Firs Curriculum Design Statement

Firs Primary School is committed to ensuring all children are able to access a broad and balanced curriculum with teaching and learning being at the heart of the delivery of the curriculum. It aims to be bold, free thinking and rigorous; underpinned by a commitment to the school values and aims ensuring equity and learner empowerment and encouraging social mobility. We aim to be:

  • Ambitious: everyone is encouraged and enabled to achieve and attain highly.
  • Innovative: the learning community benefits from belonging to a research and teacher education community.
  • Inclusive: everyone is welcome and everyone included.

Within the expectations defined by the National Curriculum Firs Primary School has recently reviewed and developed the school curriculum.  In designing our curriculum we asked a number of questions:

  • What aimsvalues and principles should our curriculum pursue and embed?
  • What are the implications of recent research on children’s development and learning and on what they should be taught?
  • What are children’s ‘lived experiences’.  What are the challenges of a politically, socially, environmentally and technologically uncertain world?
  • How can a curriculum nurture children’s childhoods as well as prepare them for an adult future and to become positive contributors to society?

What is a school curriculum?

A curriculum could be considered as the body of knowledge that is to be advanced through learning and teaching that is planned and guided.  Sometimes the curriculum is equated with the syllabus which is to be taught.

Kelly (2004)


All children are taught through the National Curriculum subjects, these are:

  • Literacy
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Information Communication Technology
  • RE
  • Art and Design
  • History
  • Geography
  • Music
  • Design Technology
  • Physical Education
  • Modern Foreign Language

Firs Primary School Curriculum

The Core of our Curriculum

At Firs primary school we respect the rights of all children to make a positive future contribution to society by prioritising teaching and learning.

At the core of our curriculum is the hope to nurture and develop compassionate citizens who want to make a positive contribution to their local community and society.  The curriculum passionately advocates to inspire a relentless optimism for and about children.

Firs 5 Keys to Success.

In order to develop compassionate citizens for now and the future, we realise that the ways in which we engage with children informally and formally throughout their time is essential to develop children holistically.

We ensure the school 5 Keys to Emotional Wellbeing; Emotional Resilience, Planning For Success, Knowledge of Life and its Rules, Respecting Difference and People Skills are key drivers that underpin the school curriculum.

Firs Primary School provide a creative curriculum based around the  Cornerstones Curriculum, a nationally recognised approach for delivering outstanding learning opportunities for children.

What is the Cornerstones Curriculum.

The Cornerstones Curriculum is a creative approach to learning that is mapped to the Primary National Curriculum to ensure comprehensive coverage of national expectations. Our curriculum will be delivered through a range of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which will provide a rich menu of exciting and motivating learning activities that make creative links between all aspects of our children’s learning.

We believe children learn better when they are encouraged to use their imagination and apply their learning to engaging contexts. Our curriculum will provide lots of learning challenges throughout the academic year that will require children to solve problems, apply themselves creatively and express their knowledge and understanding effectively across the curriculum.

Cornerstones provides a rigorous essential skills framework that outlines the end of year expectations in all subjects. These essential skills are tied to activities and are Age Related to ensure that staff can track children’s progress and identify their individual learning needs.

How it Works.

•Children will progress through four stages of learning in each ILP – Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express.  Please see below for more information.

During the Engage stage children will:

• have memorable first-hand experiences – for example going on a visit outside the classroom or inviting a specialist visitor into the classroom

• have WOW experiences – Investigate and Discover

• be introduced in exciting ways to the new topic or theme

• begin initial research and set enquiry questions

• have lots of opportunity to make observations

• develop spoken language skills

• take part in sensory activities

• have a great deal of fun, allowing them to fully ‘engage’ with their new topic

During the Develop stage children will:

• dig much deeper to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of a topic across the curriculum

• practice their newfound skills

• compose, make, do, build, investigate, explore, write for different purposes, read across the curriculum

• research their own questions and those posed by others

• follow new pathways of enquiry based on their own interests

• complete homework activities that support their learning in school

During the Innovate stage children will:

• apply previous skills, knowledge and understanding in real life contexts

• be challenged with real or imagined problems and situations to solve using knowledge and skills from the earlier stages

• be inspired with imaginative and creative opportunities

• have time to re-visit skills, knowledge and understanding not grasped during the develop stage

• have the opportunity to take on different roles

During the Express stage children will:

• become the performers, the experts, the informers

• share their achievements with others in many different ways…….parents, class mates and the community

• evaluate finished products/processes

• tie learning back to the beginning

• celebrate

Curriculum Key Drivers

Academic Success – we expect all children to achieve their personal expected targets through the curriculum we deliver.  The curriculum will both support and stretch children of all different abilities.

Experiences –  through educational visits, external visitors and the use of Now Press Play software the school will bring the curriculum experience alive for our children.

Social mobility – the school will ensure that the breadth of experiences are suitable enough to promote social mobility and raise aspirations.

SMSC and BV – through the school curriculum children will engage in ways that are suitable for their age and context.  For example in some subjects there are opportunities to think about traditions from different cultures and religions.  Extra-curricular activities, pupil voice, questionnaires and the school council are other ways that children will have their voices heard and for them to learn about democracy.

Personal Development – the school curriculum is designed to help pupils gain the skills knowledge and understanding they need to lead, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens.

Wider Community – Engaging parents and the wider community is a priority of the school curriculum.  We seek to improve educational outcomes for children, in particular; involving parents and families in the life of the school will have a positive impact on our children’s educational outcomes and futures.

Physical and Mental wellbeing – Research evidence suggests that education and health are closely linked.  Promoting the health and wellbeing of our children has the potential to improve their educational outcomes and their health and wellbeing outcomes.

Firs Curriculum Planning 

If you wish to find out more regarding the school curriculum please contact Sinead Redmond