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Our Curriculum

Our teachers plan an exciting range of current and relevant topics carefully matched to meet the requirements of the new National Curriculum ensuring progression and appropriate coverage of skills and knowledge.

Schemes of work are designed by Duncombe teachers to enthuse learning and offer meaningful cross-curricular experiences.

Curriculum Intent Statement

At Duncombe we give the children the very best start in life by providing them with high quality education. We equip our children with the essential knowledge and key learning skills needed to succeed, with a curriculum that promotes communication, critical thinking, and creativity. Our ASPIRE ethos encourages the development of attributes children require to be life long learners. These are:

  • Ambition
  • Self-Esteem
  • Perseverance
  • Independence
  • Respect
  • Enthusiasm

These values underpin our curriculum and ensure that every child can reach their full potential. At Duncombe Primary, we recognise that every child is unique. Our curriculum is inclusive; not only is it diverse in content, but our teaching staff adapt the curriculum in their lessons to make it accessible to different groups of pupils, including disadvantaged pupils, those with English as an Additional Language (EAL) and pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). We celebrate the rich diversity of our pupils and strive to ensure that their wellbeing and safety is embedded in all that we do.

Our curriculum is broad and balanced and designed to build knowledge and skills by meeting these objectives:

  • To encourage pupils to become ambitious, empowered learners who can make a positive contribution to the school and wider community.
  • To develop pupils’ knowledge and skills by providing a coherent, progressive, vertical curriculum.
  • To build rich cultural capital that will advantage our pupils as they progress to secondary school and the world of work.
  • To make learning experiences memorable, to ensure long-term retention of new ideas, with a whole-school focus on environmental issues.
  • To develop a wide vocabulary among our pupils, through regular talk, so they are well‑equipped with a rich understanding of language so that they may become articulate orators.

Progressive framework of knowledge and skills

To develop the school’s curriculum, subject leaders identified the essential knowledge, skills and key vocabulary that pupils should learn year on year.  We build upon knowledge by making links to prior learning. Lessons are carefully sequenced to ensure that learning is revisited, built upon, and used as a foundation to acquire new learning. By breaking down the learning into small steps and memorable experiences, learning goes from the short to the long-term memory. Our curriculum is designed to provide depth, breadth, and balance and to be relevant and meaningful to the lives of our pupils.

Cultural capital

During their time at Duncombe, our pupils accumulate cultural capital by being exposed to the vital background knowledge and range of cultural experiences required to become active, informed, thoughtful citizens. We use our local community effectively and pupils benefit from the fantastic opportunities that living in London offers. We ensure that our pupils have access to the many local museums, galleries, and exhibitions in our exciting, multicultural city. We provide opportunities which align with our ASPIRE values to learn about higher education and the world of work. Every year group has the opportunity to take part in a wide range of visits and workshops, in addition to special curriculum days and weeks focused on the foundation subjects. Some examples include taking part in the Islington schools 11 by 11 charter, Climate Change marches, International Evening, British Science week, RE days and Black History month workshops. Children meet experts and specialist visitors, who may be parents or from the local community, who can help bring the curriculum to life.

Environmental issues

We pride ourselves on equipping our children to take on the biggest challenges our planet will face in the future. Every year group has an environmental unit which they study in depth e.g. deforestation in Year 2 and the how to reduce waste in Year 5. These units progress year on year to ensure that children have a sound knowledge of environmental issues by the time they leave Duncombe. These provide authentic contexts for learning.

Word power and communication

We know that one of the keys to addressing disadvantage and ensuring success is developing a wide vocabulary in our pupils. We help children unlock language by working on word building and finding opportunities to use new vocabulary in context. Subject leaders have developed ‘vocabulary ladders’ which allow children to acquire subject specific vocabulary of increasing sophistication over time. We give pupils regular chances to talk, and learn the fluency and confidence needed to address a variety of audiences. We promote adventurous vocabulary through the use of high-quality texts woven throughout our curriculum.


In line with our ASPIRE values, the curriculum is planned and differentiated to meet the range of individual needs of all pupils at Duncombe. All our pupils have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. We set high expectations for every pupil, whatever their prior attainment. Teachers at our school use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious. Lessons are planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil achievement. By planning this way, our pupils with SEN and disabilities are able to receive their full entitlement to the National Curriculum. The progress of SEN pupils across the curriculum is carefully monitored and is part of the continuous professional development we offer all staff. Further details can be found in the SEN and Accessibility Plan policies.

Due to our broad, balanced, and knowledge-rich curriculum children leave Duncombe with a solid foundation of the key skills gained through meaningful learning experiences and with the cultural capital that they need to succeed.

Please see the Teaching and Learning policy and Curriculum Statements for each subject for further information.

Curriculum Statements & Overviews

For more information you can view PDFs of our subject statements and curriculum overviews here or speak to the relevant member of staff.

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