Curriculum Overview

Learning together, Growing together, Aiming high

Our school aims to provide it’s children with a wide and varied curriculum which allows them to have as many experiences as possible to help them to be engaged and actively involved in their education.

It is a school where all children are encouraged to express ideas and opinions, to look beyond themselves, to be independent, where a lifelong love of learning is the norm and all children reach their full
potential, academically, socially and emotionally, in a rich, non-judgemental and supportive learning environment, providing high-quality education where all are challenged.

Curriculum 2013

In September 2013 the revised National Curriculum came into effect. The National Curriculum lies at the heart of the Government’s policy to raise standards. It determines the content of what will be taught.

Learning Challenge Curriculum

At Highwoods we use The Learning Challenge approach – it has helped us to match the curriculum to the needs of our children – it brings engagement and life into our curriculum. The key to its success is getting it right for our school, and keeping it under review to ensure it does not become routine.

Our imaginative curriculum successfully builds on pupils’ skills and knowledge as they move through the school. It meets the needs and interests of all pupils because it is effectively linked to national and local events. The imaginative curriculum underpins effective teaching across the whole school. Subjects are creatively linked and teachers present exciting activities which fire pupils’ enthusiasm. Learning in our school is fun, because every day is different.

Highwoods adopted a more skills-based ‘challenge’ curriculum which pupils enjoy and gain much from. Teachers are constantly adapting our ‘challenge’ curriculum and are teaching it with skill and enthusiasm.

Subjects are linked cohesively, giving meaning and purpose to pupils’ learning. Opportunities to extend pupils’ reading, writing and mathematical skills through other subjects are utilised regularly and effectively.

Stimulating writing tasks, often based on interesting and innovative questions, are helping to raise standards. The ‘challenge’ curriculum addresses pupils’ learning needs well by providing frequent opportunities for problem solving and skills development.


English and Literacy is delivered through a text-led approach. Each class plans for literacy activities using a chosen book as the stimulus. The text can be fiction or non-fiction, classic or modern. Older children study the same book in detail for a term, whereas the text is changed more frequently for younger children.

The text is chosen to link to the learning challenge and follows a similar theme.

Speaking, reading and writing activities are inspired by the text and opportunities for drama are planned for.


The school has recently introduced Read Write Inc. Phonics 2016.

This new edition of Read Write Inc. Phonics draws upon experience gained in more than 4000 schools over 10 years.

More than phonics – integrated comprehension, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary and handwriting
Engaging partner work, role-play and drama so every child participates in the whole lesson
Brand new Storytime and Poetry Time to develop children’s knowledge of traditional tales and a wide range of poetry
Simple assessment, clear tracking and straightforward grouping so every child learns rapidly at the right level
Sustained Professional Development from Ruth Miskin Training to create an outstanding team of teachers.


Our core reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree but this is supplemented by books from other publishers. We foster a love of reading and children take books home form our school library to share their reading activities with their parents.


Mathematics Mastery at Highwoods

We continue to develop mastery in mathematics Highwoods

“You know you’ve mastered something when you can apply it

to a totally new problem in an unfamiliar situation or context.”

(Mastering Mathematics, Dr Helen Drury)

Mastery is not just an assessment grade – 

it is an approach to learning, based on high

expectations and access for all.

Underpinning our whole curriculum is high expectations of all pupils and ensuring that all pupils are offered a rich diet of content appropriate to their age.

Within Maths our curriculum is cumulative and works in cycles which allow for greater opportunity to revisit and deepen pupils understanding around concepts and aspects of mathematics.  It is also interconnected through pupils being required to recall knowledge and facts, as well as applying their skills and knowledge across the curriculum.

In order to develop mastery, in our maths sessions you will see pupils:

  • Clear modelling from staff
  • Success Criteria
  • Recalling key knowledge and facts
  • Discussing, reasoning and explaining
  • Use of concrete, pictorial and abstract resources
  • High quality and active assessment for learning, through use of adults and their questioning
  • A wide range of rich problems applied across the curriculum
  • Resilient individuals who persevere and learn from mistakes.

All pupils work towards the same learning intention ensuring high expectation and access for all.  In some classrooms you will see some pupils who may be working towards the intended objective as the adult will have used assessment for learning in order to judge where the pupils’ knowledge base is.

“The expectation is that the majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace. However, decisions about when to progress should also be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage of their learning.  Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration onto new content.  Those who are not sufficiently fluent with earlier material should consolidate their understanding including through additional practice before moving on.”  (National Curriculum 2014)

Differentiation has not disappeared!

Our approach to differentiation is that we do not broadly differentiate through content, it is through use of resources and scaffolding, as appropriate.

Our ‘Growth Mindset’ approach, empowers pupils to become resilient and learn from their mistakes and see them as part of the learning process.  This is true for all pupils regardless of their starting point or current attainment.


The science curriculum is delivered through out Learning Challenge approach, it may be the main focus for the half-term’s work or may run alongside the main theme. Other aspects of the curriculum are linked to and are included in our science work – such as maths, design technology and writing.

Humanities – History and Geography

The humanities curriculum is delivered through out Learning Challenge approach, it may be the main focus for the half-term’s work or may run alongside the main theme. Other aspects of the curriculum are linked to and are included in our humanities work – such as maths, design technology art, music and writing.

Religious Education

Religious Education is taught as part of the Doncaster Agreed Syllabus, which has been adapted to our Learning Challenge curriculum. Religious Education is taught through questions about Christianity and other major religions.

Music Art & Design, Design Technology

These are incorporated into our Learning Challenges but there may be other times when specific skills are taught in these areas.


Our computing curriculum is delivered through our Switched on Computing creative units. These units are half-termly and include programming and computational thinking. There is a clear progression of skills from Year 1 to Year 6. Our curriculum embeds e-Safety to ensure safe and responsible use of technology

Click here to see an overview of the units.


Our REAL PE programme focuses on the development of agility, balance and coordination, healthy competition and cooperative learning. The skills progression-based learning, the level of challenge for more-able children and the self-assessment tools in particular enable our pupils to take real ownership of their own development. Pupils thoroughly enjoy PE and Sport and have gain enormous self-confidence and invaluable teamwork, coordination and spatial awareness skills through the real PE approach.

Children in Year 4 have swimming tuition. This is a one-hour session for 6 months.


French is taught through Key Stage 2 we focus on speaking, listening and verbal communication skills, with some written French in upper key stage 2.


Although not statutory, the school continues to deliver an effective PSHCE curriculum. PSHCE education contributes to personal development by helping children to build their personal identities, confidence and self-esteem, make career choices and understand what influences their decisions including financial ones. Developing self-understanding, empathy and the ability to work with others will help young people to enjoy healthy and productive relationships in all aspects of their lives.

The school has recently introduced Jigsaw PSHE – Jigsaw PSHE brings together Personal, Social, Health and Economic education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development in a lesson-a-week programme.

Designed as a whole school approach, Jigsaw provides a comprehensive scheme of learning for Foundation Stage to Year 6. It provides well-structured, progressive lesson plans with all the teaching resources included.

Jigsaw holds children at its heart and its cohesive vision helps children understand and value who they are and how they fit and contribute to the world.

Click here to download the parents information brochure about Jigsaw.