At St Anne’s CofE Primary School, we are committed to delivering a broad and balanced curriculum that is also exciting and stimulating for all of our children. The school’s value of Growth underpins the curriculum journey that our children go on at the school. Our plans and delivery highlight the schools values of kindness and nurture, by make sure that children are supported on each step of that learning journey and are flourishing through love.

Our curriculum development

Like all schools, our curriculum has developed over time; taking account of the changing needs of our pupils, legislation and academic research. As a smaller school, each of our teachers is a Subject Leader and takes on the responsibility for driving and developing that subject area of the curriculum. As a teaching staff team we come together regularly to review the impact of our curriculum.

In 2020 we launched a new curriculum structure that focused on the key skills and knowledge that we felt children needed to secure at each stage of their learning journey for each subject area. This took time to imbed within the school. Further analysis and subject area reviews led us to develop this further. Whilst there are discrete subject areas taught, we are always identifying and making the most of cross - curricular teaching opportunities that then reinforce children's learning.

Making learning 'stick'

There has been an ongoing conversation about curriculum overload for some time now and the difficulties teachers face in ‘getting everything covered’ to the level it needs to be. Sometimes it feels that the craft and skills of teaching are rushed and sacrificed to ensure that every element of a topic is covered. However, through extensive reflection on our curriculum and through support and advice from external experts in the field, it was clear that we needed to 'fine tune' some of the curriculum subject areas and filter out the key learning points in each. By identifying the precise core skills and knowledge within a subject area it allowed teachers time to use their experience and skills to ensure delivery to children had 'sticking power' and is retained. Knowledge that is retained is then able to be built upon to learn more. This is how progress is achieved.

Prior knowledge allows new content to be learnt

Progress means remembering more and knowing more

In 2023 our Subject Leaders reviewed each subject area to find the key learning concepts that they wanted their subject area to focus on. They then broke the concepts down into key knowledge, understanding and skill steps that children needed in order to make progress. 

Each subject area plan can be seen within our website.

Teaching approach - Cognitive Memory

Cognitive science is really the understanding of how the brain works and how we learn. The idea is centered around the parts of our brains The Working Memory and the Long Term memory. The key ideas are illustrated in the diagram below

When we encounter new learning it is first stored in the working memory. However the working memory has a limited capacity and can soon fill or become overloaded (like a sponge that becomes saturated.)  If Working Memory is overloaded, there is a risk that you will not understand the content being taught or that learning will become slow and /or ineffective. This is known as cognitive overload. 

Effective learning takes place when we encourage the transfer of information from the working Memory to the long term memory. Using multi-sensory strategies to consolidate learning makes it more memorable. Encouraging children to verbalise their learning and understanding also helps this. Displays of key information to support topics also supports retention and can be seen in teaching spaces. Using different methods to record learning is also a tool. At St Anne's we have used video, pictures as well as writing to record children's understanding. Experienced, highly trained and professional teaching staff at St Anne's use a range of skills every day to help children retain information 

However, once placed in the Long Term memory, information still needs to be returned to regularly and retrieved. It is the old saying of 'use it or loose it'. What is more, to make retention of learning really strong, it is useful to come back to it at gradually increasing intervals. This is known as ‘spaced learning’.

Spaced Learning – aka distributed practice
It is important to ‘test’ children’s recall over a period of time, e.g.:
1 day later
1 week later
1 month later
3 months later
9 months later



The Cambridge Dictionary states that:

Assessment is the process of testing, and making a judgment about, someone's knowledge, ability, skills, etc.

Assessment can be done in a range of different ways. Teachers assess children's understanding and retention on a daily basis, lesson to lesson. This knowledge allows a teacher to plan the delivery of the next step of learning or to decide to recap on previous learning if the new information has not 'stuck'. Therefore assessing where each individual child is within their learning journey is vital and something we do at St Anne's on a regular basis. 

Teaching staff review children work at the end of each teaching session to support ongoing assessment. Within the school we have moved towards more verbal feedback being given to children when they are in class and producing work. This is called 'live marking'. This conversation with a child about what they have produced, how they did it and what can be done to improve it further. We have found it is more valuable to supporting a child's learning than a tick or cross, or a long statement written by their teacher asking them to change something. 

At St Anne's we are also committed to children editing and improving work. It is rare that an adult is able to write a page first time without reading it back through and making corrections and changes, so we do not ask our children to do it. Instead, editing and re drafting work is encouraged and all part of the learning process.

Impact of our curriculum

By designing our curriculum the way we have and by using the strategies that we do within the classroom, our aim to to ensure that St Anne's children develop good learning behaviours and a love for learning that they actively engage in. Because we endeavor to not overload children, but provide a balance of challenge that is individually considered, this helps develop children's self esteem and recognise their achievements and successes motivating them to want to learn more. We want St Anne's children to be forever making connections within their learning that enables them to build a depth of understanding that they can communicate confidently. 

We believe that these are life long learning skills and behaviours that will allow them to progress onto the next stage of their learning journey when their time at St Anne's ends.