School Curriculum

“A particular strength is the level of trust between the pupils, so that they routinely share their work with each other and ask each other for help” – OFSTED 2018

The school covers the curriculum through teaching discrete subjects as well as making links between subjects through a curriculum theme. We offer a broad range of opportunities to cater for the interests, aptitudes and particular needs of all pupils.

We endeavour to adapt and develop the curriculum to make sure it is:

  • Rich – being flexible in allowing scope for further investigation.
  • Diverse – by providing a wide range of experiences.
  • Relevant – to the children’s own personal experience and to give responsibility to the learner.
  • Challenging – what is taught extends the pupils’ understanding

Shirwell School takes account of every aspect of your child’s development, providing the opportunity to achieve the highest possible standards of Mathematics, English and foundation subjects together with physical, artistic, practical and social skills. Other areas receiving attention through the year include health education, safety education (including road safety) and environmental education.

See Class webpages for current topic information.


We deliver the curriculum through a mixture of subject based teaching and topic-based teaching. The core subjects, English, Maths, Science and R.E. are taught in daily or weekly sessions where skills are taught and reinforced. We endeavour to create cross-curricula links and develop skills through subjects which are transferable. Although our teaching is often linked to a foundation subject for example geography or history, we may also teach separate subjects. Topics are carefully planned to ensure children learn the required skills to make progress. ICT is used continually across the curriculum to enhance learning. Topics will normally run for half a term, although with younger children the topics may be more frequent.

We offer a number of trips to enrich the curriculum. Class 2 pupils have the opportunity to go on residential trips and all year groups’ benefit from learning opportunities outside the school. We invite visitors into school to enrich subject knowledge and provide the children with educational and local links.

Learning in this subject includes speaking and listening, reading and writing, we promote quality handwriting and presentation, accurate spelling and correct usage.  Children use their creative skills in exciting and imaginative ways. This enables children to communicate effectively, become active listeners and foster a love and understanding of the written word.

A joined handwriting script is taught from early in Key Stage One and the link between good handwriting and success in spelling is underlined at all times. Creative language is encouraged through story writing, poetry and drama and opportunities given for performing in front of an audience through school plays and assemblies.


Reading is taught initially by using phonics (sounds), we use the Read Write Inc program.  We aim to help our children become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, information texts, poetry and drama through exploring a rich variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.  This links directly with our topic work and provides opportunities for children to learn from history or geography through their literacy education.

There is also a great emphasis on reading skills throughout the school; we consider reading to be the key to unlock so much knowledge and independence.
We work closely with parents to help children become independent and confident readers to help ensure life-long learning

At Shirwell we believe Mathematics to be an artistic and creative subject.  We aim to inspire confidence with Mathematics and develop an appreciation of the history and culture of the discipline. We help each pupil develop, knowledge, understanding and skills in Maths, to realise their full potential as creative and logical thinkers.

mathsPupils are given opportunities to use and apply Maths in practical classroom tasks as well as through real-life problems. We encourage children to develop their own mathematical strategies as well as teaching different approaches to a problem. Correct mathematical language, the appropriate use of apparatus and the clear recording of results and information are always emphasised. Before your child reaches school you will have encouraged mathematical thinking at home, through nursery rhymes, simple counting activities and games. We are keen to bring together a child’s real life experiences of Maths with classroom activities, to build on the many opportunities children have encountered at home and to develop their expertise and confidence.