Our Approach

At Watcombe we offer a curriculum that inspires our learners. The curriculum holds high expectations through a broad and balanced approach in which all learners are motivated to achieve the highest standards possible in all areas of learning and provides equality of opportunity for all.

Rich and varied experiences enable the learners to cohesively and progressively acquire, develop and apply a range of knowledge, understanding and skills as well as promoting creative and critical thinking. The curriculum utilises opportunities for cross curricular links to deepen and strengthen learning as well as to promote the transference of knowledge and skills.

The curriculum map across the school ensures that the depth and coverage of knowledge and skills meets the statutory requirements and the needs of the pupils and community.

At Watcombe the term curriculum refers to the opportunities that learners experience whilst at school both in lessons, throughout the day and within extra school clubs or curriculum events. It includes the national curriculum subjects, RE, PSHE and RSE.

Inherent within the curriculum is the promotion of emotional wellbeing as well as an integrated opportunities to develop spiritual, moral, social and cultural learning. 

The knowledge of the community in which our learners live is instrumental in influencing the curriculum design in order to ensure their needs, both academic and pastoral, are met.

Our Curriculum: Specific Princples

High Expectations
High expectation and uncompromising focus upon the development and application of reading, writing and maths skills.

EY and KS1
In the EYs and KS1 there is a clear progressive phonics focus to support reading and writing progress.

Create a range of broad and balanced opportunities, across the different subjects, which are tailored to the interest of the pupils and in turn inspire pupils to learn purposefully.

Developing and Understanding
Emphasis upon developing an understanding of the world around them and the high profile of developing and extending vocabulary.

Learning is sequenced cohesively and progressively encouraging children to build on prior learning towards clearly defined outcomes at different stages.

Outcomes are diagnostically evaluated in order to direct future planning.

Curriculum is equitable for all learners – support and intervention needs (both academic and pastoral) are identified early and provision put in place to counter needs with regular review of impact.

Community partnership engagement is harnessed to utilise learning opportunities and to develop a sense of belonging and commitment.

Parental Support
The pursuit of parental support is paramount in order for pupils to achieve to the highest degree.

First class teaching is based upon building positive relationships in which all learners feel valued and develop confidence and self-esteem.

Promoting active learning is paramount to ensure pupils challenge themselves to deepen their thinking and understanding of knowledge, skills and concepts.

Support for SEMH and positive emotional well – being needs features highly to ensure pupils are able to independently regulate emotions and access learning.

Clear focus to develop an understanding of the importance of healthy lifestyles both physically and mentally.

British Values
British Values are held in high recognition and explicit within the curriculum and supported by SMSC

Growth Values
‘Growth Mindset’ promotes positive lifelong learning behaviours and attitudes.

Pupils play a central role in the curriculum to ensure it is meeting their needs and that they have the right support and opportunities to make the best progress possible.

Safeguarding (including E safety) – both keeping pupils safe and pupils learning how to keep themselves safe is at the forefront of the curriculum.

The curriculum is designed to support the children in making progress towards the holistic over – arching school aims 

To be a confident individual

To be a successful learner

To be a responsible citizen

In support of these aims, the school community has established 4 learning values which are integral to the curriculum:


We want learners to show respect to other people and their opinions within school and the wider community.


We want learners to be responsible for their actions and attitudes.


We want learners to be confident and believe in themselves


We want learners to have ambitious personal goals.

Learners are encouraged to be reflective in their learning and develop a clear understanding of what they may need to do next to make progress. Independence is promoted across the school ensuring learners are resilient and creative.

Parents and community are integrated into the learning journey planning and active in celebrating or taking part in the outcomes. The curriculum has a holistic comm


The curriculum at Watcombe is underpinned by the national curriculum expectations through which a broad and balanced learning experience, both cohesive and progressive, is achieved.

This is guided by the following documents:

  • EYFS – focusing upon the 4 key themes and characteristics of effective learning.
  • English and Maths are planned using the National Curriculum expectations for specific year groups
  • Other subjects are based upon the National Curriculum – this is based on a two-year rolling programme for KS1, Lower KS2 and Upper KS2. The Foundation curriculum is planned in response to children’s interests and their next steps (Development Matters).
  • For each subject a knowledge and skill based progression operates which leads
  • planning in terms of the skills and levels children aspire to achieve in line with their developmental stage.
  • RE – follows the Torbay RE Syllabus
  • PSHE & RSE are planned using the PSHE Association Planning Toolkit which incorporates citizenship

The curriculum is delivered through inspiring ‘learning journeys’ which are carefully crafted to capture the pupils’ interests and thus motivate them in their learning. Each learning journey is initiated with a ‘hook’ experience which will enthuse pupils. The learning journey is then carefully sequenced, towards achieving a pre-defined outcome, which is shared with the children, giving the learning real purpose. Pupils will then demonstrate their attainment through the application of skills and knowledge.

Learning is aligned towards achieving the learning journey outcome such as becoming a local Torquay Tourist Guide, Graduating from ‘Wartcombe School of Magic’, producing a cook book or being a guide in the School Zoo.

Some areas/subjects of learning are taught discretely but still have a purposeful outcome.

Learning pedagogy promotes the pupils to be active in their learning and to think deeply about what they are learning. Opportunities are regularly created for learners to reflect upon how the knowledge and skills already acquired can assist in tackling new challenges as well as reviewing progress made.

Questioning is a key element within the implementation of the curriculum. Adults will use questions to engage pupils in the learning, set challenges, encourage deeper thinking and to evaluate learning. Adults enable pupils to understand key concepts through timely and focused discussion. In tandem with growth mindset pupils are encouraged to see mistakes as opportunities for learning, grapple with concepts and have thinking time to order and make sense of their thoughts. Questioning and discussion will support teachers to check pupil understanding and respond appropriately.

The curriculum focuses upon the development of long term memory and the need to ensure that knowledge and skills are embedded within memory. Regular opportunities for revisiting and retrieval are embedded within the curriculum as a ‘learning tool’ in order for children to develop a fluency in recall (unconsciously) and thus allow the working memory to be fully operational and creative. Learning is planned in small steps, that develop into larger ‘chunks’ in a progressive manner building on prior knowledge.

Reading is prevalent throughout the curriculum and there is also a specific drive to ensure that pupils are able to read to the appropriate level in line with their development. The skills of reading are specifically taught with a clear focus upon early phonics developing towards high level skills such as: retrieval, inference and vocabulary. Pupils are encouraged to regularly read both in and out of school to practice the skills they have learned.

Children also share a class story on a daily basis through which understanding about the world is promoted. These opportunities are to explore experiences beyond their own and to develop a richness of vocabulary, which in turn supports them to articulate their thoughts and ideas.

Teacher knowledge is paramount to ensuring high quality teaching alongside clear progressive school knowledge and skills ladders.

Timely intervention to support pupil learning both academically and pastorally is particularly evident within the curriculum. Through careful and accurate assessment (both diagnostic and summative) pupils may be referred to speedy interventions or programmes of support to enable them to make expected progress. Progress is monitored and evaluated in order to ensure needs are being met.


The curriculum at Watcombe reflects the ethos and vision of the school towards achieving the overall school aims.

The curriculum is evaluated at different levels to determine the impact it has upon pupil learning and the outcomes that are achieved. It is our belief, that a well structured and well taught curriculum should meet the needs of the pupils and ensure good progress from pupil starting points.

Both Senior Leaders (School Improvement Leaders) and Middle leaders have responsibility for evaluating the curriculum. This is undertaken through a range of activities that include: observing teaching and learning, discussion with pupils, sampling the quality of work books, analyses of planning and data outcomes. The following questions are asked in relation to ensuring the curriculum provision is as effective as possible:

  • What have the children learnt?
  • Is the learning at the appropriate level for the developmental stage / age?
  • What needs to be developed / improved?
  • Is it in line with the school policies / pedagogy?

Assessment is instrumental in tracking pupil progress. Assessment happens in a range of ways, from lesson by lesson processes gauging understanding and directing learning to a summative assessment demonstrating achievement over time. Assessments inform planning and provisions and may lead to a range of interventions from daily ‘speedy intervention’ to more formal programmes of intervention accessed over time.

Accurate assessment is vital and within the curriculum and a number of strategies (inc. formal mid year testing) are employed to ensure this is achieved. Assessments are also moderated both across the school and by working in partnership with other schools in order to achieve validation.

Assessment data is formally analyse times a year (see appendix A) in order to track progress of pupils and to ensure any additional support to enhance learning is actioned as early as possible in order to have the greatest impact. The impact of additional provisions are then monitored regularly to ensure they are having a positive impact.

Progress is tracked for specific groups of pupils: from starting points / Pupil Premium / SEND. The impact of provisions is then analysed to ensure it is having an impact upon learning.

At Watcombe there is also a focus relating to progress across the different phases of the school. School Improvement Leaders carefully consider and review transitions across phases, within and beyond the school, to ensure smooth and productive changes.

Governors are very proactive in monitoring the impact of the curriculum. The Children and Curriculum Committee meet termly and also have specified governors with specific remits to evaluate the impact of the curriculum on a termly basis:

Data Group – analyse current data for groups across school / analyse national data comparisons

Safeguarding & CLA

Personal Development, Welfare and Behaviour – analyses behaviour logs / attendance / pupil voice

SEND – specific focus on SEND provision and outcomes

Pupil Premium – specific focus on Pupil Premium provision and outcomes

Sports Funding (from Finance Committee)

All evaluative outcomes feed into the School Improvement Plan for the future developments.

Resourcing, Maintaining and Developing the Curriculum

Monitoring and evaluation

We regularly monitor the impact of our curriculum and reflect on the effectiveness through:

  • Reviewing learning journeys and the impact on learning (including talking to the children.
  • Recording and monitoring subject coverage over time to ensure breadth and balance.
  • The school monitors the quality of teaching and learning through a structured self – evaluation programme.

Our Whole School Community as Learners

  • Community links are vitally important for the children to develop a sense of belonging and thrive in their learning. Each learning journey promotes a community link in order to value and celebrate learning that has happened.