Key statutory curriculum requirements for academies:

Academies are required to have a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

For pupils in the Foundation Stage, academies are required to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

While academies are not required to follow the National Curriculum they are required to ensure their curriculum:

  • includes English, maths and science;

  • includes Religious Education, although the nature of this will depend on whether the school has a faith designation;

  • includes sex and relationship education

In light of the curriculum freedoms we receive as an academy, at Sidbury we have been planning and delivering creative learning.  The children’s learning is embedded within a ‘Topic’, sometimes this is a Key Stage Topic other times it is a whole school topic.  Children are encouraged to make links between subjects, developing knowledge, skills and positive attitudes to learning in a range of contexts.


The children at Sidbury are active participants in offering suggestions for Topics to study or with suggesting questions to explore within the Topic given.  Topics are generated with the children’s interests and personalities in mind to provide a more personalised and engaging learning experience, and because of this we do not have a “Curriculum Map”.  We use the skills identified within the National Curriculum as the basis of our teaching, as we recognise them as key skills for life-long learning.

Each term every class either goes on a school trip or a visitor comes into school to act as the stimuli for new topics.  These trips and visits underpin the topics and set the children’s learning into real life contexts, helping them to make sense of it.  As the topics develop children are given opportunities to make choices about what they learn, based on their own interests and experiences.

We recognise that learning is not just about subjects and knowledge, but also about developing a child’s personal and social qualities: consideration for others, empathy, compassion, resilience, honesty and respect. These qualities are encouraged and modelled by staff, volunteers and visitors throughout the school day and beyond.

Please see the attachments below for a breakdown of the skills which we cover in each year group.

Years 1-2 Skills Progression

Years 3-4 Skills Progression

Years 5-6 Skills Progression

Enriching Learning

Where possible, learning in maths and English links to the children’s Topic for the term or to real life/imaginary experiences. Outdoor learning is important to the children at Sidbury as well and we utilise where we can.

We offer a range of after school clubs which include a variety of activities throughout the year; gardening, basketball, sewing, running, art and French club show the breadth of the extra-curricular learning opportunities.


Reading Curriculum Overview

We believe that learning to read is the key to unlocking knowledge for children, and because of this we have been working hard to ensure children have a range of opportunities for reading.  Learning to read is a journey and many skills need to be developed along the way.  We start this journey as soon as the children start in our school. 


From Reception to Y6 our children have regular word work sessions, following the Letters and Sounds programme and then No Nonsense Spelling. Our sessions are taught by trained teachers and teaching assistants and all children are taught at the expected level for their age.  In addition, some children receive extension sessions because they are working beyond the expected level, or intervention sessions, because they are working below the expected level.  Handwriting is taught alongside phonics, to ensure children are taught to write the letters that create the sounds they are learning.

Letters and Sounds

Click here to view our Parents Guide to Phonics


We also start teaching our children to read common exception words.  Different sets of these keywords are available to view below, to help parents to support their children at home.

Guided Reading

All children receive regular guided reading sessions.  During this session their teacher will set focus tasks, ask key questions and prompt the children to use a range of reading skills, for example: skimming, scanning, sounding out, using picture cues, breaking words into familiar chunks, inferring meaning, and offering opinions about texts.

Independent Reading

All children from Reception to Y6 will bring home an independent reading book, from the reading schemes we have in school.

We encourage parents to read and discuss their children’s books at least three times a week.  Ideally this should be done in a quiet space, without the interruption of TV, radio and other distractions.  For children in Y2 or below, this should be a period of approximately 10 minutes, for children in Y3 and above, we would recommend up to 20 minutes.

Reading a text 3 times, enables children to become familiar with it. Each read moves through the stages of blending until fluency when children can then add in expression and they can understand what they have read.

  • First Read - the child is mainly going to decode a lot aloud, at this read they will not necessarily be able to understand the story as their brain power is going on identifying the sounds and blending them together to read words.

  • Second Read - the child is encouraged that if they need to decode (blend sounds together to make a word) then to do it in their head so that they don't keep decoding aloud. This helps their reading fluency.

  • Third Read - the child can now read with more fluency as their brain power is not going on just decoding the words, as they have had practice with that.

Discuss the characters and how they might say things. This is when they read with fluency and also you can have a greater discussion around what they are reading. Some children might have t read it another time until they can read it fluently. By reading and re-reading books we are able to shift the brain load from just decoding to fluency and understanding. Children benefit from coming back to the same story over and over again. 

Reading Intervention

Where children are identified as making slow progress, or struggling to make progress in reading, they will receive small group interventions, or 1:1 reading intervention sessions.  The aim of these interventions is to provide a short spell of very targeted intervention, that re-tracks them.  For some children, who may be on the Special Educational Needs Register, these interventions may be provided over a longer period of time, or throughout their time with us.

Toe-By-Toe, Wave 3 Reading and Trugs are some of the reading interventions we use regularly.


Writing curriculum overview

English is taught through high quality texts offering rich opportunities to explore and develop oral and written language.  Children embrace learning a text with actions orally before writing their own.  Children have a writing folder which they take through the school. this allows children to see their progress in writing and to present interesting end of block pieces of work that they are very proud to show off.


Spelling is a fundamental skill for children to master in order to allow them to show that they are working at age related expectations.  In school, from Year 2 onwards. we follow a programme called No Nonsense Spelling which has really supported both teachers and children to adopt new ways of learning how to spell.  Children also have dedicated spelling practice time regularly throughout the week. We hope that the documents below will support you to help your child at home.

Fun spelling activities to try at home 4 pages

Parents Guide to How Phonics & Spelling is taught 14 pages

Sidbury Primary School Spelling- terminology & strategies 3 pages


Maths is taught using the connective model at Sidbury where children link images, calculations and symbols, real life contexts and language in order to fully comprehend concepts in maths.  We have a range of resources readily available to support children relating images to maths these include, numicon, dienes, Cuisenaire number lines and an array of physical resources such as money and counting bears.

Maths curriculum overview


Every Topic incorporates learning about children’s own views and the opinions of others.  We also ensure that there are frequent times for the children to reflect on their learning and to question their thoughts and ideas.  Formal RE teaching follows the new Devon agreed syllabus.  Teachers select units of work which link to their Topic Work, for example, when year 3/4 were learning about a Topic names ‘Come Fly With Me’, where they were learning about travel, the RE unit that was wing delivered during this period was Pilgrimage.  This allows children to make links between there learning.  Each lesson endeavors to have an enquiry based approach where children are learning about themselves, others and the wider world.