A rich, demanding, creative curriculum

Our Curriculum

Click HERE for our full Discovery Curriculum Document

Our curriculum Intent

Our curriculum at Dringhouses is centred on three key values : Leadership. Inspiration, and Challenge. Our learners should be exposed to opportunities, experiences, knowledge and skills that prioritise and promote these values.


Our curriculum is designed around three central themes we believe should underpin all choices made around our curriculum: Diversity, Engagement, and Relevance, with particular regard given to those learners considered most vulnerable (including the lowest attaining 20%) and/or meeting the criteria for Pupil Premium, within our community.

Core and foundation subjects

An engaging curriculum results in children who are inspired by and enjoy their learning. Visits, curriculum enrichment, thought provoking lessons and key questions mean that all of our pupils are able to take ownership of and drive their learning forward in a meaningful and engaging context.

The following sections present an overview of how we implement our curriculum.

To meet our curriculum aims, teachers will deliver learning and lessons which are:

– Coherently planned, and

– Sequenced to ensure cumulatively sufficient powerful knowledge and skills for future learning specific knowledge and core knowledge and skills supporting skills

These derive from each individual National Curriculum subject; we set them out in our age-related expectations within each subject, for each Learning Project.

The core subjects of English, Maths and Science are taught as discrete subjects.

Half-termly Learning Projects integrate learning and skills from across the curriculum, making meaningful and purposeful links that build upon and reference one another. The subject matter of a Science unit or a curriculum topic is often developed or referred to in English or Maths lessons.

Curriculum Structure

Our curriculum is built around four elements:

1. ‘Enjoying Excellent Education’ – we want our learners to enjoy the education that they experience here, and for that education to be excellent. Our Mission Statement, school aims, and character values set out what we want our learners to be by the time they leave us: confident, creative, curious, community-minded, collaborative – and prepared for whatever their future holds.

2. The National Curriculum – as must all schools in England, we follow the National Curriculum, its subjects and content. Within the National Curriculum, however, is a level of flexibility to ensure that our curriculum offer meets the needs of our learners at Dringhouses Primary School – their interests, and their futures.

3. Our curriculum delivery – teaching and learning – in every subject. This connects with our knowledge and skills expectations, and our Curriculum Design Values and Design Themes as set out below.

4. Dringhouses Character: we want our learners to be Confident, creative, curious, collaborative, and community-minded. These are dispositions that will set them up for their future, regardless of the fields that they choose to investigate and enjoy.

Lead | Inspire | Challenge


We aspire for our children to be leaders of the future, whether in a career sense, or in regards to moral, and social decisions and action that they may go on to experience and engage with. We want them to be ethically minded, and to understand what positive leadership looks like and feels like. We aim to give our children opportunities for leadership at every phase of their Dringhouses experience, and to be able to reflect on this within our curriculum model.


We know that our children want the curriculum to be inspiring; to inspire interest and a love of learning that will carry with them throughout their time here at Dringhouses, and onwards to the next stages of their future. Inspiration breeds wonder and curiosity, and through curiosity, we find out about the world around us. We want our learners to be curious and to be inspired.


At Dringhouses Primary, we know that our learners achieve highly. We must strive to ensure that their education offers consistent and appropriately pitched challenge: enough to engage and to develop. We want our learners to seek and relish challenge, understanding themselves that curiosity, collaboration, and creativity encourages progress and confidence.

Overall implementation


Our curriculum has been designed following consultation with staff, parents and children. Many different curriculum structures were considered before selecting the following plans for curriculum implementation. The consultation was comprehensive:

-There was thoughtful discussion about where and when subjects and units of learning would be mapped out

-Teachers were consulted during the process

-Leaders took on board views, and were very mindful of ensuring a broad and balanced learning experience, personalised to our school community, its experiences and requirements.

-The curriculum is reviewed on at least an annual basis to continually review our processes and content, ensuring that we stick to our curriculum values (Leadership, Inspiration, Challenge), and design themes (Aspiration, Engagement, Relevance)

A two year cycle

At Dringhouses teachers work in four different phases to plan and deliver the curriculum: Early Years, Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2), Lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4) and Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6).

As a result, we operate a one year rolling programme in Early Years and a two-year rolling programme of topics, with some topics in Cycle A and some in Cycle B, in Key Stage 1 and 2. The age-related expectations are the same for both year groups in the phase and teachers will differentiate to meet the needs of all pupils so that by the time they leave a phase, they will have met the expectations.

There are various benefits to this model, which include:

– Staff can share ideas and skills when planning and delivering topics

– Staff can provide different areas of subject expertise

– A common topic creates a talking point or ‘buzz’ for conversations in school

– Classes might swap teachers or combine to work with other children

– There are economies of scale when organising visits out or visitors into school

– To help reduce teachers’ workload, a problem increasingly recognised by the Department for Education and Ofsted (eg School inspection handbook: Handbook for inspecting schools in England under section 5 of the Education Act 2005, November 2019)

Another advantage of a two-year cycle is that children learn some age-related expectations in one year and then secure their learning in the following year – an opportunity to reinforce, to provide for greater ‘mastery’ of the learning; and an opportunity to go deeper with the learning, to use and apply their learning in more situations.

(Incidentally, the National Curriculum doesn’t specify year groups for foundation subjects such as history and geography.)

Our curriculum is broad, and balanced. To that end, when planning our Learning Projects (LP), we do not limit any one subject to ‘driving’ an LP. We view all subjects as key contributors to the overall curriculum experience, and believe that our learners deserve equitable access to a broad range of learning, knowledge, and skills throughout their time at Dringhouses Primary.

We understand that while subjects may be taught in a discrete fashion, they may also contribute fundamentally to other subjects and Learning Projects. For example, PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) will enrich the learning experiences of children during a Computing topic in that they will develop respectful relationships and learn more about careful online relationships and internet safety and harms. However, most aspects of the PSHE curriculum will be taught in a discrete, dedicated weekly session.

This means that there may be Learning Projects that include a greater level of history ‘content’, while others may have more computing content. However, while making sure that children are aware of the substantive historical knowledge (the ‘what’), we also aim to foster their disciplinary knowledge (the ‘how’) across the full range of curriculum subjects.

Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC)

The National Curriculum states: ‘Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based, and which: promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society’.

We promote SMSC through our whole-school aims and character values

, effective relationships throughout the school, assemblies, and other curriculum activities. National Curriculum subjects provide opportunities to promote SMSC, too. Explicit opportunities are provided in Religious Education and in PSHCE).

An example of how one subject – Science – can promote SMSC:
Spiritual: developing a sense of awe and wonder at the complexity and pattern in natural phenomena
Moral: looking at good and bad uses of drugs; moral issues in the human food chain
Social: looking at ways in which the environment needs protection
Cultural: scientific development in relation to others – water supplies, new varieties of flowers and food crops

Special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)

Dringhouses Primary School is inclusive and committed to meeting the needs of children with SEND in the most effective way so that they achieve the best possible outcomes:
We want pupils with SEND to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to reach their full potential; to be ready for the next stage in their education and, ultimately, to succeed in life.

To do this, we adapt how we implement the curriculum to meet the needs of pupils with SEND so that we can develop their knowledge, skills and abilities to apply what they know and can do with increasing fluency and independence.

The adaptations we make are appropriate and reasonable, and are made in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and the SEND code of practice.

Flexibility and freedom

In specific circumstances (such as where there is a significant event nationally/globally that merits consideration eg a natural disaster in the news), staff may choose to deviate from their Learning Project content, in some regards. This is important as it provides opportunities for staff to explore other aspects of learning within or beyond the curriculum – learning which is more spontaneous in that it meets children’s questions, needs and interests in a responsive and ‘organic’ way.

This supports our curriculum design themes:
Being relevant, so that we can respond to local, national and world events which help to build up ‘the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.’ (School inspection handbook: Handbook for inspecting schools in England under section 5 of the Education Act 2005, November 2019, point 178, p43)
Being engaging, so that we can respond to and foster children’s engagement, interests and questions in a way which provides an even richer source of knowledge and skills.

Class novels

In every class, reading has a high profile. This includes a class novel (or other shared text). Our topics will be supported and enriched by quality texts. These might be class novels, extracts from quality texts, shorter picture books (a wide variety of ‘mature picture books’ are available), poetry and non-fiction texts. These texts will complement/contextualise the subject content that makes up the Learning Project’s powerful knowledge and skills.

The Learning Projects aim to show children the links between a text and the wider world, and – importantly – promote a love of reading. Where meaningful links between a text’s content and knowledge can be made with the Learning Project’s theme and content, we endeavour to provide these for our learners.


Within each topic (and in Science), there are key subject-specific words/phrases that we want our children to know. At the start of the topic, there is a ‘class assessment’ where teachers introduce the key vocabulary and gauges the knowledge and understanding of the words for the class as a whole.

Throughout the topic, these words are taught, practiced, and used often. For example, children might review/revise/recap key vocabulary at the start of each topic lesson (vocabulary might relate to previous as well as current topics).

At the end of the topic, children demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the vocabulary. They may also use and apply the words in sentences or in a topic review of some sort.

Challenge and deeper learning

In line with our curriculum value, and across all subjects, teachers provide opportunities for challenge and deeper learning. All of our pupils should be provided with learning that meets their level of need, scaffolding them appropriately through new learning, while providing ambitious levels of challenge that creates engagement, challenge, and ultimately new understanding and skill.

Sometimes, the challenge may not be evident in books; for example, challenge might be provided by less support during the teacher input; an additional, practical task that isn’t recorded; and teacher questioning which is targeted to meet the needs of different pupils.

Often, there is evidence in books of challenge for pupils: for example, teacher feedback which provides an additional task or thought-provoking question; an open-ended activity that promotes reasoning; and ‘flipping over’ the learning or activity by considering the opposite or reverse (eg by coming up with their own questions or criteria).

The Dringhouses Discovery Curriculum

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