Calder Vale C of E Primary School

Grow, Achieve, Explore

Our Curriculum

Our curriculum is guided by our Mission Statement.   Children are helped to become confident, enthusiastic learners engaging in exciting, collaborative, independent activities. They develop a responsibility for making choices and decisions that stimulate their curiosity to explore and enjoy acquiring new skills and knowledge. By knowing our pupils well, children of all abilities are helped to achieve to the very best of their potential in all aspects of the curriculum.

Children study at primary level for seven years. A reception course in the first year, (YR), Foundation Stage, which is followed by the first two Key Stages of the National Curriculum through years Y1 to Y6. Key Stage 1 refers to the Year 1 and Year 2), Key Stage 2 refers to years Y3 to Y6. Reception children will be given the opportunity to display key skills towards the EYFS Prime Areas of Learning whilst following the themed units with the KS1 children.

The National Curriculum consists of five core subjects: English, Mathematics, Computing, Science and Religious Education.
Foundation Subjects: Art, Design Technology, History, Geography, Music and Physical Education. Staff use the Lancashire ‘Key Learning’ documents to ensure that age appropriate skills and knowledge are taught across the school.

The link below shows the full National Curriculum coverage, expectations and key learning for each year group.

National Curriculum by year group

Early Years’ Foundation Stage EYFS

The Early Years’ Foundation Stage the stage in your child’s learning from birth to age five. This is the curriculum we follow in your child’s first year at school. This is their Reception year (YR). We aim to prepare your child for the rest of their school life. Children are provided with a range of experiences and opportunities to gain everyday skills and develop in all areas of learning. We follow the EYFS framework. A parents guide is below:

Early Years Foundation Stage – A Parents Guide

Through a four year rolling programme of themed units we deliver engaging, creative cross curricular lessons which fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum 2014. The rolling programme means that all children will be taught the appropriate content of the National Curriculum over their time in Key Stage 1 or Key stage 2 but not always in the year suggested by the curriculum documents. Click below to see our rolling programme:


Our curriculum overview maps evolve over time and are published here as overviews. In addition each class produces a leaflet each term for parents and carers and these are published on the class pages of the website.Look in ‘Our Classes’ and find out about the exciting learning and challenges that our children undertake each term.

We are using the national curriculum (September 2014) to develop and exciting and engaging programme of learning.  Look in ‘our classes’ and find out about the exciting learning and challenges that our children undertake each term. We are especially pleased that in October 2018 we were awarded the Lancashire Education Award for our collaborative work in developing the curriculum with other schools.   Our Key Stage 1 and 2 children experience a creative, stimulating and challenging curriculum. At Calder Vale Primary School we have identified through discussion with pupils and staff 3 ‘curriculum drivers’ which we try to include in each termly topic. These curriculum drivers are:



We want our children to understand the wider world around them; to experience different cultures, religions and ways of living. We want our children to understanding the differences and similarities between ourselves and others, understanding the beliefs and cultures of others both in the world around us and the world further away. Each year we undertake a study of another world religion and visit places of worship and plan for visitors to share their life values. Our school has a link with Kais Kids in Cambodia and the School Council fund raise annually for this charity. In Year 5 and 6 children have the opportunity to visit London for 5 days which is an enriching experience providing a vast contrast to their own daily lives.


Our pupils love enterprise! We want our children to understand the world of economics through practical challenges such as developing a product from initial idea through to sales. We aim to provide practical opportunities for our pupils, for example by hosting a fund raising coffee morning, running a Fairtrade market stall, planning games for the village festival or growing and selling fresh vegetables and herbs to sell.


We believe that it is important for our children to understand and appreciate their local environment in order that we can care for it and use it in a sustainable manner. This includes our own school grounds where we encourage our children to care for plants and habitats and to have input into how we develop the school grounds. We also encourage inter generational relationships in the community, for example sharing our Harvest festival gifts in the parish and working with the elderly in their Chatterbox group. Our pupils take an active part in their village through the annual Bikes and Barrows festival. The topic based curriculum has been planned to enable children to learn in a variety of exciting ways:

  • through investigations and experiments
  • through problem solving
  • by first hand learning and practical experience
  • through the use of secondary sources and artefacts
  • by linking subjects that have relevance to the children’s learning (cross curricular approach)
  • through visits and visitors
  • through independent learning and team work

The curriculum plan for each term is located on each class page and a paper copy is sent home with children at the start of each term. The aims of the different subjects that we teach are as follows:


English and Phonics

  • includes speaking and listening, reading and writing, phonics, spelling, grammar through word and sentence work and handwriting
  • a daily hour plus extra time during the week for extended writing linked with other subjects, guided reading groups and phonics.

Reading is of vital importance and we foster an ethos of reading for enjoyment and pleasure. To help our children get a real breadth of reading, we use a combination of reading schemes, these include: Oxford Reading Tree, Floppy’s Phonics, Ginn and Project X.

In addition to these schemes, we have an extremely well stocked library which has a wide and varied range of books from British classics to graphic novels – these are all ‘banded’ by how challenging they are so children are guided to read the books that are most appropriate for their personalised reading needs.  ‘Renaissance Reading’ also uses Reading Quizzes to engage and further develop pupils’ understanding of the books they have read.

All of this gives a variety of fiction and non–fiction books to develop children’s reading range and foster a life long love of reading.


Click this link for more information about Read, Write IncAt Calder Vale, we use a synthetic phonics programme incorporating Letters and Sounds and a scheme  called ‘Read, Write Inc’. Click this link for more information about the programme

Our daily phonics sessions in school are fun, creative and always involve lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play. Children are encouraged to ” chop and blend” phonetic words using pure sounds. This strategy also helps children to spell longer phonetic words.

Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ – you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it’s better to just ‘recognise’ them.

We also teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs and read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know – their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books.

Ways you can support your children at home

Play: ‘What do we have in here?’ Put some toys or objects in a bag and pull one out at a time. Emphasise the first sound of the name of the toy or object by repeating it, for example, ‘c c c c – car’, ‘b b b b – box’, ‘ch ch ch ch – chip’.

Say: ‘A tall tin of tomatoes!’ ‘Tiddles, the ticklish tortoise!’ ‘A lovely little lemon!’ This is called alliteration. Use names, for example, ‘Gary gets the giggles’, ‘Mark makes music’, ‘Nigel’s nose’.

download-pdf English overview


Since the implementation of the 2014 national curriculum there has been a clear focus on promoting children’s skills in not only fluency but, ever more importantly, in reasoning and problem solving contexts. We aim to ensure that all of our children have access to varied fluency activities, reasoning and problem solving of different types in every lesson to ensure they have the best opportunity to gain mastery of the subject.
  • Using the Programmes of Study from the National Curriculum alongside that of the White Rose Maths Hub, it is our aim to develop:
    • a positive attitude towards mathematics and an awareness of the fascination of mathematics;
    • children with a strong number sense and the ability to choose appropriately between mental and formal written calculations;
    • a maths curriculum which is filled with cross-curricular links and opportunities;
    • a lively, exciting and stimulating environment in which the children can learn Maths;
    • lessons which routinely challenge and extend children by exposing them to varied fluency, mathematical reasoning and problem solving activities;
    • initiative and an ability to work both independently and in cooperation with others to develop and encourage their mathematical curiosity;
    • the concept that acquiring Maths knowledge and skills provides the foundation for understanding the world around the children;
    • an understanding of mathematics through a process of enquiry and experiment;
    • an ability to communicate both mathematically and about mathematics.

download-pdf Maths overview


In 2018, we were awarded Primary Science Quality Mark Silver Award for our consistent use of independent and practical work in lessons, collaborative work across our schools and high quality teaching and learning across key stages.

Our Science lessons are based on our Science principles which are displayed in all classrooms and created through staff and pupil discussions.

  • We ask questions, questions, questions!
  • Our investigations are planned and carried out by children
  • Lessons are practical and hands-on
  • We work and talk together
  • We feel excited and engaged

These principles are evaluated by our Science Ambassadors – pupils chosen for deeper reasoning in Science, enquiring minds and excellent scientific knowledge. Our ambassadors also support learning in lessons, act as technicians for Science visitors and help collate information through pupil voice and book scrutinies.

Our Science curriculum

  • is made relevant to the children by making links with the world around them (STEM) and through our curriculum drivers.
  • the children are encouraged to develop enquiring minds, devise and conduct investigations and record and analyse data.
  • includes the three main disciplines – biology, physics and chemistry.
  • our unique environment provides opportunities for a wide variety of outdoor activities which include mini-beast hunts, woodland research, animal welfare and horticulture .
  • children’s learning experiences extend beyond the school day through Mad Science club, gardening and many trips and visitors for all age ranges.

Sex and Relationship Education

During Year 5 and 6 the children are taught the changes that occur in their own bodies from birth to adulthood including – puberty, the development and birth of a baby as well as sex education, including the range of relationships and emotional changes experienced during development. This forms part of our PSHE curriculum.

Religious Education

Our school follows the Blackburn syllabus for Religious Education. Our Christian values permeate through all that we do in school and includes not just Christian beliefs and traditions but also the study of other religions. Each year we take a world religion as a focus and study this throughout the year. In 2019-2020 this will be Buddhism. We are delighted that our RE work has been recognised through the Church School Distinctiveness Award from Blackburn Diocese. Our studies include:

  • visits to local places of worship and speakers of other beliefs make the curriculum meaningful to the children
  • appreciation and respect for the beliefs of others is encouraged through our teaching and learning
  • children are encouraged to play a proactive role in sharing their beliefs and festivals in class and whole worship and assembly.
  • cross curricular links are made through English, geography, art and other subjects

Click here to read more detail about the curriculum we follow:

Calder Vale Syllabus


 Design and Technology

  • children learn a range of skills e.g. measuring, cutting, joining, using a range of tools
  • children engage in planning, designing, making and evaluating their own products
  • children are given opportunities to use their design technology skills to take part in enterprise activities.
  • ICT links are made


History is a focus area for our curriculum development in 2019-2020. We are aiming to achieve the History Quality Mark by 2021

  • Cross curricular links are made with subjects such as Literacy, Art/Design and Music etc.
  • Local visits, drama days, speakers and museums are a focus of this learning e.g. Tudor day with a dramatist, visit to Manchester museum for learning about Ancient Egypt , World War 2 drama day and Victorian Day
  • Use of secondary sources enriches learning e.g. maps, photographs, diaries and video clips.
  • Use of artefacts to engage children in asking historical questions and finding answers.


We are delighted to have been awarded the Silver Quality Mark Award for our geography curriculum.

  • Cross curricular opportunities are made e.g. Science, Mathematics and ICT
  • The use of the local environment makes learning purposeful e.g. our environmental area, outdoor classroom, local river and tributary,
  • Field work forms part of our study whenever possible.


Art and Design

We are very proud to have been awarded the Arts Mark  Award for our work in art, design, dance, music and drama. In our school art includes:

  • a high profile cross curricular subject making links with design technology, ICT, Mathematics, History and Drama
  • regular study of artists work both local and the work of famous artists
  • use of a variety of media e.g. pastels, clay, collage, Mod Roc and fabric paint
  • application of skills e.g. drawing, painting, modelling


We believe that music allows all our children to express themselves. In Years 5 and 6 all children learn to play a musical instrument through our investment in Wider Opportunities music tuition. Currently our pupils are learning to play brass instruments. We also offer the chance to perform in front of audiences large and small and have strong links with St John’s Church which has a strong musical tradition.

  • children have first hand experiences using pitched and non pitched instruments
  • specialist musicians offer taught lessons in a range of instruments including guitar, recorder, keyboards and flute
  • children learn to sing and compose using nursery rhymes, chants, sounds, songs from different cultures, developing their own music and songs, setting poetry to mood music.

Physical Education

Calder Vale Primary School has been awarded  for our excellence in PE and Sport teaching and learning. In 2019-2020 we aim to achieve the School Games Gold Award. We aim to enable all our pupils to understand how they can be fit and healthy individuals for life through good diet, exercise and  maintaining good mental health. Please look at our dedicated PE and Sport page. We offer:

  • specialist coaching provision for all Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children for 1 hour per week.
  • at least 2 hours of PE for all children each week
  • weekly swimming lessons from Y1 to Y6
  • Competitive competitions against other similarly sized schools each half term – football, netball, table tennis, swimming, athletics, hockey, bowling,
  •  extended opportunities after school hours through extra curricular clubs which have included: dance, athletics, outdoor and indoor games, short tennis.
  • a daily mile track to keep active every day.


Our school is a values based school. We focus on one of these values each half term in our worship time and all of these values are used throughout the curriculum and in the way that we behave towards each other in our school community and beyond. We are a growth mindset school.

PSHE is integral to the curriculum and provides for debate and opinion, deals with issues such as bullying, racism, kindness, honesty etc.

Modern Foreign Languages

French is taught to all pupils but we also utilise opportunities to learn other languages when they are relevant to other learning. Our children learn to speak, read and write French and also learn about the cultures and traditions of France and french speaking countries.. Opportunities to learn are through speaking and listening, games, songs and role play activities.


There are three areas of the Computing Curriculum: Information Technology, Computer Science and Digital Literacy.

Computer Science: the scientific and practical study of computation; what can be computed, how to compute it, and how computation may be applied to the solution of problems.

Information Technology: concerned with how computers and telecommunications equipment work, and how they may be applied to the storage, retrieval, transmission and manipulation of data.
Digital Literacy: the ability to effectively, responsibly, safely and critically navigate, evaluate and create digital artefacts using a range of digital technologies.

Computing is taught as a discrete skills set but with cross curricular links where children use a range of software for data handling, designing, modelling, controlling and using text, images and sound.

Computing is well resourced at Calder Vale Primary School – interactive whiteboards in all classes, class set of i-pads and class set of laptops to enable a whole class to work together, access to email and the internet

Online safety runs through the Computing Curriculum as well as all other curriculum subjects. For more information regarding online safety please consult our dedicated page.


We are delighted to have been awarded the Silver Quality Mark Award for our geography curriculum as well as Arts Mark for our creative work in art, DT, drama and dance.


  • cross curricular opportunities are made e.g. Science, Mathematics and ICT
  • the use of the local environment makes learning purposeful e.g. our environmental area, outdoor classroom, local river Calder.