Primary Curriculum

Our curriculum aims to provide the opportunities we think are essential for the learning and development of children at Willow Dene. We recognise that children at Willow Dene have specific, diverse and individual needs and our curriculum aims to reflect and meet these. Our curriculum aims to have a learner centred approach in which every child is encouraged to enjoy learning, make progress and achieve. Our ultimate goal is that the children are enabled to be active learners who are moving towards independence, autonomy, control and choice and learning to effectively communicate their needs, wants, and opinions.

  • Our ethos and approach
  • Learning outside the classroom
  • Locations
  • Positive relationships
  • Child-led approach
  • Our learning environments
  • Special events
  • Multidisciplinary work
  • Routine / structured approach
  • Personalised learning
  • Lessons
  • Resources
  • Learning and development
  • Extended hours provision

The Willow Dene Learning Wheel defines our curriculum priorities. It places developing independence at the centre of all that we do and effective sensory processing as integral to all learning. Promoting independence is underpinned by essential skills, core areas and enrichment areas, each represented by a band of our curriculum wheel:

There are four strands of essential skills for life and learning, which are integral to the whole curriculum and school day. These are:

  • Communication
  • Learning skills
  • Social skills
  • Self-Help Skills

There are eight areas of learning in the curriculum. These are designated as either Core Areas – that is those areas that directly support developing independence or Enrichment Areas, which ensure breadth, balance and richness of opportunities and promote independent learning and exploration.

Core Areas

Enrichment Areas

Language and Literacy

Art and Music

Numeracy and Problem Solving

Science and Technology

Physical Development, Health and Wellbeing

Time, Place, People and Culture (including RE)

ICT and Access

Play and Leisure


The Enrichment Areas of Learning are taught through a topic based approach. The Core Areas of Learning draw on the topics as appropriate. The curriculum structure lends itself to the effective use of additional adults, to enable children, observe their responses and evaluate their learning as well as standing back and giving them time to explore, investigate and try.

Topics are planned and delivered on a half-termly basis and set across the whole school, to enable greater collaboration and interaction at all stages of the teaching and learning process and strengthen cross-curricular links.

Topics are set on an annual basis for the year ahead. Topics are considered for their coverage and focus on a diverse range of aspects of the National Curriculum, as well as topics that are determined by local, national or international events or occasions. They are also informed by a detailed analysis of teachers’ individual curriculum coverage maps.

2016 - 17 Topics

Autumn 1

Now that’s what I Call Music
(Music focus – incorporating duration, simple notation)


Autumn 2

Design and Make
(DT focus – incorporating mechanisms, packaging)


Spring 1

Force of Nature
(Science focus – incorporating seasonal changes, forces and magnets, electricity)


Spring 2

Gadgets and Gizmos
(ICT focus – incorporating technology in the wider world, create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content, anticipate and predict the use of technology using logic, understand and use digital communication and collaboration tool


Summer 1

A Day in the Life of an Artist
(creative focus – incorporating pastels, oils)


Summer 2

Venture Out
(TPPC focus – geographical skills and fieldwork, outdoor and adventurous activities)

Specialist Weeks

Spring 1 - Multicultural book week

Spring 2 - STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) week

Summer 1 - Arts week with a communication focus



The governing body’s Learning and Achievement Committee is responsible for monitoring the way the school curriculum is implemented.

The head teacher is responsible for the day to day organisation of the curriculum. The senior leadership team monitor curriculum delivery, including planning, teaching and learning and assessment.

Monitoring and evaluating the quality and effectiveness of the curriculum is achieved through:

  • Lesson observations
  • Learning walks
  • Monitoring of PLPs, Learning Journeys assessments, What Learning Looks Like documents, red and yellow files and teachers’ planning
  • Data analysis and review
  • Appraisal
  • Governor’s Learning and Achievement Committee.
  • Monitoring of teacher planning files and identified areas of planning across the school
  • Parents views through questionnaires and at annual reviews
  • Monitoring of work/samples evidence

For more information about our Primary Curriculum, please email, or use the contact form here.