Riverside School

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Our aim, here at Riverside, is a bold one – we want to change the world by nurturing and inspiring every individual in our care.
The children at Riverside will grow up and move on to the next stage of their education. They will go out into the wider world and we want to inspire them to see that they really can make a difference in that world. We will help nurture a character centred on integrity, kindness and respect in all their interactions with others.

It takes courage to live life like this, to be a dynamic individual who dares to live each day to the full. You need to learn to be resilient, embrace mistakes and to bounce back. We feel that this best happens when a child feels nurtured with a supportive learning environment – a safe place where they can flourish, and this is what we provide at Riverside. We provide the children with opportunities to develop a life-long love of learning.

If you feel that this is somewhere that your child can flourish, please get in touch so we can show you the school in action. 

Growth mindset: There are two ways of looking at the world:

If you try hard and learn from your mistakes, you will make progress. That’s growth mindset in a nutshell. It sounds so obvious you would think that every teacher, every parent and every human being would be able to work this out for themselves, without decades of educational research and of course you’re right, it’s common sense.

So what is revolutionary about growth mindset? Don’t we all inherently understand and agree with the logic and the theory?

Well we may agree wholeheartedly with the headlines, but the truth is that our language and our behaviour can accidently reinforce the opposite of growth mindset in our children or those we teach.

For example, have you ever asked your child if they came top in something, or asked them where they came in the class or group? Have you ever offered rewards for reaching a set goal? Have you ever told your child how brilliant they are for finishing something quickly or with little effort?

All of these questions suggest or reinforce to a child that what matters to you, the most important influence in their lives, is making things look easy and beating others. Children who hear language like this often have extremely fragile self-esteem because they are worried that at any moment someone could do better than them, or a task could be too difficult for them to complete. If their self-esteem is closely tied with looking clever without effort, school can become a pretty threatening place.

Some children will give up, others will play up, because if it’s obvious they aren’t trying then no-one can say they can’t, they can only say they won’t. Others will just try to hide and hope they are never asked a question or put in a situation where there is any chance of failure. It makes no difference how high achieving children are, anyone can suffer from a fixed mindset. Anyone can be constantly worried about being ‘found out’ by their peers, their teachers or their parents, which will inhibit their learning.

So, growth mindset tells us that if we try hard and learn from our mistakes, we will make good progress. If we, as parents and teachers, use language that reinforces the idea that success can be measured by how many others a child beats in a test or how quickly and easily they can reach a successful outcome, those children will never be comfortable with failure, and this is an important part of the learning process.

Being brave enough to take a risk, to try something that is not guaranteed to succeed, to fail, to pick yourself up again, to learn lessons from the failure and to try again with new knowledge and understanding are character traits that we at Riverside Primary School consider to be vital in order to develop into a happy and successful person who can thrive in our rapidly changing world.

This belief in certain traits is where our school values, the PRIDE of Riverside, come from. They are a tangible way for us to teach and develop growth mindset strategies to the children.


“Art is as natural as sunshine and as vital as nourishment” – MaryAnn E Kohl

At Riverside, we believe that art is a vital part of children’s education and has a significant and valuable role in the taught curriculum, as well as the enrichment opportunities we offer our pupils. The art curriculum will develop children’s critical abilities and understanding of their own and others’ cultural heritages through studying a diverse range of male and female artists.

Children will develop their understanding of the visual language of art with effective teaching and considered sequences of lessons and experiences. Understanding of the visual elements of art and design (line, tone, texture, colour, pattern, shape, 3D form) will be developed by providing a curriculum which will enable children to reach their full potential.


“I do not fear computers. I fear lack of them.” – Isaac Asimov

The subject of computing is becoming ever present in children’s and adults’ lives, as technology grows and grows. We all use computing every day to communicate, program and present our ideas in a variety of ways. With the intense shift towards using computing in society, our curriculum intent is to prepare children for the technological world they live in.

Our intent in computing ensures that the national curriculum is being taught progressively, through carefully constructed progression grids which show the curriculum coverage across the school and how this will be implemented, to ensure quality first teaching. Long-term plans cover all strands of computing: digital literacy, information technology and computer science. This allows children to access a wide range of computing knowledge, skills and vocabulary, which will deepen their understanding and engagement within the subject.

Furthermore, children will also be exposed to understand how computing affects them within the wider world. This includes allowing them access to a variety of hardware and software which they can control and program, as well as word processing and emailing skills. The overall profile of computing is of great importance and this is raised through enhancing the available resources and encouraging parental involvement in computing.

Design technology

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou, author, poet, civil rights activist

Design technology prepares children to deal with tomorrow’s rapidly changing world. It encourages children to become independent, creative problem-solvers and thinkers as individuals and as part of a team – making positive changes to their quality of life. It enables them to identify needs and opportunities and to respond to them by developing a range of ideas and by making products and systems. Through the study of Design technology, they combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues, as well as functions and industrial practices. This allows them to reflect on and evaluate present and past design and technology, its uses and its impacts. Design technology helps all children to become astute and informed future consumers and potential innovators.


We believe that the skills rehearsed and refined on stage are essential to take forward into life: being able to speak with confidence; understanding how you are perceived by others and the ability to work creatively and negotiate with others.

At Riverside, we value the skills, confidence and independent opinions which are built though drama. We recognise that performance is an integral part of this and so every year group has the chance to participate in a musical production, each year.

At times, drama is also used to enhance the English curriculum, which allows children the opportunity to explore characters and motives, beyond the realms of the classroom.


“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” - William Faulkner

At the heart of our curriculum is reading.

In our youngest classes, phonics is taught daily in a fun, engaging and rigorous way, which gives the children an excellent start to their enjoyment of reading.

Throughout their time here, children are encouraged to read for pleasure – we want them to learn to appreciate a range of literature and gradually develop personal taste. They discuss books, recommend titles to each other and are encouraged to branch out and try new and exciting books, alongside their reading book which is set for them by the class teacher, which matches their current reading level. In addition, every class has a class story/novel, exposing the children to new authors and supporting them in comprehension, inference and prediction skills.

Written tasks are designed to complement the chosen literature, whilst ensuring a wide range of appropriate writing genre are taught and revisited during their time here, at Riverside. Emphasis is on teaching children how to write effectively, using presentational features and language appropriate to the audience. A fundamental aspect of writing is the editing process and throughout Riverside, children are taught that their ‘best’ writing is unlikely to be their first draft! Right from the start, children evaluate their own writing and comment on the work of others; they do this with increasing skill during their time here.

Spelling, handwriting and grammar are also viewed as key elements of the English curriculum and children are taught to take pride in their work and its presentation in every year group.

Little Wandle Phonics (follow this link for more information)

‘There is extensive research on how children learn to read and how best to teach them. One of the most consistent findings from methodologically sound scientific research is that learning to decode words using phonics is an essential element of early reading instruction’

Hulme, C. & Snowling, M. J. (2013) ‘Learning to read: what we know and what we need to understand better’

The ability to read is within the reach of every child.  The most direct route to reading for the vast majority of children is through systematically taught, ‘synthetic phonics’.  At Riverside, we begin our phonics journey through reaching out to the wider community to share resources and ideas for children to gain a foundation of understanding upon entry, specifically phase 1. Our teaching and learning follows the Little Wandle Phonics Scheme, organised into 6 phases and enhanced for the expectation of the 2014 National Curriculum. It is crucial that this is taught through a systematic and interactive approach using the same processes and resources to ensure cohesion between the phases.

We ensure the teaching of phonics is pacy and offers opportunity to apply immediately to writing and reading. We firmly believe that children should all have the same exposure to all phonics teaching with a ‘keep up, not catch up’ approach. Where needed, daily and concise phonics intervention is used to plug gaps. To further embed our application of phonics, we use ‘Bug club’ reading books to ensure blending and segmenting is achievable through a combination of high quality phonics and daily opportunities for reading.


“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” – Frank Smith

It is our intent at Riverside Primary School to provide all of our children with a high-quality education in French, which develops their love of learning about other languages and cultures.

We currently teach French, however we strive to provide children with opportunities to experience a range of other languages, this includes Makaton. It is our intention to ensure that by the end of our children’s primary education, they have acquired an understanding of both spoken and written French, confidence to speak in French with others and know how important other languages can be in their future.


“Without geography you are nowhere.” – Author unknown

It is our intent for the geography element of our school curriculum to inspire pupils with 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 should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. We want our children to gain confidence and practical experiences of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time. At Riverside Primary School, we want to build a geographical curriculum that develops learning and results in the acquisition of knowledge of their world around them so that they know more, remember more and understand more.


“You have to know the past to understand the present” – Carl Sagan

The intent of our history curriculum is to deliver a curriculum which fulfils the duties of the National Curriculum but is also purposeful and relevant to the children at Riverside Primary. Our local area is rich with history and important in the War of the Roses. Our intent is to ensure that history is accessible to all and that it will maximise the outcomes for every child so that they know more, remember more and understand more. As a result of this they will be able to:

  • Increase and develop their historical skills, concepts, knowledge and attitudes.
  • Increase their understanding of the present in the context of the past.
  • Develop and use their skills in enquiry, analysis, evaluation, and argument.
  • Develop their interest in the past, arousing their curiosity and motivation to learn
  • Develop a sense of identity through learning about the past.


“No employment can be managed without arithmetic, no mechanical invention without geometry.” – Benjamin Franklin

A confidence and sense of number, and maths in general, is developed at school, but lasts for a lifetime. We want to enable children to develop a confidence, understanding and enthusiasm for maths. We can support children to develop a wide range of mathematical knowledge and skills, and to apply them to a wide range of problems in a wide range of situations!

In maths, as in most subjects, children thrive when they work both independently and co-operatively. Children love to be challenged in their learning and solving mathematical problems encourages them to think creatively and push themselves outside of their comfort zone.


“Without music, life would be a mistake.” – Frederich Nietzsche

Our intent is that children have high quality opportunities to develop their musical skills and understanding through practical lessons. By the time children leave Riverside Primary School, they will have had the opportunity to sing, perform, play, compose and critique music from a variety of genres. They will also have had the opportunity to learn to play a variety of musical instruments. Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity.

Our music education aims to engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.

Physical Education

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

Our intention is for our Physical Activity, Physical Education and School Sport curriculum to start with a base grounded in the National Curriculum. Whilst using this as a basis for knowledge and skills, it is our intention that our school curriculum exceeds this. It aims to provide a greater range of opportunities for children in order to allow them to become physically literate. It aims to develop children who can communicate using language associated with Physical Education. Through our P.E progression grid and long-term planning, we aim to develop children into individuals that are competent and confident in a wide range of co-operative and competitive activities.

It is our aim that when children leave our school, they will leave with a lifelong love of being active and an understanding of how to lead an active and healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally.


“The advancement of knowledge must be translated into increasing health and education for the children.” – Herbert Hoover 

PSHE Education (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) is a planned programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to successfully manage their lives – now and in the future. As part of our whole-school approach, PSHE Education develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society.

What do schools have to teach in PSHE Education?

According to the National Curriculum, every school needs to have a broad and balanced curriculum that:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school;
  • prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life;
  • promotes British values.

From September 2020, primary schools in England also need to teach Relationships and Health Education as compulsory subjects and the Department for Education strongly recommends this should also include age-appropriate Sex Education. Schools also have statutory responsibilities to safeguard their pupils (Keeping Children Safe in Education, DfE, 2019) and to uphold the Equality Act (2010).

We use the Jigsaw Programme, which has children’s wellbeing at its heart to support all of these requirements.

What is Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, and how does it work?

Jigsaw is a whole-school approach and embodies a positive philosophy and creative teaching and learning activities to nurture children’s development as compassionate and well-rounded human beings as well as building their capacity to learn. Jigsaw is a comprehensive and completely original PSHE Education programme (lesson plans and teaching resources) for the whole primary school from ages 3-11. It also includes all the statutory requirements for Relationships and Health Education, and Sex Education is also included in the Changing Me Puzzle (unit).

Jigsaw has two main aims for all children:

  • To build their capacity for learning
  • To equip them for life

Jigsaw brings together PSHE Education, compulsory Relationships and Health Education, emotional literacy, mindfulness, social skills and spiritual development. It is designed as a whole school approach, with all year groups working on the same theme (Puzzle) at the same time at their own level. There are six Puzzles (half-term units of work) and each year group is taught one lesson per week. All lessons are delivered in an age- and stage-appropriate way so that they meet children’s needs.

Each Puzzle starts with an introductory assembly, generating a whole school focus for adults and children alike. There is also a Weekly Celebration that highlights a theme from that week’s lesson across the school encouraging children to live that learning in their behaviour and attitudes.

Every Jigsaw lesson includes mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is being able to observe your own thoughts and feelings as they happen, in the present moment, applying no judgement. Jigsaw teaches children to understand their thoughts and feelings through the Calm Me time exercises (using the Jigsaw Chime) and Pause Points (using Jigsaw Jerrie Cat). This helps to develop their awareness, and their capacity to be mindful human beings. Learning is thus enhanced as emotions and behaviour are self-regulated.



Religious Education

“Don’t just teach your children to read, teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything.” – George Carlin

At Riverside, Religious Education (RE) makes a major contribution to the education of children. At its best, it is intellectually challenging and personally enriching. It helps young children to develop the virtues of respect and empathy, which are important in our diverse society. It fosters civilised debate and reasoned argument and helps pupils to understand the place of religion and belief in the modern world.

Over the course of a pupil’s time at our school, children will learn about Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism, as well as making links to other festivals and celebrations.

Children will be taught RE through a range of methods including visits to places of worship, visitors to school and hands on experiences to enhance their learning.

We believe it is vital that our pupils are given the opportunity to learn about, enquire, investigate and question different religions to give them a broad and balanced view of the religions of our community and world.


“The world is beautiful to look at, but even more beautiful to understand” – Brian Cox

At Riverside Primary School, it is our intent to enthuse and engage all children in scientific learning through the teaching of biology, chemistry and physics. Science has changed our lives and is vital the world’s future prosperity. Therefore, it is important that all children are encouraged in learning and continue to foster a natural curiosity for the world and how it works. We want to inspire children to ask those questions and the answers.

We aim to give children a solid foundation for scientific learning by equipping them with a broad knowledge and a wide range of skills which they will have the confidence to use. Our curriculum should give purposeful learning opportunities to all children at their own level. It should be child centred, engaging, creative and practical. Children should be taught through enquiry-based learning, where they are given time to investigate, prove and justify theories and reasons and above all Science should be fun and enjoyable.


“The individualization of learning fundamentally redefines the role of assessment.” – Sebastian Thrun

At Riverside, we place significant emphasis on the role accurate assessment plays in children’s learning. Teachers use assessment for learning strategies, which enable them to establish how well, and in what ways, a child is learning. The purpose of assessment is to ensure teachers understand what the next steps in learning are for groups and individuals, so that lessons, the curriculum and environments can be adapted to support this.

As a school, we believe in mastery for all, but all learning is adapted to meet the needs of the individual pupils. Children are expected to share responsibility for their learning and for ensuring that they are working at the right level of challenge. Learning must provide children with the opportunity to consolidate knowledge or be challenged to make the next aspirational step.

All areas of the school curriculum are adapted to meet the needs and interests of groups and individuals. Daily, there are pre-teaching and same day intervention groups to ensure that no children are left behind and that, where appropriate, children are challenged to attain at a greater depth.

All children will receive feedback on their learning. This could be verbal or written and it could be given during or after a session. The level of detail in which this is done requires the teacher to use their professional judgement in terms of the age/stage of the child, their own workload, but most importantly, the potential impact it will have in supporting the child to progress.

The school has developed marking systems which we believe clearly identify what children have done well and what the next learning step should be, for children at different ages and stages.

Children respond to marking as soon as possible, from when they are set. Educational research shows that the more immediate the feedback, the more impactful it is.