Core principles

Fundamental principles of teaching and learning at Southville Primary School

At our school, we work to provide a curriculum that is both challenging and engaging, encouraging children to be excited about and engaged with their learning whilst also making excellent progress to achieve well in all subjects. 

The following principles underpin teaching and learning at our school:

  • Provides challenge at all levels
  • Is accessible to all children
  • Is part of a progressive learning journey
  • Promotes a sense of ‘Wow!’
  • Shows a clear progression within and across year groups
  • Prepares children for being responsible local and global citizens
  • Teaches children about their rights and responsibilities
  • Promotes a sense of wellbeing and teaches children to recognise, name and communicate their feelings
  • Gives children the chance to develop informed opinions and communicate them to others
  • Develops creativity both in practice and in thought

Curriculum Overview 2021—2022

Year Group Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
1 Pesky Pirates Bandages & Bravery Let’s Play Life Below Water Down on the Farm Awesome Africa
2 An Island Home Fire! Fire! Power of Pictures Amazon Adventure Food Heroes Terrific Trees
3 Savage Stone Age To the Ends of the Earth Healthy Me What the Romans Did for Us Brilliant Light Oh, Grow Up!
4 All Around Us Awesome Ancient Egyptians Imaginary Worlds Listen Up! Hoo Were the Anglo-Saxons Life Down Under
5 New York, New York Out of the World Greatest Greeks Now that’s what I call the 1960s The Vikings are Coming Climate Warriors
6 Bristol Street Art Mysterious Mayans My, How You’ve Changed Peace, Politics & Protests Marvellous Medicine Curious Crime

Immersive Learning

At our school, we learn many subjects under one umbrella; we call this ‘Immersive Learning’ as the children are fully immersed in a particular topic or theme for a term and become experts in that area of the curriculum. Our immersive curriculum combines writing, history, geography, art, design & technology and science, plus other subjects such as mathematics and physical education where appropriate. The key benefits of this approach, and the reasons for our decision to implement this curriculum, are:

  • The children learn key pieces of knowledge before applying this understanding to their writing; the children therefore always have lots of content for and in their written pieces; writing becomes a purposeful tool used to communicate an idea, opinion or concept
  • Foundation subjects are given the same status and value as core subjects, which creates a culture of focus
    and pride across the whole curriculum
  • There is a clear progression of skills in foundation subjects within and across year groups, ensuring breadth and depth is built into daily lessons
  • Vocabulary is learned in context and applied across the curriculum, including in reading and writing
  • Being surrounded by vocabulary, visuals and prompts, as well as revisiting key linked concepts, supports children with additional needs and those who speak English as an additional language
  • Links between and across subjects are made explicit and allow children to build knowledge and understanding over time as well as make links with their own lives and experiences.

In any given topic, the children study two or three key driver subjects, one of which is always English. Science is embedded into each topic, sometimes as a key driver. Other subjects may be fed in, depending on the focus of the learning. For example, when studying Antarctica, year 3 focus heavily on geography and science, but elements of history are fed in when studying the exploration of Shackleton and his team.





The children’s interest and questions are sought at the beginning of each topic, which are then fed in where possible to future lessons. Each class has a ‘Hook Day’ early on in the topic to get the children immersed and engaged from the outset. The majority of the term is then a process of learning knowledge and skills within context, which is then applied to a piece of writing. For example, once year 5 have learned about the Olympics in Ancient Greece, including participating in their own mini Olympics, they write a sports report of one of the events.

We aim to support our children in becoming positive citizens of the future and to understand their personal roles and responsibilities as members of the local, national and global communities. To this end, each year group studies one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, using each goal as the launch pad for a topic. The six UN goals we have chosen are: Life Below Water; Zero Hunger; Good Health & Wellbeing; Clean Water & Sanitation; Climate Action; Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions.

Across each year group, there is a balance of key drivers, to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum for all. Over the six terms, there are:

  • 3 humanities driven topics (either 2 history + 1 geography or vice versa)
  • 1 science driven topic
  • 1 art driven topic (an art movement/period/person including art history, architecture, photography,
    sculpture, crafts)
  • 1 global citizenship driven topic (based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals)

At key points in each phase, the children learn about local history and geography, making the curriculum relevant and personalised to our area of Bristol. For example, year 1 study Pesky Pirates, with a focus on ships and characters from our city; year 6 study Bristol Street Art, focusing on the graffiti and street art culture of the local area. Whenever possible, year groups plan enrichment opportunities to support this, such as a year 1 pirate trip through Bristol harbour on The Matthew, a reconstruction of a 15th-century ship.