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Rowandale IntegratedPrimary School, Moira

Love to learn and learn to love

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Stages of the Primary Curriculum

  • The Foundation Stage: Years 1 and 2
  • Key Stage 1: Years 3 and 4
  • Key Stage 2: Years 5, 6 and 7


Structure of the Primary Curriculum

The curriculum for the three stages is set out in six Areas of Learning.

Although the Areas of Learning are set out separately teachers will, where appropriate, integrate learning across the six areas to make relevant connections for children. Teachers have considerable flexibility to select from within the learning areas those aspects they consider appropriate to the ability and interests of their children.


The Areas are:


Language and Literacy (including Talking and Listening, Reading and Writing; schools are also encouraged to teach additional languages – at Rowandale we teach Spanish, French and Irish)

Mathematics and Numeracy (focusing on the development of mathematical concepts and numeracy across the curriculum) 

The Arts (including Art and Design, Drama and Music) 

The World Around Us (focusing on the development of knowledge, skills and understanding in Geography, History and Science and Technology)

Personal Development and Mutual Understanding (focusing on emotional development, social skills, learning to learn, health, relationships and sexuality education and mutual understanding in the local and global community)

Physical Education  (focusing on the development of knowledge, skills and understanding through play and a range of physical activities).

Equality of Opportunity and Access for All

At Rowandale we have a responsibility to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all our children and will aim to give every child the opportunity to experience success in learning and to achieve as high a standard as possible.

The Statutory Curriculum is the starting point for planning the school curriculum that meets the needs of individual children. The Northern Ireland Curriculum sets out the minimum requirement that will be taught at each key stage. The Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities Framework allows teachers to teach the knowledge, skills and understanding in ways that suit individual children’s ability. Teachers are aware that children have different experiences, interests and strengths, which will influence the way in which they learn. In planning curriculum and assessment activities, teachers are aware of the requirements of the equal opportunities legislation and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Order (SENDO) and will have high expectations for all children, including children with special educational needs, children with disabilities, children from all social and cultural backgrounds, children of different ethnic groups including travellers and those from diverse linguistic backgrounds.


Approaches to learning and teaching will provide suitably challenging opportunities for all children to take part in lessons fully and effectively and will allow all children to achieve. For children with special educational needs teaching will take account of the type and extent of the difficulty experienced by the child. For children whose attainments fall significantly below the levels expected at a particular key stage, degrees of differentiation of tasks and materials appropriate to the age and requirements of the child will be used. For children whose attainments significantly exceed the expected levels of attainment during a particular key stage, teachers will need to plan suitably challenging work by extending the breadth and depth of study across the areas of learning.

In planning to meet the needs of all children, teachers will:


  • use teaching approaches appropriate to different learning styles;
  • use a range of organisational approaches, such as setting, grouping or individual work, to ensure that individual needs are properly addressed;
  • vary content and presentation so that it matches the learning needs of particular children;
  • use a range of activities and contexts for work and allow a variety of interpretations and outcomes;
  • allocate sufficient time for children to complete tasks;
  • use accessible texts and materials that suit children’s age and level of learning;
  • plan work which builds on interests and cultural diversity;
  • plan the pace of work so that all children will have the opportunity to learn effectively and achieve success;
  • plan challenging work for those whose ability and understanding are in advance of their peer group;
  • provide support by using ICT, video or audio materials, dictionaries and other suitable aids;
  • enable the fullest possible participation of children with disabilities, including those with medical needs, to access physical activities and extra-curricular activities with appropriate support, aids or adaptations. Many children with disabilities can learn alongside their peers with little need for additional resources beyond the aids or equipment they use as part of their daily lives.


Whole curriculum skills and capabilities


At the heart of the curriculum lies an explicit emphasis on the development of skills and capabilities for lifelong learning and for operating effectively in society. Through opportunities to engage in active learning contexts across all areas of the curriculum, children will progressively develop:


Cross-curricular skills:

•           Communication

•           Using Mathematics

•           Using Information and Communications Technology


Thinking skills and personal capabilities:

•           Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making

•           Self Management

•           Working with Others

•           Managing Information

•           Being Creative


Thinking skills and personal capabilities

Personal skills and capabilities underpin success in all aspects of life and theNorthern Ireland Curriculum aims to foster these explicitly so that children are helped to develop self management skills and the ability to interact effectively with others. Thinking skills are tools that help children to go beyond the acquisition of knowledge to search for meaning, apply ideas, analyse patterns and relationships, create and design something new and monitor and evaluate their progress. Teachers will help children to develop thinking skills and personal capabilities by focusing on the following areas.

The Statutory Requirements for Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities are set out below in bold. Suggestions are in plain text. Children will be given worthwhile experiences across the curriculum which will allow them to develop skills in:


Thinking, problem-solving and decision-making, such as:

  • sequencing, ordering, classifying, making comparisons;
  • making predictions, examining evidence, distinguishing fact from opinion;
  • making links between cause and effect;
  • justifying methods, opinions and conclusions;
  • generating possible solutions, trying out alternative approaches, evaluating outcomes;
  • examining options, weighing up pros and cons;
  • using different types of questions;
  • making connections between learning in different contexts.


Self – management, such as:


  • being aware of personal strengths, limitations and interests;
  • setting personal targets and reviewing them;
  • managing behaviour in a range of situations;
  • organising and planning how to go about a task;
  • focusing, sustaining attention and persisting with tasks;
  • reviewing learning and some aspect that might be improved;
  • learning ways to manage own time;
  • seeking advice when necessary;
  • comparing own approach with others and in different contexts


Working with others, such as:


  • listening actively and sharing opinions;
  • developing routines of turn taking, sharing and co-operating;
  • giving and responding to feedback;
  • understanding how actions and words effect others;
  • adapting behaviour and language to suit different people and situations;
  • taking personal responsibility for working with others and evaluating own contribution to the group;
  • being fair;
  • respecting the views and opinions of others, reaching agreements using negotiation and compromise;
  • suggesting ways of improving their approach to working collaboratively.


Managing information, such as:


  • asking focused questions;
  • planning and setting goals, breaking a task into sub-tasks;
  • using own and others’ ideas to locate sources of information;
  • selecting, classifying, comparing and evaluating information;
  • selecting most appropriate method for a task;
  • using a range of methods for collating, recording and representing information;
  • communicating with a sense of audience and purpose.


Being creative, such as:


  • seeking out questions to explore and problems to solve;
  • experimenting with ideas and questions;
  • making new connections between ideas/information;
  • learning from and valuing other people’s ideas;
  • making ideas real by experimenting with different designs, actions, outcomes;
  • challenging the routine method;
  • valuing the unexpected or surprising;
  • seeing opportunities in mistakes and failures;
  • taking risks for learning.


Approaches to learning and teaching


Children learn best when learning is interactive, practical and enjoyable.

Teachers will make use of a wide range of teaching methods, balancing whole class, group and individual activities, to engage children in effective learning.

In the Foundation Stage children will experience much of their learning through well planned and challenging play. Self-initiated play helps children to understand and learn about themselves and their surroundings. Motivation can be increased when children have opportunities to make choices and decisions about their learning, particularly when their own ideas and interests are used, either as starting points for learning activities or for pursuing a topic in more depth.


It is important that our children:


  • have secure relationships with peers and adults in a positively affirming environment which supports their emotional development and which is sensitive to their growing self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • have opportunities to be actively involved in practical, challenging play- based learning in a stimulating environment, which takes account of their developmental stage/needs (including those with learning difficulties and the most able children) and their own interests/experiences;
  • have opportunities to initiate play which capitalises on intrinsic motivation and natural curiosity;
  • have choice and exercise autonomy and independence in their learning, and where they are supported in taking risks in their efforts to succeed;
  • are given equality of opportunity to learn in a variety of ways and in different social groupings;
  • are actively involved in planning, carrying out and reflecting on their work;
  • are supported by trained, enthusiastic and committed professionals who work in partnership with      parents and carers and where appropriate, professionals in other fields, to ensure that all achieve their full potential.


Intrinsic to this is recognition of the importance of process based learning, as opposed to product based, outcome driven learning, with observation based assessment, carried out in a unobtrusive way, as an ongoing and integral part of the learning and teaching process.

In order to develop children’s skills and capabilities across the whole curriculum, teachers will need to provide frequent opportunities for children to think and do for themselves. To help foster good thinking habits and develop more independent learners, teachers may find it helpful to utilise a simple ‘Plan, Do, Review’ process, which integrates and fosters children’s skills and capabilities.


Plan, for example:


  • Clarifying tasks;
  • Generating ideas;
  • Designing ways of approaching tasks or problems.


Do (carry out the plan and communicate findings), for example:


  • Finding and analysing relevant information;
  • Creating, trialling or testing out possible solutions;
  • Making decisions;
  • Drawing conclusions;
  • Presenting ideas, opinions or outcomes.


Review (both the process and outcomes of their work and their learning), for example:


  • evaluating progress throughout and make improvements when necessary;
  • reflecting on their thinking and the learning;
  • transferring thinking and learning to other contexts.
  • teaching will build from where the children are;
  • children’s needs and interests will lead the learning;
  • appropriate support will be given to those children who require it;
  • children will be motivated and their learning challenged;
  • children will have high expectations of themselves;
  • information will be shared with parents.


Click here for more information on the curriculum areas:


Foundation Stage: Yrs 1 and 2

Young children come to school from a variety of different backgrounds, having had a range of diverse learning experiences at home and for most, some form of pre-school education. The Foundation Stage aims to build on these learning experiences by providing children with an appropriate learning programme to develop their dispositions to learn and to provide them with the skills and competencies they will need to succeed in school and future life.

The Foundation Stage also endorses good early years practice where teachers have more flexibility in terms of what they teach. This flexibility allows teachers to follow the interests of the children, encouraging them to see links in their learning and to appreciate that the skills they learn in one area can be applied elsewhere.


Characteristics of the Foundation Stage

The Programme of Study (1996) outlined the Characteristics of the Curriculum at Key Stage I and the Foundation Stage seeks to endorse these elements of sound educational practice by providing a learning environment which best meets the needs of young children. The Programme of Study (1996) stated that Key Stage 1 teachers will: ‘provide opportunities for children to develop the skills they will need to become confident and independent,’ therefore, the learning experiences provided will reflect children’s interests and the practical and informal ways in which children of this age learn. These experiences will be enjoyable and challenging, and will motivate children’s and encourage them to adopt positive attitudes to school and learning.’ 


The contexts for learning will: ‘relate to the child’s immediate and known environment and will reflect the fact that children at this age do not see knowledge and skills as belonging to specific categories and subjects.’

 It goes on to state that education at Key Stage 1 will foster the intellectual, social, emotional, physical, moral and spiritual development of children by:


  • enabling them to work and play together harmoniously;
  • promoting positive attitudes to school and learning;
  • providing opportunities for them to learn in a practical way;
  • using, to the full, opportunities provided by play for their development, both socially and academically;
  • providing a wide range of opportunities for developing movement and manipulative skills;
  • developing their natural curiosity and stimulating their imagination;
  • providing opportunities for exploration, investigation, problem-solving and decision making;
  • developing the fundamental skills of literacy, numeracy and oral communication, both through direct teaching and by the opportunities provided by other subjects and activities;
  • providing opportunities for them to develop knowledge, understanding and skills through a range of contexts spanning all subjects of the curriculum;
  • providing rich and varied contexts for developing skills, such as observing, investigating, organising, recording, interpreting and predicting, which are essential to learning in all subjects of the curriculum.




The aims of the Foundation Stage

The Northern Ireland Curriculum aims to empower young people to develop their potential and make informed and responsible choices and decisions throughout their lives. The Foundation Stage aims to provide a learning programme which will:

  • promote children’s personal development;
  • promote positive attitudes and dispositions to learning;
  • promote children’s Thinking Skills  and Personal Capabilities;
  • encourage creativity and imagination;
  • enable children to develop physical confidence and competence;
  • develop children’s curiosity and interest in the world around them;
  • enable children to communicate in a variety of ways;
  • motivate children to develop literacy and numeracy skills in meaningful contexts.


The principles underpinning the Foundation Stage


Young children learn best when learning is interactive, practical and enjoyable for both children and teachers. Children learn best when they:


  • have opportunities to be actively involved in practical, open-ended and challenging learning experiences that encourage creativity;
  • have opportunities to initiate  experiences that capitalise on their individual interests and curiosities;
  • are actively involved in planning, reviewing and reflecting what they have done;
  • are enabled to express themselves by creating images, sounds, movements, structures and invented stories;
  • are involved in play that is challenging, takes account of their developmental stage and needs and builds on their own interests and experiences;
  • work in stimulating environments and have access to a range of resources;
  • develop secure relationships with peers and adults;
  • have choice and exercise autonomy and independence in their learning, and are encouraged to take risks.


The Northern Ireland Curriculum Primary Foundation Stage learning is supported by adults when:


  • early years practitioners are  committed, sensitive, enthusiastic and interact effectively to challenge children’s thinking and learning;
  • planning is collaborative, holistic, child focused and informed by observations of learning;
  • assessment is ongoing, formative  and integral to learning and teaching. It is observation based, informs  planning and is carried out in an unobtrusive way;
  • practitioners manage the introduction and effective use of resources;
  • positively affirming environments are created to support children’s emotional, social and physical development;
  • the importance of process based rather than outcome driven learning is acknowledged;
  • practitioners and parents/carers work in partnership to ensure children achieve their full potential;
  • a multi-professional approach exists and practitioners access the expertise of other professionals;
  • children are made aware of their progress by receiving positive feedback and suggestions for improvement;
  • they reflect on their practice and are engaged in professional development.




The curriculum in the Foundation Stage


Children learn best when learning is connected. Although the curriculum has six Areas of Learning, further integration is encouraged to help children better understand the links between the different aspects of learning. In the Foundation Stage teachers have considerable flexibility to interpret the Areas of Learning to suit the needs, interests and abilities of the children. Throughout the Foundation Stage, children need to be closely observed so that:


The statutory curriculum in the Foundation Stage is set out under the following Areas of learning:


  • Religious Education — in accordance with the core syllabus drafted by the four main Christian churches in Northern Ireland and specified by the Department of Education;
  • Language and Literacy including talking and listening, reading and writing;
  • Mathematics and Numeracy including number, measures, shape and space, sorting and pattern and relationships;
  • The Arts including art and design, music and drama;
  • The World Around Us including Geography, History and Science and Technology;
  • Personal Development and Mutual Understanding including Personal Understanding and Health and Mutual Understanding in the Local and Wider Community;
  • Physical Development and Movement including  Athletics, Dance, Games and Gymnastics.


Note: Although Areas of Learning are set out separately teachers will integrate learning to enable children to make appropriate connections.




All About Me





Nursery Rhymes


Literacy  Rhyme Time game



Night and Day




The Northern Ireland Curriculum Primary Key Stages 1 & 2


Children at Key Stages 1 and 2 will build and develop the experiences provided at the Foundation Stage. Continued emphasis will be placed on personal, social and emotional development as well as an explicit emphasis on the development of skills in Communication, Using Mathematics, Using ICT and Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities. Children will be provided with opportunities to develop these skills through a range of worthwhile, challenging, relevant and enjoyable learning experiences.


Learning at Key Stages 1 and 2 will continue to foster the intellectual, social, emotional, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual development of children by:


  • providing opportunities for children to continue to develop the transferable skills of Communication, Using Mathematics, Using ICT and Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities through the opportunities provided;
  • developing self-confidence and  self-esteem;
  • developing the skills necessary to enable children to participate as contributing members of groups;
  • providing opportunities for children to engage in exploration, problem-solving and decision-making;
  • promoting, in children, positive attitudes to learning to help them make informed and responsible choices and decisions;
  • continuing to develop children’s creativity;
  • using a range of strategies, including thematic approaches, in a wide range of contexts which are worthwhile, challenging, relevant and enjoyable;
  • developing a greater depth of knowledge, understanding and skills through a wide range of contexts;
  • providing opportunities for children to express their individual needs and to make realistic choices.


Website List Year 4

Term 1 - Safe and Sound



Topic based


Term 2 - Titanic 





- (number facts, using and applying, calculating, shape)

- (time, money, measure, word problems)

Topic Based



Term 3 - Houses and Homes







Topic based



Birds, Bugs and Beasts






Topic based




Year 5 Websites

Term 1:



Topic - Fair Trade

Topic - Christmas Around the World

My School – Fronter Room – Christmas (school username and password required to log on)


Term 2:



My School – Fronter Room – Mental Maths (school username and password required to log on)

 Topic – Water

My School – Fronter Room – Water (school username and password required to log on)

 Topic – Egyptians

My School – Fronter Room – Egyptians (school username and password required to log on)


Term 3:



Topic – Flight

My School – Fronter Room – Flight (school username and password required to log on)


Year 6 Websites:

Literacy select KS2 and english search

Numeracy selcect KS2 and maths search




Human Body




Year 7 Websites


Term 1






Topic – World War Two


Term 2





Topic – Extreme Weather


Term 3






Topic – Africa