School Logo


Curriculum Vision and Intent


At Vernham Dean Gillum’s our Curriculum is at the heart of everything we do. It is underpinned by our Christian Values of; Compassion, Courage and Creativity so that we can develop compassionate, Courageous, Creative citizens of the future in God’s love. Our Curriculum offers a diet that is broad and balanced, purposeful to their lives and the world round them. The curriculum is relevant with lots of “real life” experiences to support the children in developing and deepening their vital knowledge, skills and understanding . It builds on their prior learning and ensures that they can make contextual links between different areas of the curriculum, concepts, and subjects.


We want the children at Vernham Dean to SOAR in everything they do. ( Isaiah 40:31- "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like Eagles") Through a growth mindset (Courageous) attitude they can persevere to achieve what ever they set their mind to. At Vernham Dean our curriculum ensures that; "Every child is challenged, no matter what their starting point".  


S= Success for all

           O=Ownership of learning

                      A=Achievement and aspirations

        R=Resilient, risk takers



Our curriculum intent ensures that through our Chrisian Values of; Compassion, Courage and Creativity, the children take ownership and the lead on their learning, through their own lines of enquiry, questioning and ability to reflect on and improve their learning:


S= Stretch- How did I challenge myself? Courage

O= Ownership of learning, out of the box thinking- How did I show Creativity?

A= Apply- How did I apply new skills, skills I already knew?- Creativity

R= Resilience, risk taking- How was I resilient, show Courage in the lesson?

Curriculum Strategy 2020_2021

Curriculum Implementation


Our curriculum is implemented in the following ways;


  • Through purposeful experiences that relate to the children's life and will develop the skills they will need in the future.
  • Through "real life, hands on" experiences- visits, visitors in and around the local community, wider community and global community.
  • Using a 2 year cycle of planning for mixed year group planning. (Except in early years)
  • Ensuring that the curriculum reflects the current climate supporting children's emotional health and well being as well as ensuring they are knowledgeable about how to keep themselves safe in a range of situations.
  • Starting each new theme with an exciting "hook" to engage the children.
  • Planning effective learning journeys that build on prior learning as well as developing new skills and have a clear end goal. 
  • Cross curricular themes enabling children to make contextual links, learning more and remembering more.
  • Opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills to a variety of contexts.
  • Through a strong focus on our 3 Cs Christian Values- Compassion, Courage and Creativity and by ensuring "every child is challenged, regardless of their starting point", our SOAR learning principles.
  • Through enabling children to take ownership of their own learning and challenge themselves by following their own lines of enquiry.
  • Ensuring that the curriculum allows opportunities to risk take, develop resilience and make choices.
  • Opportunities for children to problem solve and understand that mistakes are part of the learning process.
  • To develop and apply a growth mindset attitude.
  • Work in collaboration with others as well as develop crucial independent skills.
  • The use of strong, engaging and diverse text drivers in English.
  • Through celebrating the diverse cultural world in which we live and others beliefs.

Recovery Curriculum due to COVID-19

As many children were unable to attend school due to the COVID pandemic, it is vital that now they are in school, we are teaching them a curriculum that ensures we are able to fill any gaps which they may have in their learning. At Vernham Dean we are using strong assessment for learning day to day in every lesson to ensure the children's needs are being met and that they are being challenged from their individual starting points. As a school we are using the recovery curriculum devised from Hampshire in English and Mathematics as our basis. There is some more information and examples for you to see below under the different subject headings:


For more detailed curriculum information, please see each class page which will have half termly overviews of what the children will be learning in each subject area.


Early Years

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.


At Vernham Dean Gillum’s Church of England Primary School in the Reception Year, the year in which the children turn 5, we follow the EYFS Profile.  Our class is called Willow and we learn in a happy and engaging indoor and outdoor environment. We like to engage with our local and wider community as much as possible to enrich the children’s learning and give them real life experiences. We plan our curriculum to cover the prime and specific areas mentioned below but where at all possible like to go with what the children’s interest are, there and then in the moment!


Early Years learning concentrates on 7 areas split between prime and specific areas of learning.

The prime areas of learning are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development


The specific areas of learning are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design


Learning through play is one of the key principles of Early Years education and we embrace this fully whilst providing structure and content through teacher lead activities and interventions.  Have a look at our Willow class page in our ‘Classes’ section of the website to see lots of our learning in action!


Teaching Phonics and Reading
Here at Vernham Dean we use Letters and Sounds to teach phonics.

Letters and Sounds is a phonics’ resource that has a six phase programme designed to build children’s speaking and listening skills as well as prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills.  It sets out a detailed systematic programme for teaching which the school starts when children enter Year R; the key aim is for them to become fluent readers by the age of seven.

Parents often worry that they will not be able to support their child with phonics because ‘things have changed’.  Not to worry as our teachers here will guided and support you through the six phonic phases as your child progresses.


Our reading books are all linked to support early reading and are fully decodable linked to the phonics that the children are learning. We use Letters and Sounds phased fiction and non-fiction phonic books, Dandelion phonic readers as well as Reading Planet phonic reading books, Big Cat phonics and Bug club. These books all cover Letters and Sounds phonics from phases 1-6 and so are used with our Early readers in KS2 also.


Enriching the Curriculum
What does enriching the curriculum mean? In short it means that strive to extend learners’ horizons and widen their experiences across the curriculum.  Through enriching our curriculum further we will:

  • Embed a wider range of activities for children to learn in different ways
  • Present different activities that create enthusiasm for learning
  • Enhance motivation for learning
  • Create an openness to new thinking and ideas
  • Create opportunities for children to think creatively and independently
  • Promote a higher level of thinking through enquiry activities


Outdoor Learning
At Vernham Dean Primary we believe in the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum. We take every opportunity to ensure that our children have the opportunity to be engaged in their learning. The outdoor environment has massive potential for providing learning opportunities and we are extremely fortunate to be surrounded by an environment rich in opportunities. We ensure that our children are provided with the opportunities to learn outside the classroom and we utilise our grounds across the curriculum.  Both Year R and our Year 1/2 have dedicated areas for outdoors learning.  Last year we held our first Countryside Day at Linkenholt and will be holding another day this year.


Our Maths lessons are designed to provide children with meaningful skills to apply to ‘real-life’ situations.  We follow the Hampshire maths curriculum overview framework and enhance it through high quality resources such as I See reasoning, NRICH, White Rose Maths and Dip and Pick. Within lessons, the children are encouraged to make choices about the resources and methods used, to discover and evaluate what helps them to learn in the most effective way. After the opportunity to build fluency of skills, the children are then guided in applying these through reasoning and problem solving, to deepen their understanding and showcase the value of the skills they have developed in meaningful ‘real-life’ situations and see the value of mathematics in every day life.


For our Early Years children, maths is integrated into daily activities through indoor and outdoor learning. They follow the EYFS White Rose curriculum for maths, which links story time and discovery to the key principles of early mathematics: cardinality and counting, comparison, composition, pattern, shape and space, and measure.

This policy will guide you through how your child is taught the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) at Vernham Dean Gillum’s.


At Vernham Dean Primary we always ensure there is an exciting hook for writing so that it inspires imagination. Examples of hooks include: a wellie walk; cooking; animated stories without endings and enriched texts. All our units of work are meaningful and have clear purpose and audience. Each week, children are given the opportunity for free writing as Aspiring Authors so they can take ownership as an author.English is text driven and a fantastic wide range of texts are explored and different genres of writing within that one text.

Vernham Dean Gillum’s reading principles.

*Reading is for everyone.

*Reading is accessible for all

*To create love of the written word

*Discover new worlds and authors

*To use books to help us discover a world of wonder, diversity, information and imagination

Reading is highly valued at our school, each class has a devoted reading and as a school we love books. We have introduced the RED challenge this year which stands for Read Every Day, this encourages children to at home everyday and this is celebrated in school .

Each day the children have a reading session where key skills are taught which include teacher modelling and independent or group tasks. On Fridays we have Free Reading Friday where our children have the opportunity to read with other children across the school, work on a reading challenge or read for pleasure. Our library is well stocked, and well maintained by a parent volunteer; families are able to use the library after school on Tuesday and Thursdays.


In Early Years, our children enjoy learning phonics each day and are presented with many writing and reading opportunities linked into the children’s play both indoors and outdoors.


Assessment in English.

Assessment is much more than just summative judgements made at the end of a unit, term or year of work. We as a team have formative assessment at the heart of what we do in the classroom. This is assessment which informs a learner’s next steps, either in that lesson or for the next day. It enables the learner to know where they are, where they need to get to and, perhaps most crucially, how they are going to get there. This is known as Assessment for Learning and is all about a dialogue between the teacher and the pupil.Children

provide evidence and teachers don’t need to rely on formal tests to make judgements as to how well a child is doing. Observation, careful questioning and thoughtful task design mean that tests are not part of our children’s learning journey.


From September 2020 (now postponed to Sept 2021) a greater emphasis is to be placed on the PSHE and RSHE curriculum. At Vernham Dean we use a programme of study called JIGSAW to teach both PSHE and RSHE to our children. JIGSAW develops the child's emotional well-being in a progressive way and teaches them about changes that may happen to them as they grow and about relationships at an age appropriate stage. JIGSAW also links strongly to our Health and Citizenship and Science curriculums.

Health and Citizenship & British Values

At Vernham Dean we have made the decision to write and plan a programme of education which is specifically for our children.  This is called Health and Citizenship and will offer a wide range of subjects including:

  • Positive relationships and skills for success
  • Staying safe in the wider world
  • Money wise skills
  • First aid
  • Life skill

Promoting British Values

Our ‘Promoting British Values’ document has been written using guidance from Department of Education’s ‘Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in school’ (DfE 2014), which states:

‘Schools should promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.


We promote these values through our Vision, our Christian Faith and Values, and enrichment activities. We work together as a whole school community to provide a happy, safe, secure and stimulating environment where children are motivated to learn, are valued as individuals and encouraged to achieve their full potential.


Our school recognises the part that science has to play in the world around us, and we strive to ensure that our children are curious about their world. We teach science through the delivery of practical and engaging lessons. Through our longitudinal studies, our children develop a natural curiosity to question and investigate the world in which we live. In lessons both in and outside of the classroom, we encourage our children from Year R through to Year 6 to ask questions and investigate scientifically.


History at Vernham Dean Gillum’s Primary School involves engaging pupils in investigating questions about people and events in the past in order to enable them to better understand their lives today and for a future as more informed and enlightened citizens.

Throughout the school the children will develop a wide range of critical thinking skills which enable them to understand the nature of knowledge and to distinguish between ‘fact’ and subjectivity when it comes to making conclusions and judgements.


Geography at Vernham Dean Gillum's allows the children to explore the world around them, both locally and in the wider context. They will learn different geological skills through map work, atlas work within school as well as fieldwork studies outside of our school context. Children will learn the appropriate vocabulary for various geographical terms and will be encouraged to pose and follow their own lines of enquiry questions.


At Vernham Dean Primary, our religious education curriculum gives our children a broad understanding of world religions. We follow Hampshire County Council’s syllabus called ‘The Living Difference’ as well as "Understanding Christianity". They build on the approach to religious education, enriched by philosophical and theological enquiry, as well as current research. The curriculum is a predominantly Christian in focus but each key stage focuses on other world religions such as; Hinduism, Judaism and Islam.

For the school's RE and Collective Worship Policy, please see the separate area on the website.


Our school uses the cloud-based learning resource Charanga.  This brings together great music, modern education and the latest educational technology; all children from Year R upwards use this resource.  As a school we love to sing, and provide many opportunities across the school week including: Worship singing, music lessons and our highly regarded choir.  Our children have the opportunity to sing in school, church and perform to the community.  This academic year, our choir will take part in Young Voices at the O2, which is the largest school choir concert in the world.


We offer weekly ukulele, guitar or piano lessons and you can sign  your child up through our office  (please note that these lessons have a charge).


We take physical education very seriously and recognise that a healthy body is a happy body. We foster positive attitudes to health and understand that exercise leads to strong physical development; we also recognise that physical education aids self-confidence and social skills too. In addition to a teacher led PE lesson, each week we provide children with a specialist sports’ coach who develops elements of sport that the school does not normally teach, for example, Lacrosse and Handball. In addition, each lunchtime the school has an Active Play Leader who helps us to promote an active and healthy lifestyle. Our active games help children to strengthen muscles and improve co-ordination.  Each year the school’s Tag Rugby team participates in a local rugby tournament, and we form teams when other sports events arise.


The intent of the Art Curriculum at Vernham Dean is to provide plenty of opportunities for the children to learn, apply and strengthen the key skills of: Line, tone, texture, colour, pattern and shape.

All these elements will be taught within printing, textiles, drawing, painting, collage and 3D Sculpture.

It is also the aim of the Art Curriculum to provide the children with knowledge of different artists which they can draw inspiration and technique from as well as enjoy the cultured world of art by visiting art galleries and working with artists in school.

In addition, the school aims to develop the children’s use and understanding of technical vocabulary associated with this subject. This is so that the children can articulate the skills/techniques that they have applied, the equipment that they have used and an explanation of what their art work represents.


Our Computing Curriculum recognises the importance of computing and IT as a tool in society and the fact that it is evolving all the time. We teach the children vital skills that they will need in their future lives,  finding, exploring, analysing, exchanging and presenting information responsibly and creatively. They learn how to employ Computing and IT to enable rapid access to ideas and experiences from a wider range of sources. As well as understanding how to keep themselves safe and the importance of privacy when online.


Our Spanish is taught across KS2 and is focused on speaking and responding to language. Vocabulary is regularly revised through games, songs.

KS2 Spanish Overview