Knavesmire Primary School

Trafalgar Street, York, North Yorkshire YO23 1HY

01904 554445

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. 

Here is the content of the curriculum that we follow in each year group for every subject:

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. In our Foundation classes the children learn the skills needed to become strong, confident individuals who are capable of learning and achieving through positive relationships, enabling environments and an understanding that every child is unique. The children in Foundation stage follow the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum’ which is based around 3 Prime Areas and 4 specific areas of Learning and Development. The prime areas: ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’, ‘Communication and Language’ and ‘Physical Development’ support and scaffold the four specific areas ‘Literacy’, ‘Mathematics’,’ Understanding the World’ and ‘Expressive Arts and Design’
The Foundation Stage Curriculum is underpinned by the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’. These focus on the ways in which children will engage with others and their environment. The characteristics fall under three key headings; ‘playing and exploring’, ‘active learning’, and ‘creating and thinking critically’; these promote learning and development across all areas and support the child in being an effective and motivated learner. At Knavesmire, we encourage independence in safe, caring and well-planned areas of provision, both indoors and out.

We follow The National Curriculum's guidance and teach the three distinct areas of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing, (which includes handwriting and spelling.) We provide
books for children to share and read at home throughout the year and a home reading record to encourage parents 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.  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, annual book days are held, when children are encouraged to dress up as a favourite book character!  Spellings and English home learning are introduced from Year 1 upwards and focus on Phonics in Year 1 and spelling rules thereafter.  We also teach a variety of 'sentence types' in Year 1 upwards to support the children's writing as well as embedding drafting, editing and re-drafting of their writing.

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

At Knavesmire, every pupil accesses a broad and balanced mathematics national curriculum.  The National Curriculum is divided into Number, Measurement, Geometry, Statistics, Ratio and Proportion and Algebra.
We believe that practical and outdoor activities help children to develop and understand a range of mathematical concepts.

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 Primary school, 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. All year 5 and 6 pupils also have access to their own individually assigned Chromebook. Chromebooks are a brilliant tool that can be used across all subjects in the curriculum; they enhance learning experiences by providing an interactive approach to all lessons. 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 taught throughout the school by a music specialist, each class receiving an hour’s music lesson every week. The school uses Charanga Musical School, an interactive scheme which promotes active participation in music making. Extra-curricular music clubs include two choirs, for Years 2/3 and Years 4/5/6, and recorder groups for beginner, improver and advanced players. Peripatetic music teachers visit the school on a weekly basis, giving individual or group lessons in strings, woodwind, guitar, drums, piano and keyboard. Knavesmire’s orchestra meets to rehearse for the school carol concerts in the autumn term. The school also invests in the Whole Class Ensemble Tuition scheme, run by York Arts Education, which provides class lessons in violin and ukulele in Year 4. Singing is promoted through use of the Sing Up website both in class and in Collective Worship. Additional music workshops are provided by the Music Education Group at York University.
All our children have the opportunity to take part in performances throughout the year, as well as additional projects such as the Minster Outreach Project and Knavesmire’s Got Talent.


At Knavesmire, foreign language learning is an important and established part of our curriculum. Every child studies French from Reception right through to Year 6. Emphasis is on learning through fun, with good progression, in the key skills of listening and speaking, reading, writing and grammar. Children develop a good grasp of phonics in French and also develop sound dictionary skills and a good grammatical awareness. They use a wide range of resources to develop language skills that they are transferable whatever language they go on to learn.

In addition, pupils in Years 1-4 are taught taster German sessions and Year 5 and 6 learn Spanish for a term, where the emphasis is on practical use and transferable skills.

Year 6 children complete a unit on "secondary ready French Language skills". In addition, there is a secondary-ready German offered as a lunchtime club.

At Knavesmire we enjoy working with partner schools in France, Spain and Germany and children enjoy a sense of purpose through regular exchange of real work.

Physical Education
Pupils from Year 1 to Year 6 receive two PE lessons per week (a minimum of two hours in total).  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.  In nursery, children access outside play provision independently every day as well as one focused PE session every fortnight.   In Reception classes, children receive one PE session a week as well as one focused outdoor activity.  In Year 3, Physical Education also includes swimming lessons which continue throughout the academic year.  Year 5 pupils participate in a residential to gain additional opportunities of outdoor and adventurous activities. 

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 PSHCE 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.

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. 

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.