The Living Curriculum

We have developed a few key phrases to help us reflect on what is important to us as a school. The ethos headlines of Community Wellbeing, Attitude to Learning & Powerful Knowledge simplify the complexity of a school community and allow a guest or visitor to capture a little of our approach. Click here to read more about our school philosophy & ethos.

This page explains how we deliver and monitor our approach.

The 'Living' Curriculum

We looked closely at the requirements and guidance offered by the National Curriculum and identified key 'skills' vocabulary. We found that this vocabulary broadly fitted into the following six universal skills categories:







By focussing on the skills mentioned in the National Curriculum (and adding a few of our own that we think are key), we are working towards creating a flexible curriculum that can be: easily adapted to the interests of the children; geared towards local/national/international current affairs; or to provide a framework for real-life projects in the school and it's wider community. We call this the 'Living Curriculum'.

We believe that community wellbeing, a good attitude to learning and powerful knowledge can only be achieved when you have the ability and opportunity to create, reflect, explore, reason, communicate & empathise. The Living Curriculum is our vehicle to drive this.

What does the Living Curriculum look like?

The Living Curriculum will look different depending on where you look, who you ask, who is teaching and who is learning. Whilst acknowledging that some elements of the National Curriculum will still need to be taught discretely, we'd like the pupils to develop skills to, for example, 'be historians' rather than being 'taught history, or to 'be artists' rather than be 'taught' art. By focussing on skills, 'subjects' don't always need to be taught in isolation because that isn't how the real world works.

What learning does the Living Curriculum apply to?

In short, Foundation subjects (Design and Technology, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, PE, Computing, Modern Foreign Languages). However, where possible and appropriate, we will include the core subjects (English, Maths & Science), as well as Religious Education, to provide an even more connected and contextualised curriculum.

How do we know that the National Curriculum is being covered?

We recognise that due to the inherent flexibilities of our Living Curriculum we need a robust system in place to track what has been covered and where the gaps are. Additionally we need to track the children's progress against the opportunities that are being provided in class. To do this, we are developing our own 'Living Curriculum Tracker'.

The Living Curriculum Tracker

As the name implies, the Living Curriculum tracker helps us ensure that we are covering the curriculum. It also provides a platform for assessment. Teachers can plan and teach in whatever format they choose, knowing that it will be underpinned by the National Curriculum, and knowing that it will match up with our assessment tool, the Living Curriculum.

Example 1

Planning within the Living Curriculum Tracker

The system being developed is based around the universal skills mentioned earlier. Example 1 shows our breakdown of the subject, 'history' for KS2 (note: the google sheet this was taken from is a working document and therefore likely to change!). Teachers can refer to this to ensure that they have 'planned in' opportunities for these skills to be developed.

Monitoring coverage of National Curriculum within the Living Curriculum Tracker

Aside from some content we added ourselves, everything in our tracker is taken from the National Curriculum. As you can see in Example 2, which shows a section of our Living Curriculum Google Form, a teacher will quickly be able to tick off the elements covered, whilst having the opportunity to add further explanation and evidence later in the form. If other curriculum areas have been covered, this can be recorded on the same form-submission to save time and demonstrate concurrency and context.

Assessment within the Living Curriculum Tracker

Teachers will also be able to indicate specific children that may need more support and those that have pushed their learning further than expected and may need more opportunites to learn at a greater depth. There will also be opportunities to upload examples of learning.

Pupil self-assessment

On the same form, children will also be able to record their experience which can then be compared to the teachers assessment.

Example 2

How will we use the data created by the Living Curriculum Tracker?

Data created by Google Form submissions will allow us to view curriculum coverage by subject, class, year group and whole school activity. This will help us to ensure that, over the 4 years that the children spend with us, opportunities will have been regularly given to learn the skills they need to be good citizens, historians, artists, geographers, designers, engineers, musicians and athletes (and many more). Gaps should be easy to spot, and therefore easy to be appropriately filled.

It will also show us where subjects have been taught and experienced concurrently - cementing our belief that a multi-layered, contextualised, real life 'Living Curriculum', built on universal skills is key to Community Wellbeing, Powerful Knowledge and a positive Attitude to Learning.

Image attributes (

  • Craft by Silvia Natalia from the Noun Project

  • think by Toli from the Noun Project

  • explore by monkik from the Noun Project

  • balance by SHAHAREA from the Noun Project

  • Communication by Oksana Latysheva from the Noun Project

  • empathy by Becris from the Noun Project

  • grow by KEN MURRAY from the Noun Project

  • multiple choice by Aenne Brielmann from the Noun Project

  • Data by dDara from the Noun Project