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Big Questions and the National Curriculum

Our curiculum is organised around big questions that the children seek to answer by the end of each term.

We follow the National Curriculum (2014) subjects:

English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, Art, Design Technology, Geography, History, Music, Religious Education and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), Physical Education and a Modern Foreign Language.


Phonics is at the heart of learning to read and spell. It is about the sounds (phonemes) we make when we talk; we connect (blend) these sounds together when we read words, and split them up (segment) when we write.

All children are taught phonic skills through the Sounds Write programme, through dedicated phonics/spelling lessons.


Each class takes part in whole class reading using our Spine texts. The focus of each session is based on six key skills; vocabulary, inference, prediction, explain, retrieval and summarise (or sequence for Key Stage One).

Teachers promote reading as an enjoyable activity and a life skill. All teachers are responsible for providing a stimulating reading environment.  In our school we have high quality texts for each year group to study. In school there are opportunities for children to enjoy reading independently. 

Writing and Spelling

The writing curriculum across the school is broken down into units. These are often linked to each classes’ big questions and are based around a range of high-quality stimuli, including books, visits, video clips or experiences. Each unit focuses on one text type and usually lasts 2-3 weeks.  There is a focus on purpose for writing and audience.  Children use editing to improve their writing.

In years 2-6, there is a discrete spelling session based upon objectives from the National Curriculum. This outlines the spelling patterns for each year group, the order they should be taught in and some suggested examples. Each spelling session focuses on one rule and will have an investigative approach.


We use Jigsaw scheme of learning.

For each year group this follows:

Autumn 1: Being me in my World

Autumn 2: Celebrating difference

Spring 1: Dreams and goals

Spring 2: Healthy me

Summer 1: Relationships

Summer 2: Changing me

These units include learning about anti-bullying (cyber and homophobic bullying included), diversity, aspirations, drugs and alcohol education, self-esteem, family and other relationships, conflict resolution, and sex education.



We have developed our own mathematics curriculum that teaches maths skills in small steps.  We use the Mastering Number approach to teaching automaticity in mathematics.  We encourage the use of manipulatives to support learning.

Children have a daily opportunity to participate in choral counting.  They have opportunities to use their small steps of learning to problem solve.

Religious Education

Oliver Tomkins School  use Swindon SACRE scheme and Understanding Christianity as the scheme of learning for RE.

Through this approach children learn about these religions and also develop an understanding of World religions and how beliefs impact on individuals daily lives. Christianity is taught in every year group, and the beliefs of Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism are also learnt throughout the school.

We provide opportunities for children to visit a variety of places of Worship, including Churches and Mosques.

Curriculum Intent: knowledge and skills progression

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