The Curriculum at Birley Spa

What does your child learn at school each day? Find information about our curriculum subjects here.

Curriculum Overview


Please find below our long term overview for each year group. 

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6


The school uses the Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme. The books in our reading scheme, Oxford Reading Tree, are grouped into coloured book bands. This means that when your child knows his/her book band, they are able to select books from different reading schemes and from the wide variety of additional reading materials we have in school. 

The Teaching of Phonics and Early Reading

Oxford Reading Tree

Read Write Inc

In years 4 and 5, all children have access to Accelerated Reader. AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer. (Passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what was read.) AR gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set targets and direct ongoing reading practice.

Accelerated Reader



At Birley Spa Primary Academy, we base mathematics on several key principles. These are:

  • A dedicated mathematics lesson every day based on age-related expectations.
  • Direct teaching and interactive questioning with the whole class and/or groups.
  • The use of models and images to provide children with a concrete understanding of the number system.  This includes the use of Numicon.
  • Personalised differentiation, with all pupils engaged in mathematics lessons that are related to year group expectations.
  • Developing maths skills across the curriculum, for example creating and interpreting graphs in science, working with temperatures in geography and using number lines in history.

As a school, we are currently taking a ‘mastery approach’ towards mathematics teaching.  Supported by the NCETM – Developing Mastery in Mathematics Document (2014), we ensure that:

  • Teachers reinforce an expectation that all pupils are capable of achieving high standards in mathematics.
  • The large majority of pupils progress through the curriculum content at the same pace. Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention.
  • Teaching is underpinned by methodical curriculum design and supported by carefully crafted lessons and resources to foster deep conceptual and procedural knowledge.
  • Practice and consolidation play a central role. Carefully designed variation within this builds fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts in tandem.

Maths lessons can vary according to the needs of each group of children, however many aspects of a maths lesson will be consistent throughout school.  The usual lesson format is: Revisit/Anchor task, Teach, Practise, Apply, Review (Plenary).  We have organised our curriculum so that topics are revisited regularly and pupils who find specific concepts more difficult to grasp will be given extra support during, before and/or after lessons as capacity allows. Those who demonstrate a secure knowledge will be encouraged to “get going” independently at the beginning of the lesson.

We nurture positive attitudes by matching the task to the child. We feel that successful learning enables children to develop confidence to meet the challenge of new work. To ensure a coherent approach to pupils’ learning, account is taken of what each individual already knows. We model ways to apply learning to everyday situations and help children to develop this skill.

The Wider Curriculum

Here at Birley Spa, we provide a creative curriculum based around the Cornerstones Curriculum, a nationally recognised approach for delivering outstanding learning opportunities for children.

The Cornerstones Curriculum is a creative and thematic approach to learning that is mapped to the 2014 Primary National Curriculum to ensure comprehensive coverage of national expectations. Our new curriculum will be delivered through half termly topics 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 new 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 also provide 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 so 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 topic – Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express. To find out more about these stages please click on the link through to Cornerstones website:


How can I find out more about the curriculum at Birley Spa?

We produce termly leaflets for parents containing details of what the children will be learning in each class. These will be sent home with the children each term and are also available in each school office.