Our Curriculum

At West Horndon Primary School we are passionate about providing a curriculum for our learners which meets their needs in the 21st Century. Our approach to curriculum planning is bespoke and flexible so that it can be adapted to meet the needs of learners over time. 

As a maintained primary school we start by ensuring that we meet the requirements of the National Curriculum. 
Children in Reception follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.
The National Curriculum is taught throughout key stages 1 & 2. Each class has a two year rolling programme of long term planning to ensure we meet the statutory requirements for curriculum coverage. Details of what is taught in each year group and when can be found below. 
In designing our curriculum we start by identifying our Curriculum Drivers. The opportunities and challenges that the context of our learners setting and lives present focus the development of our bespoke, ever evolving, curriculum. 
At the Heart of our curriculum is our core belief that happy, secure and well children learn best! Our Foundations for Learning are approaches and interventions that allow our pupils to learn well and to develop their learning to learn, character and life skills. Mastering key skills is a continuous focus and provision to ensure that our pupils have the vital building blocks to ensure that they are well equipped for the next stages of their education. We aim for all of our pupils to make good progress and to meet their age related expectations. Meaningful and engaging themes bring all of these elements together to ensure that our pupils learn in the context of an exciting, broad and relevant curriculum that makes learning irresistible. 
We have developed a list of '50 Things' which capture the essence of the breadth of experiences we want pupils to have during their journey with us. These form the Curriculum Entitlement for every learner. 
Our curriculum operates on a one or two year cycle, depending on the year groups. As the school expands more year groups will move to a one year cycle. Each year has its own set of exciting themes for learning. 
We have chosen to to base our curriculum on the Chris Quigley Essentials Curriculum which sets out essential coverage, learning objectives and standards for all subjects. Furthermore, it provides progress measures for all subjects including personal development. 
One of the primary reasons we have chosen to adopt this curriculum is because it emphasises the importance of developing the DEPTH of children's learning. 

Phonic development

There is a great emphasis on the systematic teaching of phonics as a prime means of teaching children how to read and spell. At West Horndon, phonic skills are primarily taught through the use of Letters and Sounds (DFES 2007). Letters and Sounds consists of a six phase programme which is introduced in the Early Years Foundation Stage and progresses throughout Key Stage One (and beyond as needed), as a discrete daily teaching programme.

The principles underlying Letters and Sounds ensure:

  • Importance is placed on the development of speaking and listening skills in their own right and for paving the way to success in reading and writing.
  • Children are taught grapheme/phoneme correspondence (GPCs) in a clearly defined sequence.
  • The important skills of blending (synthesising) and segmenting phonemes are taught alongside the knowledge that the processes are reversible. In turn these skills are practised and applied by the children, enabling words to be read and spelled.
  • The assessment formats that are encompassed within it allow individualised learning, enabling pupils to progress between the phases as required.

 Acquisition of the phonic code is supported by use of the associated actions and stories, outlined in the Jolly Phonics Handbook. However the teaching of the alphabetic code follows the sequence outlined in Letters and Sounds and this is supported by LCP phonics planning.  Whilst teachers are able to adapt the delivery of the programme, the content is set. This approach ensures a rigorous format is applied, which provides consistency throughout the school.   


Being able to read is the most important skill children will learn during their early schooling and has far reaching implications for life long confidence and well being. (Adonis & Hughes 2007)

The benefits of being a frequent and enthusiastic reader are well documented. The more you read, and enjoy reading, the better and more confident you become at reading and the more you want to do it. Whilst creating skilled, confident readers who are able and eager to access the curriculum is fundamental to our school environment, creating a culture that promotes reading for pleasure is equally paramount. Attaining this will enable children to enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and, consequently, to accomplish economic wellbeing later in life, (adapted from the Literacy Trust /readingconnects, 2008).


  • To provide an environment where reading is seen as both important and enjoyable.
  • To promote opportunities for speaking and listening as part of early reading development
  • To develop fluent and automatic word recognition skills based on acquisition and use of phonic knowledge.
  • To develop language comprehension that facilitates a transition from learning to read to reading to learn.
  • To actively teach children to read, so they grow into confident and competent readers
  • To actively involve parents in helping their child to read and ensure they realise their importance in this role throughout their child’s school career.

  Throughout the school a variety of activities are used to develop and promote reading.

 Developing readers 

Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) materials are used to support reading development. These consist of clearly structured progressive resources which incorporate both fiction and non-fiction genres. Teachers should endeavour to encourage children to choose from the books which are readily accessible to children in the ORT library area, downstairs. Guidance needs to be given to pupils so that they can independently select and replace materials at appropriate levels, whilst respecting the books and library area.

 The programme must be used to meet the individual needs of each child and progress through the stages and onto ‘general’ reading materials is only made at the discretion of the class teacher. It is not specific to age, year group or key stage. Progress through ORT reading scheme is supported by the progress sheets in the ORT handbook. These include guidance about the specific GPCs and frequent words covered in each book. These can be used alongside the more detailed reading assessment which is continuously carried out using Assessing Pupil Progress materials, (see assessment).

Competent readers

Once children have progressed through the program and are reading confidently with good understanding, they can choose from a selection of reading books, within each class library. Books will range in genre, length and difficulty and children will initially be guided in how to make appropriate selections. They may have material from their personal collections, local library or other source as their reading choice.

 When reading at this level, children will record the books they choose using Junior Librarian. This system enables teachers to periodically monitor the books they are choosing and ensure children explore a variety of genre. Teacher will positively encourage children to access a wide variety of books by suggesting specific reading materials to pupils.

 Oxford Reading Tree Library

This area is located on the lower floor communal area. Books are arranged in stage order and need to be scanned in and out using the junior librarian system which is installed on the PC in the ORT area. See the developing reader section above for details of the ORT scheme.

 Reference Library

The library is situated in a designated area. It contains a variety of non-fiction reading materials suitable for all year groups which are organised under the Dewey classification system.  

All classes are allocated a day on which the library is available for group use. This is organised at the teacher’s discretion, however during the allotted day opportunities should be made for children to choose and exchange books from the library for their individual use. Library books should be taken home alongside a reading book, in the child’s books folder. KS2 teachers need to allow time for trained library monitors to organise/re-shelf resources in the library at the end of their session. Learning Support Assistants from all classes should also take regular opportunities to maintain the overall appearance of the library.

 Class libraries

Each class has a designated reading area, of high quality and value, where children can sit and enjoy a wide range of books. The area should be clearly identifiable and be used as far as possible to display relevant materials for example; particular book genres being studied, a focused author, newly exchanged or purchased books as this will further enhance the schools promotion of reading. Class libraries are stocked with books provided by the school or those on loan from Essex School Library Service. Children should be allowed to choose from these books as part of their self-chosen reading material.

 Opportunities for reading as part of other subjects including the use of ICT

Reading is intrinsically incorporated across the curriculum, whether it be reading a problem in numeracy, accessing instructions in a food technology session, using inference and deduction to explore a painting in art or sourcing information for a topic from a book or the internet. Teachers must exploit every opportunity for making reading real. Children should be exposed to a wide variety of real literature and alternative texts, including ICT based materials and DVDs to enable them to develop skills in reading for meaning at varying levels. It is important to emphasise that reading skills such as inference and deduction can be developed through a wide genre of texts aside from writing or print.

Computing National Curriculum 2014

Computers are now part of everyday life. For most of us, technology is essential to our lives, at home and at work. ‘Computational thinking’ is a skill pupils must be taught if they are to be ready for the workplace and able to participate effectively in this digital world.  The new 2014 National Curriculum for computing has been developed to equip young people in England with the foundational skills, knowledge and understanding of computing they will need for the rest of their lives. Through the new programme of study for computing, they will learn how computers and computer systems work; they will design and build programs, develop their ideas using technology and create a range of content.  This represents continuity and change, challenge and opportunity.  Computing is concerned with how computers and computer systems work, and how they are designed and programmed.  Pupils studying computing will gain an understanding of computational systems of all kinds, whether or not they include computers. Computational thinking provides insights into many areas of the curriculum, and influences work at the cutting edge of a wide range of disciplines.  Why is computational thinking so important?  It allows pupils to solve problems, design systems, and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence.  It is a skill that empowers, and one that all pupils should be aware of and develop competence in.  Pupils who can think computationally are better able to conceptualise, understand and use computer-based technology, and so are better prepared for today’s world and the future.  Computing is a practical subject, in which invention and resourcefulness are encouraged. The ideas of computing are applied to understanding real-world systems and creating purposeful products.  The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming.  Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.