The Curriculum at Dane Bank Primary School


Dane Bank Primary School aims to provide a curriculum that is engaging, balanced and relevant. We passionately believe in developing the whole child, nurturing individual talents and fostering a love of learning and work towards this through providing exciting and challenging learning opportunities in all curriculum areas.

The curriculum is underpinned by our school mission statement, “Enjoy and Achieve Together”, as well as our belief that each child is unique and should be provided them with a curriculum that prepares them for a world where technology, careers and experiences are constantly changing and developing. Our curriculum not only aims to provide children with the skills that they need now, but also the ability to be flexible and resourceful, helping them to adapt and problem solve as they grow up in an ever changing world.

Our school curriculum is drawn from the National Curriculum for England which sets out the content and programmes of study for maintained primary schools. We view the National Curriculum as an entitlement for children in our school to access all subjects, thus providing them with a broad and balanced education that acknowledges the significance of English, Mathematics and Science but equally the importance of the Arts, History, Geography, Music, Languages, Technology, Computing, Religious Education and British values in a modern world. We have also developed a PSHCE scheme of learning which runs alongside our six Learning Skills (Resilient Worker, Team Player, Curious Questioner, Problem Solver, Clear Communicator, Reflective Learner) that support pupils in becoming active learners that think critically, ask and answer questions and reflect on previous learning.

Our curriculum is knowledge based. Subject documents set out the core knowledge children will learn including key vocabulary which is explicitly taught. Maths, English and Science are taught as discrete subjects, however cross-curricular links are made to other subjects where there are high quality opportunities to do so. Other subjects are linked through ‘topics’ with History or Geography being the lead. This is to enable children and teachers to make connections and develop strong subject knowledge. Our curriculum has been designed to be carefully sequenced and academically rigorous. Careful thought has been given to ensuring clear progression of knowledge and skills and learning units have been planned to build upon children’s prior learning. Our school context and the area in which our pupils live has also been a significant factor in our curriculum design – learning opportunities have been planned to link carefully to the local environment so that children see the work they do in class as relevant, meaningful and linked to their life outside school.

We expect teachers to demonstrate flexibility with their planning and teaching based on formative assessment outcomes in order to meet learners’ needs.

Joanne Lennon (Deputy Headteacher) is Curriculum Lead and can be contacted via the school office should you require further information. 





Teachers model reading strategies during shared reading sessions within lessons and specific Guided Reading lessons. Class timetables also allow dedicated time for developing a love of reading through specific ‘reading for pleasure’ sessions where children can read independently, share books and discuss book recommendations and reviews. Staff also timetable opportunities to listen to pupils read individually where bespoke, individualised support can be offered – this is scheduled according to pupil needs to allow those children that need it to be given more regular support. A range of banded reading scheme books are used to support individual reading and our scheme has recently been extended to support pupils right through Key Stage 2 as well as with early reading.

Guided Reading is taught in Early Years with small groups of children. In Year 1, Guided Reading is taught using a carousel approach where pupils work with the teacher in a small group on one day and then spend time on subsequent days completing follow up work to develop reading skills and strategies. From Year 2 to 6, Guided Reading is taught using a whole class model. These whole class sessions are planned to link to the relevant content domain and develop essential reading skills such as; inference, vocabulary development, retrieval and sequencing.

Each class also has a ‘class story’ which the teacher reads to children at the end of each day. We use the Oxford Reading Scheme throughout school and recently extended our scheme to follow children all the way up n to Upper Key Stage Two. This allows us to ensure that children continue to develop their reading fluency and accuracy and develop secure skills to become lifelong readers.  

We have worked hard to develop our school library. We have purchased a considerable amount of new books, developed the library environment and have a committed group of Pupil Librarians that support with the running of our library.



We aim to develop the children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. From Early Years to Year 6, teaching of writing is linked to a text. Long-term English overviews demonstrate the key texts for each year group and outline how opportunities for writing are planned from these starting points. Careful attention has been given to ensuring a range of text types and authors have been used which allow teachers to link teaching of formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Elements of the Talk for Writing approach are incorporated in English teaching in Early Years and Key Stage 1 where pupils are given a text structure to learn and then adapt/innovate to create their own writing.


At Dane Bank Primary School, we follow the StoryTime Phonics programme from Early Years through Key Stage One. This programme provides a good fit alongside our wider English curriculum as it is text-based approach to teaching phonics which mirrors our text-based approach in English lessons throughout school.

StoryTime Phonics is a systematic, synthetic phonics reading and writing programme which instils a sense of awe and wonder around books and provides children with memorable experiences that connect learning to read with pleasure.

The uniqueness of StoryTime Phonics is that the synthetic phonics teaching opportunities are embedded within the context of real books; books written by phenomenal writers and illustrators who know how to engage children and make them want to read for pleasure.

StoryTime Phonics is closely linked to Letters and Sounds and follows the progression of the phonic phases as suggested in this document (DfE 2007). The methodology behind the programme is that whole class, high quality teaching will enable all children to move forward, whilst individuals and groups of children that need additional support are catered for within the differentiated ‘apply’ part of the teaching sequence.

Structure and Organisation of Phonics


The Reception weekly plan consists of four new sounds per week, each connected to a story book that is read to the children the day before. The following day the children are taught the corresponding phoneme that is connected to the book and complete related activities. One day per week is assigned for continuous observations, a chance for children to apply their phonic knowledge from the previous week’s lessons while teachers observe and update assessment records.

Year 1

The Year 1 plans have the same format as above with the exception that some of the lessons span a number of days. Once all weekly plans have been worked through, the sessions are repeated to give children time to consolidate and refine their knowledge. Learning is extended using the extensions activities that run alongside the lesson plans.

Whole class teaching is a central part of the programme. Each session consists of: an opportunity to review previously taught content; introduction of new content to extend learning and independent activities (practice and apply)

 A Storytime Phonics trailer can be viewed here: 


At Dane Bank Primary School, we follow the No Nonsense Spelling programme. The focus of the programme is on the explicit teaching of spelling, which embraces knowledge of spelling conventions – patterns and rules; but integral to the teaching is the opportunities to promote the learning of spellings, including statutory words, common exceptions and personal spellings.

The programme:

– Delivers a manageable tool for meeting the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum

– Has a clear progression through blocks of teaching units across the year

– Comprehensively explains how to teach spelling effectively

The programme includes termly overviews that have been mapped across weeks as half termly plans as well as daily lesson places for each session, with supporting resources, including word lists and guidance on conventions.

We also  have a set of Spelling Key Instant Recall Facts (KIRFs) which gives  the statutory word list for each year group broken down in to terms. Children are encouraged to learn these KIRF spellings throughout the term alongside their weekly spelling words.



Dane Bank Primary School has introduced and is developing a Mastery approach to learning in Mathematics. The mastery of the Maths curriculum is something that we want all pupils to acquire and our aim is to help pupils, over time, acquire mastery of the subject and narrow the gap between the most and least able learners. We believe mastery of maths means a deep, long-term, secure and adaptable understanding of the subject.

Whilst we always use the NC Programmes of Study as the basis for our school curriculum,  we have adopted the White Rose Maths Mastery Scheme of Work which places number as a priority and a large proportion of time is spent reinforcing number to build competency and supports the idea of developing depth before breadth. The programme of study also provides a focus on reasoning and problem solving becoming embedded elements of the curriculum for all children. The White Rose Maths progression documents have been used to create curriculum ‘road maps’ which demonstrate how pupils’ knowledge and skills are built up from Early Years through Key Stage 2 and where there are opportunities to reinforce and consolidate prior learning. Other resources such as Nrich, NCETM and Numicon are used to supplement the teaching and adapt the programme of study carefully to the children’s needs.

The school’s Calculation Policy details the approach and learning progression in the main operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and also includes examples of how a CPA approach can be used to support pupils’ learning in each area. We believe that all students, when introduced to a key new concept, should have the opportunity to build competency in this topic by taking the concrete-pictorial-abstract approach.

Concrete – students should have the opportunity to use concrete objects and manipulatives to help them understand what they are doing.

Pictorial – students should then build on this concrete approach by using pictorial representations. These representations can then be used to reason and solve problems.

Abstract – with the foundations firmly laid, students should be able to move to an abstract approach using numbers and key concepts with confidence.

In addition to this, we developed a set of Key Instant Recall Facts (KIRFS) in order to help develop children’s fluency in mathematics. We ask them to learn a set of different KIRFS each half term and have structured these ro be progressive and to align with the age related expectations of the National Curriculum. The KIRFS are practiced in class and at home.

Children are encouraged to learn Times Tables from Year 2 – 6. Times Tables Rockstars is used to provide children with an engaging and interactive online resource, that they access both in school and at home, to practise and learn. Weekly rewards are given in assembly every Friday for children who have learnt specific times tables and achieved their bronze, silver, gold or Olympic badge. 



 We follow the National Curriculum for Science ensuring all pupils develop their scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through specific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. We aim to make our Science curriculum as hands on as possible and hence, have a strong emphasis on ‘Working Scientifically’.


We have developed 3 report templates for pupils to use when investigating: The Einstein Report for Key Stage 1, The Newton Report for Years 3 and 4 and The Hawking Report for Years 5 and 6. The different report formats give structure to children’s scientific investigation and allow a build up for skills progression.


All Science units are based around a half termly question, such as – “Could we cope without electricity?” or “How does Usain Bolt move so quickly?” These questions give children a starting point from which to direct their learning.




We use the Purple Mash Computing Scheme of Work from Reception to Year 6 to support us in delivering the Computing curriculum.


The scheme of work supports our teachers in delivering fun and engaging lessons which help to raise standards and allow all pupils to achieve to their full potential. We are confident that the scheme of work more than adequately meets the national vision for Computing. It provides immense flexibility, strong cross-curricular links and integrates perfectly with the 2Simple Computing Assessment Tool. 


History & Geography


History and Geography are our two ‘lead’ curriculum subjects. Each half term, children are taught either a History or Geography unit which lasts approximately 6 weeks. Cross-curricular links are made and when appropriate, for example – through opportunities for writing, Art and Design and Technology. The units are always based around a Learning Challenge Question. The overarching question is then broken down in to a series of supplementary questions which lead investigation in each lesson. Throughout each unit, there is emphasis placed on enquiry. Using the questions as a stimulus, children are actively encouraged to investigate, research and find things out for themselves.


Physical Education


We believe that Physical Education (PE) is crucial in encouraging children to develop healthy and active lifestyles.


Our PE curriculum has been developed using the NC Statutory objectives alongside the Greenacre Sports Partnership  scheme of work and resources. These resources focus on developing fundamental movement skills as well as a selection of core sports (Tag Rugby, Football, Dance, Infant Agility, Rounders, Cricket, Gymnastics, Multi-skills, Handball, Netball, Athletics and Tennis) and include a build-up of skills that develops throughout the year groups. There is a clear skills progression outlined within each unit.


When in Year 4 children also participate in a year-long school swimming programme.


Children are also encouraged to attend a variety of extra-curricular sports clubs and activities.


Art & Design/ Design Technology


All Art & Design / Design Technology lessons link to the lead History or Geography topic. There are progression and skills documents in place which outline: the units of learning the children undertake each year; the humanities topics the work links to; the key skills that are developing and the progression between different units and year groups.


From Years 3 – 6 sketchbooks are used as a showcase of children’s developing art skills.




We are very lucky to work with our peripatetic Music Teacher, Miss Kent from One Education Music Service in developing and delivering our Music Curriculum. Our music curriculum is a spiral curriculum, with key skills being constantly repeated. Children explore the inter-related elements of music including: dynamics, tempo, pitch, duration, structure, texture and timbre. 


Children in Year 4 receive a 40 minute instrument lesson weekly where they learn the ukulele. At the end of each term, they present a performance to children and parents that showcases their skills.


Modern Foreign Languages (French)


Our chosen modern foreign language is French. We are a member of the Primary Languages Network and these resources are used as the basis of our French curriculum. Children begin learning French in Year 3 and follow the programme up through Key Stage Two. We teach the children how to: ask and answer questions; use correct pronunciation and intonation; memorise words; interpret meaning; understand basic grammar; use dictionaries; work in pairs and groups, and communicate in the other language and look at life in another culture.


Religious Education


Our Religious Education curriculum is a bespoke curriculum developed using two main documents: The Focus Education RE Learning Challenge Curriculum and the Tameside Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education.


Our aim is that the knowledge and skills developed through the RE curriculum contribute to pupils’ readiness to participate in life in modern, diverse Britain. We want our children to become literate and articulate about religions and beliefs, and to be thoughtful members of a plural society, so that in learning from religion they are able to make informed choices about how they want to live their lives whilst also understanding more about the faith of other people they meet. 


Each year group covers 6 RE topics across the year. Each unit starts with an overarching enquiry question which is then broken down in to supplementary questions that guide each lesson.


PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education)

At Dane Bank we have adopted the Jigsaw scheme of work for PSHCE and RSHE.

Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, brings together Personal, Social, Health Education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development in a comprehensive scheme of learning. These resources help teachers to focus on tailoring the lessons to their children’s needs and to enjoy building a relationship with their class and getting to know them better as unique human beings. Jigsaw is designed as a whole school approach, with all year groups working on the same theme (Puzzle) at the same time. This enables each Puzzle to start with an introductory assembly, generating a whole school focus for adults and children alike.

Work is celebrated in class floor books and displays around schools.