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Heston Primary School Curriculum

Learning is a preparation for life.

  • Reading is fundamental

    Reading is school priority and at Heston we recognise that it is a skill that gives children access to the rest of the curriculum and to life-long learning. The SSP programme developed by Chesterton English Hub ‘Little Wandle’ is delivered in multiple daily sessions to children in EY/Reception and KS1. Children in KS2 who have not passed the phonics screening check continue to receive phonics intervention in KS2.

    Children have daily whole class reading sessions in KS2 with VIPERS being applied as the main structure for questions. The school has a progression document which details how questioning in each domain becomes more sophisticated.

  • Love of Reading

    This is promoted by ensuring that children have access to high quality books and texts, including a range of text types and books represent the diversity of cultures within our wider school community. Staff represent a love of reading through visual displays, engaging book reading corners and high quality core texts that our English teaching is centred around. In Early Years, labelling throughout the setting is colour-coded with green words matching existing phonic knowledge, orange representing challenging words and black indicating that they may need help from an adult. This empowers students to read and interpret environmental text. Learners who experience challenges in reading are identify quickly, and targeted interventions are put into place rapidly to ensure children do not fall behind. Additionally, we make books (including instruction books) matched to students reading levels that link to activities within other areas of learning. In this way, reading is at the heart of our planning and provision. We have an inviting school library which children enjoy perusing, and ensure that the range of books on offer represent the diversity of cultures and interests found within our school community.

  • Phonics Programme and Progress

    Our phonics teaching is based upon the revised Letters and Sounds programme which has been developed by Little Wandle. The programme is comprehensive in structure and teaches children to decode fluently, read with prosody and develop comprehension skills. The children are taught phases 2, 3, 4 and 5 which begin in Reception from the Autumn term. By the end of the Summer term in Reception, in phase 4 the children will be able to read CVC, CCVC, CVCC and longer words. When the children begin Year 1, they consolidate phases 2-4 in Autumn 1 and begin Phase 5 in Autumn 2. In Year 2, once the children are fluent readers and have consolidated phase 5 they begin Spelling shed which is a full spelling scheme that supports their knowledge, skills and understanding of the Year 2 spelling rules. 

  • Phonics from the Start

    Phonics begins in Nursery with Phase 1 and transcends into Reception through to phases 2-4. In Nursery, children are taught to differentiate between sounds, starting with environmental sounds and progressing to sounds in words, including identifying the initial sounds in words. The children are taught to recognise grapheme and phoneme correspondences and encouraged to use pure sounds when pronouncing them in line with Little Wandles.

  • Books Match Phonic Knowledge

    Through our fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme we use a blend of Big Cat Collins and Dandelion reader books that are fully decodable and carefully matched to each phase. These books are used in reading practice sessions three times weekly. The children are taught to decode, read with prosody and comprehension using the same book during the week so that they develop reading fluency. The decodable book is then sent home at 90% instructional and the children are encouraged to read the book independently to a grown up. 

  •  Catch Up Quickly

    Following the Little Wandles guidance and procedure, we quickly identify when pupils are starting to fall behind, and put support in place quickly through 'keep up' sessions. These sessions are set to close the gaps in pupils' knowledge and skills in reading. They are taught daily for 5-10 minutes as short, sharp sessions with individual children to address misconceptions and consolidate decoding skills. The children are assessed on a three weekly basis to ascertain progress and highlight any further gaps that need addressing. 

  • Early Reading Experts​

    Teaching staff have had high quality phonics training led by Little Wandle experts to ensure that phonics teaching is precise and of a good standard. Staff are able to teach daily phonic and reading practice sessions to develop early reading. 

  • Inclusivity

    The school takes pride in providing a highly inclusive environment, where learners demonstrate high levels of enjoyment in their education, making progress and achieving their potential. Those who are most able are challenged and supported through our differentiation, which provide opportunities for learners to make progress at greater depth. Additionally, we utilise a range of specific support measures and strategies to ensure that those who struggle are enabled to succeed through the use of targeted support, the time to develop at their own pace, or simply the opportunity to learn in a style that best suits their individual needs.

  • Aspirational Curriculum

    Our curriculum encompasses not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but goes beyond the experiences of the classroom to ensure that our children are exposed to the richest and most varied opportunities and are introduced to the ‘best that has been thought and said’. This is to ensure that when they grow up, they make rational decisions based on facts and are able to enjoy a wide variety of healthy interests, enabling them to contribute to the society they live in. We strive hard to provide the knowledge and cultural capital our children need to succeed.  Therefore, our curriculum aims to ensure our children have a good grasp of core skills on which further learning is predicated. The curriculum is successfully adapted and developed to be ambitious to meet the needs of pupils with SEND, developing their knowledge, skills and abilities to apply what they know and can do with increasing fluency and independence.

Curriculum Rationale

Our curriculum rationale is:

  • to nurture our children’s understanding of ‘belonging and being’ and promote their sense of self- worth, furthering their appreciation of how they connect to the past, live in the present and look to the future.
  • to promote a ‘can-do-it’ attitude towards learning, so that all children are enthusiastic and passionate learners who are inquisitive and independent thinkers; who embrace new challenges and possibilities; who are able to push their own boundaries and who strive to achieve their personal best.
  • to offer an enthralling and well-crafted curriculum with clear progression maps that enable our children to achieve success by developing their knowledge, understanding and skills.
  • to promote our school values of: Empathy, Aspiration and Independence.
  • to fulfil all the requirements of the National Curriculum and the Locally Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education.


Our curriulum overview provides an ‘at a glance picture’ of what our children will learn during their time at Heston Primary School. Each half-term, children’s learning revolves around a big question which has a main focus - history, science or geography. All subjects are taught and have their individual schemes of work - art, DT, music, computing, RE and PSHE. A more detailed breakdown of our children’s learning, including the core areas of maths, reading and writing, can be found on the curriculum pages for each year group from Nursery to Year 6. We use a combination of ‘block approach’ and a sequential weekly coverage approach, considering carefully what would enable achievement of depth in knowledge and skills with better retention in the long term.


The outdoor environment and the local community are considered an opportunity for active learning for all our children. The school grounds have been developed so they can enrich different curriculum areas, particularly English, Science and Geography. One of our staff members is a ‘Forest School Trainer’ at Level 3, and offers exciting Nature Ranger activities to our Y1 pupils in order to facilitate a smooth transition from Early Years to Key Stage 1. We are committed to ensuring that all learners have access to high quality educational experiences beyond the classroom walls. We aspire to integrate into our curriculum frequent, continuous and progressive learning opportunities outside the classroom.

Maths and English are taught as discrete subjects, with carefully considered sequences of learning which give children the opportunity to master key skills and develop fluency. Our curriculum emphasises the importance and value of reading, which we believe is a fundamental skill. English texts supplement wider themes, where appropriate, to ensure children have more opportunities to make links and to consequently commit what they have learnt to their long term memory. We use ‘Power Maths’ as the core of our maths curriculum, but we dip into other schemes to meet specific needs. This approach promotes the mathematical thinking skills necessary to solve problems. 

Children’s health and well-being is extremely important to us. We have a dedicated PE team, led by our specialist teacher. They organise competitive intra and inter-school events to include all children, while entering our keenest sportsmen into local competitions, developing team spirit and good sportsmanship in all. We have a specialist pastoral support officer who provides emotional support to children and our families. We have a CAMHS Tier 3 worker who comes to our school on a weekly basis to provide support to our families who have been identified by the SLT as needing support. We focus on supporting our children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, ensuring that children are well prepared for life in modern Britain. Furthermore, we aim to instil a strong moral compass, enabling them to act ethically and honourably. 

We are passionate about the creative arts at Heston. We have specialist music, PE (dance/gym) and art specialists who teach across the school in KS2. All children in KS2 have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument. Our choir regularly sang in the Hounslow Summer Festival (pre COVID-19) and at other local events.  We follow published schemes of work for these subjects, but they have been adapted to reflect our local context and our approach to the curriculum. The rationale behind having specialists to teach Arts is simply to offer our children high quality experiences. Profession Anne Bramford, The Wow Factor, 2006 had highlighted the importance of quality. She had reported,

“There seemed to be between 17-28% (averaged at around 22%) negative impacts of poor quality (arts learning) programmes. Put crudely, this meant that in a global sense, about ¼ of all arts and cultural education a child receives is likely to have a negative impact.”

We at Heston endorse Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s assertions:

  • The arts play an important role enriching young people’s learning and educational experiences
  • Support skills development in communication, collaboration, creativity and problem-solving
  • Confidence, self-esteem, personal and social outcomes, supporting engagement in learning
  • For many young people, particularly those experiencing the most disadvantage, the only opportunity to gain access to arts is in school.

We are committed to educating children to have healthy lifestyles, and we are proud to have achieved the Active School Gold Mark for competitive sports. Children have the opportunity to work with specialist coaches for gymnastics, cricket and tennis. Teaching children how to ride a bike with confidence is an integral part of our curriculum, and we have coaches from ‘The Bicycle Society who come to our school and lead workshops with identified year groups. We encourage children to walk or cycle to school, and make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for exercise with a plethora of after school clubs.

Our inclusive environment and engaging and ‘fit for purpose’ curriculum makes learning fun and enables our learners to make very good progress across all subjects and areas of learning. Learning is scaffolded, when appropriate, to help our children to achieve. The children who struggle in class are encouraged and given targeted support to embed their skills and enable them to develop at their own pace. Teaching methods are adapted to meet the needs of the pupils and their preferred learning style.

Subject leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum at Heston Primary School by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review. Good practice across the school is celebrated and contributes to the ongoing commitment to adapt, enrich and improve our curriculum offer. All subject leaders are given training and the opportunity to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding so they can support both the development of the curriculum and their colleagues throughout the school. Targeted action planning and focused CPD contributes to driving standards even higher. Subject leaders do not just reflect on what needs to be taught, but also, on how it can be taught, ensuring children remember what they are learning and that knowledge is not just a recall of disorganised facts. ‘Dazzle Me’ learning reviews at the end of every half term give children an opportunity to collaborate and show case what they have learnt in different subjects with their friends, teachers and SLT. It is a celebration of learning!

Our children at Heston thrive in a safe environment, behave in an exemplary manner and achieve well. They become more resilient, responsible and independent during their time with us. We encourage children to recognise their feeling and use tools and ideas related to ’Zones of Regulation’ to help them understand how they can regulate their behaviour. We believe, as with all learning, children need to be explicitly taught learning behaviour to enable them to fulfil their educational potential, and develop self-reflection, and ultimately an ownership over their behaviour. We also believe that this learning is best achieved by the combination of positive reinforcement and adult modelling. Fundamentally, we all subscribe to the credo ‘treat others as you wish to be treated yourself’, this applies to all adults and children at Heston Primary.

We have three simple rules connected to behaviour:

Be Kind

Be Respectful

Be Responsible

Our curriculum design ensures that the academic and social-emotional needs of individual pupils, small groups of children and whole classes are met through quality first teaching, and targeted, proven interventions where appropriate and where needed. Our committed and caring staff promote enjoyment of the curriculum and instil a ‘can-do’ belief in our pupils. Children have opportunities to share their learning with each other, their parents and carers and other learners through school-based and external exhibitions, performances, competitions and events involving other schools.

We are very proud of what our children achieve and become at Heston Primary.

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