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Penn Wood Primary

and Nursery School

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Please find details in each subject section above about the curriculum areas. As Penn Wood follows the National Curriculum, you can find out more detailed information on subjects by viewing the curriculum here:


Primary National Curriculum


Penn Wood Curriculum Statement


Inspiring hearts and minds


'Learning refers to significant enhancements in knowledge, capabilities, values, attitudes or understanding (including but going beyond the acquisition of factual knowledge) by individuals, groups, organisations or society.' (Coffield, 2019)


We believe that the curriculum should ensure learners become:

  • ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
  • enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
  • ethical, informed citizens of England and the world
  • healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.

The school curriculum is what children learn at Penn Wood Primary and Nursery School. It includes lessons but also events and routines, clubs, visits, dramatic performances and sporting occasions.   The broad and balanced national curriculum is an important part of that programme for learning.  Penn Wood’s curriculum is the very essence of its work and we aim to provide highly positive, memorable and awe inspiring experiences, and rich opportunities for high quality learning.


The national curriculum introduces children to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens.  It introduces pupils to ‘the best that has been thought and said’ and is ‘an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’  It sets out a series of expectations for what children should know, understand and be able to do by set points in their primary education.  It is a performance model where assessment drives teaching and learning against end points stipulating what children must achieve mastery of. 


Developing a web of knowledge


Penn Wood depicts its curriculum as a tree.  The branches are the curriculum disciplines, each with its own narrative, and the leaves are the chunks of knowledge that build together to create understanding of the ‘big ideas’ within each subject.  The roots are where the children learn to be critical thinkers and problem solvers within the curriculum.  It’s here where they learn to work together in teams, develop their own creativity and social skills, learn to investigate, to evaluate, to develop new ideas, to be enterprising and to communicate in a wide range of ways with a wide range of people. 


The roots are also where the children develop personally as confident individuals, willing to take risks, persevere and deal with setbacks and difficulties.  They know that learning involves ‘thinking hard’, deliberate practice and knowledge retrieval from the long term memory. They learn from watching how others to do well and respond to feedback on their learning.  This is sometimes called ‘character education.’  We believe in building children’s ‘self-efficacy,’ their belief in their ability to succeed, through achieving success in their learning. 


The trunk is the quality of the learning experience including the use of new technologies to enhance teaching and learning, having a global perspective and building real experiences into the curriculum that embrace local opportunities.


The curriculum is coherent and sequenced, careful thought has gone into putting things together, making connections, so that the curriculum can be learnt.  It has the needs of Penn Wood learners at its heart.  Reading is at the core of the curriculum as the ability to read forms the basis for success across other curriculum disciplines.  The school has adopted a subject specific approach as opposed to a cross-curricular approach so that children can be introduced to the knowledge and the systems of thought within each subject area.  Subjects will, however, be aligned and connected when it is sensible to do so.  Books are the golden thread. 


Realising the ambition


We are committed to high quality professional learning that focuses on what makes great teaching, subject knowledge development with a strong focus on reading and sound formative assessment practices.  Curriculum design is driven by a curriculum team of senior leaders and this supplements the traditional subject leader roles.  We are an ‘evidence informed’ school and we carefully select the research that is going to underpin our work.


The curriculum and improving the teachers we have (Dylan Wiliam) are the two universal approaches to help improve education for all.  We commit to improving educational outcomes and the life chances of the long term disadvantaged.


How we know if the curriculum is being learned


The curriculum is the progress model – if children are keeping up with the curriculum then they are making good progress.  Progress means knowing more and remembering more. 


There are 5 principles for progression:

  • increasing breadth and depth of knowledge
  • deepening understanding of subjects and the concepts within
  • refinement and growing sophistication in the use and application of knowledge
  • making connections and transferring learning into new contexts
  • increasing effectiveness – this includes knowledge of self as a learner



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