What is the Curriculum?

The National Curriculum


The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.

The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child: it provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum. 

Our Curriculum Intent

At Abbott, teaching and learning ensures that children make rapid progress in all subject areas, whilst gaining a deep understanding and application of all National Curriculum objectives. 

Our curriculum takes a mastery approach: it is knowledge-led (subject-specific) and it focuses on the development of pupils' long-term memory for fluency, which in turn, develops pupils' application of skills.   

Curriculum leaders are clear on the ‘invaluable knowledge’ that they want their pupils to know: these form the basis of long-term planning for progression and include the ‘big ideas’ in subjects such as perspective in art; locations in geography; the dates and names of events in history; the names of and types of joins in technology.

The curriculum is the progress measure; not excessive internal assessment data.  We determine progress as 'knowing more and remembering more'.  The long term planning of each subject involves carefully chosen year group components, to ensure the basics are stored in pupils' long term memory, before the crucial subsequent learning takes place: if nothing has altered in long term memory, nothing has been learned. 

We believe that when new knowledge and existing knowledge connect in pupils’ minds, this gives rise to understanding.  Through consolidation of learning, and as pupils develop unconscious competency and fluency, they develop skills (the capacity to perform complex operations, drawing on what is known). 

Compulsory national curriculum subjects at primary school (key stage 1 and 2) are:


• English

• maths

• science

• design and technology

• history

• geography

• art and design

• music

• physical education (PE), including swimming

• computing

• ancient and modern foreign languages (at key stage 2)

• Schools must provide religious education (RE) but parents can ask for their children to be taken out of the whole lesson or part of it.


Schools often also teach:


• personal, social and health education (PSHE)

• citizenship

• modern foreign languages (at key stage 1)

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