Thematic Curriculum

Our curriculum intent

At OLSH, our collective goal is to provide children with an exciting, broad and balanced curriculum, one that promotes; a love of learning; a thirst and curiosity to learn more about the world around them and the tools and skills in order to do this.  We recognise that jobs and opportunities that our children will have in the future, may not exist today - our curriculum aims to provide children with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in such a world.


We believe we have designed a curriculum that not only showcases a progression of knowledge and skills across all subject areas, but also offers deep coverage of the National Curriculum- underpinned by our Jesuit Virtues and Values. Through the development of this curriculum, each subject area has been carefully mapped in order to provide opportunities for knowledge and skills to be taught- and revisited- to help children to ‘know more and remember more’ and teachers will plan a range of tasks into each unit, to enable this knowledge to be embedded in long term memory.


We have decided to use whole school themes, which will drive each half term’s learning from Pre School through to Year 6, however each year group will investigate that theme in very different ways. Each theme has been carefully chosen, in order to provide our children with opportunities to explore a wide range of subjects/issues that affect them and the world they live in. Our themes cover topics such as: sustainability- understanding and protecting their future; appreciating God’s creations- nurturing and exploring the world they live in; our past- how we have developed and lessons we have learned; identity- who we are and where we come from. These themes will have many opportunities for further enrichment, both in and out of school with visits/trips, use of our school grounds, speakers into school and lots of hands-on investigations.


Our curriculum and teaching approaches are guided by the science of how we learn and has been structured in a way in which we believe will develop schema – not only embedding knowledge in long-term memories – knowledge and understanding which will also allow our children to more easily learn in their future.


Our curriculum is also fully inclusive - our children are on a journey of understanding and teachers within our school will aim to meet the needs of all, allowing them to thrive no matter where they are on this journey of knowledge and understanding. This includes children with SEND, whose needs will be catered for using a variety of approaches.    

How we implement our curriculum

At Our Lady and St Hubert’s, current academic research (from a variety of sources, often in cognitive science) is integral to how we have implemented our curriculum, both in the way that it has been structured and in the way that is delivered to our children. This research is vitally important to the work we do and continually leads to developments in our own understanding (often of how we learn best) and ultimately leads to an ever-evolving curriculum. A curriculum that meets the aims of our ‘Intent’ statement.

Learning can be described as a change to our long-term memory, where lessons learnt on a regular basis move from working memory to long term memory – developing a varied and rich schema in our children’s brains. Our curriculum and lessons are structured in a way that enables this to happen. With the research of ‘Rosenshine’ underpinning our curriculum design and lesson structure - lessons are sequential – allowing knowledge and skills to be built upon.

Key learning objectives are delivered to pupils in small steps, avoiding cognitive overload – allowing knowledge to enter long-term memory more readily – therefore allowing all children to know more and remember more in all subjects.

Our subject leaders have planned for progression in their areas, actively developing ‘golden threads’ of knowledge that are planned for, developed, and assessed across the school.

We also recognise that over time, this knowledge can be lost – best shown by ‘The Ebbinghaus Curve’ and therefore it is important to continually review and retrieve this knowledge. Our curriculum is structured to allow for spaced learning and continual retrieval of taught information. Teachers actively plan for this within both their medium- and short-term planning. This process also develops fluency in a range of subjects. When children move from a process of decoding to being fluent, a greater depth of understanding can be developed of the concepts taught.

We believe that reading and vocabulary development is crucial to learning in all subjects. The ‘Read, Write Inc’ scheme for phonics is implemented across the school, developing the children’s vital understanding of early word reading. Vocabulary is continually developed across the school. Using the research in ‘Bringing Words to Life’ and ‘The Art and Science of Teaching Reading’, a progression of vocabulary is taught across the school. Not only is tier 2 vocabulary taught, but etymology and morphology of words is also explored, better allowing children to identify unknown words which they encounter. Subject specific vocabulary (Tier 3 words) is also identified and taught and retrieved in lessons – this vocabulary is accessible for the children in subject specific knowledge organisers, designed by our subject leads.  

For the reasons identified above, we teach all of our subjects on a regular basis. The broad curriculum is driven by whole school themes. We know that children engage more- and retain more- when they can make connections and links between their learning, so teachers will ensure that, where appropriate, the context of these lessons will be linked to the half termly theme – interleaving that also develops schema.  Underpinning our lessons will be our 6Cs- ‘21st Century skills for effective learning’, which will help to shape the lessons planned by our teachers, building on skills such as; communication, resilience, collaboration, critical thinking, creative problem solving and living as an active global citizen.

However, as previously mentioned, we also recognise that knowledge diminishes over time (Ebbinghaus Curve) and that some subjects or knowledge within subjects, does not fit into our themes. It is important therefore that we ensure that all our subjects are taught regularly. Subjects may be taught through our themes, however, when this is not the case, subjects are taught in different ways. There may be stand-alone units of work - we recognise that not all of the National Curriculum will fit into our overall thematic progression and some knowledge has to be taught on its own. We may also revisit previously taught knowledge and skills, checking for understanding and knowledge retention through individual lessons or practising previously taught skills – once again interleaving knowledge. It is important to note, that although work is thematic, children are taught subject specific lessons, such as Art, Geography and History.


Each subject unit plan will follow a simple structure:

Assess - It is essential for teachers assess prior knowledge in order to plan for effective progress of all children. Teachers will identify the specific knowledge and skills that children should already know linked to each of the subject areas and, through techniques such as discussions, mind maps and low stakes quizzes, teachers can then ascertain what the children have retained and adapt their planning where needed.

Teach knowledge and skills - Teachers will plan series of lessons for each of the subjects identified for this unit; whether they are linked to the half termly theme or a stand-alone unit of work.  Children will be taught the relevant subject knowledge and vocabulary through engaging lessons, along with enrichment opportunities (both in and out of school) where possible. We understand how important experience is to the development of a rich schema and cultural capital.

Teachers will follow a carefully planned progression of subject specific knowledge and skills within their lessons: these have been mapped across the whole school to create spaced learning. Some subjects will be taught as stand-alone lessons where needed. Throughout the teaching of the broad curriculum, it will be important for children to have opportunities to recap and consolidate their learning, so teachers will ensure that important skills/facts are discussed and retrieved regularly.  When mapping out the whole curriculum, key opportunities for revisiting taught knowledge and skills has been identified and teachers will be encouraged to use a variety of strategies regularly, as quick memory checks to ensure key learning is retained. Teachers will also plan for deliberate practice within their lessons, where children are given opportunities to develop the fluency crucial for understanding. This deliberate practice is planned to be ‘desirably difficult’ – work that is challenging, but achievable for all children, regardless as to where they are on their learning journey.

Where children have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), teachers will actively plan to meet these individual needs – allowing them to achieve the learning objectives that have been planned for them.


Apply - Interleaving is a method of teaching where students learn concepts in different ways at different times. This approach helps them retain information better because they are not just memorising facts and figures - they are thinking about the material and applying it to real life situations. Each half term, children will use what they have learnt and apply it to their real world, helping to deepen their understanding. This will often be directed by the children and focus on a key issue/area that they have studied and want to further their learning. Children will showcase and develop a range of their 6Cs here; communicating their ideas to others, creating products to solve a problem, collaborating with their peers and thinking critically about strategies/materials/ideas.

The Impact of Our Curriculum

When children leave Our Lady and St Hubert’s, they will be ready to face the next chapter in their life; able to make their own decisions, to have self-discipline, have the courage to stand out, to understand that hard work and resilience will pay off and most importantly, to know that God is with them in all they do. 

We believe that we have provided children with a coherent, broad and balanced curriculum which will promote retention of knowledge and skills and allow children to use their learning to explore the world they live in. Children will acquire a range of knowledge and key skills linked to each subject, that clearly progress through their school life and, along with the 6Cs, can be used well beyond primary school, increasing their chances and opportunities in a world where the jobs and opportunities of the future do not currently exist today.

We believe this curriculum supports our Catholic ethos and will provide many opportunities for links to be made to Catholic Social Teaching and our Jesuit virtues and values.

We believe that this curriculum will help our children to be more active citizens; knowing that they are important. They can make a difference. They are the future.

Whole School Overview including National Curriculum Coverage

What is taught and when?

Subject Knowledge and Skills Progression

For more information on our Curriculum, please speak to our Vice Principal, Mr Brown - 

Emmaus CMAC
Our Lady and St. Hubert's Primary School Ofsted
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