Juniors Curriculum

For many years Polam Hall School has followed a ‘Creative Curriculum’ – that is one that involves interactive learning methods designed specifically to encourage autonomy and independent thinking.

Early Years Foundation Stage

Our Reception class follows the national framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage including the Government’s National Baseline Assessments as a way of monitoring a child’s progress and we are in the process of developing a self-contained Foundation Unit with its own enclosed garden and play area.

Each day is structured so that they can independently access a variety of different activities covering the seven areas of learning:

  • Personal and Social Development
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Art and Design

Our Early Years children are very much involved in the wider school community and participate in school assemblies, fun days, charity events, and play their part in the Christmas production. This fluid and natural collaboration boosts their confidence, encourages interaction with others as they begin their educational journey with us.

Key Stage 1


Learning during Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) is focused around weekly challenges and is largely topic-based covering all aspects of the curriculum including ICT, history, geography, music, PE, art and RE. This approach to learning teaches our children to work well with others, developing their communication skills and introducing them to negotiation, compromise, leadership, and consensus. At the same time, we are working constantly on reading, writing and mathematics, ensuring that our children cover all the requirements of the National Curriculum. We carry out the required National Phonic Screening check during Year 1 and Standard Attainment Tests (SATs) take place in Year 2. The outcomes of these assessments are shared with parents.

Our pupils are frequently asked to present their work for different audiences and parents are invited into school to see what their children have been learning. Classes also take it in turns to prepare and present weekly school assemblies to their peers, teachers and parents.

Key Stage 2


From Year 3 onwards children are taught predominately by subject specialist teachers – with particular emphasis on English, Maths and Science. We work from the solid framework of the National Curriculum and aim to provide exciting lessons that keep the children engaged at all times.

In English our literacy work is supported by a well-stocked Junior library, as well as libraries within each classroom. Speaking and Listening are also a major part of the curriculum and pupils in Years 5 and 6 compete in the Darlington Festival of Performing Arts Choric Speech Class which involves performing poems together. The children always rise to the challenge and gain newfound self-confidence as a result.

In Maths, we strive to show pupils the connection between numeracy and everyday life. To begin with, pupils are introduced to simple number concepts using everyday objects and situations, then as they progress these mathematical skills are used in other cross-curricular activities – such as using geometry to plan, measure and make bunting for a Second World War challenge.

The Science taught in Key Stage 2 is practical and interactive and we have the advantage of a superbly equipped science laboratory. Pupils have grown their own plants and even made a greenhouse from lemonade bottles and are able to observe wildlife in its natural habitat thanks to our beautiful setting in 20 acres of landscaped grounds. We have woodlands and a pond and the children have places to set up their own bird boxes. Science topics are always illustrated with hands-on challenges and practical investigations. A topic about space, for example, will involve the handling of real meteorites and lunar rock.

At the end of Year 6 our children complete Key Stage 2 SATs (Standard Attainment Tests) in English and Maths and formal assessments related to age-related expectations are also reported in Science. The results are used to inform their future teachers in readiness for Year 7 and are also shared with parents.