Teaching and learning at Clifton is based on the New National Curriculum 2014 for Years 1 to 6 and the Statutory Framework for our Nursery and Reception children. Across the school, teachers work to ensure the curriculum is rich, varied and meets all of the children's needs.

Also read: Birmingham City Council's Curriculum Statement (pdf)

International Primary Curriculum (IPC)

IPC is a comprehensive, thematic, creative curriculum for 3 to 11 year olds. The IPC has been designed to ensure rigorous learning but also to help teachers make all learning exciting, active and meaningful for children. Each topic has an entry and an exit point, which help bring learning alive. At Clifton, IPC is used to teach foundation subjects, such as History, Geography, Design Technology and Art. Wherever possible, teachers link IPC topics into literacy and numeracy lessons.

Please click below for more detail on how IPC, Science and Computing are covered in each year group across the academic year:

National Curriculum Guides for Parents

The following documents, from Rising Stars, give a guide to the new national curriculum at each year of primary school:


At Clifton Primary School we follow the new National Curriculum for English which is a statutory requirement. The curriculum contains the programmes of study and attainment targets for children in Years 1 to 6.

Our approach to teaching reading

At Clifton our aim is for children to develop a love of reading and to know the importance of reading for pleasure as well as for information. We want our children to read widely and often, with fluency and good understanding. To achieve this we have a comprehensive approach to teaching reading that includes: a systematic synthetic phonics programme; a comprehensive home reading scheme; well stocked book corners in every classroom; whole class shared book; literacy lessons based on real texts; focused 'guided' reading sessions and an emphasis on developing reading skills throughout the curriculum.

Added to this, Clifton also runs a programme called Accelerated Reader for Year 3 to 6. Accelerated Reader (AR) is a reading intervention which helps teachers to monitor children's independent reading. AR aims to significantly increase reading progress and reading motivation. For more information, read the document below:

Our approach to teaching phonics

Is based on the Government approved scheme 'Letters and Sounds'. We follow the sequence and approach of 'Letters and Sounds' but this is supplemented with resources from 'Read, Write Inc' to support children in learning the correct letter formation and sounds. We use several schemes for our home reading books; these are mainly 'PM Readers' and 'Big Cat' real books, supplemented with 'Project X' and 'Floppy's Phonics' books. All our home reading books are 'book banded' so children read books at the appropriate level for their reading development. Children also take home a 'free choice' book from their class library alongside their reading scheme book. To inspire children and share our love of reading, teachers also have a whole class story session; this is a lovely time for children to enjoy being read to and to have the opportunity to share a book for pleasure. In addition, daily literacy lessons are planned around real, high quality books that are based on the wider topic that children are learning about. Literacy lessons are planned as a sequence of learning activities where children interact with the text in depth, acquiring a wide vocabulary, developing an understanding of grammar and knowledge of literary conventions. We have a whole school overview of literacy texts to ensure children experience a good range of high quality books of different genres. 'Guided' reading occurs daily in class; this is an opportunity for teachers to read with children in small groups to consolidate key skills, including phonics and comprehension, alongside other literacy skills, in a rich and meaningful context. The development of key reading skills is a high priority at Clifton and every opportunity to do this is fully utilised throughout the wider curriculum.

Our approach to teaching writing

In the Early Years, we prepare the children for writing and focus on their physical development, strength and stamina. Early writing is taught within phonics so that children learn correct letter formation at the same time as their sounds. We also begin the 'Penpals' handwriting scheme that continues up to Year 6 so that children and staff at Clifton all use a consistent handwriting style. We adhere to presentation guidelines to also ensure a consistent approach to writing in books. From Reception, writing is taught discretely in Literacy lessons, building on from interaction with each text. We have developed a writing continuum, based on the work of 'Alan Peat', to ensure that we have high expectations of children's writing in each year group, so that it is increasingly challenging. Opportunities to develop writing skills are also maximised throughout the curriculum.


Nursery and Reception follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework for Mathematical Development. Children experience maths through play and adult focussed activities enabling them to develop a rich and varied understanding of early mathematical concepts.

Children in Years 1 to 6 follow the new statutory National Curriculum for Mathematics.

From Reception to Year 3, children are taught mathematics using ideas and strategies from Mathematics Mastery. This is based on ideas from Singapore which complement the New National Curriculum. Children are taught maths using a Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) approach which means they experience maths in a practical context, where they have a variety of opportunities to solve problems using practical equipment. This ensures they develop a deep understanding of key mathematical concepts from an early age. Problem solving and reasoning is at the centre of children's learning enabling them to understand how to solve and reason mathematically. This is further embedded in to our teaching of mathematics from Years 4 to 6 allowing children to solve problems of a higher complexity.

The information in the document below has been taken directly from the New National Curriculum and was implemented in September 2014.


At Clifton Primary School the Nursery and Reception aged pupils follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Within this, Science is taught as part of Understanding the World. The children learn through exploration and observation and exploring the natural environment and real life situations.

Pupils in Years 1 to 6 follow the new statutory National Curriculum for Science. In Years 1 and 2 Science is taught through the IPC framework in a cross-curricular approach and supplemented by some separate Science lessons. In Years 3 to 6 Science is taught discretely but is again supplemented by the IPC framework.

All pupils have access to a dedicated science lab, and take part in practical lessons in the lab regularly. In addition, practical science investigations take place in the classroom. This helps pupils to develop their 'working scientifically' skills alongside their scientific subject knowledge.

Every year at Clifton, the children also participate in a 'Science and Health Fortnight' where a common theme is investigated and pupils enjoy workshops provided by outside professionals.

Parents attended a 'Kitchen Science' workshop in the lab, and enjoyed making their own ice cream!
Dr Tim Harrison providing a dramatic Science Lecture for Years 4 to 6.


Computing is taught across the school. Half termly, classes focus on a unit of work based on the 2014 Programme of Study. Wherever possible the scheme is integrated to ensure that the delivery of Computing is linked to Clifton's themed curriculum (IPC), however discrete study is also required.

Technology inside and outside classrooms supports the development of computing capability by enabling further development of tasks; encouraging research and allowing for the creative use of ICT.

Each year, Clifton celebrates Safer Internet Day during an 'Safer Internet Week'. This raises the profile of using technology sensibly and involves children, parents and staff. Added to this, 'digital literacy' is taught discretely each half term, teaching pupils the skills they need to use technology responsibly.

Modern Foreign Languages

At Clifton, children begin to learn the French language from Reception. Lessons involve answering the register, informal greetings and songs.

French has been introduced for all pupils from Year 3 in accordance with the changes to the curriculum. French is taught to children in Years 3 to 6 during weekly lessons. The children learn classroom instructions, body parts, telling the time, talking about where they live and the geographical location of French towns and cities. The units revisit the previous year's learning and cover them in growing depth each year.

We have also celebrated European Languages Day for several years each September, and every year group spends time learning about the values and customs of a different European country.


At Clifton, all children take part in regular music activities from the Early Years Foundation stage (EYFS) through Key Stages 1 and 2.

In the Early years and Key stage 1 children are taught to use their voices as the main instrument and lessons involve vocal control, pulse and rhythmic tasks based on the 'Kodaly' principles. Children also learn to play untuned and a limited range of tuned instruments musically and in groups. Composition plays a key role in music performance and children develop their speaking and listening skills performing and appraising music.

In Key Stage 2 children use these underpinning music skills to learn more complex tuned instruments. All Year 3 children learn the recorder, Year 4 children learn the Clarinet, Tenor Horn or Ocarina, and Year 6 develop composition through learning Keyboard. Selected 'Talented' pupils in Year 5 and 6 take part in small group lessons on Brass or Classical Guitar.

We also have two popular Choirs at Clifton, Key Stage 1 and 2. Children who learn instruments or attend Choir are given regular opportunities to perform in front of an audience both inside and out of the school setting.

All children from Reception to Year 6 take part in weekly song practice where they learn and perform a range of songs and musical styles.


At Clifton, pupils learn about personal, social, health and economic education through a range of discreet and cross-curricular learning opportunities, alongside a number of citizenship opportunities.

Children in the Foundation Stage follow the Early Years Statutory Framework, where 'Personal, social and emotional development' is a key component, along with 'understanding of the world.' Each child is assessed according to the Early Learning Goals.

From Reception to Year 4, pupils have weekly lessons in 'PATHS' (Promoting alternative thinking strategies). The programme is a universal, classroom based curriculum that teaches social and emotional learning. It involves helping children to: recognise emotions and values; make constructive choices about personal and social behaviour; and show understanding and empathy for others. We intend to continue with PATHS through to Year 5 and 6, following the pupils as they move up the school.

In Years 5 and 6, pupils access a range of schemes of work to meet the needs of the National Curriculum as well as taking a greater role in terms of Citizenship within the school. In Year 5, pupils use the 'Values Versus Violence Education Programme,' which has been developed to provide children with an awareness of risk and risk management and is supported by the Home Office. We have recently begun a partnership with King Edwards Grammar School to provide opportunities for pupils to debate topical issues.

Pupils are actively encouraged to take a range of Citizenship opportunities; within their class and across the school including; sports leadership, monitor roles, prefects, Head boy and girl and lunchtime supervision of meal times.

Religious Education

At Clifton, we teach Religious Education in accordance with the Birmingham Agreed Syllabus 2007. Religious Education is taught through 24 dispositions and incorporates all major religions.

At Clifton, we believe that is it important for our children to have an insight into the main 6 world religions: Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism.

Each year group have a religion that they focus on; within that year they visit the relevant place of worship and take part in an assembly based on a festival celebrated by that religion. They also study a selection of the other main religions, the table below sets out which religions are covered in each year.

Year Group Focus Other Studies
Year 1 Christianity Islam
Year 2 Buddhism Islam, Christianity
Year 3 Sikhism Christianity, Islam, Judaism
Year 4 Judaism Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism
Year 5 Hinduism Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism
Year 6 Islam Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism