Our Curriculum

In order to ensure children achieve their full potential, we are committed to provide the following:

At Risdene Academy we believe that the expriences children have at the very start of their school life are important in ensuring that they grow up as independent and self-motivate learners for life.  Our curriculum works on a 2-year rolling cycle and ensures National Curriculum coverage across all of the key content.  We are currently completing Cycle B.

These themes will include all key science, history and geography learning, as well as all other foundation subject learning.

The Learning Journey

Risdene Academy follows an exciting creative curriculum.  English and Maths still have a dedicated teaching time in the day to ensure that basic skills are learnt; these are then practised, applied and consolidated in our theme and skills based work.

Recenctly, we have reviewed and refined our curriculum in line with the new National Curriculum.  We have endeavoured to ensure that lessons capture the interest of the children and makes the learning relevant to them, whilst meeting the National Curriculum requirements.  The curriculum has been built around the concept of ensuring greater learning involvement in their work, resulting in a meaningful curriculum which promotes high standards.

We have encouraged our teachers to actively think what their curriculum needs to include in order to meet the needs of the children at this school - leading to high standards in all areas of the curriculum.

At Risdene Academy we have used a topic-based approach to the curriculum for many years.  This involves linking some subject areas through a common topic or project designed to ensure the children are interested in purposeful learning.  The review we have undertaken on our curriculum is a natual development and imnprovement of this work.

Please click on the link to see each phase's long term plan.  The medium term curriculum overviews to parents term plans, which come home to show what your child will be learning throughout a half term, are included in the folder below each phase.

Foundation Stage - Long Term Plan
Foundation Stage Medium Term Overviews: Term 1   Term 2  Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Phase One - Year 1/2 - Long Term Plan
Phase One Medium Term Overviews: Term 1   Term 2   Term 3/4  Term 5

Phase Two - Year 3/4 - Long Term Plan
Phase Two Medium Term Overviews: Term 1   Term 2  Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6

Phase Three - Years 5/6 - Long Term Plan
Phase Three Medium Term Overviews: Term 1   Term 2   Term 3/4 Term 5 Term 6

Below is more information about all of the curriculum subjects:



English work in the school is based on the new National Curriculum, which develops the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening.  Literacy skills are of paramount importance in the shcool.  The main aim of language development is to create an excellent means of communication, both written and verbal, which can be used confidently and successfuly in all aspects of life.  Children receive daily phonics teaching in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, and the teaching of phonics/spelling strategies are continued in Key Stage 2.  Children use a colour coded reading scheme which is closely matched to the phonic phases.  They progress through this until they become 'free readers'.  The scheme progresses through every year group, giving children the opportunity to explore a wide range of texts.  The school has dedicated teaching time for reading using a Rainbow Reading approach and Cracking Comprehension to promote curiosity and interest in reading, and the skills to understand the complex meaning of texts.  There is dedicated teaching time for the development of the spelling, grammar and punctuation aspects of the curriculum.  To support the Creative Curriculum a text is chosed for each unit, which helps our children explore key themes.  They have reading activities based on this text, capturing ideas through drama and conversation that develop their understanding, vocabulary and targets for further writing.  The children explore a range of genres around this text so they are immersed in their learning journey.



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 childen learn to read and spell.  Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read and spell. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading and on sight reading and Shared Reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and encourage a real love of reading.

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

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.

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 langauges learning phonics is easer because each phoneme has just one grapheme to represent it.  The English language is a bit more complicated than this.  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 slighly 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.  Risdene Academy follows the Read, Write inc phonics scheme.  Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 have a dedicated daily session focussed on phonics.  Please refer to the link below for more information about Read, Write inc, including helpful videos for parents:

Information for Parents: What is Read, Write inc Phonics?

In Year 1 all of the children in England have to complete the phonics screening check.  The phonics screening chck is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

For more information on the phonics screening check, and to be able to look at past screening papers, please look at this link:

Further information on phonics screening check and past papers



The teaching of mathematics seeks to develop within pupils an ability to be confident and competent with numbers and measures.  It required an understanding of the number system, a repertoire of computational skills and an inclination and ability to solve problems in a variety of contexts.  Mathematics also demands practical understanding of the ways in which information is gathered by counting and measuring, and is communicated in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables.  Teachers aim to help the children acquire this proficiency by giving a sharp focus to the relevant aspects of the programmes of study for mathematics.

Mathematics is taught in groups, class lessons or individually as required.  The mathematics work in the school is based on the new National Curriculum.  Regular assessment is an important part of the process.  Accuracy in computation is considered important and time is given to the learning of tables and number bonds.  Children have the opportunity to use calculators and computers when appropriate but mental activities are also considered important.  Investigational tasks are used to develop the children's ability to use their mathematical skills.


Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Our ICT teaching offers opportunities for children to:



Science work covers life and living processes, materials and their properties and physical processes.  Wherever possible the skills of enquiry, investigation and experiment are used and developed within the subject areas detailed above.  As much first-hand experience as possible is incorporated into the children's programmes of study.



To encourage the children to develop an interest in history and awareness of the past, they laern about all aspects of life in different periods, ranging from Aztecs to 1940s.  They are expected to use various sources of information as they learn to describe and explain historical change and cause.



To develop their interest in the subject, chidlren study physical geography, human geography and the environment.  They develop skills in map reading, collection of data and measurement.  They are encouraged, where possible, to make first hand observations and to look critcally at sources of information.


Design Technology

In their Design Technology work chidlren are encouraged to work with artefacts, systems and environments.  They learn how to use tools safely and design and make things in a variety of mediums and for different purposes.  During each key stage the chidlren will work on the following technological aspects; constructions, mechanisms, electrical devices, textiles and food.


Religious Education (RE)

The school uses the Discovery RE scheme of work. Click here to see the overview document.  Assemblies take place daily and focus on a range of themes.


Art & Design

The artisitc work of the school is often linked with topic work.  During their time at school children will have the opportunity to do two-dimensional work in the form of painting, drawing and making collages using skills such as perspective, colour mixing etc.  In three-dimensional work children will have the opportunity to work in a variety of mediums including clay, wood, card and plaster of paris.  There are also opportunities at various stages throughout the school for all children to do needlework.


Physical Education (PE)

All children have access of up to two hours of physical education per week.  The children experience a wide range of physical activities appropriate to their age, ability and interests, including athletics, dance, games and gymnastics.  Through these the children will have opportunities to develop their range and control of movement and their coordination.  They also learn how to be part of a team, learning and applying the conventions of fair play, honest competition and good sporting behaviour.  Physical activity is also encouraged at lunch and play times.  The school adopts the Real PE scheme of work.



The school endeavours to give children the opportunity to take part in a wide range of musical activities.  Activities include the opportunity to playrecorders and percussion instruments, appreciate music, sing, compose and participate in performances.  The school has a choir, which performs for parents and takes part in local events and competitions.  Additionally, children have the opportunity to take part in string instrument lessons, taught by a peripatetic teacher in school, by separate 'fee-paying' arrangement, with the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust.


PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education)

The school uses PSHE framework to teach the range of subjects encompassing Personal, Social and Health, which includes drugs, sex and relationship education.  The PSHE scheme we have introduced is the Jigsaw PSHE approach.

Jigsaw PSHE is designed as a whole school approach, with all year groups working on the same theme (puzzle) at the same time.  This enables each Puzzle to start with an introductory assembly (with an original song), generating a whole shcool focus for adults and children alike.  The Weekly Celebration highlights a theme from that week's lesson across the school, and encourages children to reflect that learning in their behaviour and attitudes.

The whole school themes are:


Learning Behaviours Curriculum

The school has designed its own learning behaviours curriculum as it recognises the importance of teaching the children the skills they need to learn.  We have a dedicated teaching time, whilst trying to embed the skills across the curriculum.  The first two units are focused on teamwork and independence and these are specifically designed by the staff to meet the needs and requirements of the children at Risdene.