KS1 & KS2 Curriculum

We believe the best way to inspire and motivate children, in their learning process, is through a creative, cross-curricular exploration of six Big Ideas which pupils will return to, throughout their life-long learning journey.

Identity Diversity Spacetime Technology Interdependence Sustainability

Themes, such as “Inspirational People” or “Time Travellers”, link to these “Big Ideas” making learning memorable and ensuring children can access “the best that has been thought and said – helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.”


Essex Themes Map

Curriculum Drivers have been identified to best deliver the school’s vision and aims.

Possibilities Communication Wellbeing Culture Enterprise

Through implementing the curriculum drivers, we are enabling pupils to build relationships; understand and self-regulate their emotions and feelings; process and share experiences; engage in moments of enjoyment and achievement; develop physical health and wellbeing routines; to be positive and optimistic about the future and life’s possibilities.


The following links explain the curriculum for each individual subject.

Please click on the tab to view more information.

ArtComputingDesign and TechnologyEnglishFrenchGeographyHistoryReading and PhonicsMathematicsMusicPEPSHEREScience


Art Subject Statement

Our art curriculum inspires and challenges pupils. We believe every child is creative, and so equip them with the knowledge and skills with which they can experiment, invent and create their own works.

Both Key Stages use a range of materials, techniques and skills in their art lessons. They explore a range of artists, selected for specific reasons (e.g. techniques, colours, style) to consider, compare and take inspiration. All ideas and techniques are recorded in a sketch book: this records the learning journey through each project, and allows the children to reflect upon their artistic development.

As our pupils progress, we guide them towards a more rigorous understanding of art and design. We investigate how both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation. By inspiring children with a range of work from artists, architects and designers, they will be able to explore their own ideas and understand how art has helped shaped our culture.

We also ensure our children experience the work of artists first-hand by providing educational visits to galleries and museums such as the National Gallery, The William Morris Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate Modern.

Essex Primary School is proud of its art projects. We run focused events for individual year groups and the ASD unit, but have also developed wider ideas that have involved the whole school. For example, we recently completed a Mosaic project, where children designed and created pieces of work to make the school entrance more welcoming. These are now installed at the front of the building.

Finally, for children who are seeking more experience of art and design, we run two extra-curricular art clubs. These provide opportunities for children to participate in a variety of activities and to help develop their skills and interest in the arts.


Computing Subject Statement

Here at Essex Primary School, we will be delivering the computing programme of study through Scratch and NPW schemes of work eg. JIT, Beebots and Web design,which have been especially written for the new curriculum.

The new National Curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
  • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

Our scheme of work ensures a clear progression of these skills from Early Years to Year 6. We have begun to use Google Classroom to support all curriculum areas, further enhancing pupils’ learning.

Our curriculum embeds Online Safety to ensure safe and responsible use of technology. We are excited to be learning to code and debug using Scratch. We will be exploring media technologies in order to build podcasts, edit videos and communicate effectively online.

The school has also made a substantial investment in new hardware to support the study of computing. This will raise the profile of computing and help us to engage all our pupils in the study of the new topics provided by the National Curriculum.

Design and Technology (DT)

Design and Technology Subject Statement

Design and Technology prepares Key stage 1 and 2 pupils to practically participate in a changing world as inventors, designers, and makers. Later, as they evaluate and amend their projects, children solve problems and learn to become critical consumers.

Informed by our cross-curricular themes, our projects include the design and creation of crowns, moving storybooks, vehicles, puppets, musical instruments, jewellery, bridges and kites. We provide the framework upon which children can plan orally, in writing, and through drawings and diagrams.

To realise their designs, children work with a range of tools and equipment to control different materials, such as paper, wood, plastics, and fabrics. Children also learn about healthy eating and how to prepare a simple meal.

Every autumn, we also organise an Enterprise Week, a sustained creative project in which children design and make an item to sell at our Winter Wonderland Bazaar. The Winter Wonderland has proved to be a very popular event in our community, and provides an opportunity for children to make something for a real purpose. Alongside the development of their practical abilities, children are encouraged to consider the economics of the transactions, and practise their wider mathematical skills by counting, measuring, or calculating costs.


English Subject Statement

We are passionate about enabling our pupils to develop into lifelong learners who speak, read and write with confidence. We aim for our pupils to have the skills to do so at the highest level of attainment.

Our aim is to develop pupils’ abilities within an integrated programme of spoken English, reading (both for purpose and pleasure) and writing. Our unique curriculum uses extensive cross-curricular links to ensure that literacy is taught within a broad and balanced programme.

English is a core subject in the National Curriculum. We use the renewed English National Curriculum 2014 as the starting point for our study for English.

Spoken Language

Our SPEAK UP! initiative promotes pupils to speak correctly and clearly. We encourage the use of interesting and varied vocabulary in full sentences. All members of the school community are expected to speak correctly and to model this to their pupils.

The SPEAK UP! Programme also promotes an appreciation of poetry. The pupils are required to learn and recite a poem (one poem each half term). In addition, pupils are challenged to share their news, and give talks and presentations on increasingly complex subjects.
The Ethnic Minority Achievement (EMA) project also supports and enriches the development of spoken language. Speaking frames are modelled and pupils are actively encouraged to use them in their speaking and writing.


At Essex Primary School our aim is to encourage pupils to read for pleasure and to develop a real passion for reading through a variety of reading experiences, including sharing and discussing books, reading with a partner or adult and sustained silent reading.

Guided Reading is taught for a minimum of twenty minutes four times a week, where pupils are introduced to a range of high quality, challenging and culturally relevant texts.

Guided reading follows the Reciprocal Reading approach, which emphasises critical discussion through questioning. Complementary activities are planned to develop the pupils’ love of reading, their comprehension as well as support them in applying their reading skills across other subjects.

At Essex Primary School, our commitment to reading means that we constantly provide pupils with opportunities to read and hear readers. For example, every class teacher reads to their class for the final ten to fifteen minutes of each school day. This enables the pupils to hear fluent, expressive reading and also gives the class teacher time to engage the pupils in book talk and promote a love of reading.

We have a team of literacy intervention staff who take pupils for individual reading slots, and who work with pupils to improve their confidence and enjoyment of the written word.

In addition, every class has a ‘book corner’, which is an inviting area for the pupils to sit and become immersed in a good book. These corners are full of books selected to spark pupil’s imagination and encourage their passion for reading.

Pupils are encouraged to continue their reading outside of school hours. Home/School reading is a partnership which enables parents and children to enjoy the reading process together. Parental involvement is a key factor in the development of reading skills and reading confidence. Books are banded to enable pupil to be successful and confident readers.

In EYFS and KS1 pupils will change their home reading books once a week. In KS2, through monitoring and continuous teacher assessment, pupils will read a variety of banded books and complete a Home Reading Log to demonstrate and develop a range of responses to reading.


Emergent writing is highly valued in The Foundation Stage where phonic knowledge is used to match written words to spoken words. We want our pupils to believe in themselves as writers and to approach every task with confidence.
The modelling of writing for different purposes by teachers plays an important role in the teaching of writing. pupils can observe teachers write and are part of the writing process.

In all year groups pupils will learn and practise their writing:

  • write in a variety of contexts including discrete English lessons, text-focused thematic work, science and cross-curricular links with other foundation subjects
  • study language and writing through shared texts, using the ‘Talk for Writing’ approach, which will involve teacher’s modelling; scaffolding, planning and redrafting leading to a high quality outcome
  • study a wide-range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry
  • write for a range of audiences and purposes.

A vital part of a pupil’s writing development is their ability to spell words correctly. Pupils start to spell words and understand their meaning in EYFS, beginning with understanding all the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they represent. Forming CVC words, learning consonant and vowel digraphs and the process of segmenting spoken words into sounds before choosing graphemes to represent the sounds lay the foundations of a confident speller. In KS1, pupils will be able to use sounds from their Phonics phases to make phonetically plausible spelling attempts. By the end of KS1, pupils should know how to spell the first 200 High Frequency words.

KS2 pupils are explicitly taught spelling to enable them to correctly spell all words on the word list for their year group, as well as understand the spelling rules that apply to the English language. Weekly and half-termly spelling tests are administered, alongside the dictation of spellings.

French (Modern Foreign Language)

French (MFL) Subject Statement

At Essex Primary School, we value and recognise all the languages that our children speak. As you walk around our school you will see signs in a variety of modern languages which reflect the number of languages spoken at home by our pupils.

We believe learning a foreign language helps children develop an appreciation of other cultures and deepens their understanding of the world. At Essex Primary School, pupils are taught French from Year 3 to Year 6. A key purpose of including a European dimension is to develop pupils’ understanding of cultural diversity, tolerance and to refine their attitudes and perceptions about other countries.

We aim to enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. Above all, we aim to provide opportunities for our pupils to communicate for practical purposes, so that they can use these skills within real-life situations.

Our teaching contains many interactive activities, with an emphasis on stories, games and songs recorded by native French speakers to engage and inspire pupils. Pupils become familiarised with the written word when each new item of vocabulary is introduced, and they are encouraged to make links between phonemes and graphemes as soon as possible. Pupils gradually extend their vocabulary and come to grips with using more complex language.

Each year we offer the opportunity for some of our Year 6 pupils to visit France. This enables the children to learn about cultural diversity and life in another country as well as practise their French.


Geography Subject Statement

Geography is an inspirational subject, which encourages in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. Our pupils love to find out about the world around them, and their desire to expand their knowledge and understanding of all things geographical means the curriculum we offer is rich in content and wide in scope.

Our curriculum is varied, challenging and thought-provoking. In Key Stage 1, pupils learn the names of the continents and oceans, as well as the names of the four home nations and their respective capital cities. They will use the four main compass directions and simple maps and photographs to explore the local area.

One area of study focusses on where food comes from whilst another compares and contrasts an area in the U.K. to a contrasting non-European country. We endeavour to ensure that our curriculum reflects the rich diversity of cultures and backgrounds of the pupils at our school.

In Key Stage 2, the pupils will locate the countries of the world, focussing particularly on Europe and the Americas (with in-depth studies of France and Brazil). They will conduct practical fieldwork as well as naming the counties, regions and major cities of the United Kingdom.

They will begin to explore geographical features such as volcanoes and tectonic plates, as well as features of human geography such as trade links and land use. They also learn to use grid references on Ordnance Survey maps to describe locations.


History Subject Statement

Our pupils are enthusiastic students of history. Through our teaching we try to bring to life events from the past and create memorable experiences for all. These range from Ancient Egypt Day (where we ‘mummify’ our pupils) to the re-creation of the Battle of Hastings, with each lesson designed to capture the pupils’ imagination and inspire them to find out more.

We believe the knowledge and appreciation of history helps pupils understand the contemporary world. One important event we participate in every year is Black History Month. We use this time to recognise the contribution made to our society over many years by the African and Caribbean communities.

We work to the National curriculum for history, which aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day
  • know and understand significant aspects of the wider world
  • gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
  • understand historical concepts such as continuity and change
  • understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims.

In Key Stage 1, pupils learn about toys from the past, and study significant people such as Florence Nightingale and the Kings and Queens of England. Pupils are passionate about investigating the history of their local area to study the ways people lived, and investigate the Great Fire of London (1666) as an event beyond living memory.

As pupils progress, they learn the history of the British Isles. Our studies of the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in Britain provide an understanding of how British society was shaped by the movement and settlement of different peoples.

We also work on the impact of significant inventors and their inventions made during the Victorian era, which enables pupils to understand the changes in work, transport and the lives of people in different sections of society at this time.

To complement our British studies, we explore life in Ancient Egypt. Learning about this non-European society gives the pupils an insight of where the first civilizations appeared. Similarly, our work on Ancient Greek Culture enables the pupils to understand the influence of the Greeks on the western world. Pupils also have the opportunity to study the Early Islamic civilisation, which includes a focus on Baghdad.

Our topics resonate across the other subjects to consolidate learning: pupils make Anglo-Saxon jewellery or Viking weapons, write from the perspective of historical figures and prepare theatrical presentations to share with the school and the wider community.

You can see photographs from some of these on the School Events page.


The reading scheme that we use in Key Stage 1 is called Oxford Reading Tree.


The phonics programme we use at Essex Primary School is called Letters and Sounds.


Maths Subject Statement

Our maths curriculum prepares our pupils to be 21st Century citizens by providing them with rich opportunities to problem solve, reason and make links. We ensure that pupils have a solid conceptual understanding of the fundamental of maths, so that they can use these building blocks to make mathematical sense of the world around them.

Essex Primary School has adopted a Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract (CPA) approach to maths, where pupils use resources and manipulatives to help them understand a concept. We also encourage pupils to construct pictorial representations of their understanding, to help establish the deep comprehension required for flexible thinking and the solving of non-routine problems. Furthermore, our lessons encourage a collaborative manner of problem solving; this not only develops the pupils’ mathematical abilities, but also their social and communication skills.

Our teaching and learning of mathematics extends beyond the classroom: we provide a maths club for pupils who like to explore all aspects of maths in creative ways, and take part in interschool maths bees where our pupils compete against peers from neighbouring schools. We also hold an annual Maths Day, where we arrange for pupils to solve practical problems as they have fun, learn and achieve.


Music Subject Statement

Here at Essex Primary School, we use the Active Music programme as the basis of our musical learning scheme of work. This ensures that we are fulfilling the aims as stated in the National Curriculum:

  • to perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions
  • to learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others
  • to understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.

We expect pupils to make a steady progression in their musical development, both within each year and from one year to the next. To facilitate this, each year group has an appointed music lead who report backs to the music co-ordinator about the effectiveness of music lessons, which allows for constant monitoring and adjustment of the lesson plans. Essex Primary School is an inclusive school and therefore we provide music to all abilities, including musical therapy sessions for pupils with special needs.

We run a number of initiatives to allow our pupil to develop their passion for music and singing. For example, in Year 5 and Year 6 our pupils can choose an instrument to learn for two years. Currently, we have pupils learning flute, guitar and keyboard. We have an excellent staff of professional musicians who teach with instruments provided by the Mayor of Newham (as part of the Borough-wide initiative, ‘Every Child a Musician’). When the pupils leave Essex Primary School, they take their instruments with them: this enables them to continue their musical education at Secondary School.

We are also fortunate to have an active school choir. Our choir meets weekly, and is enthusiastic about participating in all singing events: not only at school concerts, but at local venues for the wider community. In addition, pupils from Year 6 take part in the Commonwealth Society Choir and orchestra workshops, where they have the opportunity to perform to the Royal family and ambassadors.

However, our most successful initiative in music has been the introduction of ‘Music Weeks’. These give the pupils the opportunity to work intensively with world-renowned and musicians, singer-song writers, performance poets and actors. The week-long projects build pupils’ confidence and self-esteem, to culminate in some truly memorable performances.

You can see more pictures from some of our performances on the School Events page.

Physical Education (P.E.)

Physical Education Subject Statement

A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed in physically demanding activities and competitive sports. It provides pupils with opportunities to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Within Essex Primary, the sport coaches from Sporting 4 Schools provide lessons for a range of activities, including football, tennis, basketball, handball, dodgeball, athletics, gymnastics and gym.

Essex Primary is an inclusive school, so pupils with special educational needs (SEN) are catered for during PE sessions with the rest of their class. There are also additional lessons aimed specifically at SEN pupils throughout the week. During these lessons pupils learn basic movements, hand eye coordination and balancing.

The national curriculum for Physical Education aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities.
  • are physically active for sustained periods of time.
  • engage in competitive sports and activities.
  • lead healthy, active lives.

In KS1, pupils develop the fundamental movement skills and become increasingly competent and confident across a broad range of activities. These activities aim to extend their agility, balance, and coordination, individually and with others.

Pupils will be taught the following skills:

  • master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing agility, balance and coordination
  • participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending
  • perform dances using simple movement patterns.

In KS2, pupils continue to apply and develop a broader range of skills and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They should be communicating, collaborating and competing with each other, as well as learning how to evaluate and recognise their own success.

Pupils at this level will develop the following skills:

  • running, jumping, throwing and catching in isolation and in combination
  • to play competitive games (modified where appropriate)
  • flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance
  • perform dances using a range of movement patterns
  • take part in outdoor adventurous activity challenges both individually and in a team.
  • compare their performances with previous to better their personal best

We believe swimming and water safety are an essential part of a pupil’s physical education. Pupils in Year 4 are provided with swimming instruction at London Aquatics Centre. Pupils are taught to swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres. They will learn to use a range of strokes effectively, and perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations.

We believe that being able to compete in sport and other activities helps build character and embeds values such as fairness and respect. In addition to our timetabled activities, we offer our pupils a number of extra-curricular opportunities to engage in sport.

For example, we offer a comprehensive range of before- and after-school clubs including gym, football, multi-skills, handball, cricket, skipping, athletics, dodgeball, all-sports, netball and basketball.

Please see our clubs page for more details.

As the pupils who attend our clubs progress, we encourage them to take part in a range of sporting games, competing against other schools both in and out of the borough of Newham. PE coaches also provide extra training to those pupils that excel and are chosen to represent the school.

Throughout the year there are a number of special events arranged to further enthuse and engage pupils in sport. For example, the school takes part in the biannual Sports Relief day, and pupils are encouraged to participate in activities such as the sponsored one mile walk. Sports Day is also held in July each year. Each pupil gets the opportunity to take part in different sporting activities to win points for their class.

PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic education)

PSHE Subject Statement

PSHE at Essex Primary School develops the knowledge, understanding and skills pupils need to manage their lives, both now and in the future. The PSHCE Association describes this topic as ‘learning to live life well’, and deals with real-life social and economic issues that affect our pupils, their families and communities.

Our teaching develops the knowledge and skills necessary to make safe and informed decisions. We meet the statutory government guidance for our taught age groups concerning drug education, sex and relationships (SRE) and financial education. Supported in part by SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning), we plan lessons and ‘Circle Time’ discussions that focus on helping our pupils to grow in confidence and mature socially and emotionally.
PSHE in our school has a significant impact on all areas of the curriculum: as we teach our pupils how to set and work towards their own goals, they can take more ownership of their learning. Furthermore, we foster a learning culture where mistakes, as part of the learning journey, are viewed positively.

In addition to class-based teaching, we have school-wide projects and events that support these goals. For example, we embed anti-bullying week teaching across the curriculum and run a school council, where pupils can practise their reasoning and debate skills and voice their opinions.

PSHE is a non-statutory subject; however, we believe it to be an important part of all pupils’ education. We are committed to the sensitive teaching of these life skills, and are careful to match our approach to the needs of our pupils. Our ultimate goal is the empowerment of pupils to make to make informed and healthy life choices.

Religious Education (R.E.)

Religious Education Subject Statement

The National Curriculum recognises that state schools must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage.

In Newham, councillors, teachers, faith leaders and representatives have come together to agree a syllabus for religious education: Exploring Beliefs, Celebrating Diversity Newham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 2016.

We work to the Newham Agreed Syllabus for R.E. and recognise the variety of religions and world views from which our pupils come.  We welcome and celebrate this diversity, are sensitive to the home background of each pupil, and work to ensure that all pupils feel valued and informed by our R.E. programme.


Science Subject Statement

We believe every pupil can make progress as a scientist, and so design lessons that encourage pupils to question, explore and make discoveries. We are looking forward to raising the profile of science and engaging pupils through inspiring topics that meet the requirements of the New National Curriculum:

  • to develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the   specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics
  • to develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through practical activity
  • to equip pupils with the scientific knowledge required to understand its uses and implications today and for the future.

We know that practical, hands-on investigation is essential to a pupil’s understanding, and that teaching can be delivered with inspiration and innovation. To this end, Essex Primary School has invested in a new Scheme of work, ‘Switched on Science’. The scheme is full of hands-on experiments, creative investigations and new approaches to traditional topics.

Each year is organised into six units, providing half a term’s work. Topics are divided into flexible units which can be adapted to fit the individual class, and the cross-curricular nature of our teaching is supported by links to literacy, maths and information technology. We have also invested in new resources and equipment to support the new topics.

In addition to their mainstream teaching, pupils are invited to participate in exciting school-wide science investigations and projects. Science clubs aim to promote and enhance enquiry skills in a fun and hands-on setting. We also have strong links with local secondary schools and are working with them to engage learners in the science curriculum.

Our Science Week activities encourage families to work together at home and allow the pupils to share what they have been learning at school. Achievements in science are celebrated in the classroom and shared with the entire school.