We have 3 main drivers for our curriculum design:

- Vocabulary

- Knowledge of the world

- Relationships (eg sense of team)

Rights Respecting

At Houldsworth Valley we teach the children that every child in the world should have full access to the rights and articles that can be found in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Throughout the year, we include these rights in all of our subjects and make links where appropriate.


In English we follow CUSP Reading and Writing, a scheme of age-appropriate lessons that challenges each pupil to work at their age-related expectations. The lessons have a strong vocabulary focus   In Maths we complete Maths Mastery to ensure depth, challenge and consistency.

We use the CUSP curriculum to build our children’s knowledge of the world through a vocabulary rich, high-quality curriculum. At all stages we consider the rights that the children could discuss though their wider curriculum subjects, for example The Right to Clean Water in Geography.

Our children take part in book studies to check understanding and assess their knowledge of the work completed.

What is the Year 1 Phonics Screening?

The national phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in their phonics skills to read words and will be on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.

The check consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half nonsense words, the nonsense words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have.

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar are taught through CUSP Writing sessions, with children having the chance to practise these skills in all of their wider curriculum lessons.

Each class has a termly spelling focus using PIXL Spelling resources.


Letterjoin is used to teach progression in a cursive style.


At Houldsworth Valley we believe that an active encouragement for each child to read for pleasure or for ‘fun’ is an essential part of education. Reading for pleasure provides wide and significant educational advantages across the curriculum. At the core of this is the right for the child to choose texts.

We encourage children to read for pleasure by providing a wide range of texts including picture books for all ages. The children, with help from the class teacher, regularly exchange books. We have a well-stocked library that children can access for an even wider range of reading experiences.

Children take home a book from the library. Parents are encouraged to read with their children and complete a reading log. We encourage older children to comment in their own reading logs and teach them the kind of comments to make.

All classrooms have a dedicated cosy and comfortable reading area stocked with books and magazines. Story cafes and story assemblies are in place.

PIXL tests are completed to assess whether the pupils are working below, at or above age-related expectations. 


Children are taught to develop stamina and skills in writing as they progress through the school. They are taught to write at length with accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. Writing includes narratives, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations.

At Houldsworth Valley we see writing as cross-curricular and not just confined to the English lesson so the above skills and objectives are taught in all subjects.


Mathematics helps children to make sense of the world around them through developing their ability to calculate, to reason and to solve problems. It enables children to understand and appreciate relationships and pattern in both number and space in their everyday lives. Through their growing knowledge and understanding, children learn to appreciate the contribution made by many cultures to the development and application of mathematics.

We use the National Curriculum 2014 and the Early Years Foundation Stage Early Learning Goals to plan our curriculum.

We believe in consistency across the school.

  • Every class has a Maths lesson daily.
  • Every class uses Mathematical music or songs during lesson transitions.
  • Every class uses a range of equipment including numicon.
  • Every class has a Maths learning wall.
  • Every class follows the maths mastery programme up to Year 5 and encourages the children to explain, reason and discuss.

PIXL tests are completed to assess whether the pupils are working below, at or above age-related expectations. 

Dance and P.E.

Every pupil in the school has a Dance lesson weekly in the studio as well as a P.E. lesson with their teacher.


Our aim in Science is to give children opportunities to observe, record and draw conclusions about the world in which they live. We believe that teaching and learning in Science should stimulate and excite children’s curiosity about the world around them. It provides first hand experiences and support for children to develop enquiring minds. 

Science at Houldsworth Valley is taught weekly across the school. Pupils follow our structured CUSP curriculum which covers a wide range of topics linked to biology, physics and chemistry. As children progress through the school, they have the opportunity to revisit and build on prior knowledge whilst learning new information as they grow. Our cumulative quizzing ensures that as units progress, key facts, vocabulary and information are regularly revisited, helping children to learn effectively. Teachers use a range of both formative and summative methods to assess Science with each topic having a knowledge assessment focus.

Units begin with a ‘big picture’ which introduces children to the topic and shows what their learning will cover. We are also careful to address any misconceptions and record any specific questions the children would like to cover, making the sessions personalised.

Our Science curriculum is rooted in vocabulary and links succinctly with other areas of our curriculum – for example the year 6 circulatory system unit in biology is taught alongside the explanatory writing unit in our CUSP Writing sessions – giving the children plenty of opportunities to secure their understanding.

A variety of practical experiences, set in meaningful contexts, help our pupils to ask scientific questions and then apply their knowledge, skills and understanding to find the answers. Working individually, or given a specific role within a group, the children develop the life skills of both independence and collaboration. 

We also have strong links with the local secondary school which allows our pupils access to specialist Science tuition and advanced equipment and resources.