Lowick and Holy Island C. of E. First Schools

Curriculum Policy

Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to this people?

Who will go for us?" I said, "Here I am. Send me."

Isaiah 6:8


At Lowick and Holy Island C. of E. First Schools (to known as the school for the purpose of this document) we believe that the curriculum is a powerful tool that promotes a love of learning and willingness to explore, and the time to have fun. We are proud to use the National Curriculum as a starting point for a wide and varied learning experience for our children. The curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning and personal growth and development. It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but also the range of extra-curricular activities that the school organises in order to enrich the experience of the children.  

It also includes the ‘hidden curriculum’, or what the children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave. We aim to teach children how to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and co-operate with others while developing knowledge and skills, so that they achieve their true potential.  

We enrich it by our strong ethos based on respect for ourselves and others, equality and a sense of wonder at the world we live in. We are committed to developing the whole child. Our children will have the opportunity to be creative, to be physically active and to be academically challenged. Children are offered a very wide range of experiences to extend their understanding of themselves and the world in which they live. Skills, attitudes and values would be developed to prepare the children for the next stage of learning (‘Middle School ready’ and ‘High School ready’), and enable them to be successful in the community.

The National Curriculum in England is currently in a process of full transition. At the school we are currently following the timetable for transition, between the National Curriculum (2000) and the National Curriculum (2014), as set out by the Department of Education.

From September 2014 children in Year 3 and Year 4 will follow and be taught programmes of study from the 2014 National Curriculum. Children in Year 2 will still follow and be taught programmes of study in English, Mathematics and Science from National Curriculum (2000) until the end of the academic year 2015. From September 2015 all Year groups will follow and be taught programmes of study from the National Curriculum 2014.

We are continually reviewing and improving the curriculum we offer to our children. The curriculum at the school is evolving according to the needs of our children and to the aspirations of the staff and community.


We value the way in which all children are unique, and our curriculum promotes respect for the views of each individual child, as well as for people of all cultures. We value the spiritual and moral development of each person, as well as their intellectual and physical growth.

We value the importance of each person in our community. We organise our curriculum so that we promote co-operation and understanding between all members of our community. We use the community to enrich the curriculum.

We value the rights enjoyed by each person in our society. We respect each child in our school for who they are, and we treat them with fairness and honesty. We aim to enable each person to be successful, and we provide equal opportunities for all the children in our school.

We value our environment, and we aim, through our curriculum, to teach respect for our world, and how we should care for it for future generations, as well as our own.

We value parents and work in partnership with them to enrich the curriculum. Parents are informed about the curriculum through newsletters, open days, homework and curriculum workshops, and are positively encouraged to become involved.      

Aims and Objectives

The aims of our school curriculum are:

Organisation and Planning

We plan our curriculum in three phases. We agree a long-term plan for the whole school and each key stage. This indicates what topics are to be taught in each term.      

With our medium-term plans, we give clear guidance on the objectives and teaching strategies that we use when teaching each topic. We take our medium-term planning directly from the 2014 National Curriculum guidance documents.  

Our short-term plans are those that our teachers write on a weekly basis.

We have adopted an inter-disciplinary/cross-curricular approach to curriculum planning, teaching and learning, using the ‘Mantle of the Expert’ as a vehicle for teaching. The Mantle of the Expert is used to develop a curriculum that is exciting for the children and provides context and coherence between content, skills and the development of critical thinking skills. It also provides an opportunity to harness the interests of our children, building in motivation and deeper immersive learning. The most effective learning takes place when there is considerable emphasis on active involvement, opportunities to talk both imaginatively, expressively and to explain and clarify thinking. Connections across subjects are integral to curriculum design.

We typically plan to complete a ‘Mantle’ one per term, on an appropriate and engaging subject. The theme may incorporate history, geography, music, science, the arts, English and Maths, as well as the development of responsible citizenship, but will have a strong emphasis on the development of Key Skills.

Our intended outcome for all children is that they develop into successful learners who can work both independently and cooperatively as a group, who can collect and analyse information, understand and accept different perspectives, and interpret and evaluate outcomes. We plan the curriculum carefully, so that there is coherence and full coverage of all aspects of the National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals, and there is planned progression in all curriculum areas.

Visits are planned to enhance the taught curriculum and are designed to engage the children’s interest and imagination, as well as deepen their understanding of the ‘learning’. These may involve visits to museums, galleries, historical sites, areas of geographical interest, the theatre or to special sports activity days.

For a breakdown by subject see Appendix 1

For a breakdown on Homework see Appendix 2

Children with Special Needs

The curriculum in our school is designed to provide access and opportunity for all children who attend the school. If we think it necessary to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of individual children, then we do so only after the parents of the child have been consulted.

If a child has a special need, our school does all it can to meet their individual needs, through Inclusion. We comply with the requirements set out in the SEN Code of Practice (July 2014) in providing for children with special needs. If a child displays signs of having special needs, his/her teacher makes an assessment of this need. In most instances the teacher is able to provide resources and educational opportunities which meet the child’s needs within the normal class organisation. If a child’s need is more severe, we will refer the child to the LIST Team for assessment/additional input, which may lead to ‘top up’ funding and a statement of special needs. We provide additional resources and support for children with special needs.  

The Early Years and Foundation Stage

See EYFS Policy

The curriculum that we teach in the EYFS Unit meets the requirements set out in the revised National Curriculum at Foundation Stage. Our curriculum planning focuses on the six areas of learning: personal, social and emotional development; communication – language and literacy; mathematical development; knowledge and understanding of the world; physical development and creative development.

Our school fully supports the principle that young children learn through play, and by engaging in well-planned structured activities. Teaching in the EYFS Unit builds on the experiences of the children in their home setting.

During the children’s first term in school, their teacher begins to assess each child.   This assessment forms an important part of the future curriculum planning for each child. We are well aware that all children need the support of parents and teachers to make good progress in school. We strive to build positive links with the parents of each child by having a carefully planned induction process including home visits (if required). This relationship is nurtured throughout their time in Foundation Stage and onto KS1.  

Key Skills

The following skills have been deemed ‘key skills’ in the revised National Curriculum:

We strive to develop these skills across the curriculum.

Extra-Curricular Activities

We are committed to developing the whole child. We extend the curriculum by offering extra-curricular activities, including: Multi – skills, Football, Archery, Fencing, Cricket, Gardening, Computers, Forest School.

The Role of the Subject Leader

The role of the subject leader is to:

It is the role of each subject leader to keep up to date with developments in their subject, at both national and local level. They review the way the subject is taught in the school and plan for improvement. This development planning links to whole-school objectives. Each subject leader reviews the curriculum plans for their subject, ensures that there is full coverage of the National Curriculum and that progression is planned into schemes of work.

Monitoring and Review

The governing body is responsible for monitoring the way the school curriculum is implemented. The governors liaise with the Headteacher and subject leaders and monitor the way the school teaches subjects through governor visits to school.

The Headteacher is responsible for the day to day organisation of the curriculum. The Headteacher monitors the curriculum through planning, classroom observation, work scrutiny, data analysis and liaising with the Curriculum Co-ordinators.  

The Governing Body will review this policy bi-annually and update, modify or amend it as it considers necessary to ensure the policy meets the needs of Lowick and Holy Island C. of E. First Schools

Date Adopted

Review Dates

April 2015

April 2017

April 2019


Policy Developed by: C. Vanson (Headteacher) April 2015

Appendix 1


The school benefits from the outstanding policy and practice that has been established at the school over many years, in regard to English attainment and achievement.

All children are provided with access to inspiring, quality texts, to promote a love of reading and build children’s confidence as readers. Children become experienced in exploring a rich variety of text types, including visual texts. We support children to develop their skills in decoding words where necessary, and in understanding texts at a literal level, Interpreting implied meaning, understanding how texts are organised, discussing authors’ use of language, identifying the effect on the reader and making links between texts and real life, including historical context.

Teachers and support staff work together to provide opportunities for children to work on all aspects of reading including whole class discussions and debates, paired and group work, written responses to texts (e.g. writing in role as a character), cross-curricular work, and use of film and imagery. Children are encouraged to think critically about texts and become discerning and analytical readers.

Daily reading in Tutor Group supports readers at all levels and stages of reading development, it is a key component of the teaching day. This allows for high ability readers to engage in texts that make increasing demands on comprehension, inference and links to other texts and authors. It also supports early/emergent readers at lower levels to engage in differentiated materials and age appropriate levels and allows for active teaching of reading objectives. We use the Oxford reading Tree as the scaffold for reading, supported by other schemes, phonics is taught using ‘Jolly Phonics.’

Computing is integrated into literacy teaching, both as a highly engaging teaching tool, (using key resources such as The Literacy Shed), and as an expected outcome – published writing for a range of audiences in school and other platforms.

We seek to turn pupils into writers who are clear communicators who are also creative, imaginative and inspired. To support children in moving towards independent writing we provide a wide range of activities including: Immersion in text types, use of film and imagery, modelled, shared and guided writing, peer editing and discussion. We use literacy scaffolds and supports for less able pupils, and make full use of success criteria that reflect high expectations of written and spoken outcomes. Explicit punctuation and grammar learning objectives are integrated into schemes of work as recommended by leading Literacy Advisers such as The Literacy Tree and the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education.


We use the benefits of drama as a standalone subject, as well as a key tool in developing oracy, vocabulary development, building confidence and self- esteem, and as an essential tool in developing imaginative, expressive, and persuasive spoken and written language.

Imaginative role play is fundamental to developing the whole child, not just in Early Years and KS1 education, but also as they children develop, and our curriculum provides opportunities to perform to wider audiences through Collective Worship, public performances and events around key Christian festivals. As well as using the key tools of ‘hot seating’, and ‘response in role’ in literacy lessons to aid the development of speaking and listening, reading and writing skills, children get increasing opportunities to perform as they progress through the school.

English Programmes of Study:



The importance of building step by step on mathematical understanding and skills development cannot be over emphasised. From the start children have a systematic programme of mathematics, using practical and applied resources to ensure that place value, the four number operations and the understanding of fractional parts are fully understood. There is a strong focus on the value of number (the one-ness of one), in addition to hands on practical investigations into the number system and patterns within the number system.

Activities are designed to develop deeper thinking, reinforcing the initial building blocks for mathematical thinking, reasoning and problem solving. We aim to develop a wide mathematical vocabulary and range of mental models and images that are built upon to develop concrete strategies of calculations (see Calculation Policy).

From the start, children are taught in differentiated groups and sets, to allow further consolidation for some, and for greater speed and breadth of delivery at the upper end of attainment. The approach taken by the schools is used to meet the diverse pupil body at the school.

Mathematics Programmes of Study:



The curriculum is designed to develop a scientific approach to the subject matter from the earliest start, with an emphasis on enquiry, developing hypotheses, investigating variables and using mathematical and scientific vocabulary. Exploration and collection of data, through effective integration of appropriate ICT, is fundamental to instilling scientific approaches to learning. There is a strong emphasis on the practical to engage and enthuse.

The model of ‘Science Themes’ linked to the ‘Mantle’ that run for a term allow for specific science focuses: during these weeks there is a particular whole school scientific focus, culminating in exhibitions and presentations on the learning that has taken place.  

Science Programmes of Study:



We teach computing as a discrete subject and use IT to support learning across the school and across subject areas. Computer science is taught which includes writing algorithms and programming. All children at school have timetabled sessions.

The approach to the use of IT, is to develop usage in line with current educational best practice. In such a fast changing environment there are two essentials: to ensure that the teachers are confident with the use of I pads, IWBs and PCs for facilitating high educational learning experiences and outcomes, and for ensuring strong informed curriculum leadership to remain on top of how IT raises standards in the classroom. The requirement of the New National Curriculum to teach Computer Coding is delivered through the Computing co-ordinator and utilises expert practitioners such as, Lego Robotic hardware, which incorporates programmable features such as responses to sound, light and direction.

IT is integrated into all core lessons: the use of laptops and other hardware such as digital cameras and live action filming is as much part of the learning tools as would be pencils and pens.

Computing Programmes of Study:


Religious Education

We are two Church of England Schools (Lowick VC, Holy Island VA) and as such place an emphasis on the teaching of religious education. It permeates all aspects of the schools and underpins our distinctiveness. Our practice makes clear links about the Christian faith and world faiths to wider issues of history and settlement, and we link studies of the world faiths to relevant topics wherever appropriate. We also explore people’s right to not engage in an organised faith but still adopt a moral and ethical code of living that respects others right to a belief system.

The school follows the Diocesan of Newcastle syllabus for RE. While we recognise the right of parents to withdraw their child from RE lessons, it is anticipated that all children will take a full role in these lessons (see RE Policy).  


We have adopted the Newcastle Diocesan scheme for worship. Parents and governors are welcome to attend Worship. While school recognises the right of parents to withdraw their child from acts of worship, it is anticipated that as we are church schools, parents would wish to support us and allow their child to play an active part in the life of the school.  


Music plays an important and central role to the school. Children are given opportunities throughout the year to perform in public. All children are taught singing as part of a choir or in solo/duet roles. We use the Northumberland music services to engage a peripatetic music specialist to teach Ukulele to the KS2 pupils. The school has built up a large library of musical instruments which are used to engage the pupils with un-tuned instruments. It is through the teaching of musical instruments that pupils are taught time signatures, notation, rhythm, beat and pulse.

The children have access to music from the Medieval period to the Modern, as well as from different cultures. This enables pupils to understand the instruments used, emotions provoked and stories that music can portray.

Evidence from The Journal of Neuroscience suggests that there are clear benefits to brain development in musical education even into older adulthood: more musical training leads to faster brain responses to sound and speech, and there are other benefits to musical provision delivered by subject specialists, including impact upon mathematical attainment and strengthening of memory.

Music Programmes of Study:


Physical Education

There is a considerable commitment to offering a wide range of sport, dance and physical education at the School. Extensive use is made of our own specialist teacher and visiting coaches. The school has for many years employed its own specialist dance teacher (dance is taught to all pupils each week), and engaged sports coaches working to support the development of pupil and teachers’ skills. The school ensures that all of the pupils learn to swim, with weekly swimming lessons taking place at the local Leisure Centre (using the trained Leisure Centre coaches to teach swimming). In addition to swimming at the Leisure centre, we use the large sports hall. Children experience fencing, archery, curling, bocca, gymnastics, games, athletics, netball, football, hockey, rugby and cricket. Some of these sports are taught by specialist coaches from our Sports Partnership.  

We also ensure wider participation in the community by involvement in interschool sports and tournaments. Effective use has been made of the PE and Sports Grant to widen still further involvement in “hard to reach” pupils.

Outdoor and Adventurous Activities form part of the delivered PE curriculum. This involves a three day residential visit to Whithaugh Park for the KS2 pupils, problem-solving or team-building activities in the school grounds as well as formal activities such as orienteering. .

PE Programmes of Study:


Humanities: History and Geography

History and Geography are taught using the ‘Mantle of the Expert’, integrating the key areas of learning into powerful topics. We believe that the best learning takes place when meaningful and integrated links are made between history and geography and, where appropriate: global education and citizenship encompassing spiritual, cultural, social and moral education.

A key component of the ‘Mantle of the Expert’ approach is the ‘Big Themes’ and the ‘Big Questions’ that can be examined throughout the children’s education, using more complex subject matter and approaches to learning as the children progress. An example of a Mantle is ‘Time Detectives’ with a big question of “Why did farming and settlement change over time?” This is then examined from the Stone Age to the Vikings, with the geographical location of the Romans, Anglo - Saxons and Vikings, as well as land formation, land use and location factors for settlements.

Therefore the ‘Mantle’ may have a history, geography or RE ‘driver’. So a topic might focus more on geographical learning whilst being contextualised within a historical period. An example of this might be a main study of the geographical features of Greece, but would include aspects of the Ancient Greeks.

Humanities Programmes of Study:



Philosophy for Children

We adopt P4C teaching approaches led by Sapere (Society for Advancing Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education and ensure that staff have attended training to allow them to use the excellent methodologies as part of their teaching practice especially in links to the Humanities.

P4C develops children’s thinking skills, their ability to form an argument or adopt a different viewpoint, it encourages expression of complex issues with an expectation that opinions need to be justified and supported, and emphasises critical reflection. The school considers it to be a vital facilitating teaching tool across the curriculum.

Art and Design Technology

We value the place of Art and Design Technology in the busy curriculum, both for their own unique subject benefits, but also as a way of understanding the world in which the children live both past and present. The visual arts provide a window into other times and cultures and allows children to explore their own emotions and identity. A wide range of skills and techniques are covered. Children have the opportunity to work with a variety of materials and cover areas such as; drawing, painting, photography, printing, ceramics, sewing, weaving and construction activities.  

Design Technology allows children to work from an initial brief that involves solving a problem, requires them to exercise collaborative working practices and overcome difficulties, thus building resilience.

Like the approach to other curriculum subjects, we immerse ourselves in both the local and wider community of artistic provision. Active use is made of the local environment for sketching and as a stimulus for art. Visits to galleries in both Edinburgh and Newcastle are undertaken on planned basis.    

Art and Design Technology Programmes of Study:


Modern Foreign Languages: Spanish

We focus on Spanish, building on the knowledge and understanding of the children as they progress through the school.

We ensure that teaching is fun, and engaging with an emphasis on spoken language skills, music, movement and role play. The children are provided with a “language portfolio” which accompanies them through the school, charting their progress and development. We use a variety of rich resources, including online curriculum schemes.

MFL Syllabus Programmes of Study:



We view Personal, Health and Social Education (PHSE) as an important aspect to a balanced curriculum. We believe that children need to learn how to manage relationships in order that they can become respectful and therefore productive. This will support the development of the curriculum in general and individuals in particular. We use the SEAL programme to help us deliver the social aspects of PHSE.

Sex Education

Although no formal sex education is given, in the study of the natural world, the children encounter growth and development. The governors maintain a Sex and Relationship policy which is available from the school on request.  

Appendix 2

Use of Homework to support the school curriculum


  • To provide homework that is relevant meaningful and purposeful – which is not “for the sake of it
  • To foster a love of reading and wider learning
  • To provide homework when necessary that consolidates or encourages practice of new skills
  • To develop a sense of responsibility and ownership towards work completion
  • To encourage the development of independent thought and the application of research tools
  • To increase our home school partnership through shared understanding of work covered in school
  • To prepare our eldest children for secondary school through the setting of more frequent and regular homework tasks.

Reading Homework

In every Year Group we expect children to “read” at home on a daily basis. The reading Challenge has been introduced to promote pupil and parental engagement.

We know that the key contributor to children’s progress and achievement both academically and personally, is reading. Reading introduces children to new ideas, and experiences, and develops their ability to understand themselves, as well as the world in which they live. In addition, reading exposes them to vocabulary, variety of sentence construction, alternative written styles and importantly the ‘look’ of words. A potential significant contributory factor to good spelling retention is frequent sustained reading.

We expect parents to complete a Reading Record at home. These provide an opportunity for children and the parents to engage actively with the reading book, and produce a written response. It might include comments on reading ability or deeper thinking such as imagine another scene or location that would link to the book, it might be a selection of new vocabulary from the book, a book review or a commentary on a writer’s style.

At the beginning of each academic year, every child is provided with a Reading Record. All books read as part of the Reading Record form a valuable record throughout the year of the range of books read. Teachers add to the Reading Record when they hear a child read during Tutor group. This helps to strengthen links between home and school.

Spelling Homework

Dependent upon the age and stage of the child, we teach common letter patterns, spelling rules and, as the children progress, focus increasingly on the derivation of words including common prefixes and suffixes. The school complies with the requirements of The New National Curriculum Spelling lists and also uses Support for Spelling Second edition 2009 Ref: 01109-2009PDF-EN-01 published by DCSF.

Parents and carers are kept informed regarding the spelling or word focus during the half term. We assess learning and application of these spelling patterns and rules through ongoing assessment and children’s written work. We will not have a weekly spelling “tests” of set spellings, but will assess spellings including spelling patterns on an ad hoc basis.


Children are expected to write in a fluent cursive style, which aids speed, and helps retain spelling patterns. We ask that children practice their handwriting as part of learning their spellings. We will from time to time ask children to practise handwriting activities at home to support class work. Written


Teachers will, when appropriate, set age appropriate written tasks for completion at home, related to text types covered in class e.g. persuasive writing, descriptive writing.

Research, Mini –Topics and Independent Projects

It is hugely important for “children to plan, research and critically evaluate” and “to take responsibility for their own learning” as part of their development as independent thinkers and learners.

In each Year Group there are homework tasks related to developing and fostering these skills –such as researching an area related to a topic covered in class, or producing a piece of independently produced work. Dependent on the Year Group, there will be particular direction regarding the structure of the homework project.

Mathematics Homework

At the earliest stages, we would encourage children and parents to practise number knowledge and apply learning to home such as shopping, cooking, telling the time, measurement, and other domestic situations.

We would expect every child to learn tables 2-12 progressively. We expect the majority of children to have complete recall of all the related number facts of 2 5 and 10 and 3 and 6 by end of Year 3. We would expect knowledge of 3, 4, 6, and 7, 8, 9 11 and 12 by end of Year 4. We will test tables on a “when ready” basis and children’s mastery of each set of tables during the weekly Mental Maths test.

We were awarded Outstanding in both schools Ofsted Inspections  ARTSMARK: We have achived a GOLD award for our arts in school. "Artsmark provides a benchmark for arts provision that encourages schools to consider the opportunities they offer in art, dance, drama and music.  ICTMark Award  HealthandWellbeingLogo s   Active 08  Financial Management in Schools  Naace Feature School  3rd-Millennium-Learning-Logo-v5Eco Schools Bronze Award s

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