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At Totley Primary School, we value the increasingly diverse community we serve. Most children benefit from a strong home-school partnership to support their development and learning. While we aim to ensure the pockets of disadvantaged children in our community make exceptional progress, we also work to ensure that all children, including the significant proportion of high attainers, are appropriately challenged and supported to fulfil their potential in every aspect of their development. As a Mental Health in School Award holder, we work to support the wellbeing and mental health of everyone in our community.

Strategic Intent

To develop an ambitious curriculum which achieves the following:

  • Instils a lifelong love of learning
  • Offers broad opportunities to develop the whole child
  • Allows every child to experience success and fulfil their potential through alignment to the National Curriculum
  • Builds a rich understanding of key knowledge and the development of a breadth of skills
  • Values every area of learning equally
  • Develops resilience, team work, independence and confidence

Curriculum Principles

The curriculum at Totley Primary School is designed so that children develop their academic, social and cultural capital. It is intended to ensure children are skilled readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, historians, musicians, artists, designers… We aim to achieve this through ensuring each curriculum area is deliberately planned and progressively sequenced.

Children will leave Totley Primary School with the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve the best possible outcomes, fulfil their potential and move on to the next phase of education as successful and ambitious learners. They leave Totley Primary School feeling secure with happy memories, as confident and able learners, and as fully-rounded, positive citizens of the world.


A knowledge-led curriculum is not knowledge versus skills, facts versus fun or at the expense of creativity.

Content and Sequence

At Totley Primary School, we believe learning is a journey. Component steps build to great outcomes for all our children. English, maths and the wider curriculum follow a learning journey model. As children move through steps of this journey (each a logical progression from previous learning), a series of clearly-specified components are taught before being applied to composite activities. The content of the curriculum is sequenced logically, is in line with national expectations and is built on a foundation of knowledge. Teaching deliberately enables children to transfer their knowledge and skills across varied areas of the curriculum.

Teaching and Learning, Assessment and Feedback

  • Learning is at the core of what happens in classrooms. We believe that every lesson counts and teachers, supported by subject leaders, are experts in using the most engaging, immersive and effective strategies to teach. This creates an environment which enables all of our children to focus on learning.
  • Reading is incorporated throughout the curriculum and children are taught to read with fluency in every subject. Each class has a key text, which links to the current wider curriculum theme. Children are encouraged to read widely and extensively through the reading challenge.
  • Collaboration and discussion about learning is balanced with independent, deliberate practice of key skills and knowledge.
  • Formative assessment is a cornerstone of our pedagogy and prior knowledge is used as a component for new learning. When children are identified as not being on track to reach our high expectations for their learning, prevention planning is undertaken. Our shared knowledge of every individual learner enables teachers to adapt the curriculum and its delivery to best meet the learning needs of vulnerable groups, including those children who achieve the highest outcomes.
  • Memorable experiences at Totley Primary School enrich our curriculum while long-term memory is embedded through strategies such as retrieval practice, and deliberately spaced, carefully interleaved learning.  We understand that learning in the short-term might not be visible and that sustained mastery takes time.
  • Knowledge of vocabulary empowers children, giving them the tools to learn and explore the world in which they live.
  • Feedback is given in line with our feedback policy. Children are given immediate feedback on their strengths and areas to improve. This happens at every opportunity in every lesson. Feedback is also given against carefully-written success criteria: these are the components needed to achieve the learning intention. Feedback may also be given at a whole-class or group level, when a common misconception has been identified.


The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of each year, the vast majority of pupils have sustained mastery of the taught content and there is a change in long-term memory. (They remember it, are able to do it and know it.) Many children have a greater-depth understanding. Children leave Totley Primary School ready for their next stage in education with the knowledge and skills that they need to succeed. This is reflected in our exceptional data outcomes. Pupils’ love of reading is palpable and born of the culture of reading that is growing throughout school. Children understand that expectations are consistently high in every subject, so pupils’ work across the curriculum is of high quality and children take pride in all areas of their learning.

Our curriculum design means children leave us as knowledgeable, skilful learners.

For more information on the curriculum, please contact Chris Atkinson, Deputy Headteacher.