Curriculum Statement

Working together to develop lifelong learners with a strong sense of self who are active participants in their communities

Curriculum Intent

Our curriculum at Courtney, is designed so that children develop a thirst for knowledge, becoming lifelong learners who seek to understand their world. It is hinged on our values of Nurture, Inspire and Flourish;


  • By celebrating diversity and utilising the skills, knowledge and cultural wealth of the community, whilst supporting the children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
  • By being carefully adapted to ensure all children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, thrive, feeling valued and successful.


  • By developing children's curiosity and inspiring a sense of wonder.
  • by providing opportunity to seek meaning, to make connections across a breadth and depth of subjects.

Flourish (together) 

  • By children knowing the impact, they can have their own future.
  • By enabling children to know their voice, having developed a strong sense of self.

'I am, because we are' - Ubuntu


Our curriculum

Our curriculum design is based on the knowledge that:

  • Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.
  • Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.

We also understand that learning is hard to see in the short term and that sustained mastery takes time. Each theme begins with an opportunity for an assessment of prior knowledge and skills followed by an exciting day to immerse pupils into the subject.

Each subject within the curriculum has a further subject-specific rationale which demonstrates the why, what and how of learning in the subject and the order in which we teach this so that pupils make progress.

In all subjects this begins with knowledge, consisting of:

  • Substantive knowledge: The specific, factual content for the subject its associated vocabulary, which are connected onto a careful sequence.
  • Disciplinary knowledge:  The way we gain substantive knowledge, what is commonly thought of as the subject specific skills – the “know-how” – of each subject.

Our History, Geography and Science units are based around a text. We believe our Contexts for Learning provide learning experiences that are both richer and deeper and support pupils in making learning more memorable. However, whilst these Contexts for Learning support pupils in making connections and knowing and remembering more, the focus is on the accumulation of knowledge and skills relevant to each subject discipline. Some subjects are taught in isolation if this is the best way to ensure that the pupils know more, remember more and deepen their learning. We expect our pupils to talk confidently about prior learning and connect learning and concepts in each subject.

Where possible, our curriculum is taught through a text in English and our long-term subject specific curriculum. These have been careful selected to represent a variety of text types, genres, representations and eras. Our belief is that reading is breathing in and writing is breathing out. Our aim therefore is to expose our children to a vast variety of literature to broaden their experiences and understanding of the world we live in. South Gloucestershire is not a hugely diverse county (in terms of race and religion) so we have a responsibility to respond to this by exposing pupils to difference in its many forms. We work so that from a very young age, are developing the skills of tolerance, empathy, understanding and cultural appreciation that is then built upon through the wider curriculum.


Our curriculum is made explicit through the following documentation:

  1. Our long-term subject specific curriculum overviews which include:
    • The ‘Big Question’ i.e. the contexts within which the learning takes place
  1. The termly theme planners for each year group which include
  • The key objectives that we want pupils to learn within the unit of study organised into smaller ‘Learning questions’.
  • The key substantive knowledge/disciplinary knowledge that we want the pupils to know and remember at the end of the unit of study.
  • Key vocabulary that pupils should learn during the unit.

As subjects influence each other, it is useful to present knowledge in an interconnected way, reflecting the complexities of the world in which we live. Connecting concepts in different subjects across the curriculum, where appropriate, enables our pupils to make connections and remember what they have learnt more easily.



Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)