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At VALENTINE, LEADERS ARE resolute about three things:

  • Every child deserves a curriculum that will inspire, motivate and enable them to achieve their full potential;
  • All learning is underpinned by experiential learning opportunities that should bring alive the curriculum;
  • Every lesson we teach or concept we deliver must be founded in skill or knowledge acquisition, delivered sequentially and connected to prior knowledge to help build pupils' understanding. 

Our curriculum does not:

  • Teach random or disconnected facts that lead to cumulative dysfluency. 
  • Favour or focus teaching on skill development over knowledge acquisition.
  • Attempt to compartmentalise concepts into stand-alone components of learning - we connect the curriculum through subjects. 

We ensure that:

  • Through using the curriculum as a driver - we are able to connect pupils' learning to the City of Southampton and their immediate surroundings.
  • Leaders check and ensure that the curriculum is being delivered as per our comprehensive component planning.
  • The curriculum builds schema over time and through different subject areas to help pupils commit knowledge to long-term memory. For example: Y6 learning about the Inca Civilisation in History, also study South America in Geography and the Art of Latin America. 


Curriculum Leadership

Our curriculum was researched, curated and developed by Lion Pathways - a collective of London schools that our current Headteacher previously led and helped to develop. Because of this, curriculum leadership is strong - with a focus on developing the subject knowledge of staff to help them impart the exciting knowledge and skills we have chosen for our children to learn.

Our PE and Music curriculum is bespoke to the school but led by subject specialists who deepen our pupils' knowledge and skills through practical application within these subjects. Specialists work alongside the Senior Team to ensure that the same pathway journey is carved from EYFS through to Year 6.

Our Executive Headteacher is the curriculum leader. Any modification, deviation or innovation to the planned curriculum must be agreed in consultation with the full backing of the leadership team. 

COVID-19 and the curriculum

Undoubtedly COVID-19 has impacted (and continues to impact) the learning of all pupils at Valentine. Many children (particularly our youngest and most disadvantaged) have regressed from their previous starting points. Gaps in learning now exist. The Headteacher and Governing Body have carefully considered the approach to mitigating these deficits, and the following plan of action:

Plan of action: Intended impact:
  • Streamed ability groups for pupils in Year 1 to Year 6. Pupils taught in 'sets' for Writing (1 hour), Reading (1 hour) and Maths (1 hour) each day.


  • The school's strongest teachers leading the highest need classes (those with the most need).

To support pupils to make rapid improvements in learning - streaming by ability ensures that teachers can 'teach to need'


Targeting the bottom 20% through the very best quality first teaching the school offers.

  • Amending 'pathways' or intended knowledge maps to incorporate missed skills and concepts from the previous year study. Interweaving learning quickly - to cover the key concepts whilst ensuring that the current learning is not missed. 

We cannot afford for pupils to take 'steps back' in their learning. We need to ensure that they continue to meet the challenge of our curriculum whilst plugging gaps that exist quickly and carefully.


All teachers are being supported to adapt planning to incorporate 'misconception' and 'gap' teaching - this is highlighted clearly for leaders to monitor.

  • Reading is the cornerstone of every aspect of learning - without this skill pupils cannot be successful or access the curriculum. During lockdown, we know that there was not a strong enough emphasis on the importance of reading. Consequently pupils could not practice their knowledge of making sounds from letters. Reading here is fundamental from the time your child starts - we teach 1 hour of Guided Reading per day and in addition two phonics sessions in KS1 (morning and afternoon).

Our earliest readers benefit from a structured phonics curriculum -  Letters and Sounds (see Early Reading section). This comprehensive package combines assessment, therapy and catch-up to ensure robust improvement in reading.


Every child reads every day! In Guided Reading sessions pupils are immersed in carefully chosen texts that sit above their collective chronological reading age.


We reward regular readers - book tokens, bookmarks and winning their own books.

  • Homework to support addressing gaps in knowledge and skills is now regularly given to pupils. Homework is important and teachers follow-up with parents/carers to ensure that it is completed.


  • Developing the Google Classroom to ensure that pupils can access learning that they are studying in the classroom to share with parents.
Homework and home learning projects sit as part of the curriculum offer - they are not a bolt-on. Teachers provide homework that teaches to need rather than generic coverage.

A curriculum for EVERY child - Supporting SEND & EAL

High quality teaching and learning is a necessity for every child - no matter what the barrier to learning.

Please see our 'Curriculum Adaptation Guide' to understand better our offer for all children.

See also our 'Special Educational Needs' page - under the Statutory Information banner.


Experiential Learning - Trips and Visits & Cultural Capital

From September 2023, every child at Valentine will experience trips and visits that will bring alive the curriculum being studied. It is only through this experiential learning that pupils will embed their understanding of concepts, ideas and events. 

This is an ambitious trips and visits schedule, but one we know will support our children on their journey to know more, remember more and achieve more!


  National Trip Local Field Trip Theatre Visit






MAST - Mayflower Studios

Year 1

The Houses of Parliament (London)

Southampton Art Gallery

Hobgoblin Theatre Company

Year 2

London Zoo (London)

History Off The Page - Ancient Egypt

Mayflower Theatre

Year 3

Hampton Court Palace (London)

Southampton Art Gallery - Greek Mythology

Sky Blue Theatre

Year 4

Monument & Guildhall Art Gallery (London)

Winchester Science Centre - Sound & Living Things

Mayflower Theatre

Year 5

The British Museum (London)

Marwell Zoo

Hobgoblin Theatre Company

Year 6

The Natural History Museum (London)

Southampton City Walls

Young Shakespeare Company

Note: All trips link directly to the wider schema of the school's ambitious curriculum.