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Curriculum Years 1-6



The skills and knowledge of the English curriculum are taught

through discrete English, phonics, reading, reading, spelling lessons and storytime. Skills are further developed within the wider curriculum. It is a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding language provides access to the whole curriculum. Through being taught to write and speak fluently, pupils learn to communicate their ideas and emotions to others; through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development hence through our recommended reading books, rich vocabulary is introduced. 


Speaking and Listening

Throughout the school, opportunities to develop pupil’s spoken language in a range of contexts underpins the development of reading and writing. Pupils are encouraged to speak clearly, confidently and with expression in order to communicate their ideas and feelings. They are taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.                                            

Pupils develop their ability to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They are encouraged to discuss their ideas in order to make sense of their learning.


The importance of early reading, our approach to teaching phonics

At Burnside phonics is taught through the systematic acquisition of sounds using the synthetic phonics programme, Ruth Miskin’s ‘Read Write Inc.’

Phonics is the method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and their symbols (graphemes). Phonics lessons begin during spring term in Nursery and following baseline assessments in Reception for those who join from other settings.

Children are introduced to 'single sounds' such as /p/, /o/ and practise recognising them, writing them and 'blending' them. 'Blending' is the ability to combine sounds together in order to create a word. Teaching staff ensure all phonemes are pronounced purely, without an additional 'uh' on the end of each sound – known as 'schwa' - which can potentially confuse children when combining the sounds together into words, for example:

/p/ /o/ /t/ = pot        (correct)        
/puh/ /o/ /tuh/ = puhotuh      (incorrect)    

Phonics lessons continue throughout Reception and Year 1 when children are exposed to more complex phonemes such as 'ay' in 'stay' and 'ee' in 'see'.  Pupils are taught that these sounds are called 'digraphs' because 'two letters represent one sound', or 'trigraphs' when 'three letters make one sound' such as /air/ in 'fair'. In order to help children decode each word, dots (for single sounds) and dashes (for digraphs and trigraphs) are marked under words.

 The 'Phonics Screening Check' is taken individually by all children in Year 1 and is designed to give feedback to teachers and parents on how each child is progressing in Phonics. Pupils are asked to read 20 real words and 20 pseudo words, known to the children as 'alien words', in order to ensure children are decoding the words instead of memorising or guessing. ‘Alien words’ are introduced to children in Reception.

The Simple View of Reading theory underpins our approach to early reading according to which confident readers have the ability to:

  • decode a word
  • comprehend the meaning of each word they read

The absence of any of the above skills will result in a child having week reading skills. 

All children have explicit phonics lessons throughout their first three years at school, starting from Nursery in order to ensure they have enough time to become secure with their decoding skills. Phonics teaching is accompanied by Read Write Inc ‘Grapheme, Phoneme, Correspondence’ ditty books which are read in buddy-reading pairs and during Guided Reading with the teacher. These books correspond to the sound that is currently being learned. ‘Read Write Inc Home books’ are sent home to further consolidate the learned sound and increase pupils’ success with reading. Gradually, pupils are exposed to a variety of texts which build their comprehension skills and their vocabulary throughout the curriculum. As a result of this, children become confident readers early on and shift from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn.’


Whole Class Teaching of Reading 

Once children are fluent readers and/or from the Summer term in Year 2, teachers use the whole class teaching of reading approach to teach reading comprehension. Teachers choose a high-quality, ‘beautiful’ text for these lessons which ideally links to what is being taught at the same time in the curriculum and contains a number of words which are unknown to the children.  

An example structure for the whole class teaching of reading is set out below: 


Book Introduction 

This provides the context for the reading. The teacher will present the cover of the text  to activate children’s prior knowledge and discuss the main themes of the text, including some prediction of the contents. 

Explicit teaching of vocabulary 

Teachers skim the text to find words which the children are unlikely to understand. They teach these words . 

Reading the text 

The teacher reads a chapter or section aloud to the children while they follow along. The children should be able to notice and explain words they come across that have been pre-taught.  

Teaching of a reading skill through the text

The teacher will explicitly teach a skill, such as summarising, using the book. They will model how to use evidence from the text and provide children with the opportunity to write a shared response to a question. 

 Individual application of a skill 

The teacher sets a task for each child to complete based on the skill that they have taught. This may be scaffolded for some children and extended further for others. The teacher will work with a particular group to support or extend their understanding.  


Reading Plus

Children in Key Stage Two have daily Reading Plus sessions to improve reading efficiency. When children can read efficiently it frees up mental energy to further comprehend and gain enjoyment from reading. Reading Plus is on online reading programme, which supports children to become curious, confident, lifelong readers. It accelerates each child’s reading achievement through personalised instruction and intervention. It teaches silent reading fluency, comprehension and vocabulary with software that meets each child’s individual reading level. Weekly assignments are set with personalised instructions for pupils, these include visual skills development for eye-tracking, reading tasks for comprehension and fluency, and vocabulary tasks. Children have a personal login to access Reading Plus at home.



From Nursery through to Year 6, every class has a daily storytime session. Children listen to a range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts which have been carefully chosen to develop children’s knowledge of the world around them, to build knowledge of vocabulary and establish an appreciation and love of reading. 



Our curriculum for Years 1 - 6  is organised and delivered through:

  • discrete teaching of core subjects; English, mathematics and science;
  • a focus on emotional well-being through Values, Personal Social and Health Education.
  • specialist teaching for Art, Music and Physical Education;
  • the Burnside Curriculum  provides a structure through which history, geography, art, design and technology and RE are taught.  Within each curriculum area opportunities are planned for pupils to use and deepen their ‘essential knowledge’ within a year group and across a key stage;
  • enrichment opportunities through gardening, choir and residential trips.





We aim for our pupils to make progress by moving through a carefully sequenced body of skills and essential knowledge that build on what has been taught before.


Our curriculum is designed so that pupils develop their knowledge and skills in each of the National Curriculum subjects and is underpinned by our four core values: Be Safe, Be Smart, Be kind


 Our 3 core values are weaved through the children's learning. 


As well as regular updates on each year group noticeboard about English and mathematics, you  can also find out what your child is learning in other subjects  by looking at our curriculum maps.


These have been updated for this academic year. We will continue to update and refine them as children move through the school, gaining more skills and knowledge.


Pupils' learning is centred  wherever possible through first-hand experience.

The key aims of our curriculum are for pupils to:

  1. learn to read and write, as well as becoming mathematicians, preparing them for the next stage of their education and allowing them to be confident individuals;
  2. learn how to understand themselves and manage their emotions, understanding others better;
  3. understand and explain the world around them now and from the past;
  4. be active, compete in competitions and work with others in a team, learning how to be a humble winner and resilient loser;
  5. be creative, practice, rehearse and perform with others;
  6. understand other cultures, beliefs and languages;
  7. learn about sustainable living, understanding global environmental issues.


Pupils will have the opportunity to do this through:

  1. accessing high-quality English and mathematics lessons and reading a rich selection of books;
  2. science, humanities, learning and interacting with members of the community;
  3. sports tournaments and other competitions across the curriculum;
  4. music, art and other opportunities to perform;
  5. French and RE lessons, humanities, cooking, outdoor learning, gardening and PHSE lessons.



Timetables for each age group show our usual daily timetable. For the smooth running of the school, from time to time, organisation of the day may be changed by the class teacher.







We have specialist teachers who support with curriculum delivery in 

  • Art
  • Music
  • PE and Sport

Art Curriculum Overview

Music Curriculum Overview

PE Curriculum Overview

PE and Sport Specialist

Science Curriculum Overview

Computing Curriculum Overview

Design and Technology Curriculum Overview

French Curriculum Overview

PSHE Curriculum Overview

History Curriculum Overview

RE Curriculum Overview

Residential Trips


Research has found that residential trips are critical in the development of primary and secondary students. They lead to improved relationships, development of important skills, improved achievement and progress and a greater sense of belonging. Students are exposed to new opportunities for success, new ways of learning and are challenged to reach their full potential.


The experience of staying overnight in an unfamiliar place on a residential trip can be challenging yet valuable. This time away from home creates new routines which students must adapt to, as well as immersing students in an unfamiliar learning environment. Students must coexist with others, which encourages them to make new friends, while teaching them a valuable lesson about living with others.

Contact Details and Useful Links