
  • The ability to collect, organise and manipulate data.

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.  Characteristics of designers are:

  • To work creatively, use time efficiently and constructively to produce prototypes and models
  • A knowledge of which tools, equipment and materials to use to make their products;
  • The ability to manage risks exceptionally well to manufacture products safely and hygienically;


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.  Characteristics of geographers are:

  • A knowledge of where places are and what they are like;
  • An understanding of how much human and physical environments are interrelated;
  • An 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;
  • Understanding of field work and other geographical skills and techniques;


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.  Characteristics of historians are:

  • A knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from a range of historical periods;
  • The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas confidently and appropriate;
  • The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry;


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.  Characteristics of linguists are:

  • The confidence to speak with good intonation and pronunciation;
  • Fluency in reading and writing;
  • An awareness of the culture of the countries where the language is spoken;


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.  Characteristics of musicians are:

  • A widening repertoire which they use to create original, imaginative, fluent and distinctive composing and performance work;
  • A good awareness and appreciation of different musical traditions and genres;
  • An 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 and Relationships 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.  Characteristics of physically active pupils are:

  • The ability to acquire and practise new knowledge and skills;
  • An understanding of the importance of physical fitness and a healthy life style;
  • The ability to take initiative and become young leaders, organising and officiating, and modelling good sporting attitudes to others;
  • 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.  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. 

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

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.