Curriculum Overview

Statement for Curriculum Intent


At Riverside, we aim to motivate and inspire ALL of our pupils to be the best they can be. We seek to foster ambition and equip children with resilience, independence and the ability to think deeply and critically.

We recognise that our pupils learn best when they are engaged in purposeful and contextual activities. We seek to ensure that our pupils form an emotional connection to the knowledge and skills that they learn, to aid retention and support the future application. As such, we aim to enrich pupils’ lives by providing high quality, hands-on experiences in and out of the classroom, the local area and beyond.


The intent of our curriculum is based upon 3 strands

  • Well-being
  • Ambition
  • Communication


Well-being– Our first priority is to our pupil’s well-being. We work hard to ensure they are happy, healthy and feel safe at school. We believe that to enable them to learn effectively we must strive to meet our pupil’s fundamental needs.

To prepare them for the future, we aim to equip pupils with resilience, independence and empathy. We actively promote behaviours associated with taking responsibility, being ready to learn and reflecting to improve. We go over and above to support our pupils.

With strong values and compassion at its heart, our curriculum enables our pupils to have respect for others and for themselves.


Ambition– We inspire our pupils to aim high in all endeavours. At Riverside, we believe in lifting the lid on achievement. No matter the starting point, we expect and encourage all pupils to do their best and to try their hardest. We believe that all children have strengths, talents and skills and we seek to embrace ad develop these. In all subject areas, where possible, pupil’s learning is linked to real-life job roles, scenarios or challenges. Our aim is to connect our pupils to opportunities.

Our curriculum intends to create confident, active community members that can positively impact on their class, school, family, local community and the wider world. They are taught to recognise their role and their importance. Our curriculum is designed to demonstrate to our pupils that they can make a difference and achieve great things.


Communication– Our curriculum provides rich stimuli and opportunities for communication to flourish in its many forms. It supports the development and use of appropriate vocabulary across all subject areas and encourages pupils to share and celebrate their knowledge. Effective communication is the key to future success. We aim to support our pupils to facilitate change positively through good relationships and clear communication.


Statement for Curriculum Implementation

At Riverside, our pupils follow the statutory requirements as set out in the National Curriculum, Early Years Curriculum and the locally agreed syllabus for Religious Education.

Alongside these statutory requirements, experiences and opportunities that best meet the needs of our pupils are in place to enrich and extend learning. Our curriculum is made up of themes. It is our belief that a thematic approach allows pupils to understand big concepts and to think critically by uniting the knowledge and skills developed within each subject discipline. An example of this is our theme Endangered Environments whereby pupils learn about the geography, science and history of the rainforest before bringing their understanding together to consider the challenges and debate that surrounds deforestation. Subject areas are taught discreetly but the threads of the theme are interwoven to deepen understanding.

At Riverside, our curriculum is broad and balanced while not forsaking the importance of the core subjects. It is vital that our pupils are able to read, write, calculate and communicate to a high standard to enable them to succeed. Yet we endeavour to bond the development of these skills with those of equal importance- critical understanding, knowledge of the world and tolerance and respect for others.

In order for our learners to have successful futures, we recognise that carefully planned provision for skills within Literacy and Numeracy is vital.  In order to support this, we use consistent schemes and approaches.

The Read, Write Inc. The literacy programme is designed to get our younger pupils reading as quickly as possible.  As soon as they are ready to, children experience this synthetic phonics approach to acquiring reading and early writing skills.  This begins in the Early Years phase of school. Once children have become fluent and competent readers, they progress on to the Literacy and Language Programme which further refines their reading comprehension and ensures children become competent writers for a range of purposes.  Both programmes include crucial aspects of speaking and listening which widen pupil use and understanding of vocabulary.


The Renaissance Reading programme ensures that once our children start reading with fluency and comprehension they read appropriately challenging texts suited to their stage of learning.  Pupils are motivated to read both at home and in school so that they can successfully complete the on-line quizzes in the programme.  The reading curriculum is further supported by a well-stocked library and a full-time Librarian.

At Riverside, we use the Visual Maths approach throughout the school to secure our pupils’ understanding of the core concepts within addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  This structured approach enables pupils to clearly visualise the mathematical concepts they are learning, with pupils using equipment and drawings to model mathematical thinking, before moving on to record their calculations more formally.  Visual Maths progressively builds learners’ mathematical understanding and boosts their confidence, motivation and enjoyment.  It ensures that each pupil has the necessary level of mathematical understanding before moving on to a new concept.

To further develop the whole child, Riverside offers multiple residential and on-site adventurous activities and a range of after-school clubs. We encourage risk-taking, collaboration and self-management through these experiences.

The local community is utilised to allow learning to sit in the context of their own lives. Regular allotment visits, local walks to look at architecture, wildlife and nearby facilities all form part of the curriculum. As children grow so too does the notion of the community; we look at the heritage of Plymouth and also what it means locally and nationally to be British.

At Riverside, Children at all levels are supported to achieve their potential. We have a rigorous and ongoing assessment processes to help us to best understand and plan for each pupils need- be that targeted 1:1 support to embed core skills or opportunities for greater depth and mastery. Progress and attainment are tracked and reviewed frequently to identify pupils at risk of slipping behind. This happens both formatively on a day to day, lesson by lesson basis and summatively using in school and nationally standardised assessments.

Teaching and Learning at Riverside is reviewed and developed frequently, in line with the latest ideas and concepts. Guidance and inspiration is taken from the Education Endowment Fund, the Research Schools Network, Ruth Miskin Training, Visual Maths and the work of some high profile key figures such as Doug Lemov, Tom Sherrington, John Tomsett and Mary Myatt.


 Statement for Curriculum Impact

A rich curriculum, delivered using well-researched teaching methods and frequent ongoing assessment of learning, allows our pupils to have a strong foundation of knowledge, skills and experience. Our curriculum design ensures that the needs of individual and small groups of children can be met by responsive, Quality First Teaching, supported by targeted, proven interventions where appropriate. In this way, positive change and progress from children’s starting points can be assured. Taking pleasure from learning, promotes achievement, develops confidence and ensures good behaviour and motivation. At Riverside, pupils feel safe to make mistakes, to be challenged and to try new things- key skills to support them in life. Rich life experiences and opportunities to develop in a range of areas allows for the development of the whole child.

Where appropriate our pupils collaborate with one another and are supported to develop mutual respect and tolerance of different strengths, personalities and needs. Getting along with a wide range of people and effective communication are key to their future success in the wider world. Our curriculum heavily supports and promotes good manners and respectful behaviour- this is evident in pupils conduct around the school.

Developing their independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future citizens is at the heart of all our teaching and learning.