Cotton End Forest School – Our Curriculum


At Cotton End Forest School, we are committed to providing a creative curriculum which is based on ‘Learning Beyond the Classroom’. This approach is hands-on, broad and balanced, and provides our pupils with opportunities to gain essential knowledge, skills and understanding. We intend that all children should enjoy their learning, achieve their potential and become independent life-long learners.

Through a creative, holistic, outdoor-focused approach, we will aim high, striving for every child to achieve highly, both academically and socially. Through learning opportunities in the classroom and beyond, including Forest School, our curriculum will nurture curious minds, stretch imaginations and provide opportunities for every child to become leaders in their own right. We believe that education takes place beyond the walls of the classroom, and we utilise our outdoor space to promote a fully inclusive environment where children feel safe and confident to try new things.


Our curriculum provides memorable experiences and opportunities from which the children can learn and develop skills for life. The acquisition of knowledge and development of skills is planned through a creative curriculum approach; there are cross curricular links within the chosen topics. Underpinning this work is Forest School and ‘Learning Beyond the Classroom’. We plan lessons which give children opportunities to learn new skills outside of the classroom walls, as well as allowing children to learn through a hands-on style of learning.

In order to ensure progression and balance are maintained, the programmes of study are developed into medium term plans which clearly highlight the learning objectives and assessment opportunities. Short term planning is then differentiated to the needs of each class, linking to prior learning, resources and Learning Beyond the Classroom opportunities. We also link our curriculum to Forest School sessions when appropriate. Planning includes questioning prompts which promote challenge as well as scaffolding. Teachers plan and tailor units of work and lessons to address the specific individual needs of pupils so that all pupils are able to reach their full potential regardless of their starting point.

Quality first teaching is provided to ensure that at least good progress is promoted in each lesson. Our feedback and marking policy is implemented to give instant feedback to children, which allows them to reflect on their learning and to think deeply and carefully about their work.


Children will leave Cotton End Forest School ready for the next stage of learning at secondary school. The curriculum will have provided them with the knowledge and skills to support them in their future endeavours. Our pupils will have developed skills for life: resilience, improved self-esteem, self-motivation, problem-solving skills and improved relationships with adults and peers. Furthermore, our curriculum promotes an improvement in wellbeing, mental health and self-regulation skills.

The children will be able to work collaboratively with their peers and independently as inquisitive learners who are motivated to excel and have a thirst for learning. They will be respectful and show tolerance and acceptance to those from different faiths and backgrounds.

Why do we Learn Beyond the Classroom?

Please click here for the Primary National Curriculum.

Progression Maps

Please select the progression maps below to view the key concepts and knowledge across our curriculum.

PE Progression Map

Music Progression Map

Science Progression Map – Skills

Science Progression Map – Knowledge

DT Progression Map

PSHE Progression Map

MFL Progression Map

Maths Progression Map

Geography Progression Map

History Curriculum Progression Map

Art and Design Progression Map

Forest School Progression Map

English Progression – Intent


Reading is the foundation on which all learning must take place, and our children are encouraged to read at every opportunity. Phonics is taught daily in the Foundation Stage  and KS1 using Letters and Sounds and Sounds-Write as well as being revisited when necessary in KS2. We follow the PM Benchmarking and Colour-banding scheme which is a levelled reading programme, and we ensure throughout the whole of the school children are reading at an ability appropriate to them. Reading is also taught in literacy lessons and across the curriculum. We also use Sounds Write and Fisher Family Trust as interventions to help those children who require additional support with reading and writing, and every child is benchmarked each term to monitor their progress in reading, in addition to other methods of assessment.


We believe that children need to be taught the basic skills of writing. These are taught in daily literacy lessons. We also feel it is important to teach writing skills across the whole curriculum so our themes have a large literacy base. We aim to teach writing to children at their ability. One of the main strategies we use is the Big Write, which is a piece of focused independent writing and allows our children to use the writing skills and grammatical knowledge they have acquired during lessons. We also teach spelling to children at their ability.


At Cotton End teaching and learning is based around seven key areas:

  • Using and applying mathematical skills
  • Counting and understanding numbers
  • Knowing and using number facts
  • Calculating
  • Understanding shape and space
  • Measuring
  • Handling data

Children learn using a variety of methods and resources with the emphasis on practical activities in which they can practice and refine their skills. We teach Maths as a discrete lesson, but include it within the Creative Curriculum wherever possible. We use Numicon as an intervention tool, and lessons are differentiated by ability within each class.


Teachers plan the PE curriculum based on the needs of children within their class. We ensure that we cover gymnastics, dance, athletics and games.  In KS2 the children have swimming lessons in the summer term. The children also receive PE lessons delivered by Premier Sport on a weekly basis. As a school we regularly take part in external Multi-Sports activities, which gives our pupils the opportunity to participate in a wide range of sports, as well as to mix with, and compete against other local schools.


We follow the Bedford Borough SACRE agreed syllabus. We also have a ‘comparative’ approach to celebrating and learning about the similarities and differences between cultures and religions. The children regularly visit different places of worship and we also have visitors from Open the Book. RE Overview 2021-2022

The Creative Curriculum

The Creative Curriculum at Cotton End Forest School encompasses core and foundation subjects and enables us to provide a high standard of teaching and learning.

We aim to foster a life-long love of learning, through adopting a highly practical and cross-curricular approach. Our Creative Curriculum aims to deliver a twenty-first century education that will equip our children with the skills required to be independent and responsible citizens

The creative curriculum is a carefully planned, thematic approach to teaching and learning designed to support children’s natural curiosity and stimulate their creativity. It offers children the opportunity to work in depth, giving them the time they need to reflect, consolidate and transfer their learning.

All the different subject areas are covered by linking them as closely as possible to the overall topic.  This lends itself to plenty of cross curricular activities in Literacy and Numeracy as well as the foundation subjects. We ensure that National Curriculum objectives are incorporated into our planning.

An overview of the topics covered within Years Reception-Year 6 gives a broad outline and shows progression and continuity in topics and subjects taught in a cross curricular way across school.

There are three parts to our planning:

Long term planning; these show an overview of topics/themes covered in each year group. They give a broad outline for each year group and shows progression and continuity between topics taught in a cross curricular way across school. Please click Topic Overview 2021-22 for this year’s topic plan.

Medium Term Planning: these show specific objectives to be taught within each area of the curriculum and the links between them.

Weekly Planning: These break down the objectives into weekly achievable targets and activities.

Monitoring and Evaluation and assessment

The Headteacher  and Senior Leadership Team monitor the progression, continuity and effectiveness of the creative curriculum together with the governing body. Curriculum and Standards Committee meetings are held regularly.


We value the diversity of individuals within the school. All children have equal access to the curriculum and are treated fairly regardless of race, religion or abilities. (See inclusion policy)

For more details about each class’ individual curriculum please refer to the class pages.