There are seven foundation subjects; Science, Design Technology, History, Geography, P.E., Art and Design and Music.

Our foundation subjects are all assessed using Chris Quigley’s ‘Essentials Curriculum’. The ‘Essentials Curriculum’ provides children with a set of subject-specific skills to work towards. Our curriculum is focused more on developing skills, rather than knowledge.

Our approach to these subjects is outlined below.



Our approach to Science in the National Curriculum is subject based, but with the opportunity for the class teacher to use a cross-curricular approach where appropriate. This facilitates a variety of teaching methods including class, group and individual teaching.

The children will experience the National Curriculum through observation, investigation and discovery. Pupils should meet each area (observation, investigation and discovery) at least three times during their Primary Education to enable progression and depth. The use of these techniques at different levels allows pupils the opportunity to develop both individual initiative and the skills needed for teamwork.

Design Technology

Design Technology is met within a cross-curricular approach in which we aim to develop the children’s skills as they progress.

Design Technology involves the investigation of a need and the skills of planning, making and evaluating to realise it practically. DT is taught using a wide range of media, e.g. clay, textiles, wood, paper and construction materials.


History is taught through a topic approach. Each year group focuses on different aspects throughout the year. We aim to develop the children’s historical understanding through the use of artefacts and secondary sources in order to foster research skills and an empathy with the past.

Specialist historical groups visit the school to provide the children with a variety of experiences related to the historical period they are studying. This enables them to become active in their learning through the use of role-play.


Geography is taught through a cross-curricular approach, or as a separate subject where appropriate.

We endeavour to match geography with other related subjects such as Science to ensure a depth of experience without unnecessary duplication.

We cover the Geography National Curriculum through a series of projects looking at both the local environment and the wider world. Children also have the opportunity to develop their studies further afield during residential field trips in Years 4 and 6.

Map work skills are developed throughout the school. Many aspects introduced in Key Stage One are revisited and further developed in Key Stage Two.

Physical Education

P.E is an integral part of the school curriculum. We aim to provide an enjoyable and balanced programme. Alongside this children will also develop their skills and understanding of competitive team games (e.g. Netball and Cricket) as well as Outdoor and Adventurous Activities, Dance and Gymnastics. Within PE lessons children are provided with the opportunity to develop their ‘Multi-Abilities’ which are, cognitive, health and fitness, personal, social, physical and creative skills. Within in the physical ‘Multi-Abilities’ our main focus is improving agility, balance and coordination. The development of confidence, tolerance and the appreciation of one’s own and others’ strengths and weaknesses are an essential part of our teaching.

All children in Years 5 & 6 have the opportunity to swim, with weekly sessions throughout the year.

Art and Design

At Ribbon Academy the children are given the opportunity to explore a variety of media working both two and three dimensions. Our aims throughout the school are the ongoing development of visual literacy, and to foster an appreciation of artistic traditions and ethnic heritages.

Children are encouraged to observe and appreciate the work of a variety of artists.

Art is taught either as a class or group activity and is at times related to the class topic.


Music is usually taught as a class activity. Our aim is to enable children to enjoy music through the development of listening skills and musical appreciation. Children are encouraged to compose and perform both vocal and instrumental pieces are introduced to a wide variety of styles.

Some year groups receive tuition from Durham Music Service.