The Burwash Curriculum

The Burwash Vision

“A love of learning is nurtured through our vibrant, innovative curriculum.”

“ Inspirational teaching promotes high aspirations for all children, both socially and academically.”

“Children and staff are confident, happy and independent learners.”

“Outdoor learning gives children the opportunity to develop an inquisitive and positive relationship with the natural world.”

Statements from our Vision relating to the curriculum

Burwash CE Primary School curriculum is based upon the National Curriculum core and foundation subjects, which are taught through a relevant, contextual and inspiring creative curriculum, RE, PSHE and the Forest School programme.Our curriculum is revisited annually by the whole staff when 6 themes are decided upon that meet the needs of the children, that take into account local or National events and context, whilst also ensuring that key knowledge and skills can be acquired and built upon. Our curriculum does not rely on published schemes but on our teachers’ professional planning skills and has been developed over many years. Our aim is to harness children’s natural curiosity and ensure that learning is fun and enjoyable to help maximise potential. Links with prior learning and indeed with other subjects are constantly made and referred to, so that children can begin to see the bigger picture within learning. The National Curriculum is used as our basis and from this our teachers have developed a knowledge and skills based progressive curriculum for every year group and every subject. We ensure coverage of all areas through a specifically designed opportunity for teacher self assessment. The curriculum map with all six themes is published annually and can be found here.

In addition and alongside this we also offer the Burwash Bundle which is a set of activities of experiences that all children will be offered during their time at Burwash. This ensures that we are constantly building children’s cultural capital as well as building memories for pupils that we hope will last a lifetime.

We plan regular visits or workshops (many whole school) to ensure learning is first hand where possible and have a programme of extracurricular activities that includes creative and physical opportunities. We have high expectations of the pupils and constantly challenge children whilst building an expectation that children will also challenge themselves as learners, with work on Growth Mindset to encourage this. Our topics aim to build global awareness but also take into account our unique local context. Each term we provide an outline of the topic to parents to show the focus to be covered in each subject.

The curriculum subject by subject



A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development and the school works hard to provide children of all ages with high quality texts. Children are expected to read regularly at home and this is the main focus of homework within the school.


The aim for English in the Burwash curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. During their time at Burwash we aim for all pupils to be able to:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding

  • develop the habit of reading widely and often(at least 5 times a week at home) for both pleasure and information

  • acquire a wide vocabulary with an understanding of grammar

  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences

  • use discussion in order to learn

  • be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

Reading at Burwash CE Primary

English literacy is at the heart of our learning and teaching and essential to every area of the curriculum. It is through literacy that concepts are formed and we are able to make sense of the world and our place in it. Children are taught to read in a variety of ways. Each week children read individually and in groups during lessons; they are also given regular opportunities to share a book with others. Reading focuses mainly on the skills of phonic decoding (for younger children) and comprehension and critical appreciation for older children or more able readers. Teachers read a huge variety of high quality written material regularly with the children, fiction and nonfiction, stories, reports, diaries, poems etc. We believe in the importance of exposing children to classic texts at all ages alongside modern texts to ensure children are exposed to a wealth of literature and vocabulary. Children are also encouraged to take home a library book of their choice to share with an adult.

The main reading scheme used in school when children start to read is Floppy’s Phonics. Once children have mastered the basics of reading they will move on to books from The Oxford Reading scheme or other books from supplementary schemes that closely match the children’s reading ability. When children are ready they will be moved from the scheme onto free reading books.

Reading to the visiting guinea pig.

Older children reading with younger children.


We place a strong emphasis on phonics (letters and corresponding sounds) in the early years of learning to read because we believe this helps to lay the foundations for successful reading. At Burwash CE Primary, we use “Floppy’s Phonics” to teach interactive lessons and as a reading resource. Children remain with their class teacher for phonics teaching and the teacher provides the appropriate level of challenge for each level of ability within the class with all children being given the opportunity to acquire new learning at an age-expected level or above. In addition to phonics pupils learn sight words by repetition and retrieval.

Maths Curriculum


Mathematics is a creative and highly interconnected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, and in children’s ability to understand the world.


The Burwash curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics,

  • experience varied and frequent practice of mathematics with increasingly complex problems over time

  • develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately

  • can reason mathematically so that they can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

At Burwash we have created a written calculation policy which details the progression of calculations can be viewed here: Burwash CE School Calculations Policy (Link)

We also use Times Tables Rockstars as a tool to help pupils develop fluency in multiplication tables. There is a daily mathematics lesson in every class at Burwash.

Science Curriculum


At Burwash we aim to provide a high-quality science education that gives the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Through building up a body of key knowledge and concepts, pupils are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. We aim to harness children’s natural curiosity and children are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes. Science is taught through the class topics, where possible, ensuring that all elements of science have sufficient coverage every year.


The Burwash curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Develop progressive scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics

  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them

  • Utilise first hand experiences and the exceptional Burwash outside space for their scientific enquiries where possible

  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

Carrying out investigations.



A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world. At Burwash we have invested in high quality interactive plasma screens in every classroom which ensures high quality images. There are also sets of tablets for classes to utilise so that as children become more competent in their digital understanding they are able to use laptops in their everyday lessons.


The Burwash curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science

  • can analyse problems in computational terms and have repeated practical experience of writing simple computer programs in order to solve such problems

  • Are able to create simple presentations

  • Are able to communicate with others electronically

  • Can utilise computers for research effectively

  • Understand the principles of e safety and can keep themselves safe online.


Purpose and Aims

Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art in its different forms. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history. At Burwash all children have a sketchbook which follows them throughout their time in school and clearly shows children’s progression within this discipline. Art is based around the chosen topics for the year. During their time at Burwash children’s skills in painting, 3D work, collage, drawing, printmaking and textiles is gradually developed. Children are also taught about art history and are taught how to critically evaluate their own art work and the work of others. We place a high emphasis on display in the school and ensure that children’s art work is regularly celebrated with displays throughout the school.

Creating clay pots at Forest School.


Purpose and aims

A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically-demanding activities. At Burwash we aim to provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect.

During their time at Burwash pupils will take part in the following:

  • Team games- building up the skills and techniques to successfully take part in games such as: tennis, football, rugby, netball, hockey and stoolball(a game played in Sussex)

  • Gymnastics

  • Dance, including both modern dance and traditional maypole dancing. In Years 5 and 6 there is always the opportunity for children to create and choreograph their own dances as part of the Year 5 and 6 play. The school also takes part in “The Big Dance” an event where the Year 6 children develop a dance and perform it alongside different schools in the local area

  • Athletics including opportunities to develop the stamina and technique to run a mile and the opportunity to take part in cross country running and the local cross country competition which is held at Burwash

  • Swimming- in Year 5 the children are taken to a local school for swimming

  • Outdoor and adventurous activities- as well as activities such as orienteering, the children take part in a residential trip in Year 6 that is watersports based and learn the beginnings of- sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, open canoeing, paddleboarding. In Year 6 all pupils take part in a cycling proficiency programme to ensure that they can cycle safely on the road.

As well as specific techniques, PE also develops skills such as co-operation, leadership and evaluation and an appreciation of the effect of physical activity on the human body.

The school takes part in a number of local competitions and hosts an annual sports day that includes both competitive and non competitive activities. We also run a number of after school clubs that incorporate a variety of physical activities.

Government sports funding has allowed the school the opportunity to develop the school grounds for the provision of more effective physical activity to include: a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA), climbing walls, a climbing trail, playground markings with a mile trail marked and an outside stopwatch all of which help encourage children to become more active both at playtime and in lessons.

Learning to paddleboard.

Winning the local schools' cross country event.


Purpose and aims

Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. A high quality music education will engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and a sense of achievement.

At Burwash we aim that our curriculum for music will ensure that all pupils: perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians. We plan for this as part of our annual topic planning. Children will learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others. All children will learn to play the recorder in KS2 and many go on to learn to play either the flute, violin or guitar through East Sussex Music Service(the cost of this can be subsidised for families experiencing hardship).

All children will take part in a number of productions whilst at Burwash, all of which include music-the nativity production held annually and includes children in Reception, Year 1 and 2, a Year 3 and 4 play usually based around the theme of the current topic and a Year 5 and 6 play based around the theme of the Year 6 pupils’ choosing. There is also an annual music festival held locally for Year 2 pupils as well as the Burwash school carol concert in church for all of KS2. We are particularly proud of the carol concert which include opportunities for pupils to play both tuned and untuned instruments. We also incorporate part singing and harmonies as well as opportunities for small group or solo singing. These events allow teachers to spend time developing specific music skills and build on children’s musical knowledge and understanding.

Accompanying the carol service with percussion instruments.


Purpose and aims

Design and technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. The curriculum for design and technology at Burwash aims to ensure that all pupils learn to work with a variety of tools and materials, that they learn the basics of cooking and healthy eating and also teaches pupils about textiles. Within all areas of DT pupils are taught about design and evaluation.

The school also takes full advantage of food workshops that are offered by the school catering service as well as workshops associated with annual topics. Some elements of cooking and use of practical tools and creation of structures is also built upon in Forest School sessions.

Creating moon buggies with cams.

Making a healthy fruit salad.


Purpose and aims

A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the earth’s key physical and human processes.

As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world will help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. The curriculum for geography at Burwash aims to ensure that all pupils: develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places; these places are chosen through the choice of topics annually and aim to give the pupils a broad understanding of a variety of locations.

Local geographical work also takes place so that the children are very familiar with the geography of Burwash and its unique geographical features within Sussex. Children’s skills are developed so that they become competent in the geographical skills needed to:collect, analyse and communicate a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes. They are also taught to interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes and aerial photographs. The Burwash curriculum for geography includes work about the environment and the effect humans have upon it. There is an active school council at the school and an element of their work is to focus on eco matters. The school has planted a Sussex Apple Orchard to help to try and preserve part of the traditional landscape and is a member of the High Weald group which helped the school to develop a local welly walk that children take part in within school but could also walk with their families. The High Weald group has provided the school with a number of workshops which have helped children’s understanding of the geography of Sussex.

Due to the school’s location when planning topics we ensure that all children have a number of opportunities to visit London during their time at Burwash.

The local welly walk.

Carrying out fieldwork.


Purpose and aims

A high-quality history education helps pupils to gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

The history curriculum at Burwash aims to ensure that all pupils build up their chronological understanding so they know and understand the history of Great Britain as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and has been influenced by the wider world. This is achieved by carefully chosen topics that will enable this knowledge to be obtained over time. Classes also have timelines that are added to over time to help children understand how historical events that they have learnt about fit together.

The pupils learn about significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and struggles of mankind over time. They also build up a historical vocabulary so they understand terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’ and ‘parliament’. They are taught to make connections, draw contrasts, spot similarities and ask historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts.

Due to the school’s location when planning topics we always ensure that the pupils will study the Norman Conquest during their time at Burwash in addition to finding out about Rudyard Kipling and visiting Batemans to ensure children understand significant elements of local history. Each year the school takes part in a local History competition- the Beadle award.

Roman Soldiers!

Local history award.

Religious Education

Purpose and Aims

Burwash is a Church of England School. As such we follow the East Sussex Agreed Syllabus, ‘A Journey of Discovery’. The curriculum affirms the important contribution that RE makes to the education of all pupils growing up in contemporary British society. The Agreed Syllabus endorses for all pupils, irrespective of social background, culture, race, religion, gender, differences in ability and disabilities, an entitlement to learning in RE. This contributes to their developing knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes, which are necessary for their self-fulfilment and their development as active and responsible citizens.

Religious Education at Burwash provokes challenging questions about what it means to be human, the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, issues of right and wrong, the nature of reality and beliefs about God; it enhances pupils’ knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs, concepts, teachings, practices and forms of expression, as well as of the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other principal religions, other religious traditions, and world views that offer answers to these challenging questions and it aims to increase pupils’ religious literacy. During their time at Burwash there will be regular opportunities to visit St Bartholomew’s church which is next to the school. The church is used to help children appreciate events such as Christenings, weddings and baptisms as well as key religious events in the Christian calendar. As part of RE children will also visit a synagogue in Brighton when studying Judaism in Year 2 and will visit a Sikh Gurdwara in Gravesend when studying Sikhism in Year 5.

Lighting the candles at Saint Bartholomew's Church.

RSHE (Relationships, Social and Health Education)

Purpose and Aims

At Burwash School we believe the children are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes their spiritual, moral, cultural, emotional and physical development and prepares them for the opportunities and experiences of adult life. RSHE is an intrinsic part of our school ethos and influences the actions of all staff, as well as the children. Opportunities to develop RSHE skills and knowledge exist throughout the curriculum. We recognise that our pupils will be the young adults of the next generation and that their lifestyle patterns will influence their health.

During the children’s time at Burwash we aim to: provide children with the self-awareness, positive self-esteem and confidence to:

Stay as healthy as possible

Keep themselves and others safe

Have worthwhile and fulfilling relationships

Respect differences between people

Develop independence and responsibility

Play an active role as members of a democratic society

Make the most of their own and others’ abilities

Have a positive mindset

The school has a very active school council which helps develop pupils’ understanding and skills to become active members of a democratic society.

Road safety with our local PSO

Modern Foreign Languages (MfL) Key stage 2 (Spanish)

Purpose and Aims

At Burwash, we believe that learning a foreign language provides a window to other cultures. High quality language education helps foster pupils’ curiosity and deepens their understanding of the world. Through our practical and engaging curriculum, we aim to inspire a love of learning languages and to lay the foundations for further foreign language teaching at key stage 3. Our MfL teaching enables pupils to express themselves in Spanish and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and writing.

The Spanish curriculum at Burwash aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Understand and respond to spoken and written Spanish from a variety of sources

  • Speak with increasing confidence, fluency and correct pronunciation

  • Write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using a variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt

  • Discover and develop an appreciation and understanding of Spanish culture

At Burwash, we have an active link with a Spanish primary school in Andalucia. This provides plenty of opportunities for our pupils to communicate with native speakers in a meaningful context and to find out about life in Spain.

Making paella.

Flamenco dancing.