Children in the Nursery and Reception classes jointly form the Foundation Unit and together work through the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.

Teacher assessments are made regularly in order to create each child’s Learning Profile; this becomes part of their school record.

Curriculum at Holdbrook

We follow the National Curriculum at Holdbrook Primary School and ensure that we provide a broad, balanced and creative curriculum which allows all our learners to develop and reach their goals.

Our vision is ‘critical thinking for lifelong learners’ and we aim to give pupils the skills to master all concepts whilst leading their own learning.

More information on our creative curriculum as well as English and Mathematics can be found under the Curriculum Information tab relating to each Year Group .


At Holdbrook we strive to deliver an exciting and varied curriculum which will engage and challenge our children. Our teachers use a variety of resources to keep our units of work current, exciting and appropriate whilst ensuring we meet the statutory requirements of the curriculum. English as a subject is truly cross curricular and you can see our celebration of writing displayed regularly throughout the school.

Aims and objectives

The study of English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. The use of written and verbal language in the classroom enables children to communicate ideas, views and feelings creatively and imaginatively. As they become enthusiastic and critical leaders of stories, poetry, playscripts, non-fiction and media texts, children gain an understanding of how language works. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.

The aims of English are:

  • to enable children to speak clearly and audibly in ways which take account of their audience;
  • to encourage children to listen with concentration in order to be able to identify the main points of what they have heard, and respond appropriately;
  • to enable children to adapt their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands;
  • to develop children’s abilities to reflect on their own and others’ contributions and the language used;
  • to enable children to explore and evaluate their own and others’ thoughts, feelings and beliefs, through a range of drama activities;
  • to develop confident, independent readers through an appropriate focus on word, sentence and text-level knowledge;
  • to encourage children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers through immersion in challenging, texts and discussions;
  • to help children enjoy writing and recognise its value;
  • to enable children to write with accuracy and meaning in narrative and nonfiction;
  • to increase the children’s ability to use planning, drafting and editing to improve their work.


Children are taught to read in a variety of ways.  Children read individually and in groups; they are also given regular opportunities to share a book with others. In addition to this, some children are listened to individually at other regular times Teachers read a variety of written material regularly with the children: fiction and non-fiction, stories, reports, diaries, poems etc. To encourage reading for pleasure children are read to every afternoon by their class teacher. We place a strong emphasis on phonics (letter sounds) in the early years of learning to read because we believe this lays the foundations for successful reading. The school uses a variety of book ‘schemes’ (including Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat and Rigby Star) to ensure that the children are exposed to a variety of different publishers as this will prepare them for their reading experiences in the future.


Basic skills (grammar, handwriting and spelling), are taught throughout every lesson of the curriculum.  English units of work are based on an exciting ‘hook’ (a book, good quality piece of text or experience where key features are identified). Teachers and children take pride in the presentation of their work.

For further information about the English Curriculum, please visit the national curriculum website below.


What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Children are taught how to recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes; identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’ and blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word. Children can then use this knowledge to decode words.
How is phonics taught at Holdbrook?
All phonics in EYFS and KS1 is taught following the Letters and Sounds document.  We have adopted the suggested daily teaching sequence set out in ‘Letters and Sounds’; Introduction, Revisit and Review, Teach, Practise, Apply and Assess. From Reception to Year Two children are taught in their classes with additional phonic interventions for those children needing further support. Children in Key Stage 2 requiring further phonics support are taught in small, daily intervention groups.
Phonics is taught in short, briskly paced sessions and then applied to reading and writing. All activities are well matched to the children’s abilities and interests, and all classroom environments have an age appropriate display concentrating on both sounds and key words. At Holdbrook we provide opportunities to reinforce and apply acquired phonic knowledge and skills across the curriculum and in such activities as shared and guided reading and writing.
Phonics Screening Check
Year 1 children will take part in a Phonics Screening Check in June. The check is designed to confirm whether children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It will identify those children who need extra help to improve their decoding skills. The check consists of 20 real words and 20 pseudo-words that a pupil reads aloud to the teacher. Results will be reported to parents.


Useful website – lots of useful advice on how you can help your child with phonics.


MATHS (Maths No Problem)

At Holdbrook we have introduced a new maths scheme – Maths No Problem. This scheme is based on the highly effective, research based Singapore method of teaching mathematics.

Lessons and activities are taught using a problem-solving approach to encourage the development of higher-level thinking. Ample time is spent on topics in order to deepen understanding and master concepts. New concepts are initially learned using concrete examples before moving on to pictorial representations and finally abstract symbols. The focus of the series is on teaching to mastery. National Curriculum POS link


The National Curriculum requires children at KS1 & KS2 to study science. Starting in the school year 2017 – 2018, children throughout Holdbrook are following an exciting new science scheme called ‘Engaging Science’. This scheme covers all aspects of the National Curriculum and is supplemented by additional exploration in relevant Cornerstones topics. The life and work of famous scientists are linked to relevant units of work throughout both Key Stages.

The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

Further detail about the National Curriculum requirements for science at Key Stages 1 & 2 can be found by following this link:

National Curriculum Science

TOPIC (Cornerstones)

We follow the Cornerstones Interactive Learning Projects scheme of work in order to build a group of well-rounded individuals who love to learn in innovative and dynamic ways. This new scheme has allowed us to create links between pupils’ learning, the classroom environment, the outdoor space as well as consolidate learning through trips and visitors.

Each half-term we engage our children with a new topic, develop their ideas and understanding, allow them to innovate with their new skills and express their ideas using all of their creativity.

Below is a summary of what each year group will be learning about during each half-term. You will find information about their topic, the books they will be reading, the phenomena they will be investigating – as well as information about what they will be studying in each of the foundation subjects during that time.

Ensuring children are exposed to high-quality literature is key to improving vocabulary and writing as well as developing a love for reading that will stay with children for life. We have invested in classic literature which supplements and adds to the curriculum themes. Our English curriculum has also been developed in line with the Cornerstones’ scheme of work so that children’s understanding and application of skills can be developed throughout the school day.

Homework ties in with the curriculum in school- the details for this can be found in our revised Homework Policy.




At Holdbrook, we are continuing to subscribe to the Cornerstones curriculum which provides a broad spectrum of creating and engaging learning opportunities across History and Geography. Each half term, a new topic is introduced that links with our English topics to ensure high quality writing and comprehension is consistent across all subject areas.

In History the children will be delving into periods of our known history to ages such as the Egyptians and Romans as well as learning more about the local history of Waltham Cross. We will investigate how the decisions and events of the past have shaped today’s world and debate the reasoning for that to develop our curiosity and empathetic skills.

In Geography, we shall be using field studies to tell us about our local area and the effects human impact has on the environment and local wild life which will also include development of the vital skills of map reading and compass directions. The children will compare contrasting locations and countries from around the world such as Mexico to enhance our knowledge of global geographic effects and their impacts on the communities and cultures that live there.


The National Curriculum requires children at KS2 to learn a language. At Holdbrook, we have decided that children will learn Latin. Although this is a ‘dead’ language, it forms the basis of many modern European languages (including English) and will therefore support learning of these languages when children move on to secondary school.

National Curriculum: “If an ancient language is chosen, the focus will be to provide a linguistic foundation for reading comprehension and an appreciation of classical civilisation. Pupils studying ancient languages may take part in simple oral exchanges, while discussion of what they read will be conducted in English. A linguistic foundation in ancient languages may support the study of modern languages at key stage 3.”

Further information about the National Curriculum requirements for languages at Key Stage 2 can be found by following this link:

National Curriculum Languages

For the year 2017 – 2018, all KS2 classes are following the Y3 plan for Latin, as it is new to everybody. In subsequent years, children will move on to the Y4, Y5 and Y6 plans. By the year 2020 – 2021, our ‘Minimus’ Latin programme will be fully rolled out.


Across the school Computing teaches the children skills they will need in the real world. We have different strands that are taught in all year groups throughout the year. These will include:

  • Select and use different digital applications on a range of digital devices to create, organise, manipulate, store, retrieve, review and present varied digital content (word-based, still and moving image, sound etc.) Combine digital materials from different sources to create digital content to achieve given goals. Increasingly understand how the devices and systems they use work.
  • Become discerning, safe and responsible users of online technologies; find data from a number of sources, including pictures, use digital research tools effectively, understanding broadly how they work and considering factors affecting search results; evaluate the resulting data, refining and editing it to make it their own. Increasingly understand copyright and crediting the sources they use appropriately.
  • Collect, organise, evaluate and analyse data to present as information. Use varied tools including branching and flat file databases, and spreadsheets. Develop use of graphs, charts and tables, including pictograms, bar and pie charts, line graphs, Carroll and Venn diagrams and mind maps. Use data-loggers and sensors to monitor changes in environmental conditions and collect and analyse data, using it in other applications. Develop models to explore patterns and test hypotheses. Investigate how data is collected, analysed, combined and used in the wider world.
  • Develop an understanding of networks and systems. Use a range of digital tools safely and appropriately for communication and collaboration to support learning in and beyond school; keep personal information secure, respect the rights of others, including their intellectual property rights, and demonstrate and promote good eSafe behaviour.
  • Develop an understanding of programming in the context of devices, automated systems, simulations and games. Relate to the creation of algorithms and the use of algorithms in program design. Design, create, test, debug and refine algorithms and programs for specific purposes.
  • Become safe, effective and respectful users of technology and online systems, recognising both acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and knowing how to respond when they have concerns. Respect copyright and ownership, asking permission before using or uploading any materials and crediting sources. Understand the need to keep their personal information secure and to respect the rights of others to personal privacy.

PSHE (Jigsaw)

The Department for Education, as part of the new Primary National Curriculum (2014), stated that Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education would remain non-statutory. It did, however, guide that ‘All schools should make provision for PSHE education, drawing on good practice.’

At Holdbrook Primary School, we teach Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education through the comprehensive scheme of learning called ‘Jigsaw’. During the year, all classes from Nursery through to Year 6 benefit from a weekly, engaging PSHE lesson.

The ‘Jigsaw’ approach has children at its heart and helps them to understand and value who they are and how they contribute to the world. Celebration Certificates are awarded in a weekly assembly, to pupils in each year group, to recognise their contribution to a particular aspect of each theme.



All children have regular PE lessons both with their class teachers and specialist sports teachers. These include indoor gym and outdoor games lessons which focus on particular games or skills.  Children in Key Stage 2 swim once a week for half of the year. A voluntary contribution is requested to cover the cost of swimming.  The children’s achievements in PE are celebrated in a whole school Sports Day at the end of the summer term.



At Holdbrook, we are now following the ‘Music Express’ program for teaching Music. We have decided to change to Music Express as we feel that this will provide the children with the best opportunities to develop their music skills throughout their primary school years.

Every week the children enjoy a music themed assembly where they are taught a range of songs appropriate to the time of year and these are sung during other assemblies. When opportunities present themselves, classes enjoy supporting events in the local community. Year 6 went to The Friary to sing to a Dementia support group who meet there and again for their annual Christmas visit to see the residents. This year Vibrant Partnerships invited the children in year 5 and 6 to sing at a corporate open day at the White Water Center. Singing and music are incorporated into end of term performances to which the parents and carers are invited.



At Holdbrook Primary School, RE plays a vital role in promoting pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding (SMSC). We provide six enjoyable RE curriculum days, which are spread out over the course of an academic year. The curriculum days provide our students with valuable knowledge and understanding about Christianity, principal religions and worldviews. Aiming to encourage our pupils to become religiously and theologically literate so they can engage in life in an increasingly diverse society. Our intention when teaching RE, is not about telling pupils what religious views they should have but rather assists them in gaining shared religious and cultural understanding, developing personal identity and searching for meaning in the context of evaluating different viewpoints.

The eight keys areas of learning that the children are taught in RE are:

  • Beliefs and practices,
  • Sources and wisdom,
  • Symbols and actions,
  • Prayer, worship and reflection,
  • Identity and belonging,
  • Ultimate questions,
  • Human responsibility and values,
  • Justice and fairness.