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As a church school our vision is evident in all we offer.  Our vision is underpinned by the bible verse Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong. Take courage. Don't be afraid because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you.

At Sissinghurst our curriculum has been designed with this vision and our school family in mind and what we believe our children need to thrive and be successful citizens who make a difference to each other and to the wider community and beyond. The Sissinghurst Curriculum offers pupils a progression of skills and knowledge underpinned by a strong focus on oracy and reading as core skills which enable pupils to access the curriculum and develop confidence in communication.

Our school values and our belief that all children are entitled to a curriculum which is well planned, progressional and relevant to prepare them for their futures is at the heart of all we do. We want our children to be motivated to learn, to be courageous in their perseverance and to recognise their own successes. Our children need to be ready, creative, courageous and to aspire to unravel the challenges that change will bring. We are privileged to be the stewards of this new generation of pupils, growing and learning at Sissinghurst Primary.

Sissinghurst Stepping Stones Curriculum

Our curriculum is planned for each subject area in a progressional pathway which we call the Sissinghurst Stepping Stones. The Stepping Stones show a tangible path of progression in our foundation and core subjects. Each stone details the skills, knowledge and vocabulary that will be built on in order to create a rounded, deep understanding of the subject by the time our children leave Sissinghurst Primary. Teachers use the Stepping Stones both in planning and delivering lessons.

Stepping Stones for each subject area give teachers and children a clear distinction between key aspects of their learning – knowledge, skills and vocabulary – which allows links to be made, and progression to build sequentially and successfully, resulting in children who have excellent subject knowledge that is established in long term-memory.

Our spiritual curriculum which we call the Leaves of Learning, runs alongside and underpins our Stepping Stone curriculum. The Leaves of Learning are based on the school values of Service, Kindness, Courage and Forgiveness.  The model of learning at Sissinghurst shows how the Leaves of Learning are wrapped around the whole curriculum. 

Intent – ‘What’

We provide pupils with a knowledge-based curriculum that develops essential skills, equipping them for the next stage in their education and lives. This knowledge-based curriculum approach is intended to ensure pupils develop a deep body of knowledge across the curriculum. We believe that through a well sequenced, progressive curriculum our children can develop the knowledge and skills to excel in a rapidly changing world. Our curriculum offer aims to address social disadvantage and close gaps.  The curriculum is successfully adapted to meet the needs of pupils with SEND so they can develop their skills and knowledge to increase independence and gain the cultural capital they need to be successful. Our curriculum enables pupils to think critically about local and world issues and to interact successfully with the world around them. The way our curriculum content is selected allows vital concepts to be taught progressively through the school which allows links to be made between different concepts and vital learning to be rehearsed and retrieved when needed in order to build ‘cumulative fluency’ across all subjects. In all areas our curriculum is not only well sequenced but it is ambitious and ensures we have high expectations for all children in our school. We understand the importance of quality across all subject areas because every subject plays a part in a child’s holistic growth and knowledge development. Across the school there is a focus on ensuring gaps are closed that were evident post pandemic.  We place importance on reading and reading across the curriculum. We believe that reading is crucial to learning and prioritise this from the moment children start in EYFS. Through the promotion of British and school values we ensure that our curriculum focuses on development of the whole child and values all aspects of what makes our children unique and special.

Implementation – ‘How’

Our knowledge rich approach is delivered by teachers with strong pedagogical knowledge. There is a focus on teachers developing highly effective learning sequences. Throughout the teaching of these highly effective learning sequences we ensure that retrieval activities are utilised and feedback from this used to inform the rest of the learning sequences. Class teachers are empowered to enact the curriculum in their classrooms using the resources provided for them in different subject areas. The focus on children ‘knowing and remembering more’ means we have worked to ensure that teaching sequences build in opportunities for retrieval and rehearsal of core concepts to ensure these transfer into long term memory. A teaching backwards approach in classrooms focuses on what is essential knowledge at the end of a teaching sequence and this then is used to ensure that sequences are well planned towards children acquiring this knowledge. Scaffolds and supports are used to ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach the high expectations of the curriculum. In addition to this, by focusing on slowing learning down we try to ensure that our focus remains on depth and allows knowledge to be retained and remembered whilst still ensuring there is challenge present in all learning sequences. There is strength in the school in following the ‘I do, we do, you do’ model which ensures that all aspects of learning are modelled clearly by the class teacher, time is then given in groups to practise and reinforce learning before children are given the chance to work independently. This approach allows teachers to quickly check pupils’ understanding and correct any misunderstandings during the ‘we do’ stage. Our dedication to reading is seen in classrooms with it being prioritised across the curriculum and ensuring we have a rigorous and sequential approach to the teaching of phonics and spelling. To ensure quality across all areas of the curriculum, we employ specialist staff who offer excellent opportunities for all pupils. Our resident artist, sports coaches and music teacher provide excellence in these subjects. In order to support teachers to deliver a highly effective knowledge-rich curriculum we use carefully selected schemes when appropriate. Finally, pupils’ engagement with the curriculum is monitored effectively and communicated with parents and other colleagues if there are any concerns.

In order to support our class teachers in the implementation phase we have a robust approach to professional development that tackles two strands:

Firstly ‘content knowledge’ which focuses on ensuring teachers have the required subject knowledge to deliver the curriculum. This support this through planning days, allowing expert subject leaders to support year groups and other CPD opportunities.

Secondly ‘pedagogical content knowledge’ which focuses on ensuring teachers have the required knowledge of good teaching to enact the curriculum in the classroom. Our disciplined inquiry approach to appraisals is central to this and we use a range of resources and expertise to provide this.


Impact – ‘How Well’

The impact of our curriculum is where we focus on and measure the quality of outcomes. Essentially we are focused upon ensuring that pupils are making progress in what they need to know and remember. Teachers and leaders check that they are learning what is intended in the curriculum. This measuring is completed in a variety of ways and all ongoing assessment and monitoring is vital. What we see in classrooms and what we hear when we speak to children are the drivers for assessing our intent and adapting and improving our implementation. Class teachers are responsible for the ongoing assessment of their children. This is completed through mini-plenaries and carefully planned questioning. These are both vital tools in allowing classroom teachers to see the impact of the curriculum they are delivering and adapt it accordingly to the needs of the children. Children are regularly spoken to by subject leaders and senior leaders to ensure they understand their lived experience of the curriculum with a particular focus on what they have learned and remembered. Children will know what they are being asked to learn and more importantly, why they are being asked to learn it which allows them to make meaningful links between their current learning and previous learning. They will become increasingly confident when discussing and critiquing their learning.  Regular feedback, both written and verbal, between the teacher and learner help this learning journey to be tracked and monitored. We are developing clear expectations for each year group and subject so teachers and learners know what has been achieved and the next learning steps. These are also used at the end of the year to make judgements as to whether children are working at the expected standard or not. Summative assessments (Y2 to Y6) are used in terms 3 and 6 and help to inform planning and judgement in core subjects (Maths and Literacy) and data from national tests (SATS). We work hard to ensure that we monitor the progress of our SEND and disadvantaged children and provide additional support whenever needed to ensure they acquire the knowledge and cultural capital needed for them to be successful.

Get in touch

Sissinghurst (VA) Church of England
Primary School
Common Road
TN17 2BH

01580 713895