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Our Curriculum

Building Excellence For Our Children

Our mission is to ensure that our children are well educated, know how to stay safe and healthy and are able to participate as active, thoughtful members of present and future society.

  • Excellence in educational standards: We are driven by the moral imperative to ensure that our pupils receive the highest quality education to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge. We seek to provide a rich curriculum experience that aspires to academic, artistic and athletic excellence.
  • Personal Excellence: We recognise that the best education is as much about developing young people’s character strengths and virtues. We have the highest aspirations for every individual as they learn and grow with us. We value respect and consideration for others, equal opportunities, hard work and fair discipline.  We seek to develop skilful, curious and independent learners; foster individual resilience, confidence, and a strong sense of identity underpinned by integrity and responsibility, so that they are prepared to contribute positively to the communities and world that they belong to.

Building Curriculum Excellence

Our curriculum is underpinned by a strong moral purpose and our pupils, and our ambitions for them, will always be at the heart of our thinking and at the forefront of our actions.

Children within Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School will have access to a broad, relevant, engaging and inspiring curriculum that provides opportunities and creativity to develop the whole child. We aim to provide a rich, relevant and curriculum experiences which is effectively structured, sequenced, properly planned, challenging, active and engaging.

We seek to provide curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities, particularly through high quality provision in the Arts and Sports (see our dedicated web pages for these areas); these develop character, support children’s interests, channel their enthusiasm and contribute to their progress intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

Our curriculum although underpinned by expectations of the Primary National Curriculum, goes further. We aim to give all children the opportunity to grow and develop from the very earliest opportunity to reach their full potential upon leaving Key Stage 2 and onward into the next stage of their learning journey. This is delivered through a wide variety of activities and lessons, throughout the years, that excite and enthuse the children, promoting a thirst for knowledge and an appreciation of the joy of mastering new skills.

Our aim is to educate the 'whole child', developing their academic, social, emotional and physical skills, along with fostering a curiosity and willingness to take on challenges.

Our curriculum comprises detailed, planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning and personal growth and development. It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but endeavours to go beyond and include a rich range of additional experiences and a full programme of extra-curricular activities in order to enhance our educational offer. It also includes the ‘hidden curriculum’: what the children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave and so our teachers are expected to model and have the highest expectations of each individual to support the best possible outcomes.

We will ensure open access and inclusivity, providing opportunities for all, irrespective of their personal characteristics.  There will be no curriculum barriers – pupils will have access to all opportunities and, where there is choice, they can select appropriately, and with guidance, according to their ambitions, interests, abilities and needs.

Our shared Curriculum Intent for all our pupils has 4 main strands:

Core skills and knowledge: developing literacy, numeracy and critical thinking skills enables pupils to access the entire curriculum and mastering key knowledge and concepts so that they are ready for the next stage of their education and future lives.

Creativity: a curriculum enriched through exposure to our cultural capital through the Arts, Sports and real-life learning contexts, inspiring pupils to be interested, to think, express and problem solve to deepen their understanding and engagement with the world

Character: developing character strengths and virtues supports pupils’ personal growth and confidence, helping them achieve sustained wellbeing.

  • Curiosity – an intellectual virtue, that refers to open-mindedness, a desire to inquire, thinking for oneself and a quest to improve and find out more.
  • Honesty – a moral virtue, that calls on us to seek and honour the truth both in the world and within our own lives; this also calls for humility and openness to feedback, whatever our status.
  • Perseverance – a performance virtue, that enables us to keep striving in the midst of challenges, in the pursuit of long-term goals.
  • Resilience - the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty; adapt with ease when faced with adversity; embracing the process of learning from mistakes: not fearing them and keeping a positive mindset.

Community: a curriculum that promotes:

  • Sense of identity and belonging
  • Tolerance of diversity
  • Ability to collaborate and interact positively with others
  • Service – a civic virtue, meaning a commitment to be kind, to put others first and be enthusiastically helpful, the importance of participation and making a contribution

 The three principles of The Hawksmoor Learning Trust approach are:

  • Quality
  • Enthusiasm
  • Partnership

These principles will guide The Hawksmoor Learning Trust in providing an education of the highest quality. These principles demand that we think and act in highly constructive ways towards each other as colleagues, towards the children who are placed in our care and towards the parents in our schools and communities and helps us to maximise opportunities for our pupils, working collaboratively as Trust Schools.

Early Years Foundation Stage


Our approach is underpinned by the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework which explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development.  At NHPS, children in the Early Years will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.

Prime Areas
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:

  • Communication and language: 
    • Listening, Attention and Understanding
    • Speaking 
  • Physical development:
    • Gross Motor Skills
    • Fine Motor Skills
  • Personal, social and emotional development:
    • Self-Regulation
    • Managing Self
    • Building Relationships

We recognise that these prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.

Specific Areas
As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:

  • Literacy: 
    • Comprehension 
    • Word Reading
    • Writing 
  • Mathematics: 
    • Number
    • Numerical Patterns
  • Understanding the world: 
    • Past and Present 
    • People, Culture and Communities
    • The Natural World 
  • Expressive arts and design:
    • Creating with materials
    • Being Imaginative and Expressive

These 7 areas are used to plan for children’s learning and activities. The Foundation Stage team will make sure that the activities are suited to each child’s unique needs and interests. In addition to our daily classroom activities our timetable enhancements will provide the children with extra opportunities to develop in these areas, for example, through weekly Dough Gym, Cooking, PE, Music, Creative Writing, Kinetic Letters.

Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking. These are known as the ‘Characteristics of Effective Learning’ and will be used to gain information on the way in which each child learns.  Activities are then tailored to meet children’s needs.

The Early Years curriculum involves a robustly planned mixture of whole class and small group formal teaching across basic skills; adult facilitated activities to maximize language and thinking and exploratory activities which are carefully planned to provide interactive, rich learning experiences.

Outdoor learning is a fundamental part of the curriculum experience and ‘Forest School’ activities with a trained leader take place each week.


At Nicholas Hawksmoor, our English curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils develop the required core skills and knowledge to prepare them for the next stage in their learning. The core English curriculum is divided into the following strands:


English is a very tricky language! Despite having 26 letters in the alphabet, within the spoken language there are around 44 phonemes (sounds) and these can be represented in the written language by over 200 graphemes (ways of writing the sound). This is our highly complex alphabetic code.

In Early Years and Key Stage 1, children are systematically taught the phonemes that enable us to read and then spell words using the Letters and Sounds phonics programme alongside Jolly Phonics songs to support learning. During phonics sessions, children are taught to identify all the grapheme-phoneme correspondences in a particular order beginning with s,a,t,p,i,n. They are taught to blend, where they say the sounds that make up a word and merge them together until they can hear what the word is – this is a vital skill of early reading. Children are also taught to segment, which is the opposite of blending, by saying the word and breaking it up into the correct phonemes – this skill is a key aspect for early spelling.


Reading is fundamental to every child’s educational development and we ensure that it is at the forefront of our curriculum and celebrated from Early Years through to Year 6. High quality texts that cover a range of themes, topics and cultures are part of our daily routine throughout the school. Our experience has proven that a multi-layered approach is the most effective means of achieving high standards in reading. Therefore we use a combination of shared, guided, whole-class and independent reading and aim for all children to leave Nicholas Hawksmoor as confident and competent readers, reading for pleasure at an age-appropriate level.

In Early Years, children are exposed to a word-rich environment, daily stories and picture books to encourage them to ‘read’ pictures, infer, and predict from the very start of their time with us. As a child’s phonic knowledge develops, they become more and more vocal in shared reading and will take great pride and pleasure in joining in with these sessions.  Children are issued with the first 100 high frequency words to learn at their own pace. Another 200 are given a the start of Year 1 to learn by the end of Key Stage 1. Guided reading sessions also begin in Reception. This is where children read with an adult in small groups of similar ability to decode texts by using their phonic knowledge and inference skills; these sessions continue throughout Key Stage 1 and into Lower Key Stage 2. We use The Oxford Reading Tree scheme, as this enables the children to receive a progressive and structured approach to reading that both works alongside, and further develops their phonic knowledge. Interventions are a vital aspect of our reading provision and we endeavour to enable all children to keep up with their peers through additional 1:1, small group and inference training sessions. 

The Book Talk approach is a key principal to our teaching of reading. This system encourages the children to look at reading through a wide variety of ‘lenses’ to help understand different aspects of texts, their purpose and the impact on the reader. Some of the basic lenses are introduced in Early Years and Key Stage 1 during shared reading sessions to develop the children’s familiarity with them. In Key Stage 2, the lenses form the structure of our guided reading sessions; here the children develop their independence and their collaborative skills to find specific evidence from texts and share this with their group and the class.

Whole-class reading and sharing a story is a vital part of our daily routines at Nicholas Hawksmoor. The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education states:  ‘Reading aloud is probably the most important thing that teachers can do and needs to be a frequent and regular part of each school day.’ We firmly believe that this is a fundamental aspect in developing children’s passion for reading and the daily ‘class read’ is one of the highlights of the school day for our children; this ensures that all pupils experience high-quality literature on a daily basis.  


We use the Read, Write, Inc. scheme for delivering our spelling curriculum. This is introduced in Year 2 once the children have the required knowledge in order for them to understand the alphabetic code. For those children who are not yet ready, then continued focus on phonics is essential to give them the skills needed to progress in their learning. RWI spelling is designed for all children to access throughout Key Stage 2 and systematically builds upon good phonic knowledge in order to spell words and patterns of growing complexity. The short, daily sessions engage and inspire children through a variety of fast-paced activities, which embed understanding of key spelling patterns to long-term memory through regular and repeated revision. Children do not receive weekly spelling lists to learn from this for homework, but will have access to the common exception word lists as exemplified in: National Curriculum – English Appendix 1: Spelling.


At Nicholas Hawksmoor, we aim to ensure that all children leave us with the ability to confidently write at length across a range of genres, with a solid understanding of the grammatical skills required, in order to be clear and coherent in what they want to say.

We have adopted the Kinetic Letters scheme for handwriting in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Lower Key Stage 2 to provide a consistent and systematic approach to the fundamental skills needed for children to become confident writers. This scheme enables children to develop their automaticity in formation, orientation and placement of letters, which frees up space in their working memory. Children who are able to write legibly, with fluency and at pace, can focus on the content of what is written and are more likely to develop into creative, imaginative writers.

Our children will write across a wide range of genres throughout their time at Nicholas Hawksmoor. High quality stimuli are integral to engage and inspire children to write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Extracts from modern and classic novels, poems and non-fiction texts along with video clips constitute a large part of these, however where possible we encourage the use of drama, music and first-hand experiences from trips and visitors to give writing a clear purpose for our children. As part of our curriculum offer, we ensure that our children are exposed to a diverse range of writing from many different cultures that broaden their understanding of the world that is both around them, and that lies ahead.

Key grammar skills are embedded throughout our writing curriculum and where necessary explicitly taught at an age-appropriate level. In Key Stage 1, children are taught the basic skills to construct clear and accurate sentences to ensure they enter Key Stage 2 being able to access the rich curriculum before them. Throughout Key Stage 2, grammar skills are systematically taught and subsequently revisited to enable children to become confident in their use and manipulation.

Speaking and Listening

All subjects across our curriculum play a significant role in developing key English skills, particularly speaking and listening. Other subjects are planned with an emphasis on building vocabulary progressively, and understanding its meaning and application in context. We draw on the themes of our curriculum intent to provide pupils with opportunities to engage directly with our local and wider communities. For example, presenting at community events; planning and leading local initiatives in addition to interacting and interviewing a wide range of visitors to our school.


Each year the English curriculum enrichment includes visiting authors, attendance at the film festival, theatre visits, topic specific trips, Young Shakespeare Company visits, house writing and poetry competitions, children’s participation in drama and choir productions – all of which present creative opportunities to build the character and confidence within our pupils.


 At Nicholas Hawksmoor,  our goal for mathematics is to ensure that all children have access to a curriculum which is effectively structured, carefully planned and sparks their natural curiosity. Through challenging and engaging lessons we seek to maximise the development of every child’s ability and academic achievement. Our goal is for all children to develop their mathematical fluency in order to master key knowledge and be able to make connections across mathematical concepts.  In doing so they will have the tools, confidence and perseverance to reason mathematically and solve increasingly sophisticated problems. We intend for our pupils to be able to apply their mathematical knowledge to other subjects and know that the subject is essential to everyday life.

The Foundation Stage 

In the Foundation Stage pupils are encouraged to develop their skills of Number and Shape Space and Measure in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, learn, enjoy, practise, discuss and extend their skills. Pupils are encouraged to exploit their mathematical potential in both indoor and outdoor environments. They are provided with a wide range of activities that promote regular active participation, exploration of real life problems, development of imaginative play and early experience of mathematical language. All pupils are supported positively and encouraged to gain confidence and competence in their skills.

Key Stage 1 and 2

The national curriculum for mathematics in both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 aims to ensure that all pupils: 

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics;
  • reason mathematically;
  • solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems.

Mathematics in Early Years and Year 1 follows the White Rose scheme of work; this then leads into Year 2 as we use the Power Maths scheme. This has been carefully selected because it reflects our ambitious intentions for the course of study.  The lessons within this scheme are coherently planned and sequenced in a way that, through the Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract (CPA) approach, promotes quality mathematical discussion and helps children to gain sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning.  The scheme develops pupils' mathematical ability and confidence without having to resort to memorising procedures.  There is an emphasis on problem solving and comprehension; allowing pupils to relate what they learn and connect knowledge.

Our children will be able to apply mathematical concepts appropriately for their age.  They will produce work of a high quality and achieve the best possible outcomes.  Most importantly they will have the knowledge and skills required to help them as they move on to the next stage of their education.


At Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School:

Children have weekly lessons in Science throughout Key Stage 1 and 2, using various programmes of study and resources. In Early years, science is taught through the children learning about the world around them in their learning through play. Additional opportunities are provided in Science, such as Active Learning Science days for children, and Science Week promoted through the creative curriculum.

We endeavour to ensure that the Science curriculum we provide will give children the confidence and motivation to continue to further develop their skills into the next stage of their education and life experiences.


At Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School, we recognise the importance of Science in every aspect of daily life. As one of the core subjects taught in Primary Schools, we give the teaching and learning of Science the prominence it requires.

The Scientific area of learning is concerned with increasing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of our world, and with developing skills associated with Science as a process of enquiry. It will develop the natural curiosity of the child, encourage respect for living organisms and the physical environment and provide opportunities for critical evaluation of evidence.

At Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School, in conjunction with the aims of the National Curriculum, our Science teaching offers opportunities for children to:

  • Develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics
  • Develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of Science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them
  • Be equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of Science, today and for the future
  • Develop the essential scientific enquiry skills to deepen their scientific knowledge.
  • Use a range of methods to communicate their scientific information and present it in a systematic, scientific manner through the use of diagrams, graphs and charts
  • Develop a respect for the materials and equipment they handle with regard to their own, and other children’s safety
  • Develop an enthusiasm and enjoyment of scientific learning and discovery.

The National Curriculum will provide a structure and skill development for the science curriculum being taught throughout the school, which is linked, where possible, to other curriculum areas to offer a broad and balanced curriculum


Teachers create a positive attitude to science learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in science. Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of science involves the following:

  • Science will be taught in planned and arranged topic blocks by the class teacher. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge.
  • Through our planning, we involve problem solving opportunities that allow children to find out for themselves. Curiosity is celebrated within the classroom. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of core knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills and assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all children keep up. Each lesson is deliberately planned in a clear sequence which culminates in an open-ended assessment question. This allows the children to demonstrate all their acquired knowledge in their own words.
  • We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, and they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.
  • ‘Working Scientifically’ skills are embedded into lessons to ensure these skills are being developed throughout the children’s school career and new vocabulary and challenging concepts are introduced through direct teaching. This is developed through the years, in-keeping with the topics.
  • Teachers demonstrate how to use scientific equipment, and the various ‘Working Scientifically’ skills in order to embed scientific understanding. Teachers find opportunities to develop children’s understanding of their surroundings by accessing outdoor learning and workshops with experts.


The successful approach at Nicholas Hawksmoor results in a fun, engaging, high-quality Science education, that provides children with the foundations for understanding the world. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts, children have the understanding that science has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Children learn the possibilities for careers in science as a result of our community links. We aim to make a long lasting change to their understanding of the world around them.


 We follow the national curriculum for computing which aims to ensure that all pupils: 

  • Can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation 
  • Can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
  • Can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • Are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology


We follow the national curriculum for geography which aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
  • Understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time 
  • Are competent in a range of  geographical skills needed to:
  • Collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
  • Interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.


 We follow the national curriculum for history which aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
  • Gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
  • Understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
  • Understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed 
  • Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.

Health and Well-being (PSHE and SMSC)

We have a broad and a balanced Health and Well-being curriculum that incorporates elements of relationships, personal identity, behaviour and health & safety education. We aim to make our children confident, active, global citizens aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Our curriculum is enhanced by use of specialist resources including the Life Education Bus and Hazard Alley which further develops these themes with relevant year groups. As part of this programme we also deliver RSE and Drug Education to all children. All this work is age-appropriate and is centred around relationships and empowering children to make positive choices.

As children reach Upper KS2 they will begin to learn about the changes they will face both physically and emotionally as they head towards puberty. Furthermore, children will learn about the reproductive process of conception relevant to their age of development in Year 6. The Key Stage 2 curriculum increasingly encourages pupils to become aware of their own well-being and are taught strategies to support positive relationships, mental as well as physical health.  They will explore issues of prejudice, inequality and stereotypes to develop understanding, tolerance and empathy along with critical thinking to develop as citizens that can make a positive contribution to society in modern Britain.

Citizenship plays a big part in our planned programme and each year group has a planned element which focuses upon them ‘giving back’ to their community, for example, litter picking locally, looking at global concerns and taking action, activities with / for the older generation etc.

The Arts

Our Arts provision is delivered by specialist teachers and is rightly renowned; please visit our Arts page for further details.

Physical Education (PE)

PE is another area of the curriculum that Nicholas Hawksmoor prides itself in; please visit our PE & Sports page for further details.

Religious Education (RE)

Our Religious Education scheme of work is based upon the local agreed syllabus and is taught in block units for greater depth of learning. We aim to help the children to develop a responsible attitude towards other people, to foster their sense of wonder at, and reverence for, life. We also aim for the children to have an understanding of Christianity and other religions and cultures.

Nicholas Hawksmoor is a non-denominational school.  ‘Collective Worship’ at Nicholas Hawksmoor is conducted as an opportunity for collective reflection and is of a broadly Christian character, since it reflects the broad traditions of Christian belief, without being distinctive of any particular Christian denomination. Moral themes (such as honesty, empathy, tolerance, justice, community, selflessness, leadership, etc.) form the basis of our ‘Collective Worship’ which are common among other religious beliefs.

Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)

Modern Foreign Language learning is taught throughout Key Stage 2 in line with the National Curriculum objectives. Children begin to learn the basic elements of a Modern Foreign Language in Year 2 in a fun and practical way, using games, songs and interactive whiteboard resources. Throughout the school we gradually build children’s confidence and vocabulary to use the language in a range of practical contexts. Children benefit from being taught by specialist teachers and lessons are very active with great emphasis upon speaking and listening.

Educational Visits/Visitors

We firmly believe that children learn from first-hand experience, therefore we ensure that all children at school are given the opportunity to regularly attend trips and visits that will enhance their understanding of subjects and areas of learning. These are chosen specifically for the benefits that they will bring to the children's educational experience and over the course of their time with us, children will experience a huge variety of exciting and inspiring trips.  A voluntary contribution towards the cost of transport and relevant entrance fees is requested, with payments being processed online via ParentPay. If you are unable to contribute towards the cost, please contact the school office directly; rest assured that such conversations are held in confidence. 


 We provide an extensive range of before and after-school clubs. Please visit our extra-curricular page for further information.