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Approach to Curriculum Design

When reflecting upon our curriculum, we felt that we had some really excellent pockets of curriculum design, but that the pupils would benefit hugely from a more coherent and strategic curriculum across their experience at school, from Nursery up to Sixth Form. Therefore, we wanted to produce a document that set out the curriculum across the board that was aligned across subjects and over age ranges and would enable the planning of curriculum enhancements. Both the increased subject knowledge within the building, and the desired sense of an ‘all-through’ curriculum, combined with the time of significant change to curriculum, GCSE and A Level specification and assessments means that this is an opportune time to explore changes within Reach.Standard-Page-Gallery_0034_DSCF5557

The redesign of the curriculum comprised of two main parts:

  • Topic/theme level overview
  • In-depth look at progress across subject areas

Topic/theme level overview

The curriculum starting point came from the English subject team and Primary SLT/Literacy co-ordinators collaborating to create an overview of themes and topics across all year groups. English was felt to be the best cornerstone for the curriculum for the below reasons:

  • Children learn better when they can make links across their learning and this has been best exemplified through links between English and History in Year 8 and in Topic in Reception and Year 1
  • English naturally lends itself to links and collaborations better than other subjects
  • We have a wide range of English specialists across Phases
  • The GCSE and A Level specifications have already been accredited

The following table shows the finalised curriculum, with themes running through the Cycle, and clear areas of synergy across different year groups.


Subject leads then took this overview and redesigned or refocused schemes of work to fit with these topics. There will be a period of adjustment to avoid some pupils missing out on key topics, but we hope to have all pupils working around these topics/themes within two years.

In-depth look at progress across subject areas

We believed that the curriculum can only be effective if we had a clear set of outcomes for each subject of where the pupils should be at the end of each Phase. We wanted a coherent progression across the five phases for each subject, from which we could effectively plan a curriculum that spans Nursery – Sixth Form.

Subject Leads from Secondary worked with their colleagues from Primary to create a set of Phase Outcomes documents, detailing the Key Knowledge and Key Skills required at each Phase. These documents are designed so that we can clearly see the progress from Phase 1 to Phase 5 at a glance and will form the bedrock for a set of Year Outcomes from which we can more rigorously ensure that curriculum is designed to help achieve yearly goals for all children.


Phase Outcomes

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