Our Curriculum


We mainly use SeeSaw to present our learning in the wider curriculum. Each half term there is a geography or history focus and an accompanying 'Big Question'

Pupil Voice

Teachers can capture what the pupils know and understand by recording their quotes in the SeeSaw platform.

Use of photographs/illustrations.

Pupils love to show their learning through pictures and teachers love to show learning through photographs which are immediately shared with parents/carers!

Pride in Work 

Pupils have pride in their work and enjoy looking at their learning on SeeSaw. This also helps them to recall previous knowledge and skills.


We strive to present work in an attractive way to instil a sense of pride in the learners and to show that we value their work.


Our curriculum is broad and balanced. We make authentic links between other subjects. Our key aim is to increase the cultural capital for all learners to maximise their life chances.

Previous Learning

We build on previous knowledge by finding out what pupils already know at the start of the learning.


We teach phonics through the Read Write Inc program. This ensures that there is a rigorous, consistent approach and pupils become familiar with the structure of lessons as they progress through Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. We regularly assess pupils' progress and group them according to their ability. This enables all teachers of phonics to maximise rapid progress with learning to read. To see more about the teaching of phonics go to the reading page of this website.


Once pupils have completed the Read Write Inc program they progress onto a graded coloured reading scheme until they are ready to become a 'Free Reader'. Once the children are on the 'Free Reading' spine, they select from books that are suited to their reading age and ability and one that will be engaging and challenging. There are a wide selection of books available in all classes and in our well stocked library and pupils are encouraged to engender a love of reading by taking books home.

We have introduced the 'Boom Reader' in order to increase parental participation with home reading.

We used VIPERS (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Recall and Summarise.) in order to check pupil's understanding of what they read. We are also developing 'Reciprocal Reading' to support reading comprehension - we are using puppets to support this strategy so that it is accessible to all ages and abilities. To see more about the teaching of reading see the reading page on this website. 


We teach children how to write a range of texts and genres. The progression of knowledge and skills for literacy can be seen in the document attached below. Sometimes we will use a high quality text which pupils 'learn' in a 'Talk for Writing' approach. They then change aspects of this text in order to create their own high quality example. Pupils use visual 'story maps' to help them to recall the texts. For some genres we 'unpick' the features in order to support pupils to create their own version. We track pupils' progress throughout the Literacy Learning Journey and focus our feedback on next steps/targets. At the end of a unit of fiction or non-fiction learning we will assess each 'end of unit' piece of work to build a clear picture of what pupils can do and what they need to do next. This helps to identify pupils' next steps in learning and informs teacher planning for future units of work.

We use Devon Learning and HamiltonTrust planning and assessment to guide our sequence of learning, this is structured to effectively cover the National Curriculum objectives. The Devon Learning planning exemplifications are used to guide planning but teachers will then plan their own units to meet the particular needs of their classes. Teachers differentiate effectively for all abilities.

We believe it is important for pupils to have something engaging to write about and to have a purpose; therefore we  use the wider curriculum as a stimulus for writing. We teach SPAG as part of every lesson but where necessary it is taught as a discrete skill this helps to build children's understanding of grammar and punctuation. There is a strong focus on the development of a rich and varied vocabulary. Teachers plan to include Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary, relevant to the literacy unit, and this allows for links to be made with the wider curriculum. 


We use the 'Letter Join' handwriting scheme to provide a structured program to develop handwriting in the school.

In EYFS and Key Stage One, the teaching of handwriting goes alongside our Read Write Inc phonics program and as children complete this program and progress into Key Stage Two, their handwriting is taught more through the letter join scheme. 


We use the 'Whiterose' materials to provide a basis of our mathematics teaching. These resources support the mastery approach to teaching. If teachers discover that pupils need extra reinforcement then they supplement the Whiterose planning with other materials. We use visual and practical materials to support mathematical understanding.  Also, if pupils have a good understanding of concepts they spend more time deepening their understanding through 'applying' their knowledge in a range of contexts.

We participate in NCETM (National centre for excellence in teaching mathematics) programmes to further strengthen our practice. We are developing the use of KIRFs (Key Instant Recall Facts) to support pupils with the learning of key number facts.

Wider Curriculum 

We use the Bridge Trust progression ladders for each of the foundation subjects. These support our curriculum planning to ensure that there is clear progression of knowledge, skills and vocabulary in each year group. We assess these subjects using a similar assessment grid. Click on each of the files below to see the progression of knowledge and skills in each year group.

Gunnislake Primary Academy:  Our Curriculum Statement

 Staff have spent a considerable amount of time developing and working towards embedding an effective curriculum. This continues to be an ongoing journey for us as a school. Leaders have used a range of materials (such as educational books and studies) to help shape our curriculum. Therefore, please note that our curriculum is not static. We are always looking to make it relevant in the ever-changing world that we encounter. Our current priority is to ensure that we have sufficient cultural diversity reflected. If you have any questions or you would like more information about our curriculum, please contact secretary@gunnislakeprimary.co.uk. For subject specific information, such as our Reading and Maths Policy, please follow the links at the bottom of the subject pages.  

Our Curriculum

What is the intent of our curriculum?

At Gunnislake Primary Academy, our curriculum is designed with knowledge at its heart to ensure that children develop a strong vocabulary base and extensive understanding of the world. We appreciate that a knowledge-rich curriculum does not simply mean memorising disconnected facts. Pupils develop relationships with knowledge so that they can put their knowledge to work in powerful, meaningful ways. Our curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to develop understanding by connecting new knowledge with existing knowledge in order to develop fluency and the ability to apply their knowledge as skills. Therefore, Teachers and Subject Leaders have thought carefully about the sequence of our curriculum to ensure that new knowledge builds on what has been taught before and what may come after. We aim to deliver a broad, balanced and inclusive curriculum which empowers pupils to achieve their full potential and make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lives. Our overall aim is for pupils to learn, thrive and excel.

How do we implement our curriculum?

Our curriculum is underpinned by the National Curriculum alongside our ‘Knowledge Progression Ladders’, which helps to sequence the knowledge delivered as children progress through the school, along with ‘end points’ in our curriculum. The National Curriculum informs the knowledge progression ladders- detailing the knowledge that each child will learn in each year group. This knowledge is progressive. 

The knowledge is then mapped across the school to ensure that every child has their full entitlement. Knowledge is taught in subject specific lessons, built into an overarching enquiry question. Knowledge is taught to be remembered, not merely encountered. Our curriculum values long-term learning and we recognise that progress means knowing more and remembering more. We recognise that learning can be defined as an alteration in long-term memory and if nothing has been altered in the long-term memory, then nothing has been learned.

Staff use the map to guide them in their coverage of what needs to be taught and when. It is tailored to suit the needs of the children at that time, in teacher’s Medium Term Plans. The plans support teachers when they write Learning Journeys in English, science, art/dt, history/geography- which are the main enquiry drivers. Teachers use their pedagogical knowledge of how children learn best to enable pupils to understand key concepts, presenting information clearly to help embed key knowledge into long- term memory, so that pupils can develop fluency and automaticity. Feedback, retrieval practice and assessment are prioritised so that teachers can check pupils’ understanding effectively and identify any misunderstandings and misconceptions.

Our broad, balanced, inclusive and exciting curriculum is taught through a ‘themed’  approach whereby only genuine and authentic cross curricular links are made between subjects. When it is more appropriate, subjects are taught discreetly. Teachers ensure there is coverage of all the knowledge and break this into learning objectives with age-appropriate statements and use the ladders to guide their planning each day/week and throughout the year. Each 'theme' is led by an enquiry question such as What impact did travel during the time of the Tudors have on the world as we know it?’  Our themes are represented as 'Rubrics' which are displayed within each classroom and in books. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on: the knowledge and skills they have acquired so far; any misconceptions along the way and; where they are heading (a purposeful outcome). Revisiting of this Rubric at the start of each lesson provides retrieval opportunities to recap important tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary. The teachers use the 'Knowledge and Progression Ladders' to sequence the knowledge and vocabulary that they will teach the children, in order for them to answer this question. The learning includes enriching experiences. 

After teaching each unit, staff assess using the assessment ladders, mapping out a child’s journey in each subject and across the range of the curriculum. This is used when planning the next unit, to identify gaps for individuals and classes. It is also passed up to the next teacher, in preparation for transition before September.

Whilst we adopt a ‘themed’ approach to some areas of our curriculum, we make efforts to ensure that children fully understand the subject in which they learning, in order to develop subject disciplinary knowledge. For example, teachers help pupils to ‘think like a scientist’ or ‘think like a historian’ by discussing the different skills needed to do so.

Our curriculum is further enhanced by:

- Visitors, educational visits and ‘hands on’ experiences.

- WOW days and events to inspire and engage pupils

- Opportunities for pupils to share the questions that they would like to explore, in order to encourage curiosity

- Links to the local community

- Purposeful outcomes that include the wider community

- Learning Values and Learning Characters

Through our implementation of the curriculum, we aim to equip pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.

What is the impact?

The impact of our curriculum can be seen in the pupils’ development of detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum. This impact is reflected in the work that pupils produce, along with national test scores improving and key assessment points during the school year. At Gunnislake Primary Academy, we strive to ensure that pupil attainment is improving and that pupils are fully prepared for their next stage of education and ready to contribute positively to society as a whole. Our values (curiosity, creativity, excellence, responsibility, determination and enthusiasm) help to enable the pupils to become the very best version of themselves. Through the use of monitoring (pupil voice, lesson observations, outcomes, data analysis etc), leaders review and reflect on the intent and implementation of our curriculum to ensure that it has the desired impact. Subject leaders have developed a 3 Is document for their subject area and use action plans throughout the school year to build upon and develop their subject area.

If you would like any more information about our curriculum at Gunnislake, please contact the school office who will put you in contact with the appropriate leaders. 


We build on learning in EYFS in all curricular areas (see the document below for further details)


Pupils' learning is assessed through a range of ways - end of unit tests, quizzes, reading tests, looking at work produced, questioning and talking to pupils about their learning.  In Key Stage 1 and 2, reading, writing and mathematics assessments are updated each term to check that pupils are making expected progress. Curriculum assessment ladders are highlighted at the end of each half term to show which learning objectives have been met.



View the following documents within your web browser or download to read later

Art and Design skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
Art and Design skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
Computing skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
Computing skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
DT skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
DT skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
EYFS Wider Curriculum 2020 Final Final.pdf
EYFS Wider Curriculum 2020 Final Final.pdf
Geography skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
Geography skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
Gunnislake Curriculum.docx
Gunnislake Curriculum.docx
History skills knowledge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
History skills knowledge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf



MFL skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
MFL skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
Music skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
Music skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
PE skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
PE skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
RE skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
RE skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
Science skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf
Science skills knoweldge and vocabulary progress ladder June 2021.pdf


Our Values...



We are bold and innovative in our approach to find new solutions to the challenges we face.



We are inspired by the awe and wonder of the world.



We take responsibility for our actions in an environment of mutual respect.



We are passionate about learning.



We are the best we can be.



We overcome all barriers to reach our potential, developing a capacity to improve further.

We are open for all of our pupils. Nursery, Reception, Y1, Y2, Y3 and Y4 will be taught at the Delaware base. Y5 and Y6 will be taught at the Gunnislake base.

© 2024 Bridge Schools trust is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Registration number 7736425. It is an exempt charity.