Our Approach to the National Curriculum.

At Usworth Colliery Primary School we believe that children learn best when they are actively engaged in their own learning and this is the main principle as to why we have adopted ‘The Learning Challenge Curriculum’. This applies a cross curricular approach and the concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work. It requires deep thinking, and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point.

A prime learning challenge is communicated as a question and is used as a starting point for designing the curriculum. Subsidiary challenges are then planned and again expressed as a question. Each Learning Challenge needs to make sense to our children and is something which is within their immediate understanding and interest.

Key skills for each subject in the National Curriculum are broken down into year group expectations. They ensure our children develop the essential skills to succeed in their education.

Reflection is central to the whole process of ‘The Learning Challenge Curriculum’. Our children present their learning to the rest of the class through both oracy and ICT. A question may be presented to the children in order to help them reflect upon their learning.

Outdoor Learning at Usworth Colliery Primary School.

Through Outdoor Learning children learn through what they do, through what they encounter and through what they discover. Participants learn about the outdoors, themselves and each other, while also learning outdoor skills. Active learning readily develops the learning skills of enquiry, experiment, feedback, reflection, review and cooperative learning. It is also essential for accelerated learning and development.

Curriculum - Further Information

Skills, Knowledge and Understanding

Please click the links below to download the objectives for each subject. These will be used as an expected benchmark to ensure that each child is working at a level that is appropriate for their age.

Key Skills Document

Whole School Evidence

Further information can be found on the Personal, Social, Health & Cultural Education (PSHCE) subject page. Please Click Here.

What is the learning challenge curriculum?

The learning challenge curriculum has been designed to link together critical elements in:

What is the underlying pedagogy?

Teaching and learning

  • Built around a questioning and enquiry approach; helping to hook children into learning.
  • Incorporates curiosity into the teaching sequences.
  • Incorporates challenge and differentiation.


  • Incorporating’ thinking about thinking and learning’.


  • Allows you to demonstrate statutory coverage.
  • Ensures an incremental approach to skill development.
  • Driven by driving standards in all subjects.
  • Supported differentiation.
  • Weaves together subject specific skills; the basics and genre features in writing.


  • Assessment pro-actively built into the planning process.
  • Skill progression used to ensure clarity of levelling in all subjects.
  • Allows assessment to be used to make a difference to what actually happens in the classroom.

The Learning Challenge Learning Journey


What might children be interested in?

What do they already know?

Do they have any misconceptions?

How might they prefer to learn?

Big Picture

How will you share the big picture?

How will you visually represent the learning journey?

Will there be any surprises?

How will you include children’s questions?


How will non-negotiables be applied?

Links to specific genre/s?

Maths & ICT links?

Reflect, review & evaluate

How will you build in?

What difference will it make?

Do you reflect on

‘the what’ and ‘the how’?


What do you know about the context of your children?

What do you know about the interests

& motivations of your children?

Starting Point

What will get the children hooked?

What will fire them up?

(May be the wow!)


What will hook children?

What will they remember?

How will they link it to learning?


What is the outcome for the unit?

What are children working towards?

Does it add meaning and value?

What drives the learning challenge approach?

  • Planned around the distinctive needs your children
  • Enquiry based to promote curiosity
  • Outcomes driven to raise standards
  • Embeds the application of basic skills
  • Allows writing to be meaningfully embedded
  • Cross-curricular (where meaningful)
  • Interesting for the teacher as well as children
  • Integrates empowering learning (‘learn to learn’)
  • Underpinned by latest thinking about quality learning and brain-based learning


There is a ’Big Question’, which lasts for a longer period of time (usually a half-term). Each week there are separate questions (called learning challenges), which build up to answer the ‘Big Question’. The teacher and children work together to create the learning challenges. Such questions could be:

Are all wolves bad?

Could I be eaten by a dinosaur?

How can Usain Bolt move so quickly?

Will you ever see the water you drink again?

Where would you choose to build a city?

Pre-learning tasks help bring out what learners already know, what misconceptions they may have, and what really interests them. Teachers use this as a basis for their planning.

Progression in the curriculum is built around essential knowledge, understanding and key skills within each subject. These are broken into year group expectations and have additional challenges for able learners. English, Mathematics and ICT skills are applied where it is appropriate to do so.

Time for children to reflect upon or review their learning is central to the whole process. The idea is that learners present their learning to the rest of the class, using speaking & listening and ICT skills to do so.

Learning challenges are shared with parents and they are asked to contribute when and where they can (either through homework, visiting school to share information or sending in resources).

Visits and visitors are imperative to answering our weekly learning challenges. Learning challenge planning will differ from year to year depending upon the interests of the children and staff, although covering the main skills, knowledge and understanding for the year group.

Please click on the links below to access the Government website and information about the national curriculum tests (often referred to as SATS).

Changes Information

End of KS2 Assessment Testing Information for Parents

For further information please click the links below.

Information Leaflet

The National Tests – A Parent’s Guide

The following short videos, aimed at parents, are designed to give you an outline of information about the new National Curriculum tests. You may also be interested in the free booklets for parents that explains the tests in more detail. To download the booklets please click on relevant link below:

KS 1 tests 2016

KS2 tests 2016

The KS1 and KS2 Writing exemplification documents are available here:

Teacher Asessment Exemplification KS1 English Writing

Teacher Assessment Exemplification KS2 English Writing