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Betty Layward Primary School home page

Teaching and Learning and how we teach


Aims of the Curriculum

At Betty Layward we have designed a curriculum that fully prepares our children for the next steps in their school career and opens the doors to the wider world.  We believe the wellbeing of each child in our school is as important as their learning.  With this in mind we have developed a curriculum that not only challenges the children academically but provides opportunities for them to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions while also considering that each child is unique, and has their own voice.

We have constructed a curriculum that is aspiring and designed to give all children the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed beyond school.  The core literacy and numeracy skills are at the centre of all we do and our curriculum provokes curiosity and excitement, leading to deeper learning.  It is driven by key questions, big ideas and the understanding that all of our learning is linked through experience, conversations and connections which bond us with the world around us.



Our curriculum has been purposefully designed for our children ensuring that the vision at Betty Layward is in the forefront of all that we do.  It offers a personalised curriculum, considering Cultural Bias, European Bias, provisions for well-being and SEND as well as rich experiences for our children.

We have intended for the curriculum to provide opportunities to promote cultural self –esteem and we have tailored our curriculum to the needs of our children. This has been devised across the curriculum in our planning where we promote significant individuals within the topics, during assemblies and throughout pastoral day to day life at Betty Layward.  We use the study of significant individuals to bring life to our learning and support our recall of knowledge and events as well as celebrate diversity.  We aim to prepare our children for life in modern Britain by: equipping them to be responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to society and develop their understanding of fundamental British values.

The curriculum ensures every child can participate and supports pupils with additional needs via differentiation.  It provides opportunities for pupils to explain, discuss, and express opinions as part of our approach to healthy well-being.

The curriculum is supported by rich experiences.  We have visitors at school, trips, and visit the local community frequently.  At Betty Layward music, theatre and sport are integral to the curriculum and provide wide life experience.  Our curriculum supports this and celebrates diversity across the school with performances created by Betty Layward such as a yearly event called BLastonbury, visits from musical artists, talent shows and other events and performances.  We have also attended sporting events and in previous years we have frequently represented Hackney at sport and on more than one occasion have won!


How the curriculum has been put together

Our curriculum is designed to help pupils form subject-specific knowledge within their long-term memories.  Each subject area is constructed around Big Ideas.  These big ideas provide the basis for our curriculum and the planning and outcomes are built around these.  The curriculum then builds upon this by having knowledge categories which allows us to organise the knowledge in a meaningful way.  The knowledge organised into units and based upon the key concepts help reinforce the unit.   Learning knowledge within each of the categories helps to strengthen and underpin these Big Ideas.  The curriculum design allows for the Big Ideas to be revisited often, deepening the knowledge and supporting the retention in the long-term memory but also ensuring the information is not taught facts, but a conceptual system for understanding knowledge.  This allows the pupils to express and demonstrate their understanding through learning and conversations.

Each subject is planned via a key question to embed the taught end knowledge.  We assess this using clearly defined speaking opportunities.  This helps to embed the knowledge and vocabulary needed to articulate an understanding of the subject.  For example, in geography, we want the children to

-Investigate places-understand the geographical location of places and their physical and human features

-Investigate patterns-understand the relationships between physical features of places and the human activity within them.

-Communicate geographically-this involves understanding geographical representations, vocabulary and techniques.

Each threshold concept has its own knowledge which helps to strengthen the the unit of learning.

It is planned around the knowledge categories to ensure that the children are building and retaining knowledge in each subject.  We continually return to these in each unit across the school.



 Our curriculum is carefully sequenced, clearly outlining both the knowledge and skills developed in each area of learning. We have dedicated time for revisiting key knowledge which is carved into each half term and class teachers’ planning builds in time to recap previous learning in order for the children to then build on knowledge and understanding in new, related areas of learning.



The Subject Lead alongside the SLT monitor each subject area. There are a range of assessment opportunities as outlined in the Assessment Policy that ensure we understand if the children learn and retain the curriculum and track the subject. We have built in pupil conversations within each subject to capture pupils voice to support with monitoring and build into our future planning.

We understand the importance of building children’s vocabulary; we achieve this through carefully chosen and ambitious shared texts, as well as the explicit teaching of new and ambitious words, relevant to learning. Subject-specific vocabulary is mapped across the curriculum and children use this in their independent work.

A shared love of literature sits alongside our curriculum drivers and underpins all that we do; books are the building blocks of our rich curriculum. We harness the power of story; texts are valued both as a key learning resource across the curriculum, and for pleasure and escapism. Our reading literature outline the stories shared in each year group, while our key texts give structure to children’s reading diet. Texts we share are inclusive, ensuring representation of gender and ethnicity.

Inclusive to all learners, Betty Layward celebrates individuality and embraces difference. As a school community, we learn from each other and share experiences, thoughts and ideas in order to develop shared tolerance, acceptance and understanding. At the end of children’s time at Betty Layward, we proudly say goodbye to confident and resilient individuals who are fully prepared for the next steps in their education, and who understand the difference they can make to their community.



At Betty Layward Primary School pupils value education and love learning. Learning is revisited and built upon to ensure a breadth and depth of understanding within and across curriculum subjects. Skills are improved over time and used as a vehicle to access new knowledge. Pupils leave Betty Layward as literate and numerate individuals who have the skill set necessary in order to thrive at secondary school and beyond. We see this through talking with our pupils about their learning and what they can remember and we see this through the links our pupils make across subjects and years groups when they talk about their understanding of a concept.

Pupils at Betty Layward know and understand their role in society; they have a sound sense of self and contribute positively to their community. They are tolerant and understand that everyone’s voice should be heard and everyone’s views should be acknowledged and respected. Betty Layward has established a positive learning environment promoting the moral, spiritual, emotional, cultural and physical development of pupils, allowing pupils to push themselves further and take risks in their learning. Our new curriculum and PSHE programme further this, and support children throughout school and beyond. They leave primary school armed with the core values of respect, ambition, curious and creative in learning, success and pride, safe and happy. They are aware of their responsibility as a citizen of the modern world and have secure and developed moral foundations on which to further build. 

A full curriculum overview is available below.

For further information about the school curriculum, please contact Jessica Bailey through the school office.


Early Years Foundation Stage

In the Foundation Stage, the curriculum is made up of seven areas of learning:

  • Personal and Social Development
  • Communication & Language
  • Physical Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding of the World
  • Expressive Arts & Design


For further information about the Early Years Curriculum, please contact the Early Years Foundation Stage Leader – Abi Maulder- through the school office.

Teachers have received training in the key areas of change in the new curriculum.  Using a cross curricular approach, teachers plan units of work which encompass different subjects and make learning relevant and meaningful for our children.

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