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The Curriculum

At Balliol, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Guidance and the National Curriculum when planning learning experiences. 

Our curriculum is driven by the school’s aims statement and we hope that children will leave Balliol with many happy memories where learning was at its best because it was exciting, motivating and very well-matched to the children’s needs and interests. Our curriculum gives children opportunities to learn, build on and develop new skills. Children are exposed to a range of subjects and activities that allow them to experience different topics and learning styles. 

On this page, you will be able to find out more about our approach to the curriculum and more about what your child will be covering in the current term. You can also find out more by visiting the topic work sectionclass page area, helping with homework section and the termly newsletter section of the website.

Early Years Foundation Stage (Ages 2-5)

Within the foundation stage we place great emphasis on finding out about what interests our children and building on these interests in the learning environment. The curriculum is planned around the national 'Guidance for the Foundation Stage,' and emphasises three main characteristics of learning: Playing and exploring, Active learning, Creating and thinking critically. It also emphasises seven key areas of learning:-

             Prime Areas of Learning:

                    1. Communication and Language
                    2. Personal, Social and Emotional Development
                    3. Physical Development

            Specific Areas of Learning:

                    4. Literacy
                    5. Mathematics
                    6. Understanding the world
                    7. Expressive arts and design

Key Stage One (Ages 5 to 7)

Our youngest Key Stage One children continue with the good practice of the early years with opportunities for guided play both in the classroom and in our Year 1 outdoor classroom. By Year 2 children move to a more traditional school day, with daily maths and English lessons alongside theme based learning which is both exciting and challenging.

We place a great deal of importance on early reading and embrace synthetic phonics as a key tool for helping children to make sense of the sounds and letters which make up our spoken and written language.

Key Stage Two (Ages 7 to 11)

We are committed to providing a curriculum which teaches core knowledge alongside the skills that are needed for learning and life. English and maths continue as daily lessons in Key Stage Two as well as being given the opportunity to begin the study of a modern foreign language. Our Key Stage Two curriculum has also been developed on thematic lines, moving away from fixed subject based lessons to a more cross curricular approach to learning.

Phonics across the school

All year groups at Balliol use a phonics programme called 'Sounds-write'. Sounds-write teaches children how to blend and segment words using pure sounds. For more information on 'Sounds-write', please click on the picture link to the left of the screen


 Reading at Balliol

Children read a wide variety of phonic-based books. Once they are ready, they use a programme called 'Accelerated Reader' to test their reading comprehension and independent reading skills. To find out more about accelerated reader, please click on the picture link. 

Handwriting at Balliol

Balliol uses a structured handwriting scheme called 'pen-pals'. Pen-pals provides children with opportunities to develop motor control, learn and consolidate letter shapes and then move systematically onto joining in year one once they are ready. The aim of the scheme is to enable children to develop a fast and fluent handwriting style. 

Curriculum MatrixHere is what each year group is learning about this year:

Balliol Lower School

Theme Coverage 2017-2018

Year Group


Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Foundation Stage

How many colours in a rainbow?

Why do leaves go crispy?

Did dragons exist?

Can we explore it?

Why do spiders eat files?

Am I the fastest?




Into the enchanted forest

Moon Zoom

Splish, splash, splosh!




Amazing lives

Road to Rio

Road to Rio

Underground, overground






I am warrior!


Burps, bottoms and bile


Flow/Urban pioneers

Mighty metals



Rainforest rangers and Hola Mexico!





A child’s war

Misty mountain sierra







Alchemy island

  Traders and raiders

Scream machine

More information about ways to support this topic work at home can be found in the 'Children' section under 'Topic Work' 
More information on individual year groups topics can be found in the 'Children' section under 'Class pages'

Educational Visits

We aim to give children first hand experience of learning wherever possible and we use trips and visitors to make learning as realistic as possible. When your child starts school, we ask for a general consent form for local visits. We always send a separate consent form for trips which involve transport. Parents are encouraged to accompany us on visits if they wish to do so as we always need to take along additional adults.

We recognise that school trips are expensive and we are fortunate that our PTA (Friends of Balliol) makes a significant contribution to many of our school trips in order to make them more affordable to families.The governors policy on charging is to ask for a voluntary contribution from parents for school trips. No child will be excluded if they cannot pay, but we do appreciate your contributions and will always try to keep costs to a minimum. 

Throughout their time with us children might visit:-

Ø  Bedford Museum

Ø  Mead Open Farm

Ø  London Zoo

Ø  Warwick Castle

Ø  Duxford Air Museum

Ø  Evacuation Day

Ø  Cadbury’s World

Ø  PGL (Caythorpe Court residential activity centre)

Ø  PE tournaments