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Our Curriculum


We will offer a distinctive educational model by combining the following elements:

  • An early years foundation stage model for all children up to age 7.

  • An emphasis on developing the skills of parents as carers and educators.

  • Thematic, cross-curricular, project-based learning for at least 50% of learning time for 7 to 11 year olds.

In keeping with our ethos, we will emphasise these distinctive qualities:

  • Experiential, open-ended and enquiry-based learning.

  • Problem solving and critical awareness.

  • Placing skills acquisition at the centre of the learning process.

  • Engaging in significant amounts of learning outdoors and off-site.

  • Teachers, parents and other caring adults will be facilitators of, and collaborators with, children’s learning.

  • The importance and value of self-assessment and peer assessment.

  • The importance, value and benefits of play.

  • The importance of child-centred and project-based learning to ensure children take ownership for their learning and develop their own interests and talents.

  • The importance of the arts to encourage free expression, imagination and creativity.

This distinctive model addresses the needs and aspirations of the local population. We recognise that, to improve educational provision in the area, we must first re-engage with the parents. We will provide a model of education that easily involves the parents and is transferable to the home environment. Despite the best efforts of existing schools, many parents report to us that they feel that they are not welcome in schools.


To counter this, we want to provide a radically different model that will:

  • Make it easy for parents to engage with their children?s education.

  • Develop parental nurturing skills.

  • Put children in charge of their own learning.


In keeping with our ethos, every family will be supported as it builds a quality learning environment for their child, so that all children have an enhanced chance to succeed.


Play-based Learning

Continuing with the principles of the Foundation Stage, there is thematic, child centred and play-based curriculum for Years 1 and 2 because this provides opportunities for:

  • Children to learn at the pace that is right for them.

  • Improved social and emotional development.

  • Experiential, play-based learning.


For children, play can be (and often is) a very serious business.

It needs concentrated attention. It is about children learning through perseverance, concentration and attention to detail – characteristics usually associated with work.


Play is not only crucial to the way children become self-aware and learn the rules of social behaviour; it is also fundamental to intellectual development. The “Foundation Phase for Wales” provides a model, with age appropriate learning goals, that has been extended to cater for children up to age 7. 


Phonics and Reading

Synthetic phonics are taught through Individual Learning Plans using Read, Write Inc resources. They enable children to make measured and rapid progress so that they can use phonics to blend and read fluently.

Real Books

Reading is a strength of our school; quality stories, non- fiction books, magazines and newspapers are used to create a stimulating learning environment and to develop a love of books. We have a partnership with Seven Stories who help us to select collections of books to enrich our themes and extend children's own learning.

Reading Scheme

We have integrated Oxford Reading Tree and Read, Write Inc reading schemes into our real books to enable children to read books which match the words and sounds they have learnt in Individual Learning Plans. This enables them to become confident and fluent readers quickly and easily.


Across school we use the Mastery approach to teaching maths with many opportunities to learn, reason and apply mathematical knowledge in real life situations. We have our  own progressions of skills across school to ensure continuity, progression and assessment.


In Early Years we follow the EYFS Curriculum and assess pupils at the end of it against Development Matters. Our unique environment, high staff ratio and opportunities for a two days of Outside Learning each week provides bespoke opportunities for learning across the curriculum.

KS1 and 2 - The International Primary Curriculum

After EYFS we follow the International Primary Curriculum  to provide our personalised thematic curriculum. Through this there are opportunities to learn in each subjects at a variety of levels. We map across to National Curriculum expectations to ensure expected coverage and breadth of experience. 


The Rainbow Continuum

The Rainbow Continuum is used throughout school to develop skills across the curriculum as well as the body of knowledge provided by other schemes. It enables staff to plan for a progression of skills across sequences of lessons, at different levels of challenge.

Community Learning

In Years 4, 5 and 6 the children take part in Community Learning each week rather than Outdoor Learning. They are involved in key themes such as growing, cooking eating, recycling and rubbish, enterprise and our community.

Assessment and Achievement

Like all schools, we must take part in National Testing in EYFS, Y1 (Phonics) Y2 and Y6. We endeavour to take a common sense approach to these moments in time and maintain our unique curriculum throughout. WE do not teach to the tests or narrow the taught curriculum.

Each half term we record our teacher assessments and moderate our judgements with other local schools. There are Pupil Progress Meetings for all staff where best practise is shared and interventions are planned.


Prep is offered for all KS2 pupils from 3.30-4pm each evening so that they can complete homework, have help with reading and practise Times Tables Rock Stars. 



If you would like to discuss any aspects of the school curriculum,  please contact the School Office on 0191 273 9477 or

Children moving up from the Infant Department will be lively, highly inquisitive and eager to learn.

We provide a curriculum that feeds off each child’s developing interests and provides them with the time and space to explore and investigate deeply, and truly engages them in learning in collaboration with their peers. The curriculum we use is the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). The IPC offers cross-curricular themed projects which can involve different ages and abilities working together over a lengthy period of time. The IPC offers extensive breadth of subject coverage, including science, art, music, language, geography and history, and includes many opportunities for English and maths practice in context.

Much thought has been given to ensuring that transition from the Infant Department, with a curriculum dominated by the Foundation Phase for Wales, to the Junior Department, with a curriculum dominated by the IPC, is seamless. In fact, careful examination of both curricula reveals that there is a remarkable degree of continuity and progression when the two are read together.

The curriculum will be supported by specialist English, maths and science teaching, which will occupy up to 50% of the timetable. All children will be encouraged to perform very well at their end-of-school tests, regardless of their entry point. Consequently, teacher expectations of the children will be very high.

The English and maths teaching is completed in small groups and additional teaching and intervention is provided to suit the needs of each individual child.

Our Inspiration

In building good foundations, the Infant Department’s approach is influenced by the pioneering work of the municipal pre-schools of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy, by the Naturebornhaven schools in Denmark, and by the educational work developed in the UK through the ReFocus Network.

  • In Reggio Emilia, the educators’ focus is to develop the children’s powers of hypothesis, communication, exploration, perception, imagination, invention and creativity. This is achieved through exciting environments, shared values, a strong “pedagogy of listening” (Rinaldi 1999), and respect for children’s ideas, which are listened to and form the basis of the work of the school.  By listening to the ideas of the children and developing the curriculum around their ideas, we will ensure that children are actively engaged in their learning and that every child is learning at the right level for their stage of development. This is important because we expect a significant number of our learners to be working below some of the developmental norms, and this greater engagement in learning will help to bring most children up to the age appropriate level by the end of Key Stage 2.

  • The Naturebornhaven schools in Denmark enable children to develop in rich, exciting and beautiful outdoor environments where they can learn to be autonomous and follow their own learning experiences together with their peers and teachers. This forest school approach provides a wealth of experiential opportunities that are in complete contrast to the usual urban decay found in inner west Newcastle. The contrast will also provide an additional stimulus to parents who may otherwise be reluctant to engage in school activities. The forest school approach will provide an environment in which the teachers are not naturally in charge, and make it easier for parents to express themselves.

  • The ReFocus Network is a UK network of educators who for more than a decade have been working together to develop strong, shared pedagogical values in early childhood education.

The “Foundation Phase for Wales” readily accommodates our extended use of the outdoors, and supports the principles and traditions of Reggio Emilia.

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