Our Curriculum

Main Curriculum

At Stephenson Way Academy and Nursery school we use an integrated approach to curriculum planning and delivery, with links made between themes and subjects.  The development of literacy and numeracy skills is woven into the curriculum both in English and Mathematics lessons as well as through science and foundation subjects.  We also recognise the importance of developing subject specific knowledge and understanding since children need to learn subject content as well as basic skills in order to be successful learners and independent thinkers.    
Each curriculum unit has a clear overarching theme with a key subject underpinning the curriculum theme or content.  Generally, each year group completes two main themes per year.  These are known as curriculum semesters with each one lasting for approximately three half terms.   We feel that this approach to curriculum delivery means that children have the time and opportunity to develop deeper understanding of curriculum matter.  As often as possible we attempt to build on children's interests but as a school we closely follow the National Curriculum Programmes of Study when devising new topics and themes. Below are our curriculum plans for each year group.  Each plan highlights the curriculum theme, main literature source, which underpins the theme, and key questions for stimulating reflective attitudes to social, moral, spiritual and cultural development. 
Our National Curriculum content and themes are outlined below:


Time to Rhyme: A study of Julia Donaldson stories


Early Language and Literacy theme.

Tour in Time:
Historical Events in London


History theme


Newton Aycliffe Central Station:
A study of George Stephenson


History theme

Woodland Conservation Trust:
A study of local habitats


Science theme


SWANS Newsroom:
Natural Disasters


Geography Theme

Animal Rescue Centre:
Animals rights


Science theme


Museum of Antiquities:
Ancient Egypt


History theme

Viking culture and beliefs


History theme


NASA (Newton Aycliffe Space Agency):
Space Exploration

Science theme

Operation Africa:
A study of an African nation


Geography theme


War Rooms:
A study of World War II


History theme

Super Growth Garden Centre:
A study of living things


Science theme


Victorian Britain:
Crime and Punishment


History theme

FAME (Final, Amazing, Musical Extravaganza): End of Year Production 

Arts theme

Vertical Learning Group

Dream Factory:
Living with the BFG


PSHCE and basic literacy theme

George’s Kitchen Nightmares:
Cooking with the Kranky’s (George’s Marvellous Medicine)

PSHCE and basic literacy theme

Wherever possible we attempt to have a science theme in each year group since we recognise the importance of science teaching and learning, and the role that science and technology has played in the development, history and culture of our region.  In addition, we endeavour to include a humanities subject as the other theme so that children can develop an appreciation of their place in the world and the impact that the past has had on their present.   As a school, one of our special features is centred round historical enquiry so our curriculum allows for us to develop this aspect of learning and children’s curiosity. 
Our main curriculum is enhanced by visits, visitors and theme days.

Alternative Curriculum Pathway
In addition to our main curriculum we operate an Alternative Curriculum Pathway which provides children with additional experiences in the arts, creative and performing arts, environmental studies and sports and games.
Specialist teachers are used to enhance children’s musical skills through our choir and Samba band tuition groups. In our choral group, children are taught how to sing in harmony and perform together.  Children learn a wide range of musical styles from different musical eras.  Recently, children have enjoyed learning and performing folk and pop songs, from artists including the Beetles and Simon and Garfunkel.
Creative and performing arts has been a successful addition to our curriculum for number of years with children learning how to act, dance, sing and perform on a regular basis.   Children apply their skills across the school year in a number of performances, including short plays and musicals.    Currently children are learning their lines and roles for “Mary Poppins”.
As a school we promote respect for the world around us and care for the natural environment.  Through environmental studies and “working” in the school allotment and mini orchid, children learn about sustainability, recycling, nutrition and basic economics (since children sell their produce at school events).  School is proud of its environmental element and has been awarded a number of prestigious awards and accolades from its work in this area.
Additional sports and games are integrated into the school curriculum through specialist coaching for our sports and games teams.  As a school we recognise the importance that sport can play in raising self-esteem, developing positive habits such as team work, and promoting a sense of physical and mental well-being.    We offer a range of opportunities through our coaching programme with activities including traditional sports such as football (for boys and girls), martial arts such as Taekwondo and performance sports such as gymnastics.
Our Alternative Curriculum Pathway is an additional feature to enhance our main curriculum content.  Generally, children who have specific talents and/or needs access this provision.             
Current Alternative Curriculum Pathway opportunities:

  • Environmental studies
  • Historical Enquiry
  • Choir/choral group
  • Samba Band
  • Creative and performing arts
  • Developing artists group
  • Boys’ football
  • Girls’ football
  • Taekwondo
  • Social games groups
  • Drawing Therapy
  • Writing Therapy

Early Years:
Our Early Years curriculum is constantly changing in order to meet the needs and interests of the children in nursery and reception.  Its overarching aim is to enable children to develop in the following areas of learning:

  • communication and language
  • physical development
  • personal, social and emotional development
  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design

This year, provision themes in reception are: The Sea; Outer Space; and Africa
This year, provision themes in nursery are: Life-cycles (The Hungry Caterpillar); Exploration and Invention; Other Cultures
Please note provision themes may vary, depending on children's interest.

ACP curriculum 2016


Promoting British Values

Year 1 curriculum 2016

Year 2 curriculum 2016

Year 3 curriculum 2016

Year 4 curriculum 2016

Year 4.5 curriculum 2016

Year 5 curriculum 2016

Year 6 curriculum 2016


Our approach to phonics

Curriculum Policy (2017)