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Our Curriculum

Mission Statement

‘At Ninelands, we believe in making learning irresistible, meaningful and memorable. We want all our children to thrive in a happy, secure and inclusive environment where they develop enquiring minds, enjoy learning and have high aspirations, every lesson, every day. We challenge our children to be independent and self-motivated with the resilience to continue their learning journey so they can achieve their potential, contributing positively to society with strength and compassion.’

As our mission statement affirms, we strive to provide children with the best educational experience possible.  We have worked hard to create a curriculum which:

-has clear educational purpose (INTENT)

-is delivered with imagination (IMPLEMENTATION)

-has measurable academic value (IMPACT)



The EYFS and National Curricula are the strong core of our study and we ensure that the statutory requirements set out in these documents are met. 

We also enrich and extend the national offer with our school curriculum - the total learned experience for a child: formal and informal, within the classroom and beyond.  Our Ninelands curriculum takes into account the context of our school and accommodates the needs of our children; it is also underpinned by three Curriculum Drivers. 


Curriculum Drivers

Our Curriculum Drivers set us apart from other schools, showing how we are different.  They define the work that we do with our children, giving focus to the learning opportunities we offer and reflect our educational philosophy and current priorities.  Establishing our Drivers has not meant we have dismissed any parts of the statutory offer; instead, they have helped us to prioritise content and supplement what was already in place – ensuring that we give our children appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities.   

When consulting on our Curriculum Drivers we asked all stakeholders to consider them with the following in mind:

  • how we could make the most of our local and regional location
  • the ways in which we could best champion the culture and climate we value
  • what backgrounds and previous experiences our pupils bring to their learning

Together, we decided on Respect, Creativity and Aspiration which are embedded, and in evidence, throughout our teaching and learning.  We also hold three driver days within the school year, one each term.  A more detailed explanation of what each driver entails can be found in our Curriculum Driver document.


Curriculum Entitlement

Alongside our drivers we also have our entitlement document which is our commitment to the children and their parents/carers in terms of what they can expect from our school curriculum during their time with us.  We wanted them to see, on one page, the opportunities and possibilities we can offer them as they move through school. This can be found here: Curriculum Entitlement Document



The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

Our Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum ensures children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.  It also gives our children the broad range of knowledge, skills and understanding that provide a solid foundation for future progress through school and later life. 

Four guiding principles steer and shape our practice:

  1. Every child in our care is unique and we must consider their individual needs, interests, and development when planning a challenging and enjoyable learning experience for them.
  2. Children learn to be strong, self-assured and independent through positive relationships.
  3. Children develop and learn well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who strive to meet their needs and respond to any individual interests.  Children also benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.
  4. The recognition that children learn and develop at different rates and we must accommodate the needs of all of our children no matter what their starting point. We work hard to make certain that every child makes progress and cannot emphasis enough the importance of learning and development for all.

The curriculum provided for our Early Years pupils is shaped by seven areas of learning and development.  These are divided into three Prime and four Specific areas – however all areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected.

The three Prime areas are particularly important for fuelling imagination, igniting curiosity, forming relationships and developing a love of learning.

The three Prime areas are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

Our staff also support children in four Specific areas, through which the three Prime areas are strengthened and applied.

The four Specific areas are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning that we incorporate into all that we plan and provide are:

  • playing and exploring - children investigate, explore and experience and are encouraged to ‘have a go’
  • active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links and connections and develop strategies to support them in completing activities.

Planned and purposeful play is at the centre of our Nursery and Reception curriculum and children engage in both adult led and child initiated activities.

As children grow older and move into their Reception year, we have a greater focus on teaching the essential knowledge, skills and understanding in the specific areas of learning in preparation for the next stage of their education in Year 1 and in order to benefit fully from the opportunities that lie ahead of them.


The Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2

In Key Stage 1 and 2, to support us in delivering the statutory elements of the National Curriculum we use the ‘Essentials’ Curriculum written by Chris Quigley.  The ‘Essentials’ Curriculum covers the full spectrum of subjects, caters for all abilities and exceeds the standards set out in the National Curriculum.  It provides us with a coherent, progressive, sequenced curricular structure which enables our children to develop subject specific knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them for the next phase in their education.  The Essentials Curriculum also gives us the freedom and flexibility to set the programmes of study in a context that is suitable for our children and bring the learning to life. 


There are four parts to the Essentials Curriculum which are outlined below:

Essential Characteristics

Each curriculum area begins with an overview of the types of traits children should develop when studying the subject in order to become a historian, designer, musician or scientist, for example.  These essential characteristics also form the basis for the threshold concepts.

Breadth of Study

The breadth of study statements take the National Curriculum programmes of study and in some cases expand them so that they exceed the statutory requirements.  From these statements we have considered how we can develop our children’s cultural capital through our Drivers and school curriculum, introducing them to the best of what has been thought and said and helping them to engender an appreciation of human and creative achievement.

Threshold Concepts

The threshold concepts are relatively small in number and are therefore repeatable.  Having fewer concepts means that they are not just covered but, more importantly, learned.  The same threshold concepts will be explored in every year group and children will gradually increase in their understanding of them through this forwards and backwards engineering of the curriculum.  At Ninelands we recognise that learning happens in many sittings, so these key concepts are revisited in exciting ways and different contexts so that they eventually become embedded.


Although the threshold concepts are repeated in every year group children must still progress in them.  Progress is defined as the widening and deepening of essential knowledge, skills and understanding.  The children will revisit key aspects of learning across subjects and over time with increasing levels of cognitive demand and challenge. 

The Essentials Curriculum sets out this progression in the form of three ‘Milestones’.  These are the end points we are expecting children to have met at certain stages within their primary career and also support staff in measuring progress.

  • Milestone 1 is the expectation for the end of Year 2
  • Milestone 2 is the expectation for the end of Year 4
  • Milestone 3 is the expectation for the end of Year 6

Each Milestone contains a range of descriptors which give more detail to be discovered within the concept. 


The diagram below shows our curriculum model:

Long Term Plan for

Years 1 and 2

Long Term Plan for

Years 3 and 4

Long Term Plan for

Years 5 and 6


Threshold Concepts

 Milestone 1

Milestone 2

Milestone 3


Making use of the ‘Essentials Curriculum’ has helped us mediate the content of the National Curriculum and map it out across the different year groups for most of our Foundation Subjects.  We have devised a long-term curriculum map which ensures all the statutory programmes of study are included and is influenced by our drivers.  We have then spent time assigning the content set out in the ‘Essentials Curriculum’ to specific year groups so that all staff are clear as to what is taught and when.  We have used the Chris Quigley online planner to support staff with this and the information for each Year group is published on our website.



Our curriculum design and delivery is based on evidence from cognitive science (ref: Essentials Curriculum) and is underpinned by three main principles:

  1. Learning is most effective in episodes with spaced repetition. These episodes need to both appropriate and varied. 
  2. Interleaving (deliberate leaving and coming back to learning) helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention.
  3. Revisiting learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both memory storage and retrieval strength. This is not an assessment strategy but a learning technique. 

In addition to these three principles, we also understand that there is a difference between content being covered and learned.  Learning is a change to long-term working memory and is invisible in the short term as sustained mastery takes time.  We recognise that in order to secure learning we need to revisit and repeat it as proficiency takes practise. 

Deciding on how the curriculum is to be delivered is key to both ensuring the content is learned and engaging our children.  At Ninelands, where strong and meaningful links can be made, we adopt a multidisciplinary approach to our planning and connect subjects to develop a topic or theme.  Where links cannot be made, we instead teach subjects discretely and in isolation. 

To ensure coverage of the full curriculum and avoid focussing too much on one subject area, a general sense of proportion across the school year has been applied.  There are non-negotiable allocations on weekly timetables for English, mathematics and Physical Education and the teachers are free to arrange the rest of their timetables in consultation with the Curriculum Lead and subject leaders.

Sometimes subjects may be blocked or run over successive mornings/afternoons to support children in keeping focussed on concepts, or to consolidate skills or to allow practical work to continue.  Other areas of the curriculum might be dependent on hall/room bookings and happen at a regular time each week. 


We use the following documents to support our delivery of the curriculum:


Resources used to Support and Supplement Planning


Narrative Units – Power of Reading



White Rose Maths

Third Space Learning



KS1 – school designed schemes of work

KS2 – Rising Stars- Switched on Science

Design and technology

School designed schemes of work


school designed schemes of work


school designed schemes of work

Art and design

school designed schemes of work



Physical Education

Jasmine – Core Real PE & school designed schemes of work


Rising Stars – Switched On Computing

Languages (KS 2 - French)

Language Angels

Religious Education

RE Agreed Syllabus – West Yorkshire RE Resources Hub - endorsed by Leeds LA

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education


Islington primary scheme of work for PSHE education - endorsed by Leeds LA


To make certain that our Mission Statement is realised within our curriculum we plan, keeping the following principles in mind:


Making the learning ‘irresistible, meaningful and memorable’

The more real the learning experience, the more likely the children will engage in what is being taught. We plan to make the topic or subject we are teaching real to the children and not too far removed from their own experiences.  For example, when we are teaching about the Vikings in Year 4, we will try to think of the legacy they have left and start with that.  We will launch each topic with a stimuli or starting point (a visit, visitors, artefacts, books, film clips, images, problems to solve, challenges to undertake etc.) using this an opportunity to inject energy into a new learning journey, capture the interest and imagination of our children and create an eagerness to find out more.  Our launch lessons will also be used to frame thinking, focus on the concept at hand, and give learning objectives context.  Moreover, they will make connections between existing knowledge and future learning.


Challenging our children ‘to be independent and self-motivated’

By mapping out the content of our curriculum we ensure educational purpose, but what we teach also needs to be steered by the children in some way.  We prompt and provoke our children into becoming actively involved in both what we have planned for them and related aspects of the learning that they find interesting along the way.  We are not asking children what they would like to learn, as that can be a broad question that they may struggle to answer and can also limit what we offer as they do not know the scope of the topic, or subject, we are teaching them.  Instead, we want them to feel part of the learning process, rather than lead it.  To support this, we create a classroom ethos that is safe, open and welcoming and acknowledge that providing choices, being flexible and establishing positive relationships are the strong foundation on which we build the learning - together.

If we are to provoke lines of enquiry, then children also need space and time to follow them. We allow for this by:

  • not planning too tightly which allows for our lessons to be adapted in light of what has been achieved in the previous session.
  • giving time for children to explore their chosen lines of enquiry.
  • collapsing the timetable at the beginning of a theme.
  • hooking the interest of our children and securing their commitment from the start of a topic through our launch days.
  • pulling the topic together at the end, enabling the children to reflect upon and demonstrate their learning.
  • holding themed mornings, afternoons or days which allow us to either immerse our children in an area of the established curriculum or enrich their education beyond what is statutory.


Wanting all of our children ‘to thrive in a happy, secure and inclusive environment’

The curriculum in our school is designed to be accessed by all children.  We build on the strengths of each and every child, supporting them to reach their full potential.  Some of what we offer will be modified in order to meet the needs of specific individuals and this will be done in consultation with our SENDCo, parents/carers and outside agencies - where necessary. 


Making certain that our children are ‘contributing positively to society with strength and compassion’


Developing the right attitude and attributes in our children is equal to focusing on their academic ability.  At Ninelands, we recognise the responsibility we have in enabling children to:

  • be engaged in decision making and supporting the community and environment.
  • build positive relationships and choose not to bully or discriminate.
  • develop self-confidence and successfully deal with life changes and challenges.

We know that supporting the children to develop positive learning dispositions and character traits will serve them well both now and in the future. 



At Ninelands we use a range of qualitative and quantitative data to monitor and evaluate the impact of our curriculum.


We analyse data from the EYFS baseline and profile, and statutory national checks and tests to support us in shaping our curriculum along with ongoing formative, and termly internal summative, assessments.  We track our children against the Chris Quigley milestones which are our expected endpoints.  Our aim is for the majority of pupils to have sustained mastery of the content, that is they have retained and can retrieve what they have been taught, whilst some may have progressed further and have a greater depth of understanding. 


We also undertake rigorous monitoring throughout the year to evaluate the quality of education we provide.  Alongside the senior leadership team, middle leaders and subject leaders review learning through:

  • observing lessons
  • carrying out learning walks
  • team teaching
  • interviewing pupils
  • teacher discussion
  • studying learning sequences and outcomes

to provide individual and whole-school feedback to move practice forward. 


Governors also have a top tier view of how our curriculum works as a whole, whilst also keeping abreast of developments in specific subjects.  We report regularly to the teaching and learning committee and a series of activities are carried out to validate what school leaders have shared with governors such as:

  • meeting with subject leaders and questioning them on their action plans and the progress they have made towards their current priorities.
  • having regular conversation with senior leaders about how our curriculum matches our school vision and values.
  • interrogating evidence provided by school leaders at all levels for specific subjects linked to our School Improvement Plan.
  • talking to children about their experience of the curriculum we offer and what is working well for them and finding out what could be even better.


This level of scrutiny ensures that the majority of children meet age-related expectations or the endpoints in specific subjects, celebrates successes and highlights areas for development. 

These areas for development are then used by leaders at all levels to produce action plans which give a clear agenda for further improvement.