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Ruswarp Church of England Primary School Think for Yourself and Act for Others

Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact


Curriculum Intent


Excellence in teaching and learning is at the heart of our school. We offer an exciting, engaging and creative curriculum which inspires and motivates our children. Through the curriculum, we create ‘bursting to tell’ moments which enthuse our children and aim to promote a lifelong love of learning. Our curriculum is based upon the National Curriculum and half termly whole-school themes which have been designed in order to unite us a whole school community and to underpin our distinctly Christian ethos.

We recognise all of our children as unique and individual and pride ourselves on providing an inclusive curriculum designed to meet the needs of all of our pupils. Based on a forensic knowledge and understanding of every child in our school, we are committed that our inclusive provision ensures that no child is missed.  

Our curriculum is designed to be ambitious and challenging and to enable all children to achieve well and make good progress. It is developmental and reinforces prior learning and increases in cognitive complexity throughout each child’s time at Ruswarp. We have planned skills to ‘widen out’ as the child moves through the school, revisiting concepts in greater depth over the years and sequenced to help our children remember and understand knowledge with confidence so they become more fluent, efficient and resilient.

Ruswarp’s curriculum is rooted in our vision of ‘Think for Yourself and Act for Others’, and based on our school’s Christian Values of: Kindness, Respect, Friendship, Forgiveness and Thankfulness. We want our full curriculum to enable children and staff to recognise their roles and responsibilities and to be equipped with all the skills to live life safely and to the full and suitably prepared for life in modern Britain. We also base our curriculum on the ‘Window, Mirror, Door’ principles which promote learning, reflection and taking positive actions. Developing resilience and perseverance are key; we adopt a growth mindset approach in order for children to learn to embrace mistakes as part of the learning process.


At Ruswarp Church of England Primary School, we:

  • Give children rich, hands-on experiences and celebrate the uniqueness of our local area
  • Deepen and develop subject knowledge
  • Develop passionate readers
  • Live our school values and develop cultural knowledge, underpinned by a strong Christian ethos
  • Guide and inspire children to become confident, responsible citizens with high aspirations and broad horizons.


Curriculum Implementation


Give children rich, hands-on experiences and celebrate the uniqueness of our local area

Whitby is a wonderful, historically rich and varied area. We are in close proximity to the beach, the North Yorkshire moors, Whitby Abbey, and the cobbled-streets of Whitby town. We utilise this and celebrate it in our planning, incorporating Whitby whenever we can do so. We have a close community of local parents to support us in our ventures and our own mini bus helps us access them!

We are able to draw on local artists, varied geographical features and interesting local history to incorporate into our half termly whole school themes. We want our children to have the best life chances and access to experiences which will open up their minds to the wider world. These experiences are planned for and embraced and begin whole-heartedly in EYFS as we enrich children’s learning with carefully planned visits and visitors to enhance our curriculum.


Deepen and develop subject knowledge

Our curriculum is driven by a desire to ensure that knowledge sticks in all subjects. It is carefully and systematically planned in sequences to help our children remember and understand knowledge with confidence to enable them to become more fluent and efficient in their learning.

The knowledge is clearly mapped out across the school and themes run through topics, building understanding over time and allowing children to make links between what they are learning.

‘What did I learn in this subject last year? Last month? Last lesson? What skills and knowledge am I learning that will help me in this subject next week? Next year?’.  

Skills are planned to build progressively. End of unit tests/assessments enable children to actively recall knowledge and interweaving this then ensures that knowledge is retained over time. The incorporation of a whole school theme enables us to link learning throughout the whole school community and enable us to plan a greater number of shared experiences. It also serves to enable learning to have a context for all pupils; ‘in this class the children are learning about … and in my class we are learning about…’ and to recognise how learning is linked by the theme. We are incredibly lucky to have a supportive and engaged parent body who actively support and promote learning at home and having whole school themes will enable them to link learning between siblings.

Staff reflect via blogs and is encouraged as a form of CPD. Staff actively reflect on their teaching, the decisions they make continually within class and the impact these decisions have on learning. This process is part of our whole school ethos ‘Think for Yourself and Act for Others’ and also reinforces to all that we are all lifelong learners.  

High quality CPD in foundation subjects and RE ensures that staff have the knowledge and skills to deliver creative and progressive lessons in the wider curriculum. We have specialist staff to support PE and outdoor learning and subject leaders maintain an overview of standards in their subjects.

Following the disrupted curriculum of 2020-21, we are focusing on a recovery curriculum. This involves clear and consistent assessment, targeted planning based on a forensic overview of assessment information, targeted interventions and support programmes and a ‘catch up’ curriculum utilising additional adult support. This is to ensure that the children are able to confidently master the essential skills in English and Maths, despite prolonged periods away from face to face teaching.


Develop Passionate Readers

Reading is a fundamental part of our curriculum. We aim to immerse children with books and language on entry; ensuring the EYFS outdoor area has a rich environment of reading spaces and reading opportunities woven throughout. Throughout the school, we carefully select quality class texts to ensure that children are exposed to the best in children’s literature and a full range of genres and both classic texts and more contemporary and modern selections. Texts are planned for and fully embedded into all curriculum areas and are used to enhance and support subject teaching. Texts are selected based on children’s interests, themes and specifically chosen to broaden children’s ranges, language and understanding and to and expose the class to books they would not select from the shelves themselves!

In our younger classes we adopt the CLPE’s ‘Power of Reading’ scheme, as it uses quality children’s literature and proven creative teaching approaches to support and develop a high quality literacy curriculum and a whole school love of reading and writing. We feel the implementation of this scheme in our younger classes instils this structure and consistency and gives the children great foundations for us to build on throughout their Key Stage Two years.  

Reading events and challenges are planned through the year in order to raise the profile of reading within school and celebrate it. Each class contains a wealth of texts for children to choose and borrow and this independent reading time is actively encouraged, alongside listening to an adult read in class on a daily basis. All classes have two chosen texts at one time – a text which supports the current literacy focus and a second which is the class text and is being read aloud daily.  


To live our school values

The whole school community chose the Christian values we want to underpin our school vision and curriculum as: Kindness, Respect, Friendship, Forgiveness and Thankfulness. We also recognise that we do not live in a culturally diverse area and therefore want to ensure our curriculum has key learning opportunities about the wider world and each child’s role within it, particularly in terms of cultural and religious aspects.


We have created a curriculum to develop resilience and independence, both in work and at play. There is a culture within society of children lacking the courage to stand up for what they believe in or what they believe is right. Some children have a tendency to give up easily in the face of adversity, or when faced with challenges - often relying on the intervention of adults. Through curriculum opportunities and teaching, we want to both tackle and support these notions in order to create future adults with strong moral fibre and courage in their convictions.


Our school vision underpins our curriculum and this is reflected in practice, policies and our school environment and is evident within relationships and attitudes. Our curriculum offers learning opportunities and collaborations to support our children in being humble, moral, to think of others, to recognise the strength in others and to be able to identify what part he/she plays in this school, their community and the wider world.

Think for Yourself – We want to teach our children to be strong, independent and resilient – both in the classroom and in the wider world. We want our children to embrace challenges in the classroom and have the ability to persevere and persist with their learning. We want our children to have courage and faith in their own beliefs and convictions and to have the strength to stand against something that isn’t right. We want to help develop children’s moral fibre and equip them for the skills they need to flourish in the 21st Century.  Our school is for those of all faiths and none, but our Christian message is that God will support us.

Act for Others – Based on Christian teachings, we want our children to be kind, respectful and generous. We want children to be thankful and humble and to support their peers. We want our children and staff to recognise their roles and responsibilities within the school community and the wider world.


In Practice

Each term, we have a whole school focus on either the Window, Mirror or Door. Our curriculum will also include a half termly themed day, with a focus of the day being:

Our Mirror – Reflection, self-reflection, spiritual reflection

Our Window – Learning

Our Door – Making a positive contribution to the world via actions

This focus underpins our curriculum in the following ways:


Our Mirror – Autumn Term

These are the values by which we look at ourselves and reflect how we wish to behave. The core values to focus on will be: Kindness, Respect, Friendship, Forgiveness and Thankfulness. At Ruswarp, these are principles which are embedded into our daily life at school in terms of our conduct and approach to our learning and each other. We link these principles to our Collective Worship, to Bible stories and to our behaviour policy and our rewards system. We will also focus on Growth Mindset as a way of supporting our ‘Think for Yourself’ element. Our curriculum will encourage opportunities for spiritual reflection as we teach children how to achieve this.


Our Window - Spring Term

This is how we learn about and how to value the world around us and will base this on our awareness and understanding of the British values of democracy, the rule of law, tolerance and mutual respect and individual liberty. We will focus on how we demonstrate these values in school through our various committees and curriculum, our RSE curriculum, through subject work on anti-discrimination, awareness of other religious celebrations and through our behaviour policy. We will have a programme to incorporate this into Collective Worship with links to Christian teaching and inviting organisations into school.



Our Door – Summer Term

This is the fundamental value that we find from Christian teachings which makes us want and desire to make a difference to each other and the world and go out ‘via the door’ to make a contribution to society, both in school, at home, nationally and internationally. Our curriculum will focus on our identified Christian Values but also on the key Christian value of love and that we have to love and care enough to make courageous changes for the better. We will provide opportunities for this within our curriculum through charity work, community support and through our curriculum projects and investigations.



To guide and inspire our children to become confident and responsible citizens

Behaviour in our school is an aspect we pride ourselves on. Our children are taught to make responsible choices, knowing the clear expectations set and exemplified around school. ‘Think for Yourself and Act for Others’ is a clear and consistent starting point when having reflective conversations about behaviour.

Our RSE curriculum has opportunities for children to learn about all aspects of health and relationships.

Our inclusion of safety themes within the curriculum ensure that children are educated about all aspects of safety: Personal, Online, Water, Fire, Road Safety.

Our curriculum organisation allows and encourages our children the opportunity to become articulate, respectful and confident communicators. Sporting fixtures enable children to compete locally against other schools. Participation in events such as ‘Speak Out’ and the Eskdale Festival ensure children are given a chance to perform in the arts. Performances in school also enable children the opportunity for this.

Our creative curriculum allows us to celebrate individuality and teach our pupils about acceptance. Our programme of Collective Worship, both whole school and class, also promotes Bible teachings and reflection to encourage children to become responsible adults.

Curriculum Impact

Give children rich, hands-on experiences and celebrate the uniqueness of our local area

  • Children have a good knowledge of our local area and the history of Whitby and how this fits into the wider world
  • To leave school with high aspirations and broad horizons and to be confident in trying new things, having had a wide range of experiences
  • Children can confidently present their ideas


Deepen and develop subject knowledge

  • Staff have high levels of subject knowledge and feel supported in their CPD needs
  • Staff can assess the foundation subjects with increasing confidence
  • Children retain knowledge and vocabulary and use it in work and discussion around subjects taught
  • Children understand what we are teaching, why we are teaching it and can articulate where the learning ‘fits in’ to previous and future learning
  • Children are motivated and happy learners, with a keen desire and interest in learning and gaining knowledge
  • Attainment in foundation subjects matches that of English, Maths and Science
  • High quality work, which represents the progressive skills approach of our curriculum
  • Well established links, made by all members of the school community, across topics and subjects


Develop Passionate Readers

  • Children have consistently positive attitudes to reading
  • Children enjoy books and talking about them
  • Children have experience of a range of authors


To live our school values

  • High levels of exemplary behaviour in children around school and in the community
  • Excellent learning attitudes in lessons
  • Children can discuss values and reflect upon them
  • Children have an understanding and appreciation of the arts and other religions
  • Children feel comfortable being themselves and are accepting of others
  • Children are able to talk about themselves, their believes and relationships


To guide and inspire our children to become confident and responsible citizens

  • Children have high aspirations moving on to secondary school
  • Children go on to choose a range of foundation subjects in KS3
  • Children take on a leadership role
  • Children have experiences that prepare them well for later life


Our aim at Ruswarp Church of England Primary School is that all children will develop a love and enjoyment of reading. We aim to do this by providing a stimulating learning environment that is rich in language and also through exposure to a variety of high quality texts. This is in addition to the teaching of daily phonics sessions across the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. At Ruswarp Primary School, from September 2021, we follow the programme:  'Little Wandle, Letters and Sounds Revised'.  


What is Phonics?

There has been a huge shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in UK schools. This is having a big impact and helping many children learn to read and spell. Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading and Shared Reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.

So what exactly is phonics?
Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words

In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:

They are taught GPCs. This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p.

Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.

Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.


What makes Phonics tricky?
In some languages learning phonics is easy because each phoneme has just one grapheme to represent it. The English language is a bit more complicated than this. This is largely because England has been invaded so many times throughout its history. Each set of invaders brought new words and new sounds with them. As a result, English only has around 44 phonemes but there are around 120 graphemes or ways of writing down those 44 phonemes. Obviously we only have 26 letters in the alphabet so some graphemes are made up from more than one letter.

ch th oo ay (these are all digraphs - graphemes with two letters)

There are other graphemes that are trigraphs (made up of 3 letters) and even a few made from 4 letters.
Another slightly sticky problem is that some graphemes can represent more than one phoneme. For example ch makes very different sounds in these three words: chip, school, chef.


How is phonics taught?
Our Phonics is taught using Little Wandle. For more information, please click on the link:


Reading Scheme

We use the Oxford Reading Tree scheme and a range of banded books to develop children's reading, all in line with Little Wandle.


At Ruswarp children learn to develop their word reading and comprehension skills in order to become fluent and reflective readers, enabling them to foster a long term love of reading.



Comprehension skills are developed in guided reading sessions through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction within English lessons. Within guided reading and English, children read widely a range of fiction and non-fiction texts to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.


Recommended Reading lists

Our recommended reading lists contain 40 age-appropriate books for children in each year group. We have taken the time to carefully choose books that will hopefully capture your children's imagination. The lists contain colour-bands and a description of the books so that the children are able to 'cherry-pick' their favourites according to their book-band level and their personal interests.


Teaching Religious Education


We believe at this school that RE both supports and strengthens what we aim to do in every aspect of school life. Our caring ethos and the value which we place on the development of the whole child; spiritually, morally, socially, culturally and intellectually is reflected in the RE curriculum.


Specifically, the teaching of RE at Ruswarp aims to enable pupils of whatever ability and level of development to:


  • acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of principal world faiths practised in Great Britain. These include Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, each of which is represented in North Yorkshire;

  • develop an understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, societies and cultures, including the local community;

  • develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues with reference to the teachings of the principal religions;

  • enhance their own spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by:


a. developing awareness of the fundamental questions of life arising from human experiences, and how religious beliefs and practices can relate to them;

b. responding to the fundamental questions of life in the light of

their experience and with reference to religious beliefs and practices;

c. reflecting on their own beliefs, values and experiences in the

light of their study;

d. expressing their own personal viewpoints in a thoughtful,

reasoned and considerate way;


  • recognise the right of people to hold different beliefs within an ethnically and socially diverse society.

Religious Education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It challenges pupils to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics and to communicate their responses.


We hope that the teaching of Religious Education at Ruswarp Church of England Primary School will encourage all learners to reflect on their own beliefs and values and to acknowledge that others hold beliefs different from their own.


Early Years Foundation Stage


Children in our Reception Class form our Foundation Stage and are taught by Mrs Stainthorpe. There is a separate curriculum for the children in this stage of school. It is planned to enable each individual child to explore the world in the ways that best suit them. Our recently improved outdoor learning environment is a fantastic resource, which enriches the children’s experiences and provides a lovely start to the children’s learning journey with us.


EYFS is made up from seven areas of learning which are all inter-connected and dependent on each other:


Prime Areas:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development


As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in four specific areas. These are:


  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design


We believe that children are active learners who learn through their senses, through investigation, experimentation, listening, watching, social interaction, questioning and exploring. Your child is a special and unique individual and will be encouraged to develop their confidence, skills and talents in these early years of education.


If you have any questions regarding the curriculum we teach, please contact the school directly.

The National Curriculum in England