Our Curriculum

The School Curriculum
The National Curriculum is a statutory requirement in England. Progression in the long and medium term is assured through the school’s curriculum frameworks and schemes of work. Our schemes of work ensure the whole National Curriculum is covered. Each year group works as a team and has the same scheme of work to follow in order to ensure that children gain similar knowledge, skills and experience. 

We will shortly be uploading copies of the following documents for parents related to what is taught in Early Years and from Year 1 to Year 6:

  • Our Curriculum Learning Map;
  • Each Year Group's Long Term Plan;
  • Termly Overviews for parents (Big Ideas);
  • Plans for English (showing how pupils are taught a range of skills across for key areas: Reading, Writing, Grammar and Spelling/Phonics);
  • Plans for Maths;
  • Curriculum Progression Grids (showing how all subjects are taught to ensure progression through the year groups);
  • The Big Idea explained for Parents;
  • Theory Behind The Big Idea Curriculum;
  • Key skills leaflets (for Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4Year 5 and Year 6).

Pupils in Early Years (Nursery and Reception) follow the EYFS curriculum.

Early Years Foundation Stage
The Foundation Stage at Knavesmire consists of Nursery and Reception classes, with the added benefit of a safe and secure outside learning environment. The Foundation Stage Curriculum consists of the characteristics of effective learning which promotes thinking skills, motivation and independence through 3 prime areas: Communication & Language; Physical Development; Personal, Social and Emotional Development and 4 specific areas: Literacy; Mathematics; Understanding of the World; Expressive Art and Design. We encourage independence in safe, caring and well-planned areas of provision, both indoors and out.


The Curriculum
(Key Stage 1 & Key Stage 2) The school has a statutory responsibility to teach the subjects of the National Curriculum. These are divided into areas of learning which include English, Mathematics, Science, Computing and the other foundation subjects. All children are also introduced to a modern foreign language. In the EY and KS1 children receive 23 hours of actual teaching time per week. This excludes time for registration, assemblies, lunchtime, mid-morning and afternoon break. The equivalent time in KS2 is 24 hours.

The National Curriculum splits English into three distinct areas: Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing, (which includes handwriting and spelling).
As part of our partnership with parents, children are provided with books to share and read at home throughout the year. A home reading record is provided and parents are encouraged to make comments as part of the dialogue between home and school. In addition, Reception children take home phonetically decodable books to share with their parents. Spellings and English home learning are introduced from Year 1 upwards. Children are encouraged to use the school library to change books, gather information from reference books and browse. A range of events that promote reading are held throughout the year, including visits from authors and theatre groups. Furthermore, book days are held, when children are encouraged to dress up as a favourite book character.

The school use the Letters and Sounds Scheme for the teaching of Phonics.

The National Curriculum for Mathematics is divided into Number and the Number System, Number Operations and Calculation, Money, Measures, Geometry and Statistics. We believe practical and outdoor activities are important for giving a child a better understanding of mathematical concepts. The acquisition of computational skills is particularly important as this enables children to solve problems quickly and accurately.


Foundation Subjects
Knavesmire Primary School believes in providing a creative curriculum that inspires everyone at the school to reach their potential. To help us deliver a curriculum that is unique to Knavesmire, we learn through Big Ideas. The goal of The Big Idea Curriculum is for children to focus on a combination of academic and creative learning. We want children to enjoy their learning - develop enquiring minds, develop the personal qualities they need to be good citizens of the world, and develop a sense of their own nationality and culture, and a profound respect for the nationalities and cultures of others. Most of all, we want children to develop all the skills they will need in order to confidently face the world of tomorrow. The Big Idea Curriculum is a bespoke scheme of learning providing a cross-curricular, thematic, rigorous teaching structure designed to engage children of all abilities in today’s world. It combines the foundation subjects, such as Science, History, Geography, Art and Design Technology into themes – as well as core subjects. The Big Idea ‘topics’ cover ‘themes’ that inspire pupils to take ownership of their learning. As well as being unique and inspirational, the topics are designed to meet the aims of the National Curriculum by delivering discrete objectives in purposeful learning vehicle.

At Knavesmire the children make use of a wide range of new technologies and applications. They learn to apply their skills in word processing, data-handling, graphics and controlling devices. There is also a clear structure that develops programming progressively throughout the school. Through the use of a variety of programmes, these skills are used to enhance work produced in other areas of the curriculum. The school is linked to a large internal network which gives pupils access to their own files, printers and other multimedia devices and this is also connected to the internet via a ‘fire wall’ to provide appropriate access and protection. Pupils have access to laptops and iPads to encourage them to use their research skills in other areas of the curriculum. The school is developing its website and virtual learning environment which allows families to learn alongside their child at home. It will also allow families to see some of the work their child has been doing at school. The school has a structured scheme to teach coding with a range of resources to facilitate its effective delivery.

Music is a subject that encourages active participation. The requirements of the National Curriculum are met through class-based music activities taught by a music specialist. The school currently runs two choirs due to the high levels of participation. Both choirs perform in our local community. The school also has a wide range of extra-curricular music clubs. Peripatetic music teachers give individual or group tuition on a weekly basis to children and the school invests in Wider Opportunities which provides class violin lessons in Year 4.

All pupils in Key Stage 2 are required to study a modern foreign language. At Knavesmire Primary we teach French, delivered by qualified language teachers, to all pupils from Reception to Year 6. In Years 5 and 6 we also teach Spanish to our pupils.


Physical Education
All pupils from Reception to Year 6 also receive two PE lessons per week (a minimum of two hours) as the minimum requirement of their Sports Provision. In Year 3, Physical Education also includes swimming lessons which continue throughout the academic year and in Year 5 pupils participate in a residential to gain additional opportunities of outdoor and adventurous activities. Pupils in the Foundation Stage all have access to the outdoor learning environment in which they are taught gross motor skills and the prerequisites of physical development.

Sex and Relationship Education
It is the policy of the school that Sex and Relationship Education will be specifically taught as part of our Personal, Health and Social Education lessons. Further details are available on the school website.

Religious Education
Religious Education contributes to children’s spiritual, moral, social, cultural and intellectual development. Children are encouraged to respect the religious commitment of others and embrace that people have the right to hold different religious beliefs. The school teaches RE in line with the legal requirement, by following the agreed Programme of Study of The City of York although instead of selecting Christianity and two other religions to teach we teach about all six major world religions across the seven years from Reception to Year 6. It is felt that all children, whatever their personal beliefs and commitments, can study RE in line with this syllabus.

Schools are no longer required to teach PHSCE lessons (Personal, Social, Health & Citizenship) but there is a legal requirement for schools to ‘make provision’ for the promotion of Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural education. For this reason, we have decided to continue to develop our existing programme of PSHCE/SEAL/Community Cohesion lessons across the school. These crucial messages about understanding and empathy of community at a school, local, national and a global level and how we function within it, ensure that our pupils continue to operate effectively in society when they leave us.

Assemblies/Collective Worship
We aim to ensure that the broad traditions of Christian belief are reflected in our daily worship and that all our assemblies reflect values which would be acceptable, not only to Christianity, but also to most other religions. Our collective worship will not be narrowly Christian, nor will it be distinctive of any particular denomination and we shall make no assumptions about the children’s personal commitment to Christianity or any other religion. We also integrate SEAL and Special Mentions Assemblies to celebrate good work and behaviour. Knavesmire Primary Collective Worship Policy is available on the school website.

Right of Withdrawal
Our intention is that Religious Education and Collective Worship, as well as our Sex and Relationship Education, shall be inclusive activities, respecting the integrity of all concerned. Children may be withdrawn from these activities, but we encourage parents to discuss this fully with the Head Teacher before coming to a final decision.

Features of Learning at Knavesmire - The Big Idea Explained:

Knavesmire Primary School’s curriculum is diverse and creative, with the key feature that all learning is purpose-driven. The self-design process enables accountability to statutory National Curriculum requirements - whilst designing a curriculum bespoke to its learners.

Pupils are both partners in learning, and in their curriculum design. This ownership ensures accountability and enthusiasm, and a passion and excitement for learning. In consultaion with the pupils, the teachers decide an end goal for each 'topic' to work towards (The Guiding Purpose). Pupils then generate a series of questions which will need to be answered to achieve this end goal. These questions are ordered so everybody understands what will need to be answered at which stage of the unit (The Learning Journey). Pupils and teachers can then evaluate the successes and adapt their learning as the 'topic' progresses. Key Skills are developed so they can be used in future learning. Subject specific objectives are used so that discrete subject knowledge is developed/ achieved.

The enrichment and diversity of the curriculum enthuses learners and teachers, creating heightened ambition and high standards across the full breadth of the curriculum. Its diversity showcases talents and conceives inspiration. Inbuilt flexibility embraces new technologies and fosters skills for a fast changing world. Breadth of quality of provision is built on expertise of staff and well-developed, sustainable partnerships.

Read the Theory behind the Big Idea Curriculum to hear why we have developed our curriculum in this way. Our Parent's Guide to The Big Idea will help you to understand the way it works in class and the information listed above gives you information on how everything fits together. Our Big Idea curriculum meets the legal requirements of the National Curriculum and engages our pupils in purposeful and exciting learning opportunities.