Curriculum at Steam Mills

Our Curriculum Intent


UNICEF Rights of a Child Article 29

Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures and environments.

At Steam Mills Primary we have developed a curriculum which is broad, balanced and academically rigorous.

We want our children to leave our school able to make a positive contribution to their communities and to understand the world and their place within it. Our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum designed to expose the children to the world outside of their immediate experiences. with knowledge and skills as its core and a focus on developing the vocabulary of every child  and this links to our Key Drivers – Aspiration, Communication and Knowledge of the World.

We are refining our curriculum based on research about the memory and how it works so that not only do children learn 'the best that has been thought and said' but are taught in a way that ensures children remember their learning and take it with them as they move on.  We make use of knowledge organisers (which are sent home regularly) to ensure children know exactly which information is expected to be learned during a particular theme.  We place particular emphasis on children knowing by heart and building rich webs of knowledge as they progress through the curriculum and parents can support this by quizzing the children on the contents of the knowledge organisers sent home (Y1-6).

Class Overviews 2021-22
Summer 2022 Knowledge Organisers
Subject Overviews


Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage are taught using the EYFS framework with an emphasis on developing key skills, knowledge and understanding through direct teaching, objective led planning and structured enhanced continuous provision. 

In English we teach a broad curriculum covering reading, writing, grammar and oracy. Our approach to the teaching of writing is led through the use of high quality texts, including digital texts.  Through this, the children’s knowledge of literature is improved.

Opportunities for the teaching and learning of writing are as follows:

  • Phonics and spelling: Five daily 20-30 minutes Phonic sessions in Key stage 1 and Reception.
  •  Emergent writing: In Reception, children are given regular opportunities to write freely within a particular genre and across the curriculum. This gives them the opportunity to become emergent writers.
  • Shared Writing and Text Analysis: Within each teaching sequences shared writing and text analysis is a key part.
  • Guided Writing/Independent Writing: Each teaching sequence ends with an opportunity for guided and independent writing. There are also frequent opportunities for short burst writing opportunities in Key Stage 2 independent writing throughout the other curriculum areas from Year 1-6.
  •  Extended writing: Throughout the term there are opportunities for extended writing. On a termly basis samples of these extended writing outcomes are used for assessment purposes.
  •  Handwriting: From Reception, children are introduced to pre-cursive letter formation. The rest of the school has adopted a cursive handwriting script and this is taught and reinforced regularly in Key Stage 1. As children move through the school opportunities to practice handwriting continue and when the class teacher feels a child is able to join fluently they are encouraged to write in pen.
  • Spelling: Children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are given spellings each week to learn at home. Children are tested on these words weekly. 

Work is marked and assessed in line with the marking and assessment policies and the teachers take part in school moderations as well as opportunities to collaborate with other schools. Work is assessed using the South Gloucestershire Age Related Expectations objectives.



The opportunities for the teaching and learning of reading are as follows:

Class Reading

Guided Reading

Independent Reading

Reading Challenges


Children will be given reading books to take home each week which follow the school reading scheme (it is typically expected that children will remain on the scheme until the end of Y4).  As soon as a reading book is completed, another will be issued.  It is helpful if parents can make a brief comment in their child’s reading record/homework diary to let us know how they are getting on with their reading at home.  We greatly appreciate parental support in this area, and encourage parents to listen to their child read regularly.  We expect children to bring in their reading books every day so that they can be read at school too. 

Children will also choose a school library book to take home each week for the sole purpose of reading it for pleasure: this could involve enjoying the text together as a family.



Phonics is the foundation that all other education is built upon and having the right phonics programme in place can make all the difference to a schools' performance. The Monster Phonics programme has been designed by teachers for teachers, supported by a range of comprehensive resources and phonics books that meet the criteria of the Ofsted Primary Framework. We offer a systematic multi-sensory way to teach phonics allowing children to advance more quickly.  MP covers all the statutory requirements of the DfE Letters & Sounds and the KS1 National Curriculum for synthetic phonics-based reading and writing. Children are taught according to their school year, with extra precision teaching offered to those who find it difficult to retain or blend the sounds learned.  Children in KS2 also receive precision teaching if they have failed to pass the phonics screening check at the end of Year 1, or the retake at the end of Year 2. 

Children who are developing their phonic knowledge will also bring home a phonically decodable book matched closely to their phonic phase.  

The Maths Curriculum is delivered in line with the National Curriculum 2014 and Early Years Curriculum so the children develop skills in Fluency, Reasoning and Problem Solving. We use the Mastery approach to plan Maths in school with coherent learning journeys and small steps planning so the children develop a deep and sustainable understanding of the subject. These small steps are predominantly guided by Can Do and Kangaroo Maths, however teachers are able to exercise their professional judgement and develop key learning steps if this is in the interest to further the children’s understanding.  We teach using the Mastery approach so pupils have lots of opportunities to develop their mathematical understanding through discussion and investigation which will enable them to develop greater fluency in their mathematical development. The approach utilises the use of concrete and pictorial representations and vocabulary so children build a secure understanding of the structures that underpin the ‘maths’ from EYFS up to Year 6 – this will enable them to have firm foundations to build upon as they progress through their academic career and into later life.

When the children enter Year 3, they begin to learn French using the language program Salut!  The activities are based around texts, activities and songs.  As the children move into Y5 and 6, there is more emphasis on teaching the children to write in French as well as read and understand simple texts.


At Steam Mills School we foster a culture of tolerance, understanding and diversity which is embedded in the Religious Education syllabus.

We teach Religious Education based on the Gloucestershire SACRE curriculum. The children will study a range of religions and religious practices including Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. If parents have any questions about our RE teaching, please ring the school to make an appointment with our RE leader.

Art and Design
In Art, pupils will learn about some of the most famous pieces of art that have been created and the artists that created them. They will also learn how to produce their own pieces of art in a range of different forms.  We place great emphasis on teaching pupils to draw with a structured drawing programme in KS2 that builds up children's skills over time. We ensure pupils have lots of chance to practice the basics so that they are able to use their knowledge to create their own pieces of art at the end of a unit of study.

Design Technology
Our Design Technology curriculum is based on the planning provided by the Design and Technology Association. Pupils take part in designing, making and evaluating a range of different projects.


We base our Computing curriculum on the Purple Mash scheme of work and encompasses the Knowledge of a Connected World document which ensures pupils gain a solid grasp of the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to move onto further study at KS3.  At the start of every school year, the children will look at ways of keeping themselves safe in a digital world.

History, Geography and Science
We have developed a bespoke knowledge-rich curriculum which gives children access to broad knowledge in subjects such as History, Geography and Science. We have a well sequenced programme that builds knowledge and vocabulary in a well thought out way and ensures that learning is remembered for the long term.  We ensure content meets and exceeds the national curriculum. 

We currently use the Charanga scheme of learning for our music teaching throughout school.  This is a well-structured programme of learning that builds pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding in music giving them time to study important pieces of music and also to learn how to create music. Alongside this programme we use the BBC Ten Pieces resources to teach our pupils about significant pieces of classical music via assemblies.

Every year the children get the opportunity to learn an instrument through Gloucestershire Music’s Whole Class Ensemble programme. This has included violins, ukulele and samba.

 Physical Education

Our PE curriculum is based the National Curriculum, with a focus on fundamental movements in the EYFS.  Children in Y1-6 swim every year, whilst children in YR-4 have Gym sessions at the local Gymnastics centre.  We use our Sports Premium to fund specialist teachers to work alongside our staff each week and have introduced Yoga as a part of our curriculum.

We teach PSHE based on the GHLL PINK curriculum including Sex and Relationships. Each Year group will cover a diverse range of subjects within three core strands of learning: Health and Well Being, Relationships and Living in the Wider World. These lessons are taught explicitly however we may provide additional learning opportunities that incorporate our core values at Steam Mills Primary.

We provide clear communication to parents and carers about our teaching regarding Sex and Relationships, including sharing resources where appropriate, and invite open discussion regarding the children’s individual needs.

Curriculum Diversity
Our curriculum promotes diversity through the study and celebration of a wide range of famous people including women who were prominent in their field. Additionally, we have ensured that our ‘Themes,’ or learning opportunities within other subjects across the school, give the children the opportunity to develop understanding across the world.

Trips and Visits
Each year group has at least one trip or visit to enrich their curriculum and we also invite people in to school to work with children to provide further learning opportunities. We also offer Now Press Play, which allows our children to have experiences across different subject areas.