Our school curriculum includes the ‘National Curriculum’, as well as religious education. The National Curriculum is a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools so children across the country learn the same things. It covers what subjects are taught and the standards children should reach in each subject. RE is taught using Discovery RE according to the Cumbria Agreed Syllabus.

REVISED Cumbria Syllabus for RE 2017 

The intention of the curriculum at Alston Primary School is to provide an inspiring , rich and varied education that develops a child’s life experiences, interests and prepares them for the next stage of their education.  Pupils experience a unique curriculum that is underpinned by key knowledge and skills that impacts positively on their performance in all subject areas. Our teaching and learning is linked to a range of high quality texts which link areas of our curriculum and enhance the students knowledge and understanding of the world around them.

Using a range of teaching styles and experiences, we aim to foster a love of learning and a passion for enquiry. Our goal is to provide children with a safe, yet challenging, environment in which they can take risks and make mistakes as well as developing their resilience and ability to be self-reflective as they do so.

We put emphasis on the experiential nature of learning;  where children can learn by ‘doing’. Our active and engaging lessons build on and strengthen children’s knowledge and understanding. We firmly believe that there is a role for creativity across all subjects and our learning may be represented in many forms from drama, art, music and different media. Connections between and within curriculum areas are highlighted as are the real life applications behind our learning.

We make use of the local area, both within the school grounds and beyond, to support the acquisition of skills and knowledge in a way that is meaningful for the children. We aim to supplement our topic work and core teaching with excursions at least once every half term. In such an isolated area, we feel it is vital for the children to explore the wider world and gain a sense of what lies beyond the Moor. During their time in Key Stage 2, children enjoy one city break and one outdoor activity residential. 

We celebrate achievement in all areas and aim to have happy children who enjoy coming to school. We encourage self-expression and creativity while promoting respect for each other within and beyond the diverse community we live in. This broad and balanced curriculum is customised to meet the local needs of our learners.

Our curriculum is developed as a two year rolling programme from years 1-6. This is used in conjunction with skills progression to look at the next steps for learning and ensure coverage of all subjects. There is consistency in the progression of pupils' knowledge and skills throughout each year group. 


In Literacy, we use a wide range of quality texts and different media to stimulate creative writing opportunities for a range of purposes, linking this to other subjects as much as possible to allow for in depth-interrogation. We utilise technology as much as possible for publishing and recording our work in creative forms.

At Alston Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We believe reading is key for academic success. To ensure this, we have a holistic approach to the teaching of reading.

We implement the following:

  • Children take part in Guided Reading lessons, where children are exposed to a range of different texts and can demonstrate their understanding and thinking behind these. We are very lucky to have a wide range of reading books in our school. 
  • Children read and are read to regularly. This could be a book that the teacher recommends to the class or a recommendation from a child.  Each classroom has a reading area that is filled with books suitable for their reading age. This is a comfortable place for children to read throughout the day.
  •  Children who are not yet ‘free readers’ will work through our school reading scheme (Read, Write, Inc); these are levelled books which match the children’s current reading age. We expect family at home to read these books with or to their child on a regular basis. 
  • Children have daily phonics following Read, Write Inc in small groups where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities that are matched to their developing needs. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Children work through the different phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge. Reading books are matched to the GPCs currently being taught in school. Parents can find out more about RWI and how they can support at home at https://www.ruthmiskin.com/parentsandcarers/.


At Alston Primary School we aim to teach a rich, balanced and progressive curriculum using Maths to reason, problem solve and develop fluent conceptual understanding in each area's expectations. Pupils are challenged, being taught in flexible groupings according to the subject area. We use White Rose materials alongside additional challenges from a wide range of other providers. Every day, we have a mental maths challenge called ‘Ten a Day’ which is tailored to the cohort's ongoing needs, reinforcing and consolidating methods we have been learning. 

Parents can learn more about White Rose Maths by visiting Advice and guidance for parents | White Rose Education


Skills Progressions

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