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2014 National Curriculum

September 2014 saw the introduction of a revised statutory National Curriculum for schools in England and Wales. Maintained schools are required to teach the contents of the National Curriculum to all pupils.


Schools are also now required to provide information for parents on the curriculum via the school website.


The content of the 2014 National Curriculum is attached to the bottom of this page. The PDF gives an overview of what is taught in each year group. More able pupils may work on aspects of study from year groups above. Less able or SEN pupils may work on aspects of study from year groups below, according to individual need.


You will find also a PDF of the current Foundation Stage curriculum.



At Desford Primary School the teaching of the curriculum is arranged as follows:


Phonics and Reading


In Foundation Stage and Key Stage One (and also for some pupils in Lower Key Stage Two), Phonics is taught using the National "Letters and Sounds" framework and materials. This content provides the context for a substantial proportion of the work children do in reading, writing and spelling, including homework tasks. Phonics is taught as a daily, focused and discreet activity with either the whole class or small groups, as appropriate


Desford Primary School uses what is known as a “Colour Band” approach to organising children’s reading materials. We take texts from the major reading schemes  (Oxford Reading Tree, Collins “Big Cat” and Rigby “Star”) and carefully collate them in to  progression “bands” where the material within each band is broadly  comparable and where each successive “ band “ leads a child into more complex texts appropriate to their growing competence with reading. Children may have books from two or more band simultaneously, depending on the context of the reading task they are involved with. Children will always be working at and beyond the limits of their ability with complex texts when reading with a teacher but may be guided towards less challenging content when reading independently at school, or at home.


All children in Desford Primary receive regular, focused, systematic and highly structured small-group “Guided Reading” sessions with a teacher at least once a week. This is in addition to less formal daily reading activities, often involving Teaching Assistants. We cannot overstress the importance of parents reading with children at home, particularly when the child is in Foundation Stage or Key Stage One. We support and encourage parents in this via regular Parent Reading Curriculum Evenings.


There is an expectation that children progress at a brisk rate through this phonics and reading content so that they are capable, confident readers and writers before they go in to Key Stage Two. Children who need additional help to maintain this pace will always get it and we have various levels of intervention and support in place to meet this need. The Special Educational Needs Coordinator will be involved at an early stage if the difficulties are assessed as being complex, pronounced and/or possibly related to dyslexia.


The Creative Curriculum


In Key Stages One  and  Two Maths and English are taught as distinct and separate subjects, usually in the mornings. Science and French are also taught as distinct and separate subjects (the latter only to Key Stage Two).


All the other seven areas of the curriculum are taught via cross-curricular themes.


 For instance, A "Vikings" theme will be explored through activities relating to the National Curriculum objectives for Geography, History, Art, Design, Music and Drama for that year group. Additionally, no opportunity will be lost to introduce Maths, English, ICT and Science elements to the theme activities as appropriate.


A theme is planned by teachers for half a term using a planning template common to both Key Stage One and Two. The activities planned for the theme are posted on the class pages of this website and include homework, and suggestions for activities with parents at home relating to the work being done at school. Class visits, trips and other special activities are planned to relate to theme for the half-term.


If it proves difficult to meaningfully integrate individual subject objectives into a theme, we may focus on those objectives for a week or two in a mini-theme running alongside the main theme. This might be the case if we were teaching aspects of, for instance, RE, or Music.


The themes are arranged into two-year programmes. Years 1 and 2, Years 3 and 4, and Years 5 and 6 each have a two-year programme such that by the end of each phase, pupils will have covered the required National Curriculum objectives for those age groups. The programme can be found at the bottom of this page.


This approach to teaching the curriculum ensures that children cover the required ground in a coherent and consistent way as they progress through the school. Also, the value of a cross- curricular approach in enabling the children to make connections between the subject areas is well-recognised. Coupled with a hands-on, active approach to learning, this enables children to enjoy what they doing and to make good progress.


The Foundation Stage curriculum is distinct from that taught in Key Stages One and Two and is very much focussed on developing the basic language, number, social and emotional skills necessary to make further progress in Years 1 and 2. An outline of the National Foundation Stage curriculum for England and Wales is attached. Please note that it is very usual for some children to be following a Foundation Stage curriculum in Year 1. This reflects the range of learning experiences that children have prior to coming to school, their level of maturity, or simply their chronological age if they are summer born. Children progress at different rates and the important thing is that each child accesses the appropriate learning for them at their level of development.


A more detailed account of teaching and learning at Desford can be found in the school policy of the same name and accessible here.