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Our Curriculum

Since September 2014, all schools have been implementing the new national curriculum.  At South Darley all our work is in line with this new curriculum and is organised into exciting and inspiring themes that thread together learning for progression on a 4 year rotation for both Infants and Juniors

Documents outlining the themes and objectives for this rotation can be found here.  Documents showing progression within each subject can be found here.

Please talk to us if you would like any further information about our curriculum.


Infant Curriculum:

Children of Reception age are integrated into our Infant class, but follow the Early years Foundation Stage Curriculum. The curriculum in the infant department follows a very broad pattern with an emphasis being put on mastering reading, writing and number skills, taught in a variety of ways to meet the individual learning styles of children. Children are taught phonics on a daily basis, based on the Letters and Sounds objectives. Much of the curriculum is thematic and cross-curricular, providing a wide range of first hand experiences and structured play. Increasing emphasis is placed on outdoor learning and we have developed a stimulating outdoor learning environment to provide exciting opportunities for all of our pupils.

Children read a range of reading books (see section below).  With handwriting an emphasis is put on the formation of letters.  The maths lessons are based on the White Rose materials and structure which allows the children to develop mastery of the concepts taught. A great deal of practical, investigative and mental work is also undertaken so that the concepts of number are properly understood.  The curriculum also covers all the various aspects of science and design technology and provides an introduction to the use of Computing in class work. The school has computers in every classroom, all of which are networked and have access to the internet. The school is also fully equipped with digital interactive whiteboards which add their own dimension to teaching and learning across the curriculum. All other National Curriculum / Foundation Stage areas of learning are covered in topic.

The reception children have the opportunity for structured and non-structured play and discovery work within the classroom environment, guided by their teacher and a teaching assistant.  Every Monday the children are encouraged to bring items that interest them into school to “show and tell” the rest of the class.

All reception children entering school are baseline assessed with the official government RBA assessment. These assessments are partially computer based and are carried out alongside a teacher or teaching assistant.  We share the findings with parents at the first parent-teacher meeting.


Junior Curriculum:

The curriculum, as in the infant department, is very broadly based. The children are given the opportunity to widen the skills already acquired and also to build on them.  Numeracy is generally taught discreetly using White Rose Maths materials but Literacy and other subjects are increasingly taught using cross-curricular themes, with an emphasis on developing skills and a sense of enquiry. Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning, they are involved in target setting and self assessment.

There are opportunities to learn to play a musical instrument and the school is able to offer tuition in violin. Currently all Junior children are learning brass instruments. In previous years they have learnt violin, drums, ukelele and clarinet. All the children also take an active part in the major drama production staged each year.

Physical Education is further developed and sports such as football, netball, rounders, athletics, gymnastics, dance and swimming are actively encouraged. We have weekly access to the Arc Leisure Centre in Matlock for swimming and we use Darley Dale Cricket Club for our sporting activities and PE sessions in the summer. During wet weather, and when appropriate, we use the village hall next door to the school for physical education. We also take advantage of the many sporting opportunities and competitions provided by Highfields School and the Rural Derbyshire Schools Partnership


In order to give our children as broad a reading experience as possible we provide books that are linked to our DfE approved phonics scheme, Twinkl Phonics.  Books are provided to children based on the phonics they already know and are currently learning.

We encourage parents to read other books to children so as to engage their sense of wonder and love of storytelling.

Through the infants, children will be given books based on their reading and phonics ability but as they move into the juniors most children are able to ‘free read’ and choose their own books from a wide school selection (or their own brought in from home), so long as they are suitably challenging.  We use the PM Literacy Assessment tools to determine a child’s reading level and understand their progress in reading comprehension.

We expect children to read for 20 minutes a day at home and to record this in reading diaries which are checked regularly.  We also provide opportunities for children to read as part of the school day, both by themselves and as part of a guided reading group.  We often have volunteers who listen to readers on a weekly basis.

PSHE, British Values and Christian Ethos:

Personal, Social, and Health Education is taught with the aim of fostering good habits of personal hygiene and with the awareness of what the body needs to keep it healthy. There is also an emphasis on Citizenship which helps us promote the British Values of Democracy, Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. Our statement of British Values can be seen here.

The school has a strong Anti-Bullying culture. There is an active School Council with members drawn from the staff, the governing body and the pupil body. The school holds the Healthy Schools Award and Active Mark.  Sex and Relationships Education are covered at an age appropriate level through Derbyshire’s ‘PSHE Matters’ materials. Parents and carers have the right (should they wish) to look at these materials and withdraw their children from these sessions after consultation with the headteacher. Where questions arise in either health education or in any other part of the curriculum they are dealt with factually, honestly and clearly, giving due consideration to the age and maturity of the children involved.

Each morning there is a religious assembly to which a broad based but mainly Christian approach is given. These are sometimes led by members of the community, including local church leaders. Anyone wishing their child to be withdrawn from these assemblies, or indeed religious education lessons, has a right to do so and should contact the headteacher. Children who are withdrawn will be given alternative work, in the office area, under the supervision of the school secretary. Parents are invited to a monthly celebration assembly in church, and a monthly family service, led by Rev. Stephen Monk.



  • Homework is set regularly in line with the Government’s guidelines;
  • Years 1 & 2 one hour per week
  • Years 3 & 4 one and a half hours per week
  • Years 5 & 6 thirty minutes per day


This may involve children reading at home, learning spellings and revising tables, ‘finishing off’ etc. There is also the opportunity to research relevant information on the subject they are currently studying. We are also interested in anything the children may wish to bring into school to show the rest of their class. For example, Junior children regularly prepare presentations on their hobbies and interests.

The curriculum followed throughout the school covers the attainment targets as laid down by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in the National Curriculum. This prepares the children for teacher assessments throughout their time at school, culminating in SAT tests in Reading, Maths and Spelling Grammar & Punctuation at age eleven (Y6). Records are kept of where a child is in relation to the levels and attainment targets set out in the National Curriculum Documents. These records, and all records on an individual child, are available for inspection, by parents, at any time by appointment with class teachers.

In addition to normal school work a variety of further extracurricular activities are held weekly; woodwind and violin playing, art club, construction club, Film Club, Qualitas multi-sports and football are currently offered.


Educational Visits:

Each year the whole school goes out on at least one day’s visit to a place of interest that is usually related to the work going on in the classroom at that time. Individual classes also undertake several trips locally and further afield to support and enrich their learning experiences. The school complies rigorously with all necessary risk assessment procedures before, during and after educational visits.


School Council:

We have a successful School Council made up of representatives of pupils from Years 1-6, teaching staff, and the Governing Body. This body is proactive and takes decisions which affect the day to day running of the school.  The Council provides children with first hand experience of democracy at work, and it forms an important part of the school’s PSHE/Citizenship policy.