The West Jesmond Curriculum

The West Jesmond Curriculum

Curiosity, Confidence, Creativity and Community

At West Jesmond Primary we aim to create a rich Curriculum of enhanced breadth and depth that ensures ‘every child feels clever every day’. We offer an education that embraces and values children from all backgrounds and that draws on the strengths and experiences of all of our families.  We believe that our curriculum should open doors to new opportunities, ideas and experiences, develop character and, above all, promote curiosity and a thirst for lifelong learning for all who work in our school. When our children leave us at the end of year 6 they will have the knowledge and skills to equip them for the next stage of learning.

Basic Principles

Our Curriculum is underpinned by our growing understanding from the work of cognitive scientists that Learning is a change to long-term memory. Our aims are to ensure that our children have, by the end of each key stage, long-term memory of an ambitious body of procedural knowledge (things our children know that they can show by doing) and semantic knowledge (things that our children know that they can tell others about.)

 Progress in our curriculum is measured by children knowing more and remembering more.

 Curriculum Intent model

 Underpinning Our Curriculum Intent Are Our Drivers – The 4 Cs

Our Curriculum is underpinned by our whole school vision and our Curriculum Drivers Curiosity, Confidence, Creativity and Community. They are derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our children, our beliefs about high quality education and our values. They are used to ensure we give our students appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities.

Curiosity & Creativity

We want our children’s learning to burst out of the classroom. By creating a real interest in as many areas of learning as possible, we support our children to explore and develop their thinking and make links between areas of knowledge.  We want all of our teaching and learning to be engaging and challenging and to provoke interest and excitement in all of our children. Children will be given repeated opportunities to apply their imaginations to solve problems and to come up with original ideas. We know that the deepest learning happens when children are asked to think hard

 Throughout every area of the curriculum our children;

  • Can find interest in whatever they do.
  • Will explore new ideas and concepts through focussed questions and enquiries
  • Have many and repeated opportunities to learn through practical and experiential activities
  • Be encouraged to make connections between ideas and curriculum areas
  • Reflect and talk about their learning
  • Will be encouraged to ask why? How? When? Where? How are they connected?


Our Curriculum is designed to build up our children’s confidence and resilience. We want all of our pupils to relish challenges, to embrace their mistakes as part of the learning process, to value the importance of effort and to respond thoughtfully to feedback.

 Through everything we do we want to develop children who;

  • Can stick at things even if they are difficult until they have succeeded.
  • Enjoy a challenge
  • Can cope well with setbacks, bounce back from disappointments and begin to understand how to find their own way out, always remaining positive.
  • ‘Leave us confident to participate and take a lead role in society, proud of their success, able to encourage others and understand the changing world around them.’ (School Vision)

 We aim to develop a growth mind-set amongst all of our school community in which we celebrate challenge and believe that our abilities and understanding in all areas can and will grow though our effort and application.


We believe that it is important that our children have a strong awareness of their community and locality and where they fit in the world. We seek opportunities for our children to become involved in their community and to participate in the local and global community and to see the many possibilities open to them now and in the future as responsible and active citizens. Through all their learning, we want our children to develop their empathy towards others and to be open minded and tolerant; valuing diversity and individuality. We use our curriculum to build a sense of our school community and of the West Jesmond Family. We actively encourage teamwork and collaboration through a range of class, year group and whole school learning.

Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital, subject topics and our ambition for our children to develop the widest and sustained interest in all areas of learning. Cultural capital gives our students the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community

The acquisition of knowledge is emphasised throughout our curriculum. We know that knowledge is sticky and the more our children know the easier they will be able to learn more. Concepts tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, children return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build understanding of them.

Knowledge Organisers help children and teachers to identify the key information we want our children to understand and to retain. They help children to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema:

Making these links helps our children to develop a deeper and lasting understanding. We believe that long term learning is achieved through making and building on links between and within concepts. An emphasis on vocabulary helps children to discuss and explain their knowledge and make and sustain links.

Teaching for progress – Secure Building Blocks: Teachers use a range of different pedagogical styles as children are developing their understanding.  This is based on the research of Sweller, Kirschner and Rosenshine who describe the benefits of direct instruction (careful modelling and scaffolding) in the early stages of learning and discovery based approaches later. We primarily use direct instruction when we are introducing new learning and problem based discovery when we know our children have a good grasp of key concepts. Children with SEN or who find learning in an area of a subject challenging achieve highly through carefully sequenced and, where needed, scaffolded learning.

Our Curriculum is carefully planned and sequenced so that children are able build on knowledge and gain a deeper understanding. Cognitive science tells us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if children are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long-term memory. Cognitive science also tells us that in order for children to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, which takes time.


We want learning to stick! As children move through our school we want them to know more and remember more.

As our curriculum develops, we constantly consider and review the most effective ways to design our teaching programmes to ensure knowledge is built on and retained.

Our curriculum design is based on evidence from cognitive science and we believe Retrieval of previously learned content should be frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.

We want our children to develop the thinking and characteristics of historians, scientists, artists… By focussing on the key concepts in a subject children and teachers are clear about the subject they are studying.  West Jesmond children know they are historians and what historians do!  Links are made within subjects to strengthen concepts and where appropriate links between subjects are made to further strengthen understanding. Key maths and english skills are embedded through purposeful application across the curriculum.

Continuous or Longitudinal provision, in the form of daily routines, replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and, in other cases, provides retrieval practice for previously learned content. For example, we reinforce learning about countries and continents through repeatedly referring to maps in our classrooms and learn about weather and seasons through ongoing observations.

Evaluating the Impact: Sustained Learning Over Time

Because learning is a change to long-term memory, it is not always possible to see the full impact in the very short term. We use the analogy of watching grass grow! Children may remember after one lesson, but forget by the next therefore we look for sustained learning over the longer term.

Formative and summative assessments help us to judge progress towards milestones and where children may have gaps in their knowledge.

We know that working together to look at the practices taking place in our classroom will help us assess the impact and whether we are meeting our goals. As teachers and as leaders, when we look at learning we ask:

  • Can we see the characteristics and Key Concepts of each subject being developed e.g. in the vocabulary being used?
  • Are the skills and knowledge being developed moving children towards their Milestones
  • Is the Pedagogy appropriate at this stage of the children’s’ learning and understanding?

 Members of the Senior Leadership Team, subject leaders, teachers and governors carry out regular monitoring of learning to support teachers in their ability to fulfil the intent of our curriculum. Evaluations of learning can include;

  • Deep Dives, lesson observations , book scrutinies and learning walks;
  • Governor committee meetings and visits
  • Subject leader reports Governing Body meetings;
  • A focus on peer learning and on-going targeted Teacher CPD.
  • Above all we talk with our children about their learning!

All of our Evaluations are to ensure we are fulfilling our vision and ensuring all of our children are moving towards developing the acquiring the ambitious skills and knowledge set out in the National Curriculum and The West Jesmond Curriculum.